Broken But Not Destroyed
"Look at the fallen pastor's wife!" My reflection shouted at me from the mirror. I stared back, in horror, at the broken, defeated image. Surely this wasn't me . . this couldn't possibly be me. Memories of the previous months whirled and danced in my mind, flinging their arrows of accusation and hopelessness like poisonous darts, into my heart.
In a split second the inquest was over and the verdict was in . . . "GUILTY WITHOUT HOPE!" I turned from the mirror and threw myself across the bed. I wept uncontrollably while the tide of guilt and despair spread quickly through my entire being. Condemnation announced the penalty. . . DEATH! Death was the only way out. "God," I pleaded "please be merciful and let me die." The silence was deafening. If God wouldn't let me die . . . I'd have to figure some way myself!
I lived in anguish for the next months, desperately wishing for death. However, death wouldn't come. Life went on and on in unending moments of torment and despair. Throughout the following days, as I watched my life unravel, my mind demanded to know the answer to the same question: "How did I get to this point of despair and hopelessness?"
I was raised in a Bible preaching church and have served God since childhood. I began preaching at age 15. By the time I was 16, I was traveling and preaching in various churches. Upon graduation from high school I attended Bible College where I met and married my husband, James. As newly weds we entered the full time pastoral ministry. The years ahead were filled with a mixture of happiness, disappointment, stress and the toll of exhaustion which ministry takes upon ministers.
The path of ministry we choose to pursue led us through seventeen years of home missions ministry, during which we planted three churches and pastored another home missions work. Four healthy children (three boys and one girl) were born into our home.
Although our ministry was successful and rewarding in many ways, our personal lives began to crumble. Unfortunately, while tending to the vast needs of others, our own relationship was neglected and deteriorating. Anger and resentment began to brew while walls of isolation were erected. As the marital problems surfaced, James and I coped with them in individual ways. James poured himself deeper into the ministry, while I withdrew and sank into depression.
After twenty years of marriage and ministry my heart became calloused and I made terrible choices resulting in sin. Hurting and devoid of hope, I filed for divorce. My world had come crashing down around me. I felt like Humpty Dumpty. I had indeed tumbled off the wall and my life was shattered.
Hopelessness and despair became my constant companions. The enemy of my soul taunted me. "God won't forgive you" Satan shouted "your sin is too horrible." In sin and disobedience, I tried to run from God but his unending mercy followed me. In fear and torment, I tried to hide from Him but His unconditional love found me.
I could not forgive myself so how could I expect God or anyone else to forgive me. For weeks I struggled with the idea that if only I could find a way to clean up the mess I had made of my life, I could go back to my Heavenly Father. Aw! Perhaps then He would welcome me.
However, I was totally unable to change my own condition. Try as I might, I couldn't put my life back together again. Suddenly, the story of the Prodigal son came vividly to mind. The Prodigal didn't have to take a shower and clean up before he went home. He got up out of the pig pen and went back to his father's house just the way he was . . . dirt, filth, stench and all.
The words to that old hymn rolled over and over in my memory: "Just as I am, and waiting not to rid my soul of one dark blot, to thee whose blood can cleanse each spot, Oh Lamb of God, I come! I come!"
The sweet Spirit of God whispered to my heart: "Linda, get up and come just as you are." By faith I placed all the broken pieces of my life back into God's hands. Slowly and gently He began the healing process as He put the pieces of my life back together again.
James and I were remarried (to each other) and eventually went back in full time ministry.
Our marriage was better than it had ever been. We learned to communicate, as well as the importance of keeping our priorities straight. Four years later, James died suddenly. Although his death was sudden and untimely, God had given us four more wonderful years.
Our world, the Church included, is full of hurting broken people who live in hopelessness and despair. I know, I have been there.
It is true all the king's horses and all the king's men could never put Humpty Dumpty together again. However, the King of kings will reach down and put the broken pieces of your life back together.
If you have fallen and are broken, you are not hopeless. You don't have to clean up the mess before you can come home. You can come JUST AS YOU ARE!! Your Heavenly Father stands ready to forgive and heal.
There is hope for the broken . . . and His name is