Jesus loves the broken ones, this I know.

I am a person in process.

I don’t like this reality most of the time. I try to tell myself a happy little line that there are things about me that were bad and broken “back then” but now that I’m older and wiser those things are good and fixed.

Turns out, most of the time, they’re not.

When I was in high school, I had an eating disorder. A bad break up with a boy I thought I was going to marry – you know, cause everyone marries their high school boyfriend – had lead to secret shame, self-loathing, and depression. I didn’t know what I was supposed to do with these feelings. Those weren’t things we dealt with in my family or circle of friends. So I began concocting a way to make myself feel in control and lovable again. The answer was simple: skinnier. I must be skinner to be lovable. I started a regime of starving myself and purging whenever I didn’t. It was a fancy mix between anorexia and bulimia. A psychiatrist I saw called it bulexia.

I eventually told my parents, saw a therapist, and forced myself to get over the break up and stop trying to harm my body. I put on weight. My esophagus healed. I “got better”. I must have played the part well because I actually ended up being interviewed on a morning show at the local radio station with my therapist, as her “proof of effective treatment” of girls with eating disorders. As I look back I marvel at the situation a little bit. I was just in high school, just a lonely teenage girl trying to figure out her heart, and yet being shared publicly with the city as a shining beacon for recovery.

Decades have passed since I sat on the other end of that radio station plexi glass in front of the microphone, but lately, I can almost feel the same familiar discomfort in my stomach. I don’t feel right and I am too old and too tired pretend that I do. Rhabdo followed by atrophy means my muscles aren’t working properly yet. I spent last week in Colorado and after a handful of shoots, I felt weak and shaky and unable to stay standing long enough to have a short conversation. I watched my husband walk a dirt path up in the high country and all I could do was stand, watch, and wait to sit down on the nearest rock. My lack of physical ability means I can’t exercise so I find myself conveniently forgetting to eat and living on a steady diet of coffee followed by more coffee followed by dinner.

Which brings me to this blog post and the theme of today’s song: I can either pretend that my broken places are fixed and add “pathological liar” to my list of secret sins, or I can walk through life accepting my current broken places and knowing that Jesus is with me in them.

I have been reading the Bible a little more these days. It’s not an exercise that comes incredibly easy for me, and it’s an exercise that I have done in a really self-serving way for most of my life. But I am being challenged more lately to look at the Bible as a book about God and his grand story of big love, instead of a book about me and my story and iron will to fix myself.

The more I encounter Jesus and study his life on earth, the more I realize he was a really big fan of broken people like me. He made a career out of eating with, sitting on the floor with, healing, working with, befriending, walking with, listening to, being touched by, and empathizing with the broken people. The broken ones were the ones who got to be closest to him. The more I look at the story of Jesus and the more I examine the story of my life with all of its positive and negative turns, the more I am coming to the conclusion that Jesus loves – really loves – broken people, and my brokenness is an invitation to be close to him, to sit on the floor and eat with him.

After my last blog post, I wrote a friend and asked for her feedback on what I had shared in the previous two posts. Her response was breathtaking and true, and just stopped me in my tracks in the most beautiful way –

“You are very brave.
What I see, also, is how God has given you a perfectly personalized tension for the restoration of you into the Christ-likeness you are made for. You have a deep desire to be successful and admired on a big stage, but the things you are most passionate about saying and creating only ring true for the outcast, the weak, the unpopular poor of spirit. The truths that are most important to your soul will only draw the smallest crowd.

And so if feels almost life-threatening to write them and make them public. It also feels absolutely essential.

Two masters. You already know the one you want to follow. But the other one doesn’t give up easily, fights a little dirtier when he sees he’s losing.

It’s ok though. Perfect love casts out fear.
There is nothing to fear.”

I wrote her back and said I had wrestled with her words all week long. I was making peace with the idea that my story speaks to the outcast and the weak one because I am the outcast and the weak one. I can either push against it and spend my life not being known or I can raise my hand and shout out,
“That’s me! That’s the kind of journey I am on! I’m the weak one! I am not on the journey of being put together and having my shit figured out, but the journey of being one of the broken people!”
I responded saying I choose to be weak because I see how clearly God uses the weak ones. “I think the weak ones are some of his favorites.”

I can’t force my body to heal more quickly and I am not going to be able to go burn mega calories tomorrow. I’m not going to wake up and suddenly be over my fear of getting un-skinny and un-lovable. Those things aren’t in the cards for me. But I am at least able to wake up in the morning and know that I am one of the weak ones. I am not fixed yet. And that’s ok. That makes me one of his favorites.

show hide 3 comments

Jenn Hi Ashley. I just found your blog through the oils e-mail you sent today. I love this post. I really love the sentence about looking at the Bible as a book about God and His love story. I am super duper guilty of making it all about me. Thank you for putting your thoughts and feelings down for others. love you.November 14, 2015 – 1:16 am

Laurie Cassidy I really liked your post.
I think we are all the weak ones.
And imperfect.
And that’s okay.
Jesus loved the honest ones too. And you are.
Keep on keeping on.
LaurieOctober 4, 2015 – 7:01 am

Kristin Dear friend! Thank you for this post. Thinking of and praying for you. And please know that that I am in that ‘small crowd’ cheering you on and totally identifying with you in brokenness and the unending need of God’s grace over my life.September 21, 2015 – 1:06 pm

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