Bruised and broken
My sanity stolen
Sin from the garden
Ladens me with burden
Tears weep upon
The seed Christ has sown
A dear departed friend of mine once told me that my brokenness was beautiful. I was in the midst of a serious depressive episode during a summer spent taking seminary classes through Cru. She, among others, walked with me through this brokenness. They ministered to my deeply troubled soul. The words “brokenness” and “beautiful” didn’t seem to have any business being in the same sentence. How can something so severely broken be beautiful?
I had the skewed idea that since I was a Christian, my sins washed clean by the blood of Christ, I should always appear completely whole. I believed my insides should always be overflowing with praise to God for His Goodness, my outsides should continually exude Christ’s joy.
I was so wrong.
Throughout the Word of God we see person after person fail. Run from God. Disobey His commands. Abraham, Saul, David, Jonah. Throughout the gospels we see people coming to Jesus to heal them. Jesus’ own disciples failed him. Peter, Thomas, Judas. They doubted and betrayed him. God’s story is filled with broken people. And for good reason. Being sinners living in the aftermath of Adam and Eve’s sin is ugly. When we are broken and turn back to God we become beautiful. It is the reunion of a soul to his Savior where beauty shines through.
The Apostle Paul blatantly turned from God, living as a pharisee. He persecuted Christians to the point of death. Absolutely disgustingly evil. But when Christ came to him, he repented and became one of the biggest heroes of the Christian faith. Absolutely gloriously beautiful.
Paul does not hide his brokenness throughout the book of Acts and in his epistles. He uses it to magnify the greatness of Christ’s work in his life. Paul is transparently vulnerable with those to whom he ministers to show the power of salvation and to draw them to Jesus. Recognizing this opened my eyes to God’s call for me to do the same.
Over the past year I’ve begun to speak very openly and frankly about my brokenness. About my fallible nature. About my mental illness. About the difficult things that have happened to me. I believe God has called me to use my willing vulnerability to draw people to Jesus. By highlighting my brokenness I’m able to point to Jesus as my strength.
7 So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. 8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. 9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.2 Corinthians 12:7-10
Paul recognized his mess and continued to live with a burden that made him weak. He recognized that through his weakness, Christ shines. If one appears flawless and polished it is difficult to see the transformation of Christ in their life. It is also difficult to convey one’s testimony of salvation if you have no weakness to speak of. More so, if one isn’t connected to their brokenness – to their need for Christ – they are tempted to depend on their own flesh to do things only Christ can do.
I’ve had my fair share of Christians tell me that I just needed to read my Bible more, pray more, exercise more faith in God to heal me of my brokeness. For a long time I felt like a bad Christian because I pleaded to God to remove this thorn and wasn’t being healed. My faith must not be big enough. It was a lie. I’ve learned that there’s more to healing than faith in God – there’s faith in the people around you, and maybe even doctors and therapists – to walk with you and pray with you. I’ve learned that brokenness is often glossed over because it’s uncomfortable. Yes, it’s uncomfortable, but in order to mend a broken heart, you first have to recognise the ugly mess you are to mend. You have to be ok with uncomfortable.
I wouldn’t wish the trials I have been through on anyone. I don’t want anyone to hurt as deeply as my soul has. To suffer the kind of physical pain my body has. It’s a dangerous place to be. However, because I have had these experiences, I believe that I have a responsibility to open myself to show others that it’s ok to be broken and that there is help through Christ and your surrounding community.
I bleed openly because I want others to see that it’s ok to be broken and it’s ok to ask for and receive help.