Broken: When We Let Jesus In

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

She entered the city leader’s home. Quiet, probably unobtrusive, carrying an alabaster vial of something.

As Jesus and His disciples sat at the table of the leader, she broke her vial over His feet. No doubt the aroma permeated the home, filling it with the heady scent of the costly perfume.

I wonder what everyone thought. No one said a word to her, at first. The men talked around her as if she couldn’t hear them. As if she was invisible.

 

No doubt, judgments screamed in the minds of most of the men around the table. Words pinged that called her names reflecting her past. And those names may have described her . . . in her past.

But that was the past.

Something happened when she met Jesus. Transformation began when she turned from the choices she’d made.

Perhaps something within her broke as she saw her need for Him . . . the gentle love in His eyes as He looked at her, not through her.

 

I’ve been thinking about this woman and her alabaster vial.

We all have pasts. We all have things we wish we’d done differently. Circumstances we wish had turned out differently.

Too often, we hold tight to those regrets, protecting them in our thoughts, in the recesses of our hearts. We don’t want anyone to know about them.

We don’t want to face judgment. Condemnation. Ridicule.

We don’t want others to view the brokenness that came as a result of some of our past choices.

 

And yet, this woman, she broke her alabaster vial.

She poured out the costly nard over Jesus’ feet. She wiped His feet with her hair to clean them.

Her brokenness gave way to worship.

Sometimes we hold onto those things that have broken us, trying to repair the shattered vial of our lives. Trying to hide the cracks.

 

When we do this, we miss out on the healing Jesus offers. We prevent ourselves from learning how to walk in the confidence of Jesus’ love.

We lose ourselves in the barricades of our hearts rather than finding ourselves as Jesus does: As one loved fully and passionately.

It takes courage to walk into a place where judgment will rain down on us. Becoming vulnerable and opening up those broken places in our lives is scary.

 

Here’s the thing . . . when we’re willing to let Jesus do the gentle breaking of those walls we’ve erected, a beautiful thing happens. 

We become the aroma that fills the air around us. Our lives portray a vivid testimony.

When Jesus does the healing, we become the worshipers who draw others to Him.

When we allow Jesus to break the vial that closes us off from His healing touch? That’s when we walk in the confidence of His amazing love.

 

We are freed from the hold of those things which once broke us. And like the woman with the alabaster jar, we can pour ourselves out in worshiping Him.

What about you? When have you been brave about your brokenness? What happened? How has Jesus shown you His love for you?

Click to Tweet: Too often, we hold tight to our regrets

Today I’m linking up with Holly Barrett’s Testimony Tuesday and Kelly Balarie’s #RaRaLinkup

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21 thoughts on “Broken: When We Let Jesus In

  1. Great post, and I love how you tied in the story of the woman with the alabaster jar. And the pictures! Superb.

    I can’t afford to be broken; the past 24 hours is a case in point. Spent last night dealing with PTSD related flashbacks of the very worst kind, when you replay over and over events you can’t change, when you can see the health and joy of ‘before’ and the bodies after. I was a wreck by morning, and Barb nearly didn’t go to work.

    I was OK, until…at 0830 a beloved dog was healthy, happy, and playful, and by 1230 he was dead from a series of heart attacks. He died in my arms.

    That gutted me, and would break a lesser man. But I have to be stronger than pain, harder than sorrow, and colder than ice to keep functioning. I have a wife who needs my support in a challenging job, and many other dogs who were having absolute hysterics. I can’t let them down.

    Broken…not me. Hammer me, and I hammer right back.

    http://blessed-are-the-pure-of-heart.blogspot.com/2017/03/your-dying-spouse-280-accepting-exile.html

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    • Andrew, I’m so, so sorry about your dog. I’m glad he (she?) had you to comfort them in those final hours, but how brutal for you and the other dogs. Each day, I pray God gives you the strength you need to care for your charges, and especially for your wife. Brokenness happens more than just physically, as you know. I believe God has been working in some of your hidden places. Evidence shows when you write your amazing blog posts and in the ways you encourage those in your online community. Only a broken, and transformed (transformation-in-progress) heart can write the way you do.

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  2. Have you heard Cece Winans singing Alabaster Box? I heard it for the first time the other day when my husband played it during family devotions after he read the story you just re-told so beautifully. There is so much we can learn from Mary’s unselfconscious, completely devoted act of worship!

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    • Michele, I hadn’t heard that song before. How beautiful! You are right. There is much we can learn from Mary’s story. I’m so glad Jesus included it in the Gospels. May we grow in our unselfconscious acts of worshiping Jesus.

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  3. Your words and pictures are stunning. I was swept into the story and began to reflect on my own story of brokenness. This here —>Sometimes we hold onto those things that have broken us, trying to repair the shattered vial of our lives. Trying to hide the cracks.

    The times I have tried to fix myself have never been fruitful but when I chose to let go to God, amazing things happened. May we all worship God in our brokenness knowing that He loves to make us whole.

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    • Thank you, Mary. I, too, have tried to hold onto my own brokenness and fix it myself. Yeah, because that always works so well. I’m thankful for God’s patience and His perfect healing that happens as we bring our broken selves to Him. And yes, may we choose to worship God in our brokenness with the knowledge and belief that He loves to make us whole. 🙂

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  4. “When Jesus does the healing, we become the worshipers who draw others to Him.” I think God drew me here just to read this line today. Not only does God heal us when we allow Him completely into our brokenness, but he heals others around us when we surrender ourselves to be His vessel. I know there are places I still need to let go….

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    • Lynn, I don’t know about you, but I’m discovering healing is often a process, rather than a single occurrence. As I am willing to relinquish those hurts to Him, He will take them and transform them. But, He usually waits until I am ready to let go of them, of my crazy need to control how He does the healing. We’re kinda silly that way, aren’t we? I love your observation that God can heal others around us when we surrender ourselves to Him. Beautiful thought, friend!

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  5. Jeanne,
    I believe that we don’t let people truly see Jesus in us unless we are willing to let them see our brokenness. How else can others see the transforming power of Christ unless they are able to see the wounded and broken person He transformed. I’ve learned it takes real guts to let people truly see where you don’t have it all together, but in doing so we can really bring the glory to God. As they say…No guts no glory… Great post…
    Blessings,
    Bev xx

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    • Bev, I think you’re right. It’s when people see our brokenness that they see something they can relate to. And yes, when they see how God transforms, that offers hope, doesn’t it? I agree—it does take guts to show the real us. Thank goodness God enables us when we’re scared. Loved your thoughts here, Bev!

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  6. This is a beautiful post, Jeanne, and I love this woman’s example of pouring out everything she had to worship Jesus. It is such a timely encouragement for me as earlier today I shared some of my brokenness with a friend- something I had felt for a while that I should share but struggled to do so. The act of sharing showed me how much God has healed and I think it pointed both of us to worship as we were reminded that no matter how deep the brokenness God’s healing love goes deeper.

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    • Lesley, this is beautiful. I’m glad you worked up your courage to share with your friend. And how like God is it to show you the work He’s been doing in your heart and life? And I love this: “we were reminded that no matter how deep the brokenness God’s healing love goes deeper.” Beautiful, friend.

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  7. I love this, Jeanne. I was nodding as I read this – “Sometimes we hold onto those things that have broken us, trying to repair the shattered vial of our lives. Trying to hide the cracks.” I know I try too hard to fix things on my own. It’s a continual process to let go and open myself up to God’s healing. As always, I love your photos, too. Where did you get those beautiful heart rocks? Love and hugs!

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    • Yes, Trudy. I’m learning to not try to fix everything in my own strength but to lean into God so He can work the healing. It’s a humbling place to be, but man is it comforting.

      I believe I found the hear rocks at a shop in Yellowstone. And, I believe I asked for permission to take a photo of them. I just loved them, but I couldn’t afford to buy them all. 🙂

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  8. So beautiful, Jeanne – our brokenness can lead us to worship. I have certainly seen that in my own life, and while the brokenness is not easy, experiencing God’s grace, mercy, and faithfulness in the midst is so sweet. I’d go so far as to say that brokenness is the one thing that truly made me whole. Thank you for the encouragement to risk vulnerability to get to the place God needs us to be. Blessings, sweet friend.

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    • You’re right, Tiffany. When we bring our brokenness to God, we experience aspects of Him we can’t know in any other way. I like this: Brokenness is the one thing that truly made me whole. I GET that, friend. thanks for sharing your thoughts here!

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  9. Jeanne, would it sound strange to say that I think Jesus showed His love to me by allowing me to stay broken, physically? He could have healed me of certain conditions in the blink of an eye (I certainly prayed that He would). But He didn’t, maybe because He knew the healing that would come in other ways was more important. Just thinking out loud here … it’s been a long day and I’m not sure I’m making any sense! This makes sense, though: “When Jesus does the healing, we become the worshipers who draw others to Him.” Amen, my friend!

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    • I understand what you’re saying, Lois. I believe it’s in those places of brokenness, of helplessness, that we get to see God work. That we begin to see aspects of His character. I think I would miss so much if He answered all my prayers with a Yes. I see aspects of His character and His faithfulness that I would have missed if He’d healed me immediately, or not allowed me to go through those seasons that highlighted brokenness.

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