This week, our pastor started a series called Restore. The first message was entitled “Brokenness.” If I know about one thing, it’s about being broken. As I listened to the message and heard his final point about getting help from others and from God, one thought resonated with me, and then I was consumed with the urge to write.
Pastor Doug said that when we have support from others, it’s much more difficult to hit a point where we feel helpless. He also mentioned that those who support us should also lead us to seek help from God. And so my writing began . . .
Cracked Foundation and Demolished Support Beams
When I was at my most broken, I felt like my support had been swept out from under my feet and completely demolished. From family to friends, my support was completely removed from me.
It’s amazing the things people hear and immediately take as truth while forming their own conclusions, people who we trust to love us and stand by us at all times. I didn’t say stand behind us and all of our decisions good or bad mind you. I said stand by us – beside us – loving us. Sometimes we need to be loved because we feel so helpless and hopeless and worthless that we can’t find it in our own hearts to love ourselves. We need someone to step in and love us during those most unlovable and unloving times. When I was at that point, I felt no one could love me, and there was no hope in reaching out for help or even wasting time trying to defend myself against horrible, inaccurate words and assumptions about me.
So I didn’t.
I had no support. I was alone.
Sure, there were people around me, so I wasn’t technically alone. Let me first say, there were many people who weren’t even aware of anything going on and cannot be held responsible for the lack of support they gave. It was because I didn’t reach out to them to let them know. In those cases, I personally eliminated that support.
However, there were people who sent me scripture often and spouted off cliché sayings to me, maybe because they didn’t know what else to say yet truly wanted to be supportive, but I didn’t receive it. I needed something different, something deeper.
Several people told me what they thought I wanted to hear because they love me and felt that was the best way to support me. That’s not what I needed either. I needed something much deeper.
I had a surplus of people who condemned me, all in love, of course. They took every opportunity to preach scriptures that were meant to pressure me into doing something I just wasn’t sure God wanted for myself or my children. This was certainly not the support I needed.
I was alone. I was helpless. I was worthless. I was unlovable. I was a failure. I was broken.
The Construction Manager
It wasn’t until God placed a direct intersection of my life’s path with the path of one of his construction managers that I found the support I required. Through the blossoming of an unlikely friendship, I finally had the support of another person who also led me to finding support from God. In essence, the builder sent his construction manager who helped me see that my foundation had formed a few cracks and could handle to be a little thicker than it was – I needed to pour on a little more concrete.
In Matthew, the construction manager, I found a caring heart who never preached scripture to me. Why? Because it was clear to him I was knowledgeable of scripture, and he could see that my desire was to follow God’s will while desperately trying to do what was right. He saw things I was doing that were good, and he pointed them out to me and often. A lot of times he couldn’t understand some of my pain and confusion but listened as I processed through it.
He didn’t always tell me what he thought I wanted to hear. Instead he told me what he knew I had to hear, and that wasn’t always easy for me. He never gave me a rehearsed version of what I should or shouldn’t do or what the Bible says about such-and-such or warn me of how God would never bless my ministry if I made a decision he deemed to be wrong.
Matt spoke from his heart – from his experiences, and most importantly, he allowed God to work in me while gently guiding me to seek support from God. Let me repeat, he guided me to seek support from God. He did not pressure me to seek support from God. He did not force me to seek support from God. He did not guilt me into seeking support from God. He guided me to seek support from him.
Rebuilding from the Ground Up
From this one man who listened to the direction of God and who allowed God to work in me by sometimes stepping aside and being silent, my first and strongest support beam was firmly placed deep within my foundation in the very heart of my frame. He showed me that I am not now nor have I ever been worthless or helpless or hopeless, and anything that was broken could easily be refurbished by the builder’s hand. With that one beam of support in place, I was again connected to my foundation, and I could hear God’s voice again.
Instead of feeling defeated and destroyed, I found a spark of confidence again in who I am and in my purpose. I remembered that I am loved by God, and I am worth being loved by friends and family. With that one beam firmly in place, I was able to begin reaching out to those who I had previously eliminated from my support system.
Little-by-little my support system grew. It’s amazing to be able to step back and see how the process unfolded. Before I knew it, a beautiful little cottage was standing firmly in front of me.
Before these events in my life, I had a huge support system that I thought could withstand the strongest F5 tornado, but it quickly fell and was completely destroyed with just a few high winds. I was forced to completely rebuild beginning with my foundation. It doesn’t matter how firm your foundation is, you still have to take care of it, and I think I had come to a point where the ground surrounding it had gotten too dry causing it to shift and crack. In my case, it was necessary to demolish my framework in order to get to the foundation. I had to strengthen my relationship and faith in God before I could even consider rebuilding.
Bigger Isn’t Always Better
Now, my home is much smaller because I have a smaller support system. I realized my previous frame consisted of a lot of unnecessary pieces that weren’t useful and were actually working against the strong, supportive pieces.
What a difference it is to have a smaller home where the foundation is a few inches thicker and the support beams are made of steel and concrete as opposed to an oversized home on a somewhat thin, cracked foundation framed with plywood and 2x4s, some of which are broken.
I love my little cottage. No, it’s nothing compared to the over-the-top mansion I had before, but it’s comfortable, warm, and inviting. Most of all, it’s strong.
I’ve learned that, no matter how firm I feel my foundation is, I can never stop taking care of the ground surrounding it. I need to keep it hydrated and pull out the weeds. Every once in a while I need to check my framework and make sure each piece is still useful and not working against another piece. I need to make sure I don’t depend on one support beam to hold up my entire house because that can only last for so long before it gives out regardless of how strong it is.
Homes can easily deteriorate over time, but if we are consistent in taking care of them before seeing a need to do so, we can eliminate the need for major repairs. A strong storm will reveal the areas that have been neglected, so take time to care for each element of your home while the weather is still favorable.