The Beauty in Brokenness by Brittany Mullins
On January 1st of 2015, I told my Husband “this year is going to be AMAZING, I can feel it!” One week later, I made a decision I never thought I would have to make – to leave my current job, a big part of our financial stability, and choose emotional health over financial comfort. A month went by and I was feeling a lack of guidance, continuously asking God what He had next for me, with no clarity at all. I’m sure we’ve all been there at some point. This season taught me a lot about the “blinders” we have as human beings. We ask and ask and seem to remain in the dark, but often times, it’s our pride that prevents us from hearing the answer. It’s easy to focus on what God is NOT doing as opposed to what He is doing.
February came and I was ready to listen. I finally felt like I was in a space to allow God to show me what my future held, even if it’s not what I had pictured. It was Monday morning, February 2nd. I was feeling joyful, hopeful and ready to attack what was to come, when I received a call from my sister with news that hit me like a wrecking ball, shattering my world. “Dad is dead, he died from a heart attack early this morning”. My entire life, my Dad had been a root cause of so much of my pain, so my first thoughts were ‘how dare you Dad, you had so much you had left to do, to apologize to everyone you ever hurt, re-build relationships with your daughters, not choose the bottle over family, and now you are gone. » I was angry, but my Heavenly Father was prevalent, and I felt wrapped up in His arms.
The following morning, I boarded a flight home for the funeral and in that moment, I felt more vulnerable than I ever had before. I was barely holding it together in my seat when out of nowhere, God gave me the vision for Beneath the Skin – a non-profit to serve teens and young adults struggling with anxiety, depression, self-harm, etc. Odd timing for a revelation, I know…but it dawned on me that I would have never heard this calling if it wasn’t for the broken and humble state I was in at that moment.
2015 served me many other pains. Physical pain from endometriosis, that led to a 4th surgery to remove it that June. More physical pain from a TMJ disorder which led to a second surgery that October. I woke up out of that surgery without the ability to hear out of my right ear, assuming it was from the swelling, and the fact that I just had a major surgery on that side of my face I thought, “No big deal. » Fast forward 5 weeks, I had been diagnosed with permanent hearing loss in my right ear, and my life was forever changed. One of the biggest challenges was how it affected my ability to hear music. My Husband is a full-time musician, so my heart broke each time I couldn’t make out the lyrics, or hear the subtle things that gave each song it’s depth, not to mention knowing that his live shows would never be the same.
Trials encourage us to lean on God whole-heartedly. When you no longer have the answer or the strength, you are humbled beyond understanding. Sometimes, we need to be knocked down to understand where our help comes from. Believers and non-believers alike all wonder why such a loving and gracious God would allow us to experience such debilitating pain. God made it clearer to me that year than ever before.
Without trials, our knowledge of who God is would be limited.
“Nothing but the great trials and dangers we have experienced would ever have led some of us to know Him as we do, to trust Him as we do, and to draw from Him the great measure of His grace so indispensable during our times of greatest need.” L.B. Cowman, Streams in the Desert.
Becoming More Like Jesus.
As believers, we strive to be “More like Jesus”. This is a common phrase we use, but when we really break it down, it’s not just the love and grace He shows others or His ability to live fully for the Lord. Jesus also endured pain and suffering on every level. Dying on the cross was the ultimate form of suffering, and He did it for US so that we may be set free. What is our pain in relation to that sacrifice?
We are created to do life together, and much of the depth of our communities and relationships comes from the suffering we support each other through. Just as we wouldn’t be able to be grateful or understand the pain Jesus endured on that cross if we ourselves didn’t experience trails of our own, we also wouldn’t be able to relate to one another – to pick each other up or have compassion and understanding.
Pain reminds us that we have something to fight for. Without it, we would be complacent, not understanding the beauty in overcoming our struggles. When we overcome, we grow stronger and gain the wisdom needed to encourage and build strength in those around us.
Hope is our caffeine. It gives us energy and keeps us moving forward. Without pain, we wouldn’t need hope.
“but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because Gods love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” Romans 5: 3-5
We’ve all heard it said, “Trials of all kinds help us grow into who we are supposed to be.”, but take a moment to acknowledge that… As you saw above in Romans 5, suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope!
Just like all relationships, there are bumps in the road on our journey to knowing God deeply.
“Are we willing to compete for Gods best, with the knowledge that the best things are always achieved by the most difficult paths? We must endure steep mountains, dense forests, and the enemy’s chariot of iron, since hardship is the price of the victors coronation. Arches of triumph are made not of rose blossoms and strands of silk but of hard blows and bloody scars. The very hardships you are enduring in your life today have been given to you by the master, for the express purpose of enabling you to win your crown.” L.B.Cowman, Streams in The Desert
Do not fear your pain. You are not alone, you don’t have to fight your battle solo. Pain brings us together and deepens our relationships with each other, and with God.
“So, do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” Isaiah 41:10