Last weekend I sat down for chai with a new friend, a precious woman battling panic attacks and anxiety. We made plans to meet knowing nothing of one another except our mutual struggle with fear and our shared faith in a redeeming God.
As I recounted my story—rampant hypochondria, debilitating panic, emotional paralysis, eroding faith—I marveled at how far I’ve traveled on a road that once looked like a dead end. There were days in 2008 when I hid in bed, trembling with despair, certain my life would never be normal again. I would never recover. I’d reached the end.
Dying to Live
In a way, I was right. I entered the dark tunnel confident of my standing with God. I emerged cowering and unsteady.
I entered the tunnel comfortable with my lifestyle; I emerged doubting my heritage, my choices, and my purpose.
I entered the tunnel strong; I emerged fragile.
The years since have taught me the value of fragility. Where I end, God begins. Less of me equals more of him. And that is the birthplace of hope.
When I realized I couldn’t put my life back together, I had nowhere to turn but to Him. It was an act of desperation, not faith. I’m not proud of my weakness, but I am proud of what He did with it.
So as I sat with my friend on Saturday, I told her about my nervous breakdown, about adopting a hurting child, about my writing. Then I summed up all three with these words:
There is nothing so broken that God cannot redeem it.
Nothing So Broken
This phrase came to me last year as I sketched a plot diagram for a novel. I saw the thread woven throughout the story, yet I struggled to believe its truth in my own life. Sometimes I still do.
My brain can recite Scripture claiming God redeems all things, but on hard days the clouds just look gray, forget the silver lining. Those are the times I look back at what He has done and remember sunlight always shines above darkness, even when we can’t see it.
To celebrate this truth, and to strengthen our faith in it, I’ve invited some remarkable women to share personal stories of brokenness on the path to redemption. Some are just beginning the journey; others have reached a place of healing and joy. I’m titling this series (and christening my blog) Nothing So Broken in honor of God’s power and faithfulness.
If you have a story of brokenness redeemed, I would be honored to hear it (email@example.com). Whether you’re a writer or not, I believe there are few things more worthwhile than recording what God has done and sharing His goodness with a hurting world.
But if that’s not you – if your story is heavy on brokenness and short on redemption – I want to hear about that, too. I’ve been there, in the pit. I want to pray with you. I want you to know you are not alone. I want to hold your hand while you search the sky for a glimpse of sunlight breaking through the storm. It’s there, even if you don’t see it. Just hold on, and never stop looking up.
This is what God says,
the God who builds a road right through the ocean,
who carves a path through pounding waves…
“Forget about what’s happened;
don’t keep going over old history.
Be alert, be present. I’m about to do something brand-new.
It’s bursting out! Don’t you see it?
There it is! I’m making a road through the desert,
rivers in the badlands.
Wild animals will say ‘Thank you!’
—the coyotes and the buzzards—
Because I provided water in the desert,
rivers through the sun-baked earth,
Drinking water for the people I chose,
the people I made especially for myself,
a people custom-made to praise me.”
Isaiah 43: 16-21