Broken Wholly or Holy Broken

My mentor and precious friend, Win walked into the waiting arms of Jesus a week ago, after a sojourn of more than 90 years on this earth. As another mutual friend noted, it was a near-journey for her–that transition from this life into eternity, because Win had lived her life here on earth  aware of the reality of Jesus. One of my favorite things about a visit with Win was how Jesus’ presence was so obvious and sweet.  So as she  tread her final steps in this life, and breathed in the deep grace of heavenly air, it must have felt familiar, even in its newness.

Win lived broken in a broken world; she served broken people with a heart that spilled Jesus’ love and acceptance out of every fissure. She wasn’t really as worried about fixing brokenness, as she was trusting Jesus for good in the midst of it. I don’t mean she didn’t care about the hurt of brokenness. Oh, she cared. So much it drove her to a life of constant prayer. Because who else could understand the pain of a heart being split wide open. Rejection without and within. Disgrace. Not just broken, crushed. That’s the Jesus Win loved and trusted.

Someone asked me recently what I felt has been the primary change in my journey with Jesus, from before Joel was incarcerated and now. My answer is simple, but the change has been profound. Before my life was turned upside down, I loved God passionately and was devoted to serving him. What I didn’t realize was how much I needed Him. Until my path was split by an earthquake. Until my hopes went up in a volcanic explosion. Until in the crucible of loss I was forced to reckon what I said I believed. In the broken, in the ruptured, in the mutilation, that’s where I saw my neediness. In being broken wholly, I have found a way to live holy. It is the way of dependence.

As Ann Voskamp says in her book, The Broken Way: “For a seed to come fully into its own it must become wholly undone. The shell must break open; its insides must come out and everything must change.  If you didn’t understand what life looks like, you might mistake it for complete destruction.” The way of the cross is to our natural minds the way of “complete destruction.” Nobody who watched Jesus die expected to ever have a living encounter with him again. The way of  destruction looked too utterly desolate to lead to life. Yet three days later Jesus was “The first-fruits of those raised from the dead.” Broken wholly, he became Holy Broken. When Thomas saw him, his hands and side bore the scars of his brokenness. Jesus wore them like a trophy of life. They were not the scars of destruction; they were victory tattoos!

This is what Win modeled for me. Brokenness is not the end of the story.  But it is essential to the end. Because when we are wholly broken, we come to the place of His holiness. And in our neediness, we are able to receive the gift of Him. The scars become our victory tattoos, serving as constant reminders that He is enough. He is always enough.

Broken
For Win Couchman

When did you know you were broken?
And how did you find a fix?
When did you know that love could spill out,
Of all the jagged cracks?
When did you know you were broken?
And no longer look for a fix?
When did you know his love pours into,
All the spidery cracks?
When did you know you were broken?
And love yourself that way?
When did you know His wholeness filled?
Even the dark, empty place?
When did you know you were broken?
And know it wouldn’t stay that way?
That with one final breath you would step beyond?
And meet with his love face to face?

 


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