Strength and Brokenness

“Perhaps strength doesn’t reside in having never been broken…but in the courage required to grow strong in the broken places.”

Are you broken? Or had pain at some point in your life that felt like too much to bare?

We’ve all been hurt — broken — at some point, in some way in our lives, haven’t we? Parents hurt us, dads leave, alcohol destroys, marriages end, friends abandon, abuse happens, loved ones betray, illness takes lives, and on the list goes. But what do we do with pain?

Recently, I’ve had the privilege of being a part of a women’s group through a church in Nashville. We are all very different in our walks of life, demographics, personalities, and passions. Some are vivacious and animated (and keep our group exciting); others, more reserved and when they do share, we listen closely. Some women are married, others are single. We range in ages from 24-45. The incredible part of our group is we never would have met apart from our Monday night meetings and most of us you never would have paired as friends. But now we are.

Beautiful is the only word to describe what happens on Monday nights. We go to share life together-real life- not just the details our Facebook profiles advertize. Recently, we’ve talked a great deal about brokenness-and began to identify the ways it has affected our lives. We are each learning in our own ways that unforgiveness, clinging to the past, and blaming others has not worked — will never work — and frankly it will ruin any chance of true life and joy in the future.

How do we grow strong in the broken places? It’s not a blind process that just happens because we ‘get over it’. I would argue that you either deal with it or it deals with you, harshly.

I believe it takes a heaping dose of courage to dig deep and refuse to rely on crutches-alcohol, busyness, men, food, drugs, perfection-because we want real life. Abundant life. I’ve seen too many friends ignoring their pain, heartache, or whatever they are dealing with and usually consuming large quantities of alcohol, overworking themselves for distraction, or serial dating men to try to cope with it. And I was queen of numbing myself.  But I believe that by living in community, refusing to allow crutches to deaden our hearts to the life we’re meant to live, and pursuing healing and forgiveness and mercy and grace is the only way we grow stronger. And find joy again.

I’ve felt broken almost beyond repair at several points in my life — but I am slowly learning (very slowly) how to stop piecing myself together and allow the Great Physician to do His mending. And I can tell you those stitches are more beautiful and lasting than anything I was ever able to do.

Everyone has pain and feels broken at some point along the way. The question is will you allow brokenness to destroy you? Or will you grow stronger in those places that hurt the most?

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8 Responses to “Strength and Brokenness”
  1. Brayta Bailey says:

    I just love you Ruthie!!! Can’t wait to see you later… be real… and dig a little deeper… :)

  2. Anonymous says:

    it is so amazing how God brings the right people into our lives…right at the time and season we are ready to walk with them. I am so blessed to be walking this journey with such amazing women!!!!!

  3. Ragan says:

    Girl…. Amen. I’d like to think I’m the vivacious one. ;)

  4. leannpass says:

    Your heart showed through this piece. Thank you for sharing that. Courageous questions to ask ourselves at the end. You have a lot of wisdom in that pretty head.

  5. Ravi says:

    How do I get over my interest in girls?I’ve never been in a rentoialship, ever. I’ve never dated, and I’ve never directly asked somebody out. And I don’t want to do any of those things, either. No good ever really comes of it. The only people in our society who genuinely found true love are old people who work really hard at convincing themselves they still have feelings and married couples with children who don’t want to put their kids through the emotional stress of a divorce. In fact, the only reason the elderly have remained married is because they come from an era where divorce carried a stigma. Everybody else in our society is so easily convinced they’re in love when they’re not. Whether they realize in one month, one year, or ten years (even twenty), it’s only going to bring them misery in the end. And there’s no way to avoid it if it wasn’t meant to be (which it never is). Prolong marriage, get to know the other person as a close friend and family member, play conservatively with compliments and strong words, it doesn’t matter what you do. Nothing helps. Just wait, in the next 30 years the divorce rate will skyrocket to around 70%. Custody battles, loss of personal belongings, monetary problems, and of course, heartbreak. I want to stay as far away from it as possible.How to I get rid of my interest in girls? I don’t want to get myself into any trouble, so I want to just get rid of my fantasies. Is there any proven method of becoming asexual?Oh? What if we aren’t? What if nature only intended us to have sexual relations with each other just for the sake of reproduction? No other animal I can think of prioritizes companionship.I’ll be watching friends begin families, find themselves divorcing, losing custody of their children, and being put in a financial hole. Trust me, in the next 30 years, the divorce rate will increase exponentially compared to what it is now. There are only two possible reasons why old couples haven’t divorced: a) they were raised in a time when divorce had a stigma attached to it and they never wanted anything to do with it, or b) they are just very, very close. They love each other as family. The physical attraction people have between each other inevitably fades.

  6. Trina Reilley says:

    Hi Ruthie, I am never surprised how God works. I am the pastor’s wife at our church, Creekside Church, in Martinez, CA and we are putting on a 5K in our community to bring awareness to cyber bullying. I have heard of too many girls committing suicide over this issue. As the team meets, we are looking for the right saying and theme for our t-shirts and prizes and I just saw your picture on this post on Pinterest. I would like to know if we can use it? It’s perfect! If not, I understand. Blessings to you!

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