Looking Back

looking back over the year "Where once there were thorns, cypress trees will grow. Where nettles grew, myrtles will sprout up."

I sifted through posts from summer of 2011. Tears welled and my heart was yanked. The back of my mind held the knowledge that there were some gut ripping posts in the old archives of the Brenner Bunch blog; posts from before it was Brenner Bunch - posts from before Brenner Bunch was even a possibility.

As I scrolled through the weighted words I so easily wrote onto those pages for the world to see, I encountered thick emotions. Memories flooded of a painful and yet significant summer for a college girl who hopped couches and slept in her car, trying to find Him in the mess and brokenness of life.  As the pages of my story unfolded on that little blog for (in actuality) few to read, I somehow praised Him and sought Him and loved Him. In the midst of my most anguished time. Almost every post began with broken and weary words as these:

"Selfishness and sorrow overtook them both stripping off any righteous cloak; Respect and honor were wiped off Adultery, lust.. sin, with the same dirty cloth.

I walked in unprepared not ready to see you bare.. instead of running I simply stared.

There, where anger should appear tears began to glisten unbearable and torturous thoughts screaming through my ear.

My heart was already torn, I thought completely, I didnt think it possible to fit another thorn. But there I stood a new ache now born."

But these posts would each end with such hope, submission, declaration of His goodness:

"So here I am:

Take my heart Mold it as clay, constructing your way In my soul, sustain your stay This I pray, in your Sacred Name. Now, declaring an end to sins control God gives me everything and more He engulfs my very soul, making me whole Filling the largest gap, but also the little cracks He holds my hand when I cannot stand.. A child filled with sins A child not quite worthy And still yet, "daughter" is what He calls me.

You who created the earth in seven days You think of me in all sorts of ways. You who made the mountains form You think of me and calm my storm. You think of me and take my pain. You who made the ocean vast You think of me and clear my past. You who parted the big Red sea You, the Lord almighty, think of me, and forever I shall praise thee."

Looking back four summers invited memories that sting; but also a smile of peace. I made it. I'm breathing and I'm still here, alive and well. My trust in Him has never been more grounded. Knowing how God is redeeming my heart, understanding ways that He is restoring my tired soul, and seeing how present He was to me in that very real brokenness... it blesses me. It's comforting knowing that He is reliable even in the darkest of nights. Remembering that though I was utterly torn to shambles and feeling like a worm, I still found Him, because He was there. This thing of finding Him in our ever present brokenness isn't just a saying, isn't pretend, isn't for random people who have a strong sense of imagination - it has a genuine existence. Will you search for it with me? Will you chase His freedom and His heart? What do you have to lose?

My hope is to share this very real Truth with you; because it is a freedom we are all created to live in. The Truth that brokenness remains to exist and yet freedom is still accessible through Him.

I fell in love with this piece of scripture the moment I read it: "Where once there were thorns, cypress trees will grow. Where nettles grew, myrtles will sprout up. These events will bring great honor to the Lord's name; they will be an everlasting sign of His power and love." Isaiah 55:13

What beautiful promises of flourishing, glory, honor, worth-it-ness.

How do you find Him in your brokenness? How has He been present in the darkest of dark nights?

Learning to fall in love with His love letter,


Healing during brokenness. Is it possible?

healing So enveloping, the dark covered the night. A few stars showed their shining face to mine, tear-dripping, as I glared up frustrated. First on my knees, then to my rear, rocking back and forth.

"Do others feel deep pain?"

"Why do parents hurt their kids? And not even realize it?"

"Why do people even get married?"

"Why do people have kids?"

"Why are people so selfish?"

"Why do affairs happen?"

"Why was I born?"

"Why are people so mean?"

"DOES ANYONE UNDERSTAND, are you there, God?"

pain. escape.

Five years later and I knew He was there. And as I sobbed out of this place of brokenness, begging for the answers to these questions, there was more to the story. There is always more to every story. There was depth beneath the shouted questions. These jam-packed, heavily loaded questions were shot gun shells filled with the most broken pieces of gun powder, ready to explode. They wanted to demand my will, my wants, my idea of what life on earth should look like: painless. They were questions that were more than mere questions.

Rocking back and forth, tears streamed down my face and I couldn't help but be terribly angry at my friends inside the house. My friends who so easily watched movies about things that do not matter. My friends that [seem to] ignore pain and skirt all vulnerable and terribly transparent topics. My friends that didn't understand.

What was the point of all of this?

I want to love you, Jesus. I want to love you with my life and bring glory to your name, but this pain I cannot escape. The pain is me, it makes up ME, and I cannot escape my own skin. To escape my skin is impossible while breathing, but it is all that I yearn to do.

Something happened that night. I broke. I crumbled. I was honestly hurt and seeking His face, even if it were out of anger. Angry at who? I don't believe I was angry at God. I was just...angry. At circumstances, at humans. I was angry with the fickleness of humans, though I did not know that. For possibly the first time in too long, I was honest with myself: I am weak, I am broken, I need Jesus more than I realize.

I did not know at that time that we are all deeply broken. We either are or have experienced some sort of brokenness in Our Story. But no one talked about it. It was vague; it was this far-out-there sort of idea - not a very real and tangible REALITY. I thought I was messed up and broken all by myself. But [part of the] beauty of this life on earth is that we are all broken. We have the invitation to live brokenly together. Maybe your brokenness and my brokenness are completely different. In fact, they are. As a result of this messy and selfish world, we have hurts, aches, pains. Mistakes. Consequences. MESSED UP SELFISHNESS.

deeply broken

We cannot find healing until we look Truth in the face, honestly. We cannot find healing without raw honesty. We will not move into a flourishing life until we choose to be honest and real before our Jesus King who so desperately wants to rush us forth into His marvelous freedom-life. Which can be now. On earth. This moment. And honestly, I hurt and I am in pain and it is because of the decisions others have made. And I. Am. Broken.  When we come to grips that we are in agonizing pain, a few things happen:

  • Forgiveness is now possible. Once I recognize and accept that some one has hurt me, I now can move forward into the freedom (and often, process) of forgiveness. Once I admit that I am weak and have been hurt, I can then realize that... guess what? That human is human. And possibly, just maybe, I must also forgive myself. Forgiveness is possible.
  • We can be okay with our humanity. As in, every single human who has walked the face of this earth has felt pain. It is normal. And it is good to break and be broken because brokenness is a catalyst for humility.
  • Humility is now possible. Humility is more beautiful than words can describe. Our way of life depends on being rooted in Christ Jesus which is our deliberate choice. Humility allows us to choose being rooted in Him. Recognizing that we are broken and flawed and in pain rushes forth humility, because it reveals that we cannot survive without Him. And without humility, we do not see that we too have hurt others. That we too have played a part in the story. Humility is the most beautiful Thing. It can be painful, but so freeing.
  • Healing is now possible. Healing is possible when we admit that we are hurt. Until we come to grips with the honesty of hurt, we will not heal. If we don't view ourselves as needing healing, why would healing happen? Our hearts will only harden, and pride my friends...pride will take over. Please believe me when I say: you don't want your heart full and over flowing with pride. It isn't fun for anyone.

healing. honesty

I look back on that night 5 years ago and I praise Jesus for those honest cries for help. I thank Him that He brought me through and carried me, when I allowed Him. I thank Him that I see people with a new light of love and an incredibly deeper understanding.

I continue to be flawed, broken, and also Full of all The Feely Things - emotions. I continue to break down and weep and choose self-pity parties, blowing up balloons and inviting anyone to join. {Which, if I do this, please don't join the party. Its not fun for anyone. It's also not loving me. And I am not loving you by inviting you to this Party of Pity. And honestly, I have a dang blessed life. So it is pathetic of me}. Not every day are these parties thrown. Not all of the time. But there are days, sometimes weeks, where I choose the mindset of prison. I am fickle, I am human, I am broken. However. I am still healing. I am still finding health for my heart, my soul soothed by His love and patience for me. He is always patient. My identity lies not in my brokenness, but in my chosenness. You are chosen. Ephesians 1:4 says that He chose us before the world was formed. He chose us before we were broken and sinful, but He also chose us before we decided to do good. That we are adopted into His family, standing faultless before His throne. Because of Jesus.


We must choose, with our free will, to enter the process of healing. We must choose to be honest and vulnerable, even when it is scary. We must choose to reject the lies we believe, and claim His words for us as Truth. Healing begins with honesty.

Though I am broken and offered a decision of wallowing-in-pain or pursuit of freedom, I am not defined by my brokenness. Even when I choose wallowing, He does not define me in that way. He says I am royal and His.

He says that you are beloved.

He says that you are His. Even when you choose to sit in the brokenness and not move towards His freedom.

His identity for us does not waver, even when we do.

Friends. Ponder on this Truth for yourself today:

ephesians 1.4


HE IS A Dad.

aches and painsbursting throughout my bones and my veins. my heart pounds as my mind hounds my mouth what to say. i want to scream i want to cry extreme daydreams fog my mind's eye. a cloud threatens my vision straining each decision as each incision cuts so deep into my aching heart. division. one cut into two. i never envisioned such derision to come from you.

i look high up above and then down below it hurts too much to let it go. i cannot let such agony consume my soul once again i cannot allow this unravel me as a whole and you i cannot control. my muscles. they complain. my bones. they break. why have you forsaken us?

denying an obvious mistake. your child's body erupts with an earthquake. her tears gush forth from deep within her soul tears of agony of strife confusion and pain. a contusion of the heart protruding from her posterior vein. unexplainable misery a depth you'll never grasp; indescribable anguish torment & torture. affliction. because of this affliction my addiction to my Father in Heaven takes flight, it amplifies.

where is the beauty? it is here: it is in the fact that i have a King who writes love letters to a broken soul just like me. his love knows no bounds abounding, around me covering me in a cloak of comfort and peace. i am drowning in such Love it is absolutely profound. i am surrounded by a playground of Words unbroken promises overwhelm and astound me unbroken promises from my King. He swings me off my feet sweetly sings to me, my soul to weep of joy. in Him I am finally complete.

He is anything good He is everything beautiful He has made himself clear and understood.

never will He defile me for He is my Father my Dad my King.


<made with compassion towards many hurting girls>