Blessed to be Broken

God's not finished with me yet!

Defining Moments

on June 15, 2016

We all have those defining moments that can push us forward or take us back.  Sometimes those moments are caused by our own insecurities. Sometimes they’re inflicted by others who for whatever reason feel the necessity to break you. Sometimes they are victories won from within the strength we never thought we had. Sometimes they are encouraged on by those who believe in you when you forgot to believe in yourself. Some will help you rise higher and some will drag you down and hold you hostage without your conscious awareness. Whatever it may be, I can guarantee it will impact your life in a way you didn’t see coming.

When I was in the eighth grade, my favorite album, yes, album, the vinyl kind that you played on a stereo with a needle you could drop down on a single groove and listen away, was a soundtrack from the movie, A Star is Born, starring Barbra Streisand and Kris Kristofferson. I about wore that album out playing songs like, Evergreen, Watch Closely Now, The Woman in the Moon, and Queen Bee.  Seriously, there was not a single song on that album I didn’t love. And as you know, that’s pretty rare to like every single track on an album.

I don’t remember the reason I was grounded from listening to my music, but whatever the reason, I had been grounded from it. I loved music. It was my escape; it was where my imagination led me on stage, hairbrush in hand, pretending to be the next music star. Problem with that is, you need to be able to sing, and while I can carry a tune, I knew my limitations. But, that didn’t stop me from making a joyful noise. Can I get an amen?

When I got carried away with my lyrical dissertations, my brothers were very quick to remind me that I found their annoy zone as their shouts of “shut up Sis,” roared above my hair brush microphone.  Harumph!  I sang louder.

In an effort to learn songs as fast as I could, I would furiously write lyrics down, and if you had a record player, you know this was no easy task. I would play the same songs over and over again until I thought I’d wear that track out. I would record songs from the radio and get ever so peeved when that DJ talked over the intro.  It’s like they knew I was recording and no amount of my screaming at the radio would shut their blabber mouths up.

Being grounded from my music was truly one of the worst things you could do to me.

In the eighth grade, I went to my first school dance. I never considered myself pretty but I didn’t consider myself ugly either. I liked boys, but I had never had a boyfriend. I talked to boys all the time and found myself quite funny and usually in any given classroom due to my talkative nature, in the corner of the room the teacher would inevitably place me. Rude!

At this, my very first dance, at the very end of the dance, a boy asked me to dance. Me!! He asked me to dance. I felt like Rudolph when Clarice told him, she thought he was cuuuuute. As we walked onto the dance floor, I could hardly contain my smile. I’m smiling as I write this. We slow danced to “Don’t Let The Sun Go Down on Me” by Elton John. It was magical!  Well, as magical as a Catholic school dance located in a gymnasium can be, and I was the happiest I think I had ever been. When the song stopped, we awkwardly parted ways, the lights came on, and the dance was over. Then I heard it….a song from that soundtrack I loved and I summed this up as the perfect evening.

I couldn’t contain my giddiness the whole car ride home. If this is what happy felt like, I wanted to feel like this forever.

I went to my room and my adrenaline was still pumping “happy” through my being and I decided I would sneak and play just one song from that beloved soundtrack. I played it so low I had to put my ear to the speaker. And then it happened.

My parents burst in my room and accused me of smoking pot. I was floored. I hated everything about smoking so how could they accuse me of such a thing.  How could they confuse happiness with being wasted? It was their rationale for my non-stop talking, for my playing a record when I was grounded, and for the “happy” I displayed. There was no defending myself. I was judged, juried and condemned for displaying an emotion seldom seen in the house I grew up in. My own parents had no clue how “happy” looked on me. In an instant, my “happy” was stolen and immense sorrow and anger took its’ place. Silently my hot tears slid onto my pillow as I cried myself to sleep.

It was a defining moment for me. The next day at school, the boy had told others we danced together. Maybe he thought it was going to turn into something more. Maybe he had been as excited and happy as I had been. I’ll never know because we never spoke again after that day.

You see, in an effort to put that night behind me, I told anyone who mentioned it, I didn’t dance with him. I lied and said mean things about him and reasoned why I would never dance with someone like him. I covered my magical school dance with a shield of protective covering and stuffed it into the dark abyss of my “don’t go there places.”

I learned that night that happy wasn’t meant for me. It gave them too much power, too much to destroy. Unfortunately, that’s what happens when you grow up in survival mode. You place a layer over your heart where “they” can’t get to you. But, they can’t take what you won’t give them. So you wear an armor of deceit and cry in silence as you harden your heart from their barb wired tongues.

It’s a horrible thing to crush the spirit of another human being. You take their light, and you bring them down to a level that was never meant for them. You can change the course of their life in an instant to gratify your own dark misunderstandings. You don’t win…you lose, yet, for a time, you get to feel smug in self-righteousness.

As a child, you don’t understand the why, so you shut down and you try “someone” else on for size. Maybe this person will make them happy. Maybe this person won’t get accused of doing something they didn’t do. Maybe, just maybe, they’ll like this person better. Be careful though, because you just might get a person that acts out in ways you never saw coming and one you were never equipped to handle.

When it’s in you, to find fault, you’ll find it. It’s easy isn’t it; to find fault and point it out? Makes you feel a little superior. A little taller. A little smarter because you don’t have to think about your own mess. Pride, it’s ugly and our Heavenly Father has lots to say about it.

I don’t know how that evening would have turned out had I not be robbed of my happy. I only know what happened after it was plucked and put in their punishment basket. But, I do know that God can bring good from anything and while, for a time, my life may have been darkened, the light He put inside of me fought to get out.

Guess what? It only takes the tiniest of lights to snuff out the darkness. The tiniest of lights can make a HUGE difference in a dark place. In that light, is hope. In that light, is truth. In that light, is life.

John 14:6 says this about Jesus, “I am the way, the truth and the life, no one comes to me except through the Father,” and in John 8:12 it says “Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.”

I didn’t have a personal relationship with Jesus back in the eighth grade, but I do now. And there is no darkness that has been cast upon your life that He cannot penetrate. There is no lie, that His Truth cannot annihilate, and there is no sin greater than His great grace. No one can steal your happy when your happy is found at the foot of the Cross. At the foot of the Cross where love laid His life down for you, is where your life begins.

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