Beauty can come from brokenness.
or many of us, music underscores significant moments in our lives. The first song played at your wedding. The Christmas album you listen to every year while decorating the tree. The song you sing over and over to put your babies to sleep.
But perhaps the most poignant songs are the songs we struggle to sing. Songs connected to moments of loss, heartache and grief. Songs that show us the broken condition of our hearts.
During my two seasons of struggling with infertility, one before each of my children were conceived, there were songs I struggled to sing. Songs with lyrics of trust and hope which didn’t reflect the state of my heart. There were times I sang them as prayers, believing God would continue to work on my heart and grow me to a moment when those words would be true for me.
But there was one song I could never bring myself to sing: "Enough
" by Chris Tomlin.
All of you is more than enough for
All of me
For every thirst and every need
You satisfy me
With your love
And all I have in You
Is more than enough
That song pierced my heart. Over and over again. I couldn’t even pretend to sing it. Because I wanted a baby far more than I wanted Jesus.
That song stripped my heart bare. It clearly showed me the choice I was making to withhold this area of my heart from God, rather than surrendering it to him. I wish I could say that song brought about immediate change. It didn’t. Instead, it brought truth. A truth I had successfully evaded naming and defining until that song did both for me.
Eventually I did decide to face the brokenness in my life. And God graciously led me through an intensely painful, three-month journey into my unique brokenness. Slowly surrendering. Allowing myself to grieve. Trusting God with the brokenness He would not change in my life. These were some of the hardest things I’ve ever done. And they led to the greatest peace I’ve ever known.
A peace that remained over the year ahead.
As we chose to pursue adoption (something I had fought against for a long time).
As we chose the birth agency we felt God wanted us to use (even though it meant turning down a different one that already had available babies).
As we went six months without any phone calls from interested birth moms.
To the day I sat in my living room with my daughter on my lap silently praying, God, if the call never comes, if we remain just a family of three forever, if this is only an exercise in trust and surrender, I’m truly okay with that
It was in that moment I knew I could sing the lyrics to “Enough” and truly mean them. In that moment I could see the beauty God had brought through the surrendering of my heart. Beauty from and in my brokenness. He was enough and I could find joy in him.
Flash forward nine years. Someone recommended the singer/songwriter Ellie Holcomb’s music to me. I downloaded her album As Sure as the Sun
and began to listen. One song in particular tugged at my heartstrings: "The Broken Beautiful
." Once again, a song and its lyrics sent me right back to that broken time in my life.
I know that I don’t bring a lot to the table
Just little pieces of my broken heart
There’s days I wonder if you’ll still be faithful
Hold me together when I fall apart
Instantly I remembered how hard it had been to trust God with my brokenness, to believe he was faithful. Yet, I also remembered how tenderly he brought me to a place where I could say:
Would you remind me now of who You are?
That Your love will never change,
That there’s healing in Your name
That You can take broken things
And make them beautiful.
There are many beautiful things in my life today: family, friends, good work to do, a lovely world to enjoy. But the beauty I treasure most is that which has come out of my own particular brokenness: God’s gift of my two children. I see his fingerprints all over them—in their personalities, their imaginations and their coming into my life.
My children daily remind me how God has redeemed my years of brokenness, bringing to my life a beauty so worth waiting for. But greater still is the beauty of a deepened relationship with the Jesus who was more than enough when I surrendered the broken pieces of my heart to him.
I’m better off when I begin to remember
How you have met me in my deepest pain
You take broken things
And make them beautiful
Had I heard this song eight years ago, it, too, would have stripped my soul bare. But now I hear it and rejoice in how Jesus has “covered all of my heartache / Oh, with all [his] grace.”
The heartache still remains from long years of wondering and waiting. But he has truly covered it over with grace. He changed my heart. He brought life from my grief. He brought beauty from my brokenness.
Oh Lord, grant us your grace with ourselves and others, in the seasons of songs we cannot sing. Redeem the pieces of our brokenness as we bring them to you, surrendering to your good for our lives. And may we rejoice in the songs we are able to one day sing on the other side of the broken beautiful.
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