Recently, I shared with you a little about a heartbreaking season I have walked through that lasted several years, and how my marriage was completely broken. The unexpected gifts of brokenness are what I have learned from this season in my life, and the fruit that has come from being pruned.
Romans 5:3-5 (NIV)
3 We also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
I’m going to be honest, Romans 5:3-5 is one of those verses that I liked to skip over. I mean, who wants to glory in their suffering? In fact, who wants even to think about suffering. Suffering is scary! It’s not something anyone would willfully sign up for, except Jesus, who died on the cross willfully for our sins. I don’t want to suffer. However, after going through a very difficult season where every area of my life felt like it was being tested, and I did suffer, I now see something different in this passage. Don’t get me wrong; I don’t want ever to walk through that same wilderness again, but what God has taught me through barren seasons I don’t think I could have learned any other way. What God has done in my heart to transform me into an entirely different person wouldn’t have happened otherwise There are unexpected gifts that only brokenness can bring.
The Unexpected Gifts of Brokenness:
- I needed to be sifted. There were things in my life, attitudes, mindsets, and past experiences that needed to be shaken.
- I have an empathy and a heart for others, who are going through difficult seasons that I didn’t before.
- I understand how debilitating depression truly is. I am embarrassed to say that before I experienced it myself, I didn’t understand the depths of sadness and hopelessness that one could experience.
- I know what it is like for my broken heart to be healed, restored, and redeemed by the lover of my soul and the Creator of the universe. My worshop, prayer, and praise are entirely different. It’s one thing to read Scripture; it’s another to experience miracles that could have only been done by God.
- I have experienced my Savior reaching down into the miry clay and setting my feet on a firm place. I know that without him, I would still be in a pit. Psalm 40:2 (NIV) He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.
- Idols in my life were exposed. Before I was broken, my husband was an idol in my life. Now, I understand that he is human, and he will make mistakes that will hurt and disappoint me. He is not the source of my joy or the sustainer of my soul. I love him with all of my heart, but God is first in my life, and I no longer have unrealistic expectations of him.
- I appreciate my family so much more and truly treasure our time together. There were years during our worst season that I was in ‘survival mode’ and frankly I don’t remember a lot. As sad as that reality is to me, it causes me to cherish every moment now because our marriage almost didn’t make it, our kids almost didn’t have their family together, and baby Jordan and this baby that we are expecting would have never been born. That in itself is enough to make me savor every moment.
- Some of the things that I feared the most in my life happened, and I survived. Those things no longer have power over my mind. Yes, they were very hurtful, and my heart was broken into a million pieces. However, I have also been healed. Therefore I no longer walk in fear of ‘what if.’
- I used to be a proud woman. I thought I had it all together. I thought my marriage was perfect. I thought if I just worked harder or prayed more then life would be good. The problem here was in all the “I’s.” In reality, I am a hot mess without God. In my strength, I can do nothing of real value. I need him every moment of every day to make it through this life. Brokenness brings humility, and humility caused me to recognize my human limitations and God’s sovereign power in my life.
- I learned that not every friend could handle all of my brokenness and pain for the long haul. My season lasted for several years and not every friend was there for me. It’s okay, they were never meant to carry my burdens, only God is capable of doing so. Therefore, my expectations have changed in my relationships. My friends will never fulfill all of my needs, nor are they equipped to carry all of my burdens. At the same time, I am so very thankful for every friend who sowed into my life, no matter how great or small. Now, I have an even greater empathy for people who are going through long difficult seasons.
- My security is no longer in what I can achieve, my husband, my children, worldly possessions, etc. My insecurities are no longer driven by the actions of others. Instead, I am enough, and God created me with eternal Kingdom purpose. My security is in Him. Psalm 139:14-15 (NIV) I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
Please know, that I recognize if you are right smack dab in a season of brokenness and heartbreak this probably won’t make you feel better one bit. The gifts I received from my brokenness were not gifts I was seeking in my life. I wasn’t asking God to humble me, sift me, or give me empathy for others through brokenness. However, when I look back, I am eternally grateful for the changes that have occurred in my heart. I am so thankful that I KNOW God as my husband, father, friend, and Savior. I am so grateful that what the enemy intended to destroy my life, God is using for my good. My prayer is that you will hear HOPE; hope to keep believing for your season to change, hope to keep praying and pressing through each day despite the pain, hope to stand strong when the enemy whispers in your ear that God is not listening. No season lasts forever. No storm is never ending. There is hope on the other side!
1 Peter 5:10 (NIV)
And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.