gracefully broken

Alright, I will give full credit for this one to my lovely camp program director because she was the one that first brought the concept up to me and went in depth about it a month or so ago. It was certainly at a time in my life that I really truly needed it and she brought it up out of the blue- God’s timing really is truly amazing. So this is a combination of her thoughts and my thoughts based on what she said.

The idea of gracefully broken is a really strange concept and can be a little difficult to comprehend at times.

Broken is typically used in a negative way (“why are you so broken?”) and has a very negative connotation. It is almost never used in a complementary way and can be very quickly used to tear someone down. Being broken is not good or positive- it isn’t good when we appear broken to other people and it isn’t good when we feel broken. It can become almost a self-fulfilling prophesy in that when we feel broken, we go further and further down that road, feeling more and more broken and shattered. Bottom line: we usually shy away from the word broken as a negative and unhappy thing that we want to avoid.

But gracefully means beautifully and attractively. It is the adverb form of grace, which means refinement and elegance. It is a very positive thing to have grace or be graceful. It isn’t a word that one would typically pair with the idea of being broken.

So how does it all connect?

God could let the world destroy us and rip us apart. He could allow us to become truly just broken.

But we have such a good and amazing God who cares so much about us that He does not allow the world to do that to us. He does intentionally have us go through trials and storms of various kinds (James 1:2-4). He has us go through our own storms that at the time can seem daunting and terrifying and difficult but He does it in a way that not only refines and strengthens us but also allows us to have hope and see beauty through the entire process. The grace really is in the fact that He does break us so that He can remold us. The grace is not just in the fact that He restores us, but also in that He allows us to break in the first place.

He doesn’t just use those trials to refine us, though, and just stand back and watch while it happens. He walks through it with us in an intimate and loving way, standing by our side the entire time. There is a purpose and a plan behind it all that ultimately will bring Him glory through our refinement and our growth. His grace is once again evident in the fact that we can have hope in the brokenness and He walks with us- we are not just alone. Even when we are so broken that we think no one would want us, He is still right there. And He has a purpose behind it. He removes the things that are unnecessary from our lives, even when it hurts us, because He is making us better. When you look at it in this way, it truly is such a pure and intentional brokenness that eventually we can look back on which such gratitude for the things God has allowed us to go through.

We live in a truly broken world. There is no gracefully broken about it. But as believers, we have the hope that while we may be broken right along with everyone else, we are gracefully broken, refined and beautiful to point each other towards Him. Each of us becomes more and more refined into mirrors that reflect His glory and His purposes. There is a blessing in the brokenness.

The song “Glory” by Jervis Campbell talks about the fact that through it all, Christ is still on the throne and that it is all for His glory and we can still praise Him. He is standing beside us in the storm, parting the waters and guiding us out in His own time. We may not always like that timing. But we will reach the other side in the perfect timing to bring Him the most glory and point people to Him.

I am gracefully broken. I have learned more than ever the true depth of my brokenness in the past three months. There have certainly been moments where I wondered if it would ever be different and if there was really a purpose for all of this. It just hurt. My faith has been tested in a new way that I had never experienced before and wasn’t sure how to deal with.

But I have come to realize that even in this storm I am walking through with God right now, I have never felt closer to Him. My faith has been tested and it has come out for the better. I have seen God answer my prayers in ways that I could never expect or understand but were so clear it was almost scary. I have seen Him protect me from the things that were harming me and stop me from entering into things that would have made things worse for me. I have felt His presence and His arms around me in a way that I had not felt since leaving camp for the summer. I can feel Him refining me and stretching and growing me.

Is it still hard? Yeah. It has been a really hard couple of months and I’m not saying that I will not be thrilled to get to the other side of this storm. There are still nights where I struggle. But I am learning more and more everyday what it means to be gracefully broken and to be able to give God the glory through every joyful and painful step of the way.

2 Corinthians 12:9 says “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” I included this verse in my testimony at the beginning of the summer this year. I don’t think I realized then how much that verse would become the verse for my life in the months that followed- or how much my testimony would evolve, change, and become refined as my faith grew, changed, and shaped into something deeper.

Every day, my testimony is becoming different and I could not be more excited to see how it continues changing and bringing glory to God.

Check me out on Instagram @rcalife for updates!