I was in the car today and the song, “Brave” by Sara Bareilles came on the radio and all I could do was cry.
She said, “Say, what you wanna say and let the words fall out. I wanna see you be brave. “
So, here’s what I want to say:
When I came back to Utah, I thought that things would get easier, and they have. I’m grateful to be in a safe place where I’m being taken care of, where I’m less than an hour away from close friends who know who I really am, where there is a beauty in the mountains that reminds me of where I’ve been and what I’ve overcome, and there’s resources available for me to feel the Spirit as constantly as I need to. Things are better, but honestly, I’m still broken and I’m mad at myself for still hurting.
I still wake up every morning crying, because of all the things that haven’t gone the way I’ve wanted them to, and the things that have ended. I feel scared to interview for new jobs because I’m afraid I’m not going to be capable of what they ask me to do. I’m afraid to see and talk to my friends because I don’t want them to see me this sad. I’m afraid to move in to a new place with new roommates because I don’t want them to judge me based off this difficult time in my life. And I’m afraid to listen to any love songs or watch any movies because they’ll remind me of the fact that I can’t be with the man I love anymore.
To be honest, I’m still hurting. And I don’t know how long it’s going to take for this pain and sadness to go away. But today, I’m writing this because I’m choosing to embrace the brokenness that I’m feeling, in hopes that someone out there might gain the courage to do it, too.
I’m reading a book by Tiffany Webster called, “Embracing the Broken.” Where she talks about one of the darkest times of her life, where she felt like God literally caused her to physically, emotionally and mentally be still, so that she could understand the Savior in a more intimate way. And so she could understand how the Savior and His Atonement really is for everyone, whether you’ve sinned or whether you’re just broken. His choice to perform the Atonement was a choice to feel everything that we’ve felt, so that He could know how to help us through it.
“The human experience demands that we feel weak, broken, and mortal. The human experience demands that we feel all of the emotions, even if we logically know the answers. The human experience demands that we know pain, heartache, suffering, joy, love, and patience.”
The natural man wants us to hide our weaknesses and brokenness. The natural man wants us to hide from our sorrow and sins. It wants us to run away from them so that people don’t know how imperfect and not okay we actually are. But the Savior, He wants us to feel the brokenness and the pain, because unless we accept those mistakes and that heartache, HE CANNOT HEAL US. Unless we submit to the brokenness, we are pushing Him and His healing away.
Tiffany then writes,
“Unless we learn to love a place of weakness, we will never fully experience the complete power and strength that Jesus Christ can offer. By embracing the weakness, we step into a position that allows God to work miracles.”
How much better would the world be, and how much kinder would the world be, if we stopped hiding from our brokenness and starting embracing it with each other. Suddenly, when that happens, we realize that all of us really do need the Atonement. All of us really do need church, and the scriptures, and prayer, and service. We really do need the Savior. Every, single, one of us. Because we came into this mortal experience broken.
I was brought here into a family that was broken, and because of that I have a hard time when I lose the people I love. I’ve done so much to gain those people in my life and make up for what I didn’t have growing up, that it’s hard for me to move on when they’re gone. I have a hard time letting go because I love so deeply and so fully. I have a hard time saying goodbye, because I’m afraid that people will forget me and abandon me, or that I did something wrong to make them choose to run away.
I want everyone to know that I’m not happy 100% of the time, but that because I choose to feel sorrow, I know what true joy feels like. Because I choose to embrace my brokenness, I know the difference when I feel joy again. It is my lowest times that have helped me to become the happy and loving person that everyone has known me to be.
In Ether 12, it says,
“If men come unto me, I will show unto them their weakness, I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.”
Let’s take a look at that small part, “I give unto men weakness that they may be humble.” Every single one of us will have moments of weakness. Whether that be because of a sin, a temptation, or just a broken heart. Most likely, we’ll experience all of the above. None of us are exempt from those sorrows and consequences because we live in a fallen world where everyone is broken. So, He gives us our weaknesses that we may know who we really are compared to God.
Skipping ahead, the Lord says, “for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.” I think we look at the word humble too lightly sometimes, because I’ve been doing everything I know to do in order to feel the Savior’s strength in my life right now. And it’s still hard. But I think sometimes we just have to accept who we really are, that is, broken children of God destined to BECOME like God. And when we accept that of ourselves, and the people around us, we realize how much we need Him, and all the resources He has to help us. Then, our decisions change. Then, we allow God to work His miracles. We simply need to love ourselves, in our weakness, because that is what is going to help us become like Him.
Backing up a little in the verse, “and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me.” See that? His grace? His healing? His forgiveness? His understanding and love? That only comes when we submit completely to the fact that we need ALL the help He has to offer us. And yes, that requires stretching, some embarrassment, some pain, and guilt and sorrow. But the Lord knows our weaknesses. And He knows that they are simply strengths misunderstood. They are simply strengths hidden under the natural man that we need Him to help us unleash.
But if we turn to Him, and to others, then we realize how much faith we really do have. Then, we realize what He’s trying to help us become through those weaknesses. It is our brokenness and our mistakes that create the most beautiful story ever. It is those moments of pain and sorrow, that we come to understand the Savior and what He did for all of us in a very individual, and personal way. That is when we feel the pain He endured for us, and we see who He truly is. Then, as we overcome, our stories become a living testimony of Him forever.
Our brokenness is what makes us beautiful, and what makes us children of God. A God who is loving, patient, and knows perfectly how to help us grow and become like Him.
I love this part of Tiffany’s book that says,
“Give Him all of you, including your fears, your pain, your heart, and your life. It’s OK to not be OK. It doesn’t make you a bad Christian. It doesn’t make you “less than.” It doesn’t mean you are failing. It simply means you are experiencing mortality, exactly as you were sent here to do. So let them go; let them fall. Free yourself from holding it together. Embrace the broken.”
I don’t know what the Lord needs me to do at this point in my life. I’m confused, I’m overwhelmingly sad, and so lost as to what the Lord’s purpose for me is right now. But today, I’m choosing to embrace it. So what if it takes me a long time to get over heartache and endings. So what if I cry a lot, and feel pain. At least I’m choosing to feel. At least I’m choosing to know the pain that the Savior felt for me.
I know there’s still hope in what the future holds. Maybe things are going to work out even better than the way I want them to. I know the Lord will help me through this confusing and disappointing time of my life. But today, I’m just choosing to feel. I’m choosing to embrace this experience, because it is exactly what is going to help me know Him more. And it is exactly what is going to help me understand what He wants me to become.
So, for anyone out there who has made a mistake in God’s eyes. For anyone who has been hurt by an ending, or pained because of the loss of a loved one, or because of the wrong choices that someone else has made. Choose to feel that pain. Choose to have courage to tell people about it, so you know you’re not alone and so you can understand how to let the Savior heal you. I can’t tell you how He’s going to do that because He knows personally where that power will come from. But I can tell you that it will come, and it will be beautiful.
This is our human experience: to gain a body that will enable us to feel pain, so that as we call upon the power of the Savior, we can feel and know true joy.
The other day, a girl I haven’t spoken to in years asked me, “How have you built your relationship with the Savior to be something so personal and tangible?”
I was stunned when she asked me this, because I feel like my faith has lacked in so many ways the past few months. But all I can say is that I’ve tried to feel some of the pain He felt, and I’ve been completely honest with Him about how much I hate it and how much it hurts. As long as my Father in Heaven and His Son understand what I’m feeling, what I care about most, and what I want so badly, then I can have confidence that at least they still love me in my brokenness. And they don’t leave me because of it. Somehow, that helps me. And that’s how I’ve learned to trust Them.
For years, I’ve wondered how to love myself the way that God loves me. I’ve prayed and pondered, studied and sought out answers. I don’t know the answer completely, but I’m starting to understand that God loves my brokenness. He loves my tender and big heart. He loves when I’m sad and hurt, because it means He gets to spend more time with me.
“Love is the only antidote that can heal broken hearts, broken relationships, broken families and broken homes… When you love and forgive yourself for your past mistakes or weaknesses, you no longer feel like others are judging you… Surely, we can only love someone else as deep as we allow God and Christ to love us.” – Tiffany Webster
In Mosiah 25, it says, “when they thought of their brethren who had been slain by the Lamanites they were filled with sorrow, and even shed many tears of sorrow…
And again, when they thought of the immediate goodness of God, and His power in delivering Alma and His brethren out of the hands of the Lamanites and of bondage, they did raise their voices and give thanks to God.”
When the Savior went to bring Lazarus back from the dead, He took the time to stop and cry with Mary and the others who were in pain because of the loss of someone they loved. Even though He knew He was going to bring Lazarus back from the dead, He needed to stop and feel that pain with them, so they could appreciate the miracle that was coming.
The pain was a necessary part of the miracle.
Feeling pain and sadness is a part of our journey as mortal beings. Yeah, I know… it sucks. But when we think about the immediate goodness of God, and His plan to help us through that sorrow… That’s when we see the miracles, and feel the joy we were placed here to experience.
I don’t know what the Lord has planned for the future, and if I think about the storm that might be ahead, I can’t even handle it. So from here on out, I’m choosing to focus on the Savior and His helping hand. I’m choosing to love Him more than anything else He’s given me.
I’m choosing to trust that little bit of sunshine that pops out every day.
And I’m choosing to trust Him with what I want most.
To my friends reading this, please reach out to me. Please continue to love me the way you have. I’ve been withdrawing from everyone the past few days because I’m so embarrassed that I’m having such a hard time moving forward. I’ve deleted all my social media from my phone because I’m so sad that other people are moving on with their lives and I just can’t right now. So please know that your love and prayers are what I need right now. I’m not quitting, I’m not giving up. I just need love right now. And maybe, that’s where the miracle will start.
I’m still hurting, but I know there is hope because of the Savior. It is through my brokenness that I will come to know who He really is, and what He’s really done for the world. I hope so badly, that you will allow yourself to experience the miracle that’s coming through your brokenness, too.
All my love,