But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
and by his wounds we are healed. Isaiah 53:5
I remember staring at my postpartum body in disbelief. Perhaps it was the movies or the magazines at the time, but I honestly believed my body would “go back” to normal after my twins were born. Instead, I felt like gravity took hold, and the secret and beautiful spaces where life lived and grew for nine months protested the emptiness. I cried. I cried for the loss of what once was and what would never be again. I didn’t look in the mirror and see something miraculous; I saw brokenness. I still had huge bruises from the IV site where a life-saving blood transfusion was given, the edema I thought would dissipate immediately hung on for a few more weeks. As I hobbled along wearing the flip flops that were the only things that fit my feet, to attend to my screaming baby, I felt the C-section stitches pull painfully. I looked at the staples, and at that moment I felt utterly alone, hopeless, and broken. My stomach wasn’t the only thing hanging on by something piercing and painful; my soul was too. I felt the loss of Eve heavily in those moments, but especially, I felt the loss of myself. I felt shattered into a million pieces wondering how I would be put back together. My emotions were all over the place, as my husband went back to work, and the new disease birthed along with my twins raged on. Boxes of baby things laid all around, and I couldn’t clean up. The doctor warned me to rest and no lifting. I wanted to laugh. Rest? I am a new mother, lady! The organization that I needed for my environment to feel safe was gone. Broken. The hopes of Christian and Eve playing together? Broken. My body’s ability to ever conceive again? Broken. I felt as if I gave birth to brokenness when in reality, brokenness gave birth to me.
During any birthing process ligaments shift, move and stretch as the whole body prepares for something new to arrive. It is no different in the spiritual realm as well. Jesus knew suffering, the most excruciating kind. He was tortured, wounded, scarred and “crushed,” broken so that we can be whole. He was broken so that we could be free. Jesus’ brokenness was an act of war, conquering Death, defeating the Enemy, and bringing eternal life to His people. In His death, Jesus birthed life. There is nothing beautiful about what happened to Jesus when we look at it from the natural lens. It was messy, excruciating, and undeserved. I cannot even watch the Passion, without wanting to open fire on my Savior’s persecutors. When I look at it from the human perspective, I am tempted to feel sorry for Jesus, viewing Him as a victim. Nothing can be further from the truth. In choosing death, Jesus chose life for us, and this makes Him a Victor, a Conqueror, and our Savior. This was a living sacrifice. His body paid the price for what He birthed in the natural and supernatural realm. His brokenness gave birth to freedom.
Birthing takes place when we break something valuable to us, shattering it for what we know is coming rather than what we see in the now.
“While he was in Bethany, reclining at the table in the home of Simon the Leper, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, made of pure nard. She broke the jar and poured the perfume on his head.” Mark 14:3
Spikenard was very expensive, and in fact was worth a year’s wages. For the woman to pour the perfume on Jesus’ head, she had to break the seal. In order for this woman to give Jesus the best of what she had, the seal had to be broken first. What has to break in us in order to give Jesus the best of who we are? This anointing of Jesus’ body was in preparation for His death. Sometimes we feel we are wasting our years in our current circumstances. I have felt this way and still struggle when I look at how many years I have spent struggling with illness. In my moments of fear and sadness, I will cry over losing my thirties to illness. I mourn the freedom I had to go and do what I pleased, and I become angry at the cost of the revelation this illness has allowed me. I will count how many years I have left, and pray that they are not plagued with this disease. What if I changed my perspective? What if I looked at this period in my life as labor pains? What if I saw the stillness as a gift from above training me for my purpose? What if I break the seal of sorrow and pour all of me into this season of labor? What if I stay focused on pouring the thing that I value the most over the One who values me the most rather than looking at how empty the perfume bottle is becoming? The breaking of the seal, the jar, showed the woman’s faith in what was about to happen. While the others rebuked her for “wasting” the perfume on Jesus, He saw it differently. He saw the purpose in the breaking, the meaning of it and the sacrifice. He saw the sacrifice in the now as preparation for the future.
“My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise.” Psalm 51:17
When we come to God with our brokenness, we are open to instruction. There is humility and earnestness in the unmaking of what we are and who we thought we would be. There is a shift in perspective, and tenderness by which we are nurtured and cared for. This is true even today when we face the shattering of our dreams in the now; we can be assured that the sacrifice of handing them over holds purpose. The shattering and the breaking are the labor pains of what is to come forth. It’s the death of a season for a new harvest. It is allowing the tears of today to water the seed of tomorrow. This is the beauty of broken.
Prayer Starter: Father, I come to You in all of my brokenness. I need Your help in this season of labor as the intensity of the battle increases. Teach me and nurture me in this season, Lord. Let me feel Your presence and focus on the beauty in the breaking. Fill the cracks and spaces with all of You, for I know You will not leave me or forsake me. I thank You, Lord, for making beauty from ashes, using all of my afflictions as preparation for the future You hold in the palm of Your Mighty Hand. In Your Name, Amen.