not without value
not impossible to heal from
a place of growth
a place for new beginnings
These are some of the words we used during an exercise to describe brokenness at our Collide Team Retreat several months ago. I love how our words start out negative but begin to show hope. Isn’t brokenness like that? In the beginning, we feel stuck in our circumstances, but after time, maybe a lot of time, we gain strength, we begin to heal and we begin to see that maybe, there was a purpose for our brokenness; maybe some good can come from our brokenness and we will emerge stronger.
While thinking about what it means to be broken I cannot help but think about a literal break my body recently endured. Back in February, I fell while running, dislocated my elbow and fractured my radial head. It HURT!!! For the first few days, I felt helplessly stuck. There were so many things I could not do and I was forced to do the one thing I absolutely hate to do – ask for help.
With the pain and severely limited range of motion, it was difficult to imagine my arm would ever feel normal again. Other parts of my body were affected as they had to temporarily compensate for the loss of one of its members. I had a long road ahead of me. Passivity was not an option; I had to show up for physical therapy, do the painful exercises, endure the setbacks and listen to the advice of my trusted physician. It was hard work and there were many days I just wanted to crawl back into bed.
My arm is healed now; I can see the evidence when I look at my x-ray and see the mended bone, but I am not the same. I still have pain which my doctor says is not likely to ever completely go away. There are things I used to be able to do without much thought which have now become difficult. I don’t trust my arm to support my body weight and I have irrational fears of falling.
Those are some of my continued frustrations but there have been surprising victories as well. The inability to exercise for a time forced me to confront some of my body image issues while discovering different forms of exercise helped strengthen muscles I hadn’t been using. God has reminded me that He has placed some amazing people in my life and I’m getting better at asking them for help when I need it.
I realize my broken arm is sort of a trivial thing compared to some of the incredibly difficult situations life throws at us, but sometimes I need that kind of tangible illustration to remind me how God works in our lives. Brokenness is different for each of us but the realities are the same.
Brokenness is painful and hard and crushing and sometimes feels unbearable, but brokenness does not have to be forever. The pain may never cease completely and we may never heal back to the way we were before. but that’s okay. In fact, that’s a good thing. We will learn valuable lessons from our pain, find strength we didn’t know we had, and grow in ways we didn’t think we could.
Wherever you are in your healing process, I hope you won’t be passive. I hope you will show up for life, do the hard work, endure the setbacks, discover the people in your life you can rely on, and learn to trust our Heavenly Father, the Great Physician. I pray you will let Him hold you and whisper softly in your ear as He guides you back to wholeness. Believe Jesus when he proclaims:
“The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free.” (Luke 17:18)