There are moments in my childhood that I know without a doubt broke me as a human being and distanced me from my Creator. Foggy and faded are the other moments that contributed to the fractures and cracks in my soul. As an adult, I am thankful for the foggy, forgetfulness of those moments. There are things I don’t want to remember. And at this time, I’m ok with that.
It’s so easy to break a child. As a mother, I can see how one stern look, one brush off, snub or harsh word can change a child’s entire demeanor, even the glossiness of their eyes change. It’s a quick glimpse into the soul of another and for a split second seeing their exposed brokenness.
As an empath, I can feel the pain washing through them. It breaks me to see someone else breaking. Even the tiniest of chips and cracks. It helps me understand how the abuse and pain I endured as a child day after day, had such a significant impact on me and the infliction upon my soul.
I believe God blessed me with the gift of empathy. Many years spent believing it to be a curse. Not always thinking of it as a gift, but I’ve learned that having the ability to process other peoples feelings, hidden emotions and energy were God’s way of protecting me so many times from the unpredictableness of parents with mental illness. And as an adult, it allowed me to turn my pain into my passion and my hurt into love for others.
Jesus died broken on the cross, tears running down his bloodied, dirt-stained face, for me. For you. And if I were to add up every ounce of pain inflicted upon me as well as my self-inflicted pain over the years, it would never come close to what He felt. This one act is enough to heal the brokenness of every person who believes that He loves them. It took believing and fully understanding this act of love to find my own healing.
The scars on my body will tell you that it took more than half of my life to accept His love and grace. Years of this one life wasted on doubts, lashing out, insecurities, unforgiveness, anger – yet yearning for intimacy, value, meaning, and an abundant life full of purpose. Years now focused on eternity. I don’t want a pretty painted picture of other’s lives. I want the life You have for me.
When our heads are full of doubts, God has left reminders all around us to remind us that beauty, strength, abundance and unlimited bounty can come from brokenness. I see it most closely in nature. When we stop and slow down the unnecessary busy parts of our lives, His work and beauty take center stage.
A dandelion. Once praised as a plentiful source of food, tea, and medicine and viewed as a beautiful and bright flower, now quick to view as unworthy. Every green, manicured lawn wishing for her demise. Yet she still forges on. She knows her worth, even when others don’t. Her bright yellow flower, a reminder of the sun. Opening in the day to soak life in and enjoy her surroundings and closing at night for well-deserved rest. And as her time closes in, her flower dries into a soft, billowy puff of whiteness with the resemblance of a full moon. The stillness and grace as each of her seeds break off gently spilling into the sky like stars, to travel over five miles to begin anew. She breaks, gives, and her life carries on in others.
Seeds planted in the earth must crack and with a forceful burst, break open. Everything basically pours out of those cracks to produce life that in turn will provide nourishment for others lives. It breaks, gives, and others live. It lives and carries on an abundant life of purpose by giving of itself. One tiny emptied out seed can grow and develop into something magnificent.
Nature is God’s reminder to us all.
John 12:23-25 tells us this – Jesus answered them, “the hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Those who love their life lose it, and those who hate their life in this world will keep it for eternal life.”
Paul found it interesting that Jesus illustrated through His words, of a seed losing its life as a seed, to become a fully matured and developed plant. Jesus saw this process as a step to something better, more enduring, future changing and legacy-making. When you lose your old life to Jesus, you enter into eternal life on a path God destined you to be on. What could be more rewarding than at the end of your time, you can look back and say “Jesus, I gave it all, every last piece. I kept not a single broken piece to myself. I’ve planted every last seed into every life I touched”
My life has no meaning and life-giving purpose when I keep the broken pieces to myself, hidden and tucked away. Feeling the exposure, the risk too great but to be denied a place at Your feet is an even greater risk to me. And for that, I bear my brokenness, expose my pain and hurt and give it to anyone in need. A legacy created. A broken soul healed. My true self is ultimately found, through self-sacrifice and giving. A life of abundance begins.