This quote from the book, "The Broken Way" ..."The very thing we are afraid of, our brokenness, is the door to our Father's heart."
As a teenager I can remember never feeling safe. My world and all that I had known and had given me security was yanked away when my parents made the decision to divorce. I remember having to put on a "happy face" at school and with my friends because I didn't want anyone to see the battle raging inside of me. I didn't know how to live with the pain of not only being cut off from my Dad but also cut off from the paternal side of my family. I didnt know how to live with a broken heart.
Later on in life the pain from the scars reared its head once again in the form of an eating disorder. The pain fresh and new as I had ministered to two young women who had the same anxieties, had also been abused by people they had trusted. In helping them my fears, my brokenness came bubbling right back up. Starving myself I thought might starve the emotions I was feeling and yet the thinner I got, the more I felt trapped and paralyzed by the fears that threatened to consume me. the grief from a childhood and adolescence filled with pain was literally breaking my heart.
One day as I sat in church I listened to a sermon which taught me the importance of surrender. To give my pain, my hurts, my fears all to the One who allowed His body to be broken on a Cross so I could have freedom in Him. The Bible tells us blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted. the comfort comes from the One who loves us more than we could ever imagine. After listening to that sermon the next day I wrote down all that I needed to surrender...all the pain, the hurt, the confusion, all I had done in my life that not only caused me pain, nut caused others pain as well and then took it outside and lit a match to it.
God has inch by inch changed my heart and my soul since that day so many years ago. God never abandoned me, I had abandoned Him many times when I didn't allow Him into my pain because I didn't believe He was big enough to handle it. You see I had tried confiding in people, but they didn't really want to hear my story...maybe because they too had their own stories and didn't feel the need to share their brokenness...they had no need to be authentic.
I am taking part in an online Bible Study from "The Broken Way" and Ann Voscamp says, "we need to be able to pour out our broken hearts as it helps us to realize we are not alone...we all have brokenness." And yet even today when I have dared to share pain, brokenness there are those who have pulled themselves right out of my life. They can't handle the messiness of my authenticity. Ann says our brokenness is made to share and to unite us with others in community, in intimacy and yet so often I feel it does just the opposite. Why is authenticity so difficult?
Personally I know the areas that have been most painful for me in my own life are the areas where I have been able to reach out to others. I have tremendous empathy for children whose parents have divorced, for victims of sexual abuse and for abortion. It is from that pain I can share their pain and listen to their hearts. I love what the psalmist says in 42:6 " when my soul is down in the dumps, I rehearse everything I know about you." Yes, when I remember the pit I once held myself in I know how far God has brought me and always it gives me Hope.
There are people God has placed in my life that I know will love me and be a safe place for me to share my pain, my disappointments, my hopes and my dreams with and I can do the same for them and for others. We can choose to ignore the pain of others and even to walk away or we can choose to be a shelter for them as they deal with the storms of life...and above all else we can point them to the One who will not abandon them.
I will close with these words from the book: "there is no growth without change, no change without surrender, no surrender without pain, no abundance without breaking. Wounds are what break open the soul to plant the seeds for deeper growth."