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Broken Is Beautiful

God wants to break us of our self-reliance and produce in us a deep humility and profound dependence upon Him. In a word, it’s called brokenness. Brokenness has been the theme of many a great sermon. It’s one thing to preach or teach about brokenness; it’s another thing to be broken. –Bob Sorge, the Fire of Delayed Answers 

Obvious, right? A sermon, a teaching, a book about brokenness is one thing. The process of being broken is quite a different thing.

I remember before we moved to Alaska (some 13-14 years ago), I woke up sometime in the night stirred in my spirit. At the time, I knew anytime I woke up and couldn’t go back to sleep it was God because I could have slept through anything (not the case anymore, but that’s okay).

I got out of bed and went into the kitchen where I paced the floor and prayed. I certainly wasn’t sure what I was praying about, but I knew God was after something. Before long, I heard Him say to my spirit, “Give me your heart.”

Woman is showing her open hands. On clean balck bagground.At one level, you feel hurt because you thought He already had your heart. On another level, I admit I was hesitant because I didn’t know what He would do next. I wish that I could say I was full of faith and immediately stepped up to say, “yes,” but that’s not true. After a while of praying and the stirring growing stronger, I finally gave in and said, “Lord, I give you my heart.”

Immediately I heard Him speak to my heart again, “I will break your heart for Alaska.”

In that moment, I felt no fear or dread of what was spoken. I didn’t think, “See, this is why I didn’t want to say yes. I knew it would be bad.” I felt peace and His compassion. I felt strength–His strength.

That moment was precious to me, but I had no idea what all that meant. In the years I was there, God definitely made those words real to me.

As a foster parent, my heart was broken for Alaska. As a person who prayed and cried out, my heart was broken for Alaska. As a pastor and leader, my heart was broken for Alaska. As an adoptive parent who went through a contested and heated adoption, my heart was broken for Alaska.

When a broken man or woman, in conjunction with the Spirit’s enabling, participates in a work that is totally beyond his or her abilities, the glory becomes God’s alone. God doesn’t lift our abilities to the challenge, but He lifts the challenge beyond our abilities. –Bob Sorge, the Fire of Delayed Answers 

I didn’t have the abilities to deal with any of that. The pain, the heartache, the attacks, the stress, the lacks, the delays, the challenges, and more–my abilities could not rise to a level so as to be sufficient. The difficulties proved this unequivocally, but God didn’t ask for my strength or abilities. He asked for my heart.

On December 1, our family celebrated 7 years since we adopted our two amazing children from Alaska. I’m not going to lie, I don’t see it every day, but when those anniversaries come and days of reflection like today, I know beyond the shadow of a doubt that brokenness is a beautiful thing in God’s hands.

For the rest of my life, they will be a reminder of that truth and I will thank God I said, “yes.”

How about you? Have you seen the beauty in your brokenness? What are your reminders?


fda-sorge3Welcome to week 1 of Chapter 8 for our book club discussion of the Fire of Delayed Answers (disclosure) by Bob Sorge. We are taking a sentence, paragraph, or passage that inspires, encourages, or challenges and writing about it. Since the chapters are longer and subject matter warrants, we’ll also be taking 2 weeks for each chapter. If you have a response on your blog, add it to the widget below. Either way, head over to my friend and co-facilitator, Sarah Salter’s blog for her thoughts. Whether you’ve read the chapter or not, please dive into the conversation!

14 Comments

  1. There is definite beauty in brokenness although we have a hard time seeing it in ourselves. After all we do not like feeling like damaged goods -- unable to provide the best for ourselves.

    But when we finally come to a place where we can accept it, we can then fully experience the beauty of God’s working and provision in our lives.

    As I was preparing for today’s post, I ran across a quote from Charles Stanley that really spoke to me regarding brokenness. But you’ll have to read my post to see it! 🙂

    In my mind I know I need God every moment. I know in Him my brokenness is turned to beauty. But I still have to remind myself to admit it and to rely on the one who can take my brokenness and make me whole.
    Dusty recently posted..Brokenness, Learning to be BrokenMy Profile

    • Read your post and you can read my comment--stirred something deep in me! 🙂 And yes, it doesn’t feel like beauty is coming, no matter how much we’ve experienced it before. Seems like it goes: ugly, ugly, ugly, ugly, ugly, ugly--BEAUTIFUL! It’s not comfortable holding out for that, but like you said, I remind myself of His greatness and His purposes and walk it out with Him. Thank you, Dusty.

  2. We celebrate a similar reminder this Sunday with the 3-year anniversary of officially adopting our youngest son. He’s lived with us for 4 years though. Sunday is also his 13th birthday. His adoption became final on his birthday, and the idea of new birth is not lost on us at all. His life, his transformation, his struggles remind us all of God and the brokenness he wants us to go through on the path to obedience.
    Kari Scare recently posted..Weak is the New StrongMy Profile

    • That’s awesome, Kari! Ours have been with us for about 9 and a half years all together. Wonderful that the adoption finalized on his birthday--very cool. Great lesson of brokenness and transformation. Thank you.

  3. I’m behind on my reading… along with everything else, but I’ll catch up. Great point. It is in the brokenness that He is glorified… and we are awakened.

    • No worries, Floyd. This was a really encouraging chapter to me, even though experiencing it is not so fun. Thanks so much.

  4. I remember when I was 4 years old, I went with my Dad to the bank one day. As I always did, I took my favorite stuffed animal with me — a blue hippopotamus whose name I don’t remember 32 years later. After we left the bank, I realized that I had dropped my little stuffed friend. My Dad turned around and drove back, but we couldn’t find it. I was devastated and cried my little heart out all afternoon.

    There are days that I still feel like that little girl. I’ve dropped my peace or I’ve dropped my joy or I’ve dropped a relationship or I’ve disobeyed God and therefore dropped our relationship. And I’m devastated. Bereft. And in those moments, it’s really hard to see beauty in the situation.

    Almost a year ago, I dropped a relationship. A friendship with a dear friend and sister in Christ. I broke it. And I thought it was shattered irreparably. And for about four months, I was bereft. I cried about it, but didn’t know what to do. And the week before Easter, God finally spoke to me and told me what to do — ask for forgiveness. She accepted my apology, extended forgiveness, and today, that relationship is one of the most treasured ones that I have. It’s beautiful.

    Not all broken places in our lives heal that beautifully. People don’t always forgive us. Things don’t always get fixed. Situations don’t always cooperate. But God’s in control. He has our best interests at heart. And He’s completely okay with holding us while we cry over little blue hippopotamuses.
    Sarah Salter recently posted..Peace SeekerMy Profile

    • Well said. Whether we inadvertently drop something because we’re not paying attention or we purposefully let go, He is there and provides the grace and healing we need. Thank you, Sarah.

  5. For sure. Through brokeness I’ve learned that life, lived every day, is precious. And so are relationships. We may run out of either, and yet if we are not careful, we may not have anything to be grateful for.
    Ed recently posted..Cardboard Pizza GospelMy Profile

    • You are so right, Ed. Embracing brokenness makes us much more willing to accept others and their foibles and mistakes because we see the fragility around us and inside us. Brings a lot more understanding to our lives. Thanks Ed.

  6. I really love this post. It’s good to be reminded of the value of our brokenness. Living in a world where the idea of fragility and vulnerability is seldom celebrated it can be easy to think of those parts of ourselves as disadvantages. When the reality is those weaknesses are the means through which we remain dependent upon God, and are often the things that allow room for Him to be active in and through our lives. I think it’s such an important sentiment to be reminded of. Thanks for writing this.
    Micah recently posted..The Power of Diversity: 3 Ways it Makes You BetterMy Profile

    • Micah, thank you so much for coming by and sharing. I think you’re right--we need to celebrate our vulnerability more because it reveals more of God. Thanks again!

  7. Love your honesty. Your dialog with God and hesitation sound so familiar to conversations I’ve had with God. I start out in my flesh- slightly anxious and holding back, knowing that God wants more and also knowing it will pain and struggle.
    But once I release my flesh to God, I am filled with peace. I cannot do any of it and I’m not meant to.
    Why I have the same conversations over and over with God I don’t know. He’s proven time and again that He is more than able to complete what He has in mind for me.
    But so often, He as to break me first before I can realize how much I need Him!

    • The other aspect of this particular scenario is that I’ve learned not to be flippant about saying yes to God. I want to say yes ultimately, but not before counting the cost. It can be quite the tightrope, but I always want to take the thoughtful approach and not end up breaking my commitment or simply forgetting it and moving on. Anyway, I agree with you. I do have weird reservations with God many times and want to argue about things. Doesn’t make sense! He’s faithful and He’s exceedingly good! Thank you, TC.

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