Those of you who know me and love me know that I am hurting right now. I am going through the most difficult struggle of my life to date. I’m usually not one to sensor myself here, but I don’t want to go into details about this struggle, as the details aren’t relevant to what I want to say….
My whole life I have gone through struggles. I’ve never been one of the “lucky ones” who just seems to get the easy side of things. Nothing has ever come easy to me. I’ve gone through pain and heartache more times than I can count. I’ve suffered, ached, grieved, hurt, experienced deep loss, wept. For many, many years of my life I allowed this truth to harden me, to make me cynical and bitter. I lived life like a victim. And one day, about seven years ago, I decided I didn’t want to be a victim anymore. I didn’t want to be defined by my hurts. I decided it was time to take my life back. And to find lessons and strength out of all this pain and struggle. And I have learned many, many things. I have learned that I am a lot stronger than I give myself credit for. I am a survivor. I am resilient. I am worth it. And if I look hard enough through the pain, there is a lesson to be found….One of the things The Creator is teaching me in this time of brokenness that I am experiencing now is that it is out of brokenness beauty and strength are found.
One of the ways God speaks to me is that He gives me heart shaped rocks. I’ve found them exactly when I needed them for the past eight years. It’s one of the ways The Creator lets me know that I am seen and loved and that He hears me and will give me the desires of my heart if I am patient with Him. There’s a verse in the bible that states, “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.” These rocks are a reminder to me that the pain I feel means I am growing and living instead of hiding away for fear of being hurt. I’ve found these rocks in times of deep despair. I’ve found them when I worried. I’ve found them when I was questioning God and His promises to me. I’ve found them when I’ve ask God to affirm my hopes and desires. And I’ve never, ever found them when I was looking for them. I only find them when I need them. The last one I found was two months ago just after receiving devastating news – a reminder of His love and that I am not alone.
The elders in the community I sweat with gifted me a rock this month. During a work day, a group of people were loading and unloading a pile of rocks. The rock I was gifted is a rather large rock, the largest of my collection and unique for a couple other reasons as well…It seemed to be an ordinary round rock, but when it was tossed into the rock pile, it split open and broke into two pieces. And when it was split open, there was a heart shaped rock in the middle of this big rock! The rock split exactly in half, a clean break, revealing a heart in the middle of each half. Hearts that could not have been seen without the brokenness. And what makes it even more amazing, is that my prayer in lodge that day was that God would heal the brokenness in my life. And then I get this rock. This rock, which to most people just looks like a silly, dirty, broken rock. But it is not just a rock. It is a promise. A love note from The One who loves me and sees me.
To me, the message is quite clear. Brokenness is not a punishment. It’s not a bad thing. It's painful - oh so painful. But in that brokenness there is beauty and blessing and love and hope and grace and mercy!
And so, as I work through this time, I remind myself that I am strong. I am beautiful. I am a warrior. A survivor. I am seen. I am loved. God loves me so very much. He sees my pain and He hears my heart. And He is answering my prayers. Aho!