A Tale of Two Women and the Rest of Us In•between

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She wore her issues like a coat. She entered my life one Christmas season. It was apparent upon meeting her that the road had been a rough one for her and her children. Her brokenness was visible. As we came into relationship and I learned more of her story, it was apparent how rough it actually had been. Circumstances led to poor choice after poor choice, but her heart longed for different, she just didn’t know what different could be. As we all know, the broken road is a hard one to walk and unlike the 30 minute television drama, life doesn’t always wrap up in an hour, or in a season for that matter. It was the night that I received the call that I realized just how shattered she was. She called from the back of the police car. She and her boyfriend were being taken to jail for physical abuse against her son. She called to ask if I could come get him. I met him at the hospital and my heart was ripped in two. The issues that led to her brokenness continue to this day. BROKEN. 

She was the picture of perfection. Her life looked perfect from the outside. It screamed perfect. In all honesty, I avoided her for some time because the perfect-ness was intimidating and a bit off-putting. Perfect hair. Perfect kids. Perfect marriage. Perfect life. Perfect seasonal porch decor. PERFECT. Our lives eventually intersected and we came into relationship and I was given a peek behind the perfect curtain. As we all know, there is no REAL life that resembles perfect in this world, and the perfect curtain is often a dollar store grade tissue and she was no exception. She had issues. ALL the issues. Behind the masks, her issues revealed a brokenness manifested in anxiety attacks, insecurities, false identity, marital indiscretions and comparisons that led to an underlying control to manage every area of her life under the guise of perfect.  She had just managed to apply the right makeup. BROKEN.

If sin is sin, then broken is broken.

These women could not be more opposite and yet, as we all do, they meet in the middle, at a place called BROKEN.

Broken defines us; each and every one of us. It’s where I met them. On my own broken road. OUR BROKEN road.

Broken lives matter – to Jesus.

Issues plague us all; life batters and bruises us to our core and yet, somewhere along the line we listened to the voices that deceitfully lured us into believing that these very issues would somehow protect us. Control would steady us. Pride would guard us. Comparison was necessary to compete. Anger became justified (especially if it was politically motivated.)

We believed the lies and we’ve ended up on the doorstep of judgment. We continue to judge each other while mercy continues to elude us. It’s been going on since the beginning of time, precisely why Jesus was compelled to remind us to “LOVE our neighbor,” because HE knew then, and He knows now, what we’re prone to. He knew the traps we’d fall into, especially as women.

HE saw it all coming.

We hate to hear it, but we’re partial.

We’re prone to partiality.

Too often we allow our biases keep us from the reality of the cross. I judge her, she judges me. The culture encourages it, and we’ve actually come to accept it as the norm, but as I’ve discovered on this walk, we may wear it in a million different shades, but boiled down, it’s all the same. The same BROKEN.

The enemy delights when women turn from each other and the reality that reminds us that WE ARE ALL BROKEN, equally in need of a savior. Each of us desperate for mercy and grace to meet us on the road; regardless of where we’ve landed on the pile. We LONG for mercy (and we fear that it would never be extended to us) and yet, so often we struggle to meet our sister on the road.

And then, we do exactly what we’ve been told NOT to do; we categorize each other. Think about it.

YOU DO IT.

We all are inclined to, it’s called sin and we’re all prone to it if we’re not watching our backs and filtering our thoughts.  We put women into groups and perhaps even secretly, judge those whose choices are different than ours. Bias. Partiality. Silent judgement. We come to conclusions and it ends there. We conclude that somehow their mess is messier than our mess. We end the conversation with the Lord that leads to relationship and restoration by CONCLUDING; never inviting Jesus into the conversation that would have us move, pray or perhaps invite the other broken battered woman into our mess. It leads to a place where we MISS the very thing God is doing.

We miss it.

We miss the law of LOVE and LIBERTY. We miss the GRACE. The grace that we long for and too often refuse to release.

“Mercy triumphs over judgement.”

James 2:13

Walking with both of these women I’ve witnessed the reflection of the mercy I desperately need. The grace that saved me.  I’ve learned that LOVE can NEVER exist without mercy. Through mercy, I’ve been able to to see with new eyes  just how broken we all are. It’s not easy to check partiality at the door, but with Jesus as the guard at the gate of my thoughts, I can do it. These women exposed a truth that we all know, and yet, at it’s core we forget:

“For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

Romans 3:22-23

God unites us in our brokenness.

Jesus unites us with HIS blood that overcomes the broken places.

Challenge yourself to ask the hard questions. Who do you look at and silently judge?  Is it the woman whose attitudes are different than yours? Is it the woman who chooses a different lifestyle than you? Is it the woman who choses a different political or religious affiliation?Is it perhaps the woman, who because of the road she has walked, struggles to make healthy choices? Or is it the woman, who finds herself passionate about issues that you simply can’t relate to?

Here’s the deal. We are all BROKEN and we are all walking home.

We NEED each other. Women have the capacity to truly embrace this. God has given us HIS heart for love and mercy; it LIVES in us and too often we hoard it. GIVE IT AWAY. Regardless of where you find yourself on this broken road, you need her, she needs you and we ALL need Jesus.

Both women in my life are shattered.

I am shattered.

They both find themselves wrecked in very different ways, as do I.

Who are you sharing life with whose broken looks different than your broken?

Perhaps it’s time to meet on the mercy road and walk our broken selves home together.

 

 

Lori MacMath

Lori's daily mantra includes praying, "I will take it Lord, ALL you have to give," and a commitment to live out Colossians 3:17 daily. It's her prayer that the energy that fills her spirit be with her till her dying breath! Nearly two years ago, Lori traded the sauna of the Deep South, for the snow of Chicago. After 19 years in Atlanta, Lori has bought herself a coat and some winter boots and is ready for the NEXT adventure at Harvest Bible Chapel / Chicago West. She navigates this road with her husband of 26 years and they have 3 children, ranging in age from 17 - 22. She seeks daily to be creative and use the gifts the Lord has given her. With the heart of an artist and a spirit to live intentionally missional, Lori strives daily to see Him in all that surrounds her. Encouraging women on their daily walk with the Lord is her passion! She has recently stepped out into NEW territory with her husband in the inner city of Chicago. She is on staff at Harvest Chicago West, in the Austin neighborhood, where the Lord is opening her eyes to Urban Ministry and Discipleship. Lori and her husband also have a Business as Missions endeavor that helps empower women and missionaries around the world. She would be HONORED if you'd visit Hope Products International where providing HOPE to the world through fair trade and sustainable products. Lori has served in a number of roles over the years, ranging from Camp/Leadership Adventure Coordinator, a mid week Bible club for elementary and upper elementary students in a local public elementary school as well as being on staff at her church. She is excited in this season to watch the Lord unfold HIS plans for the next step on the journey. Helping others, loving others where they are and seeing the transforming power of Jesus is at the heart of all she does. Her heart for children, women and all those on the broken road is at the core of everything she does. She LOVES playing graphically and encouraging others through visual arts, and her passion for Discipleship is at the heart of all she does. It truly inspires her and fills her spirit.

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