One thing that has surprised Tonya and I as we’ve walked through our grief during the last 2 months is how easily others are willing to share their own sorrows with us. Many people we know (friends, patients) and many total strangers seem very comfortable pouring out their pains to us in all kinds of settings (doctor’s office, grocery store, ball field).
We’ve heard story after story of women losing children, mostly through miscarriage, but sometimes older children too. I (Craig) have been struck by how painful a loss this can be, even decades later, having listened to patients recalling stillbirths from thirty or more years ago that they still remember daily. This is especially surprising in light of the fact that I think the general population doesn’t regard the pain of miscarriage to be very great. Many view it as something that a lot of women experience and, therefore, just a part of womanhood. It has challenged me to treat miscarriage as a very serious loss, even of those children that are too early to be seen or felt by the mommy.
I’ve probably had more real, deep ministry with patients in the last two months than I’ve had in the last two years combined.
(Uh oh, I feel a sermon coming”¦J)
I think that the reason our journey with Anastasha has lead to so many people sharing their pain with us is because of our brokenness. We’re broken. There’s no hiding that. People see it in us, and I think are attracted to it because they are also broken. And guess what?
So are you.
Some of you know that all too well. You don’t need me to remind you that you are broken. You don’t hide the fact, and others know it too. I encourage you that this is a healthy place to be, because that is your true condition.
There are others of you that disagree. You’ve got it all together, or so you think. You don’t need God or anyone else. Maybe you aren’t walking through deep places of pain at the moment (although someday you will), and things seem to be going your way. I think this is a dangerous place to be, one that may ultimately lead to your destruction, both now and in the life to come.
But I suspect most of you are somewhere between the two. You know deep down that you are broken. You feel like a failure or maybe a hypocrite. Your marriage stinks; your job stinks; you’re a lousy parent or friend. You think if anyone knew the true “you”, they wouldn’t love you or even like you. So you hide it”¦from others, from God, and maybe from yourself. You might be using your money, your career, your family, your possessions, or even your religiosity as a guise.
My encouragement to you is to STOP. Stop living a lie. Stop pretending. See yourself for the condition you are really in ”“ broken and in need of “fixin” (as any good Texan would say). It’s okay to let others see it too. Then and ONLY then can you allow the Healer to fix your brokenness. Run to Him, as we have.
“The Lord is close to the broken hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit” Psalm 34:18
The fact that many don’t believe or acknowledge that fact is really the foundation of pride. We pretend. We act like we have it all together. We work harder when the going gets tough. And when we hurt or screw up, nobody knows except us.
But your Father does.
Believe it or not, I firmly believe that the Lord LOVES our brokenness. I think He even DESIRES it. And that is because it is only in that place where we see our great need for Him. If we don’t know we are broken, we don’t acknowledge our need for help.
“A man’s pride brings him low, but a man of lowly spirit gains honor.” Proverbs 16:18
The gospel (the word literally means “good news”) is that there is a Fixer named Jesus. I need Him desperately. My whole family needs Him desperately. And so do you. And not just to fix our hurts and pains that come from this life, but to save us from Hell. Only He can do that. He’s always loved messed up people. Even a cursory look through Scripture demonstrates that – swindlers, prostitutes, sailors, adulterers, liars – these were the people He chose to hang out with and change the world forever through. And the sooner you and I admit that we don’t have it all together, the sooner He can bring you and I to wholeness.
Brokenness is an awesome and terrible place to be. Terrible because it usually comes only through trials and pain. Awesome because it is probably the only time we are viewing ourselves and God in the right perspective. We remember all too well feeling this way almost a decade ago when Ariana had leukemia. Being broken was beautiful to us then, and it is again now. I only wish it didn’t take earthly tragedy to lead us here again. One of my prayers is that we will be “given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal bodies.” (2 Cor 4:11) – that as we die to ourselves, Christ would be glorified in us. And we pray for each of you that you would acknowledge the true state of your condition and come to know the Savior intimately as you put your trust and hope in Him.
Craig and Tonya
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.