With This Broken

Hello, light streaming through tattered Venetian blinds,

I see you, slightly askance, kind of walking in what you were placed here to do but not really. Your purpose has taken a gangsta lean and you find yourself wondering what the point is if more often than not, people have to contort themselves to figure out what you are even doing anymore. 

This post is for anyone who has suffered a storm, a setback or a situation. For anyone who has been knocked off course, for anyone that, if they are honest with themselves, has lain in bed in the midnight hour clinging to the precipice of a promise with no real faith in their grip. 

I used to be you. I’d be lying if I said that my mind doesn’t still occasionally attempt to flirt with that line of thinking in the dark. 

I was talking to a friend of mine through text tonight who happens to be in med school. B. is the kind of sisterfriend that turns what she touches into gold–or at least that’s the way it seems. I don’t want to trivialize her hard work though because I know sis is out here grinding like bad brakes, but from outside the windows looking in? She’s effortless genius personified. 

She was telling me that she starts clinical rotstions tomorrow–and after I asked her what specialties she’d be working in, she said, among others, psychiatry and the surreal nature of working in a psychiatric hospital. 

I don’t know why, but parts of my story that I don’t think I’d told her before just poured out onto the “page”: that I can believe how surreal it is because I was diagnosed as clinically depressed when I was 18–and it is because of this that I can (only slightly) identify with the idea that the mind has a mind of its own and it’s no joke. That’s to say nothing of people that are really out here in the trenches of schizophrenia and manic ideation. Like, I had INCREDIBLY low self image–something that looking back, I think was on the edge of my personality for awhile (cue self deprecating jokes, etc) but really manifested in college when I was surrounded by girls who loved to drink (expertly, at 18!!!) and party and with whom I did NOT mesh well. And I remember my sleeping patterns and my eating patterns being shot to heck, and thinking at 2am that the only people who may have loved me were like 120 miles away. And the mind plays tricks–how disappointed everyone would be if I failed at this. If they were enjoying their everyday lives without me in it, etc. BUT!! My relationship with God during that time went from something that was really on the periphery of my life to being my sustainer. I think back and God actually brought people into my life even during that dark/low period that needed to hear a word from Him. I was able to introduce people to Christ even while in my storm, and for that I am forever grateful. 

And that brings me to the point of this post. I don’t know what has happened in your life so far. I don’t know what setbacks have you weary. But I have a feeling tonight that someone out there on WordPress, or that I am connected to through one of my social media accounts may be on the edge of their destiny staring into a chasm of fog, not knowing where to place their next step. I need you to know this: 

Whatever it is that has bruised you and battered you and perhaps even broken you might be the very thing, the most transformative and transparent part of your story that compels someone else to keep on keeping on. In my own example, I think that God illuminates women to me who are struggling with self image. Now, is mine perfect? Nope–it is eons better than it was though, and I take pleasure in telling these women that they are loved and known, worthy of honor and adoration NOT because they look good but because they ARE good. Every time that happens, every time someone walks away from me and they are heading towards feeling like they are valuable, I send a silent thank you upwards. 

Who would have thought that 18 year old me, struggling with what I perceived to be my invisibility, would be charged with the responsibility of loving on people past the point of reason? Who knew that in some respects, this would actually be my job–to have young women watch as I treat everyone from the custodian to the executive director of my school with the same care. Who knew when I was sitting in my dorm room alone, clinging to the edge of my purpose with tension? 

God did. 

Think of the story of the Samaritan woman. I love John 4, and every time I read this chapter, I find something new. This time, it was that this woman had quite a past–and quite a present. According to the scripture, ““The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.” She’d been married a handful of times, but she was also sharing a bed with someone she wasn’t married to. This probably wasn’t the vision that she had for her life–I wonder if SHE ever wondered what she was supposed to do with all of her brokenness?  Then Christ showed up. Their conversation challenges the dichotomy of the time in which the scripture is written–this unwed woman is conversing with a man she doesn’t know like this is conventional. She challenges Him. She digs. And ultimately, she runs to her folks saying that she has found the fulfillment of prophecy. She runs to them saying “Yo, this guy told me everything I ever did–all of my bad AND my good. He sees my mess and He’s still here!!” {Stephanie translation hahaha}

 And the townspeople were like “whaaat?”
Here’s my favorite part though–that 39th verse in John 4: “Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me everything I ever did.”

Honey, this is what you do with your broken. Don’t hide it. Don’t pretend it never existed. Don’t sanitize it for the onlookers (thought the temptation be mighty). No, take your broken in one hand and your calling in the other and carry them both as you walk in this world and talk about what is really real. 

So hello, streaming sunshine that peeks through the spaces where the blinds are missing. You are so beautiful. I don’t know if you are taking the form of the sun pushing in or the blinds trying to hold it as it escapes through fingertips but you–yes  You–are worthy and you have purpose. You are still useful, still important, and there isn’t a storm or a demon in hell that can change that fact. 
The world is aching for someone to change it with their broken. And so am I. 
Love you (mean it),

(*Just a note: I will never sit here and say that medicine is a crutch. If you are dealing with mental health crises, please–get help and get medicated if the doctors think that is the best course of action. I am all for hugs and journals and candles and fresh air curing what ails us, but it would be silly to pretend that among all of Gods gifts, modern medicine ain’t one. Self care is priority.)

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