Brokenness.

For many of us, that word describes not just a season in our lives, but a place of identity. This year, the year that none of us anticipated or likely would have imagined, has become a year that many have admitted their brokenness for the first time. 

Lost jobs.

Changed churches.

Death and sickness.

Election division.

Racial unrest. 

Chaos.

The list can go on and on. In some ways, there is almost an anticipation of what new thing can be added to the list each week. And while I can’t predict what those specific things might be, what I can predict is the fact that they are symptoms of the world we live in.

The truth is, we weren’t made for this broken world. We ache for the way things could be…. Should be…. For the things we have lost and the things that we didn’t realize we needed.

November starts a season where normally we reflect on the thankfulness we feel for all the blessings God has given us throughout the year. But this year, it seems like November is just getting in the way. We want 2020 to be over, so the promise of 2021 and the potential of getting back to normal can come quickly.  

The feeling that is left in the longing for something different can only be described as an ache. An ache for what was. An ache for what’s next. An ache for anything other than right now.

Except right now is where we are. 

There is something Holy about right now. Something that allows us to experience Jesus differently than any other time in our lives. The familiar patterns, timelines, expectations have given way to something different. For many of us, it has allowed us time to examine our hearts and our homes for things that we didn’t know were there. 

I found my coffee mug this week. I probably have 100 coffee mugs, but this one is special. This one was a gift from my husband on our honeymoon. I love it because it’s big, it’s my favorite colors, and it was handmade from a potter that has a special story. But several years ago, the handle broke off. Because it had become broken, it was pushed to the back of the cupboard. Trying to get out the door with a hot cup of coffee doesn’t work so well when the handle is broken off the mug because it burns your hands. But right now, working from home allows me the time to sit with my mug of coffee, to give it time to cool off a little. Pouring a fresh cup this week, I thought about how thankful I was for this favorite broken mug. Because the handle is broken off, I have to hold it with both hands in order to drink from it. As I do, I feel the warmth of the coffee, as I keep my hands close. In this season, the brokenness of the mug doesn’t seem to matter so much. What matters is that it still allows me to fill it up.

The purpose of the mug, to be filled and to be used, remains. The brokenness of the mug requires it to be held close in order to be used. 

Our brokenness is very much the same way. It may change the way we look, different from others. It may change our function so that we have to be used differently. It may keep us hidden in seasons where others are in the forefront. But our brokenness is also the very thing that keeps us close to Jesus when He is using us. Our purpose remains, to be filled and to be used. 

The ache we feel in this season is an ache that likely will remain this side of heaven because of the fallen world we live in. But the ache is what drives us to Jesus. As we focus this month on thankfulness, even if it looks different, let’s be thankful that Jesus still desires to fill us and use us.

And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.Therefore, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in distresses, in persecutions, in difficulties, in behalf of Christ; for when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:9-11 NASB

P.S.- Psalms Reading Plan:  Don’t forget, we are reading through the Psalms together.  One Psalm a day.  Feel all the feels and be honest and raw with God about what you are feeling.  If you miss a day, just keep going.  You got this.

Numb.

If I had to describe what I have been feeling lately, it’s numb.

I didn’t want to be numb.  It’s just kind of what happened.

2020 has been a year of so many things.  Things that I didn’t think I would see in my lifetime: Prince Harry leaving the throne, murder hornets, Disney World being closed, Kanye West running for president, BLM protests, election violence, churches closing, so many people dying.  The list goes on and on.  There actually is a list on my phone, simply labeled 2020.  If I read the list out loud, it sounds ridiculous.  Yet, here we are.

I got to this place where it all just became too much.  Too much to explain to my kids, too much to process myself.  As much as I want to pray for everyone and everything, where do you start? 

A hard season does that to you.  A hard year does that to you.  But a pandemic?  On top of all the other things that have been going on this year?  I just got to this place that I don’t even have the words.  

All I have is emotions.  And what do you do with emotions when there is no way to resolve them?  It’s not like screaming or having a fit will suddenly make my husbands looming second lay off of the year hurt our finances less.  It’s not as if drowning my sorrows in a tub of ice cream will bring back so many people that died.  Nothing I can do will change things.

I think that’s why I am struggling right now.  I am a justice warrior.  My enneagram 8 temperament pushes me to be a world changer.  I don’t know what it means to be still.  I can’t.  I keep going no matter what, that’s my M.O.  

Except right now, my hands are tied.  I can’t be proactive in any way, other than stocking up on toilet paper, and now I am judged for even doing that.  

One of the things that I have been learning in this season is that it is ok to be not ok.  Let me say that again.

It is OK to not be OK.

So what do we do?  If you are anything like me, this is a hard spot to be in.  I want to DO something.  And because I can’t DO anything, even resolve my own feelings, I settle into a place of being numb.  And I don’t want to be numb.

I was encouraged this past week by a reminder that Jesus, when faced with hard things, spent a lot of time praying the Psalms.  Throughout the gospels, we see Jesus echoing words from various Psalms.  In fact, it’s the book that Jesus is recorded as quoting more than any other book.  When He was pressed, it was the Psalms that came out.  

Jesus used the words of the Psalms as the language for His prayers.  So in moments where we don’t even know how to pray, the Psalms can become our language too.

There is no fancy plan.  There has been no exegetical study.  I am learning that the Psalms are not to be understood so much as they are to be prayed.  They put words to the emotions we are having, and they take them to Jesus.  

You see, I think there is something Holy about this season we are in.  

If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that we are unable to do anything on our own.  The truth is, we never could.  

Any illusion that suggested otherwise was exactly that, an illusion.  So in my helplessness, I turn to Him.  And I pray the Psalms.

Want to join me?

Just praying one Psalm a day.  Starting at the beginning.  And if you miss a day, it’s ok.  Just keep going.  And when you get to something that you feel, that you identify with, feel it.  Allow yourself to feel it in the presence of Jesus.  Welcome Him into that place of pain or fear or anger.  He’s been waiting for you to invite Him into that place.  Because it’s the only way you will heal.

Praying for you, Friends.

Rach