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