Tuesday, August 12, 2014

A Fresh Start :: On Brokenness & Restoration

Sitting on the front porch, the spring-like breeze made me forget today was our last day before school starts tomorrow. The kids played in the front yard while I finished editing a friend’s book. A couple guys worked on building us a deck in the back yard. The kids read/browsed books of their own while I soaked in the silence.

We met Greg for lunch at the Thai restaurant of the kids’ choosing to celebrate summer’s end. Honestly, I haven’t felt like celebrating. Summer went too fast. It’s not that there was more I wanted to do, but I want more of what we’ve done. I want more adventures and more afternoons at the pool.

But today has been good for my weary soul.

This summer has been full of fun times – with friends, at amusement parks, on the road, in our front yard, in our pajamas, on the calendar, and in spontaneous moments.

And this summer also has been a time of processing old wounds.

Watching a dear friend walk through a family situation that reminds of my own history that left the deepest scars has brought me to a place I wasn’t expecting. I’d walk through the hard days with this friend over and over again, but I wasn’t emotionally prepared for where her journey would take me. I wasn’t ready for the scabs in my heart to be ripped off. I thought the scars were fading, but I realized this summer they still need to heal.

So today as the spring breeze blew through my last summer day, I typed out some words I’ve held inside for decades. A relationship that plagued me when I was 8 is still haunting me at 35 years old. Through my husband’s encouragement, my friends’ support, and God’s grace, I’ve realized I need to forgive. The anger I’ve held onto for so long has overflowed into my life as a wife, mom, daughter, sister, aunt, and friend. The bitterness has robbed me of the joy and peace God wants me to know.

I get the sense there’s freedom on the other side.

Yes, the kids will go back to school tomorrow. But our adventures don’t end here. Hopefully I’ll get to the point of forgiveness sooner rather than later. Because that’s just the beginning of whatever God has for me next.

“I don’t want to get so stressed about bedtime this year,” I told Greg at lunch while my kids listened. They all knew what I meant because they’ve regularly witnessed by nagging, rushing of putting the kids away because I’m often tired by daylight’s end. Really, I’m weary from the inside out.

Bedtime sounds minor, but it’s in the ordinary moments I’m realizing God is continuing a work he started long ago. And it’s here in the process of getting to the other side of forgiveness that I’ve learned only through brokenness does God have a chance to restore.

“Become broken and poured out for hopeless people. Become a living offering, denying yourself for the salvation and restoration of humanity. …

Doesn’t this concept of being broken for others ring true? It’s a spiritual dynamic that bears out physically. Why is it so exhausting to uphold someone’s heavy, inconvenient burden? Why are we spent from shouldering someone’s grief or being an armor bearer? Why is it that lifting someone out of his or her rubble leaves us breathless? Because we are the body of Christ, broken and poured out, just as He was. 
Mercy has a cost: someone must be broken for someone else to be fed. The sermon changed your life? That messenger was poured out so you could hear it. The friends who stood in the gap during your crisis? They embraced some sacrifice of brokenness for your healing.” 
{Jen Hatmaker in “Interrupted: When Jesus Wrecks Your Comfortable Christianity”}

It doesn’t feel like summer anymore – both with this relief in humidity and the school calendar looming. But I want to hold onto a summer mentality that recognizes one more book, an extra song, or an adventure that stretches beyond 7:30 p.m. is okay. More importantly, I want to remember what God’s taught me this summer: Our brokenness can feed each other and give God a chance to make us new.

Perhaps a fresh start with the new school year won’t be so bad after all.

I'm sharing this post with link-ups at Jen Ferguson's Soli Deo Gloria Sisterhood Gathering, Holley Gerth's Coffee for Your Heart, Beth Stiff's Three Word Wednesday, and Jennifer Dukes Lee's #TellHisStory

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  1. It's been too long since I've stopped by your space. Hi, friend. :) I love your heart and am so grateful for your words tonight. (((hugs)))

  2. KristinHillTaylor8/12/2014 7:43 PM

    I'm glad you stopped by tonight, Mel! I love seeing your sweet face here. I'm glad my words encouraged you. It's been awhile since I felt like I had any meaningful words. :)

  3. I love your new header, Kristin. And I love your heart in this post. Makes me wish even more that I was sitting beside you trading stories, wishes and more. Praying for you as a new school year begins. Much love. xoxo

  4. Sharita Knobloch8/13/2014 9:30 AM

    Love this, Kristin-- thanks for sharing your heart and God's redeeming power. So glad I stopped by from Beth's place today!

  5. KristinHillTaylor8/13/2014 1:51 PM

    Thanks, Beth! I thought it was a time for a fresh header on the blog. Then, of course, that prompted to make a few other changes. :) Oh, how I would love to hang out in person again - whether on my front porch or on top of a ferris wheel. Love you, friend.

  6. KristinHillTaylor8/13/2014 1:52 PM

    Thanks, Sharita! I'm glad you came by.

  7. Inspiring post and love the updated look, feels calm.

  8. KristenStrong8/13/2014 6:50 PM

    "I’m realizing God is continuing a work he started long ago." ~ Thanks to you, I'm realizing this too. Much love to you, Kristin!

  9. Dear Kristin,

    There is a place that we all come to, usually w/o realization that we are there till we are submerged in the pool of life, suprised by our arrival and our subsequent feelings at our destination. That place where we thought we found peace and realized it was only a reprieve, God is still working. You made me think about that today with the quotes from Jen's book and this final sentence: "Our brokenness can feed each other and give God a chance to make us new." It is so hard to be broken. It is dangerous. Yet, it is the only place that we can be to finally find that path to wholeness, being put together by His loving hands and the blessings of encouragers who are sent by Him... whether they know they are touching grace and adminstering that holy medicine or not.
    You were administering a little today with your transparency. I am thankful to stop and visiti you today and praying for your continued journey to more of Him.



  10. This: "Our brokenness can feed each other and give God a chance to make us new." It makes me think of Jesus as the bread of life...His body broken for us that we might be nourished once again. Powerful post, dear friend. Love you.

  11. KristinHillTaylor8/14/2014 11:14 AM

    Actually, the Jen Hatmaker quote was right after she was talking about Jesus being the bread of life and communion, but I didn't really think I should copy and paste the whole chapter onto my blog ... although it's really all that good. Have you read the book? You totally should. :) I love seeing your smiling face here, sweet friend. Thanks for your encouragement. Love you!

  12. KristinHillTaylor8/14/2014 11:15 AM

    Your words are such encouragement to me. Thanks for sharing here, Dawn!

  13. KristinHillTaylor8/14/2014 11:15 AM

    I'm so glad you were encouraged, Kristen! XOXO, friend.

  14. KristinHillTaylor8/14/2014 11:15 AM

    Thanks! :)

  15. Have you got a new cover picture here? I always loved your contagious smiling face in the last one, and now a new one to make me smile!

    I get where you're coming from with the scabs being torn off anew. That's sometimes the hardest thing about helping someone who is going through what we've been through. Even though the outcome has been good, it's still painful to relive it. But that's the beauty of love and surrender--doing it despite the cost. Such a poignant post, Kristen. Thanks for sharing.

  16. I haven't yet - I should put it on my list!

  17. KristinHillTaylor8/14/2014 1:00 PM

    Thank you, Lisa, for your kind words about my cover picture and the post. I really appreciate you coming here and encouraging me.

  18. What a beautiful picture of being Jesus' hands and feet. We are so blessed when someone comes alongside us and shoulders our grief and pain. Maybe opening old wounds means there is still work to do, and a new scab will form that is just the right shape for where we are now. Thank you for sharing such raw emotions that others can be helped by!

  19. KristinHillTaylor8/17/2014 2:04 PM

    Thank you for your kind comment, Sarah. You're right, there's still healing work to do, but I'm thankful that it doesn't all have to happen at once. Life is such a process. Hope you've had a great weekend.