A few months ago I had lunch with a friend at Moe’s. We ordered our lunch, sat down, and had some small talk. Then came the expected question: “How are you?” At this point I always struggle with how to answer. If I’m having a hard day, do I smile and say, “I’m fine” or do I take a risk and choose to be honest? That day, which was a hard day, I took the risk and chose to be honest.
“I’m living broken,” I said.
I sat in the CVS Pharmacy parking lot. Here I was, again. This time I was not picking up a medication for me for but one of my children. My stomach churned. I wanted to be at home, curled up under my electric blanket, safe from heavy cares and concerns. But my child was sick. Not with a cold, or pink eye, or an ear infection, but with a chronic disease. It was no longer in remission but it had reared its ugly head again.
When faced with the disturbing symptoms, I did not fall to my knees in prayer. I watched Netflix. Every time I tried to pray, I was unsuccessful. I could not think about it. Facing reality was too painful. Thinking of the disease wracking my child’s body broke my heart. Over and over and over. Every time I would think about it, I was crushed.
So I watched Netflix. And read romance novels. And went shopping. Because my fantasy world did not hurt as much as reality.
I love good customer service. Recently I was in Costco and I had left some ink cartridges for them to refill. There was a miscommunication, and somehow my four ink cartridges were thrown away. The technician insisted on “making it right.” He sent me to the ink cartridge aisle and instructed me to choose new cartridges to replace the missing ones. This was great customer service.
Imagine a customer service counter in heaven. I’m sure that it is covered in gleaming gold, with nary a fingerprint to be seen on the counter. Behind it stands glowing angels ready to assist customers. And there are a lot of angels so we don’t have to stand in line for long! There is soft praise music playing, candles for a welcoming ambiance, and an essential oil diffuser to perfume the room. This customer service center wants to truly value and serve their customers.
Crumpled. Squeezed so tightly that you are left bent and wrinkled. This word describes my life in the past few months. It has been extraordinarily difficult. Most people assume that my struggles have just been with migraines, but my struggle has been a raging battle in my heart. I have been caught up in a epic spiritual battle whose outcome affects my future, my calling, and my ministry.
The last few months of my life have been filled with some emotional drama. Conflict that I have had with trusted friends led to my heart being broken. In my brokenness, I wanted to give up. Everything. At times, even my life. Every day I would hound heaven with questions, trying to understand why I was so broken emotionally. I sought the Lord for His help and deliverance from this place of unrelenting sadness.
My family traveled to the mountains for Mother’s Day weekend. When I looked at the rental website, I saw a cottage that was by a lake. The pictures looked so peaceful and my overwhelmed soul longed for the peace that I saw in the lakeside beauty. I quickly made a deposit and signed the rental agreement. And then I looked forward with anticipation to sit by the tranquil lakeside, longing for the peace that it possessed.
“He leads me by still waters. He restores my soul.” Psalm 23:2
Let’s start with honesty. I have a broken heart. For weeks, my heart has hurt. At times, literally hurt. Looking at my life, it’s hard to see why. My children are healthy, my marriage is sound, and the bills are paid. But lately I have encountered a lot of conflict with people. I’ve been the subject of gossip, I’ve been hurt by trusted friends, and treasured relationships are in tatters. My heart is in tatters, too.
It is hard to admit, but in defense of those who have hurt me, some of this is probably my fault. I’ve probably made some mistakes. But I’ve been following God’s leading to the best of my ability. I am sure there are things I could have done and said better. And I wish I had done it better. I’m left with a heart that is broken and friendships that are shredded to pieces like confetti. Jesus!