Brokenness aside.

by Stephanie McCullough

I am a sinner; if it’s not one thing it’s another…
Caught up in words, tangled in lies.

Broken. It’s a word that’s been sitting heavily on my mind and heart lately, as well as all over my skin in the dry cold of late autumn. I’m starting to feel like an expert on brokenness, for whatever that’s worth. The sensation comes forth in waves: while I work, in times of internal strife, when surrounded by others’ hardship… So much is so broken around and within me. Richmond’s spotted past created resonating effects felt today, not just by way of policy and neighborhood divides, but daily in the struggles of those considered “other” and of those who see that as a problem. My roomies have eloquently blogged about some of our experiences with that so far; they share this pervading feeling of brokenness. While absorbing this from the surroundings, I’ve been working through some of my own issues, old and new. There have been some overwhelming moments when practically everything seemed so cracked, fragile, failing. When it’s all crumbling, wisps of darkness begin to encroach. The air around me tightens, and my lively spirit seeps away from my body, dripping unnoticed through massive, growing cracks. These fissures make my constantly bleeding fingertips seem negligible.


In times like that, true character is revealed. Thankfully, Christ is a central part of my make-up. Even when all fortitude fades, when strength falters, the Lord is good to show Himself to those with open eyes. I have especially felt His presence in this challenging time. He shows up not only through the subtle tugs of the Holy Spirit, but through words of Truth and acts of care from those around me.

About a month ago, I was having an especially crappy several days. My eyes were filled with tears for more hours than they were dry, and I was finding it difficult to complete simple, necessary tasks. While in the middle of that pain, I was blessed with support from coworkers at Blue Sky Fund. Those who don’t share belief in God were comforters nonetheless, and those who do share love for Father were even more comprehensively supportive. They paused their days to stop and listen to me, watch me weep, and pray for me. It was an incomparable blessing. The experience as a whole reminded me that I am put here, precisely here and precisely now, for very good reasons. Those reasons are seldomly clear to me, but I am thankful, regardless.

We all wrestle with brokenness. Some people experience what feels like more than their fair share, and often we are quick to judge others we assume have less. But that judgement isn’t just. We can’t search them; we can’t know their pasts nor their hearts. What we can know is that we aren’t alone. What we can do is let people around us know they aren’t, either.

Nadia Bolz-Weber, pastor of House for All Sinners and Saints in Denver, CO

One of the most awesome things I’ve heard on NPR recently was a pastor, Nadia Bolz-Weber, talking about community. She referenced the verse that talks about how God won’t present trials you can’t handle. The beautiful point she made was the interpretation that it didn’t refer to “you” in the singular, but instead “you” in the plural, as a community. The Lord will never give us trials we can’t handle as a part of the body of Christ. This make so much sense! We aren’t meant to journey alone, and that is a joy I’m learning about actively while participating fully in Grace-on-the-Hill.

The first two lines of this post were All Sons and Daughters lyrics. It continues on:

But you are a Savior and You take brokenness aside
and make it beautiful… beautiful.

Let us REJOICE in our broken pieces. They are but a token of humanity, for in Jesus we are made whole. For me, things are still pretty difficult, but I am clinging to that wholeness in efforts to live, serve, and love more fully.

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