Sitting down at the kitchen table, I glanced at the hundreds of puzzle pieces that seemed to be in a scattered disarray all around me. Although I typically like the relaxing challenge of jigsaw puzzles and the ways that they not only engage my brain but take me into a place of pure joy—today the blue pieces of a night sky and dots of snowflakes seemed to swim in front of my eyes, producing the opposite of peace. Here I found that ALL I wanted to do was fix the brokenness by putting each of the pieces in place quickly. Creating order out of the disorder.
Contemplating the reasons why I craved to see this holiday puzzle completed, I realized that in the midst of the pain I carry, I too am in a state of wishing that the broken pieces of my life could be put together again. Clean. Easy. And FAST.
Many people on the outside see me as a graduate student, the leader of a non-profit, and someone who smiles a lot. Yet, they also fail to see or even know that internally I might be devastated, struggling, and might not be sure how to take the next step, let alone continue to grieve or even express what is taking place internally within my heart. It’s not that God doesn’t heal, because I believe with every part of my being that God does heal and that His healing is permanent. Rather, just because I am free from my traffickers doesn’t mean that life is easy, perfect, or pain free. Instead, in many ways, as I continue to process the trauma I have survived (which I am still doing), I am realizing that I have even more trauma to work through and grieve. Then there is the journey of working through the lasting effects of the trauma on my body, mind, and soul that I still flashes me back to things I wish didn’t exist. And then there are the hard things that normal people experience as well, including medical struggles, multiple surgeries, infertility, burnout, and recovering from the major accident I survived last year.
It’s all a lot to carry at times and to be honest, I feel so broken right now. Pieces of my life, scattered around in a messy manner of discouragement and disappointment. Why do I still have days of depression, tears, and just sadness? Why do I as a leader feel like I need to hide my pain from others? And why is it easier for me to be patient with a silly 1000-piece puzzle or another person, than it is for me to give myself patience and permission to just be in the stillness of my tears?
I think it’s because society, as a whole, does not like brokenness.
People are uncomfortable with pain—their own and others, because there is no magical formula to make things better and just sitting in grief is not easy or quick. Then as one’s pain continue; cultural stigmas whisper that something is wrong—why aren’t they getting better?
Yet, as I was working my puzzle today, I realized that God’s okay with my brokenness. Although I carry the responsibility to learn what it means to be healthy, it’s not for me to put the broken pieces back together again. Which means that healing is NOT a destination, rather it is a process of experiencing more and more of who God is and has created me to be. Yes, I need to be present in the moment and find the means to delight in the things around me, but it’s okay that I still have hard days—this doesn’t make me less of a person, say that something is wrong with me, or make God less of who He is as my God.
—Jessa Dillow Crisp