Do you ever close your eyes consumed by hurt? Maybe it was that boyfriend or girlfriend who broke up with you? Maybe it was the hurtful words your parents screamed at you last night? Maybe it’s the ugly words you tell yourself every time you look in the mirror? Maybe it’s that friend who walked out of your life?
You lay there consumed in this moment from start to finish. Your mind racing about how it made you feel as if the moment were happening right now.
The tough reality that I never want to face is we are all broken people. Things break, people are mean, things don’t go your way, etc. I remember being in moments of desperation praying that the hurt would go away, only to remain stuck in the moment.
Let’s go back to September 2005. It was one month after I lost every thing to Hurricane Katrina. One month prior to this my life was perfect. I had two parents who loved me, an amazing school, a beautiful home, a carefree childhood, and in the blink of an eye all of that was taken from me. I was hopping from house to house finding anyone who would offer my family shelter, I had to start at a new school where I knew no one, and I watched my little 11 year old heart slowly lose hope in the goodness of life.
August 2007. I was in seventh grade and all I cared about was fitting in and being seen as cool in my new school. Everything in my external life had returned to normal since the hurricane, but my internal self was everything but normal. I was basically suffering from an identity crisis. I was whoever my friends wanted me to be. I was whatever boys desired of me. I let people pull me deeper and deeper into the sins and lies of the world.
May 2010. I had everything I ever wanted. I was on the school’s cheerleading team. I had my “clique.” I was in all honors classes. I was on the A/B Honor Roll. It was everything middle school me could have dreamed of, but I was so empty.
September 2010. Rock bottom. I was so caught in addiction; addicted to anything that would ease the pain and hurt in my life, I grabbed on to whatever gave me just one short moment of satisfaction. I felt like I was in an all-consuming pit, and when I looked up I couldn’t even see the light.
I was scared to go to church because there was no way God could love me after all I had done. I would give him the joys and victories of my life, but I would keep the “dirty” stuff for me because surely it was more than he could handle. I kept myself closed off from my friends because no one loves broken messes like me.
Then things started to look up. It was a slow and difficult journey to health, to recovery, to the foot of The Cross. But when I made it there, when I laid down my hurts and fears at the foot of the cross, I knew there was no turning back.
Romans 5:8 – “But God shows his love for us that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us.”
Y’all, God sacrificed his Son. Had him suffer the most brutal of deaths on the cross all for you and me. And if I was the only person on this Earth, he would have still died for me because that is how badly he wants each and every one of us. And there I was over there trying to find my identity; google searching “how to lose 10 pounds in 10 days,” “how to know if a guy loves you,” etc. Friends, if we want to know our identity, we look at the cross not the mirror.
I would be totally lying to you if I told you my life is completely fixed, that I am this perfectly whole person, and that I never suffer. I still suffer just as much as the next person, but what I’ve learned is that it’s not our suffering that defines us, it’s what we do with our sufferings.
The world tells us that brokenness and suffering is a sign of weakness. Let me tell you, I used to fall into the trap of believing this lie. I had this idea that I needed to be completely better and “fixed” before coming to the Lord. Well here is the truth: “For my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9).
The Lord delights in our brokenness. He takes our shortcomings, our hardships, our failures, and makes them beautiful. We each have our crosses and he wants to help each and every one of us carry ours. There is nothing too big for our God.
So, next time you are consumed by hurt, with an overwhelming memory, picture God there with you. What does he look like? What does he want to tell you? Why has he brought you here? How does he see beauty in your brokenness?
Friends, let Christ into your darkest moments, let him embrace you. Remember, the battle has already been won.