Why brokenness is a blessing…

by Kari on December 3, 2012

“Nap time, babygirl! Come here, please.” From across the room I could see her stiffen, prepare to protest. I gave her fair-warning. “Make a good choice. Will you say ‘yes’ or ‘no” to Mama?” There was no need to remind her of what a ‘no’ response would earn. She knows.

She stiffly, and slowly, walked over to me. Her mouth said yes and she made her feet move, but her face and demeanor were “no-ing” all the way. I picked her up, took her to the potty, and told her to go before her nap. She sat down, didn’t go, said she was done.

Outwardly obedient but deep-down defiant.  

I took her into her room for the rest-time routine. Rock, snuggle, sleep. I pulled her up on my lap in the rocking chair, but she pushed away. Again, silent, but stiff as a board and at arm’s length.  I carried her over, crawled under the quilt at her side. She lay still for a moment, then a mischievous look came across her face.

“I need go potty.” I knew it. Kids will use anything to control. To defy. I was choosing this battle and wouldn’t lose. She’s beautiful, but manipulation is not a beautiful quality when it’s all grown up.  I kissed her cheek and looked her in the eye.

“No. Mommy already told you to go and you didn’t. You’re not getting back up.” She fussed again, insisted she has to go, begins to pitch a fit. I think to myself how I don’t want to change wet sheets.

But I’ll change her sheets in order to change her heart.


Her eyes widen as she realizes it’s a lost cause. She can’t win because I won’t budge. And almost visibly, right before my eyes, I can see the cracks, then the crumble. I can see her break.

She’s broken. She sobs.

And almost in the same breath-sob she reaches both arms out, wraps them around my neck.

She clings hard, pulls me close, and cries,

“Mama, I wan’ keep you.” 

She wants to keep me. These are the words she uses at night when she longs for me to linger. She squeezes me tight round the neck and holds on, says she wants to keep me. Won’t let me go.

I, of course, don’t pull away.

I draw her even closer into my arms. 

She’s soft. Pliable. She rests, relaxed in my arms. I hold her, my arms all the way around her little body as she rests in her bed. Even though I’m crouched over, quads burning, I stay there, my head on the pillow next to hers, kissing her cheeks.

Within two minutes she’s sound asleep. 

That’s me, I think. That’s me.

Why often do I stiffen, proud? Willing my feet and mouth to say yes to God but protesting no within my heart? Every time I choose myself, my own way, I push Him away, hold Him at arm’s length. He seeks to rock me gently, I stiffen and push Him away. He draws near to hold me. I talk to Him perhaps but my prayer is still just grasping for control. But then something jolts, cracks, crumbles.

This is how we break. This is why brokenness is a blessing. 

The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise. (Ps. 51:17)

Of course He won’t! Of course He never will. The same way that I hold my broken-spirit daughter, envelope her completely, engulfed in my love until she falls sweetly asleep. Until she rests in my love. 

Why do we push Him away? Our pride, the God-repellent, it stiffens within us, incites us to rebellion, but we must make it bow. Must make our feet and mouths and hearts say “yes” to God.

Then, no matter how far away He feels, He will envelope us in His love and let us rest secure. And resting secure we discover the truth:

Brokenness is the only path to wholeness.  

{Remembering this from last year. Praying blessed brokenness–and wholeness–for you and me this week. Can you let go and rest in His arms? He loves you so!! Thank you for reading.}