The Blessing of Brokenness I

I can’t tell you how many times I found myself weeping on our bathroom floor, telling God that I didn’t want to be alive anymore. Four months into motherhood and the future looked bleak. I did not enjoy my beautiful son. I was angry. Angry with God for all the ways things had gone “wrong” from pregnancy to motherhood. Angry with myself for proving to be a terrible mother who couldn’t be like all of the other mothers out there. The anger didn’t exactly disappear, but God didn’t leave me broken on that bathroom floor. He never does.

Brokenness is a funny thing. It is the very thing we all try to avoid and yet it is the one thing that makes us utterly dependent on God. There is no one and nothing else to turn to when you are broken. Nothing you can turn to that will make you whole again, that is.

I am a planner. I like to be in control. I used to think I was a pretty awesome Christian, who didn’t need anyone to guide me along the treacherous path of motherhood. I had researched it all, so why bother asking questions when I already knew the answers? So when all of my plans for just about everything were ripped into shreds, I was angry. I was supposed to have my child at a birthing center without any drugs. I had an emergency C-section after laboring for 3+ days…so yeah, I had lots of drugs and a hellishly long recovery. I was supposed to nurse my child until his first birthday and never have to use formula. I made it 6 months and ultimately had to switch to formula due to clogged ducts and my angry fits when my son would bite or not latch properly. I was supposed to love my child unconditionally. I yelled when my son wouldn’t go to sleep, slammed my fists onto tables, walls, etc. when things were out of my control, and was detached emotionally as a parent for the first year of his life. I wasn’t this way all of the time. Anyone looking from the outside in would think I was a phenomenal mother who had it all together. My son was happy for the most part and no one need know the secrets behind closed doors. But God knew and he knows that there’s no room for secrets when it comes to our darkness.

I could be in the same place I was six months ago, but in the first four months of my son’s life, God broke me. And while it took another eight months to pick up the pieces, I am whole again and I am changed. Not only did God break me, but he reshaped me. When I was on that bathroom floor, crying out to God, he heard me and he answered. Over eight years ago, when I was drowning in my sin of viewing pornography, God required that I bring it to the light. And recently, when I was drowning in my failures with anger, God required that I bring it to the light. Thankfully, this time it didn’t take years for me to listen and respond. I had learned my lesson from the past and sin would not hook it’s claws into me again.

“So we are lying if we say we have fellowship with God but go on living in spiritual darkness; we are not practicing the truth. But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin.”

– 1 John 1:6-7

Defusing My Anger

Anger.

Where do I even begin?

Ever since the birth of our first son, my anger has become like a wretched weed with a branching network. Trying to pull out all of the roots is a seemingly never-ending task. Here’s an even better analogy for this from the movie Hurt Locker

In this scene, the Staff Sgt. uncovers a wire that, once pulled out of the ground, brings several connected bombs to the surface. There is nothing else to do but take a deep breath and start the process of defusing each bomb.

It is the same with the type of anger I have been experiencing and once you start rooting out the issues beneath all of the anger, there is no going back. It’s no longer beneath the surface and now you know that it has to be dealt with before something sets you off and you do something you will regret for the rest of your life.

I used to wonder how a mom could ever harm her child. You hear about those horrible stories where children are abused, even killed by their very own mothers. I don’t wonder how it happens anymore. Unchecked and unrighteous anger is a powerful thing that can grow into something you never intended it to be. I have never gotten to the point of inflicting the kind of harm on my son that would make the world gasp in shock, but I have done enough to recognize that I cannot pretend like the bombs aren’t there, just waiting to be triggered under the surface. I have had enough minor explosions to know that bigger ones will go off, if I don’t learn how to deactivate them.

That is my current journey. I have read several amazing books and am being mentored by a wonderful woman who’s the picture of calm and has three well-rounded sons that love the Lord.  But the most important thing? I have told several people about my struggles, and I mean every part. There is something wrong with Christianity if you cannot share your deepest regrets and your deepest current struggles for fear of rejection and condemnation. I have not felt that from anyone I have shared my anger struggles with, because they are all women who know what it is like to struggle and to have a desperate need for grace.

There is so much of my recent story I am going to share with you, but for now I will leave you with this beautiful verse. When I feel the most hopeless about my sin, this is the verse I bring to mind.

“For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases Him.”  – Philippians 2:13