As I took my dad to his final oncology appointment, I could sense the nervousness. I wanted the walls I had built up to fall and I wanted to be brave enough to love my dad as Jesus has loved me.
Voskamp explains: “[be] brave enough to lay your heart out there to be broken, to be rejected in a thousand little ways, this may hurt like a kind of hell-but it will be holy. The only way in the whole universe to find connection…is to let your heart be broken. Love only comes to those brave enough to risk being brokenhearted.”
I wanted to take the risk of being brokenhearted more than I wanted the safety of my barrier. I wanted that nervousness I had most of life to be gone. I wanted the walls to come crashing down. I wanted my dad to know I loved him. I wanted my dad to feel that love from me. Most of all, I wanted my dad to see and experience the love of Jesus through me.
At the doctor visit with my dad, there was a new vulnerability between the two of us. The barriers of self-protection were breaking. We channel surfed together, landing on an indy car race, one of my dad’s favorite pastimes. We reminisced about food, favorite places, the kids, my sweet little granddaughter, and he asked how I had been doing since my car accident, and we laughed at how we went to the wrong doctor’s office…not once, but twice! I remember him telling me that I had married a good man (I know this to be true), and that he didn’t want to be a burden to me or my family. Our new found broken love truly was miraculous and as Voskamp says:
“The miracle happens in the breaking. The breaking down of our barriers as we give love from our brokenness.”
It seemed as if the barriers we both had erected that “falsely advertised self-protection and that supposedly protected our hearts so they wouldn’t break” (Voskamp), were breaking. With all my dad’s messiness in his growing up years and marriage to my mom, and his relationship with each of us kids, he was loving each of us through his barrier that was protecting his brokenness. A brokenness controlled by alcohol to numb his pain and barriers that were pain-filled for all of our family.
The Way Forward
Whatever the brokenness in my dad’s life that led to living his life in an altered state, my heart wishes so much that my dad could have let Christ heal his broken heart.
“Hearts are broken in ten thousand ways, for this is a heart-breaking world; and Christ is good at healing all manner of heart-breaks.” Charles Spurgeon
On my dad’s final day here on earth, we asked about his Bible. We wanted to see if my dad had earmarked any of his favorite verses so we could read them to him. We found the Bible in his nightstand drawer and as we opened the cover we learned the Bible had been given to him in elementary school and that he had been baptized as a young teen. This was new information for me as my dad had never shared that with me. There were no favorite verses underlined or highlighted. NOT judging here, because some people never underline or highlight in their Bibles, just had hoped we would find a verse that may have brought comfort to my dad.
Lymphoma would be the catalyst for my dad that would take him home to be with Jesus. He said he was ready for a new body and no more pain. He was also ready for a complete and unbroken heart and to be loved perfectly by the only one who loves perfectly. The one who was willing to be “broken and given” (Voskamp). The one who will never leave us or forsake us. The one we can abandon our fears to, and who will break down our barriers in the safety of his love. The one who knows we are only capable of loving broken.The one who uses our brokenness to heal a hurting world, and who doesn’t want us to be afraid of our brokenness.
We will all love broken. This is our reality. The way forward is to be brave and have the courage to give love from our brokenness and to let our brokenness be used to heal a hurting world and to break the barriers that lead us to self-protection and altered states that shatters lives and families.
The way forward is to know the one who suffered for the suffering (us). The way forward to receiving perfect love is through a personal relationship with Jesus. The way forward is to confess with your mouth and believe in your heart that Jesus suffered and died for you and your brokenness because of his great love for you. The way forward is to receive His free gift of grace given at the cross so that you can freely give it. And, as a believer, the way forward is to rely on the power of the Holy Spirit living inside of us, so that we can love others from our brokenness. He’s offering an invitation for our healing to be His healing to this hurting world through our brokenness.
As Voskamp explains: “Our bad brokenness is made whole by His good brokenness…[and] only the wounds of God can heal our wounds. We are made in the image of God. And wasn’t God’s heart made to be broken too? Wounds can be openings to the beauty in us. And our weaknesses can be a container for God’s glory.”
My dad’s brokenness was made whole by the good brokenness of Jesus. I only wish that my dad let the wounds of God heal his wounds sooner rather than later.
I thank God that my brokenness has been made whole by the good brokenness of Jesus. I thank God that His wounds heal my wounds as I learn to love brave, taking the risk of being brokenhearted, and loving without barriers.
I thank God for my dad. I thank God for broken love that moved us eventually to connection. I thank God that my dad had an awareness of faith that began at an early age. I thank God that years later, my dad gave his life to Jesus Christ. I thank God for the Bible I still have to this day that my dad gave as a Christmas gift to Reggie and I in December 1985. Here is what he wrote inside:
For Jackie and Reggie,
May this book be your guide to the shining light of life.
I thank God that my dad wanted to point us to Jesus as the shining light for our lives.
Voskamp writes in Be the Gift: Let your brokenness be turned into abundance:
“This world is beautiful and broken with suffering all around us and in us. And yet, for those who believe, this can be the very birthplace of healing and beauty. Though your heart will be broken, this is where light will get in, where love will get in. And though you may know great suffering, that’s right where the greatest love can embrace you. Knowing this, living this, can change everything. Dare to be the gift to let your brokenness be turned to abundance.”
My prayer is that you allow your brokenness to be turned into abundance as you let the wounds of Jesus heal your wounds. Dare to be the gift to a broken and hurting world as we all love broken.