Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Lessons in Brokenness

Wednesdays...hump days. Today was a cold winter one but I'd slept well last night and felt great. I didn't have anything pressing to do other than to run by my doctor's office for some blood work. I thought I'd be in and out in a few minutes but ended up waiting there for over an hour. The office was crowded. Thankfully, there was a seat in the rear of the waiting room and it was empty. As I sat among the coughing and cell phone conversations, I wished I'd had a paper mask to place over my mouth and nose. With a weakened immune system, I was fearful about catching germs.

After having my blood drawn, I headed to the parking lot trying to think of something to do. I'd already done all my housework the day before so nothing was pressing. I got in my car and started to drive. I'd head to Goodwill. This would be a great time of year to peruse the aisles as I was sure they'd be full due to donations received before the holidays. I always enjoy shopping at Goodwill. It's fun to see what kinds of things end up on their shelves and I can always use a new book or two or three.

When I arrived at the store, there were very few people inside. I liked it that way. It's hard to shop when  you're crossing paths with someone at every turn. I looked on the sign to see the daily color. Today was green and that meant everything in the store marked with a green tag was half price. In the book department, I began scanning for green stickers. Immediately, I found several Nora Roberts books I hadn't read and a Fannie Flagg. As I was pulling it from the shelf, my eyes fell on another book. A book with a red spine. The title was Broken in the Right Place, How God Tames the Soul by Alan Nelson. I picked it up and flipped through the pages. At only a $1.00, I decided to take it home.

I left the store with my purchases and went home to unpack. As I ate my lunch, I pulled out the book about brokenness and placed it beside my plate. I'd just recently completed reading The Broken Way, a new book by Christian author, Ann Voskamp, and had been deeply touched by it. I began to read the first few pages of this book and realized, God was doing something. I think He's still trying to teach me about being broken. No. I know He is. I've been kicking and screaming and fighting Him every step of the way but now, it's time for me to lean in and listen closely as He continues to reveal the fact that suffering isn't only meant to teach me, it's meant to break me of my self sufficiency.

The forward to my new book from Goodwill says: " It's odd that a religion that carries the cross as its central symbol should require a crash course in suffering. But it does. Oh, how it does. We have somehow ended up with a country full of Christians who consider suffering, whether it comes from a broken body or a broken heart, a violation of the spiritual rights. When things go badly in body or job or family, they whine and complain endlessly. Sometimes they protest vehemently. In between complains and protest, they seek out the company of those who anesthetize them with soothing words and soft music. They have no difficulty finding such anestheticians - pain killing spiritualities are a glut on the market. The only cross they seem to have any acquaintance with is a piece of cheap jewelry. Can anyone get their attention long enough to convince them that suffering must not be avoided, but embraced; that brokenness does not diminish a life of faith but deepens it? Wow! That's powerful stuff.

I am humbled to think God loves me so much He's wanting to use this cancer journey and all the suffering that has gone along with it to teach me more about Himself. I'm looking forward to reading my new book and comparing what I learned in Ann Voskamp's book with it. I know God uses physical suffering to often break the will and spirit of those He loves in order to make them more teachable. I sure hope I learn the lesson soon. I've been through an awful lot of pain and suffering in my life. If I can know it's all been part of God's perfect plan to teach me a valuable lesson, it will have been worth all the pain that came along with it.

I'm thankful He loves me enough to want the very best for me. Last year God had me focus on the word TRUST. This year it's been on the word JOY. I wonder what word He's going to give me next year...I guess I'll know in the new few weeks. Do you ever pray and ask God to give you a word for the New Year? I do and He always answers.

I'm glad I took the time to go by Goodwill today. I had no idea I'd be led to buy a book on brokenness but God did. I bet He's up there smiling right now knowing I'll be digging in over the next few days. Have a pleasant evening! And thanks for stopping by to read my blog.

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