“He puts a little of Heaven in our hearts so that we’ll never settle for less.”
2 Corinthians 5:5
I blame it on my coworker, Christine.
You see, a few weeks ago, she returned all refreshed and renewed from her vacation with her husband and presented our weary staff with a challenge: enter into brokenness.
She reminded us that Christ did not shy away from the mess or the chaos of our broken human state, but He embraced it fully, knowing better than any one the full weight of what this would mean for Him. For us.
But the reality is: I’m not Christ. (Surprise?) And if I’m being totally honest, there are times when I put up a barrier. When I sense that what I’m about to hear is just too much for my heart to handle…so I block it out. The professional social work community calls this “loving detachment,” and touts it as setting healthy, self-protection boundaries. With just three simple words, Christine’s challenge turned that little theory right on its head.
So there I am, sitting next to one of these precious women whom God has entrusted me to serve, and I feel the barrier forming. She’s the very definition of broken. She is hunched over, sobbing, and without even fully listening to them, I sense that the words spilling out of her mouth are dark and heavy. I feel myself wanting to tune them out and protect my heart from the evil that has plagued her for so long.
And then, Christine’s challenge comes to mind and I hear an even stronger Whisper beckoning me, “enter in.”
I awkwardly stroke her hair as she weeps, unsure of how to breech these boundaries of professionalism I’ve been taught for so long. And then, I take a deep breath and allow her story to penetrate the boundaries of my heart.
Before I know it, I’m broken too.
It wasn’t until we got down on our knees together - not as Growth Leader and Resident, but as Sisters in Christ - that I began to fully see the beauty of entering in. For while we know that God is always with us – His promises are good, He never leaves or forsakes us – sometimes, nothing can replace the sweet and simple comfort of having another person bear witness to your tears.
I get to be that for these women.
I’m constantly asked how I “handle” the heaviness of my job. My response is pretty much always the same: I don’t. You see, one of the greatest blessings of working in ministry is I don’t have to bear any of these women’s burdens alone. I can release them all to my Savior who already died for their unique heartbreaks (along with my own).
Not only that, but I can offer them the hope of the Gospel: the truth that they don’t just have to be “fixed,” but they can be fully redeemed.
As Christians, I believe we feel the weight of brokenness heavier than the rest of the world. This is because of the verse at the top of this blog – we’ve been blessed with that little bit of Heaven in our hearts, and we see the evil and darkness of this world only in stark contrast to freedom and light of the Gospel.
“Grace shines brightest against a dark canvass.”