Celine Letkeman, International Volunteer (Canada), reflects on the beauty of acknowledging our brokenness, being vulnerable and finding freedom in Christ and the Hands at Work community:
When I first came to Africa, I think that I subconsciously associated the word ‘brokenness’ with weakness. I was fearful of sharing the broken areas of my heart because I was embarrassed by my past and ultimately feared rejection and judgement. I struggled to share because I didn’t fully understand and recognise the depth to which the brokenness and pain in my heart had spilled over into many different areas of my life.
For a long period of my life, I allowed the brokenness and pain that I carried in my heart to consume and define me. Instead of giving God control and allowing Him to do something new in my life, I held onto the guilt, shame and anxiety that I was battling and believed the lies that the enemy was telling me about myself. I didn’t want to let anybody ‘in’ on my internal struggles because I was ashamed of my brokenness, and so I continued to push God and people away, thinking that I could ‘fix’ things on my own.
I don’t think that sharing our brokenness and being vulnerable with people comes naturally. It seemed senseless to me to allow people to speak into the areas of my life that I wanted to keep hidden from everyone around me, which is exactly what I did when I first came to Africa in 2014. Thankfully, our Father is full of grace and compassion and He brought people into my life who were committed to fighting for me and speaking truth into my life.
Slowly, as I began to share my hurts, fears and challenges and to allow people to speak into the broken areas of my life, I started to see the beauty in sharing and acknowledging my brokenness. There is a beauty in being vulnerable with people which comes with the realisation that you are not alone in your struggles. There is a beauty in living in a community of people who not only love you but accept you, brokenness and all. As I allowed God and other people to speak into my life, I started to find freedom and healing from the shame, guilt and anxiety that had been holding me captive for years.
Yet acknowledging our brokenness and experiencing healing isn’t always a one-off occurrence. It involves regularly humbling ourselves before our Heavenly Father, recognising that we can’t face our brokenness alone, and that it is only by the grace of God that we can be set free. It requires living a life of vulnerability, allowing one another to speak into our lives and challenge us, even though it may be painful and uncomfortable. As I began to acknowledge the broken areas of my life, I was able to truly rejoice in the good news of Jesus Christ, because I could recognise how far He had brought me.
As children of Christ, who have experienced healing from our brokenness, we have a responsibility to help bring that healing and the good news of Jesus to the children, Care Workers and Primary Caregivers who we serve in our communities across Africa.