Our Brokenness, God's Strength
I had nightmares the night before teaching my first Revelation Wellness fitness class. I had a dream that I slept in and left everyone waiting outside, and they would never come back. I should have taken that dream as a warning for what was to come.
When morning finally came and freed me from my dream jail, I jumped out of bed like a kid on Christmas morning. I was so excited to get to the building, start blasting music, and open the door to hug each woman who sacrificed sleep time to be there. Then my second fear of failure appeared: what if nobody showed up?
And what do you know, no sooner had I turned on the music than the first sweet face walked through the door. Oh joy! We will have class today.
At the beginning of class, I informed them that we would be studying Nehemiah, because that was the book of the Bible that we studied through my Revelation Wellness training, the one that lead me to create the class with my church.
The main message I gleaned from Nehemiah was to “return and rebuild.” We started with Nehemiah 1:3: "The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates are destroyed by fire.” I asked them to think about what feels broken that needs to be rebuilt.
It took a few songs for us to wake up our bodies and minds, and by the 6th song it was cardio time. I lead everyone outside for an endurance test. I thought I was being clever by not setting up any stop parameters: they would go until I told them they were done. Trust would be the true test of endurance.
Little did I know the Lord would be testing me as well.
After a few minutes of running, I ran ahead to open the door for the next cardio test. The door wouldn’t open.
"Try and press hard!” one lady said.
"It’s locked," another confirmed.
My heart dropped.
Nobody had a phone. Nobody had car keys. We were stranded in the parking lot at 6:30am!
God called my own bluff. How would I trust Him now?
An angel by the name of Michael showed up on his bike. I called out, “WAIT!” I ran after him, waving my arms in the air. He tried to dismiss me because he was going to be late to work. I pleaded with him to use his phone for just a minute, and he graciously lent it to us. We called the pastor, who phoned a staff member nearest to us, and she came right over and opened the doors for us. As I walked past her I said, “I understand if this is our last fitness class.” She cocked her head to the side and squinted at me like I had said the most preposterous thing.
Inside, I invited the women if they wanted to stay and stretch. I did not expect any of them to stay with me after that debacle, but they did.
As we stretched, we entered into a time of praise and prayer, voicing thanksgivings to the Lord and prayers for where God had reveled the broken places. I was the first to volunteer mine: I admitted that what just happened was my brokenness. I failed my first class by getting everybody locked out. If that occurred at any other fitness center, I would have been fired on the spot, with no question. And the church would have been completely justified by shutting the classes down. The women responded by saying, “There’s grace here!”
I think that broke me down even more. And somehow, their gracious response built me up at the same time. Pride goes before a fall, but humility before honor (Proverbs 18:12). I was humbly honored by the presence and undeserving understanding of these women.
As soon as I heard these words I sat down and wept and mourned for days, and I continued fasting and praying before the God of heaven. Nehemiah 1:4
Each person confessed her own brokenness, and we spoke the name of Jesus over each. We prayed for Michael, his job, his family. We thanked God for His goodness.
And the king granted me what I asked, for the good hand of my God was upon me. Nehemiah 2:8
I invited the women to rest in child’s pose and pray. I went around to each woman, put my hand on their back, and gave them a word or picture the Lord gave me as I touched each one of them. I did not know how the Lord was speaking to them until I made physical contact with their body and reached out to the Lord in prayer. It was a beautiful place of intercession, to see the gifts and strengths He blessed each woman with, and to be a part of His vision for them.
I left that room with a strong love for each woman there. The Lord gave me a mission to help women get healthy bodies and strong spirits, and today I experienced this very thing. My physical body was overflowing with energy and gratitude, and my soul felt more steadfast.
I thought I just needed to be rebuilt, but turns out I had to be broken down first. He let me fail so He could show me His strength. He broke down my pride so He could build up His name and fortify my heart with faith.
Trials and Trust
Have you ever experienced this? How about when you are doing a strength workout? The harder you work, the more the little muscles fibers tear. It's in the resting period that they are built back stronger. God may let us go through a trial, but when we rest and trust in Him, He makes our spiritual armor tougher to withstand the next hard thing.
As the women spoke with their words and steadfast presence, I heard God speaking: “I love you, and I’m not leaving. I will lead the way. Trust and follow Me!"
But now thus says the LORD,
he who created you, O Jacob,
he who formed you, O Israel:
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by name, you are mine.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
and the flame shall not consume you.
For I am the LORD your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.
Reflect and Respond
- Have you seen the Lord rebuilding your life through brokenness?
- What does it mean for God's strength to shine through the broken places?
- Reread Nehemiah 2:8--"And the king granted me what I asked, for the good hand of my God was upon me." If a pagan king granted Nehemiah’s request, certainly the good King will bend low and listen to you. What do you need to ask God? What do you need to ask another?