Broken. One of those words that doesn’t bring a lot of joy. Who wants to be broken?
Broken things. Broken bones. Broken relationships. Broken vows. Broken homes. Broken hearts.
I assume we are all on the same page and don’t want that word to describe much, if anything, in our lives. In fact, the only phrase with broken in it that I can think of ever wanting to use is “broken fever.”
For a while, I’ve tried to figure out a different word to describe my family other than broken. Initially I thought it was just too negative. I started trying out different descriptive words. Wounded. Bruised. Hurting. Anything but broken.
I wanted to stand up and holler, “We are not broken!”
But you know what? I believe we are. And I’m realizing that that’s OK. We are broken but healing. God,the Great Physician, is fixing up all the broken parts.
A couple of things have brought me to this conclusion. The first was reading this verse:
“But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies” (2 Cor. 4:7-10).
After reading that verse, I looked up the meaning of “jars of clay.” One of the definitions said that the jars of clay would have brought to mind a common household jar—probably inexpensive and fairly easy to break. It would probably have cracks and chips from being well used.
There is so much to get from this verse, but the idea that struck me was that the brokenness of the jar of clay allows what’s inside to be seen—to flow out.
The brokenness of our lives allows God to shine through us. Oh my goodness, that sounds like some really syrupy sweet quote to post on Facebook. Unfortunately for all of us, I can’t think of a better way to say it.
I just know that when everything in my world went kablooey, God was the only explanation for why I didn’t personally go kablooey. It was abundantly clear that the strength I had to move forward came from God and God alone—“the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.”
One of my first fears following the shattering of my marriage was that my testimony was toast. I kept thinking of all the people who would think we were just absolute frauds. I felt like a fraud. Or maybe I should say I felt like I’d been defrauded. Everyone, including me, thought we had a great marriage. How could I speak about my relationship with God if everyone thought I hadn’t been honest about my relationship with my husband?
But God showed me my testimony wasn’t about what I could or couldn’t do. My testimony is what God has done and is still doing in my life.
And He worked mightily in those days following the shattering. He loved me and my children through our church, our homeschool community, our neighbors and even the city where my husband had worked. God provided for us in amazing ways. He gave us peace and even joy in the midst of our pain and breaking. It was Him, all Him.
Just as light shows through or water pours out of cracks in a broken pot, Jesus shows through our brokenness.