Everyone experiences Brokenness.
For some of us, our Brokenness comes from nothing more than a hollow feeling we have inside that we can’t seem to fill.
For others, our entire life seems to be one struggle after another. Dorothy Miller, Author of today’s post, shares her bittersweet story below.
It takes a truly extraordinary person to look into the face of infertility, grief, and death and still sees the beauty beneath it all. But that’s exactly what she has done here.
Her story is heart-wrenching, to say the least, with some of our darkest fears coming to life through her words.
Brokenness: Broken Down.
I love words and seeing all the meanings together. The dictionary includes these definitions of brokenness:
-incomplete, subdued totally, imperfect, not functioning or out of order, crushed by grief, *humbled, weakened or infirm.
I’m sure you have been in that place at one time or another. I sure have! Sadly, I think that often we, especially as Christians, try to minimize and perhaps hide the facts that our lives are not perfect and that we are all broken.
I was challenged by a quote from Dr. Charles Stanley, who said: “Brokenness is God’s requirement for maximum usefulness.” I don’t think we often think of the difficult actually equipping us for usefulness. But it does if we allow God to walk with us in the hard times…
Brokenness in Scripture
Ps. 34:8 – “The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart and saveth such that be of a contrite spirit”
The Reality of Brokenness
I personally would not have wished to walk through those moments.
In fact, I often asked God to remedy my situation and wave a magic wand of sorts placing my life upright again. But God is not the tooth fairy.
When I first married my husband 21 and a half years ago, I had no idea the difficulties that would cross our paths maring the perfect life I had imagined for us.
I did not pursue a career requiring college because my goal and calling in life was simple, I wanted to be a mommy. As an early 20 something newlywed, my dream life was just beginning.
We had a little house, traveled, lived as missionaries in the Caribbean for a year, and we had love.
|Then a few years in, we realized that my dreams of mommy-hood were slightly tarnished and 8 years of infertility filled that space I had imagined to be full of children.
Our friends went on with life, starting families, leaving us and our brokenness behind and living what I perceived the normal, not at all broken life.
Though we tried our very best to find the beauty in that season, the baby showers, more pregnancy announcements and the changes in what our friends could and could not do pushed us away from the comfort of friendships we had always known.
As we entered year number 9 of infertility, we chose to buy a business that we could do together since it was just the 2 of us. It was at that point God decided to share his sense of humor by blessing us with the long-desired pregnancy the very week we made the big purchase.
Subsequently, my frequent hospitalization, high-risk pregnancy followed immediately by a second high-risk pregnancy literally cost us the business, our home, our van, and almost our marriage. Brokenness abounded.
The stress of 2 small ones, another pregnancy (our 3rd in 3 years…) and the tremendous financial loss drove a huge huge wedge in our marriage that up to that point had been strong. My husband was reeling emotionally in ways I could not comprehend. I am sure my pregnancy hormones did not help.
I ended up taking my 2 babies and staying with my parents, 1,000 miles away from him and our home in the midwest as the birth of our third child loomed ahead. Not a pretty season.
But God was faithful. When we separated for that season, we had agreed it would not be permanent. We both had things to work through and face but our reconciliation was sweet and God granted us baby number 4 who we affectionately dubbed our honeymoon baby.
READ ALSO: The 21 Day Marriage Fix
There we were, 4 babies age 4 and under and life was good. My husband found a job that he enjoyed and I settled into living the dream raising little ones.
It was a crazy time. I remember wondering how in the world I would ever survive 3 in diapers, constant snotty noses, no sleep or going to the bathroom alone and thinking the diaper bag would be permanently attached to my body. This was what I had dreamed of and I really loved it!
Then the next season of brokenness arrived. Our 4th child, Abby, drowned in our back yard just shy of her 4th birthday. Never could I have imagined the burden of grief and how far reaching it could be.
I struggled with my faith and the way I had always viewed God and my relationship with Him. Burying part of my dream, my child, my flesh and blood was the most harrowing life experience I have lived through to date and life was truly upside down, falling apart, broken.
It is through that particular season of broken, I learned a whole bunch more about God, his love, and his plan for us in these seasons.
Finding The Beauty In The Broken
In our seasons of brokenness, it takes courage to respond correctly to the choices we are faced with.
We can choose to be bitter or better. One letter difference but 2 vastly different responses to life. One is life-giving. One dries up the bones.
We can choose joy or anger. Nehemiah 8:10 says that “the joy of the Lord is our strength.” Anger, however, saps our very energy (strength) of life.
James 1:20 says “Man’s anger does not produce the righteousness God desires.”
We can choose trust or self-reliance. Proverbs 3:5, 6 talk of putting all of our trust in God and allowing Him to direct our paths, while self-reliance in dark seasons often serves to lengthen the darkness. Or at least that has been my experience.
We can choose peace or chaos. John 14:27 promises this: ” Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives.
Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” We can embrace the peace even in the tough or we can choose the chaos of wallowing in our pain and grief.
We can choose courage or fear. After Abby died my fear intensified. I had a hard time functioning in daily life my fear of something happening to my children had indeed “come true” and I really struggled to find the courage to let my other children really live life.
I was often encouraged by the reminders that the Bible says “do not fear” 365 times, which equals to 1 time for each day of the year.
I wish I could say I have sailed through the broken seasons in my life and come out on the other side perfectly polished and free of scars.
I wish I could promise a beauty-filled life to each of us. But we are human and live in a fallen world. We will have times of processing our grief and pain and then we will be ok again.
So much of my survival has depended on my perspective.
My season of infertility led me to a time of offering a support group for others walking the same journey.
As a result, I met several women who have become life-long friends. Our marriage issues that led to our almost year apart have brought other hurting marriages into our path that we were able to minister to.
Do we have it all together? Nope! But God is faithful and does not allow our times of brokenness to be wasted. Abby’s death is still the fairly current season of broken and there again, God is so very faithful!
Through her death and us being fairly public with our story, 5 souls have come into God’s eternal kingdom. There too, we have met other families in similar seasons and developed great friendships.
Has life been how I wanted? Not really. Would I pick these paths again? Nope. Broken dreams are a harsh reality. But when I allow God’s eternal perspective to be the glasses I look through, beauty is truly present.
I am convinced that if life were exactly what we want, our desire for heaven and the God who created us would be greatly diminished. So I will continue to look for the beauty in each season He sends my way and not work so very hard to cover up my broken.
There truly is beauty in the broken, and God is capable of walking with us in the midst of the ugliest.
More Brokenness in scripture:
Ps. 147 : 3 He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. He counts the numbers of the stars. He gives names to all of them…
You can read more about Dorothy's Story and Journey on her blog