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Uniquely Broken Me, Uniquely Broken You

Posted April 6th, 2020

Henri Nouwen, writer, clergy, and a fellow champion of brokenness, has taught me a great deal about what it means to be broken and the purpose for our brokenness. His works came to me at a time when I needed that final push to realize how incredibly loved we are no matter what our journey through this life has been. 

During a painful, dark time in Henri’s life he wrote, “Our brokenness reveals something about who we are. Our sufferings and pains are not simply bothersome interruptions of our lives; rather, they touch us in our uniqueness and our most intimate individuality. The way I am broken tells you something unique about me. The way you are broken tells me something unique about you. Our brokenness is always lived and experienced as highly personal, intimate and unique. I am deeply convinced that each human being suffers in a way no other human being suffers.”

As I reflect on my personal and unique brokenness I can now rejoice and thank the Lord for each painful time of suffering. My unique brokenness has prepared me for where I am being called to serve, at this time. Responding to trauma, grief, and death is not a stranger to me. A few instances of me being called to respond to the faces of suffering have included sitting at the bedside of a dying hospice patient, holding the heart of a shattered woman who was escaping violence in her home, befriending and loving a homeless woman who was being abused and used for sex, sitting on a class room floor with a family member, where a loved one had died in a school shooting, holding my children's hands and hearts as their older sister was being taken off of life support six months after their father's death, walking out of my own season of living in domestic abuse and facing childhood losses and wounds. 

Seizing the opportunity to walk away from feelings of worthlessness, to the prospect of purification, and the deepening blessings from God was my desire when I was first seeking healing. However, all too often and I was not immune, the desire for healing is dampened by abuse, being handicapped, or believing an ongoing tape of lies running through our thoughts that tell us "this is as good as it is going to get, I am unlovable, I am dirty, damaged and different. How could anyone possibly want to be near me, let alone love me".             

                                                     Satan finds great satisfaction wounding a child

At birth, we are given an inherent value from our Creator. This inherent value provides the child with security to face the world and when this security is translated for the child, it reads "I am worthy of someone loving me". The child can then receive the love of his or her parents because self esteem, value, honor are embraced. Sadly, when the security is broken, the child immediately loses a sense of value, self-esteem and honor. This translates for the child “my world is not safe, my boundaries have been violated, I am not worthy of love, respect, dignity and honor."

For much of my life, I felt unworthy to be treated with respect, dignity, honor and to receive love.  God knew and provided beautiful mentors in my life, at just the right time. I began to embrace my unique brokenness and suffering that would birth and direct where God wanted me to serve. 

Each individual being trafficked or is exploiting another for financial gain is a child deceived and wounded by satan. Their inherent value from our creator may appear to be stolen and stripped away but God has another plan and desires for an army to rise up and walk alongside the deeply wounded. 

For me, all this is about the humble privilege of walking alongside the uniquely broken and wounded soul who is restored to a place of believing and reclaiming what was stolen from them. It is about the humble privilege of envisioning that each uniquely broken person will hear and believe that they have been given an inherent value from our Creator that provides them with the security to face the world with a renewed purpose. 

That security translates… I am worthy of respect, dignity, honor and most of all I am the Beloved Child of God worthy of receiving love.