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*Special thanks to Shila and Pragna for their encouragement and inspiration*

The Meaning Of Broken

“Forcibly separated into two or more pieces”. When someone has reached into that sacredly tender area of our lives and abused the very organism they were entrusted with, the tremoring shock waves of emotional pain can reverberate in our minds for a life time! Broken isn’t trivial! It’s not soap opera fodder. It’s a seriously debilitating condition! The sobering truth: Time does not heal all wounds, as advertised by the “Hallmark Card” folks.

That being said, a friendly calendar does afford us the opportunity to develop a retrospective understanding into our painful stories in a calmer atmosphere. That much, time does supply. Trust me, after thirty long years I still get a twinge every so often as my healing continues. But isn’t that the celebratory point? “The healing does continue”!

Disabled, progressively becomes enabled as layers of helpful information are slowly inputted into our data based “war room”. You see there is a battle for the re-finding of ourselves to be fought. The truth? Broken could be otherwise described as “lost”! Not fully “here” ever! Our geographical and emotion locations can often exist in very different locals, simultaneously. It does induce a sense of “lostness” when your ability to co-ordinate the physical and emotional has been compromised.

The Heart Is A Metaphor

The heart you see displayed on our book cover mustn’t be mis-interpreted. When speaking of “the broken” we don’t want to be guilty of romanticizing their situation. As we attempt to apply a visual, to supplement our understanding of their horrific reality, the picture of a “soul” would be more accurate. But as of now I have found no such picture so a heart will have to suffice.

The heart, being the operating system and center of our physical well-being is our best attempt to parallel our emotional center of existence, “the soul”. It is an extremely sensitive place that often goes unacknowledged as such. If we are going to reach out to the broken we will have to go where the true damage exists. The soul is the true residence of brokenness. In short: Hearts don’t get broken. People do! Thus, “broken” is spiritual in nature and should not perceived as a previously mentioned “ Soap Opera” that will surly bring relief in the next episode. The many who find themselves in this dark condition will vividly tell you that it’s not that flippantly trivial within its nightmarish content.

Hide And Seek

Well-wishers can innocently gloss over the depth of the pain with a dismissive “get over it” as badly thought through advice. Perhaps a pity applying pat on the head is included. The broken then feel left with the responsibility of “pretending” to accommodate the gloss. They interpret themselves as living in a society that seems only somewhat interested in their plight. With that firmly established in their minds and not wanting to burden their immediate populace with the revelation of the horror that is truly and perpetually percolating just under the surface of their emotional lives, they get quietly protective of their open wounds. They now perceive success as “hiding their sickness” rather than “getting well”! When people are drowning they instinctually reach for the first thing they see! Even if it’s counter-productive!

“The broken life” accurately mirrors the dilemma of a race horse with a gimpy leg. It still tries to run motivated by its fear that if its disability is discovered the horse will be deemed useless and dealt with accordingly. The broken already embrace the discarded label so they try with all their remaining energy to retain the small shred of dignity they are left with. Be it only a flicker these brave souls will fight to the death to maintain it.

In their silenced emotional solitude, they often find themselves relegated to the hideous goal of promoting an illusion rather than making a comeback! They know they are “totally spent” in the depths of their being. So a dual life becomes their “lot in life”. Living in pain while acting out the part of “having none” for the benefit and comfort of others. “Reputational saving” might also be part of the motivating force behind the facade. Who wants to be seen as fragile and weak? Perhaps equally so, the hope that one day they may believe their own illusion. At least that way they think they’d only be dancing to one drummer! Mind you, the drummer they’d be choosing isn’t real!

This book is without a doubt, a dreadful word pictorial of what a “free falling” broken soul looks like. The never ending complications that need to be daily navigated, surround the” lifestyle” of the broken.

“The broken” therefore become an accumulation of pretense in their efforts to hide their true painful reality. Thus they survive, but they do not “live” by any reasonable standard we would apply to being alive ! Their multiple disguises created to fool their public end up becoming their prisons of emotional habitation. I think the descriptive “tormented” isn’t a stretch! When or if they do eventually go for therapy, they will interestingly have very little to say, sub-consciously desiring to even fool their therapist.

Torment Has A Voice And An Agenda

Let’s expose this beastly liar for what it is. It initially introduces itself as our friend while truly being anything but. For those of you who have heard the voice of torment you know exactly what I mean. With one comforting hand gently placed on our shoulder, the other hand which goes un-noticed, is wrapped around our neck.

A cautionary insight for the broken to seriously consider as a means of protection: Torment’s sought after location of habitation is our minds. It’s insidious plan is to permanently create a dialog of victimisation for our daily ingestion. Please don’t be drawn in by its friendly alluring tones! Torment is diabolically driven and wants only to see you buried in your misery.

Torment opens windows for its access through dramatic inferences that you are the most hard-done-by, mis-understood, mis-treated person in the whole wide world. When we are in severe pain, we can easily ingest that thought as an emotional relief medication thus, we can wrongly embrace it as rational. After all, that is the way we who are broken feel!

Torment succeeds by encouraging justifiable self-pity. It is keenly aware that pity is emotional quick-sand. The longer you stand in it the deeper you go! At the very least, torment wants you to continue in your pain or even better, get worse. To do so, torment must keep “the story” vividly alive in our minds! To accomplish that, daily suggested victimisation must be “in play” with torment’s encouragement to replay the event over and over again to further substantiate its inferences. If allowed, torment’s “end game” is to freeze our minds in the story forever if possible. The phrase, “if allowed” brings with it the “good news”. We can “disallow”!

In short: Torment has a voice and an agenda. It is not to be welcomed as a sympathetic friend! It is in fact our worst enemy when the circumstances of life make us vulnerable to its appeal!

Are We Complicit?

As much as it may seem so at first glance, the condition of “broken” doesn’t happen overnight. We know that our souls have shown great resiliency throughout our lives thus the deception is wrongly factualized in our minds as to our soul’s indestructible content, causing carelessness.

Our souls being invisible get ignored in favor of extreme care in what we see. We humans do tend to take care of the visible first while our abandoned souls get the crumbs of leftovers if there are any. Speaking as one who has experienced his own “head-on crash” in life I can see clearly how I contributed to my own demise. I was so emphatically invested in kissing the feet of another I completely ignored my internal well-being as if it didn’t matter! Ironically, the very feet I was kissing would plant themselves across my throat one day. Unmercifully I might add!

Red Flags Ignored

When blindsided by our own mis-guided trust, we do fall hard to the canvases of our lives. But once the clarifying smelling salts have been administered to our groggy state there appears an illuminating understanding out of our haze of disbelief. What happened was predictable! That truth creates a further plethora of complications. Guilt, shame, and regret for being “so stupid” as to not notice the “red flags”. Even worse: Noticing but ignoring!

Others will add to your sense of senselessness with comments like: “You had to have seen this coming, we did!”

I personally fall on the mercy of these courts of intelligence by rightfully claiming that when a person is truly in love they don’t see the forest for the trees. They are blinded by the one they love. Thus I firmly resolve, that “stupid” is most certainly far too cutting as a self-descriptive in the light of what I quote next: “It’s better to have loved and lost than to not have loved at all”. Love is a most worthy pursuit even if it doesn’t bear the fruit we had wished! We should never regret the attempt! We should never soil the divine act by distaining it’s possible outcome with derogatory comments regarding the act itself. Love is worth the risk it demands and it certainly demands a risk!

Lovers Should Trust Radically

In the first round of combat, the pro boxer seldom envisions his mouth piece flying across the ring as confirmation to the fighter that he’s been knocked out. He enters the ring by faith not fear! And so it is with the broken.

We fight “the good fight of trust” believing with all our hearts that in the end we will win. We trust radically and emphatically in our belief. I personally don’t find that foolish or reckless but rather lovely! So perhaps the broken are at worst “immensely hopeful” people who believe that love is worth the gamble.

We lovers are keenly aware that there will be bumps in the journey but we prefer to see them as character builders for the future. If we die we will die on the hill of trying, is our proclaimed mantra! I did say we love radically and most often by faith!

But unfortunately we can’t control what others say and do and that is the no-guarantee aspect of love. So, what are we to do? Distrust all of humanity until they prove us wrong. If a dog bites me, should I suspect every dog I see? You see, love gone wrong should not shrink us but rather expand us with its testing challenges to what we believe. Is our love of a quality that it can be knocked down and get back up even more convinced than ever of its value? It’s possible. I did it. Many times!

To never love again is to never be broken again, but I’m thinking: Wouldn’t that as a lifestyle be the most brokenness of all? What a price to pay for a painful experience. It feels to me like that option would be perpetually paying! Way too expensive!

After All These Years

As previously mentioned, I speak from personal experience, not proudly just factually. I truly hope that I have portrayed the condition of “broken” in a transparent and honest manner from the perspective of those afflicted with brokenness. It is a monstrous affliction! A mountain that seems unclimbable to those staring up at its height. Those we know who find themselves in this position don’t really need our pity, as we might think. Empathy and pity are two very different responses. But to be sure, they do need our gracious understanding. They need to be allowed to hurt until they don’t.

Amazingly, thirty years after the fact, reliving that time in my life still exposes tender places but not ones of anger. Better stated: Deep disappointment. At present my life couldn’t be better for which I’m immeasurably thankful, but I highly doubt that I will ever forget that helpless feeling of experiencing my seventeen year family explode into oblivion with me frustratingly unable to prevent the detonation.

Could It Be?

Be warned: What’s next isn’t flattering but sugary treats won’t get anyone anywhere other than where they are. Please keep in mind: The goal isn’t to tread water. We are trying to swim which constitutes moving in a somewhat straight line with a desired destination in mind. Somewhere “new” as a destination, not a slightly modified version of where we are!

If we are “going for it” let us remove the limits from our expectations and shoot for the moon! Why not? We serve a BIG GOD whose love transcends our weaknesses transforming them into strengths. There is no life so destroyed that He cannot restore. It’s never about His ability to do what He promises, but rather our willingness to let Him! But for that to happen we must dig a little deeper than the obvious.

On the surface the “immediate abuser” is seen by all as the root cause of our brokenness. “If it weren’t for “them” we wouldn’t be broken”, type of mindset tends to prevail. That’s a “surface truth” of quick convenience and while it may provide a sense of short-term relief, the crux of the real problem may remain hidden and untouched.

We can be like the person with the cavity who rather than going to the dentist to deal with the real problem chooses instead to pour that nasty red stuff on the root of the tooth to numb the pain. When the red stuff wears off? You guessed it. The return of the pain followed by more red stuff applied!

Our desired end result isn’t “feeling better”. It’s being healed! We have lost our sense of value and worth somewhere along the line and are now attracting those who would take advantage of that absence. We must get it back! When we do, that’s called healed!

If our emotional issues aren’t dealt with at their core we will unintentionally repeat our self-destructive behavior. The next time it will be from a different face and different name but the real problem will be the same. If our internal value isn’t rock-solidly established according to God’s opinion of us, we will shop at discount stores for our partners feeling unworthy to go upscale. We attract those who best reflect what we think of ourselves!

Been There Done That

I do a fair amount of counselling. Not in a technical sense as in: Make an appointment with my secretary for a “session”, kind of technical. My educational qualifications were accrued at the “school of life” therefore my advice to the hurting is “experientially” based. There are times when “having been there” trumps in effectiveness, “having read a book” about being there.

It’s all free of charge as are my Ebooks. I guess when a man has been brought back from the dead he realizes with crystal clear clarity that he’s been more than generously imbursed. No need for “performance bonuses”! Besides I do get paid. It’s just a different currency!

Considering that I was the forty year old guy who back in the day prayed at bed-time “not to wake up”, being available to others seems the least I can do to say thank you that I’ll soon be seventy one. As my healed heart sees it: “Extra granted time” should not be wasted as if being perceiving as arriving on the wings of good luck or coincidence. I know better!

Pride Kills

During my many chats with others over the years I have found it strangely interesting how our human pride tends to see God as a last resort when He should be our first stop on our sojourn to healing. Well, perhaps as long as we eventually get there is the point but oh how much strife we could save ourselves if He was our first choice of visitation. When you think about it with an open mind: Who better to heal a soul than the One who created it?

I have personally counselled a lady who was hanging on by the thinnest of threads, medicated to her eye balls with anti-depressants to get through her days. She was in her mid-sixties. God, as a suggested help was greeted with a tone of distain. “I don’t believe in God”, she proclaimed with the veracity of a hungry Lion. I responded: “Well, for what it’s worth, God believes in you or we wouldn’t be having this chat”. Folks, God believes in all of us but pride can blind you to that reality! “There is none so blind as he who will not see”. Notice it’s “will not”, not “cannot”!

Folks, vigilant mis-placed pride can kill a person. At the least it will keep them in prison. What I find mind boggling is this: While flat on our backs in absolute emotional disarray, what is it we are so proud of? This lady thought only a fool would go to God for help, as she ingested another pill.

She had firmly established “blame” for her ruff state in life and seemed quite content with the prospect of “blame” being her comfort blanket to cuddle up with at night.

But I wonder: Does seeing ourselves as blameless provide us with sufficient closer to help with our sleep problems at night when the lights go out. Does that in itself make the darkness in the pit of our souls less dark or the trauma less traumatic?

Does it make the pain go away or somewhat lesson in its acuteness. Does blame alone silence the accusatory voices of torment that persistently loop in our minds as if being an implanted audio tape recorded for our life-long listening displeasure?

Whether it be true or not, perceiving ourselves as blameless only gives license to impart blame but it doesn’t heal us. You could see it this way: If I get hit by a car while crossing the road and in the process I suffer two broken arms, I can scream all day at the motorist that struck me but once having established blame, I still have two broken arms. Pride will suggest that blame heals. Pride is a liar!

Now For The Really Good News

Now that I’ve chilled your spine with my honest insights into “brokenness”, you know that I’m not going to say goodbye on that dire note, so hang in there with me as I give equal time to the hope that is available for those who feel trapped in the realm of hopelessness. You see, honesty is a two way street. It’s OK to expose the negative as long as it’s accompanied with the positive. “Don’t voice a problem without offering a solution”, I have found to be wise words to live by.

The good news? There is an exit! Mind you, it’s not one that society will subscribe to but trust me: It’s as equally real as the condition itself! And isn’t that what we so emphatically need? A power that has the wherewithal to compete with the problem! There is an escape from simply existing! There is a door of divine relief awaiting your discovery. That door has a name: JESUS!

This same Jesus said: “I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door I will come in and eat with that person and they with me”. When Jesus is allowed access into those dark and damaged rooms of our lives, things must change. He is the ultimate “room changer”! As He spoke the universe into existence without breaking a sweat, likewise He speaks “change” into our lives. The sun and moon had no choice in the matter. Neither does “change”

We have the power of choice at our disposal although I’m not convinced that many of us know that as true. We cannot be victims if we refuse to co-operate with that label. We can discard it. In doing so, victimizers don’t get to choose for us who we are or our future.

We can live in the “question” or move toward the “Answer”. A compulsively overriding need to “blame” combined with a “synthetic pride” will keep us mired in the question! We weren’t born for that kind of existence. We were created to be free.

Free to swim rather than tread water. Free to shoot for the moon with faith that the God Who created it will be alongside all the way guaranteeing our safe and healed arrival!

Did you know the Moon was created to bring light to our dark nights? I think that’s significant!

As earlier mentioned: It’s never a question of “can He” but rather “will we”. Will we voluntarily take that leap into His caring and healing heart. Will we let Him do that which only He can do?

I pray for those who are suffering with a broken soul that the God of grace and compassion will help them make the right choice. For some it will be the brave choice, having had their sense of trust shaken by the circumstances of life.

But God waits patiently to relabel and embrace us as: Daughter or Son. Dignity restored in a word! But this time its legitimacy is sealed by heaven. You see, who God says you are is who you actually are. All other opinions must bow a knee to His! That has to be good news for the broken as I see it! It certainly was for me!

My Ministry - Our Ministry

Mark 6 - 38 & 41: “How many loaves do you have He asked?” “Go and see”. When they found out they said, “Five and two fish”. Taking the five loaves and two fish and looking up to heaven He gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to His disciples to DISTRIBUTE to the people. He also divided the two fish among them all”. ( Five thousand plus, were fed that day! )

In the biblical story of the “fishes and loaves”, I so clearly see three dynamics in play to achieve the desired completion of the heavenly orchestrated equation. The young boy GAVE what little he had, our Lord then MULTIPLIED it, and the disciples then DISTRIBUTED it.

It’s interesting to note that Jesus, after the multiplying didn’t say, “Come and get it”. What He did say was, “Everyone find a place to sit on the grass and I’ll bring it to you, through my own”. Folks, He loves to involve us. He loves to make us matter! We are blessed beyond measure to be written into, His stories! Just imagine: Invited by Him to participate in His plans for others!

From the inception of the idea of writing books to be made available to “all freely”, there has never been a moment when I haven’t been aware of its ministry context. I could easily be seen as the “young boy” in the story. Jesus has most certainly multiplied my meager offering to Him.

So may I invite and encourage you to be a distributor of that which He has multiplied, thereby elevating “My Ministry” into “Our Ministry”, thus completing “His Ministry”. There’s something about that idea that sounds “perfect” to my heart!

We all have friends, family, work mates, school mates, etc. I’ve included a simple directional on “how to find” the “fishes and loaves”. Please feel free to share “what you eat” with others. You have no idea where it could lead to! That young boy’s mother could never have dreamed, what that little lunch she had prepared for her son on that fateful morning, would produce!

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