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Resilience and Brokenness

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to throw away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; a time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to throw away; a time to tear, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace. Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 (NRSV)

In the winter Sue Konkel, from Wisconsin, often walks through the woods with her dog. To make paths for them, sometimes Sue breaks off branches that are in the way. Most of them snap and easily break off, but some are so resilient that no matter what Sue does, they bend but don't break.

Sue used to think that she too should never break. She thought she should be so grounded in and sustained by her faith that in any circumstance, she could bend without breaking. But then in the spring, she witnessed the broken branches beautifully sprouting new growth. Sue realized that being resilient is worthwhile, but allowing herself to be broken could have its advantages too. Being pushed into new growth expands her perspective, possibilities, and potential. When she lets go of old patterns that no longer serve her, new patterns can take their place.

This has been a challenging year. While Sue has maintained an underlying resilience, she has also experienced moments of great brokenness. Being faithful doesn't always come with clear answers. Maybe there is a time to be resilient and a time to be broken. Perhaps we can embody both resilience and brokenness at the same time. Our spiritual journey just might require both.

Prayer: Dear God, help us to welcome both resilience and brokenness. Create new growth in us so that we may reach our highest potential, in Jesus' name. Amen.

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