The Light Still Shines…in our brokenness.

I wrote last time about how sometimes we get overwhelmed, and sometimes it seems like we are the ones with the dirty dishes while everyone else is posting shiny wonderful things on Instagram and FaceBook…and I received more shares on that post than any other I have written. Friends…so many of us are feeling overwhelmed and a little bit scared and a little bit frustrated and a little bit angry. We relate, and yet we don’t always want to say that we are on edge or that we are overwhelmed.

We are living in a broken world and that takes a toll on us. We are faced with those we love who are in bodies that are broken and hurt, we are faced with a world where there are people who are overcome by evil and seek to destroy. We are faced with pain and sometimes that is scary and frustrating and overwhelming, and it spills out into our everyday life. Sometimes  it spills out in us yelling at our kids, sometimes it spills out us being stressed, sometimes it spills out in us acting out in ways we would never imagine we could. Sometimes it spills out in us running to God. 

We need to not be shy anymore, because when we try to push that down, it just grows. We need each other.

In the past at our church I have served on our hospitality team. We provide meals when people have babies, or when they are sick, or just when they need that extra boost. I have loved doing it, and when I can I still help. Life has been a little more crazy with the homeschool adventure, so I haven’t been able to pitch in as often, but I know our hospitality team still thrives and provides, literally, hundreds of meals a year.

When I had Madeleine I ended up with quite a bump medically afterward, and the meals that came in were a great help. Just not having to worry about what to get on the table for the other three kiddos and Steve was a blessing. More than that though, it was an awareness that others were paying attention that I was in need. Of course, having a baby is a celebratory need, and often on the hospitality team we are providing meals for people who are dealing with battling cancer or with other illnesses. They are sick and they need that encouragement and help of being cared for by the community. Providing food is one of the most elemental and nurturing things we can do as a community…there is something so intimate about cooking a meal and delivering it. Time is taken and there is an awareness to the person who is receiving the food that they are truly cared for.

Sometimes, though, there are things in life that wear us down and are awkward, or more than awkward, and people are not sure how to help. Sometimes the brokenness comes through in ways that makes us want to look away because it makes us uncomfortable. I read an article on Slate that powerfully brought this point across.
Cancer. Babies. We know these things…

Depression. Anorexia. Mental Illness. Addiction.  We are not sure what to do.

Here’s the thing, though. What if we noticed that more. What if we noticed that the brokenness of our friends around us was more than they could handle at the moment. What if the brokenness of their children was an uncomfortable brokenness…

What if instead of looking away, or smiling politely and trying our best to avoid the topic, we brought meals and asked specifically how they were? Not just when they are on the list at church for the hospitality team,  but just when they look frazzled at the store? What if we brought over a latte to that friend whose son has falling into addiction and she simply doesn’t know what to do? What if we sat with her even if we don’t have the words? What if we went and sat with the friend who is feeling overwhelmed with keeping up house and has the parent who is ill and feels overwhelmed with the thought of caring for aging parents?

Because, I have a hunch that part of why we don’t want to look at brokenness that is uncomfortable is because we know that it is the same brokenness that is part of us.  And that terrifies us.

It is much easier to put pretty bandaids on and pretend that we are whole, than to look at the brokenness and realize that we need a savior.

Oh, but friends….the thing is, the flip side is that the hope for the broken-hearted is the same as well.

We have to believe that.

We have to speak that hope outloud and not turn away from our friends who are caught in loneliness and fear and anger and, sin.

You, right now, are loved of God. You are precious in His sight and you are loved. You are not forgotten, no matter how badly broken life seems, and He is your hope.

Even if you have been so overwhelmed, so confused by the way life has played out that you have made choices that now you are not sure about…even then…God still is your hope.

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

2 thoughts on “The Light Still Shines…in our brokenness.

  1. Linnea says:

    Sarah…what a wonderful article. I have experienced, through a family member, the judgment that comes from mental illness and recovery. No offers of food, no offers of kind comments, and even the loss of a long-time Christian friendship. You were the one supporter. I think you’ve hit the nail on the head…we don’t want to be reminded of our own brokenness, but it was for this very brokenness that Jesus Christ died. What does that say about what we think our salvation is?


  2. sarahkwolfe says:

    Linnea, I’m so sorry you faced that. That sucks.

    We just don’t know very well how to handle mental illness, do we?

    Praying for you and your family tonight…and praying that we learn better how to handle reaching out to those around us. I think what struck me when I read that article was simply to be aware of those in our midst who are facing some deep challenges, and how much a simple word would change things. Even for those who are facing just the challenges of daily life. I know that it is hard to reach out to all of those around us, but still, I know I could do better in just my day-to-day interactions.

    And yes, I think there is a core of vulnerability which makes us uncomfortable in seeing someone else’s brokenness in such a raw state. We can’t avoid it and it highlights our own state.

    You are right though…what does it say about our confidence in our salvation, because the hope we have in our salvation is the same hope we offer to those who are facing struggles. When we are so timid in offering that hope, that is a difficult question to answer. We need to not be shy about offering hope in these days…

    Thanks for reading, my friend.


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