Break Me

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photo credit: Harper Green

Break Me

Here’s the thing: when I’m heartsick, my soul is safe. My faith is secure because God’s promises are certain. Even when I’m alone, jaw clenched, and I have a death grip on my steering wheel. Even when little-boy fingerprints on my car’s gray interior cut through me.

In my season of shattered promises, God kept his promises. Always. Every time.

My journey, however unwelcome, taught me to trust God to redeem my traumas, past and present, for my good and his glory. He continues to redeem through a world of written words where I have lived and played and danced since I was a girl, through the Samaritans who speak love to me, and through a community who holds me when all I can stomach is silence.

Words are powerful. A single sentence has the capacity to heal.

As I immerse myself in words that matter, I’m learning that knowledge and wisdom are merely friends from the same neighborhood. Before I chose the broken path, I possessed what some folks might consider to be a lot of knowledge. I’m a professor, so I’m a learner by trade.

However, my knowledge didn’t help a whole lot when my legal nightmare began. I’m unsure if it’s ever helped as much as I expected as a wide-eyed, spitfire of a graduate student with big ideas and bigger dreams. I devoured books while only tasting on occasion the Book that feeds.

Today I chase nourishment by chasing God’s wisdom, which doesn’t show itself as transparently in Moby Dick or The Great Gatsby. Even my beloved Emily Dickinson can only reveal so much eternal wisdom through her poetry.

I didn’t know I was missing the wisdom chip until I needed wisdom, desperately, and I couldn’t manifest or muster it on my own. I couldn’t crave Godly wisdom–and the soul-sweet freedom it brings–until I knew that wisdom’s breath was absent from my brain and heart. Until I knew for sure that I needed it. Until I was broken.

I’m only beginning to learn about brokenness.

As a survivor of domestic violence, the prospect of being broken isn’t readily appealing. We who long for a single day that doesn’t involve walking on egg shells in high heels know that broken is the enemy. Broken is what we already are and what we strive to avoid at any cost.

Broken barks at us like a dirty dog that won’t stop. Broken taunts and guarantees and is most dangerous when it barks at our spirits–when it bullies past our bodies and reaches our internal fibers. Our physical shells are already compromised; our fibers are already threadbare.

So why, for the love of God and dark chocolate and everything holy, would I want to absorb more brokenness?

Because the only way to save my life is to break it. The only way I can live is to be broken. Continually. Purposefully. Broken.

When I write about brokenness, I’m not writing about black eyes or bruised cheeks or broken bones. My broken is a place of surrender. My broken doesn’t tear down; it opens up in order to build up. My broken casts a merciful light on my greatest need, God, and gives me the strength I need to stand.

What God has shown me about brokenness so far: I’m not called to be a doormat, robot, or fool. To submit does not mean to succumb to abuse. Spiritual submission isn’t about the lowest common denominator; it’s about the One whom we can trust with our willingness to follow him no matter what.

Brokenness is rest, life, hope, unexpected opportunity. Brokenness is good.

In my “Break Me” blogs, I show you how God is changing my life by breaking it. I may not be able to change my circumstances, and these circumstances look bleak when I’m not peering through a lens of eternal hope, but I can still surrender.

I can invite God to break me and rebuild me into someone new.