We have been humbled and amazed at the work God has done through our Beauty In Brokenness study this summer. We’ve heard many stories of women whose hearts have been transformed by the power of the Word. Today we would like to share one of those stories with you:
By the time I was 14 years old, I had experienced several traumatic events, one that lasted for 6 more years. Since then, I have been searching for peace and healing. These events shaped my entire life: the way I responded to people, the way I responded to God, and the decisions I made. I have seen many therapists and counselors in my life since those days. I have met with several pastors looking for answers. I have read so many books. “Your Scars are Beautiful to God”, “The Purpose Driven Life”, “Lies Women Believe”, “What’s So Amazing About Grace” to name a few. I have participated in many Bible Studies. I have learned many wonderful truths along the way.
I was attending a Bible Study when Beauty in Brokenness came out. Although I was already participating in a study, I didn’t want to miss out… so I signed up! And right away, God synced up these studies and paralleled so many truths. I knew I needed to listen because He was definitely talking!
I was learning about Joseph, the favored son who was thrown into a pit and sold as a slave. God was with him, so he prospered in what he did. But, soon he was accused of trying to sleep with Potiphar’s wife. He was thrown into prison. The Lord again was with him and he prospered even there. Eventually, he was remembered and again placed high in Potiphar’s house. A famine comes upon the land and his brothers come seeking food. In the end, Joseph reveals who is.
Joseph says in Genesis 45:5, “Now do not be grieved or angry with yourselves, because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life”. In vs. 7, he says “God sent me before you to preserve for you …” and again vs. 8 “Now, therefore, it was not you who sent me here, but God …”. Joseph’s life seemed to be one pit after another but we quickly learn that God was right there the whole time.
I also learned that God purposed everything that had happened to Joseph. That means that those traumatic events that happened to me were also purposed by God. He doesn’t just show up in the end when bad things happen and say, “I can work all things for good”. He isn’t surprised at these things in our lives. When I thought about how painful it was, what I had gone through, and wondered why God had allowed those things in my life, I was so very angry. He could have chosen so many other ways. I left Bible study feeling very frustrated.
On the way home from Bible Study, the song “Shoulders” by For King and Country was playing on the radio.
“You mend what once was shattered
And You turn my tears to laughter
Your forgiveness is my fortress
Oh Your mercy is relentless”
I went home and read the lyrics to this song and knew this was meant for me. This song is based upon Psalm 121. This was one of the passages that we read in the Beauty in Brokenness bible study. When I started to study the last week of Psalm 51, that’s the moment that God finally brought all the pieces together. In II Samuel 12, we learn about how David does the unthinkable. He commits adultery, lines up Uriah to die and then marries Bathsheba. David loses his son and evil will be raised up against him in his house. His wives will be taken by another companion in front of his eyes. David says that he has sinned against the Lord. God takes away his sin and does not cause him to die. David pens Psalm 51, asking for God’s loving-kindness and compassion. I love the word “loving-kindness”, especially in light of our sin. It is the last word you would think of when you do wrong. But God, in His mercy, is ready to be gracious according to His loving-kindness. It’s his “relentless mercy”.
So now I realize that yes, God has allowed these awful things in my life. He has purposed them. And I ask God, if this is Your purpose, then let me be used. Psalm 30, written by David, says in vs 8-9 “To You, O Lord, I called, And to the Lord I made supplication: What profit is there in my blood, if I go down to the pit? Will the dust praise You? Will it declare Your faithfulness?”
Will these events in my life and the choices I have made separate me from God, or will they praise Him? Will they declare His faithfulness? My brokenness was not in vain. God has a purpose in those pits. I’m not fixed. I never will be. But He is filling in those cracks and making me new.
Beauty in Brokenness is not your typical Bible Study. It is full of open-ended, honest questions that cause you to search your heart. To take a deep, long look at your broken, messy life, and watch how God fills in the cracks and makes you new. I’m standing in awe of where He has taken me, in such a short time, and am left now wondering what God will have me do with this beautiful brokenness.
I reflect upon these passages for the answers:
Psalm 27:13-14 “I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; Be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the Lord.”
Psalm 30:11 “You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; You have loosed my sackcloth and girded me with gladness, That my soul may sing praise to You and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks to You forever.”
Psalm 51:10 “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.”
Did you get a chance to take our 6 week ecourse, Beauty in Brokenness, this summer? Don’t worry if you didn’t; we are adding it to our store on Labor Day. Keep your eyes out for a special 2 day sale. Check out http://beautyinbrokenness.com for more information!