bro·ken – adjective \ˈbrō-kən\

: separated into parts or pieces by being hit, damaged, etc.
: not working properly
: not kept or honored


On Tuesday she knocked shyly on my office door and slowly entered to drop mail on my desk. I said, “Thank you, Leslie.” Then I looked her straight in her blue eyes and asked her how she was. How she really was, one week after her brother had passed away. I asked from my heart.

She forced a grin and simply said, “Broken.”

That day last week, I felt broken, too. And by her sharing that one word with me, I could tell her a bit of my story. The conversation turned from daily office tasks to a heart conversation. Words of encouragement and hope, pain and loss all connected together between us.

Sometimes these simple, asking moments become sacred. Our brokenness connects in a jagged and beautiful way. Right in the middle of the “I’m-just-dropping-by-to-leave-your-mail” or the “I-only-wanted-to-pop-in-and-say-hello.” When we take the time to look closely into eyes and expressions, they give hints of holy.

And when we can share our brokenness, our struggles, and our losses? That is the beginning.

Because the truth is that everything begins in brokenness.

For a seed to achieve its greatest expression, it must come completely undone. The shell cracks, its insides come out and everything changes. To someone who doesn’t understand growth, it would look like complete destruction. –Cynthia Occelli

Our connected brokenness reminds me of a story I heard once about a cathedral that was built over a century ago. The architect ordered fresco paintings for the walls and enormous mirrors to line the ceiling. But when the mirrors were delivered and unwrapped, it was discovered that they were all broken into jagged pieces. The construction team was discouraged and went about the work of carefully transporting the shattered mirrors into the trash.


But when the architect returned and learned of their condition, he ordered the pieces retrieved from the garbage. The tiny mirrored pieces were painstakingly adhered to the ceiling. Each reflected at a different angle, and the entire expanse became a breathtaking display of light.

I believe that’s what God does with our broken hearts, our broken pasts, our broken lives. When we surrender them to him, I don’t think he sees them as trash at all. I believe He finds them beautiful and lines the heavens with their beautiful reflection.

God is not afraid of broken places.

He can make them prisms of light reflecting grace and glory between us.



AmyBreitmannSquareAmy Breitmann’s name means “Beloved,” and she’s on a quest to believe it. Her boots carry Midwest soil, but now she kicks it up in the south where she weaves marriage, ministry and motherhood together. As a cancer survivor, she is the co-founder of The Lydia Project, a non-profit network of volunteers that hold hands with women facing cancer. She also is a lost-sock finder, a keeper of secrets for the best cheesecake recipe, and gets grace in the ordinary. The words that tumble out on her blog Beloved in Blue Jeans are balm that the Spirit speaks to quiet her soul. She’s a co-visionary at the online writing community Outside the City Gate and is published as a  contributor in several collaborative books.

In Your Own Words

An important part of bringing words to life is encouraging other writers with their words. In this regular feature, I invite other writers to write about one word that captures where they are in life at that moment, much like my own #wordoftheweek writing discipline. What is your one word?

Photos provided by Amy Breitmann. Used with permission.