On Being Sweetly Broken

I have set aside these first two weeks of my new life as “Amy’s Weeks of Nothing” and I imagined I would lay around for two weeks, recovering. Drooling on pillows, bingeing on Netflix, etc. But as I lay in bed this morning, doing “nothing” I found it rather depressing and not at all healing. So I got up. My weeks of Nothing will have to be a little more Something.

I want to write more because that DOES bring me health. It’s like free therapy. These posts may be more rambling in nature so I probably won’t share every post on facebook, and please don’t feel you have to read every one. I write for me, and this blog is the easiest way to do that for me.

ANYWHO.

Brokenness: it has pushed through as a stubborn theme in my life. And I’m learning that is okay.

Last week I cried to my husband, “I just feel so broken.” For a brief, deeply felt moment in time, I was overcome with the feeling of being so. incredibly. messed. up.

For many reasons, I am thankful for these honest moments where I see clearly the depths of my need. So here I sit, sifting and sorting through the messes that have made me and the messes that I have made.

The people I admire most in this world possess qualities that seem to stem from enduring hardships. Their eyes could tell a thousand stories. One feels embraced by their knowing smiles: smiles that do not judge, smiles that love and accept. Their times of brokenness gifted them with quiet hearts and open arms . . . . These are my favorite kind of people.

I sometimes cringe at various parts of my own personality. The parts that are selfish, that are pessimistic, that interrupt, that say too much, or not enough. I am broken indeed. But there is Grace. And there must be balance . . . . I want to have grace for my own shortcomings . . . and the same time welcome the fire that refines me.

These past several years have broken parts of me for sure. My years as a nursing student and nurse were a hard learning experience that I would NOT want to repeat. And YET.

And yet.

Because of that crazy season I am leaving behind, there is a new feeling within me of being settled. My memories are rich with experience – good and bad, and I am thankful. Where I used to be quite sharp, there is a softness in me, however faint, that was not there before.

Even today, I feel like I can see a little more clearly what it was for. And that it was not in vain. I feel like a fog has been lifted, and the once unbearable load has finally been removed from me. When I was in the thick of it, I thought it would either never end, or that I might die from the pain. Like being in labor – the whole time praying just to survive it . . . . These past several years, I have prayed every day just to get through the day . . . One more shift, one more contraction . . .

. . . and now, now I can see the goodness that was born from that hard time.

Coming to terms with my brokenness means:

  • forgiveness for others
  • increased humility
  • gratitude for grace
  • hope for the future
  • softness
  • slowing down
  • letting go
  • breathing in (all that is good)
  • breathing out (all that does not help)

In the moments when my pain is great, and I feel stretched and frail, I read the scriptures to fill my soul. To remind me of who I am. And who my God is. And what He is capable of. And I am left a little more whole each time. In these moments, I sing songs of adoration to my Creator, and my spirit takes flight to another realm. My faith is made stronger with each song. My heart is momentarily free and at the same time wholly enraptured in His perfect love. And the cracks in my life become filled with His beauty.

I will not forget my broken times, for they are a part of me now. It does not help to pretend it never happened because it is in the past. No, I will not shy away from my brokenness or hide it away in shame. Admitting brokenness is anything but weakness or lack of faith and we would all do well to share our vulnerabilities with each other.

I certainly have a long way to go in this life, but if I look back, I can see that I have come far already. My cracks may always show, and I may always have twinges of pain, but they will serve to remind me of where I have been, and what I am promised. Jacob walked with a limp for the rest of his days after his wrestle with God.

I’ll take a limp if that is what it takes.

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Underneath All Things

Book excerpt from my current read,

Hallelujah Anyway

by Anne Lamott.

“No matter how bad or lovely one’s childhood, almost everybody walking around was somehow held, fed, and cared for, at least enough to still exist. The universe gave us sunlight, water, and milk, and we grew. The human condition brought with it terror, and we wept. The human family held us, the best it could. Then it inadvertently destroyed us: we were taught the exact opposite of  what Mark Yaconelli calls the Rule of Love. He wrote a letter to the teenagers in the Sunday-school class I teach that said, “Anything that leaves you fearful, more isolated, more disconnected from other people, more full of judgment or self-hatred is not of God, does not follow the Rule of Love – and you should stop doing it.” But while I was growing up, most things left me fearful and isolated. 

Every so often we drop down into another plane, to that trusting spirit that knows that, underneath all things, we are held, that we are children, born into this world in tender innocence. This can be experienced while [. . .] snorkeling, and I would guess while hang gliding, safely suspended and held. But then we have to snap out of it, snap to it, get back up to the video game of life, get back to work, get back to everyone whose calls we missed.

Underneath all things means that beneath the floorboards, in the depths, in the spaces between the pebbles or sandy floor that contain the pond, that hold our own inside person, is something that can’t be destroyed, a foundation that keeps all the water from sinking back into the earth. Something is there, something we need, when we come to rest, when all is lost.” 

 

I keep reading that passage by Lamott over and over.

Some days I feel so utterly broken and beyond help.  I have to fight to sink down into the arms of the One who assures me I am held and loved.  The arms of true rest.

I am thankful and forever indebted to Christ, my bedrock, my sure foundation. Selah.