God uses broken things. It takes broken soil to produce a crop, broken clouds to give rain, broken grain to give bread, broken bread to give strength. It is the broken alabaster box that gives forth perfume. It is Peter, weeping bitterly, who returns to greater power than ever. —Vance Hayner
Unity is important to Jesus. On the very night he was betrayed, he prayed to the Father that his disciples (including us) would be one, as he and his Father are one. We commonly think of this oneness in a corporate sense— unity with one another is crucial and at the heart of the Scriptures. In the Message, the phrase “that they may be one” (John 17:21) is translated, “that all of them become one heart and mind.”
However, in order for us to become of one heart and mind with one another, we must be of one heart and mind within ourselves. The more fragmented we are in our souls—our mind, will, and emotions—the more fragmented we will also live as a corporate body.
Most, if not all of us, are fragmented to some degree. It’s the result of simply being born into a fallen world. Yet this fragmentation can vary considerably from one individual to another. That makes sense when someone has experienced severe abuse. But what about the person who has no history of overt abuse but who experienced a lack of effective nurturing in childhood? Or the person who grew up with passive or emotionally unavailable parents, or parents who were too busy to give their personal attention? In such circumstances fragmentation is not as easily identified or understood. But the broken pieces are still there inside.
The adult may struggle to connect with others and with God. We may have moments when we sense a level of closeness, but most of the time we live emotionally and spiritually distant, from the outside looking in. We may revert to childish ways—slamming doors, throwing things, giving the silent treatment, or demanding our way. We may feel a common cry of exasperation on the inside: “Lord, there must be more. I feel broken somewhere inside.” We may feel empty, invisible: “Can someone just hear me?” “Will someone listen to me?” “Does anyone even care about me?”
Sarah Dessen, in her book, What Happened to Goodbye, accurately describes the difficulty we face when we try to heal the breaks in our soul. “It was like when you ripped a piece of paper into two: no matter how you tried, the seams never fit exactly right again. It was what you couldn’t see, those tiniest of pieces, that were lost in the severing, and their absence kept everything from being complete.”
Fragmentation can exist in even the most conscientious and active Christians, and many times those around them are unaware. But Father God knows, and he does not want us to live this way. He invites us to partner with him in the revealing and healing of our fragmented souls.
Now it is your turn to ask the Holy Spirit to show you more about your past. He may reveal a time in your life when, inside yourself, you began to “divide.” Maybe you shut down your heart because you got hurt or were afraid. Or you became self-sufficient or decided to guard your heart. Or you began to feel you didn’t measure up—you felt worthless, unaccepted, unwanted, alone, insignificant, or unloved.
Any or all of these will create disunity within a person. If the Holy Spirit brings such things from our past to the forefront, then we know and trust that what he reveals, he heals. And he heals for the ultimate purpose of oneness with him, which then overflows to others and to our world.
After all, “that we would be one, and become one heart and mind” was Jesus’s prayer.
Abba Father, I want to be whole. I want the fullness of your glory to shine through me. I know you can even shine through broken pieces. I don’t have to be totally whole for you to love me and be with me. In this process, I trust you, and I believe that you are there to pick me up, even when I feel alone and abandoned. That you will always love me and take care of me. And as my Father, you’ll always stay right by my side. No matter what.
NOTE: If you or someone you know is in need of finding a safe place for emotional and/or spiritual healing and restoration, please contact us at The Father’s Heart Intensive Christian Counseling Ministry through our web site at www.fathersheart.com or email us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. We are located in the North Georgia Mountains in a retreat-oriented environment and have established opportunities for ministry to individuals or couples for time periods as little as a few hours to as long as five days.