Sunday, August 23, 2015

Sweetly Broken

This past week has been hard. Not for any particular reason but just because sometimes the weight of my future hopes begins to feel heavy. Sometimes I look around and think that I'm a bit too confident to believe in a future better than my past, when I know full well history repeats itself. Often I find myself taking the truths of the world over the truths of my God as reality. I tend to forget that in God's world things are upside down and backwards and it's in the moments when things make the least amount of sense and seem the most impossible, that God can show up and show off in big ways. It's the things that can be least explained by facts that often show up to surprise us.

So why do I hang my head in defeat and continue to cry for the bitter ache in my heart? Why does the stinging in my heart, burn straight through to my thoughts and spread like wild fire in my actions? It's so hard. To live each day in the grace that I've been given and know that it's sufficient. It's hard to trust and believe that God is on my team when circumstances don't seem to be improving. Many times I find myself questioning the God of the universe. As if I have any right at all to interject with my thoughts and opinions. Some days I laugh and call Him crazy and suggest that maybe just this one time He got it wrong. Other days I find myself convinced that God's good plan for me is directly related to me screwing up the good thing He previously gave me and Him having to make up a consolation prize.

I don't see myself as always being loved by God. Instead, I see the timeframe of our relationship truly beginning when I vowed to turn my life over to Him. I see the messy and broken pieces that I came to Him with and I see Him sighing heavily and picking them all up in disappointment. I imagine that God gets frustrated with how I've let my emotions dictate the course of my life over 31 years and have shamefully continued to do so the past two years. I see God blessing my ex by presenting him with someone who can emotionally handle the gift of marriage. I see His blessings poured out over my ex, who got it, who prayed right and hoped right and trusted God with his life. I see how God honored that with someone who was capable of loving far better than I could.

It breaks my heart. If there's one thing I've tried to do right, it's love. I never meant for things to fall apart and I never meant to hurt anyone. I truthfully couldn't see the forest through the trees and I started running wild in any direction. I tried to escape any way I could, to find some vast open space where I could see the sky and breathe deep in the air of hope. All that running and striving and trying instead left me more lost than when I started and now all that's left is a girl who is tired and full of despair.

However, when I look through God's eyes, I have to imagine that based on His character, He sees me a lot different. I wonder if God looks at me and His heart leaps for joy that I've discovered that He's here with me. I imagine that when He formed me, He smiled as He gave me the gift of art, knowing how much it would make me come alive. I imagine that through the years as I've struggled He's been there walking with me, holding my hand as I cried. I wonder if God rejoiced the moment I gave authority to Him and vowed to trust in Him for the plans of my life. I wonder if He smiled each time I prayed and set out hopeful for the day ahead. Does God look at my past as the building blocks for the things He has prepared me for? Is my future not a consolation prize but the actual prize that I've been hoping for my whole life? I wonder if when I question my worth God silently puts His plans into motion knowing that He's going to totally surprise me beyond what I could hope for.

In church we've been singing the song Good, Good Father by Housefires. I hear this song playing on repeat in the track of my mind lately. "You're a good, good father. It's who You are. It's who You are. It's who You are. And I'm loved by You. It's who I am. It's who I am. It's who I am."

I'm coming to realize that all this brokenness is kind of beautiful in it's own way. There's a part of me that's fighting against the natural urge to resist God and argue with Him and feel like He's cast me out. That part of me is pulling to rest softly in the brokenness. In the confusion. In the unknown. To surrender my hopes and dreams and just quietly sit in the peace of God and know that He will use this for good as well. There's no doubt it's created a desire in me to help others who are struggling with these same emotions and to remind them that they're not alone.

I saw a quote by Henri Nouwen that's been lingering in my mind,
"Just as bread needs to be broken in order to be given, so, too, do our lives."
Then as I've meditated on this I've wondered if it's far better to be broken and then strengthened, than it is to simply be blessed as my ex was. Not that being blessed is bad by any means, Lord knows I'd give anything for that kind of easy, a pleasant but welcome change for my normal cadence of always wondering. Then I read an Ann Voskamp blog post and in it she reverberates the Henri Nouwen quote I have been holding onto since last week. "We could be the community that offers the Emmaus option: Be the bread so broken and given - that a hungry world yearns for more of the taste of such glory." 

I am starting to think that this brokenness is a beautiful gift. I don't know how yet. I can't really figure that out and maybe it's not supposed to be something I find. When I was a kid I never liked to search for my Christmas gifts early. I knew exactly where they were in my parents closet. In fact, our closets connected so it wouldn't of been hard to climb through the hangers of clothes and shoes on the floor to discover what was on the other side. I like being surprised instead and have really come to learn that I hate spoilers. I love the authenticity of truly being surprised. Just as with Christmas, when there were gifts that were more great than I anticipated, I imagine so is the same with God's plan for my life. So I want to learn how to authentically rest in the broken unknown and trust that God has something great planned from this. That it's far better to be broken and used by God than to be broken by and used by the world.

I've loved slowing down this month and just resting. Not keeping up with the Jones' on Instagram and Facebook but instead spending those quiet moments resting my soul. It's involved a lot of episodes of Parenthood, home cooking, and the occasional adventure. It's not my perfect summer, but I am trusting God with the details that the summer I truly yearn for is still ahead for me. The past few days I've been praying a lot. Prayers that ask God to show me my worth, to meet me in my mess and to help me move on. I know that holding onto the anger and bitterness will rot away my soul, slowly but surely. I don't want it anyways and never did. So I'm asking for a lot of grace to work through this and get past it so I can embrace the future with arms wide open. I don't know if I'll ever believe I'm good enough or qualified for a Godly relationship. I don't know if I'll ever be married and have a husband that prays with me. But it's my sincere hope, that even though I don't deserve it and will mostly likely be inadequate in reciprocating these things, that it's in God's plan. One thing I do know, I am so full of love and I want to share this with others. I want to be able to give of myself and encourage someone else in their walk with the Lord. I may fail at a lot of things, but this is the one thing I want to do well. I think this alone is something fundamental to build a relationship from.

All the love.

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