It wasn’t until I was broken that I started becoming whole.
Week 7 of Cultivate Book Club Fall 2016
Chapters 11 & 12 of Uninvited by Lysa Terkeurst
Just being real: I don’t want to write this blog post. I’m afraid. This is the story of why. But, it’s also the story of why I’m writing it anyway.
If you could tell the younger version of me what my life looks like now… I would think you are crazy! From the earliest age I had a deep love for people of all nations and colors. I felt strongly that God meant for me to become a missionary overseas loving and serving those who are very different from me. And so, when I was in high school and college I planned and purposed everything in my life accordingly. I do realize that I’m a bit abnormal in this way. In college I majored in Spanish and minored in Missions and Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL) in the hopes that I would eventually be sharing the gospel in a Spanish-speaking country. There was intentionality when I married Adam, a man who also had a heart for missions. Our wedding was a week after our graduation and, immediately after our honeymoon, we moved to California to begin the process of becoming full-time missionaries. Finally, the life I’d dreamed of since the ripe-old age of 6 was coming true right before my eyes.
But (and there’s always a BUT isn’t there?!) life has a “funny” way of doing it’s own thing…
At the age of 22 I was not prepared for all the ups and downs that came with being newly married and living far away from everything and everyone I knew. One year into our marriage, although it felt as if we had already been through five, we’d moved halfway across the country to an apartment we’d never seen (without jobs lined up, because, you know… that’s the wise thing to do~lol), became pregnant while ON birth control, miscarried, not to mention all the rest of the “fun” that comes with adjusting to married life. I wasn’t aware at the time, but I was drowning in a sea of quiet, lonely rejection. I felt rejected by friends because no one reached out after I moved to California. I felt rejected by God because I lost my baby. I felt rejected by my husband because he was emotionally distant after the miscarriage.
But (there’s that BUT again!), life also goes on…
Ten years later my world came crashing down. Adam took me out on a date. Sweet, right? But at dinner he then proceeded to confess his secret addiction to marijuana, an on-and-off addiction he’d had throughout our entire marriage up to that point. I sat there in shock and awe. How could I have not known? Did I do something to cause this? Was I not good enough? How did I fail him? What does this mean for us? There it was again… that old, familiar feeling: rejection. True to my nature I stuffed the hurt, pain, and feeling of rejection and moved on. I honestly ‘thought’ I was ok and moved through the forgiveness piece pretty quickly. I forgave Adam and pretended we could go back to life as it was supposed to be. Needless to say, the pretending didn’t work. At this point, I didn’t think I was the one with any “issues.” This was ALL on Adam. HE was the issue, and once HE figured things out…we could return to that dreamy couple I had idealized, or rather idolized–in my mind. The real end of myself didn’t come until four months later. I could no longer deal with the hurt and pain. It felt as if everything I did to fix THE situation only made matters worse. Wise counsel (thank God for spiritual community) helped me see that I…needed…help! And that maybe, just maybe, this wasn’t ALL on Adam.
Ok, OK, I’m not ok! Now what!?…
I reluctantly went ahead and heeded the advice of my friend and mentor to begin a process of looking at ME. This began what would eventually become the breaking of me and everything I knew. For so long I had relied only on myself. I was convinced that I was the only reliable person that I could trust. Everything and everyone else left me feeling second place, less than, set aside, overlooked, not good enough…rejected. I began to learn that because I didn’t know how to find my worth and value in God, I’d constructed walls and facades of who I wanted to be/thought I should be in order to avoid the pain of feeling second place, less than, set aside, overlooked, not good enough…rejected. I stuffed and minimized, I constantly
adjusted myself, hoping that this might bring the acceptance I desperately longed for.
In Uninvited, Lysa Terkeurst says that our “enemy loves to take our rejection and twist it into a raw, irrational fear that God really doesn’t have a good plan for us.” This has been so true for me and I can see now that these lies had taken full root in my heart. Over the years I had come to the conclusion that God wasn’t really FOR me, that I had apparently disappointed Him and He must be rejecting me. In my head I KNOW that the enemy wants to keep me (us) in bondage to our fears and for us to find our identity in everything but God, but in my heart it was easier to believe these lies than to feel the hurt and pain. I spent the next few months sorting through my broken pieces. It was so painful. I often chose not to press in and ignore it all because it was just too much. I wanted to hide the reality of my brokenness from everyone, keep to myself and not reveal the hot mess that was my marriage and family. The enemy was so active during this time, discouraging me from picking up my recovery workbook or acknowledging my woundedness with new eyes because the truth is… a healed me would be a dangerous me. We become a threat to the enemy when we start truly living out of the freedom God has graced us with.
The more I began to listen to the truth of God’s word> the more I began to hear His loving whisper> the more the broken pieces of who I am began to get put back together. I experienced a divine paradox: it wasn’t till I was broken that I started becoming whole! I started becoming aware of the parts of me that I’d left to die thinking they were not good enough or the cause of my rejection. One of these things was my “Okie” accent, something that I’d suppressed for fear of being looked down upon in our refined Inland Empire culture, and once I realized that this was an OK part of me… wouldn’t you know it~ it started coming back. I’m an “Okie” (meaning from Oklahoma for my west coast friends~ lol), it’s a real part of who I am and where I come from and you know what… I’m OK with that!
Healing had begun in me and I’d begun experiencing a freedom like I hadn’t before. As Tammy Brown has been sharing in these blogs about her own journey~ I too now know the truth that healing is such a longggggg process (lifelong really). To be completely real with you… I am still learning how to become whole. I now look at my healing process/journey and relationship with Jesus like one would look at a potter shaping his clay. Just as a potter reworks~reshapes~refines the clay into his intended masterpiece, I too am in continual reworking, reshaping, refining process. Sometimes when shaping clay it needs a breaking, and even rebreaking after that, to get the piece just as it’s meant to be, the same is true for me (us). In order to become the woman that God has called me (us) to be, although it may be painful, a breaking and even rebreaking is necessary! And the woman I (we) was always meant to be be is one that was not only good enough but INVITED!
OK~ can we be real for a second though… sometimes the whole healing, refining, reshaping process just gets old and I (we) get tired, really tired. It is especially exhausting and discouraging when we have to revisit something we’ve worked through already (or so we thought). It’s like… been there, done that, don’t need to go there ever again thank you very much! This past summer this was me. But God~ I’ve processed my rejection issues, It is finished, right? NOPE! I’d found myself once again in a place of rejection, and I was simply unable to push through this new source of rejection on my own. I knew I needed to seek out my spiritual community, as well as the help of a professional christian counselor. It was crazy difficult to admit my weaknesses and my need of others, but it was also relieving to know that I’ve learned to ask for help and allow others into these vulnerable spaces. This was a victory for me. I know that when we try to process within ourselves~ that is where the enemy twists those lies… all the work I’ve done in the past has taught me atleast that much. God uses others to shine light into dark places, to speak truth into lies.
My heart for you…
I often get tangled up in the thinking that I should “arrive” and eventually live a perfect, sinless life. Seriously. I actually think this. Ugh! Where in the world did I get this idea!? The pit of hell, that’s where. The truth is that the “arriving” happens each and every time we see our Savior face-to-face. So my heart for you is that… if you find yourself discouraged because the healing is taking too long, the pain is still too great, the hurts from long ago are still as real today as they were 20 years ago that you’d loosen your grip on holding together your broken pieces in order to start the process of becoming whole. Talk to people who are safe, seek professional help, do whatever it takes to begin the healing process. Acknowledge the damages done, grieve the losses, and begin to ask Jesus what work He wants to do in you through it all. Whatever you do with your broken pieces, don’t leave Jesus uninvited into the process.
God is our good, good Father who loves irrationally and unconditionally. He longs to draw close to us and for us to seek Him in those uninvited places where we desperately want to be found. Our God is the justice-maker and we have to trust that He will make all wrongs right in His time~ in His way. He will fight with us and for us. This is grace: God sees our sinful response to sin and in return He responds to us with love. He doesn’t expect us to piece it all together on our own. Let’s cultivate the disciple of worshipping Jesus wholeheartedly and letting the focus of our attention change from being one that is preoccupied with what others have done to us, how they’ve rejected us, by instead being consumed with what He has done for us. Let’s stop exhausting ourselves by trying to keep things from falling apart, and consider the fact that maybe what we’ve been working so hard at keeping together (for the sake of others thinking we have it all together and therefore are worthy of love and belonging and to avoid as much rejection as possible) is actually what is keeping us from becoming whole. Let’s keep on keepin’ on, and when we just can’t anymore… let’s INVITE Jesus and others in with us.
The following verses in scripture are ones that have helped me in my healing process/journey and I want to share them for you to cling to in your healing process/journey too. Let’s live loved and remember that our brokenness doesn’t disqualify us from being INVITED into the life God has planned for us, and that when we fall apart (are broken) is when we actually begin the process of being together (made whole)…. this is what the now~ older version of me would go back and tell the younger version of me who tried so hard to keep everything from falling apart.
Micah 7:7 As for me, I look to the Lord for help. I wait confidently for God to save me, and my God will certainly hear me. (NLT)
Ephesians 1:7-8 He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins. He has showered His kindness on us, along with all wisdom and understanding.
Psalm 57:7 My heart is confident in you, O God; my heart is confident. No wonder I can sing your praises.
Psalms 56:3-4 But when I am afraid, I will put my trust in you. I praise God for what he has promised. I trust in God, so why should I be afraid? What can mere mortals do to me?
Proverbs 18:10 The name of the Lord is a strong fortress, the godly run to him and are safe.
Psalm 145:18 The Lord is close to all who call on him, yes, to all who call on him in truth.
Psalms 130:5 I am counting on the Lord, yes I am counting on him. I have put my hope in his word.
Deuteronomy 31:8 Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord will personally go ahead of you. He will be with you; he will neither fail you nor abandon you.
This week’s statement to hold on to:
“There is no attack of the enemy that can withstand the dearly, deeply, and sacrificially loved daughter of God. Live loved because you are loved.”
This week’s discussion or journal questions:
- God has made it clear that he designed us to live in community with one another. What are some relationships where you long to cultivate closeness and authenticity? What do you think keeps you from going deeper?
- Rejection is so painful. We often avoid it by not letting others really get to know us. What do you do to keep from experiencing the feelings of rejection?
- The enemy works hard to undermine our self-worth, make us doubt God’s goodness, and keep us from authentic relationships. What does the fear of rejection look like in your life as it relates to yourself, God, and others?
- In Chapter 10, Lysa gave us 10 things to remember when we are feeling rejected. Which of these reminders was most encouraging to you?
5. Lysa gives us some powerful verses from God’s Word. Take a moment to turn to page 237 and read through these scriptures. Which verse pops out to you? Which verse or verses do you need to hold onto to stand firm against the attacks of the enemy? Share the scripture you chose and why.