Want to Know How I’m Broken? {The Grove: Healing}

She made a beeline for me.

The “Amen” was barely off my lips at the end of the service before she marched right down the center aisle, focused, determined.

“Aunt Amy, do you want to know how I’m broken?”

What? You were listening to my sermon? You, who look like you’re not paying attention? You, only 6 years old, already identifying as broken and in need of healing?

But the truth is we’re all broken and in need of healing.

I’d been asked to preach on healing after the head pastor shared about Mary Magdalene. In preparation he’d talked with me about how great it was Mary Magdelene and others experienced healing from extreme situations and how folks in extreme situations find such hope in Jesus.

They do, of course they do. This week we’ve heard stories that might fall into those categories. But do you see the lie we can all succumb to? The way the Accuser wants us to say, “healing is for them, for the extreme cases, I don’t need it. I’ll hide my brokenness.”

The Accuser’s also tricked us into being more comfortable talking about healing in relationship to bodies. We’re OK talking about broken bones, illnesses, and diseases.

Here is the good news of the gospel: Our God is a God who heals. He heals bodies and hearts and relationships and self-images and lost dreams and stolen innocence and lies believed too long and sins done to us and sins committed by us and faulty thought patterns and teams and marriages and organizations. He heals again and again. He loves us and wants to heal us and restore us and in his magnificence, even use our brokenness.

And here’s the confusing part of the gospel: He doesn’t always heal in the way we’d like in this life time.

****

Let’s unpack brokenness a bit and see how brokenness and healing are sprinkled throughout the Bible.

Broken Individuals –Naomi through death, Moses through exhausted over-working, Noah through getting drunk and being seen naked by his son.

Broken Relationships—Esau and Jacob through lies and betrayal. Hagar and Sarah, through infertility and jealousy.

Brokenness in smaller systems. Joseph and his brothers. Judas and the other 11 disciple

Brokenness in larger systems (i.e. cities, ethnic and racial groups, religions, and countries) – Jonah being sent to Nineveh, The prophets (both major and minor) over and over calling the people of Israel back to God, look at the examples Jesus used in his parables – the Good Samaritan is truly radical!

OK, so being broken isn’t so unique. Rhetorical question time. Is all brokenness obvious?

While God doesn’t rank all brokenness and longs to heal and address any level, the reality is there is a range. All of which can be brought to God for growth, healing and restoration.

You know it and I know it, we are “purdifying experts” – we cross-cultural workers have become experts at hiding our brokenness and making it look all pretty. Understandably! Out of shame, out of not knowing what to do with it, or exhaustion over dealing with it. Or assuming because “it” (whatever it may be) happened a long time ago and no one knows. Out of what it may cost us in the eyes of our organizations, teammates, and supporters.

Brokenness was not supposed to be our story … and though truly unbearable at times, it’s not our permanent state! Can I get an amen?! While our ultimate healing will come to fruition in heaven our hope isn’t only for “later,” we also have hope now. This is the “already/not yet” of brokenness and healing.

There are no “three easy steps to healing.” I can, however, offer you four different ways God brings healing:

  1. Prayer – First and foremost pray for healing and get others to pray for and with you. It’s scary and exhausting to have to navigate medical systems in a foreign country when you or a loved one are sick or hurt. It’s scary and exhausting to do it in your own country. But whether we need physical, emotional, spiritual or relational healing, pray. Remember the woman with the chronic bleeding who had spent all her money and in desperation touched Jesus. He healed her.
  1. Friends – Find good, safe people to both share your burden with and possibly receive counsel. Think of Job and his friends during the first week (before they blew it by opening their mouths!). They were a source of comfort even though they couldn’t remove his suffering, they could bear it with him. You may have had people share secrets. And experienced relief and the beginning of healing in the sharing.

I hope you’ve seen here at Velvet Ashes some of your burdens have been lifted and healing has begun as we’ve looked at shame, doubt, grief, singleness, marriage, parenting, anger, valleys, fear, status, and expectations. Knowing you CAN share with someone (not all sharing goes on here, often this place is a catalyst).

  1. Information/ Education – At times healing comes through information and education. Maybe you learn a new parenting technique allowing you and your spouse to heal in that area of your marriage as you no longer fight. Maybe you read a book like Changes that Heal by Henry Cloud or Not Marked by Mary DeMuth and healing starts to come through the written word. We see examples of information and education when Jesus explained parables to his disciples or Jethro came to his son-in-law Moses and explained the way he was functioning was going to lead to burn out and helped him set up a better system.
  1. Outside or Expert help — Sometimes God uses outside experts just as doctors, nurses, cultural experts, counselors and those trained in Peacemakers to bring healing. King David needed the insight of Nathan to get him on the right path, you may need someone too.

I wish I could wave a wand over you and viola! You’re healed. Unfortunately healing doesn’t often happen all at once and is more like pealing an onion. Just because there are more layers, doesn’t mean you haven’t done your part or you aren’t healing. If something you thought you’d dealt with comes up again, it might help to see it as God’s timing for more lessons instead of thinking you didn’t get it. You did!

***

“Aunt Amy, do you want to know how I’m broken?”

This was serious and I was honored, “I do, how are you broken?”

“I’m broken because I’ve lost three of my grandparents. Both my grandpas are dead and one of my grandmas. I only have Grandma left alive. And I’m broken.”

You know what, she is broken because of this loss. What I love about the truth coming from her is the validation of the common ways we can be broken and need healing.

***

On topics like these, it is good to pause and listen to the Spirit.

 

Is there an areas of longed for healing you are feeling nudged about? What might next steps be? What healing have you experienced and today are reminded of and grateful for?

*****

This is what we call The Grove.  It’s where we all gather to share our thoughts, our words, and our art on our weekly prompt.  So join us in the comments.  Show us your art work by adding an image. And link up your own blog posts on this week’s prompt.  Click here for details and instructions.


Photo Credit : Unsplash

17 Comments

  1. Paula Robb November 6, 2014

    Thanks for sharing, Amy!  That was the best thing I think you’ve ever written for us–for everybody–to know.  We ARE all broken and need to be reminded that it’s pretty normal for us still on this earth.  Oh, how we all need the Father’s healing touch!  And oh, how much He wants to give it to us–in His time!  I hope this touches many, many hearts this week.  Thanks again.

    1. Amy Young November 7, 2014

      Oh Paula, thanks. I’m hoping that a slow revolution will start where the language of healing and brokenness is for all and not just some.

  2. Jennifer November 7, 2014

    Broken – Restored. Hurt – Healed. Sorrow – Joy. Alone – Loved. One thing the challenges and pain of the last couple of years have taught me is that sometimes it seems possible to be in both of these opposite positions at the same time, caught in the tension between them, and deeply aware of them both. Aware of both being broken and restored. Aware of being both hurt and healed. Aware of both sorrow and joy. Aware of being both deeply alone and loved. This in-betweenness can be a deeply challenging place. If someone asks me how I am… just how do I respond? When I am deeply aware both of the hurt and pain, which can make it a challenge to keep going at times, to do anything at all, and of the deep reality of what God has done and is doing. I want to deny neither one. Both are part of who I am. Both are part of where I am at. I have lived so long taking just one day at a time, one step at a time, which ends up being made up of steps forward and steps back, and much time of feeling like giving up, but somehow making the choice to take just one step, or do just one thing, and living in the midst of the hope that one day someone will actually let me tell the story of the last few years, both the brokenness and the restoration, the hurt and the healing, the sorrow and the joy, the aloneness and the love. It simply is my story and I stand in the middle of it. I simply pray for the strength to continue to take one small step at a time and to thank God for the reality of what he has already done

    1. Amy Young November 7, 2014

      “it seems possible to be in both of these opposite positions at the same time,”

      You’ve taken a page out of my play book, Jennifer :)! I believe we are far more complex and are capable of being at different points at one time. And that in this paradoxical state, one side doesn’t cancel the other side out … instead it informs it. Thanks for rounding out these thoughts for us!!

      1. Jennifer November 7, 2014

        Amy, Thank you! It is simply the reality which I live in the middle of.  The reality of the last few weeks for me have simply worked to confirm the truth of this for me. Seeing it clearly like that both helps me to understand what simply failed to make sense, and yet is challenging to communicate to other people effectively. I think it is very true and deeply challenging. Especially when effective communication (in appropriate contexts) does require talking about the reality of both sides, if misunderstandings are not to happen. I have had people either overwhelmed by the challenge where I might be at because they have no idea of the “good” for what of a better word which is there at the same time. OR convinced when I mention something positive that all the “challenges” have been resolved and it is all “good” now. In fact neither is true. Life and our experience is far more complex than that. I am coming to believe that it is as we accept the reality of this, that we will begin to be able to more effectively help and support each other, and neither run away from the challenges nor deny the healing which is coming at the same time.

         

  3. Danielle Wheeler November 7, 2014

    Today the kids’ Bible story was about Naaman.  It shows Naaman stomping off after Elisha told him to go wash.  He was so mad that healing didn’t happen the way HE had envisioned it.  It was much more humbling and not voila moment he had anticipated.

    Funny how you can see yourself in a grumpy cartoon character covered in boils stomping off to the river…

    Thanks for your beautiful wisdom here, Amy.

    1. Amy Young November 7, 2014

      Oh Danielle 🙂 … even as I read your comment, I can see how often I stomp off. :).

    2. Amy Young November 7, 2014

      And I meant to add … I bet it was a lively discussion with your kids! I love kids insights on these stories and lessons!

  4. a gurl November 7, 2014

    i was once a good gurl. in the sense that if i prayed enough, read enough, did enough and was enough like other “christian women” i would be good enough. i have had both the extreme broken and the good gurl broken. i used my good gurl to cover up the deep pain. i have walked both sides of extreme healing to extreme good. i am currently getting outside help to find the balance between the two. i have found in brokeness an utter dependence on God. it is not easy. it is uncomfortable. i am a recovering fundamentalist. a healing gurl/woman. this series has been thought provoking and challenging. in the healing i have found that i don’t have to wear my dysfunction as a banner. what i use it for instead is to help others. to join in their mess. to walk beside. to love. to be still with other women. to speak truth that God still loves us even when x, y, z happens. and honestly the storm i survived as a child will not be stilled until that final day when i come home to heaven. i have accepted it. there are good days and bad days and through it all when i am sucker punched by a trigger i look up. and God sees, knows and loves me when i hurl the angry, hurting howls of the past. i run to Him. throughout the day. a constant contact. i use scripture to guide and rest in promises. He is taking the ashes and making them beautiful for Him. the direction He is taking me has taken me by suprise. but i will wait. i will move and live with in His comfort. broken is beautiful. we who take on broken are a “you are braver than brave”. i have that tattooed on my chest next to a bird cage with no doors that has burst open with 3 birds flying free on my right shoulder. on my back is part of Psalm 91:4 He will cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you will find refuge: His faithfulness will be your shield…He has made me brave in the brokeness…

     

    1. Amy Young November 9, 2014

      A gurl 🙂 … ah yes, the need for healing can at all points on the spectrum. I don’t know if you have heard of “Grace for the good girl” by Emily P. Freeman. Part of your experience reminded me of that book. And I love the idea of  being brave in our brokenness.

  5. Jan in Mexico November 7, 2014

    Thanks for this beautifully written article! I have found in the especially hard time it helps to read the Psalms, especially Psalm 51, which David wrote after he was broken. It encourages me so much to see how he was called “a man after God’s own heart.”  Also, to study Hebrews 11, the great hall of faith, each person there! It encourages me to see those people and how the Lord used them in the midst of, despite of, and because of their brokenness.

    1. Jennifer November 7, 2014

      Jan,

      I really like your recognition that our brokenness, which is a reality in our lives, does not stop God from using us, as we can see so clearly in the scriptures when we pay attention to what it is saying. I think I would probably go a step further than you did. I think it is not necessarily a question of God just using us despite our brokenness, or even in the midst of our brokenness. Often I think God actually uses us through our brokenness, both in touching and reaching people in the midst of their own brokenness, and in making clear the reality that God is with us, working in and through us, in the midst of our brokenness. It makes clear, often just in small ways which are none the less powerful, that there can be hope even in the midst of brokenness and pain. We are not without hope.

    2. Amy Young November 9, 2014

      Thanks Jan — like you, I am encouraged by the ways in which God doesn’t use brokenness to disqualify it. And in his mercy is able to redeem and use it. Stunning and humbling :)!

  6. Lauren Pinkston November 8, 2014

    Great post, Amy. I really like how you mentioned the fact that sometimes we think we have to have some major life crisis to qualify for a need for healing. It just doesn’t work that way, and I love seeing this community discussing such truths. Love your heart!

  7. Amy Young November 9, 2014

    Thanks Lauren 🙂 … just think, if these truths catch on and spread throughout the world … well, I just get excited! Conversations like these give us hope, eh?!

  8. Brittany November 12, 2014

    I’m seeing very clearly right now how incredibly broken I am.  The effects are blaring at me and everyone in my little family is acutely aware and suffering with me.  What’s harder to see is how God is possibly going to bring healing or when I am going to start feeling put back together again.  That’s my prayer right now.  That God would show my husband and me what we need to do to heal together.  That He would reveal His plan of healing in His time.  And that I would REST in Him and let Him do what He does best — restore and redeem.

What do you think?

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.