Lord, I Need You, I’m Depressed

Sadness is a part of life. It is often related to or can be attributed to life circumstances, disappointments, or losses. But there are time of deep sadness or even depression that can really knock you down.

I went through a very deep depression a number of years ago. It was a time of darkness and hopelessness. I was out of work for 11 months. I felt like I was drowning, and I couldn’t find my way out.

When we deal with depression we have varying responses as to how we get help, or even if we get help. I met with a Christian counselor and she helped me work through some issues that were affecting me. I also went on medications to help me with my depression, anxiety, and sleep issues.

The more I knew about the emotional pain from which my depression stemmed, the more I felt like I knew exactly what I needed to have happen in my life so that I could go on. It was a heart neediness that I needed help with. There was a deep emptiness, a hurt endured, a need unmet, but, my first response was not to call out to the Lord. I thought that I knew what I needed and I tried to manipulate getting the need met on my own terms.

It took a number of months of suffering before the Lord made it clear to me that I was praying for Him to work in my solution in my predetermined way rather than coming to Him for healing according to His wisdom. I prayed that the Lord would work it all out according to my plan.

When I finally accepted that truth of my sin and confessed it, I chose to ask Him to heal me His way. It was then that I saw Him work in my heart and life. It was amazing how He showed me His love for me and helped to grow my trust in Him.

He used the medications, the counselor, and the doctor to help me through, but He is absolutely the One who healed my heart. He knew I needed to trust Him with my neediness. in the deepest of ways. He knew I needed a deeply intimate relationship with Him more than I needed anything else.

O Lord I need you!

Elijah went through a period of depression. It is recorded in 1 Kings 19 in the BIble. Elijah had just experienced God’s miraculous, supernatural power in response to his prayer. And the next thing we read is how Elijah is filled with fear. He is exhausted, he is depressed, and he wants to dies.

Elijah had been running because his life was being threatened. One day he knows the hope of God’s power and suddenly he can only feel the gloom of despair. The Bible doesn’t explain how Elijah gets from that mountaintop joy of a miracle to the place of defeat and despair. But the Lord is there too. Elijah tells the Lord that he just wants to die. And, God meets him in that place.

I think when we are feeling so depressed we often just want the pain to be gone. And sometimes the pain is so excruciating we just want to die.

The Lord knew Elijah’s need and met him there. We too can cry out to the Lord in our neediness. The Lord know our needs. He knew that Elijah felt lonely and scared. He knew that Elijah was exhausted and in need of food and water. And the Lord met those needs.

The Lord also knew that Elijah needed to know the Lord in a new way. I think that the Lord allows us to hit rock bottom so that we can look up with new eyes of neediness to see Him again. It is in those wilderness places of life when we feel no hope that the Lord wants us to see Him as all we need.

Elijah had just seen the Lord send fire down from heaven. Elijah had prayed and trusted that the Lord would answer and prove Himself as True God. Yet when Jezebel threatened his life he crumbled.

I know one thing I realized about my faith in my depression mostly after my depression is that the Lord wanted me to grow in my trust of Him. He wanted me to share the depths of my neediness with Him and depend on Him in it to care for me and satisfy me.

God is a personal God who is able to do amazing and miraculous things in this world. yet we so easily forget that He is that same able God in our personal wilderness of depression.

Yes, He has given us doctors, counselors, medications, and books that we can turn to for help. But He desires us to bring even our deepest neediness to Him. Nothing is too hard for Him. He wants to personally show us His glory. He wants to whisper hope in His still, small voice into our brokenness.

The Lord is able to take the deepest hurt and emotional pain and bring healing. He is able to use whatever we have gone through for His glory. He is able to satisfy our hearts with His love and with His perfect plans for our lives. When you cry, “Lord, I need you,” you can expect Him to show up and work in that hurting place. It may not be an overnight fix, but He will hold you in the pain and bring you to a place of new hope. We can always depend on and trust in HIm!

 

 

Lord, I Need You: I’m Helpless

Helpless. Desperate.

There are times in life when we just feel as if there is nothing we can do. We can’t fix or change the situation and life seems impossible.

There is a great story about a situation that seemed impossible to King Jehoshaphat in 2 Chronicles 2. He was feeling desperate. The Moabites, Ammonites, and some of the Meunites were coming to fight against him in Jerusalem. There was a vast number coming and they were getting closer. There was no time to prepare and this left the King feeling very helpless, it seemed that there was nothing that he could do.

Have there been times in your life when it felt like everything was coming down on you? Maybe you feel like that right now. You see it coming, and it seems that there is absolutely nothing you can do. King Jehoshaphat had these vast armies coming at him and he wasn’t able to prepare.

  • Maybe you have an overwhelming number of expenses hanging over your head and you don’t know where the money will come from to pay all of the bills.
  • Maybe it’s cancer that is spreading or some other illness warring on a loved one’s body or your body and you are left feeling helpless.
  • Or maybe it’s your adult son or daughter who has made  wrong choices and now faces court sentencing that will soon mean a prison term.

Whatever it is you are not able to fix it or change it. What do you do in such a desperate situation? Kin Jehoshaphat chose to seek the Lord and then he proclaimed a fast for all those joining him. Many gathered before him and he stood up and prayed.

He begins his prayer by recalling how the Lord has met them in their troubles, in their needs, and in their helplessness before. Have you seen God at work meeting you in previous times of difficulty?

King Jehoshaphat tells the Lord that no matter what kind of disaster comes upon them, they will stand before Him and cry to Him in their distress. They know where their help comes from. They know that the Lord will hear and will answer. It has been their experience with the Lord to see Him work on their behalf and they come to Him in faith. King Jehoshaphat’s confidence is fully in the Lord’s ability, he knows that he himself is helpless.

The king went on in his prayer telling the Lord of their previous dealings with these who were about to come against them. He reminds the Lord that He had not allowed them to be invaded, but these armies were coming to drive them out of the land that the Lord had given them. King Jehoshaphat asks the Lord if He wouldn’t bring judgment upon these armies because Israel is powerless before such a vast number of warriors.

And then, there is this key phrase in the king’s prayer. He tells the Lord, “We do not know what to do, but we look to You.” Wow, that is a prayer of helplessness. The feasible options have run out for us, there is nothing we can do. That is what the King is telling the Lord, he is saying I now am helpless in this situation, but I know You are able, so “we look to You.”

When we come to that place of helplessness, we can place all of our hope and trust in the Lord and look for Him to act. Are you in that place, helpless, there is nothing more that you can do? Don’t give up, keep reading because our great God is amazing.

So, the story doesn’t end there, God hears and speaks to one in the crowd by His Spirit. The Spirit tells them not to be afraid, and not to be discouraged, because the battle is not theirs, it is the Lord’s. Can you feel the peace wash over you?

Think about your situation the one that has left you feeling helpless. The battle against evil is not ours. The battle against the sin in this world is not ours. Satan has come to deceive and destroy. He has come to discourage and send you into despair. Satan does not want you to find hope in God. But the Lord has told us the Truth, “Greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.” (1 John 4:4). We only need to call on Jesus and the enemy will flee.

The Lord goes on to tell the Israelites exactly what to do, they must walk in faith knowing that “YAHWEH is with them.” God’s with us too, Immanuel literally means, “God with us.”  We have His presence, and access to His power.

Now you may be thinking, yes, but I prayed for this person who was dying in hopes that the Lord would save her life, but she died. And my friend’s son has been in prison for years, despite our prayers for his freedom. I know we often cannot understand the ways of the Lord.

The point of seeking Him is that in our helplessness there is no one else to go to that has the power to change things but Him. He is the one that can lead us, comfort us, and make His presence known to us in the midst of the situation. He is truly our Hope in our helplessness.

King Jehoshaphat listened to the Lord’s instruction through His Spirit, and followed His directions. They went out to the battlefield singing and praising God. Yes, in their helplessness and in their desperation, in the midst of this impossible situation, they trusted God and sang praises to His name.

They knew God’s faithfulness, and the Lord worked on their behalf setting an ambush against their enemies. Those that came to war against Israel ended up destroying each other. Israel found the place where the war was to take place covered in corpses.

And as if that wasn’t good enough, King Jehoshaphat and the people gathered the plunder. They were busy for three days gathering the abundance of goods and valuables. They found so much that they count even carry it all. The fourth day they spent praising God. They went back to the temple to worship the One who helped them in their helplessness.

We often strive in every and any way we can think of to make the situation work or at last to get it to seem better, we try everything humanly possible. And sadly enough, we often forget to even seek the Lord in our helplessness.

What situation in your life is leaving you feeling helpless right now? Have you tried everything? Are you discouraged and ready to give up? When we come to a place of desperation, let’s remember King Jehoshaphat’s prayer, “We do not know what to do but we look to You.” Truly, the Lord has the answer. And take time to recount to the Lord His amazing faithfulness as you cry out to Him in your desperation and helplessness.

I will be honest, there are times that I don’t think that His way is best. I have it all figured out and want it to go my way. But EVERY single time He works it out for His glory and I can tell you that He satisfies my heart through it. His ways are perfect. His way may not be easy, it may lead us through wilderness places, but He will meet us in them and hold us in His love.

His loving presence is what I need all of the time, and He is the One I will look to in my helplessness. What about you? Will you go to Him and cry out, Lord I need You!?

 

 

Lord, I Need You … I’m Exhausted

Matthew 11:28-30 NIV “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Jeremiah 31:25 NIV “I will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint.

Psalm 62:5 “Yes, my soul, find rest in God, your hope comes from him.”

I have known the feelings of exhaustion during various times in my life, but the time that stands out the most is during the period of time when my dad’s Alzheimer’s continued to worsen. He didn’t know his yard, his home, or even where his bedroom was. It was difficult for him to remember a simple direction. His health condition had altered his whole demeanor. He had become short-tempered and easily angered. He didn’t understand what was happening. I guess he may have been fearful inside but was unable to communicate that, so it all came out in frustration. He needed us to be loving and patient, helpful, yet allowing him to keep his dignity. 

I was frequently running back and forth to my parents trying to be there for mom, so that she could get out of the house, and trying to help dad find some enjoyment in life. This was exhausting as I was working, I had a home to take care of, and a husband who was being neglected.

LORD, I NEED YOU!

Matthew 11:28-30 tells us to come to Him when we are weary and burdened. The Lord calls us to bring out weariness to Him and to find rest in Him. He tells us in Isaiah 40:31 “Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength…”

Whether you are physically, spiritually, mentally exhausted, or all three, your strength can be renewed. The Lord gives strength to the weary. He wants us to find our hope in HIm.

We live in a fallen world, our natural human strength gives out, but the Lord is able to meet us in that, He has an inexhaustible storehouse of resources at His fingertips. He knows that the pressures of life weigh heavy on us. Sometimes our burdens are too big to carry. We end up feeling as though we are ready to give up.

I screamed “I don’t want to do this anymore, it is too hard, it’s too much.” My tears fell. I didn’t know how I was going to make it through this time, but the Lord knew.

A number of years ago, a girlfriend and I attended a Dallas Holm’s concert at a church in a town about 25 miles from where we live. Dallas and his wife. Linda, sang and shared. The part of that amazing concert that sticks in my mind most, is not the beautiful music we heard, but something Dallas shared. He explained that at that time his wife was going through cancer. They had been crying out to the Lord, and one day as Linda prayed the Lord impressed on her heart Isaiah 45:3.  “I will give thee the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places, that thou mayest know that I, the LORD, which call thee by thy name, am the God of Israel.”  (KJV)

“Treasures of darkness” are the gifts of a loving God, who knows where you are and what you are going through. I would have written Dad’s story completely differently, editing out Dad’s disease and the torment of Alzheimer’s. I would have written his story so that it wouldn’t have ended with him in a nursing home. It wouldn’t have seemed so overwhelming and exhausting if I would have made his life plan.

But, I am not God, and I don’t have the powers to make life as I desire. Instead, I had to go through this rough journey with Dad, and it was difficult, and we didn’t know the way. But the Lord did give me “treasures” in the darkness of this difficult time. He taught me amazing truths about His love, and how to love others, about His wisdom and how He was at work. The darkness was a place I didn’t want to be, I wanted the easy comforts of life, where I could enjoy energy and relaxation. I didn’t want to live in stress, in fear, and feel so vulnerable to the unknown. I didn’t want to be running constantly trying to be available in so many ways. I didn’t want to see all of the pain, or feel it. 

I must say, I didn’t see the Lord gifting me with these treasures during that time, I think I was too bleary-eyed. Sad and tired. But, now I look back, and I have to smile, my God was there holding me up, giving me strength. He helped me to feel His love for me, and He helped me demonstrate His love. He was there teaching me that I am not alone when I needed Him most. He was there teaching me that I couldl count on him, rely on Him, and depend on Him. He is trustworthy. He supported me and strengthened me to do what I needed to do. And above all, His name was glorified in it all.

Yes, I was exhausted, and I felt at the end of my rope. I cried hot tears, it wasn’t easy. But He gave me precious treasures that I can hold in my heart forever, and He showed me that He is my Eternal Hope and Strength for this life.

The Lord replenished my strength as I spent time with Dad. At times, I would catch a gleam in Dad’s eye when he found success at doing something. Or at other times he would tease me or laugh at something that amused him. My heart would be encouraged to find Dad,  as I knew him,  still in there. My dad had an amazing sense of humor.

The psalmist writes in Psalm 138:3 “As soon as I pray you answer me, you encourage me by giving me strength.” The Lord answers our prayers in ways that help us know Him more. If I had had the power to rewrite Dad’s life story, I would have missed out on some very beautiful treasures from the Lord, and now I can say that I am glad that the story was written the way it was. It was God’s way, and He always knows best. It wasn’t the easy or painless way, but it was the perfect way.

Lord, I need you! The song still brings me to tears as I remember, bittersweet memories. My heart prays that our exhaustion and desperation may always bring us to recognize our need for the Lord so that we can find the hope and strength He has for us.

God is Gracious

What does the graciousness of God mean to you?

The word gracious means to show kindness to those who are inferior, and to be filled with compassion. Grace is defined as unmerited favor. These words are a perfect description of who God is and how He has acted and continues to act towards us.

God’s grace towards us is a result of His unconditional love. Our Heavenly Father loves us, His children, as a parent does their own child. A parent desires the best for their child, and the Lord desires His best for us.

The Lord shows us His grace through His gift of redemption to us. He offers us forgiveness and eternal life through Jesus’ death and resurrection. The Lord has demonstrated His grace throughout the Bible.

In the Old Testament, we learn this about our God and His graciousness:

Joel 2:13 “And rend your heart and not your garments. Now return to the Lord your God, For He is gracious and compassionate. Slow to anger, abounding in loving-kindness, And relenting of evil.”

Joel is telling the people don’t just tear our clothes in grief, but tear your hearts. Your sin should make you that sad. He wants the people to recognize what they have left when they turned their back on God. He is speaking to us too, we also turn our backs on the Lord and we also need to repent.

Psalm 145:8 “The Lord is gracious and merciful; Slow to anger and great in loving-kindness.”

Psalm 116:5 “Gracious is the LORD, and righteous; Yes, our God is compassionate.”

The Psalmists in these two Psalms is describing the God each one has come to know.

Isaiah 30:15 “Therefore the Lord longs to be gracious to you, And therefore He waits on high to have compassion on you, For the Lord is a God of justice; How blessed are all those who long for Him.”

Isaiah is explaining to the Israelites, who have been very rebellious, that although God hates their evil ways, He is actually waiting to be gracious and compassionate to them. God loves His people that much. God desires so much to show us compassion and grace, He waits while we walk the path of sin, He waits for us to turn back to Him so He can demonstrate His love to us. His heart longs to do that. Can we even comprehend a love such as this?

In the New Testament, we find:

Romans 5:1-2 “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God.” 

Paul explains in Romans that we have justification through our faith, we have been declared just or righteous, we, who believe, have been acquitted. And because of that we are no longer at war with God as we had been when we lived in sinfulness. But, now we stand in grace and can boast of the hope we have in this amazing grace. We have been declared right before God. God knows that we still sin, but he has robed us in Christ’s righteousness. 

Ephesians 2:8-10 “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this is not from ourselves, it is the gift of God–not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good words, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

Paul goes on to explain that none of this is about us, it is nothing that we have done, it is all God’s gift to us. We cannot take credit for any of it.

Titus 2:11 “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men,”

Jesus came to seek and to save the lost (Luke 19:10). He came to earth for all of us, we all are in need of a Savior. He came to seek and save those lost in a sinful life, That describes mankind. He came to bring hope to sinners.

We recently celebrated Easter or sometimes called Resurrection Sunday by believers.

 We celebrate this holiday because:

  • Through faith in Him we have the hope of heaven.
  • Through faith in Him we have Eternal life.
  • Through faith in Him we have access to God (our Heavenly Father).
  • Through faith in Him we have forgiveness of sins.

Grace, Grace, God’s Grace, greater than all our sins. All of these are ours through faith in Jesus. Do you want to learn more about God’s grace? My posts for the month of May will center around the grace of God, topics such as the sufficiency of His grace, the equality we find at the foot of the cross, and the throne of grace that He invites us to. I also want to dig into some illustrations of His grace found in Scripture.

Our hope rests in the grace that Jesus has bought for us on the cross through His death and resurrection. Do you have that hope? I look forward to sharing with you about all we have through Jesus. Let’s find refreshment for our souls in God’s word, in His Truths, and in His promises. Without His grace we are left in the hopelessness of our sinful state.

Abundance out of Brokenness

Is there abundance out of brokenness? Can you wrap your mind around that?

It is a bit mind-boggling to say the least. This concept is not typically what we think of when we think of being broken. Brokenness is usually equated with emptiness, despair, helplessness, hopelessness, feelings of overwhelm, grieving, and on and on. There doesn’t seem to be any light for a path to abundance.

Yet, Ann Voskamp says that brokenness is a “daring path to abundant life.” It is all about risk, Ann describes it as “vulnerable communion.” Sharing our brokenness, embracing our brokenness, giving away our broken pieces is the road to finding true abundance.

The abundant life is promised to the believer in John 10:10, Jesus says, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy, I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.Jesus came so that we as believers may have abundant life. Satan, the devil comes to take it away, to bring death, and for the purpose of destruction. We are dead to God’s gift of abundant life before we come to know Christ. When we are “dead in our sins”, we are not even aware of that fact of our deadness.

But we have been called to hope in Christ. Praise God for His amazing grace. Jesus came and took our brokenness, He took away our sins, He took it all to the cross, He died for us. Jesus came to bind up and to heal (Psalm 147:3). He takes us in all of our brokenness, in our sin-sickness, in our hopelessness and fear, and leads us to abundance.

Oftentimes, people hear the words “abundant life” and think of riches, and money, wealth. When Jesus promises abundant life, He is promising satisfaction in Himself. We are satisfied in knowing Him, in His love, in the peace He brings, and in the comfort He gives.

We can take our own personal brokenness and share it with others, and in the humility of recognizing our need for Christ, and in the knowledge of our pain, we can point others to Christ. Instead of turning inward, instead of hiding, we can share how we know pain within, we can find a commonality of brokenness in our lives, and find hope in the one Who came to heal us, the one Who robes us in His righteousness. We are covered in Jesus righteousness, and in that there is hope, the hope is because of His unfailing mercy and grace for us.

We can give out of what we find in Jesus. We can live broken open and poured out as we live our lives in Christlikeness because of what Jesus has done for us. And as we pour out our lives into the lives of others, we again and again go back to the Lord to be filled and refilled. It is in our emptiness that we realize our need and desperation for the hope we can only find in Him.

We all are broken, broken by sin, broken by pain, broken by grief, and it is when we stop covering it up, hiding it away and let our woundedness be the opening where we let others in to love us and let our wounded places be pressed into the woundedness of Christ that we find abundance. We find abundance, meaning we find full satisfaction in Jesus and the richness that comes in knowing the love, acceptance, and belonging we can only have in true communion.

Are you on that path to abundance?

Are you finding satisfaction in Jesus in the midst of your personal brokenness?

Are you sharing your brokenness with others and sharing what you have found in the Lord with them as well?

We can find true abundance as we know our brokenness, share our brokenness, and know the Lord in all of it.

Grace

Is your heart imprisoned by sin? God’s grace can set you free.

What role does grace play in your life? How significant does your sin have to be in order for you to feel the need to repent?

Sin made its way into the human race through Adam and Eve. But before the foundations of the earth God knew that man would turn away from Him in sin, and God had a plan. The Lord gave us Jesus to die for our sins. One’s relationship with the Lord only comes about through accepting Jesus’ payment for sin.  That is grace. Our sins are forgiven in Jesus, no matter what our sin is. Jesus took all of them to the cross. That is huge!

Yet I came to realize that I need to take my day sin much more seriously as I read The Broken Way. Grace isn’t a free ticket to sin. When I sin, I need to take time to talk with the Lord about what I have done, admit my sinfulness and ask for forgiveness. Grace wasn’t cheap, it cost Jesus His life.

It comes down to this,when I sin, do I even consider that cost? I need to keep that cross at the forefront of my mind to help me remember the cost of my sin to Jesus and the incredible value of the grace He gives me.

If I am not living life with a heart of repentance, I probably have no part of grace in my days. What does that say about my relationship with the Lord? What does it say about my love for Him? Do I even recognize the cost?

The Broken Way has made me take this to heart. We often take sin lightly, a white lie here, an angry word, or lustful look. These may seem small compared to sins like murder, adultery, or perjury, but they were all a part of the reason why Jesus died on the cross. They all are the basis of our need for grace.

So, what does it mean day-to-day? For me it means being more aware of how I live, act, and speak. It means being aware of my sin as I commit them. I need to talk to the Lord and receive His grace into my heart and life moment-by-moment.

Sin separates us from God, it causes a distance in our relationship with the Lord. The Lord desires our relationship, it is why He sent Jesus. His grace is always available, He looks for us to come to Him with humble hearts of sorrow about our sins.

When we come to the throne of grace, we come to find deeper intimacy and depth of relationship with the Lord. It means that my heart grows more tender to the things that hurt my Heavenly Father. It means a deeper understanding of what grace really is, leading me to knowing abundant hope in Him who died for me.

Do you need grace in your life today? At this moment? It is so easy to overlook our sins, and as we do our hearts become hardened and insensitive to the Holy Spirit’s convicting us. Realizing the truth of the correlation between my recognition of my sinfulness, my bringing that sin before the Lord and the reality of His grace being poured into my life and my heart, has created a new yearning for a deeper relationship with Him. I guess it made me recognize all the more how desperately I need my Lord and Savior.

So, how about you? What are you doing with the sin in your life? Is your heart hardened to the reality of it? Or is your heart opened to the grace the Lord wants to pour over your sin? We have access to the throne of grace through Jesus, His blood paid the way. Does that truth have any effect on your life? These are all questions I had to ask myself. It is so easy to take it for granted. Is the cross just being a shiny piece of jewelry around your neck? It is so much more. How do you keep this truth flashing in your mind as a reminder of Who you are living for, and of Who you belong to?

Grace greater than all our sin, Thank you, Jesus.

Brokenness

Brokenness. When you think of brokenness in your own life, in your own heart, what do you think of? What physical pain or life difficulties or emotional hurt come to mind?

I think one of the most important truths I came away with after reading The Broken Way is that there is hope in our brokennness. Now, as a believer I know Jesus is my hope in all situations for all of life. But as much as I know that to be true, as much as the Lord has proven Himself to me, when I am feeling so broken within I lose sight of that hope.

I realized, as I read The Broken Way, how much we as humans, and specifically me as an individual, take to hiding our brokenness from others. It is in hiding our brokenness that we separate ourselves. This keeps us feeling very alone and very divided.

I know when I went through a very deep depression years ago I only wanted to hide, to be alone. I locked myself in a room so I could write in my journal and cry for hours. I didn’t believe that anyone could understand what I was feeling. I shared my feelings with my counselor, and in my journal, and I told God what He needed to do. I knew He could help me if He would just answer my prayer. But He didn’t and I stayed stuck until I recognized my need to let Him be God. And even then I still stayed hidden.

There are so many things in life that crush us.

  • Shame can keep us locked away, feeling so bad that we think we could never be accepted.
  • Feeling misunderstood can make us pull into a shell.
  • Physical health ailments can make us hide because we feel too needy and as if we are a burden.
  • Grief can make us turn inward because we feel like no one can understand our pain. We feel like we can’t go on without that other person. Who could understand that? Who wants to be around someone so sad?

So we hide our tears and drown in our sadness. We want to hide our vulnerability, we don’t want to feel embarrassed. Some of us have been shamed for our tender emotions.

It is all so heavy and at times feels so hopeless. So, where does the hope come in? I can assure you, it does not come in by way of the hiding. Ann Voskamp helped me to realize more deeply the truth that the hope we all so desperately need in our brokenness comes in finding understanding, acceptance, and connection right there in the midst of our brokenness. And, all I can say is, that seems way too scary. It is scary because it means hope can only begin when we become willing to be vulnerable. Well, I am not good at being vulnerable in the midst of brokenness, but it seems that it truly is the only way to find hope.

It is the only way to find hope because it is in the sharing of brokenness that Jesus showed us the reality of hope in Him. Jesus came to this earth, Immanuel, God with us. He became man and lived life here on earth. He experienced life with all of the pain and hurts that we experience and more. He died on the cross to give those who believe in Him eternal life and to take away our sins. It is because He knows our pain and our neediness that we can find hope.

Our hope comes in taking the reality of our broken selves to Creator God, who knows us better than we know ourselves, and in desperate dependence, telling Him we need Him to help us.

When I was going through my depression, that is not what I did, instead I told Him what to do. I remained stuck in my depression, I call it my “wandering in the desert” time. The Lord kept bringing me to Jeremiah 2:13 showing me how I had forsaken Him and was looking for help elsewhere. I was looking for help in my counselor more than I was seeking the Lord for help. I knew the crux of my pain and I knew what I felt I needed to “fix” it, and I told God exactly what the perfect solution would be. It was when I finally repented and asked Him to help me out of my desperate state according to His will that He began the healing process.

His healing process led me to much deeper intimacy with Him and through that He showed me how He wanted to use my pain and healing in ministry. The path He led me on was a path of learning to be more vulnerable, of connecting in the reality of my brokenness, and of learning to accept love when I felt unlovable. He helped me to learn those things as I shared and ministered to women in my church and in friendships. I truly did find hope in my brokenness because the Lord used my brokenness to touch others with His love, and to satisfy the neediness of others hearts. I continue to feel used by Him in this.

So, you may be wondering why I said Ann’s book had such a profound effect on me. I guess, in some ways I wonder that too, but, what I am realizing is that, there is more brokenness deep inside. It is from there, in that broken place, that I find myself going back to my old “hiding” ways of self-protection.

So, in reading The Broken Way, I was brought face-to-face with my brokenness, and the reality of my self-protection in my self-sufficiency. The pain of it hit me hard. It is this realization of more brokenness in me that led me to see that I need to reach out to God in childlike dependence and tell Him of my need for Him right where I am now. You see, when we are distant from our brokenness, it is way too easy to return to that place of self-sufficiency, feeling like you don’t need anyone, and that you especially don’t need to be vulnerable.

I am living in the awareness of my brokenness and trying hard to be openly dependent on the Lord. I want very much to be transparent with my brokenness and my need for the Lord because I know there is healing in that and more than that, I know there is hope.

We are not the only ones in our families, in our group of friends, or in our church families who are broken, yet we often live as if we are. I know from past experience and now again in my current attempt at authenticity that:

  • There is hope in the love we find in connecting in the midst of our brokenness.
  • There is hope in the empathy we share.
  • There is hope in joining together in vulnerability.
  •  There is hope in seeing each other as more like us than different from us.

The healing comes in the hope we find in loving each other. There is healing in not running and hiding in fear of our brokenness, but rather acknowledging our dependence on the Lord and those He so lovingly put in our lives. (Just repeating that to myself helps me so much.)

The Broken Way led me to see my brokenness, my neediness, and although it brought tears and pain, it has shown me the way to hope in the midst of personal brokenness.

The Lord can use our individual brokenness to bring about hope through the bonds of love and connection, if and when we give it to Him fully depending on Him.

Take your brokenness to Him and let Him show you the way He has of growing you in it and through it, and then using you in amazing ways. He will satisfy your heart. He will give you new hope.