The Hopeful Broken

Column Post by Laura Hyers

Hope is a hard thing for me. I’ve struggled with anxiety my whole life, and since I graduated high school depression has with some frequency come to wrap its dark fingers around my whole life.

I married my best friend last July, and the first year of marriage has been an adventure, for lack of a better term. Loss and change and struggle and discord have found their way into our home more times than I would like to admit, and who knows how many times I’ve shouted at Caleb that I’m tired of churchy answers about hope and holding on and trusting that God would provide he didn’t have a job, or when my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer, or when we didn’t know where our rent money would come from.

When my temper subsided, I was always sheepishly apologizing for losing my cool and lashing out at him, and he was always forgiving me without a second thought, but it’s been difficult for him to understand my rage against his optimism.

I see myself as a realist, looking at things as objectively and honestly as I can, and sometimes that isn’t beneficial. It’s not that I myself don’t know all the answers they taught in Sunday school; it’s just that those answers rarely soothe the aches of a heart lost in the turbulence of the everyday. I see more and more why non-Christians struggle with the cliché statements that seem to come straight from some non-existent book titled How to Impress People with Your Christianese.

There are well-intentioned people who love me, telling me that God has a plan, that it will be made clear to me sooner or later. And I smile and nod and truly try to believe those words. I myself say these same things to those around me with complete conviction, knowing fully that God will see to it!

But I can’t believe them for myself, can’t see how God will attend to the problems in my life. Perspective can make or break a person, and I view the world through the eyes of a woman raised to be independent, to blaze a trail and go after what I want and make things happen.

But what happens when I don’t know what I want, when I feel paralyzed by options? What about when my prayers seem to be left unanswered? This is where God is so often setting me straight, turning my stubborn face and self-sufficient heart to Him and reminding me that He is aware of my struggles and worries because they are a part of Him working in my life, shaping me into the person He has always wanted me to be.

With this in mind, sometimes the answers to the questions posed by my hurting heart aren’t easy or pretty; sometimes they are messy and sometimes they aren’t really answers at all, but instead just enough hope to make it through a situation, to hold on and trust in the face of a chance to do just the opposite.

A few Sundays ago my pastor was giving a sermon about how the resurrection of Jesus changes everything for those who follow Christ, should we choose to really believe it. Even in the midst of my frustrations and hopelessness, God laid something huge on my heart, and I couldn’t get the words down quickly enough:

He will be who He says He is.
He will finish what He started.
He will bind up my brokenness.
He will bring unity to fractured community.
He will bring hope where there has only been despair.

These are the promises He has given us, friend. These are the words we can hold onto, words that neither deny our human condition nor pretend we have it all together, but words that instead assure us that we are all hurting, and that our God is who He says He is.

And He is all the hope we need.

 

Laura Hyers is a Tampa native, writer, and the newly wed wife of musician Caleb. She recently graduated from the University of South Florida with a bachelor’s degree in psychology with a concentration in literature and is currently teaching preschool. When not chasing a class of two-year-olds, Laura is writing and fighting fierce bouts of wanderlust. She loves music, reading, being near the ocean, and dreaming big over huge cups of coffee with her best friend Lakin. Laura blogs at http://littlebirdmarie.blogspot.com.

Read more encouraging stories from brave-hearted women here. Be sure to grab your free copy of inspirational quotes and writing prompts while you’re there. (Look over on the right hand side!)

15 thoughts on “The Hopeful Broken

  1. This post resonated with me, I know what you are saying because I’ve been there for 2 years now, after over 20 years in full-time ministry. The churchy talk sounds hollow and it makes me regret all the empty encouragement I handed out as a pastors wife.
    But God is still who he is, as you said…..and thank God for that! Ha!

    • My husband and I have been co-leading a house church since June of last year, and its hard to avoid the churchy talk! Its as if there are only so many ways to be encouraging and remind people to hope, I hear things coming out of my mouth that I mean and believe in but that must sound hollow to the person on the receiving end. I am so thankful that God can use us all in spite of ourselves to bring wholeness to those we get to do community with!

  2. When all we have left to hang onto is a thread, God can use that thread to weave a beautiful tapestry. I will keep your pastor’s words close to my heart!
    He will be who He says He is.
    He will finish what He started.
    He will bind up my brokenness.
    He will bring unity to fractured community.
    He will bring hope where there has only been despair.

    • Sally, your words are a beautiful reminder of how God can make something beautiful when all I seem to be capable of is making a mess of things. He will finish what He started, and He will make our threads shine glorious in community with those around us!

  3. My, goodness, Laura! I am old enough to be your mother but have been blogging about these very same issues and feelings for a year now. I have had some folks tell me that my struggles have strengthened their faith because most folks won’t take off their Sunday-go-to-meeting masks long enough to say, “OUCH!” The Lord bless you and minister to you and Caleb as you find yourselves in him.

    • Thank you for your kind words, Carol! Isn’t it one of the best feelings in the world, being told that your vulnerability and transparency has encouraged the same in others? Keep speaking truth and keep being real, I know the people who need your honesty will find so much comfort in your words.

  4. I have to wonder, how do you know so much about me? 🙂 “This is where God is so often setting me straight, turning my stubborn face and self-sufficient heart to Him and reminding me that He is aware of my struggles and worries because they are a part of Him working in my life, shaping me into the person He has always wanted me to be.”
    The current bible study I am doing is Anointed, Transformed, Redeemed. A Study of David. In the first session, Priscilla Shirer reminds us “Who’s Your Daddy.” I have been saying it aloud to remind myself! Even now reading it brings tears to me eyes and breathes hope and life over my anxiety! Take a peek, perhaps the words will resonate with you as well. ~b
    http://graciesmith.wordpress.com/2012/04/29/whos-your-daddy-by-priscilla-shirer/

    • Oh my goodness, this: “He is Light, He is Love, He is Longevity, and He is the Lord.” Thank you, Bridgit – and I’d say we must be kindred spirits indeed 🙂

  5. “… telling me that God has a plan, that it will be made clear to me sooner or later.” This is always a statement that makes me want to rip the issuers arms off and beat them about the head with them. Ugh. Yes, I know, God has a plan. I know his plan is good and perfect. I know my vision of good and perfect is badly skewed by my humanness. But knowing that doesn’t make it feel any better. Even the encouragement of the “Refiner’s Fire” seems hollow and empty when I’m in it.
    What I know is this: God has most certainly kept his promise. He promised that it would be a rocky road at best. At worst the road would take our lives. He promised that he would never leave us. He promised that he saved us. So I can wait to see what the plan was until this road takes me home. In the mean time, I will still glare daggers at the Christianese, I will still struggle along. But I will be ok.

    • Struggling along is still forward motion, Kelly, and I admire your determination. I’ve been reminded lately that even if it sounds cliche, God will bless your efforts and your prayers will not come back empty; so thankful that there are places we are allowed to admit our brokenness.

  6. Oh, ladies, your comments are such an encouragement! Its a huge relief to see that I’m not the only one walking through this, and I’ve been hoping more and more that if a few brave souls can share their brokenness, the rest of the Church can follow suit. You are all an incredible inspiration, thank you.

  7. Laura, what I LOVED about your post is that it’s about being REAL. Until someone struggles with depression, anxiety and serious challenges, no one can truly understand or imagine how this impacts our lives. During darkness, we do not want to be scolded for struggling with a lack of faith or hopelessness, especially when we’re already juggling a heavy burden. What your post did was VALIDATE a real world who is hurting and who questions where God is in the midst of pain. It’s a breath of fresh air knowing I am not alone and so many others are walking in similar shoes.

  8. Laura, love the way you share from the heart – keeping it real. I feel validated already, knowing it would be safe to share my trials with you. By being real, your words bring hope to me ♥

  9. Laura,

    I am blessed by you sharing so transparently about your struggles. I know beyond the shadow of a doubt others will continue to find hope as they read your words. When we are willing to let others see us as we really are, it invites them to breathe a deep sigh and do the same with us. Isn’t it beautiful?

    I think I understand what you are saying about Christianese, but I also think we have to look at the hearts and motives of those speaking what is termed ‘Christianese’.

    The first thought that came to me as I read and considered what I wanted to comment on first. What came so strongly and sweetly to mind for me was –
    He will
    He will
    He will
    He will
    He will

    How beautiful that the Holy Spirit would speak these words so strongly to your heart.

    And therein, you found the hope that is eternal.

    I understand there are time others attempt to push us past our true emotions or even avoid them totally because of their inability or unwillingness to acknowledge our struggles, but there are also times when those closest to us speak the truths we need to hear to be reminded of what we once knew and perhaps lost sight of.

    Sometimes we just need to be heard.

    And I think it’s ok to let others know of our boundary.

    And sometimes mean people do hurtful things and do not even consider how it might be received.

    Shame on them. Shame on us – I am certain at some point in our lives – we were them.

    Grace – Grace – Grace – Grace – Grace

    Teach us Lord how to build up what is your body and NOT tear down or pass judgement by coming up with answers that seem right to us.

    Help us to walk according to the Spirit in all things submitting to Your leading.

    And when necessary – ask forgiveness.

    Thank you again for sharing.

    HIS
    Karen

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