I can’t believe this is our final week of this deep, challenging, and rich study with our friend, Laura Story! We are ending with such hope and encouragement in this session five as we learn what it means to embrace and live out a “better broken.”
Embracing a better broken means that I’m not ashamed to be needy, to be broken, to be in whatever state showcases my desperate need for a Savior. Because the more I embrace my own inability to put myself back together, the more I can experience the healing grace of Jesus as he remakes me into the child of God he wants me to be. – Laura Story
How are you discovering that your brokenness can find purposes in God’s redemptive plan? What are ways we can make sure our lives are not built on the shaky foundation of changing circumstances but on the rock-solid person of Jesus?
We’ll be asking these questions and more this week as we study how some of our heroes of the faith – King David, Joseph, and Paul – dealt with their own share of struggles, tragedies, and pain in their path to a “better broken” story.
For this final week of the study you will:
- Watch the video for Week 5 on DVD or right here on FaithGateway. Don’t forget you that if you missed any videos, we’ll have a catch-up week July 24-30 when you can watch (or re-watch) them all. .
- Go through the discussion questions for Session 5 in the When God Doesn’t Fix It Study Guide (pages 99-109). We will tackle these questions in our last Thursday online group discussions. We hope you can make it this week at either 2 pm EST or 9 pm EST for our final group chat!
- For your personal study this week, answer the study questions each day in the When God Doesn’t Fix It Study Guide (pages 111-120, the gray section).
Here are Days 1-5 of your personal study in the study guide:
- Day 1: Unwavering Faith
- Day 2: Out of Control
- Day 3: All Worth It
- Day 4: An Access Point
- Day 5: A Higher Perspective
4. Recommended (but optional) reading for this week: Read chapters 19-20 in When God Doesn’t Fix It – the paperback companion book, not study guide.
“Eventually You Will Lose Everything, But You Will Never Lose Me”
While our broken circumstances may not change, we can. We do this by clinging to Scripture, discovering who God truly is, being willing to share our story even in the trials, and looking for blessings in our brokenness. We are all broken, but we can have a better story. And a better story begins with using our brokenness. — Laura Story
My Grandmother, Carol McClure (“Grams”), was the most joyful and praise-filled person I’ve ever known. She was always laughing, singing, and tucking little slips of paper with Bible verses written on them into your hand. She was filled with encouragement. Ready with a prayer of hope. At your door with a meal if you were sick or just had a baby. Inviting you over for roast beef sandwiches and homemade coleslaw if you needed a listening ear. And, if you were really lucky, she’d take you swimming and you’d get to see her pull on her flowered swim cap singing praise to Jesus for the beautiful day, the happy day, the day that He had made, and singing that she had that joy-joy-joy-joy down in her heart to stay (clap-clap!).
I’m so thankful I had the blessing of watching Grams live her life through highs and lows, joys and sorrows, celebrations and losses, and through health and illness. She and Papa had a beautiful, happy, fun, loving, and sweet relationship and they also suffered many losses during their 72 years of marriage.
Grams dealt with hearing loss (which was frustrating and terribly isolating for such a social person), a decline in her vision which only detached her further, and finally dementia.
Her dementia slowly began stealing everything she knew to be dependable and true… except Jesus. In her rare worried moments, she feared that in the end, she’d lose even Him.
One day she had a vision of a tall sunflower with big, green leaves and a huge yellow, happy face. Suddenly, two hands began stripping the leaves one by one off the sunflower until they reached the very top where they stopped. She then heard the Lord say, “Yes. Eventually you will lose everything… your sight, your hearing, and your memories… but you will never lose Me.”
And, in that revelation from God, she found relief and unswerving joy!
Joy does not come from our circumstances; it comes from our God. — Laura Story
I waited patiently for the Lord;
He turned to me and heard my cry.
He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
out of the mud and mire;
He set my feet on a rock
and gave me a firm place to stand.
He put a new song in my mouth,
a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear the Lord
and put their trust in Him. — Psalm 40:1-3
Right up until her last waking moment, Grams rejoiced. She prayed out loud over anyone who touched her whether those prayers made any sense or not. She recited portions of Scripture and when she couldn’t remember what came next she laughed it off and sang instead.
Due to her dementia, she relived the loss of my Papa — every. single. day. Daily she asked, “Where’s John?” and learned that he had passed away and she grieved afresh as if it was the day he died. And yet, she worshiped God every day even in that pain. What a glorious way to live for an entire year until the day she quietly joined him in Heaven!
The end of a long life is so rarely beautiful. It’s often painful, and seemingly too long, and filled with the indignities of age. But, I know that my Grams, who had led so many people to the Lord over the years — every family member, neighbors in every home they ever lived in, and many, many women who went to her Bible study. But, I think most profoundly, she touched hundreds people — family, friends, doctors, nurses, caretakers, and friends’ visitors — with her remarkable joy… even in blindness, deafness, and profound sorrow.
I want to live that way. Praising God during the hard times. Leaning into Him with joy through tears. Resting on His promises. Witnessing of His goodness and faithfulness no matter what suffering comes. Sharing the hope I have in Him just as Grams did.
I will extol the Lord at all times;
His praise will always be on my lips.
I will glory in the Lord;
let the afflicted hear and rejoice.
Glorify the Lord with me;
let us exalt His name together. — Psalm 34:1-3
‘Cause what if your blessings come through raindrops
What if your healing comes through tears?
What if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You’re near?
What if trials of this life
Are Your mercies in disguise? ~ Blessings, Laura Story
Prayer for the Week
Oh, God, look at Your people who love You! Thank You that when we seek You we will find You (Jeremiah 29:13). Thank You that You can and will put a new song in our mouths (Psalm 40:3). Thank You for the times when You deliver us, shield us, and save us (Psalm 18:2). Thank You also for the times when we don’t get delivered and yet You stay so very close by in our suffering (Psalm 34:18). Thank You that we can always, always trust in You because You never, ever change (Hebrews 13:8, James 1:17). You are so good, God. We love you. Amen.
What is the “better broken” story that God has given you? How will you share that story with others to encourage them–even if you are still in the midst of the trial? Join the conversation with others going through the study this week in the comments below or on our video page for the week!