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Broken made Beautiful

I’m damaged goods.

I hate to admit it but it’s true. After ten years of illness, three years of which were spent fighting for my life, my stomach lining is still touchy and my back is still less than perfect. My heart still tends to beat off rhythm and my eyes still go wonky.

But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Below the surface of my physical brokenness is a mountain of emotional baggage acquired while traversing this long and grueling path.

The emotional side of physical sickness is oftentimes shied away from.

For those of us with a physical malady the last thing we want is to be labeled as a “mental case” on top of it. But, at the very same time, there is no separating the physical from the mental/emotional. Each one of us is a complete and complex being that cannot be compartmentalized. What happens to the body affects the soul and what happens to the soul affects the body. That’s a rule and it doesn’t come with exceptions.

And yet I’ve tried to pretend that I am an exception. Without even realizing it, I’ve tried to downplay and even deny the depth and scope of the emotional toll ten years of chronic illness takes on a person. Subconsciously, I assumed that what happens in the body stays in the body. It has taken years for me to even tip toe near the first step of the emotional/mental healing process: admitting that I have a problem.

Any recovery program starts with this age-old wisdom, “The first step to overcoming a problem is admitting you have one.” This is not only true in terms of addiction recovery but with any and every kind of problem, emotional/mental damage included. No one seeks healing until they recognize their need for healing. No one undertakes to fix what they don’t know is broken.

Recognizing damage and brokenness is uncomfortable. No one wants to look at the ugly truth just like no one wants to stare at an open wound. Confronted with such a troubling reality, our natural response is to flinch, cringe, shut our eyes and avoid it entirely.

But avoidance is a dead-end road.

Refusing to acknowledge brokenness is like trying to avoid weakness. It doesn’t make us strong, it makes us stuck. Shutting our eyes to the truth about our soul’s condition doesn’t make us better, it binds us to our brokenness. Ultimately, it keeps us from having a unified relationship with Jesus in which He has full dominion and supremacy in our lives.

It took someone shining this light of truth on me to see that what I was doing was shutting my eyes to the glaring damage and brokenness still festering like an open would in my heart. Their brutal honesty about what they saw so clearly caused me to peak out from behind my blinders. And when I did, what I saw shocked me.

I saw great big gashes in the shape of rejection and hurts in the form of loneliness. It’s as if a file had been opened and inside was all the evidence of my heart’s trauma experienced over the past ten years of illness and isolation. I saw how I haven’t truly been connecting with anyone on a deep level out of fear that they’ll leave me, like so many have before. I saw the walls I’ve built to keep anyone from getting too close, lest they see all the ugliness of my brokenness and complexity of my past.

As I stood in my kitchen, staring off into the distance while contemplating this troubling revelation, my mind began to wander and wonder, “why?” Why was I still broken? Why weren’t these wounds healed yet? And then my mind shifted to, “how?” How will I ever get put back together again? How do I move past my past and embrace a future free of all these painful memories that are causing my present so much agony?

And that’s when God compelled me to pick up a pen and write these words:

“You must accept that your healing is a process. It won’t happen overnight. Timing isn’t what’s important, that it happens fast isn’t the point. What matters is that you begin.
Recognize your brokenness. Acknowledge the cracks in your foundation. Then ask me to come in and get to fixing it. Request my holy intervention. I’ll answer you. I will respond to your sincere and upright request.
But beware that I will not act in one fowl swoop. I will take my time so that you can be made right. I’ll show you what you need to see. I’ll reveal what you didn’t even know existed.
This will be a process – a discovery phase, if you will. Don’t get frustrated. Get curious! Don’t be angry. Be thankful! I’m making all things in you new. I’m making your broken beautiful.” – Father God (January 10, 2021)

By the time I put down my pen a new truth had dawned on me: healing is about searching out the hidden parts of us. Healing is a journey where we face that which we hope no one ever sees, the stains and blemishes we try so hard to keep a secret.

But, praise God, that’s not where our healing stories end.

After we see how terribly damaged we are then we are shown, and can fully appreciate, how perfect and spotless our Savior, Jesus, truly is. Face to face with our brokenness, we are humbled anew by the blood of the Lamb that covers our sin and washes every stain away. We are dazzled by God’s most brilliant and amazing grace that takes all of our shattered pieces and puts them back together again in a way that is indescribably beautiful, entirely unique and never to be duplicated.

This is God’s specialty – making broken people whole and better than before. But in order to receive the redemptive and restorative touch of God we must be willing to confront our brokenness and come to the foot of the cross with it. We must acknowledge the fact that we are damaged goods before we can sincerely lay them down before the throne of Almighty God.

Then we can ask our Heavenly Father to do what He does best – make us whole again. We can get on our knees, surrender fully before the cross of Christ and entrust our lives into the hands of the Potter who can turn a mess into a masterpiece and make the broken absolutely beautiful.

 

“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.”

Psalm 147:3