Broken: Beauty from Ashes

I want to write about something that’s deeply personal to me as I think about my life in relationship with the Lord and the grace and mercy that He has poured out over me.

In 2 Corinthians 12:8-9, it says, “Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me.  But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”

I don’t often share my testimony and I won’t take the time to do it right now, but when people ask me to use a word to describe myself, I often use the word broken. I’m a mess, really. Memories linger but there is little time to process them. I’m not sure I want to process them.  Maybe this is why my husband says I have “battered friend” syndrome.  I’ve been hurt. It’s easier to be a friend on Facebook than it is to manage real friendships off-line.  Friendship is messy.

Laundry abounds, dinner calls, I’m often short-tempered. I find myself frustrated with things that carry no eternal significance. I often forget how blessed I am.

The liar is tricky; he whispers, “What do you have to offer? Look how broken you are.”

Broken. Yes, it’s the voice of the enemy of my soul. It is my burden to carry.

Am I “broken?” Yes, yes I am. I must confess that I often have more questions than answers. I wonder if my children will be broken like I am broken. In my heart, I know they will though… because really, we are ALL broken.



That is why we need a Savior. Jesus came into the World to give us new life. To bring healing. To mend the broken places in our hearts. As I get older, I am learning that being broken is its own kind of beautiful. You see, being broken means I don’t have to struggle with the pain and perfectionism (although I sometimes do) and being broken provides a freedom all on its own.  After all, there can be no glass houses for broken people. There’s no need to compare brokenness either, for we are all broken. Being broken means I’m in need of constant repair, so I find myself at the feet of the One who heals.

There is strength there.

Broken people carry a beauty all their own, and broken people who know they are redeemed and bought with a price are radiant with a light that transcends the pain of this life. Very little in this life compares to the beauty that comes with brokenness.

The beauty that comes from ashes is available to you, just like it’s available to me.

I claim brokenness today.  I claim it to find healing and peace; I claim it to exchange ashes for beauty; to have the one thing that I can’t have without being broken—I claim it for grace. Grace in my brokenness, healing for the broken.

Grace for others.

Beauty for ashes.



9 Responses to Broken: Beauty from Ashes

  1. CRA says:

    Thank you Heidi! I can’t tell you how many times each week I sit down with your blog for words of wisdom, encouragement, or to take comfort in the fact that I am not the only one losing my mind some days. It is easy to read your wise posts and think that you have it all together and that you can’t possibly be as broken as the rest of us! I think that to truly grasp the gift of forgiveness and the sweetness of redemption, you have to embrace brokenness. Thank you for being so transparent.

  2. Carrie Petersen says:

    Thank you, Heidi for sharing your heart. May our great God give you His strength and His enablement to do all He has called you to do. May He remind you every day that you belong to Him, you are beautiful in His eyes, He has called you by name and cherishes you.

  3. Audrey says:

    What a beautiful and encouraging post. Thank you for sharing this. I can soooo relate and am encouraged about the spin you took on brokenness. We all need healing through God’s grace. May we all embrace it today. His grace is sufficient in our weakness. God bless.

  4. Lisa Siciliano says:

    Thank you for being real! I too am one of the broken. As a pastors wife, I’ve found myself on the rejected end of too many friendships I have poured my heart into. Sometimes I’ve wondered how to continue serving beside my husband and home school my children. Feeling like a failure at all I’ve put my hand to, I too am broken! But my Father is raising up beauty from those ashes, and I’m so very grateful!
    Thank you for sharing your brokenness and beauty, you’ve encouraged me today!!!

  5. Just plain true and beautiful. And it hurts a bit to admit, especially the part where you write about friendship. It is messy, and hard, and I often withdraw as to not be hurt. Sometimes I consider myself a coward and sometimes I strong and brave. And yes, broken.

  6. Andrea says:

    As I read (and listened) to this post, with wine in hand (don’t judge, it was that kind of day), I just wept. I’m so exhausted. The circumstances of life right now seem to choke me. And every moment I try to grasp for air, I feel like I get struck down again. My children are so needy. So defiant. My husband is in a time of rehabilitation. The weight of the world seems to be on my shoulders. And yet, I do find comfort in my Lord…just not enough. I read my Streams in the Desert devotional that seems to be the choice book for this season of my life. I cling to verses and catch phrases that others post on Facebook. But I still feel so overwhelmed and alone. Thank you for continuing to point others to Christ. I pray I am able to leave my worries at the feet of Jesus and allow Him to renew a right spirit within me. I pray He restores my soul before I want to take it back again. Blessings to you, Heidi. And thank you.

  7. Dixie Miller says:

    Thank you for this.. I am sharing this with my daughter who works 2 jobs and is helping raise 2 step children. Hasn’t been able to have a child of her own..she tries so hard to do for everyone.. I know she is broken..She wrote this yesterday and it struck a cord with me..
    “I’ve been told that I worry too much, nag/gripe too much, stress all the time, control too much… No one ever tells me that I work too much, do too much laundry, do the dishes and cook too much, love and care too much, buy them too many things, take care of everyone too much… I want the best for everyone in everything. I wish that’s what worrying, nagging, stressing and trying to control everything looked like. Then everyone would see that I am the way I am because I care. God will teach me the right ways. I’m a work in progress. “

  8. Jen says:

    I had a moment last night where I felt like all I had to offer the world was weakness, lack of strength and failings. This thought is perfect in timing, even though I am reading it more than a full month after it was posted. What a wonderful God we serve, who can speak to us through His written word thousands of years later and through His servants months later. Thank you for this passage and its strength!

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