“Trade your brokenness for His.”
That’s what Paula Jones said last night and those are the words that are still resonating in my soul today.
She started by handing each person a slip of colored paper.
“I’ve been broken many times.” And she tore her paper in half. “The church has broken me more times than I’d like to admit. I’ve nearly given up on the church, but I’ve never come close to giving up on God.”
And she tore her paper again.
“What about you? Take your paper and hold it in your hand. Think of the first time you were broken. A boyfriend or girlfriend broke your heart, your Grandma died, your parents divorced, you were molested, your Dad hit you. Whatever the case may be, think of the person(s) involved and year your paper.”
And we did.
Hearing the paper shred echoed through my soul like timpani.
“Keep tearing your papers in half as you think of the name of each person who caused your brokenness.”
And we did.
“Now think of situations that broke you. Church hurts, loss of a job, being falsely accused, being lied to…” The list went on and on.
And we continued to shred our sheets.
And I wept.
I wept for the pain that I had held inside. I wept for the most-recent experiences that I allowed to silence me. I wept because I really didn’t care about ever getting involved in ministry again. I never wanted to give another minister my trust. I never wanted to give my vulnerability to anyone else.
I wept because I was broken.
And then she pulled a towel away from a large plate of bread and said, “This is my body, broken for you.”
It started to click.
On the cross, Christ was bruised for our sins, pierced for our failures and shortcomings, he was punished so that we could have peace, and the stripes on his back from all that torture guarantee our healing.
He was broken in our place.
Perfection took persecution.
Holiness was humbled.
The Savior was loaded down with our sins.
He was broken for us. For you. For me.
He was broken for you and me.
God is familiar with brokenness. It’s not new to Him.
So one-by-one, we placed our torn pieces on the table, ripped a piece of bread, dipped it in the juice, and traded our brokenness for His.
I stood back against the wall and peered around the living room: about fifty people had gathered to worship together. Fifty broken hearts. Fifty people who have walked through pain. Fifty people who have been angered. Fifty people who have been betrayed at some point. Fifty people who watched a dream fail. Fifty people who failed themselves.
A room full of fifty people, each willing to say, “I’m broken, but I’m not dead. Give me Jesus”.
Steve Austin is an author, speaker, and life coach who is passionate about helping overwhelmed people learn to catch their breath. He is the author of two Amazon bestsellers, "Catching Your Breath," and "From Pastor to a Psych Ward." Steve lives with his wife and two children in Birmingham, Alabama.
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