Winsome Wednesday: Broken

Iceland - Thingvellir 15 - plate boundary fault line
photo credit: McKay Savage

Beware of any Christian leader 
who doesn't walk with a limp.
~A.W. Tozer

I spent last weekend with the Winsome leadership team. We met together at White Sulphur Springs for a weekend of planning and praying for the Winsome retreat in April.

Eight of our ten gathered from the DC area, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Virginia. We are spread out, so coming together for an extended time is important for personal as well as pragmatic reasons. We need to connect.

We leave behind a lot of varied scenarios . . jobs, families at all seasons and stages, husbands, dogs, and probably a sink full of dirty dishes. And we bring various perspectives, burdens, lessons learned and learning, and ideas.

We are all broken.

For all our gifts, talents, ambitions, successes and dreams, we are broken. Busted. Cracked. Leaky. Ragged, jagged, worn.

As the leader of this broken bunch of women, I am tempted to get distracted with fixing. First myself and then them. Isn't that what leaders do? They pull together the best pieces of themselves and others, get out the Crazy Glue and start the repairs. It only makes sense. Broken people can't lead. Or run retreats. 

Or can they?

I went into the weekend fairly aware of my broken places or at least the cracks. We weren't long in when I realized I wasn't alone. Hardly.

Friday night I gave the team three questions to ponder and pray about:

~ What do I bring to the ministry of Winsome? 
~ Why am I here?
~ How is God using my involvement with Winsome in my life?

I wanted them to really consider where they fit with Winsome and where Winsome fits in their lives since identifying and naming purpose is so relevant to meaningful and sustained involvement. 

Saturday morning we spent some time sharing our answers. Amongst our dreams, talents, ideas and ambitions the fault line of brokenness thread an unbroken path through all our lives. Whether an earthquake sized gaping chasm or a faint crack, the signs were unmistakable . . . weariness, tears, fears, desperation, prayers and hope.

Yes, hope. And that's where the shift in my leadership paradigm started.

As believers and followers of Jesus, we embrace and declare hope. Hope in fear, sickness, death, depression, broken relationships, wayward children, messed-up lives. We often hear and say that His is an upside-down kingdom where the weak are strong, the foolish are wise, and the broken are whole. But these truths look better in books and sound better in sermons than they do in my day to day. 

Brokenness is messy and its plan, purpose, and beauty are easily lost in the pain and mess of it all. It rarely makes any sense, and we are tempted to reject all hope in our desperate scramble to fix and mend.

But if it's true that because of God and His great love for us . . 

We are strong in our weakness.

We are secure in our trials.

We have hope in the night.

He has good plans for our lives. 

He is working for our good.

. . might the fault line of our brokenness really be a path to our true purpose and our greatest joy because it drives us to Him? 

Would we dare, as one of our team suggested, embrace our brokenness?

We are apt to think that Jesus Christ 
took all the bitterness and we get all the blessing. 
It is true that we get the blessing, 
but we must never forget that 
the wine of life is made out of crushed grapes; 
to follow Jesus will involve bruising 
in the lives of the disciples 
as the purpose of God did in His own life.
~ Oswald Chambers

We are a limping bunch of leaders. But I suspect any strength in our endeavor with Winsome or anything else will come from those limps.

And the greatest beauty in our lives will be birthed in the brokenness.

Plant in dried cracked mud
photo credit: Olearys

I founded Winsome to invite women to join me in discovering joy. Held in the Allegheny Mountains of Pennsylvania, women of all ages, stages and walks of life are welcome. Read more about it here!

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 . . . & Jennifer Dukes Lee