Nineteen (and a Half) Reasons Why Being Broken Is Beautiful

He clung to his phone like a threadbare lifeline. Hearing his laugh is a symphony of joy . . . it’s not the norm for him in life. My son Jon is now 19 and a HALF—that half is desperately important to him.

Broken
(Image from Pixabay)

For his whole life, he’s been in pain:

  • Physically
  • Emotionally
  • Relationally
  • Spiritually

He’s aware he doesn’t fit this world. As his mother, I must say there are very few things more difficult than raising a child who “doesn’t fit.”

The unspoken message rings loud and clear on a daily basis: he regularly receives attention from medical specialists, education teams, or worse, bullies and people who look through him as if he weren’t there.

His loneliness is almost suffocating at times.

For 19 and a HALF years, we have tried almost everything . . .

  • Therapies
  • Doctors
  • Diets
  • Counselors
  • Biological treatments
  • Neurological treatments

All in an effort to remove the pain he carries so that he can finally be more normal (whatever “normal” is).

What Is Normal?

But maybe brokenness is the “normal” for life. Ever thought about that?

If you think about it, Christ’s life was anything but “normal.” Talk about a bummer. He left the perfect brilliance and glorious beauty of heaven and was birthed in a stinky, smelly stable for starters.

We know from Isaiah 53 that . . .

  • He wasn’t exceptionally attractive
  • People hated Him
  • He was judged
  • Betrayed by His best friends
  • Doubted by the most deceptive and deceitful
  • Bullied
  • Beaten
  • Died the most painful death one could possibly imagine

Because He was different, He was misunderstood, rejected, laughed at, and . . . broken physically. Raising a different child is a daily breaking experience.

Breaking? Yes, breaking . . . but not the way you may be thinking, so I’ll explain.

The church talks so much about how humanity is broken that it’s almost cliché. But until you have experienced brokenness, it is really only just a word off our lips.

Like most of life, experience is often the biggest game changer of all.

I know this to be true because I was on the side of speaking about being broken—without ever having experienced brokenness. Then I experienced brokenness personally, and living with brokenness is where I will stay on this side of heaven.

However, as strange as it sounds, brokenness can be both horribly freeing and wonderfully excruciating.

For 19 and a HALF years, God has been chipping away at my heart made of stone—hammering and chiseling away my flaws, so that I might be sculpted into Christlikeness.

He often uses what we least expect to sculpt us into Christlikeness, such as bringing into our lives those who seem to possess nothing, those who can offer us nothing.

Why aren’t we more comfortable with nothing?

That’s what Christ came to earth with—nothing—except the will of His father and a surrendered heart.

That’s all God asks of you and of me . . . a surrendered soul willing to accept what He allows.

Surrender

(Image from Unsplash)

And Jesus has been there like no other person in our lives. In the darkest moment of despair, Jesus prayed,

Father, if you are willing, please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will, not mine. (Luke 22:42, NLT)

Not many of us like that last part . . . accepting what He allows. But what He allows can make of us real, honest, and vulnerable.

Dare You Ask?

Oh, how we fight brokenness! For a moment, will you ask the Father to break you? He will remake you. I promise. Release your grip along with me.

Being broken means . . .

  • You have no expectation that others will make you happy
  • The simplest things become the finest things in life
  • Every day is a gift
  • You live in the present
  • Forgiveness comes easily because you exist by God’s grace
  • There is purity in your motivations
  • There is no desire to manipulate or get “your way”
  • Congruence . . . you are the same person everywhere you go
  • There is appreciation for the smallest of graces
  • Fear is removed because your trust is in our sovereign Savior
  • The yearning for more is replaced with contentment
  • You are at peace with yourself and with others
  • You are comfortable in your own skin, which leads to being comfortable with differences
  • Your perspective on pain changes from something to resist to a stepping stone filled with purpose
  • Weakness is accepted; impressing others isn’t even considered
  • Honoring God is a desire, not an effort
  • You are free from trying to please people

Once we release our ego-driven cravings, accept our lives as fragmented and fractured, Jesus steps in and covers us with His understanding, unconditional love. Because He’s been there, too. You don’t have to be anything but YOU.

Let Me Hear from You

It’s taken 19 and a HALF years to learn most of these truths. To be honest, I’ve only scratched the surface. We miss so much when we determine life must fit our plans.

I encourage you to pursue a community of sorts . . . a community that is different, perhaps disabled. Maybe you could come alongside a family who cares for a loved one who is fading, disabled, unable to “do life” as you do.

Get uncomfortable for a while. You may find the broken path is really the path to healing.

What path are you willing to walk today? Please, won’t you join me?

You can leave a comment by clicking here.

  • So

    Hello Colleen,
    I am uncertain whether you received my three posts yesterday. One being a very exciting update, no confirmation of certainty yet but an attorney “Charlie” showed great respect and thoroughness with me yesterday. I wrote that I sensed your prayer and others like a wave of goodness and as if Jesus picked me up by his own hand from all the muck. I was in a place yesterday morning of letting go of all fear and anticipation of yet another apt and it turned out for me much different than anticipated for the first time in my search. He was so clear headed and focused and “got it” in such a short time of appt. Charlie had solutions that no other attorney had the grasp and thinking outside box of how to help and with contingency that I have enough for repairs when completed and he be paid something. He has the most different ideas and approach and it makes the world of sense. I am continuing to pray for this to be Gods will of who He chose to represent me.
    This is my theme of the past few days, that which you have written and years that you have been such a connection to my brokenness in my own life and thus not fitting in and the closeness that Jesus has been for my understanding through his course of his own journey ,not having the luxury shelter of an inn at his birth, not one door being opened to share an inn space or not being available and Joseph and Mary accepting the only space of the stable with gratitude and so exhausted that it was the resting place and a miracle place of Jesus birth. I resonate with learning to change expectations and learning to be obedient to our Lord and Savior for he walked this path in agony but not defeat, his soul was hurt deeply without understanding at the foot of his cross before hanging and his weeping I know and understand the humiliation, mockery, shunning,not being accepted or understood my depth, abandonment and all these that bring sense we were betrayed when in spriit so tender, yet yes I have come to understand this as a kinowingness of “enrichment” for God beauty, love and goodness will eventually overcome all evil. What a tremendous posting, and Jon is so Loved, that radiates from your being his greatest advocate as the most loving Mom. Jon is so fortunate and I know that you will celebrate with him the next half of 19 Half. So Blessed Jon is to have you beside him in this journey, so loved.
    I am going to be keeping this of what you have written in your thought on your posting, as this seems to be my very theme right now to have this gratitude for the small things which are so big to me, a gardener coming to till my garden yesterday was my greatest thrill and then the attorney visit what a relief to know someone listened beyond the expectation of money upfront, and how or what solution can we work out to help me. I continue ask God to release any blockages of fear so that I am able to receive and keeping gratitude close to my heart today for what Blessing is in all the obstacles I have faced, as you say the chisel of his work in progress, what beautiful carpentry and skill our Lord has and how he uses us in every way too I am reminding myself with a renewed perspective today. Thank you for your beauty and talent of His goodness shining through this example of endurance and brokenness truly being an asset of richness of our heart and soul. Have a Blessed day, I do hope you did receive the other posts. I will continue to have you in my prayers and of Gratitude to God I give THanks for you each and every day. With Love Sand
    “Fear is removed because your trust is in our sovereign Savior “- See more at: http://reframingministries.iflblog.com/2017/02/nineteen-half-reasons-broken-beautiful/#more-4728

  • Scotty Sullivan

    Colleen, what a beautiful and powerful description of our brokenness. This one needs to be printed out and framed, because, as you said, we are all broken this side of heaven. Learning to see and accept that fact is a process, a slow and painful one, but as you so beautifully described, being broken isn’t a death sentence, it’s a gateway to the life we will someday experience and is so freeing….it’s about us letting go, relinquishing our will and pursuing the will of the Father. No, being broken is not fun, but it’s necessary…and that is why I love the verse in Colossians 3:2 ESV ” Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.” It’s part of that roll down and slow down mentally I so strongly encourage others to explore…..next time you go, take a friend…there is nothing like the sound of the wind in your ears and the silence of the countryside to offer a respite from our brokenness…..blessings my friend

    • Scotty,
      What an amazing way to frame your words…Colossians 3:2. As you know, being raised with the beautiful hymns, I immediately thought of the song “Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face; and the things of this earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace”.
      What would we do without His grace…so glorious and given freely. Yes, taking time for mental and emotional space is profoundly important…and I’m learning how needed it is in my life and all our lives. Our Lord doesn’t yell and scream…He is the whispers we hear in the wind as we open our soul to Him.
      It’s so great to hear from you, as always. Take care and come see us again!
      Enjoying His full grace with you, Colleen

  • L Allen

    Needed this tonight. As we celebrated the home-going of a faithful saint from our church this Saturday; I was distinctly reminded that he no longer see’s “through a glass darkly”. All the confusion of pain and suffering are all seen in the light of the Savior he is standing before! It gives me hope for all the suffering and brokenness that is in my sweet daughters life. I know He see’s!! And someday we will see His purpose in not healing even though we never stop asking. But are calm in the knowledge that ” He works all things together for our good”. Easy to quote so hard to keep focused on. Perspective is everything and when we understand that we are all broken in some way, we begin to see the suffering and brokenness like Jesus did. We have mercy and compassion that just wasn’t there before. A tenderness that can only happen through the pounding of being tenderized. I am honest there are moments of despair, when it feels like the world has fragmented around us. But somehow in His mercy, the Shepherd comes and picks us up and says gently, when you walk through the valley of the Shadow (this life) I will be with you, to comfort you. That’s what I hang onto!! Thanks for opening the door for me 4 years ago, to even be able to verbalize the heartbreak. Praying for you!!

    • L,
      Oh my…I’m so sorry for your loss. So very sorry. Since we weren’t originally created for loss and death, it’s never a simple process but your perspective is spot on. Yes, all the pain and suffering will be gone for us all someday; what a day that will be. And yet, just as you said the “tenderness that can only happen through the pounding of being tenderized” helps make it possible for us to journey together in this life with love and support. If I didn’t have the struggles I do, I would be a very different person…probably one not a lot of folks would enjoy being around. However, just as we are called to suffer in this life, it’s good to know we don’t have to do it alone. I so appreciate you, your comments here, your soul, and your love for our Lord. One day, we’ll get to celebrate together forever…how cool is that!
      I will keep you in my prayers as you begin the healing process from your loss. I don’t think we ever fully “heal” from loss honestly. I do believe the sting becomes less and we are offered the choice to grow in wisdom and discernment, empathy and understanding. My prayer is that the sting will decrease, your strength and wisdom will increase. You are precious and thank you again for your comment. Colleen