B-R-O-K-E-N!! Have you ever felt broken? Like life really gave you a beating and you just couldn’t get back up? Have you felt that there was no way you would ever be made whole again?
I don’t know about you. But, I definitely have felt that way before and it is not my favorite feeling. It is actually the WORST feeling.
I think that at some point in our life, we will ALL feel broken and hopeless. I don’t say that as some sort of death wish for all of you and I don’t want something bad to happen to you. I just say that because that’s how life is. We can’t escape those breaking moments, no matter how hard we try.
Why? Why do we have to feel broken? Why do we have to go through experiences that bring us down? Why do we have to go through some hard, terrible things?
Although these moments are not something that we would choose to live through, they become the defining moments for our life. It is these moments that make us who we are. You see, there is a quote that explains this perfectly. “In Japan, broken objects are often repaired with gold. The flaw is seen as a unique piece of the object’s history, which adds to its beauty. Consider this when you feel broken.”
I find this quite interesting. Most people, when they brake a glass object, quickly sweep it up and dump it in the trash. That might be the cause of us treating ourselves like trash whenever we are feeling broken… I’m just saying!! But the Japanese have a better tradition that we need to reconsider. They say that flaws are seen as a unique piece of the object’s history.
When I think about my own history, I do think about all the happy moments in my life, the moments that I purposely want to remember. However, I can’t keep out the bad ones. They stick to my story like super glue to an object because they are a part of who I am.
Many years ago, I was a victim to someone else’s brokenness. It in turn left me feeling quite broken and worthless. I’m not even sure that this individual knew that… They kept living on, wrapped up and absorbed in their own brokenness. They didn’t even realize that they had broken me along the way. I’m sure many of you have had similar experiences. Although it is easy to get offended because of it, the truth of the matter is that it was not something meant to destroy. It was just something that happened as a result of someone being broken themselves. When we are broken, we have sharp edges that can potentially hurt others.
I remember that I would cry myself to sleep many nights in a row and pray to a God that I didn’t feel was listening. I felt worthless, hopeless and like trash.
But, He being a loving and perfect God, even a Heavenly Father, was in fact listening. He was there with me every step of the way. He was the Japanese master that recognized that my flaws and broken heart were going to make me unique and beautiful. He turned this part of my life into gold. Instead of hatred and bitterness, a flame of love, forgiveness and hope ignited in my heart. God did not abandon me and He helped me to feel whole again.
There was another time that I felt broken while I was serving my mission in New York City. Missions are supposed to be exciting times and you’re never supposed to have hard times. Or so I thought… As a young woman, far away from her family, experiencing culture shock and not having loved ones to rely on, I found it hard when people would share their horrendous experiences with me. I had not prepared myself for that, thinking that everything was going to be rainbows and butterflies.
My main purpose as a missionary was to invite others to come unto Christ and to love and serve them with all my heart. Loving them and serving them came quite easily to me. I am the type of person that opens my heart quickly to others. I enjoy helping others find joy, love and laughter in their life.
What I wasn’t expecting to feel was the burdens of the people that I served. I didn’t know that I would be witness to the various trials in their lives and that there were rainstorms, dampening the lives of the people that I had grown to love.
Hearing story after story of traumas and broken families and broken people, I was weighed down not knowing how to help them. Because I had opened my heart to them, my heart was also breaking. I was feeling the pains that were written in their hearts. I didn’t have my family or friends to turn to. I felt alone and almost hopeless.
I remember listening to what at the time was my theme song: “Worn” from a group called Tenth Avenue North. The lyrics read, “I’m tired, I’m worn. My heart is heavy. From the work it takes, to keep on breathing. I’ve made mistakes, I’ve let my hopes fail. My soul feels crushed by the weight of this world.” I lived those words. I felt crushed by the weight of the world. I felt tired and worn. I felt like I couldn’t make a difference in the lives of those people who desperately needed hope.
But you know God. He has a plan of his own. He had not forgotten me and He had not forgotten the people that I was there to serve. As I cried out with the pain of a broken heart, my loving God sent me comfort, strength, and peace. That’s when he reminded me of the following words to that song. “But I know that you can give me rest. So I cry out with all that I have left. Let me see redemption win, let me know the struggle ends, that you can mend a heart that’s frail and torn. I want to know the song can rise, from the ashes of broken life and all that’s dead inside can be reborn”.
God was reminding me that he is the mender of broken hearts. That He is the master of turning our brokenness into gold. I was not only able to become whole again, but a lot of the people I served were able to feel that healing power as well.
From just these two simple stories (believe me, there are many more…), I know that my flaws and broken pieces are a part of my unique history. They are my defining moments that shape my character and strengthen my qualities. I have learned more about my God and myself through those moments. I would never take them back, even after all the pain I went through.
When we feel tired and worn and the weight of the world crushing down on us, we need only remember that there is someone who mends broken things and that makes them TRULY BEAUTIFUL. There is someone that listens to what seems to us as unanswered prayers.