Useful Brokenness


I don’t understand!!, I struck his chest.

You are so unfair!  Another blow.

I continued to flail my clenched hands. I felt God’s arms firmly wrap around me.  He let me throw a fit, but he didn’t leave me. He held me.

This was the night I feared God’s answer to adopting was no.  For several years, God was silent about my desire to adopt. I believed the passion was put there by the Holy Spirit.  But when it came down to it, when I asked God if he would fulfill this desire of my heart, he was silent.  When I would ask my husband, he would say no.

This was an ongoing cycle. I was patient.  Perhaps God was working on my husband’s heart. Maybe God was preparing me for more than one adopted child.  All great things! Until all these ‘great’ reasons for God’s silence seemed like made-up excuses.  Was God really being silent, or was he simply saying no?

I had already conceived a child in my heart. I was broken hearted that God may be preparing me for a miscarriage.  No to adoption was one of the hardest answers from God I had to face.

My prayers were not super lovely.  Instead of praying that God would change my husband’s heart, I shifted my prayer: God, help me to mourn this. If this is not part of your plan for me, I will be devastated. 

Mourning without God is exhausting.  Mourning with God is empowering. 

Knowing we are not alone in our suffering gives us strength.

God allowed me to throw my fists against him and beat as hard as I could.  I was so sad. I felt so frustrated. But then there were those arms, tight around my tired body. I could not shake them.

With all my brokenness and disappointment aimed straight at him, He stayed.

He was reminding me of his character.  He is Emmanuel, ‘God with us’. He was God with me. I felt deep pain, but I felt safe.  Safe in the plan God had set out for me.  He was teaching me to find my rest there, even if I was unhappy about it.

One night, I realized I had been resting a little too long in my disappointment.  My husband said to me Jenna, if we can’t adopt and orphans are your heart, what else can you do to help them?

Um… I want to adopt one. Pay attention buddy!

I didn’t realize until that moment how stubborn and narrow-minded I had been.  I took a deep breath, literally shook off the grief, and offered what was left to God. My prayer that night was very awkward:

God, I still feel disappointed and hurt. I’m tired.  But, if you can use me like this, USE ME!

Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. 2 Corinthians 12:9 NLT

The endurance and strength of a child doesn’t matter– if he is running the race on top of his father’s shoulders. God was shouting, Come as you are! Hop on! Let me take you where I want to go.

This wasn’t about my ability.  How true it is: when we are weak, He is so so strong! It was that night, that I “stumbled” across a way to help PREVENT orphans. In the following weeks, God had enabled us to form a team of 70 people to run a marathon to provide clean water to poor families of Africa.  Our team provided 1,076 people with clean water for life! Families battling death, disease, and giving up their children out of desperation, could keep their families together.

Orphans were prevented. God’s plan unfolded…even if I entered in as a mess.  That is how grace-FULL he is.

Within weeks of pouring myself into God’s calling, the most amazing gesture of God’s faithfulness knocked me to my knees.  My husband approached me and said he was ready to adopt!!  God’s was not saying  no all that time.  He was saying not yet.

If God had given me the desire of my heart when I demanded it, I never would’ve opened my eyes to other ways to help orphans.  If he were not silent, I never would’ve leaned in closer to hear what he had to say. 

What a beautiful display of God’s perfect timing.  If my husband said yes just weeks earlier to adoption, there may not be 1,076 touched by Jesus’ provision. God knew that. God used me in my brokenness. He took my desire, the desire I felt I had to mourn and bury, and resurrected it into something I couldn’t have formed on my own.  He planned to answer my desperate prayer, can you use me like THIS? to answer another mother’s desperate prayer on the other side of the world.

How beautiful is our God.

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