Sunday, February 21, 2016

Sunday Afternoon Tea - Broken Together

Maybe you and I were never meant to be complete
Could we just be broken together
If you can bring your shattered dreams and I'll bring mine
Could healing still be spoken and save us
The only way we'll last forever is broken together.

There was one early Autumn morning when Hubby and I were in the car driving into town when the Casting Crown's song, "Broken Together" came on K-Love.  As usual... for it is one of his favorite songs... he learned over and turned up the volume.

I think I surprised him as I turned it down and told him I hated that song.  The lyrics are absolutely stupid.  Two broken people do not make a whole!  Okay, I admit.  I was having one of those stomping of the feet, pouting of the lips, and shaking my fist (kind of) at God moments.

It had been a tough Autumn, with the unusually warm temperatures and humidity bringing with them days upon days of a high mold count.  Not a good thing for my husband, whose bipolar symptoms are grounded in the severe environmental allergies he has suffered with since his teens.  Mold is the absolute worst.

As I said, Autumn had been... hard.  But then again, he has had good and bad days and weeks since we became engaged when I was nineteen.  Most of the time I can handle them by just getting away for awhile, whether for coffee and a scone at Panera, or a walk in nice weather on the trail, or simply putting on earphones and listening to The Gray Havens or Indelible Grace.

But like anyone who deals day in and day out with any illness that affects a person's ability to think or act or be reasonable... there are hard days.  When he is not feeling the affects of his brain swelling, Hubby is one of the nicest most fun loving people you want to be around.  He loves Jesus.  My daughter's brilliant almost 4.0 brain comes from him (her grade average dipped a bit when she met my future son-in-law... but that was okay).  Christopher's ability to "think in computer code" comes from his engineering mind.

We met when I was still seventeen, just before my eighteenth birthday.  He was already twenty-five and had returned to finish his degree and go on to graduate school after serving in Viet Nam.  We met at a Christian coffeehouse.  I came to admire this tall, handsome (I have mentioned he is the spitting image of Harrison Ford), and obviously brilliant man.  He already had... issues... but nothing that turned me away. 

God was behind that meeting of two very different people with an age difference and both already having come through great difficulties.  Which brings me to that song... on that day... when I was tired of the affects of living in a fallen world.  Living through what it does to people we care for.

Actually, the song is true to some extent.  He puts people together who are broken and can make a whole.  But not because each of them is broken.  There are a lot of broken people who find each other and become even worse.  But I mean broken together in a God kind of way, as only One who is Eternal can put two people together.

I came to peace with my early years a long time ago, when.... after my father's sudden death... my sense of security and a normal home life was shattered.  It all led me to accepting the wooing of another Father, One who promises to be the "Father to the fatherless".  An accepting for which I will be forever thankful.

But still there was a lot of brokenness.  A lot of mess.  A longing for a home that did not happen until my own children were born.  What started with my father's death increased after I became a Christian. That sense of no longer belonging, of being an outcast in one's own family.  I learned early to cling to the Father of the fatherless, to my Lord, to the Comforter and Friend who came to live within.

But that is where the song is true.  For if it were not for the areas where I had been broken and then fixed, I couldn't have remained in the upside down turmoil that comes with a marriage between two severely broken people.  Because I was already put back together with a spiritual super glue from On High... I had the strength to stay in the hard times.

I had what Hubby needed and through the lessons learned the past forty years, God has taught me so very much about grace and mercy and the biting of one's lip when you would rather lash out.  I do sometimes.  Like that morning in the van when I turned the song down.

Never let anyone tell you that children can grow up to be really wonderful Jesus loving people only if raised in a perfect home.  Christopher once told me that when one grows up in our home, they learn to be really good forgivers.  I liked that.

We didn't give up when we wanted to, even when bags were packed and threats were made.  Even when we were bone weary and tired of the journey God allowed.  Even when we thought we could not suffer one more thing and still trust God.  Even then...  for He would always... always... pour out the grace needed for one more day.

It still is not easy and I doubt it will be this side of Heaven.  But life can be good and our kids are absolutely great.  If we had not stayed together, we would not have had our kids and our grandchildren.  The photo above shows us with Mr. & Mrs. Christopher on their wedding day.  With our grandchildren who are now much older.  That baby is now nearly six!  And Mr. & Mrs. Christopher are expecting their first child this summer!

We were but vessels who let God's love and mercy flow through us and His ability to forgive even when I would rather stomp my feet and pout and move to Aruba.  Alone.  With a bag of books and tea and perhaps some really good coffee.  And chocolate.

But then there wouldn't be that photo, would there.  Oh, the days may have been easier, quieter, and controlled.  But I look at the photos from that wedding and the lovely get-togethers since then (like my 60th birthday week at South Haven) and thank God for His Grace and His Mercy and His Strength.

We were broken together... in the right places.  Only in Christ can the broken be made whole.  Someday all will be made Perfect.  But until then... Grace.


Deanna Rabe - Creekside Cottage Blog said...

Very good. Life can be hard, we hurt each other. But God offers us forgiveness and grace, which we then can extend to each other.

Thank you for your beautiful words.

Carol said...

Thank you for your very wise words, Brenda (MD)

Anonymous said...

I just want you to know that only the Holy Spirit could have led you to write exactly what I needed to read today. Life with an autistic husband can be so difficult at times, and, honestly, today I was wondering if I would be better off not living. I love God with all of my heart and so does my husband and that is what has kept us together for 48 years; 48 very difficult, up and down years.

I don't know if I am just a weak person (even though others tell me how strong I am) or if I am just exhausted. I suffer from three autoimmune diseases myself, so I do tend to get tired of hurting.

Thank you and God bless you.

Deb said...

Enjoyed reading your post, Brenda. And congratulations on the coming little one!

Jenny said...

Oh how I needed those encouraging words today. Your post is full of hope...of loving and living through the worst, and creating memories in the process. Bless you Brenda.

Terra said...

Your words are sweet, smart and encouraging.

Ann said...

This is real-life stuff -- hard to hear and hard to bear. But our lives are meant to be times of learning how to trust God to walk with us with all those deep valleys and to bring us out to places of rest and regrouping before another bout of "trials". Only with perseverance and the grace of God through His Spirit will we make it.

Carrie said...

What a beautiful, wonderful, encouraging and inspiring post! Thank you SO much for writing it!

Lisa in Texas = ) said...

What a beautiful testimony! Thanks for sharing! May God continue to bless~ Lisa :O)

Anonymous said...

What a lovely post. I read it with tears in my eyes.

I had to laugh at the picture though. You are lovely, the bride is lovely, the groom handsome but oh my, someone wasn't happy ... the little one in Grandpa's arms looks like she's had it. Aren't pictures fun?! Pam (SD)

ann said...

It seems you have said the right thing again. so many people need
this encouragement to just keep on going and get through each day.
when you look back there is a lot to be thankful for. Thank you for writing
what must have been difficult, a lot of people only post the good, but unfortunately in
real life there is a bad as well. This shows people that there is light at the end of the tunnel.

Kellylynn said...

:) Love, love, love....

Anonymous said...

You are a blessing to so many people. God has worked this gift in you even though through hard trials.
So glad you will have a "little one" close by to love and "spoil". Blessings, Sharon D.

Prudence said...

I wonder why you have not moved to a very dry climate? Mold does not flourish in that atmosphere. I have quite bad mold allergies and my move to a much drier climate helped might not make for complete healing, but surely it would help. Sending hugs.

A Woman that Fears the Lord said...

This is by far my favorite post! Thank you for being real!

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for sharing so honestly. I truly needed to read this. Your point of being "broken together" is a perfect description of my marriage. Thankful that God is using the negatives to draw me to Him. said...

Congratulations to Mr. & Mrs. Christopher! You'll have a grandchild close by, how wonderful for you and hubby!

Vee said...

I'll return to read again when my head is not so fuzzy. I know I'm missing the essence of your post. All I can think is that I have always loathed that song. =\

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing and being vulnerable. Thank you for being an example to younger generations who so easily cast marriage aside when life seems difficult or impossible. Thank you for showing me another way.

Anonymous said...

I heard your testimony a long time ago. We all read post by bloggers and think what a serene beautiful life they must have. Little do we know. Then they let us in on what life at times is really like and we are amazed at how they have handled it. Yours has been one of the most amazing to me. You can see God all through it. It cannot be easy at all. They say stress is not good for diabetics. Wow. Having myself been through some times like that is is down right hard to live through. Especially knowing more is up ahead when you least expect it. You have found ways to try to cope. Getting away from it and hoping the storm will blow over some before coming back is a help as you said, if you can do it.
I just learned from a type one diabetic that when her numbers get too low her personality changes. She is usually a timid mild mannered person. When going too low she is combative and argumentative. Her family and co workers know when she is like this this is what is happening to her. They tell her so and she says she even argues that they are wrong on this! Yet it turns out they are right. I did not know that this could be why our loved one is so off the charts at times. Now we know it may be this and not us that set it off.
It must be exasperating for your husband to remember how he acted too. It is not 'him' it is the allergies and all acting up although in his body. He is a victim somewhat too. Oh Brenda your writing talents have again helped others. Thank you again for again opening up your world to us so we can understand better and see God through it all. Anna

Lynn said...

Lovely, Brenda.

Heather said...

I'm catching up again on your posts.
These type of posts are what pre-marital counseling should look like.
There will be times when bags are being packed, figuratively and literally.
I really had no idea the extent of the type of illness in your family.
Thanks for this testimony of God's faithfulness in this hard part of life.
and congrats on the baby on the way, so exciting!