I used to write almost daily. I would post thoughts, encouragements, recipes, book reviews. I wrote when my feelings and thoughts were admired, and praised. I wrote when I could be proud of the thoughts inside my mind, and the things my heart beat for. I was clever and quick and thought my opinions were worth reading. Others liked what I had to say too, people would stop me at the Saturday market or at churches asking me if I was “the dreadlock girl” (the title of my old blog). But then I just stopped writing. I lost my voice, or more truthfully it had become something I saw no value in. My thoughts were not beautiful as they once had been, they were broken, wounded. My heart was not satisfied and whole, it was shattered. I no longer had the desire to encourage.
Friends gave me journals, that remained empty. In my two years in Ethiopia, I wrote three pages of one journal. Those pages are painful to read. I was miserable. I tried not to be, I didn’t think that is how a good christian should feel at answering the call of God on their life. It isn’t how I wanted to feel either. Fellow missionaries would say, ” we aren’t suffering for christ, we live in paradise”. I would hold my tongue, it was hell to me, almost every day was hell. I was so alone. My heart was broken. God felt more than a million miles away.
Sometimes I wonder at this mountain of a journey in front of me. Battered and blistered I claw upwards a few steps, feel a little better about myself and then fall back down to the bottom, or give up climbing and walk back down, over and over. When I sat thinking about all of this yesterday, I realised I do have a voice and it is valuable. It is the voice of the broken, the sinner, the lonely, the deserted, the abandoned, the weary and the lowly, for I am all of these things. My voice before just chimed out “shoulds” and “truths” without any real depth of understanding.
Are we truly perfected through the gruesome pain and suffering, self-inflicted or otherwise that we endure? Does God work all things together for good, in real life? The prodigal, did he know the value of a deeper love having known the searing pain of his sinful separation? Could he better relate to the tears a friend shed in remorse knowing he too needed forgiveness? I think he could. What about Jesus? He too knew how it feels to bear my shame. While the seemingly perfect people will forever chime in saying, that at least they didn’t ever mess up so badly, as broken we need to learn to see the value of redemption in our scars, the beauty in our pain, the bravery in our enduring, the fierce fight it takes to put one foot in front of the other. That is brave, it is brave to not resent being broken unto tenderness. Let’s you and me, the broken in the ranks, bring up the rear of this fierce and wounded army, every straggler counts, because I can promise that every wounded heart needs a hand to hold. I know I do.
“He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the former things have passed away.” 5And the One seated on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” Rev. 21:4
“Be strong. Take courage. Don’t be intimidated. Don’t give them a second thought because God, your God, is striding ahead of you. He’s right there with you. He won’t let you down; he won’t leave you.” Deut. 31:6