If you've kept up with my blog posts this month, then you're familiar with the topic: we are journeying through Honest & Unfiltered: 31 Days of Tough Stuff! We're getting comfortable with being uncomfortable, and that's a good thing. I am a lover of people, a lover of Christ, and am beginning to see how He has worked out so many situations for my good.
So many situations that I thought were going to be the end-all-be-all. Today, we're talking about hard things. Hope in dark places. One of my favorite
I've been in some dark places in my short 22 years, though not nearly as traumatic or awful as others have experienced. However, we're not here to play the complaining olympics: we're here to chat. We're here to face hard things. So come on in. You are invited here. Pull up a chair, grab your favorite beverage, and let's have honest conversations about our brokenness.
Hope is believing that better things are ahead when we can't see anything but our overwhelming situations.
It is believing that brokenness has a purpose, that He will make our brokenness into beauty.
There is beauty in being transparent. There is a certain brand of strength in admitting you're broken and bruised and sometimes, you hurt. Sometimes, you don't see how your purpose has the ability to help others.
I was recently asked by a dear friend, "If someone asked you what your story was, how would you explain it?"
The question floored me. How could I explain the beauty and pain of God redeeming broken and hopeless situations?All of this to say, this is my story. My broken and bruised and healing and learning how to hope again story. This is my heart on a page, God redeeming my situations for His glory, story.
The devil is a liar, but he has a way of making his lies sound convincing. When you begin to believe and speak those lies over yourself, you put your identity into that. You believe you are the very thing the enemy says you are.
Unworthy. Unlovable. Broken. Ugly. Desperate. Stupid. Screw up. Mistake. You're not good enough. You'll never be good enough. Why are you even trying when you know you're just gonna mess it up again? No one needs you here. No one loves you. You have nothing to look forward to. This misery? This is it. Embrace it.
When we hear lies long enough and neglect to replace them with the truth we can find in His word, we begin to believe it. We internalize it. We say the same things to ourselves, over and over and over again until we have lost our identity in the lies of the enemy.
I was in sixth grade when this started to happen to me. I heard those lies from the enemy and internalized them: I'm not good enough. I'm ugly. I'm worthless. I'm broken and stupid and a mistake. Nobody wants me. Nobody needs me. Nobody loves me.
I was depressed. I was lonely. I had a hard time getting out of bed. I withdrew and pushed away my family. I harmed myself: temporary pain was a relief to the continual pain I was experiencing. I had friends that were dealing with the same, but really? I didn't feel like I had a place that I "fit in."
There is hope in dark places, but I sure wasn't seeing it yet.
I was the most hopeless I had ever been: I was caught in the grips of depression and self-harm and thoughts of suicide.
Who wants a screw up like me? I thought.
I stuck through the school year, and summer rolled around. Still depressed. Still believing that I was worthless and unlovable. Still pushing away the very ones that love me most. The people that were safe places. The people that wanted to give me the help and hope that I just couldn't accept. I struck up a deal with God: "If You don't fix this, if You don't show me some sort of solution or get me out of this dark place, I am going to find the way out."
I was going with my family to a conference called Aldersgate. My parents were on staff with this ministry at the time, and we went to this conference every year. It was my first year in the youth portion. I was desperate: for love, for hope, for peace... For the knowledge that I was loved beyond my wildest dreams.
So we went, and I wasn't really expecting much. From the first night, God showed up big and beautifully. That whole weekend, my joy was restored. It literally felt like a thick cloud had disappeared, or a veil was lifted from my eyes. I could see again. I was starting to see His goodness in the broken things, in the ugly things, in the places where I was hurting.
The Lord literally saved my life that year, and has continued to display His goodness throughout the years. I am continuing to see His radical, life-saving love and grace in every facet of my life. I used to think that being broken meant I was unlovable, but it really means that Christ is able to squeeze through the cracked places to heal me to wholeness again.
This poem came from a place of revelation: it's okay to be broken. It's okay to not have it together.
I want to be a broken, but still intact, clay vase. I don’t want to hold all the love God pours in me. I want to be broken. I want to leak out love, so it washes over my heart and just pours into others. I want to be broken so God’s heart will become my heart and HIs eyes will become mine. I don’t want to be a whole vase that’s jealous with love... Because I know a whole vase has to be broken and broken again because life isn’t fair. Life isn’t fair because it kicks you in the gut to knock your dreams out of you then kicks you again as your lungs whisper goodbye to the oxygen your dreams took with you. No. I don’t want to be a whole vase, not yet. But when I am, I long to be stitched with grace and glued with love. And I never want my glue to dry so I can still ooze... out the love of my Savior.
Friends, we are all broken in some ways. We have all had life experiences that shaped us into who we are today.
There is hope in dark places. You are not alone. The body of Christ cannot operate without each other; I encourage you to reach out. Always, always reach out- you never know who needs a fresh dose of hope.
I am praying Ephesians 1:18 (NLT) over you today. "I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called-his holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance."
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