Thursday, February 13, 2014

to be WHOLE


Have you ever heard the saying, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me?”  Well, isn’t that just a lie?  There is life and death in words, and they most certainly can leave you feeling more broken and bruised than a couple of twigs and rocks thrown your way.  This world is filled with people and experiences that will leave you feeling much the same, chipping away at your heart and your worth one small injury at a time.
When I was a young girl Jordache jeans were all the rage, and I desperately wanted a pair.  Growing up in a family of 7 didn’t leave much wiggle room for designer clothing, so there was a period of waiting before this longing was fulfilled.  My mom says she remembers the first day I wore those beloved new jeans to school.  She claims that as I was getting ready that morning I confidently declared, “Mom, now that I have these jeans, nobody on the bus will call me fat anymore.”  Decades later, this breaks my heart for two reasons.  First, it is evident that hurtful words had wounded and left their mark.  Second, it is obvious that I was clinging onto false hope that a material possession could fill the newly broken cracks in my heart.  

I still remember those purple Jordache jeans and the hot pink threading woven throughout her seams.  Perhaps something in my young heart felt that the stitching in those jeans would somehow perfectly stitch my life together.  Sometimes we place our hope into things that easily unravel and temporarily place a patch over the empty, broken cracks in our lives.  We use people, possessions, and success to fill these voids.  Sadly, they never do.

Like so many others, I come from a broken home.   I have great memories from my childhood, but I can recall the dysfunction within the home that left a certain chaos within my heart.   I longed for peace, stability and security.   My home life didn’t always provide this.  My parents were married for 24 years, and there were seasons in which my father was very distant and withdrawn.  When I was 11, my parents were on the brink of divorce.    Although much of this season I don’t recall, I learned a lot about my adolescent self years later after coming across an old journal I wrote during this time.  As I read through some of these pages, my heart broke for the little girl I once was.  I sobbed through these entries as I realized that much of my self-worth was wrapped up in my relationship with my father and the health of my home life.  These things became the basis of my identity, worth, and self-esteem.  It also became the source of much of my brokenness.  As a result, I looked to the world to heal and fill these voids.

As an adolescent, my friends became my life.  While there was still brokenness within my home, I was able to disconnect from this and found new worth and security within my peer group.  People and friendships gave me a sense of stability, significance, and helped fill the voids in my wounded heart.  I have very fond memories from this season in my life.  However, once I graduated from high school and moved onto college, I left my hometown and the friends I had in it.  These changes ushered in a new season of instability, insecurity, and a lost sense of identity.  Instead of longing for a pair of jeans to mend my life and stitch it up straight and neat, or finding a new core group of friends, I longed for love.  Unfortunately, I looked for it in all the wrong places, and in all the wrong ways.  I felt that a relationship would fill those bleeding cracks and crevices and suture me up whole and complete.  But, it didn’t.  I still felt broken, empty, and furthermore, lost.  

We are broken, messy people in a broken, messy world.  We put our best faces forward and plaster them on Instagram, Facebook, and other social media sites.  But, underneath the touched-up, edited smiles, and the “feel good” posts and tweets, we all have something in our lives that we wished we could change.  Something we wished was different, never happened, or could be made better.  We all have varying degrees of brokenness, and the same need for healing and wholeness.  It’s too easy to look at the person next to us and think that they have it all together and their lives are perfect.  Can I tell you a secret?  They don’t.  None of us do.  We can chase after wealth, beauty, image, success, and popularity, but even when we reach the top of those things, there will always be a void in our lives that only God can divinely fill.   

It wasn’t until I was a young adult that I finally began to understand this, and it drastically changed the course of my life.  As a young girl, I wished I had a mentor to guide me through life’s struggles and point me to this truth.  I wished I had known that only in God will we find our true sense of worth, identity and purpose.  Our identities need to be rooted in Jesus Christ, where healing and wholeness begins.  I grew up going to church, but I never fully understood what it meant to have a personal relationship with Jesus.   In my search for wholeness, worth, and significance, I chased after fleeting things and made choices that made my life messier and more complicated than God ever intended for it to be.  

Even in my wandering, God was relentlessly pursuing and chasing after me.  Romans 8:28 states that God works all things out for our good.  He can take any broken person or messy circumstance and bring healing and beauty out of it.  He can redeem anything and anyone.  He did this in me, and He can do this in your life too.

Dear one, do you know that God is chasing after you and loves you beyond reason?  His passionate pursuit of you won’t stop until you are wholly His.  Oh, what I would give to sit down with you, listen to your heart, and share His truth with you.  If I could save you from making some of the same mistakes I have made in chasing after useless things, I would.  Things of this world will temporarily fill you and act as a bandaid on a wound that hasn’t been cleaned.  Only God can heal those wounds and fill the voids of your heart.  Life constantly shifts and changes, providing no real stability or security.  It will fail and disappoint, as will people.  But, God never will.   He is your Healer, Helper, and your Constant.  He never changes.  He is the one sure thing you can count on in this world.  Genuine and lasting peace, joy, and security is found in your personal relationship with Jesus Christ.  This is where you first must look.   If you don’t already, find and attend a Bible-believing church, join a small group, fellowship with other believers, ask someone to be your spiritual mentor, read the Bible and discover His truth and His promises for you.  Do whatever you can to find this truth and grow in your knowledge and relationship with Him.  He has great plans for you.

“‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord.  ‘Plans to prosper you and not to harm you.  Plans to give you hope and a future.’”
Jeremiah 29:11

If you feel bruised, broken, lost, and wondering if your season of pain or struggle will ever end, know that it will.  God has a bright future for you.  Your hope is found in Christ who can redeem and restore you in the midst of your brokenness.  Nothing is beyond His reach.  When you trust God, hold onto His promises, seek and follow Him with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength, you will find fulfillment and healing.  
When you truly lean into Him and the work He is accomplishing within and around you, you will find lasting joy, peace and security.  One that the world can’t manufacture or take away.  You will understand your purpose more fully.  Hand Him your brokenness and let Him do the healing.  You can be made whole, because you are being wholly held by God.  He is in all things, and holds all things together (Colossians 1:17).  Including you.  Let God become the greatest adventure of your life.  This is where your healing begins.  The world may hand you hot pink threading, but don’t settle for it.  It will fray and unravel at the seams.  Trade it in for a holy and divine stitching that won’t fray or unravel, but will perfectly stitch your heart up and make it whole again. 

4 comments:

  1. I pray we are teaching our kids to seek God's plan instead of the world's acceptance. Thanks for this!! Beautifully written as always. Hugs!

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    1. Me too Jennifer! Daily I pray that my little ones will hunger and thirst for righteousness and having a burning desire for God and His Word above all other things. And thank you for your kind words. I wrote this post recently (as if speaking to our youth/adolescents) and a friend asked that I share it on my blog. It had been a while since I had posted anything, so I thought, "why not?" I think it applies to us all though, even though it was intended for a younger audience. (((Hugs back to you!)))

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  2. Brokenness is such a good word to describe our lives as a result of the Fall. What initially came naturally to Adam and Eve - lack of obsessing over self, thinking about the other, peace of mind, etc. - has to be worked at in us. And, with the Spirit of God at work in our lies, it can be done. I like to think that our growth in the Spirit is in a sense a return to the Garden. It is a life long search for what we lost then. Good post.

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