The first word that comes to mind as I think about our gathering last night is “gift.” What a gift it was to immerse ourselves in the maternal images of God and spend time meditating on the ways our own mothers or other women in our lives have reflected this oft-unacknowledged aspect of God. I was reminded just how big and full and whole and present God is. I was especially moved by the communal reading we shared about God’s nurturing nature. Every line was drawn from Scripture and presented such expansive images of God: nurturing, powerful Protector; loving, comforting Caregiver; compassionate, patient Nurturer; and tender, Sustainer of life.
Then, with these images of God in mind, Lynne Hybels invited us into her beautiful story. I don’t know that I have ever asked God so specifically to walk me into my brokenness. It is a place I’d rather avoid. But last night that changed. As she shared, Lynne said, “every time I got honest and leaned into the brokenness inside of me, I found Jesus there. Finding that changed everything.” Lynne explained that as she spent time “just reading Jesus,” what she found first was the lover of her soul, not the demanding, tyrannical image of God she had grown up with and attempted to please all her life. What she found was the Jesus we see in Mark 14 who saw and affirmed the attentive, sensitive soul of the woman who broke open her alabaster jar of expensive perfume and poured every drop over Jesus’ head.
Lynne also found a Jesus who said crazy, upside-down things, like “love your enemies.” She found a Jesus who calls us to compassionate action in the world. She found a Jesus who has called her into war zones, battlefields, and to broken bodies and hearts to be a peacemaker: “I believe Jesus walks into the places of the deepest brokenness in the world and He calls us to follow Him there.” Her own brokenness, she said, opened her to the brokenness in the world.
If opening my eyes to my own brokenness could lead me to Jesus, this lover of my soul, and would lead me to serve God and the world with the spirit and strength Lynne has demonstrated, then there is only one prayer I desire to pray: “God, I am willing. Open my eyes. Take me into the brokenness.”
Lynne left us with the following three questions to help us delve more deeply into this subject of being broken open for peace:
- Is there a brokenness in your history, your life, your daily experience, that you need to acknowledge, face, lean into, so you can find Jesus there loving you? You cannot take the love of Jesus into the world unless you have received it into your own soul.
- Is there a brokenness in the world that you sense Jesus is calling you to enter, to follow him into? Are you willing to name it? Are you willing to prayerfully ponder what it might look like for you to begin to enter that broken place?
- Is there a member – or members – of the global family that you really wish weren’t part of the family? Are you willing to name that person or that group of people? Are you willing to prayerfully ponder how you might respect, love, and serve that member of the family?
It is the first one that scares me the most, and so I believe I need to start there. What about you?
May you, by leaning into and moving out from your own brokenness, follow Jesus, the lover of your soul, into the places of deepest brokenness in the world.
Grace and peace,
You can listen to Lynne’s message here below or by subscribing to The Practice Podcast.