I was broken but I am not broke.
I am stronger then I have ever been before.
One of the biggest lessons I have learnt the last several years is although my life and spirit were once broken, that does not and never did disqualify me.
I felt that my failures had disqualified me from having a voice or opinion that was to be valued and respected. I have had many people look up to me for leadership and on how to live a strong, God centred life. To be a wife that was to be honoured and revered, a mother who raised perfect, God fearing children. I stood on stages as an example but what example was I when my 'perfect' life was crumbling beneath me.
I had taken myself out of the running because I didn’t think I had a voice. I believed I couldn't speak wisdom because I had failed. I didn’t think my opinion was wanted or valued because look where it had brought me so far… to brokenness. So, I conceded my run, and I chose to be happy being the diminished person I believed I was. I was determined to put my strength and effort into becoming whole again – mind, body and spirit, and to being a consistent and loving mom. I figured there were others around me who were far more qualified to be heard, and their wisdom and track records were superior to my own.
I’m not really sure what moment I noticed I actually might have something of value to add to the conversation. It might have been when someone unknowingly made a blanket statement about marriage and I thought, wait, that’s not everyone’s story. It could have been when people were talking about a family unit as a whole and the thought, again, that’s not my story. It could have been when a newly single mom, whose world had just come crashing down came to me crying, broken and not sure what to do. I could offer wisdom and insight into her situation because I was just a few steps ahead of where she was right then.
I have value. I have wisdom. More wisdom, in fact, then I had before. I understood the story from a different perspective. A perspective that is only earned after you’ve personally walked down that road. I understood that no story or life is perfect. We all walk our own roads and have our own challenges, and we can’t judge another’s decisions because we simply really don’t know their circumstance.
I very recently met a new friend who told me about a Japanese art called Kintsukuroi. This is where they repair and mend broken pottery by filling in the cracks with gold or silver. They do this with the understanding that the piece, having suffered damage, now had a history that made it more beautiful and valuable. (See picture below)
What a brilliant picture this is. Our brokenness doesn’t decrease our value. Once fixed and mended, with hard work and diligence it becomes stronger and more valuable then before.
It has been hard work to refuse to shrink back and hide my past and my struggles. I will wear my past brokenness proudly, and use the experience to help serve a hurting and dying world, desperate for wisdom on how to navigate what we label as failures, and who want to know there is hope. They need to hear from someone who knows where they are on the journey and can testify that life will be ok, that they will be ok, that they will be better then ok.
The future looks bright!