Monday, October 15, 2012

broken ~ a universal issue

source unknown

you know, the source of the picture / quote above is unknown to me.
but the sentiment, the problem, it's not. 
i could have written it, heck maybe you could too.
if we got real honest, we all could.
we are all broken. 
some of us are just better at hiding it.
for many. many years. i was real good.
hiding our sin. 
hiding our hurts. 
and why is that? 

i am broken.
i am broken in a million ways.
ways a person shouldn't be broken. 
hurts from a parent, guilt and regrets, too many to count.

about a week and a half ago my small group started, stuck by jennie allen.
it's rocking my world. 
in a good way.
it's a nose dive into those places we are all trying to avoid.
past hurts, regrets, relationships, sin.
those yucky pieces of our life we'd all rather ignore and pretend aren't there.
for so many women we are so concerned about our image, how we "look" 
to those around us. and i don't just mean in the clothes we wear or the tablescape
on our dining room table for the holidays.
we are concerned how we "look" to our friends, our family,
never wanting to appear like we have done anything bad or that
our hurts actually hurt us. women are strong. 
aren't we told we should be strong? 
and if we are told we should be strong in adversity then wouldn't we 
"look" bad if we shared the broken pieces of our lives.
what would our friends think? our neighbors? or goodness gracious those  
ladies down at the church? surely we can't share that with them! 
so we package them up, tie on a bow, and set them in a dark corner of our heart.
only taking a peek at them when we can't sleep.

oh friends how i have been there.
there was a time where i surrounded myself with some friends, 
people i truly thought were my friends.
however, time told the truth as she always does... 
and they weren't.
years earlier i should have known this.
there was one huge clue.
the pieces of my heart that were broken,
the parts of my life where i needed the most help
i could have never, ever shared with them.
image was at the forefront and i felt that my "stuff" 
would have been looked down upon.
and you know what? it likely would have.
their lives appearing much more picture perfect than my background.
maturity and years of reflection have brought me to a place that 
made me realize, if i couldn't have shared those pieces freely 
then they weren't really my friends after all.
it also let me see they too had their own "stuff" but they were really great at hiding it.
i was too. years, never sharing more than the surface. 
sweeping it under the rug.
but oh! the things we young women do.

the broken places came to surface as they were never truly healed.
pieces of my story, the mess of my heart.
it has been a lifetime of hurt. 

to say this is a place where i was stuck.
a place in my heart that affects me to the core, well that's an understatement.

so when i heard about this study, i knew it was meant for people like me.
but you know what? 
this small group of girls i am meeting with... it's for them too.
you see, their story isn't the same as mine.
our broken pieces may have similarities, but they are different.
but it all boils down to a universal problem.

we are stuck. 
sins of our past. hurts from others.
we are stuck. 

what i am learning in this study, and being reminded of daily.
is that yes, we are stuck.
we are broken.
i am a hot mess! 

but there is a beautiful answer. 
we are loved by a perfect God.
we are made whole and our pieces are mended in His lavish grace.

as i fall on my face for what feels like the millionth time,
offering these broken pieces of my heart,
He draws near, calls me unto Himself,
and i hear Him say:
you are dearly loved.

and in those moments my spirits breaks free.
free from the hurt, free from the pain
and it is just me and my creator

i need Him at the core of my existence.
i need God. 
bare soul to the world, i need God.

paul tells us in 2 corinthians 12:9-10 
"my grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.
 therefore,i will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, 
so that Christ's power may rest on me. that is why, for Christ's sake, 
i delight in my weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties.
 For when i am weak, then i am strong"

we all have them. broken pieces, places in our lives we rather brush over.
maybe we're embarrassed, maybe we're too ashamed to even go there,
maybe we just feel like it's only a small sin, it's not like we did anything
"that" terrible.
it is still sin. it is still, there. 

once we come face to face with our "stuff" and bare ourselves to the One who made us.
arms wide open, realizing we are just a mess, without Him.
once we come to that place, there is such freedom.
such grace, such love.
friends, go there, go there for one minute.

what would it be like to set it free?
to pull that place out of your heart, that broken place you have been hiding,
and give it away. 

what would happen?

early in my marriage i learned a valuable "new to me" aspect of god.
i learned that not only is He my Savior, but He is my Heavenly Father.

in my weakness, in my pain, through my tear streaked face
i saw God. i saw that even though my earthly father may disappoint and hurt me.
even though he may not keep his word and his sins have damaged my heart.

there is something so much better. 
there is a Heavenly Father who loves me.
a Heavenly Father who keeps His promises.
a Heavenly Father who lavishes grace, and love and mercy on His daughter.
a Heavenly Father who forgives, lifts up and bears my shame.
a Heavenly Father who is so much more than i can even fathom in my human mind.
for that i am forever grateful.
for that i will boast about my pain, my past hurts and sins.
for without those pieces of my story there would be no ending like the one 
i get to experience. 

my past could have brought me down.
it could have been my demise.
but God, but God used it for so much more.
when we give our broken pieces to our Heavenly Father,
His arms open wide and those pieces becomes something utterly amazing.

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