by Tammy Kennington @TammyKennington
Shallow lines marked half-moons at the edges of my mouth, and the first shades of gray had begun threading themselves through my hair when I encountered soul-rocking, spirit-deep pain. Not one area of my life remained untouched.
Emotionally? I was immersed in depression, anxiety, and hopelessness. Relationally? My marriage and children seemed irreparable. Spiritually? My faith teetered haphazardly on the corners of anger and bitterness.
Weren’t women who loved God supposed to live out quiet, uncomplicated lives by the time they’d exhaled over forty shimmering candles I was as broken as I’d ever been, but I couldn’t avoid reality with childlike innocence or avoidance as I’d done before.
The person I’d been shattered into a thousand pieces—like my grandmother’s fine china did when the buffet’s contents tumbled onto the dining room floor. Shards of cream and pink flowers scattered; a haphazard array of brokenness.
An experience most of us has had at one time or another, brokenness comes in all shapes and forms.
Today, some of you may be wrestling with the brokenness of relationships. Perhaps you weren’t loved well as a child, you’ve been betrayed by a dear friend, or the divorce papers on the table mock the hope you embraced in your youth.
Others might be struggling with the on-going, relentless pain of mental illness, grief, or disease. The foot you place on the floor each morning feels almost as forced as the prayers catching in your throat.
Or, perhaps, the brokenness that burdens you was borne from lies you’ve believed about yourself. Maybe you’ve adopted an I’ll-prove-I’m-worth-saving approach to God, attempting to show Him you deserve His love only to realize striving and imperfection have brought you to your knees.
Brokenness is painful. We balk at its presence and fervently pray God will take it from us. Sometimes He does. But even if He doesn’t, there is nothing beyond the power of the Master.
Like a Kinstugi craftsman mending the broken remains of a Japanese tea bowl with lines of gold dust and resin, the One who restores all things bends intimately over His beloved treasure. Gently, He refashions what was into something new—a living, breathing representation of hope marked by old scars and transformed by grace.
The mending takes time and patience as the artist touches first one sharp edge to another, softening hard places with His healing touch and fitting disjointed, incongruent pieces into one complete work bearing a mark of newness despite evidence of struggle. Hardship. Life.
Christ, too, knew brokenness. A “man of sorrows”, Jesus was betrayed by friends and family, suffered abuse at the hands of jealous men, and foretold His own suffering with the words, “This is My body which is broken for you.” (1 Corinthians 11:24)
He accepted brokenness on our behalf.
Because of Christ’s willingness to bear the weight of sin and shame? Because His hands were pierced with nails? Because He experienced death and resurrection? Our brokenness is subject to Him.
While the pain and suffering of living this side of heaven can seem overwhelming, its value is the testimony of hope the Master reveals in and through His work in our hearts; threads of His faithfulness shining bright in an everyday woman’s life.
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; A broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise. Psalm 51:17 NASB
About the author: Tammy Kennington is a writer, speaker, education workshop presenter, and child abuse awareness advocate. Familiar with the impact of trauma, mental illness, and parenting in the hard places, Tammy leads women toward a deeper understanding of themselves and their relationship with the God who loves them. The author of five children’s nonfiction books, Tammy has also written articles and devotions for Thriving Family, The Upper Room, MOPS and several other publications.
Does emotional pain and suffering hold you back from experiencing joy? Moving from Pain to Peace provides hope and healing through hands-on study of Biblical truths, journaling and prayer. Why not take the first step toward recovery from your wounds today?
Join the conversation: Please share your experience with brokenness, whether from your past or where you are today. We can all learn from each other.