BY ANNA GRACE WOOD on The Cross Is All

Psalms 34: 18, The LORD is near to the brokenhearted And saves those who are crushed in spirit.

broken womanWhen my mother was pregnant with me, my father beat her so badly she was afraid she was going to miscarry.

When I was born, my father denied that I was his.

When I was about 12 weeks old, in a drunken rage my father threw me violently across the room and into a wall. By God’s grace alone, I landed on a bed with no broken bones.

When I was about 16 weeks old, I came down with a raging fever and my father refused to let my mother out of the house to take me to the doctor. For several days, he kept us both locked in the house. When my mother finally managed to persuade him to let her take me to the doctor, the prognosis was that my immune system was damaged and I’d “develop every allergy in the book” along with other possible complications. It was worse than that doctor could have realized. The resulting health problems nearly took my life on many occasions. To this day, I live with the consequences of his negligence.

When I was three years old, I was placed on heavy doses of phenobarbital and other medicines due to what my mother described as episodes of “blanking out” and walking into walls as a result of severe emotional trauma brought on by my father’s alcoholic rages and abuse.

When I was five, my mother and I made one final effort to escape, this time succeeding.

When I was seven, my health problems were finally “officially” diagnosed. I’d already come near death on multiple occasions and would spend my childhood in and out of hospitals while doctors fought to save me, something that for years was considered a losing game.

When I was 8, I began many long years of being bullied, laughed at and mistreated at school by classmates who couldn’t comprehend my long absences from school and thought I was receiving some kind of special treatment by the teachers and administrators.

When I was 9 years old, my mother’s fear and depression caught up with her, resulting in wild mood swings, emotional abuse and the loss of the only real parent I’d ever had. From that point onward her emotional state went downhill.

Through the years, I’ve known poverty, abandonment and abuse of various kinds. I’ve been lied to by those I believed and lied about by those I trusted. I’ve been cursed out by loved ones, threatened and betrayed. Three of my children were prodigals; two still are.

I’ve known a lot of trouble, pain and fear in my life but I’ve also known God. God has saved my soul, my life and my sanity. He saved one of the prodigals from a rebellious lifestyle while preventing my other six children from falling into it. He’s blessed me in innumerable ways, most of which I’ll never fully realize this side of heaven. I know God as my Father and my Provider as well as my Savior.

God sometimes gives us far more than we can handle. But He never gives us more than He can handle. He breaks us to remake us in the image of His Son. He comforts us in our brokenness so that He might then use us to comfort others.

No matter what we face, no matter who turns away from us or hurts us, no matter how broken we feel, God is always faithful. Each one of us will be broken at some point in our lives. Some of us will be broken over and over and over in our lives. Looked at correctly, our times of brokenness are times of blessings for it is then we are most dependent upon the Lord. Our dependency on Him never ceases, of course, but sometimes we are far more aware of it than at others. When we are broken we are deeply aware of our need for Him.

God is the God of everything. He is the God of our brokenness, too.