An Era Of Brokenness

This song is one of my favorites and I found it fitting for this writing. Enjoy!

It is unique how a thought can seed in one’s heart and slowly start to arise creating a writing such as this. In all I write I know it is not of my ability as I am encouraged as well by its content. Many thoughts run in and out of my mind but it seems few take root like this one. Some create an atmosphere and family plan in raising and nurturing my family, in managing our business and farm; some become original quotes and even yet, some become much deeper than that. It is a thought that raises from my core. Something I’ve chewed on awhile.

Around me events continue to happen, summoning me to draw out this pen and paper and let this thought extend to a world of those willing to hear it.

I understand the process by which the Bible was written where a man’s heart was led and inspired to write God-ordained content. I am sure each one would comment on just a thought taking root and it growing through their core until it had to be let out. Spoken. Written. I wish I could sit and have coffee with them and talk.

Since March life has been full of brokenness. Now before one thinks I am writing some sad-poor-pitiful-me piece, bear with me. I did mention I am encouraged by it. Bear with me.

COVID-19 hit and our world reacted. My initial observation was the massive surge in fear leading to panic. I thought back to 9/11 and recall the same reactions yet with COVID being a global issue, fear tends to be breeding excessively; needlessly. Security is broken–yet have we truly ever been secure?

I am beyond blessed in my friendships. I love my friends deeply. An observation I have made of late is that all of them–and I mean all–are suffering trials of varying degrees. Job loss, health issues, relational struggles, supply shortages, isolation, depression, and tons of soul searching. They all have brokenness–yet have we truly ever been without blemish?

Our family has dealt with a lot of tangible brokenness. It has been nothing but repair after repair. As I shake my head, each thing we’ve fixed feels like it has led to three more breaking down.

It started with an oil leak in the Kia: a seal in the engine needed replaced. It was taken to a mechanic and fixed. Then the radiator started leaking and it got replaced.

Our home AC unit went out and we had to replace the motor and blower wheel–this fix was extensive. The humidity was not a kind helper. We were hot and in being amateurs, it took us a while. I can say should we have to do that again, we will be pros.

On the farm we had a cow bust out a tail-light with her head. Our hay isn’t getting cut in the timeframe we want it to as a major mechanical breakdown has hindered the process. It’ll get done, just not as soon as we had hoped.

The lever to the three-point hitch on the tractor busted and needed repair. The AC in the tractor went out. We were going to have our HVAC man come fix it but decided to buy the equipment and do it ourselves. Amidst brokenness we are learning self-sustaining skills.

There was a serious wreck on the highway that destroyed our mailbox. However, this repair is made with special prayers. We won’t be petty about replacing this nor will we complain as a young man almost lost his life. I wish the mailbox would have been the only damage rendered. Mailboxes in our area have a short lifespan. It’s annoying having to replace it often but it will never be superior to someone’s well-being.

We are still praying for this young man to make a full recovery. He has endured several surgeries and has a lot of therapy to handle, but given his outcome already it’s obvious he has the Higher Power by his side which brings comfort.

As if all of this was not enough, our cleaning in our facilities has gotten much more aggressive. Heavy sanitizing, masks, gloves. Harboring a little fear of catching COVID that seems to want to manifest itself but we won’t let it. Our cleaning business is our livelihood. It’s a business my husband and I manage well as it has allowed our family to be together and has always provided for us financially. It is a gift.

Perhaps our van was paying attention to all that was going on. Perhaps our vehicles aligned with each other in the parking lot and conspired to defeat the human race because the van has pitched a fit.

First, while taking the Kia to the shop the window fell in the door. The regulator broke. My husband called me to make an appointment to get it fixed and I did. We have also had issues with the van eating through fan belts and the light is on for the sensor in the tires so I thought I’d kill three birds with one stone.

We took our van to our mechanic and left it for the day. The receptionist called reporting the damage. The window repair would be $280. The reason for our belt-eating issue was a damaged harmonic balancer and was quoted $189. Then she mentioned the sensors in the tires. Now the only thing these sensors do is tell you your tires are low on pressure. I double-checked that I understood this correctly. So when she quoted me $522 with $98 for labor just for the sensors I declined. The van is a 2011 with over 170,000 miles. I was taught to use a tire gauge before sensors were such a big thing. It just didn’t make sense to get that repair. She said they’d get right on it. 

We picked up the van and by Thursday it was headed back on a tow truck. No, it was not our mechanic’s fault. On Wednesday night at 11:30 we were heading home from a cleaning job. When we turned the van on (I was driving) there was a high whine, then a low growl and a pop. We thought since the harmonic balancer was new, maybe it was adjusting. The van had made similar noises before and I felt no difference in its driving or steering. Coming to a stop at a stop sign, a horrible rubber smell was evident. An old truck had pulled off the highway besides us so that assumption was made that it was that truck since we didn’t smell it for long after. We pulled out on the highway and about one mile down the road, our van battery light comes on–and stays on. Usually it just flashes if the battery is low, but we just had a new battery put in. My husband looks it up on the phone as I am driving and says, “Don’t slow down; just get home.”

The driving of the van was fine. I turned off everything electronic I could; the AC and the radio. Nothing felt wrong. Yet. Everyone in that van was praying we’d get home safely. We were twenty minutes away. By God’s grace we got to our driveway and home. I turned the van off, popped the hood, and out billowed smoke. We were sure our alternator had just died. My husband couldn’t get the van to start back up. We were glad to be home. Tomorrow would be another day of repairs which seemed to be the case lately.

Early Thursday morning a tow truck was called (which our insurance covered 100%). Friday I get a call and the sweet receptionist seemed down. She confirmed it was the alternator but added, “That pop you heard was the computer system and fuse box, it fried. It will need fixed, and that’s $1,280.” Now I understood the tone of her voice.

We’ve been in a lot lately for repairs. The harmonic balancer that was fixed prior is not a usual failure. The guy that fixed it had only fixed one other in his nine years there and this situation she said was not usual as the van shouldn’t have run as long. I told her, “We know life works this way; God wanted us home. He got us home. All these repairs–well, they reek. But it is what it is.”

Nothing here lasts. It’s all temporal. We’re being reminded that our job amongst the brokenness is to stay focused upward, to have our hands and heart extended to lift those who fall down, and step by step press on through this boot-camp called life. Brokenness brings perspective. It humbles us. It also allows us to see the true soul in someone. Whether it’s in this life or eternity I cling to Psalms 71:20: “Though you have made me see troubles, many and bitter, you will restore my life again; from the depths of the earth you will again bring me up.”

Since March God has been rebuilding me and my family. We have been worn down, tested, and scattered thin, but God is restoring us. He is making us better as a family, as friends, and as His children. We have made Him the cornerstone of our lives, and though we tend to avoid brokenness, it should instead be embraced. It’s not something to be ashamed of, like something is wrong with us. Exposing our hearts and admitting our vulnerabilities is nothing but humbling. Given these past circumstances, I see brokenness as beautiful. I see it as fertile soil. I see strength and I am encouraged.

How about you? Are you broken in any way? Care to share?

“But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: ‘God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.’” – James 4:6 NIV