It’s an unpopular opinion, but I don’t like the beach. I’ve never been a beach person, and I doubt I ever really will be. I think it has to do with the sand that gets everywhere, and the fear I have of getting caught under a strong wave. The immensity, the power, and the depth of the ocean make me uneasy, but there is still something mesmerizing about it all. Even though it intimidates me, I love watching the ocean’s waves crash on the shore.
Ann Voskamp recently wrote a post on “how to live through the breaking waves of stress, life, and grief,” and her words seemed to meet me exactly where I am today.
Voskamp talks about those crashing waves beautifully-- “Strange how that is,” she writes. “It’s in the breaking, there is life. What did my husband say again and again? ‘Never be afraid of a broken thing… Unless a seed breaks, there is no life.”
There is much in my life that feels broken-- the world around me, the health of dear loved ones, our political system, my own heart… the brokenness can feel heavy sometimes. Can you relate? But when I think about the beauty I see when I watch waves break onto the shore, I’m reminded that my own brokenness can be a beautiful thing, too.
Voskamp shares beautiful truths in her post that are incredible reminders of truth of all of us who are feeling burdened by the brokenness today:
- “Scars can be signs that show the way we loved. Sometimes… If your scars are deep -- so was your love.” I often want to hide the scars on my heart because I’m ashamed of them, but I love this way of thinking about them. Even though they are signs of hurt from the past, my scars remind me that I loved deeply. The many scars on Christ’s body as he died on the cross to save us are proof of the greatest love. He was pierced through out of his love for us-- there is no greater or deeper love.
- “Love is what we have to give -- and love comes from places that are vulnerable and soft and tender enough to feel -- to break.” When I’m tempted to feel like my emotions are a weakness, I need the reminder that vulnerability is the birthplace of true love. If I keep my heart locked away behind a wall, I’m keeping love from getting in. It’s only when I honestly and humbly open up that I can truly learn to love and be loved, both by others and by Christ.
- “When you’re hit with a breaking wave -- you can break deep. You can break deep into that breaking wave and let yourself be moved by Living Water and transformed and formed by Christ and remade by the rising current of His Love.” Psalm 73:26 says, “my flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” When we feel broken, we can trust that the Lord will be strong in us and will always provide for us. We are never out of the reach of his perfect love.
- “What feels like surrender -- this can feel like freedom.” When we take delight in the Lord, he will give us the desires of our hearts. (Psalm 37:4) It might not look like we planned or hoped for, but surrendering our control to willingly give God the room to move in our lives brings us true freedom.
- “When you’re in over your head, you touch the depths of God.” Psalm 34:18 tells us that the Lord is close to the brokenhearted, and he saves those who are crushed in spirit. He doesn’t run away from our hurt, but instead moves toward us with open arms, ready to heal us and bring new life.
The brokenness we feel can be beautiful. There are so many blessings to be found even when we’re hurting or struggling or doubting. Those words from Voskamp echo in my ears-- “where there is breaking, there is life.” When we break bread, we are giving our bodies renewed strength. When seeds break open, new growth can sprout up. When bones break, new healing happens to restore us. When our hearts are broken, God transforms them in new ways.
The lyrics to Gungor’s song “Beautiful Things” summarize it well:
You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of the dust
You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of us
Hope is springing up from this old ground
Out of chaos life is being found in You.
What beauty can you find in the brokenness today? Give God the praise!
Photo credit: Unsplash.com
Publication date: October 27, 2016
Rachel Dawson is the editor of BibleStudyTools.com