I don’t know if I’m alone in this but these last several weeks have been exhausting! Current event craziness, politics seeping into all aspects of our life and then all the new shows this season returning to further INFLICT PAIN with SAD/NIHILISTIC story lines (Scandal, HTGAWM, Reign, Jane The Virgin)! If you haven’t caught up on your shows this season, I FOREWARN you: Be strong. It, too, shall pass.
I am joking, kind of. My original intention was to share this blog about me trying to teach the kiddos at my church’s Kid’s Ministry about the Beatitudes and how hard it was to explain that “blessed are the broken hearted.” But, as the weeks progress, I realize that maybe I needed, WE, our country, needs a reminder that “blessed are the broken hearted."
Ok, so back to the Beatitudes and Kid’s Ministry.
Sigh….this lesson felt like a challenge. How does one teach pre-teens the complex phenomenon that when one FEELS bad, one is ACTUALLY blessed?!! More importantly, how does one CONVINCE them that this is not CrAzy TaLk?!
Dear World: PLEASE TELL ME how to convince pre-teens of the notion that there are experiences that larger society tells us are BAD but that our spirituality re-assures us that there is more that meets the eye?
The doubts taunted me as I prepared to tell them there is a hidden blessing when you are sad, or penniless, or a victim of injustice.
Well, since making them believe it was BEYOND my capacity, I settled for a personal experience that I believed exemplified one of the beatitudes. A few years ago, I went through a painful breakup. I learned some really important lessons in the post-break up pain so I’m grateful for it, but, most important is that I learned a great deal about God’s goodness, His sovereignty and despite extreme emotional pain, I learned to trust Him MORE deeply.
So, back to my story. Here’s the scenario-a few years back, lots of emotional pain, 30lbs lighter, and an 8 month depression that didn’t seem to want to leave.
Everyday during my depression, I would wake up early to pray because even though I couldn’t get out of bed, I knew I needed alone time with God to get THROUGH my work day. My days LITERALLY revolved around prayer. I woke up, prayed, went to work, finished work, prayed and went to bed. This was my existence for 8 months; I felt like a monk!! I only existed to pray and work, of course (gotta pay the bills).
Some people thought that with all the prayer I was doing, that my God was failing me because I was depressed for so long. In all honestly, I did too, many times.
But I experienced things during this time that I cannot name but only describe. I know they did not come from me and so I attribute them to our God.
In the mornings when my soul felt so tired, so lost, so drained of emotional pain—I would turn to God and before I got on my knees, I felt an infusion of peace, joy—even.
Again, I cannot articulate well enough how clueless I am to how these things occurred but I cannot deny that they did. So, yes, I felt peace in the mornings. That peace felt so tangible. It felt like something that entered my awareness and was anchored to me in some way. I say that I felt joy, too, because sometimes the peace came with feelings of sheer joy, completeness—fullness of spirit. Let me add that these feelings infused my being at different times of day. Usually it happened in the morning immediately after I awoke and then in prayer in the evening, post work. During lunch time—the sadness would be so consuming so I would just turn to God for help. I would not kneel but I would just tell Him to hold me up so I could finish my work day and retreat to my prayer closet in the afternoon. In those times, the peace would come upon me almost immediately.
Ironically, to experience peace/joy with such urgency, in such a time of turmoil, would bring me to tears because I was praying to NOT cry so I could get through my day. But, God’s immediate provision of peace and stability would touch me so deeply, that I would cry anyway. These tears were different though. They were tears of RELIEF and TRUST in a power greater than me that was there to help me in ALL things, even a stupid little breakup.
God infused peace into me despite the hovering sadness I felt DAILY that’s basically the gist of my story. Then, one day, I kept having dreams about starting anew, a new beginning and of me finding joy again and a few days later after a Christian conference—I NO longer felt sad. I noticed because I cried EVERY day of those 8 months and a week had passed with NO TEARS! Later, I realized that the dreams were a heads up to the future to come.
So what are the takeaways from this chaotic moment in my life? Well, I think I learned 2 huge things: I learned WHAT the supernatural face of God looks like and I learned how to interact and create relationship with that supernatural face, the Holy Spirit. These lessons seem minor but they were so HUGE for me. I know that being Christian is about having a personal relationship with Christ but sometimes we got lost in knowing what that means?!
I learned that, for me, it meant not just reading scripture but talking to the Holy Spirit and EXPECTING a response in whatever way it may come. Sometimes it came as peace, sometimes as joy, sometimes as overwhelming love or gratitude and sometimes as an inner whisper that urged me to do or not do something.
You know, even though the breakup was painful, I’m grateful for it. That pain, one I feared SO MUCH, allowed me to discover that not only was my God ABLE to dwarf the pain in my heart, but, He was also WILLING. Sometimes we pray and never expect an answer back. Sometimes it becomes habit, ritualistic, even... but friend, IT IS NOT. God hears, He answers, HE cares, He responds. Never doubt it. Sometimes His response can’t be heard through all the pain or anxiety we are feeling but He is still indeed answering.
So, back to the kiddos I was sharing this personal story with in Kids Ministry. This long winded story was how I was able to exemplify one of the beatitudes:" blessed are the broken hearted." This experience helped me illustrate how my heart being broken in tiny pieces resulted in a FULLER confidence in Christ because through that experience He not only showed up strong but SUPERNATURALLY (something I had not yet experienced). In a crazy way, it makes you fearless. If God could ease my pain in that instance—when could He not? NEVER!!! Discovering that there is NOTHING that can keep you from the love (and power) of God—experiencing it—is LIBERATING!!
Now, don’t get me wrong—I haven’t “ascended” or “arrived” to any new level of anything and this doesn’t mean I will never fear anything again. That’s not how our spiritual walk works. We are human, living in an imperfect world with imperfect focus and there will be days I can be fearless because I am so in tune with our Christian beliefs and there will be days that I will be less of a superstar and just be human. Either way, the big takeaway for me was learning that God is supernatural and that opened my eyes up to deeper relationship.
So, back to the beatitudes and what I told the kiddos. In short, I am blessed because my broken heart functioned as a full revelation of:
*How loved I am in Christ
*How powerful He is
*How free I can live because I belong to Him
*And, how to let go and trust Him because there is NO obstacle, pain, disease, disappointment or circumstance greater than Him.
If I had not experienced His supernatural peace, joy, etc—I would never really understand what the scriptures we read mean. I now get why broken-heartedness is a blessing—because in those moments, God is CLOSER to you that you think. That might not sound like consolation but in the grander scheme of things, I rather have a consoling power WITH me during hard times than not, especially one with the ability to do what God did for me….to give you that supernatural peace you hear about but never really know exists.
Can you think back to a moment where God showed up for you during a broken heart? Did u know that was Him? It was because He promises to be with us always.
This whole blog may sound out of LEFT field but I share this story because, to be honest, I needed a reminder. I need to remember that God is with us even when our heart breaks over news or the state of our country. I need to remember that things don’t end there. God is the author and finisher…..He will make things new…He finishes what He starts and……until He does, He is with us.