Posted by: bellissimanh | October 30, 2007

Brokenness

Do you ever feel that the Lord is taking a concept or principle and placing it before you repeatedly? I’ve learned that when I sense that… it’s to my benefit (and His glory) that I pay close attention. Often I have no idea WHY He’s chosen to impress upon my heart that particular subject, and yet experience has taught me that it is imperative that I listen. Chances are that I will need to draw on the lessons learned in the not so distant future… and I want to be ready!

With that said, I have no idea why I have been hearing Him speak to the issue of brokenness, but it has been a repeating theme in my life over the past week or so.  I don’t currently feel “broken”, but I have been involved in the lives of several close friends who I believe would describe themselves, without hesitation, as being in a place of brokenness.

When I think of brokenness, two different scenarios come to mind. There is, of course, spiritual brokenness. There are times when we have finally come to the end of ourselves, and found that He is there… and He cultivates in us a contrite heart (Psalm 51). Times when the Potter takes the clay pot and decides to do something totally new with it. Sometimes it means breaking the pieces so that He can remake them. It always means experiencing the Refiner’s fire… but in the end, it leads to a place of full surrender for us, and helps us become vessels that He can use… for His glory.

In addition to spiritual brokenness, I think there are times that we feel… well… just plain broken. It may not be some deep sin that has taken hold of us, but just circumstances themselves. I know that when Jasmine was burned, this mother felt completely broken. Life as I knew it was over, and although I knew I had to pick up the pieces and go on… I had no idea how to do that, or what it would look like. Even knowing that God is faithful — that He loved my daughter even more than I did and would do what was best for her — even knowing that, I felt broken. I needed Jesus to do a mighty work in me and put me back together again. And He did.

Webster’s lists a variety of different definitions and examples of being “broken,” but the main definition was so telling to me:

“Violently separated into parts.”

Take a moment to let that sink in. Whether your brokenness is the result of devastating circumstances, or your own sinful choices… doesn’t that describe how it feels?

A child in a tragic accident.

A marriage of 20 years suddenly falling apart.

Cancer stealing away the one we love most in the world.

The phonecall in the middle of the night that comes so suddenly, and changes absolutely everything.

********************************

 The Hebrew word for broken is “shabar,” and it means:

to break, break in pieces

(Qal)

  1. break, break in or down, rend violently, wreck, crush, quench
  2. to break, rupture (fig)

(Niphal)

  1. to be broken, be maimed, be crippled, be wrecked
  2. to be broken, be crushed (fig)

(Piel) to shatter, break

(Hiphil) to cause to break out, bring to the birth

(Hophal) to be broken, be shattered

***********************************

I know that there are times in my life when the Lord needs to break me.  As long as I remain arrogant and determined to do things my way, I’m not surrendered to what He wants to do in my life. There are times that He has to break me in order to use me… and as painful as it can be (being violently separated into parts is definitely painful), I know that in the brokenness, I find healing.

The high and lofty one who inhabits eternity, the Holy One, says this: “I live in that high and holy place with those whose spirits are contrite and humble. I refresh the humble and give new courage to those with repentant hearts. (Isaiah 57:15)

I just finished reading Sandi Patty’s book, “Falling Forward.” Talk about a story of brokenness! In case you’re one of the 2% of people reading this who isn’t already familiar with her story, I’ll give you a few details. Sandi was at the top of her career (Christian recording artist) and while everything looked great from the outside, on the inside… she was falling apart. Amid the scandal of an affair and divorce, Sandi experienced a very public fall from grace… but she would be the first one to tell you that through the process of restoration and experiencing the Lord’s hand in her life, she has learned what it truly means to be broken, and to fall into the arms of God’s redemptive grace. As she so eloquently states in her book:

 “Your brokenness puts you right where God wants you — not too proud, not too arrogant, but humble and ready to roll up your sleeves and get dirty… From the moment we say, ‘God, I have really screwed up here,’ or ‘God, I am ready for Your healing,’ He says, ‘Okay, let’s move forward.’ Part of moving forward is to begin extending ourselves beyond our own lives and problems. You’ve had a defining life experience, and it’s time to begin using it to express your love and care for others.’”

Regardless of the cause of our brokenness, God wants to use it! Don’t you know… He works ALL things together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose! How redeeming is that?? God can take the very thing that caused me to feel “violently separated into parts” and use it to help me minister to someone else who is feeling broken! Hallelujah!

I told you I was seeing this theme all over the place. I think it’s very appropriate to end with something precious that Maggie wrote last week. While on a field trip with the school, she had been collecting beautiful fall leaves. One of the children picked up a rather odd shaped, old, dry, crunchy leaf – wanting Maggie to add it to her collection. She put it with the others… but it was definitely not what she had in mind. She viewed it as a dry, sort of broken leaf. Until the boy said, “See, it sort of looks like a butterfly!” Sure enough… it did.

It’s Not Broken, It’s a Butterfly

Maggie also coined a new phrase… “Imputed Glory.” I just love that! Let me quote from her post (in case you deny yourself a blessing by not clicking on the link above *smiles*), because I think her illustration with that broken leaf is a beautiful way to conclude our discussion on brokenness.

God views us this way, you know.  Living out our broken-ness, we are of greater value to Him.  We leave a creative message of hope to the world those really searching.  Live out your life, in all your broken glory!”

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Responses

  1. I love the way you ended this – to live out our lives in all its broken glory! So true, though, through our suffering so much glory can be brought to Christ, and so many other hearts can be touched and reached through our brokenness. I really appreciated your thoughts on this. This article that our pastor wrote on brokenness really touched my heart, maybe you might glean from it as well: http://www.dmgac.org/newsletter/article/10

    Love you!!!

  2. “violently broken into parts; to rend violently; to crush; to shatter…” Wow, those are powerful word pictures. I think we’ve all been there at one time or another. I wouldn’t go back, (although I’m sure one day I’ll be there again!) but I also realize that if I hadn’t been broken, I couldn’t have been put back together again, straighter and stronger. It’s a cruel mercy, so to speak.

    Very thought-provoking post…

  3. What a great post. I love so many thoughts in this blog. I have felt broken before. And you know what? There is no way to be easily broken. Sometimes the Lord wants to change your path and the only way he can do it is by force. I love the scripture, all things work together for good… Love the word study too, meanings, etc. thank you for sharing today. love, S

  4. I love this post and all the comments so far. I love how you share from your heart and don’t try to hide behind a fake mask.

    Thank you for your real-ness.

  5. Heather, thank you for sharing this. I love to hear your thoughts on these important matters.

  6. I loved this post. While I do not find myself in a place of shattered brokenness, I do find a loved one there. This was a reminder that God is gonna use it. Sometimes I can get caught up in trying to put together the pieces for someone, but God is in control. AMEN!

  7. I love the depth of this post. I think I will need to come back and read it a few more times to absorb all that you have laid out here. I am headed over to “meet” Maggie. Her words provide a perfect ending.

  8. I look forward to “meeting” you Scribbler, and such an honor, Heather. Very well articulated post on the subject. I think Isaiah 28:28-29 this is my favorite scripture on the subject, though it goes about it in a round-a-bout way. I’ve never heard it quoted, but found it during what I felt was a “broken” season. God knows how to plow up our ground for the type seed he wants to sow, and then he know how to deal with the harvest, some of it needing another “beating” to get to the desired result…as with wheat.

  9. Hi,
    I’m one of Sandi’s fans from the old message boards. I just started a real basic site today where you can sign a guestbook if you want to make a comment regarding Sandi’s concerts, etc. My first post was to remind everyone about the Readers Choice Awards. There is only two days left to vote. My web site is http://rowz.faithweb.com. Don’t expect much. It’s a free site, so it’s kinda lame, but at least we can communicate!

  10. Thanks for writing this. You have helped me a lot for my personal questions about brokeness and for a sermon that I am writing.

    Thanks!


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