Only the Broken Heart

My baptism last year.
October of last year marked a spiritual turning point for me—really, a life turning point. I was baptized in a ceremony at my childhood church in Detroit.


It was a moment marking transformation. I decided that I was no longer going to continue down the same path, but set forth on a different path. I was going to accept forgiveness from God for past and present sins and turn my life over to his Son, to guide and to care for me, in sickness and in health.


The process started while I was living in Northern Michigan five years ago. For many years, I had been alienated from God, angry and bitter about the course my life had taken. I struggled a lot with “Why me, God? Why bipolar?”


But while I was living in Northern Michigan, my beloved grandmother started to fail. At a loss, unsure what to do with this grief before grief, I turned to spiritual life for answers. I began attending church.


At first, I sat in the very back, unsure of my place. But soon, I was attending a Bible study. I didn’t have a Bible at the time. Someone gave me one of hers—marked with all her favorite passages. I still treasure it.
  

In the old familiar rituals and songs, I began to find answers—yes, my grandmother would live on after death, live on gloriously.


But attending church turned the tables on me. Soon, I was examining myself. And I didn’t like what I saw.


I recognized that I had allowed my illness to control my life, my relationships, even my identity. I didn’t identify as “Meg, Christian.” Or “Meg, writer.” I identified as “Meg, bipolar.” I needed to set out on a wellness journey. And this wellness journey had to include the whole self—mind, body, spirit, heart. The illness, just like sin, had touched every part of me, and every part of me had to be redeemed.


In Romans, the apostle Paul laments, “What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?”


And then he makes a leap. In the very next verse he continues, “Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!”
We all must make that leap.


I have gone on my wellness journey. And it continues today. It will continue into the future. It is day by day, step by step, one foot in front of the other. It is unceasing, a daily battle, but also a daily encounter with grace. In this encounter with grace, I have found my weaknesses and sins transformed and redeemed, as God and other people love on me despite them.


I continue to struggle some days. But I have also made peace with who I am and with the past. When God touches you, your life becomes a story, a narrative, instead of a series of painful happenstances. Suddenly, your life has overarching meaning.


I have seen this happen for myself. For many years, my life didn’t make sense to me. Why was I suffering this way? But now I believe that God has called me to a life of being a storyteller, a wordsmith—and the fact that I am a wounded storyteller makes me a more empathetic and compassionate storyteller. A deeper storyteller.


We, as people, are built for relationships. And being wounded softens you, breaks open your heart. Only a broken heart is truly whole, I believe.


And life will continue breaking my heart, I know. That is how life works. But God will be there to knit it back up again, over and over.  My broken heart will shine.


This month, I remember my baptism last year. And I recognize that I am a little bit different than I was at this time last year. I am walking the walk; God is leading me.


My broken heart is becoming whole.           

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