A friend of mine and I have been talking about our brokenness. How we know we’re broken. How we can feel that we’re broken.  But I said one night, “You know what though? Just the fact that we know we’re broken makes us lightyears ahead of those who are but have no idea that they are. We’re actually the healthiest kind of broken out there.”

And I truly believe that.  Recently I wrote the following in my journal:

“I am just so grateful for my quiet life filled with peace. Thank you for rescuing me and releasing me from that chaos and pain. I cannot believe that was my life but I will never again have to feel the way I felt for those twenty years.  I am thankful to the point of tears. My home is warm and quiet and settled and my shoulders are no longer hunched and I am deeply calm and I am not trying to figure out an unmanageable situation every single moment of every single day.

I am not a mess anymore! I am being healed and restored and made whole and new each day. I don’t have to weigh my every word. I can trust the words coming out of the mouths of every person in my life. No one in my life thinks I’m an idiot or annoying. In fact, the people in my life today love me, support me, pray for me, fight for me not against me, encourage me and build me up.

I am not afraid all the time anymore. I am not worried all the time anymore. I am not angry all the time anymore. I am not confused all the time anymore. I am not sad all the time anymore. I am not stupid. I am not this mess that I felt I was all the time. You are healing me. I am more whole and stable and gentle even – with myself and others – than I’ve ever been.

I AM FREE. Jesus, thank you with everything in me for setting me free.”

And then I read these words from Psalm 66:
Oh, bless our God,who keeps our soul among the living,
and does not allow our feet to be moved.
For You, O God, have tested us;
You have refined us as silver is refined;You laid affliction on our backs;
You have caused men to ride over our heads;
we went through fire and through water;
but You brought us out to a place of rich fulfillment.

Listen, when I thank Jesus for setting me free, I do not simply mean from my marriage. When I say that I was living in chaos for twenty years – though I was – I am not implying this was one person’s fault. I was a participant in the mess. I was a participant in my brokenness. I was a participant in the failure and breakdown of my marriage. Jesus set me free from all of that, not from a person or an institution.

I used to hate the question, “how are you?” because for twenty years, I knew that I had to lie. I knew “awful” was not a Christian-culturally acceptable answer. Then I started to hate the question because I was beginning to feel better when a) I didn’t think I should be yet, and b) I wasn’t ready to give up being pitied. (I know, I’m a freak.)  And now, last night, a couple I haven’t seen in a little while asked me how I was, and I knew they really wanted to know, so I said, “I’m the healthiest broken I’ve ever been. There’s more peace than chaos, more happiness than sadness. Things are really, really good.” And I meant every word, and I said it with a smile, and then, I asked them how they were and when they said, “crappy”, I was able to listen and empathize and take it in and not walk away immediately because I was able to hear it, and I told them I would pray for them and I meant it and hopefully, just hopefully, I was able to encourage them a little bit.

Because we’re all just various levels of broken. We really are. And knowing that and owning it can make all the difference in the world. Embrace the broken, sweet ones. The Lord builds up, gathers, binds and heals the brokenhearted. Let him.