Embracing Brokenness

” I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abides alone: but if it die, it brings forth much fruit”   John 12:24 

Growing up, I had absolutely no idea what that meant.  I carefully planted seeds one by one and covered them with dirt.  What happened in the dark, cold ground was not something I even considered.  Patience was the lesson most needed at the time.  Work hard, wait, pray, hope, and suddenly tiny leaves appear.  However, my lesson isn’t learned yet.  Water, weed, fertilize, water, weed, fertilize.  Only after months of this do you start to see results.  Flowers attract dozens of bees and butterflies, leaves become larger, stems stronger.  The flowers die leaving behind the tiniest of fruit.  Work hard, wait, pray, hope, and then is patience learned.  A bean the length of your hand, a red tomato the size of your fist, a golden sunflower bigger than your head opened on a stem 6 feet tall.

No one escapes the pains of this sinful world as they grow up.  Bullying, rejection from friends, alcoholic mothers, absent fathers.  Even us parents who do everything inside of our earthly limits to protect our children must accept that we cannot keep them from heartache.

I remember Rebekah crying because a girl she thought was her friend treated her unkindly.  My heart hurt for her and I prayed about intervening and talking to the girl’s mother.  I felt God wanted me to leave the situation alone because these are the things that build character.  Rebekah forgave the girl and proceeded with their friendship as if nothing had happened while I remained cautious and ready to jump in if things went badly again.  In the end she had learned patience, tolerance, and forgiveness.

No one survives adulthood free from painful events either.  Unemployment, broken relationships, health issues, consequences from our mistakes, misfortune that seems to follow us at times (like my dead car battery), disappointments, loss.

Estranged relationships didn’t break me.  The long period of unemployment didn’t either.  Health issues scared me, but we came out ok.

Then my daughter died and I broke.

I am finally that wheat seed.  I have died.

Broken is a concept that is not new to me in that I have thought about it, but is new to me in that it pulled me into itself and I am powerless to escape it.  I fought it in the beginning, becoming angry at God and myself.  I refused to embrace, accept, or allow it to teach me.  I denied it, despised it, and determined to stand against it.

Then I read “except a corn of wheat fall to the ground and die it abides alone: but if it dies it brings forth much fruit.” and I understood.

Looking back over the years I can see the many times I was broken, but refused to admit that I was.  I was afraid of broken.  I think we all are, but we react differently to hide it.  We turn to addictive behaviors, self-destruction, overachieving, and attention seeking.

Me?  I turned to perfection.

If I could be perfect or at the very least, give the illusion that I was perfect then I didn’t have to face the brokenness.  I didn’t have to look my insecurities in the eye and admit that I was a mess.  Pushing the childhood heartaches that haunted me aside, I could live only in the present.  I wouldn’t have to admit that I didn’t like being alone when Brett was on the road or that I felt as if I was failing as a wife and mother.

I have just read a wonderful book about embracing brokenness and have soaked in the beauty that I never saw before*.  Brokenness no longer holds a dark, ugly image in my mind.  Instead it is light and beauty and communion with the one who was broken for us.

” I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abides alone: but if it die, it brings forth much fruit”   John 12:24

If we embrace the dying of the seed, we must then embrace the living and fruitfulness that follows.  This is the hard part.

We cannot stay dead.

We must learn from the darkness, embrace the light, and allow it to change us for the glory of the one who overcame death.  Staying dead is as bad as refusing to admit we are broken.

We enjoy catching caterpillars in the summer and watching them turn into butterflies.  It is remarkable how that tiny caterpillar eats and grows into a plump bug and then hangs itself upside down.  The plump little caterpillar turns into a fat chrysalis which slowly changes from emerald green to a transparent brown.  The thrill of waking up one morning to see a butterfly slowly drying her wings in the place where she had just hung is as exciting for me as it is for the kids.

Last summer we had a caterpillar hang and slowly turn into the chrysalis, but it fell from the twig and rotted on the bottom of the jar.  It never became a butterfly.  It died and stayed dead.

I don’t want to be that caterpillar- dying and staying dead.  I want to emerge, changed into something more beautiful than I was before.

That is my wish for you, my friends.  May you embrace your brokenness and allow it to bring about something beautiful in your hearts.  May you embrace the brokenness in the people around you and see the beauty buried inside of them.

Finally, may you hear my heart and how thankful I am to those of you who continue with me on this journey.

You might also enjoy these posts!

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Build Your House on the Rock

*”The Broken Way” by Ann Voskamp

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Hi, I am Heather! I am a mom of five, homeschooler, homesteader, and lover of all things chocolate. I am excited to share your faith and parenting journeys with you. Whether you are here looking to grow your faith, heal from loss, find homeschool resources, or hope to find inspiration in raising godly children, you are in the right place. So, grab your favorite hot beverage, curl up in your comfy chair, and stay awhile.

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