It was the summer of 2018. I didn’t realize how burned out I was.
My husband had been telling me for a few months that I was not the woman he knew I was. Stress and burnout affected not only my home life, but others as well. I didn’t know how to handle it. My spiritual well had run dry but I had not stopped pouring out. I hit a wall, and it wasn’t pretty.
This season was uncharacteristic of me. I’d been a leader in Christian ministry for well over two decades. I’m the wife of a wonderful husband and have three “keepin’ it real” children. My husband is a pastor and together we are missionaries overseas. I love Jesus and His people–a lot! However, I still experienced burnout. I was emotionally broken.
Not only had the daily stress of ministry taken its toll, but our family had experienced a stressful season as well, including difficult family decisions and a four month battle with lice (I almost lost my mind). Our local church had experienced challenges as we walked through traumatic situations with other members as well as launching a second campus. I felt as though I was rescuing my church and my family constantly. In that season, I never took time to be with the Lord to be restored in His presence.
But the Lord is so incredibly gracious.
Our church at home intervened and brought me back to the US where I could spend time with the Lord, take long walks on the beach, enjoy deep connection with dear friends, and be supported by a counselor. That August I found myself in one of my favorite breakfast joints on the East Coast sharing a profoundly spiritual moment with one of my dearest friends, a strong woman of God whom I admire very much. The spiritual insight she shared helped me understand my current spiritual and emotional state and gave me hope in what God was doing.
My friend explained how my current situation looked to her: like broken pottery. All the people and situations I cared deeply about had been shattered, and were laying out in front of me. In a season where the broken fragments of my life were pulling me in many directions, God still saw me. She reminded me of the character of our God. She reminded me how He is the God who restores, and how He wanted to restore my heart and spirit. He alone could put the pieces together again, and He alone could restore me and bring about His purposes. He could restore my brokenness and make me more beautiful than before, filling in my broken scars with something even more beautiful.
It reminded us both of kintsukuroi, the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery with gold. It was the perfect picture for me of what I felt God wanted to do in my life. He was not going to fix my brokenness by making it seem like nothing ever happened, but He would take my brokenness and make it beautiful, filling in the broken pieces with gold. He would allow me to be used again. He would allow me to enjoy His presence and pour it out, sharing it with others.
My dear friend’s words were the key that unlocked my heart. Her encouragement helped me begin the road journey of recovering from burnout and of learning a new way of living my life in and with Jesus. I am broken, but I have been made whole again by the loving and patient hand of a good, good Father.
Living and Serving in Germany