“Our brokenness has no other beauty but the beauty that comes from the compassion that surrounds it.” A stunning quote by Henri J.M. Nouwen
The first time I found myself totally broken was some weeks after my father had walked out on us. I was barely in my 20s, my brother was in Matric and my sister in Grade 7. That Wednesday night was going to be the first time our home was opened to hosting a homegroup. When we got home, my then unemployed dad was not there, which was quite unusual, and we just knew that Papa was never coming back home. Having left my mom deep in debt, we never saw him again until the day of his funeral several years later.
As a well-brought-up African girl, I went on as usual, never taking the time to reflect on the fact that Papa, my hero, had walked out on us. I mean, I wasn't the first girl to go through this and life had to go on, right? It wasn't until one morning on a 3-taxi-long commute to work that I broke down after a series of unfortunate events on each taxi ride - but as I fell apart, God had already put together a divine strategy to restore me.
He had my restoration plan in play through a lady by the name of Jacqui Theunisen. She had started praying for me when God laid my situation on her heart. She subsequently nursed me back to wholeness through counselling and prayer.
As I progressed into my 20s, I backslid. Having moved out of home and become financially independent, I found myself lost and not wanting to be found. I would show face once in a while at church, just enough to avoid funny questions being asked… until one Sunday morning, when I went up for prayer and God basically told me He allowed me to swing back and forth in my faith for a purpose - to know and to understand His grace. This broke me to the core. He knew everything – as in everything – and yet He still loved me.
In 2011, I met and married my last love – yes, there is such a thing when you have kissed one too many frogs. I also became an instant mom to my husband's 10-year-old gorgeous girl and his handsome 5-year-old deaf boy. Earlier that year, my husband’s business started crashing as we were heading towards our wedding and it was completely gone by the time we literally said, “I do.” We fell pregnant pretty much right away but by the end of 2012, I had miscarried twice and we were struggling to make ends meet, living in a tiny, 2-bedroomed house, with my daughter and I battling relationally. In all of this, I was more concerned about presenting a happy, instant family to the church and to the world. Deep down I was dying, totally broken.
As always, God was working it out – my husband’s faith totally carried us during this time; he saw God's hand in our mess and I finally caught on when I learned not to lean upon my own strength and understanding – Proverbs 3:5.
The common thread in all the stories is that I had to come to the end of myself – my strength, my ideologies and my presentations of okayness.
I have had several other instances where we felt broken but when God is the author of the breaking as part of His purpose and your faith journey, you align and allow grace to complete its work.
For instance, in 2018, my job was made redundant, however, I didn't find myself in a whirlwind of anxiety because in that chaos I saw God's hand. I knew He was working it out for an ending that He designed years before I was born.
There is a difference between being broken due to disobedience and when God needs to shake some dead fruit off of our trees. In each instance, God’s will prevails, I have learned to be on the right side of His will from the start; that's a lot less painful.
When we are weak - with cracks showing in our lives or completely shattered by life’s ills – He is strong.
Maybe you lost someone to Covid over the last 10 months, or your spouse lost his job, maybe you were not the girl picked by the guy you have prayed about for 2 solid years - whatever your cause of brokenness, He is our wholeness. It doesn’t make it easy having this knowledge – but it is totally worth it.
Romans 8:28 says all things (including your failures, your scars & stars, your qualifications & disqualifications) – ALL of these things work together for your good.
Why? Because He says in Isaiah 61:1-3 (NIV): “The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me. . . He has sent me to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives . . . to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion— to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. . .”
The beauty of our brokenness is that it points us away from our finiteness and towards God’s infiniteness. Brokenness is hard, but oh-so-beautiful when we allow God to hold each piece of our shattered lives and love them back to wholeness.
When anxiety starts setting in – that is a signal to ask Jesus to take the proverbial wheel.
Isaiah 35:4 says, “Say to those with fearful hearts, ‘Be strong, do not fear; your God will come, he will come with vengeance; with divine retribution, he will come to save you.’”
There are many Jacquis out there who are prayer warriors and counsellors. They are praying and warring on your behalf. You are someone’s Jacqui too – pray for the broken-hearted and trust God for their wholeness.
Women of Reverence welcomes Karabo Ramookho as a guest blogger.
I am a 41-year old mom. My husband and I will be married 10 years this November.
We fellowship at the Foresight Church in Muldersdrift. I am employed full time in the financial services sector, while my husband is in retail full time and also working as an estate agent.
I am excited to be part of the WOR (Women of Reverence) and look forward to learning from many of the awesome women that God has pulled together.