The Benefits Of Brokenness

This is Day 25 of my Write 31 Days series for 2017: 31 Days of Kintsugi.
For an index of all the posts in the series, please click here

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On Wednesdays during this series I am featuring guest posts by some of my blogging friends, who are going to share their real-life stories of Kintsugi in action.  Today I’m pleased to welcome Barbara Robbins.

In February 2017, when I was asked to be a team leader for God-Living Girls with Chronic Illness first Virtual Retreat Weekend, I had no idea how fitting the focus of these three days was for what laid ahead for our family during the rest of this year. We were doing a study of the recently released book and video series by Ann Voskamp, The Broken Way:A Daring Path into the Abundant Life.  

The retreat was encouraging, but what our family has faced in the months since then has been difficult. Legal issues concerning the property we inherited from my husband’s mother, high monthly property tax payments that strain our budget to the point of collapse, the loss of our only vehicle due to mechanical problems, damage to our home from Hurricane Harvey, and our special-needs, medically fragile son’s life-threatening illness made worse by lack of available medication during the hurricane – all of these have made for a year where brokenness is no longer a theory I read about in a book.

So what is biblical brokenness? The circumstances we have walked through this year have definitely stirred up my emotions, but true brokenness is more than an emotion. We live in a world broken by sin, but circumstances don’t necessarily bring true brokenness, no matter how difficult they are. Our response to our circumstances is the determining factor. Brokenness is a lifestyle of responding to the difficulties of life with an attitude of humility and obedience to God.

One of the clearest definitions of brokenness I’ve ever read comes from Nancy Leigh DeMoss. She says: “Brokenness is the shattering of my self-will so that the life, the Spirit, the fragrance, the life of Jesus may be released through me.”  

Kintsugi, the Japanese art of repairing broken ceramics with a lacquer mixed with gold, silver or platinum that is being explored in this series of articles, is a beautiful picture of what God desires to do in our lives through biblical brokenness. Through difficult circumstances and our right response to them, God’s light is able to shine through the cracks in our lives. And His light has the power to change lives.

Some of the specific changes God has worked in me through our season of brokenness: 

  • I have grown in my relationship with God, come into a greater intimacy with Him. Because of this, my daily devotional times have been enriched, and I’ve become more sensitive to His voice. 
  • This has been a time of growth in the area of prayer. Being in impossible situations where either God shows up or we go under is a great motivation to pray. I’ve learned more about the power of prayer during the past few months than during my previous forty-five years as a Christian. 
  • I have also grown in my understanding of what it means to walk in faith. In the past, faith in my mind was closely tied to how I felt. This year, God has taught me that faith is observable by what I do. Picking up the shield of faith is acting like I believe God will do what He says, even if in my emotions I’m not totally convinced that will happen. 
  • I’ve become more aware that people are watching me to see how I will respond to difficulties. In the midst of this difficult season, I have been involved in ministry, both in our church and through being a part of the leadership team of God-Living Girls with Chronic Illness. Knowing others are watching and wanting to set a good example has been another incentive for making right choices. 

In today’s culture, broken things are often disdained and discarded. But in the kingdom of God, brokenness is something beautiful, something God wants to use for His glory and for our ultimate good. The circumstances that put me in a place of choosing to walk in brokenness this year are (mostly) still awaiting God’s answers. I don’t know what lies ahead, but I know the One who is in control better than I did at the beginning of this year.

I want to close with a quote Ann Voskamp shared at the beginning of her book The Broken Way, some wise words that remind us of how God sees our brokenness. These powerful words summarize beautifully when God has been teaching me this year.

Barbara picture

barbara profile picMy name is Barbara Robbins, and I’m the wife of a Christian video and movie producer-director and mom of two adult children, including our son who has cerebral palsy and is completely bed-bound and dependent upon others for all his needs.  The focus of my writing is sharing the lessons I’ve learned as the mom of a special needs child and a sufferer of multiple chronic illnesses.  The path I’ve walked is not one I would have chosen, but it is the path my Lord and Savior has taken me down so my desire is to bring Him glory where I am.

You can connect with Barbara at her blog or on Facebook, and you can find out more about God-Living Girls with Chronic Illness here.

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17 thoughts on “The Benefits Of Brokenness

    1. Thanks, Andrew. Grace is a good way to describe it. I’ve learned so much from the difficult circumstances we have walked through this year, not especially because of what I have done but because of the work God has done in me.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. This is so true, Barbara, even though hard: “Our response to our circumstances is the determining factor. Brokenness is a lifestyle of responding to the difficulties of life with an attitude of humility and obedience to God.” God bless you in your journey of brokenness and grace.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Writing this wasn’t easy – as I said in the article Sarah, we are still in the midst of the tough circumstances and in the natural can’t see a way out. But the lessons God has been teaching me needed to be shared.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for your comment, Valerie. I feel like I still have so much to learn in the area of brokenness, but after being in “the school of the Holy Spirit” for the past several months all I can do is give Him the glory.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Barbara, this is beautiful! Our family hasn’t faced nearly the trials you have, but we’ve had some tough things this past year. As I read your list of the things you’ve learned, my head was nodding. God has and is teaching me similar. That Nancy Leigh Demoss quote is golden–it’s going beside my bathroom mirror so I can see it every morning.

    God bless you and yours as you rebuild.

    Liked by 1 person

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