Instead of lounging poolside or sharing a plate of barbeque with friends, I kicked-off this past summer by spending Memorial Day weekend in the emergency room with severe vomiting and dehydration. After conferring with several doctors over the past few months and undergoing allergy and blood tests, I’ve recently discovered I have a rare syndrome that isn’t super well-known within the medical community, much less the general population. Everything I put in my mouth must now be hyper-scrutinized to keep this uncommon condition from sending me into septic shock.
To be honest, I haven’t been quite sure what to make of this diagnosis and I’ve been all over the map emotionally. Questions such as what this means for me long-term, how long it will take me to bounce back after each trigger episode, will I be able to travel to all my bucket list spots, and how will this impact us financially have all swirled about in my mind. Let’s just say my anxiety levels have been through the roof lately.
I’ve felt alone and restless, but mostly, I’ve just felt broken.
I’ve hit breaking points several times during the course of my life, but this brokenness feels different largely because the physical responses taking place within my body are a microcosm of what’s been transpiring within my heart and mind the past six months. There’s a rawness in my emotions, thoughts, and overall senses unlike any I’ve experienced before in a body that’s revolting against foods I’ve eaten (and loved!) my whole life.
Brokenness, hardship, and pain are universal. On a recent episode of This Grit and Grace Life podcast, singer Cameron James shared about her heartbreaking journey related to her daughter’s rare disease. Her story both inspired and humbled me. In one poignant part of her story, Cameron shared an instance where she reached out to a mom who was weathering her own child’s sickness. By looking outside herself, she was able to identify the fact that she wasn’t the only one suffering or living in a personal hell. She invited others into her brokenness and she, in turn, was invited into theirs.
When we’re in the trenches of rough seasons and our lives are steeped in chaos and all the unknowns, the tendency may be to fall prey to the lie that we’re the only ones hurting.
It’s easy for me to slip into a self-centered mode and temporarily forget suffering exists all around me.
Broken bodies and hearts; broken marriages and relationships; broken dreams and lives. We don’t have to look hard to see we live in a shattered and aching world.
People expose their brokenness to varying degrees, but the reality is that everyone struggles with something at some point in their lives. We can take comfort knowing that we aren’t alone and allow others into our messy lives. And, in turn, step into theirs.
Jesus was not unfamiliar with suffering and pain—both His own and those who surrounded Him.
Not only was He acquainted with their brokenness, but He saw the person behind the pain and leaned in. Just reflect on the ways He responded to the woman at the well, Lazarus’s sisters, the blind, the bleeding woman, and the countless others who sought healing of their own forms of brokenness:
Just then a woman who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak. She said to herself, “If I only touch his cloak, I will be healed.” Jesus turned and saw her. “Take heart, daughter,” he said, “your faith has healed you.” And the woman was healed at that moment. (Matthew 9:20-22)
I can’t help but think about the emotional healing this woman experienced as Jesus stopped, looked into her eyes, entered into her pain, and healed her—both spiritually and physically. Jesus loves the brokenhearted.
Just as Jesus stepped into their shattered lives, He does the same with us. If we let it, pain and brokenness can be a vessel for growth and healing. We can invite others into our lives, allow them to fully see us, and do the same with them. Our own pain lessens with the recognition that we aren’t alone on this journey.
Jesus is right here in our afflictions, our questions, our grief, our anxiety, and our fear. He offers us His hand—His embrace, and the peace of His presence. May we always remember that He is near to the brokenhearted, and may we ask to better see the brokenness of those around us, and not only our own.
Have You Ever Said It? “I’m Not Good Enough.”
This Is How a Good Friend Prays
When You’re Desperate to Know the Reason for Your Pain
3 Things to Hold on to When You Are Barely Holding On
Why We Can Look at the Dark Parts of Life With Hope
Don’t miss Cameron James on This Grit and Grace Life podcast: Hardship Hit This Singer’s Life and She Chose to Fight! with Cameron James Pt. 1 – 048!