Monday, 21 November 2016


“Brokenness” has been a theme in my life this past week. Coming up in conversations, referred to in the reading for morning prayer, and the title of the chapter i read from Henri Nouwen’s book “Life of the Beloved”. 

First a friend made the argument that “brokenness” was not a “Biblical” word (or at least not in the sense that we often use it), in an excerpt from Ronald Rolheiser in the book of “Common Prayer a Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals” an author declares that we need a theology of brokenness. And then finally Nouwen counsels the reader to embrace our brokeness and to hold it up to the light of our belovedness. 

After brief conversation with my friend who argued that “brokenness” was not a Biblical word I did some research, and came across a blog written by Dr. Bob Kellemen that I found to be helpful in defining “brokenness” ( To sum is up the Bible refers to brokenness in regards to our pain and suffering and brokenness in regards to being broken hearted over our sin. In the Bible brokenness and sin are not synonymous. I think that is the argument my friend was making, that today often people refer to their “brokenness” as their sin, as if some how it is not their fault that they sin, because they are after all “broken.” I would agree with her that this understanding of “brokenness” is not represented in the Bible. I would also agree with the Ronald Rolheiser as quoted in the book of “Common Prayer” that we need a theology of brokenness, that is we need to understand how our brokenness in regards to suffering and being broken hearted over our sin relates to God and who He is. Again from that blog Bob argues that our brokenness whether related to suffering or sin, should lead us to God. In our suffering we turn to God as our source of hope, in our brokenness over our sin we turn to God in repentance and to receive forgiveness. Our brokenness should lead us to God.

I think that Nouwen is referring to brokenness in regards to our pain and suffering. So when he counsels us to embrace, he even goes as far as to say befriend, our brokenness I think he is calling us to acknowledge our pain and suffering, not to try and run from it, or numb it or ignore it, but to face the pain as a reality. Then when he counsels us to bring it into the light, I think he is saying take the reality of your pain and suffering and hold it up into the truth of God’s perfect and unfailing love. And it is not that this will instantaneous take your pain and suffering away, because it will not, but I do believe that with the continued and persistent practice of this what I might call a spiritual discipline, the truth of God’s love will dull the pain, take off the edge, not erase it completely but make it bearable. But the thing is we need to work at this, this is a struggle, a battle, Jesus has freely given us abundant life, but we still live in a fallen world, and there is an enemy working against us who does not want us to live into the abundant life Jesus has given us. Earlier in his book Nouwen explains that this is a spiritual struggle, there is joy in the struggle, but it is a struggle none the less. And I would add that there will be break throughs, but it is a struggle that we will be engaged in our entire lives on this side of eternity, because we live in-between times, there will be a day that Christ returns and sets all things right, and there will be no more pain, or tears, or death, but until that day we must continue to struggle, knowing that he has already won the victory, and that even as we suffer and struggle we know that he has not left us alone but has sent us the Holy Spirit, who is our Counsellor, and help us in our suffering and struggles if we allow him to. 

A side note: You might be thinking, that’s it!? But I don’t want the pain at all. I would say I’m the same way, I don’t want the pain at all, so I’ve tried other methods to get ride of the pain, by drinking, partying, and what not, and maybe this has numbed me from the pain for a little while, but the pain is always there, and when the numbing wheres off the pain is worse then before. Some people try to get ride of the pain by working, and accomplishing, even by doing “good” things, but from what I have experienced and what I have learned from other peoples lives who are wiser than I none of it works! 

How are you suffering? Is it cancer? It is a failed relationship? For me it is that life has not turned out the way I though it would, I have deep disappointment and an aching heart. This morning I am sitting before my Father holding this pain, not ignoring, not trying to numb it, holding it up to the truth that I am perfectly loved by my Father in Heaven. It does not take the deep ache and longing away, or even dull it, at this point I only have the hope that by persistent and continually practising this embracing and holding up of my brokenness before my Father God’s perfect love eventually the pain will be dulled, my perspective will be shifted, and I will be able to live more and more into the abundant life Jesus has given me, until the day he returns and there will be no more disappointment, longing or heart ache. 

Another side note: When I say I am “holding up my pain to the light of God’s perfect love” what I mean is that I am spending time reading Scripture out loud, the Psalms are a great place to start, because so much of them are prayers of struggle, crying out to God for help, and then declaring the truth of God’s love. I am also simply sitting still and in silence with God, try starting with 15 minutes, I started by listing to music, or by repeating a simple phrase such as “I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth” (Ps. 121:1-2). I have also found journaling, they are more like written out prayers, to be very helpful. The most important things are: First, to be completely honest with yourself, and with God about your suffering and pain, do not hold anything back. Second, to make this embracing and holding up a part of your daily life, to practice it continually and persistently. because break throughs, shifting of perspectives, and taking the edge of the pain, will not happen over night, and it’s not like you can just do this for a month or two, “deal with it,” and then you’re good to go for life, remember we live in-between the times of Jesus having come, but he is still coming back, and therefore we will continue face suffering and pain, so we need to continue to embrace our pain and holding it up to the light of God’s perfect love for us so that we might live into the abundant life Jesus has given us!


Thursday, 15 September 2016


This morning as I eat my standard two eggs, two pieces of toast, a bunch of veggies, and a double shot coffee (yeah I know I eat a lot! but haven't you heard breakfast is the most important meal of the day?) … 

what was I saying? Oh yeah so as I was chowing down I was listening to my daily Bible reading (I had to listen rather then read it, because my hands were busy eating!), and I thought to myself "what does it mean to be a Christian?"

Not only was this question unrelated to the Bible reading, its one I probably should have figured out by now, after being born and raised in a Christian family, attending a Christian school, being part of one church or another my entire life, going to countless youth groups and Christian Summer camps, being a Christian for ten years now, having done a DTS with YWAM, being a leader in a number of Christian ministries, and having just finished a four year degree in theology at Regent College! 

Come now Maria get it together! You should have this one in the bag! And I do, I could give you an answer or two, I could write a paper, give a sermon, and even draw a picture explaining to you that it means to be a Christian. 

But for whatever reason this morning the question came to my mind, and so instead of ignoring the question or quickly answering it away, I let it tumble around in my head as I continued to listen to Psalm 2 being read to me by a man with a very pleasant voice (I was also thinking to myself "I wonder how one gets into that line of work, and I wonder if he is happy doing it, and I wonder if he’s a Christian, and I wonder if he become a Christian after he got this gig and spent hours upon hours reading the Bible out loud?"). 

At the end of Psalm 2 in the Message version (I know I know some of you out there really don’t like the Message, but I do! It breaths fresh insight into passages that have become tired and familiar to me) it says “But if you make a run for God—you won’t regret it!” 

That stuck with me even as the pleasant sounding man launched into the second reading of the day: Proverbs 2, so much so that I had to stop the man and go back to Psalm 2. 

I read it over a several times “if you make a run for God—you won’t regret it!” … “if you make a run for God—you won’t regret it!” … “if you make a run for God—you won’t regret it!” … 
then I looked it up in the ESV “Blessed are all who take refuge in him.” 

"Hum?" I thought to myself, "that’s what being a Christian means, one who makes a run for God! Who takes refuge in Him."

And right away the thought came to me “that’s to simplified …” but I said “shhhh” to that thought, and instead ran with the thought that being a Christian is one who runs towards God (not that I don’t think that maybe it is a little over simplified, but because I wanted to explore what it means to be a Christian from a different angle then I often do). 

As chewed on “being a Christian means running for God, taking refuge in Him” (and the last of my breakfast), I wondered what the context of Psalm 2 was (because I went to Regent and I after four years it is second nature to ask question like what is the context). So after a quick Google search (because I am not still at Regent and I don’t have to create a Bibliography, PTL!) I discovered explanation (from That I found rather helpful: 

The Psalm is a dramatic presentation in three acts: 1. the nations have rebelled against God (2:1-3), 2. God is sovereign (2:4-9), 3. We must submit to God and His Anointed while there is time (2:10-12). 
As the verse I was reflecting on is found in act 3, I zoomed in on that one (but if you feel so inclined please check out the whole thing at 
So what does Psalm 2 (more specifically Psalm 2:12, the phrase “But if you make a run for God—you won’t regret it!”) teach us about what it means to be a Christian? For one thing “Jesus didn’t come to save us so that we could get a free ticket to heaven and then go our own way. The issue is one of lordship.” 

To be a Christian means to submit to Jesus Christ as Lord over all! That means our entire lives, every little bit, every crock and cranny! And everything else, from the dirt under our feet to the farest most distant planet, and everything in-between! 

In the conclusion says “You can’t find peace and safety anywhere in the world, but only in Christ.” And I thought yup, that’s what it means to be a Christian!

How does this all plays out in real time? Here I sit, graduated from Regent collage after four long changeling years, ten years of post-secondary education in total, single as single gets, 30 years of age, jobs less, and wondering “what the F is going on!? or rather not going on!" I have been feeling disappointed and frustrated with how my life has turned out at 30, and after struggling through Regent for four years, I had thought I would have changed the world by now! (but that’s a topic for another blog). 

So again here I sit—a Christian—someone who is running towards God, who finds her refuge in Him, who is submitting to Jesus’ Lordship in every crock and cranny of her life (even the disappointment or maybe especially the disappointment and frustration) banking on the truth that I can’t find peace and safety anywhere in the world, but only in Christ—well at least I am today, yesterday it was a little more touch and go and tomorrow I might crumble once again and try to gain control of my life—but today I am submitting to Christ, trusting in Him, running towards Him and taking refuge in Him—because I am a Christian.