After the failure of two marriages, among other failures, I’ve had to do a lot of soul searching. At the end of the trail of broken pieces, I found myself.
I discovered that the reason those marriages ended was because they really never should’ve happened in the first place. Sure, it takes two to tango, and there was a lot wrong on both sides of those partnerships. But I have no control over anything but my own side.
The truth is I went into both scenarios a bag of broken bones hoping somewhere along the way, I’d heal into something whole. I learned the hard way it doesn’t go that way. If anything, the sharp edges of my broken bones only tore more holes in the fibers of my soul. Mess was compounded on top of mess and before I knew it, I could barely find my way out.
Two divorces, many years, and a lot of work and therapy later, I’m better. I’m much more whole than I’ve ever been able to say I am. But lately I have realized that while I have healed and no longer walk around inside a casing of skin holding my brokenness, there are parts of me that feel irretrievably broken.
That’s what term they use in the breakdown of a marriage.
That’s what it says in my divorce decree.
I said those words out loud to someone the other day and as I heard it, the echo of my own voice vibrated down my spine.
I am scared.
While not everything is perfect (nor will it ever be), the details of my life right now are pretty good. There are things happening I never imagined would. Peace I never thought I’d find. Love I never believed I deserved. And wholeness I never thought was possible.
And yet in the midst of all of that, I find myself still struggling.
Battling old issues. Old patterns. Old beliefs. Old fears.
I’m moody and messy and impossible at times. The same issues repeat themselves in my life like a broken record and regardless of the good or bad circumstances that surround me; I am still me in the center of it all.
I start to wonder if what’s irretrievably broken isn’t so much the marriages I never should have entered, but rather ME. The woman half of those broken partnerships.
Fear takes over.
What if I never figure this out? What if I never become as whole as I want to be? What if I always mess it all up because I’m the one that’s irretrievably broken? And what does that mean for my children and the future of the beautiful relationship God has gifted me now?
The overall picture of me is that of a woman who has healed and become strong in spite of her brokenness. And much of the time, I believe that image to be true. But there’s another portion of time. Time inside this body, inside this brain, that no one but me is privy to. I know how messy it is in here despite how clean the outside sometimes looks.
I know the ugly I came from and while the pieces have been put back together, I remember when they were broken. I still feel the edges. I trace my fingers across those lines and if I press too hard, I hear them crack.
Though I fight against the strength of the past knowing it wasn’t all me, pages of that old story linger in my soul and I fear the next person will once again decide it’s all too much.
Cracked at the foundation and busted at the core.
Sooner or later, the glue holding these pieces together may stop working and I fear that shattering will be too much to come back from.
I know the right answers to this problem. I know that I’m supposed to stop believing those lies. I know that I am supposed to give those fears to God and trust Him. I know that in Him, I am whole and my broken past has no bearing on the future God has laid before me.
And yet despite my head knowledge, fear wins my heart sometimes.
“Parts of me are irretrievably broken,” I heard myself say.
I wish it was as simple as “not believing those lies anymore.” I wish it was as easy as “not speaking that negativity over myself.”
But the fact that it is so hard is part of what feeds that belief.
Someone more whole wouldn’t still feel this way. Someone truly healed would be able to fight against this in a healthier way. She’d be braver. She’d be stronger. She’d be better.
Right now I don’t have anything revolutionary to say about this. But I have a feeling I’m not the only person out there who at times believes that, for whatever reason, parts of them are irretrievably broken.
In fact, I know I’m not the only one because I see it everywhere.
For thousands of different reasons, with thousands of different stories and thousands of different pieces, we are surrounded by broken people. All of us, no matter how whole, are just a little bit broken in places.
So maybe the answer is to just call it out and fight it together.
To both own our brokenness and fight against it as we heal through it.
To stand together and simultaneously embrace our imperfections while we work toward healthier hearts.
That’s really all I know to do.
My marriages (among other things) were irretrievably broken; and there was a time that I thought I was too. At times, I still believe that. But hidden inside my belief that I am broken beyond repair, in the guts of my being, I know different.
While layers of me, and you, may always have cracks, the whole of us is not broken; and nothing is irretrievable when placed in holy hands.
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