And a voice came from heaven: "You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased."
~ Mark 1:11
There are times in our lives when we simply feel beat down, filled with doubt and discouraged with how God may see us. In those times we may even feel as if we have no worth. While it may be a rare occurrence, when it does happen it can truly change us and our outlook on life.
I am remembering a teenage girl I met living on the streets of Houston nearly twenty years ago when I was first beginning to work with the homeless in one of our inner city neighborhoods. The girl had been living on the street for nearly two years, after having spent a lifetime in foster care and a number of abusive relationships. One of the things I learned quickly on the street is that each person often is given, or creates, a name that is reflective of their situation or personality. She called herself, "Broken."
"Broken?" I asked her.
"Yes. Every foster home I was ever in had nothing but broken toys. I was even given a broken doll. When I look in the mirror, that's what I see. Someone who is 'broken.'"
Her pain was manifested in how she lived her life, and even her name. I had never encountered someone like her, especially a child, who had spent her whole life surrounded by broken things that left her broken and wounded.
As much as I would hope that for any of us our encounter with brokenness would only be brief, for many this can be an ongoing struggle.
There is simply no "easy fix." Brokenness appears in many ways, and even in church, we are reminded of brokenness with such images as Jesus on the cross, beaten and broken. Broken bodies, broken hearts, broken relationships, and broken minds are just a few among many ways in which we can encounter this kind of pain.
I think for me, being able to recognize the brokenness of Jesus on the cross serves as a reminder to me that God can be, and is, present to us in these moments as well. It's as if the invitation comes from a place where we cannot understand, except to see that there is a "light," coming to lead and guide us from this painful darkness.
For "Broken," her name actually served as a place to start again. Finding her the help that she needed, and learning to trust in others, were two major hurdles that we had to work hard to address. For any of us, the idea of being broken simply means that there is a place where we can begin to experience healing and wholeness. It is the starting point. It is in these places where we gain a better understanding of who we are, and what God and others can do for us.
Stay in God's grip!
G. Todd Williams (c) 2019
Rev. G. Todd Williams lives in the Houston metro area and is a Hospice Chaplain at Essential Hospice, Webster, Texas, and is an ordained Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) pastor.