Beautifully Broken

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Tears pool at the base of my neck. My nose threatens to drip any second. My checks burn hot and my eyes are puffy.

I’m not feeling beautiful today.

My insides scream for someone to notice the pain I’m going through. See me! Help me!

Instead, I walk around in an invisibility cloak of my own making; my need to appear self-sufficient, like I’ve got it all together, has fooled everyone.

Inside…I’m broken.

Over the past 12 months I have experienced betrayal and rejection in some of my most important relationships. In response I have shut down, shut out and shut up. My emotions are frayed and I can’t seem to handle anymore. Yes, I have seen healing in some of these areas, but there’s still so much that is raw.

I have curled up within myself and just keep making myself tighter, smaller and harder. Don’t let people in, don’t trust again, don’t share what’s going on. Interestingly enough, I wrote a post last week about dealing with rejection in a Biblical manner…I guess I needed to read it better.

I realized today that this behavior has extended to more than those people I’m around. God has received the same treatment.

When I was reading Kelly’s post on her love story with God I felt like someone had smacked me across the face. The sting of reality hit me full-force.

“I couldn’t un-believe His existence; it was the only thing that made sense. But I was as close as I had ever been to hating Him. I didn’t want to have anything to do with Him. I didn’t want Him to use me anymore. I felt manipulated and betrayed and… dead.” – Kelly Langner Sauer

Her words resonated deeply with me; they had an honesty that I wasn’t capable of admitting to myself. I have been a Christian as long as I can remember. I’ve volunteered at church since I was in elementary school and I feel that God has placed a call to ministry on my life.

How do I reconcile all this with what I’m feeling? Like a sliding door, I’ve gone off track…but I don’t know how to get back into right alignment. I’ve tried reading my Bible, I’ve tried praying, I’ve tried worship.

The thing is…God always meets me. Last Sunday during church God spoke to me, “I see you.” Such simple words, but something deep in my heart shattered and the grief sobbed its way out. I stood there, my body shaking with emotion…alone. Even as He was telling me He sees me, it wasn’t enough. I wanted to know that there were others who cared, who looked past my mask to see the ache of loneliness. No one came.

How can I complain about this though? I have spent the last few months intentionally closing myself off. What do I expect? I wrestle with feeling lonely, neglected, forgotten and feeling guilty for being the cause of it. I want to call those who care for me, but feel selfish. I’ve allowed so much time to pass between communications and I don’t want them to feel I’m using them.

I’ve always been the capable one. Any situation or problem could be overcome in time. I prided myself on being efficient, independent and not burdening my friends. Now I ache for companionship, support, encouragement.

Today, it was found in the words of someone I have never met. This message in an email comforted me:

“Just breathe. Let Him love you. You don’t have to respond if you can’t. Our faith isn’t our work anyway. It is His gift.”

Since I was little I’ve heard the lesson of Ephesians 2:8-9

“For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.”

Yet I continued to believe that my service, my righteousness, my devotion was necessary to maintain a proper relationship with God. That gentle reminder that my faith isn’t my work ripped something out of me.

God has broken me. I’m not capable. I’m not self-sufficient. I’m not independent. I’m not strong.

Without Him I’m nothing.

That is beautiful.

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40 thoughts on “Beautifully Broken

  1. Melissa, this IS beauty. How many of us sisters hurt quietly? Afraid of how things appear? He sees you. He sees you as He made you… beautiful… in His image. Love this post.

  2. Fellow traveller… I want to thank you for your raw honesty. What you wrote was absolutely beautiful and it was like I was reading my own life of not so long ago.

    I am new to the world of blogs and just started one a few days ago telling my story of living a lie, shutting down and spending a few years in darkness. Until recently I felt so alone and abandoned from spirit that it terrified me. So believe me bella, I know what it is to shut out life. It’s easily done and mega safe. The only problem with this is that in the process, we shut out joy. For now: Know that the message you recieved is PROFOUND and take it into your heart, truly feeling that you are not alone. We always want more but the little steps can be juicy too.

    After all, all we have is this moment. Much Love xx

    • You are so right in what you said about shutting out joy. When we protect ourselves against feeling, it’s not just the bad feelings we shut out. Thank you for your thoughtful words and this reminder.

  3. oh how i’m sorry for your pain … but i love your words, your truth. it’s been my experience that sometimes God lets us walk these dark valleys so that we’ll find HIM there. of course, He’s always with us, He’s always waiting … but how much more special when WE find Him?!

    thank you for sharing ….

    • That’s so true. Even though I feel so alone…I know that there is a future ahead of me where this will be past and all will be restored. It gives me hope to push through. Thank you for your encouraging words!

  4. Oh Melissa… you are speaking directly into my heart! I’ve been hiding and at the same time wondering why I feel so alone. My best friend who promised to stand by me and never let me down has moved on, and the feeling of betrayal and abandonment has been very difficult to manage.

    Thank you for your honesty, and such a beautiful post.

    • Thank you for sharing this Bridget. It was so hard for me to write this post and, yet, it’s opened doors for others to share their same struggle with this. Praying for you and your own situation.

  5. I was so blessed to start my day by reading this (thank you Bridget for tweeting this link). I’ve been working on coming out of hiding myself and even though it’s so very hard, your words are inspiring and encouraging. And THAT is beautiful!

    • I’m so glad Bridget directed you here. :) I’m praying that just as God’s working in my this area in my life He’ll do the same in yours.

  6. Beautifully written. It’s amazing how we think that we can cut off relationships and keep closing ourselves off to people (even after very real hurt and pain) then expect it won’t affect our relationship with God. Thanks for your honesty and I’m praying you find the strength in Him to reach out to those around you as He’s directing you. It’s not selfish, it’s wisdom…

    • Thanks Jason. You’re right, it is God’s prompting that’s leading me to reach out to others. I need to not allow my fear to get in the way. Thanks for the insight.

  7. Your post was brilliant, you hit the nail on the head, and you were so open and clear in what you wrote. This is fantastic and wonderful and needs to be said!

  8. As someone who is currently very tempted to retreat into myself, to hide…this is exactly what I needed to read. Thank you, as others have said, for being so honest and vulnerable here. It is eye-opening and reassuring to realize that these feelings we have are NOT our own. Reading your words, I thought, “But I’ve felt/I currently feel that way too!” Even through the impersonal medium of the internet, that connection is amazing. It shows us that we are not alone.

    The enemy attacks us in isolation. It’s his most effective ploy: to draw us first away from community and then from connecting with God himself. The battle to stay connected is hard to fight. I know. I’m fighting it right now. But it helps to know that others are fighting for it, too.

    Thank you for sharing!

    • Jessica,
      Thank you for your kind words! It is helpful to know I’m not alone in this and to know that my struggle can encourage others too. You’re so right about isolation. It really is something we need to come against. Our battle is not against flesh and blood, but it’s so difficult to remember that sometimes.

      Thanks again and I’m praying for you in this!

  9. Thank you for this…raw honesty and allowing us to see your true feelings. It helped me to shed some light on an area that I keep pushing away.

    • Thank you for your kind comment. My independence still wants to rear its ugly head sometimes, but God’s still working this out in me.

  10. First, you are so very beautiful. Your heart, in all it’s raw honesty, is absolutely beautiful.
    As I read your post, I found myself nodding along (I’ve tried reading my bible, I’ve tired praying, I’ve tried worship) I have been there.

    I am broken too. Have been for a long time…. but slowly (very slowly) I am beginning to realize that God is in it. He is in my brokenness.

    How I have hated this season, and yet it’s bringing me into a new season of discovering Him in my brokenness.
    After years, I am finally realizing that He was there all along. He is showing me who He is and who HE says I am.
    It wasn’t until I finally stopped trying so hard that my eyes began to open. It’s not about me. It’s simply His grace. His perfect grace.

    He knows your heart. He knows what you’ve gone through. He’s been holding you the whole time. May that thought so overwhelm you. May you be comforted to know that in your brokenness He is there, holding you.
    How He loves the brokenhearted.
    May He reveal that to you too. May He so overwhelm you. May you allow Him into your brokenness.

    Thank you for posting your heart.
    Again, you are so very beautiful.

    • Your words are so kind and really help me to feel like I’m not alone in this. Thank you for the encouragement! I agree with you, may I allow Him into my brokenness.

  11. THAT’S IT… without Him you are nothing… THAT’S the key… It’s taken me years to get that. That’s the beauty… finding that we cannot live our lives without Him. It is all Him and none of us.

    He will come for you. There are no magic words to say.. all there is is need… need Him… He will come…. He loved you first. If you respond it is because HE has pursued. It’s all Him… it really is.

    I found you from Sarah’s!

    • I’m glad you found your way over! Your comment that if I respond it is because He has pursued is so right on. God is always calling us to Him, and all I have to do is respond. Thank you!

  12. Pingback: My God is Faithful « Melissa Brotherton

  13. What a beautiful thing you have done to share your heart like you have! HE does see you and HE does have a plan for you. That IS beautiful!

    Here from Sarah’s beauty link list. :)

    ~Jennifer

  14. I’m visiting from Sarah’s blog…if you’re interested, my beauty post is here: http://onegirl-itjusttakesone.blogspot.com/2010/03/what-is-beauty.html

    Okay…this is possibly going to sound crazy, but you just put a lot of my heart (and the past almost-year of my life) into words. I literally sat here reading these words, wanting to reach out and touch the screen.

    I understand. Yet I don’t because every story is different.

    But I know sorrow and pain and brokenness to the point where you don’t want to go on. About a year ago, I lost everything (everyone) that I held so dear to my heart. The ones that were never supposed to leave…left. And I haven’t been the same since. I don’t trust or love anymore. Not the way I’m supposed to, anyway. God is healing and has carried me through, but I’m still broken.

    Thanks for this post and reminding me that I’m not alone facing these kinds of things.

  15. Beautiful post. Thank you for sharing, and being so honest. I know many of us have felt these same things, and not had the courage or even an outlet to speak them. But God always brings something beautiful out of our trials when we surrender to Him. And I see that He already has with you.

  16. I have been in this place… in fact no too long ago. There is beauty in brokeness… as God does His refining work. And there is such an amazing opportunity to see beauty as you reach out and ask for help, and God’s beautiful light shines and His people are able to lift one another up.

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