By Ellen Seta
There are seasons in life when I feel like my personal burdens are constantly written in bold all over my face.
There are seasons where my struggles don’t skip a day, or even an hour. I wake and am almost immediately thrown into the substance of my wounds - and all I can do is accept it and work my way through the day one minute at a time.
There are seasons where the people I am close to can’t help but notice that something’s wrong because I’m no good at hiding the pain.
There are seasons where tears are just waiting, ever-too-near, for an excuse to fall. More often than I’d like, they find one. Sometimes there are just a few and then the moment’s over. Other times it’s a personal flood without a time limit, complete with breath-stealing sobs.
There are seasons when I scream at Jesus my questions of “why” and my pleadings to take the pain away because I’m not strong enough.
There are seasons when I will come home, close my door, sit down on the floor, put my head in my hands and just repeat Jesus’ Name over, and over, and over again, because I have nothing left inside me except a longing for a little peace. A little reprieve. A little healing.
I hear about how “there is beauty in the brokenness,” but my tangible, daily experience of brokenness feels unreachably far from beautiful, and it always seems like the scrapes and bruises are all anyone ever sees of me.
I don’t think it will ever be easy to understand why God allows me to experience pain that sometimes feels like it’s ripping my heart out, but I (often begrudgingly) trust that He has His reasons.
I trust that the reason why my wounds are so close to the surface is that He is trying to help me allow Him to heal them.
I trust that the reason why I feel so weak is so that my proud self can begin to realize that I am not self-sufficient, and that anything even minutely good that I am able to do is not by my strength, but by His.
I trust that the reason why I have the people around me that I do, who are seeing me for the mess that I am every day, are around me to help facilitate the healing He is doing and to give them an opportunity to love the way that He does. (And boy, does it humble me to recognize how much I need the love, patience and acceptance of each one of those people.)
I trust that, in these hard moments, He’s teaching me to trust so much more deeply than I ever have before.
I trust that as hard as it is for me to believe, there must be beauty in the brokenness.
And in the grace-filled moments, I immerse myself in the joy that comes with faith in Him even during great trials. There is a strange paradox that occurs where, in the midst of the pain, He continues to show me His deep affection – with the friend that makes me laugh uncontrollably, with my favorite toddler that runs and jumps into my arms the moment I walk into the room, with the incredibly beautiful view that greets me when I walk outside my door, with the sunshine beaming into my window through my pretty lace curtains, with the kind, encouraging words that I wasn’t expecting from some person I respect and admire.
Sometimes, when I’m resistant to the grace God graciously offers and longs for me to receive, my heart is too hard to allow myself to see the beauty in the pain… but, as we all know, the flowers tend to defiantly grow through the cracks in the sidewalk whether we ignore them or not.
And then there’s Jesus - that Guy who came down to our level, where God “made Him to be sin who knew no sin,” so that we wouldn’t be left alone in our misery. So that we can have a Savior who understands us, who goes down into the depths of our unbearable ache with us, who walks with us in every instant of our existence.
And then there’s Jesus… the original image of beauty in brokenness when He hung limp upon a cross… for us.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, behold, the new has come.” 2 Cor. 5:17
The struggles will never completely disappear. Sometimes they will fade and there will be seasons of great joy, abundant peace and grounding, restful hope.
But in the seasons of trial, I will continue to stand after falling and walk straight back to Jesus. I will hope against hope.
And I will begin to notice the flowers growing persistently through the cracks.