One Word: Brokenness

Isaiah 61

 1 The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon me,
      for the Lord has anointed me
      to bring good news to the poor.
   He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted
      and to proclaim that captives will be released
      and prisoners will be freed.[a]
 2 He has sent me to tell those who mourn
      that the time of the Lord’s favor has come,[b]
      and with it, the day of God’s anger against their enemies.
 3 To all who mourn in Israel,[c]
      he will give a crown of beauty for ashes,
   a joyous blessing instead of mourning,
      festive praise instead of despair.
   In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks
      that the Lord has planted for his own glory.

 I’ve been the broken-hearted. I’ve been captive. I’ve mourned and lived my life shattered and in ruins. And today, as I climb out of that valley, hand-in-hand with Jesus, the only purpose I can see in my life for the brokenness is that maybe, just maybe, I can share the healing I find with others so that they can find their healing, too.

I work for a ministry that touches thousands of lives on a daily basis, but I’m rarely the hand touching the lives. We have pastors and youth pastors that are the hands in our ministry. The only ministry my hands seem to find is cutting the checks to pay the bills so that the ministry can go on. But occasionally, I get pulled out of the office and find myself on the front lines. And one such night was the night I met Keira.

The worship service that night was incredible.  Almost all of our almost-two-hundred high schoolers had flooded down to the front of the stage and were standing there with their hands raised, singing.  I and most of the staff stood around the edges of the campers, singing.  Glancing to my left, I saw Nate—one of our youth pastors—kneeling with his hands and face raised to the sky.  Tears dripped down his face.  God was moving and there was an air of expectation and gratitude.

The praise band sang through another song and I stood on the edge of the court and watched in awe as these teenagers just totally got reverent and focused on God.  The speaker released the staff to pray with the kids.  And we did.  But the air of expectation remained and I was gripped by the feeling that whatever my assignment for the evening was, it hadn’t been completed.  I looked around and saw teenagers standing with their hands raised and others sitting cross-legged on the court and others still, sitting along the walls with their heads down on their bent knees.

And then, my speaker gave the assignment.  He asked the teenagers that if they were feeling depressed or suicidal and would like prayer, to raise their hands.  Before the question was out of his mouth, I saw a hand raise all the way on the other side of the court.  I didn’t wait to see which other hands raised.  I knew that I was supposed to pray with her–the blonde in the lime green t-shirt that was sitting at the three-point line.

I had never met her, but it didn’t matter.  By the time I reached her, she was gasping sobs.  She was on her knees, rocking and when I reached out for her, she fell into my arms.  I asked her name and somehow, I understood it through flood of tears and the curtain of hair that covered her face.

Keira.

I just held her and kept rocking.  She curled into me and wept wave after wave of emotion into the collar of my white t-shirt.  Then, the words came.  I pulled back from her, looked at her face, and knew exactly what I was supposed to say.

“God created every part of you before the world began.  And he has been madly in love with you ever since that moment that He created you.  He has a purpose for you.  But Satan is your enemy and he wants to steal your joy, take away your purpose, and kill you.”

I pushed her blonde hair off of her face and behind her ear.  She looked at me, tears streaming, and I saw absolutely no hope in her eyes.  For a moment, I had no words for her, but then they came again.

“I was in college.  And one night, I decided that the pressure was more than I could stand.  So, I got a Kleenex and I got up and found every pill that I could find and put them on the Kleenex…”

Before I could finish my story, Keira shot to attention like she’d been electrified.  She grasped my hands and said, “That’s me!  That’s what I did!  That’s what I did!”

I told her the story—which I’ve told on this blog before—of the night I almost overdosed on pills.  And as I told her, I watched her.  And as I talked, I watched the light come on behind her eyes.  I could almost see the words written on her forehead.  It’s okay.  I’m okay.  Somebody understands me.  Somebody has been where I’ve been.  And when I saw that, I knew she’d be okay.

God gave Keira a lifeline that night.  And I’m humbled that He trusted me to help.  I sat with her and explained how she doesn’t have to earn God’s love—He loves her because He created her.  And she can’t be enough or do enough to make the world happy.  But she doesn’t have to make the world happy.  God didn’t create her to make the world happy.  He created her to walk in the cool of the garden with Him, just like he created Adam and Eve to walk in the cool of the garden with Him.  It’s all about our relationship with Him. And He’s one that heals my brokenness. And Keira’s brokenness. And your brokenness.

This is a part of the One Word Blog Carnival on Brokenness at my friend Bridget’s place.

About Sarah Salter

Comments

  1. Such powerful words, Sarah. The Keira’s of the world are grateful God has placed you in their lives. Thanks so much for sharing this with us, my friend.

  2. Doggone you woman! You get to me every time you write. I know you probably tire of hearing this but I am so glad that you have allowed God to use your story in reaching others.

  3. I am sobbing like a baby.

    Bless you and your heart sarah.

  4. Sarah Salter says:

    Bridget, Bill, & Michael- Thank you for your sweet words and encouragement.

  5. I’ve got tears in my eyes, Sarah. Too often we want to bury our past, not realizing that God has other plans for that past — and sometimes it’s to be a lifeline. Beautiful story.

  6. Sarah Salter says:

    Glynn, more and more I’m realizing that although what I’ve been through hasn’t always been God’s best for me, He can still use it if I’ll give it into His hands. Rufus Moseley said, “When you make a mess out of life, give God your mess and He will unmess the messer and He’ll make an asset out of the mess.” Right now, that’s my life story. Thanks for coming by! You are ALWAYS a blessing!

  7. Awesome. I believe this is going to happen more and more as the Church moves into position for freedom and healing. This is supposed to be normal life! Thanks for being a vessel, Sarah. Thanks for moving past your own brokenness to reach out a healing heart and hand to someone else. What a testimony! Blessings…

  8. Sarah Salter says:

    Jason, I return that blessing to YOU. Thank YOU for being a vessel and reaching out healing hearts and hands to others. May you and your tribe (and your household) continue to multiply and send God’s blessings into the world!

  9. Very powerful, Sarah! I’m reminded of the story Beth Moore told in her book, “Get Out of That Pit”. Her husband had some family tragedies in his younger years and was trying to deal with them. She told him, “You’re a much neater person healed than you would have been well.”

    I think that speaks volumes on how awesome our God is! He’s the one that makes lemonade out of lemons; the One Who takes everything the devil meant for our harm and turns it around for our good!

    So glad you didn’t follow through that night, as I’m sure many people who love you are; especially your Savior and Friend, Jesus. :)

    Excellent post! God’s abundance to you!

  10. Sarah Salter says:

    Thank you, Nanci! He’s turned my mourning into dancing and given me the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness!

  11. Dang it, that’s what I get for reading this during work – everyone’s wondering why I am teared up!

  12. Sarah Salter says:

    Aw, Herb! Now you know why I’m always running out of Kleenex at my desk. :)

  13. Such a powerful moment Sarah! And in telling her your story, you gave her the freedom to open up to you.

  14. Big rocking hug for this one!

  15. God takes broken people and uses them to fix broken people.

    That’s nuts.

    That’s God.

    Love you sis…

  16. Great story! When you described her sitting up in shock, I got chills. You were a vessel for sure.

  17. Sarah Salter says:

    Melissa, Dacia, & Steph- Thanks, y’all! I’m so blessed and amazed to be surrounded by such strong women of God. Y’all bless my socks off!

  18. “God created every part of you before the world began. And he has been madly in love with you ever since that moment that He created you. He has a purpose for you. But Satan is your enemy and he wants to steal your joy, take away your purpose, and kill you.”

    Now you be sure to remember all that, you hear?

    I love you. Truly.

  19. Brokenness gets healed in relationships. It’s that simple, and that powerful. Thanks for sharing God’s love with Keira.

  20. Sarah Salter says:

    Anne, it’s easier to believe for others than for myself. But I’m workin’ on it. I love you too, sweet Sister!

    Rich, you’re absolutely right! When we get in right relationship with God and begin to get in the right relationships He’s called us to, that’s when healing flows. It really is all about relationship. Thanks for coming by!

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