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Broken Bread

Earlier this week, I posted about the joy God has brought me through trial and loss. How the pruning He has been doing is reaping good fruit. I shared this after a week in which God so vividly reminded me of the little decisions He led me to that birthed not less, but more trials and more loss in my life.

I was seeking hard after God’s face and rather than getting what I expected (open hearts and the love and acceptance of man), I got what my heart most needed (closed hearts and man’s rejection). As again and again, my fellow believers turned away from me, it drove me to a little bench next to an open field. A place of reprieve, where I poured out my heart in all honesty before the LORD. Anger, bitterness and grief filled the page, as I brought my unmet expectations before God.

I reminded Him how obedient I had been. I reminded Him that this church was my only fellowship with believers. I reminded Him that the only reason I was doing and saying what I was, was because He had repeatedly urged me to. I asked Him why He had forsaken me and fed me to the lions.

He kindly let me pour out my self-righteous diatribe and the lies of the enemy and then waited for me to listen to what He had to say. Again and again and again, He turned me to the Cross.

He reminded me that even my obedience was the outworking of His grace. He broke my heart open, lifting off the heavy weights of fear and shame. He gave me His heart for my brothers and sisters who were turning their backs, so that I would keep stepping back into the lions’ den to live the truth of the Cross.

He reminded me that fellowship with His Body was all around me, if I would just open my heart to Him. If I would just embrace the truth of His Word and acknowledge the power of His blood.

Jesus intended to shame the strong and wise with His simple gospel, with a woman on her knees tethered to her Rock. He broke my strength, the trust I had in my own wisdom and my pride. He hemmed me in on every side, so that I would have nothing and noone left to lean on but Him.

In those moments, His strength took over. A strength that didn’t take away my weakness, but instead paraded it before those around me. And as the judgments and accusations came, directed at my weakness and my past sin, Jesus came to my defence. Again and again, He held me tight and covered me in the truth and protection of the Cross, until He finally commanded me to leave and cut all ties.

It’s then a new battle began. Pain and shame laid their claim on me at every turn. But Jesus surrounded me, just as He had at my old church. When all I saw was the turning backs and my own sin, He lifted my head up to His.

He didn’t pull me up on my boot straps. He didn’t get impatient with me. He loved on me, right where I was, through my family, through my friends, from near and far, and through His precious Word.

He was not in a hurry with me and still isn’t. He is intent not just upon fully healing recent wounds, but wounds I have carried since I was a little girl. He has covered me in His healing wings, sheltering me, and again and again removing me from outside accusation. He has shown me that it was never ever Him who turned His back on me.

He has shown me just how strong He has always been in me and still is. And He has broken my heart anew for those who have turned me away, as I have seen myself in them too. As I have come to see how easily all our hearts turn away from the simple and yet powerful truth that the Cross has paid it all.

 

 

He has again and again broken His bread in my midst to open my blinded eyes . . .

 

Broken Bread

A poem by Anna Louise Smit

 

Neat and tidy

Drinking my milk

Could no longer satisfy

My hunger for You.

 

Longing for solids

You broke my heart

That I would learn

To question, seek and grow.

 

The grace I saw

And longed to taste

You gave to me

In broken bread, take eat.

 

For You came

To bring the sword

Not worldly peace 

But Holy Spirit balm in me.

 

I tasted strife 

In broken bread

And walked away

From pain and shame.

 

But You walked toward 

My Cross to bear

Toward my longing 

For more than milk.

 

And so You carried me 

Beyond my known

Lifting all my burdens, one by one

New life to breathe.

 

For me to see

The neat and tidy

Was my idol

The broken bread, Your gift.

 

Descending

As You broke the bread

You taught me there 

Your grace to taste and see.

 

To know my works alone 

Are weak and dead

To trust You when You call

Surrender all.

 

For You lead me

To a holy breaking 

Time and time again

For grace to flow in mercy’s tide.

 

That I might 

Now Your solids eat

That I might learn 

To worship You alone, in holy awe.

 

To know Your mysteries

Are too great to fathom

To know that in my death

 

Your life is birthed.

“Remember Me,”

You call us come 

Breaking bread, You bless

 

To multiply our humble gifts.

 

 

He took His love so much deeper in me. Right in my brokenness, He began surrounding me with people who began to pour out their own hearts. They began sharing their own stories of heartache. Of compassion withheld, of horrific abuse (sexual, physical and spiritual), of deep wounds of rejection.

Jesus began to show me His purpose in my wounding. I became the wounded one that His wounded children could entrust their own stories to. There is power in the communion of suffering, of willingly embracing the hands of Jesus, hands that still bear the marks of the Cross.

Oh how God has broken and still is breaking my heart for what breaks His. Oh how much JOY fills my heart as I see Him going forth to call His children come:

 

 

A friend loves at all times, And a brother is born for adversity.
PROVERBS 17:17 AMP
https://bible.com/bible/1588/pro.17.17.AMP

 

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