06 May 2008

the spirituality of brokenness

An email from my friend, Maribeth:
Yesterday a man offered to buy the oven we had at the garage sale. I told him 100.00 and he didn’t reply. Then I asked the Holy Spirit what He thought. Immediately the Spirit prompted, 50.00 dollars. I turned to the man and said, “Well for you sir, 50.00 dollars!” The man said, “That is interesting because I was thinking if you said 50, I would buy it.” He pulled out a 50 and handed it to me and said his girlfriend would pick it up in a couple of hours. Two hours later, his girlfriend showed up in a beat up pickup truck to load it. I told her how nice her boyfriend was and she laughed sarcastically and said he really wasn’t nice. In fact she said he wasn’t very kind at all. I was sort of shocked but then I got mad. “If he isn’t respectful to you, you should kick him to the curb! I am serious, sister, you are a princess, daughter of a King, and your boyfriend should treat you accordingly”, I told her.

But it wasn’t until we were struggling to load the oven into the back of her truck, that I noticed her scar. It was the deepest scar I have ever seen running vertically down her chest. “Hey have you had open heart surgery?” “I was shot in the chest. Gun shot wound.” That is when I got seriously straight with her. I looked into her eyes and gave it to her straight. “Listen sister, God does not bring someone back from the dead without having a big plan for their life. He brought you back because He knows you by name and has a plan for you.” Then I quoted (more like a pretty good paraphrase of) Jeremiah 29:11. “For I know the plans I have for you,” plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” I asked her if she went to church, gave her my name and number and Lakeside’s website. Now I am not sharing this because I think I am all that. Most of the time I am praying that I don’t mess things up badly in people’s journey of faith and that Jesus will repair the bridges I burn. Because in my pride and self-righteousness I mess up all the time. I am telling you because she matters to me. She matters to me. And she matters to Jesus.

I am comfortable around people whose scars are visible, because even though mine may be hidden to most, I have many. People who are “messed up” or “not popular” or “socially unacceptable” are the easiest to be with for me, because in their presence I don’t have to hide anything or have it together or pretend anything. I am free when I am looking into the eyes of a homeless person on the street. I am free when I am grieving with someone whose husband has left. I am free when someone shares their struggle with pride or jealousy or anger or distrust, because it gives me breathing room. Breathing room. Breathing room. Even though I don’t welcome being broken, I am at my best in my brokenness, because then Jesus can do what He does best. Where my capacities end, His begin. And nothing is better than when God shows up.

Thanks for showing up yesterday, Jesus. You are my best bud. And I am so grateful for all that You do. I can’t believe You love me like You do. It makes no sense to me, but I will take it.
Check out her blog, follow her adventure: http://www.acts3.org/blog/sheriff.php

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