And I have found great beauty in this brokenness because of the great love and compassion that surround it.
When my second daughter was born with Down syndrome, she challenged what I viewed as perfect, worthy, important, and valuable in life. I had received her as a broken baby, only to quickly recognize that I was the broken one. The treasures I have discovered along the way are not found in strength, performance, eloquence, character or confidence. They are found in brokenness, where beauty is found unexpectedly as a result of God’s love and compassion transforming my life.
- Ellen Stumbo
That was the beginning of my brokenness. Once I recognized who I really was, a beautiful journey began to take place. Yes, I am a writer, and writers write. However, it was through writing that I explored my feelings, my thoughts, ideas, dreams, and passions.
I felt passionless for along time. Then suddenly I had a baby girl with special needs that made me recognize how self-centered my life was. Acknowledging my brokenness gave me passion to live life different. I needed to be broken.
Through my personal blog, I began to share about life with a baby with Down syndrome. After a while, I began to receive emails from other women who were struggling with a new or a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome. Somehow, it seemed, my words touched their heart and they needed someone to talk to. I prayed for each one of these women, and soon I recognized I was part of a greater story where I only had a small part to play. But however small, I considered it to be an honor and a “high calling” so I continued to write.
When our “special needs” family expanded by adopting a child with cerebral palsy, I began to write about adoption. Mainly, I was writing about the emotions of adoption, because I wanted to be honest and real about the process. Adoption was hard. I wish someone had reached out to me and affirmed that my emotions were normal. After almost a year, when I finally had someone in the adoption community to talk openly and honestly about all my feelings, I knew it was time to share those through writing.
I write because I want to offer hope, courage, and community to those reading my words.
I write because I don’t want the hurting, struggling, or broken to think that they are alone in this journey of life.
And I write honestly, because if I only tell you what makes me sound good, perfect, or like a worthy pastor’s wife, then I have cheated you in some way. If I tell you that adoption is hard, but I don’t tell you that it took me more than a year to feel any love for my child, I have alienated you if you too are an adopting parent struggling with love. If I tell you that I struggle with anxiety, but I don’t tell you that almost a year ago I had to ask for help, then I have made you feel lonely in your own struggles thinking nobody will understand or that you are “worse off” than the rest. If I tell you that being a parent is a joy, but I don’t tell you that at times I feel like a failure as a mother because of my media addiction, then I am not allowing a level of accountability or honesty to enter into my life, and maybe yours too.
The most personal is the most universal, the most hidden is the most public, and the most solitary is the most communal. What we live in the most intimate places of our being is not just for us but for all people. That is why our inner lives are lives for others.And this, this is why I write.
- Henri Nouwen
Linked up to the writing prompt, Why I write