The Your Stories blogs are a place where women can bravely and authentically tell their story as it really is. We invite women to collide with Jesus and share how He is meeting them, transforming them and redeeming them. We hope this “your story” meets you in yours…
In a world that is constantly telling me that I have to be someone else, look like someone else, dress better, make more money, not let people see me struggle, be more successful, have it all together at all times, I found myself hearing a sentence that was so contradictory to what the world constantly says: Your brokenness is beautiful.
I was at a women’s retreat at the most beautiful inlet in British Columbia a couple weeks ago when God starting whispering to my heart on this idea. How refreshing of a concept at calling my brokenness beautiful? Exactly where I am at, through all of my ugliness and bitterness, and anger over the past year, He simply says I want you. I want you without the smile acting like you have all your ducks in a row, I choose you even when you don’t always want to choose me. I am chasing after you through all the broken pieces and I am here to step in and I think you are absolutely radiant through the storm.
My walk with Jesus has been a testament to Him showing up within the broken and empty pieces. I have watched Him over and over again work in the business of restoring weary hearts and filling them with unexplainable joy. Looking back on my life, I could see God working in my life as a little girl but the moment I realized I needed Him was at 18 years old. Just 18 days after my high school graduation a group of my closest friends got into a car accident on a trip to California. Eighteen more days of ICU visits in the Redding, CA hospital to find that one of my best friends was going to pass away from that car accident.
The month following I found myself moving to the University of Arizona to start my freshman year of college. Through meeting new friends, a new roommate, being states away from family and home, I often found myself sitting in my dorm room feeling empty. I was numb. I was broken. I remember studying at a Starbucks one night and as I was beginning to walk back to my dorm room I saw a group of guys with their Bibles open and praying together. I remember saying to the deepest parts of my heart, “I need that.” I knew I needed God. I had no idea how to reach Him, how to pray to Him, how to find friends who would pray with me. Frankly, I was a little freaked out because growing up I always thought Christians were weird, but I knew that was what my soul needed to fill me back up.
Fast forward a couple years and I was hooked. We say something in the Collide family that when a woman collides with Jesus, she will never be the same. I look back and can confidently say tha from that moment on I have not been the same in the most whole way. I ended up transferring to Western Washington University, finding an amazing group of friends who would read the Bible with me, pray with me, encourage me, and love me in a way I have never experienced. I found an amazing college ministry to get involved with, go on trips to Costa Rica with, and join a small group through. I heard of this incredible group of women who put on events for other women to attend; a ministry all about being real, authentic, and sharing how God has met them in their brokenness. I am now on the Collide ministry team to help create the decor for each of the three events a year. My faith became a living part of me in everyday life. I believed because I not only saw Him working but I could feel Him working.
In January of this last year I again got gut wrenching news that another one of my best friends from high school had randomly passed away. She was one of those friends that you know God put in your life to understand what the word ‘soulmate’ meant. With the news of her being gone I simply felt so empty because I felt like my soulmate was gone. She was my person. We had dreams of being maid of honors in future weddings, dreams of watching future kids grow and joked about living streets down from each other because there was a place in our hearts that our husbands wouldn’t fill.
The last six months of this year I found myself falling into the deepest and darkest hole that I have experienced. To the core of me I felt myself filled with anger- a trait I never knew I carried. I was beyond angry with God. How could you take away my best friend five years ago, and now take another? Two of the most beautiful, selfless, contagious, and life-giving people I have met so far and the world seemed a whole lot darker without them.
I remember saying to God that “people say you are good, but I can’t find an ounce of goodness in this situation.” I did the thing I knew best when grieving, which was become numb and isolate myself. I quit speaking to God, quit going to church, quit surrounding myself with people who would speak truth and light into the situation. I sat in the anger because that honestly seemed like the easier thing to do and it simply felt better.
I remember praying a prayer through my desperation to feel joy again. “God show up like you did before. Pick up all my broken pieces and make them into something even more beautiful.” I clung onto the truths I knew about Him. He is the same today as He is tomorrow. He is the same through the grieving of my first friend’s death as He will be in this grieving process. I allowed Him to bring people into my lives that would speak wisdom and provide a space to heal. I finally had a freeing moment where I realized I had been so angry at Him that I forgot that He is on my team, and wanting good for me.
The truth of it all is He is good and He is with us in every moment. How refreshing is it that we have a Father that doesn’t shy away from our mess, but wants us to trust Him to fully enter in and bring us healing? I will admit, even as I’m writing this, I want to go back and delete some of my words because I feel too embarrassed by my messy story. I fall into the trap of wanting to make it look like I have all of my life together. What I have learned through all the mountains and valleys though is that He wants to be with us through it all and wants to love us completely without any restraints. He looks at our brokenness and that doesn’t stop Him. You don’t even have to inch your leg one step to get closer, He is already waiting with His hand held out. I challenge you to be authentic and real with God in your challenges. Whether they seem big or small, say the simple prayer to allow Him to meet you exactly where you are. Open up the door to your house with dirty dishes in the sink, dog hair in clumps on the floor, and laundry piled up on the couch. Allow Him into the places that hurt. He understands more than anyone else the depths of what pain feels like. I promise you He will delight in stepping through the door and sitting with you through the all the chaos.