Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Empty and Full (06/04/09)
TITLE: Broken Journey
By Sheree Hanna
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I didn’t want to be pregnant again. We had four kids already and I was just beginning to find parts of myself after losing so many of them. Now suddenly, I felt violated, forced against my will to enter another long span of exhausting days and nights. I felt like God had pinned me to the floor and triumphed in my powerlessness against Him. Then I felt guilty and ashamed of feeling that way as a woman of faith. After all, a real Christian woman would be thankful for another child, wouldn’t she?
Somehow I got through the next eight months. I endured three months of unbelievable fatigue and my stomach churning, trying desperately to keep up with the laundry, dishes, and meals. Later, I remember sitting on the edge of the bed sobbing because I hurt all over. Then finally, a month before my fortieth birthday, our son was born. Life did go on, but something inside me died. Since that day, my life has become a journey to rediscover what I lost, and who I am as a redeemed woman in Christ.
Turning to the scriptures, I can’t help thinking of Naomi on her journey back to Moab. She had gone out full only to come back empty and broken. She had buried her husband and then her two sons. When she and Ruth returned home with their few belongings, she was a shell of the woman who had left Israel twelve years before. The layered grief that had shrouded her life had caused the light to vanish from her once hopeful eyes. Cruelly stripped of those she had loved, she told her friends not to call her by her name any longer. “Call me Mara instead,” she insisted, “for the Lord has dealt bitterly with me.”
Ever been there? Or do you find yourself dismissing Naomi’s pain because you know how the story ends? Naomi could not see the coming redemption. She knew only that her hope had been shattered. Her tapestry did not make any more sense from the underside than ours do to us. Just as I had felt God’s betrayal in becoming pregnant against my will, Naomi could not feel God’s love in light of her loss. She felt robbed, faithless and ashamed. And the same thing happens to us when tragedy strikes, a child dies, or we experience an unexpected loss. We stagger beneath the weight of the perceived betrayal of the One we trusted most. Suddenly, feelings and messages from our old childhood wounds begin to throb inside hearts we didn’t know were still broken. There seems to be no mercy for us. Instead, we feel separated from the God we are supposed to love.
During those times, well meaning friends often say things that only serve to deepen our pain. What they fail to understand is that only those who have traveled a similar road can be there for us. They have felt the anguish. They know that only the Lord can heal the wounds. They know what we need most is someone to sit quietly through the darkness with us until first rays of morning appear on the horizon.
Restoration has been a long process for me. I’ve raged, cried and wrestled with my feelings and with my God. Through it all, I have come to see how my previous experiences with my family drastically colored my perception of my Father in heaven. My pain has led me to repeatedly put the pieces of my broken heart in His hands and allow Him to lovingly put them together again.
What will you do with your brokenness, when the joy you once felt blows away with the sandy dust of a desert grave? Will you dare to pour out your soul honestly to the Father, even when it appears His hand is against you? Will you sit with your friend, though her faith is in tatters and her life lies in tear-stained ruins? Will you be the one willing to show up when all others who name the name of Christ have mumbled their platitudes and gone home? I pray that you will, my friend. I pray that you will.
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