By Christine Collier, Guest columnist
The Picayune Item
By Christine Collier/Guest Columnist
Right now you may be scratching your head and asking the question, “What could ever be beautiful about brokenness?” It is quite the oxymoron, but I truly believe that times of brokenness are the greatest places in which we can find ourselves with limitless possibilities for hope, restoration and ultimately a road map to a new life.
Before I became broken, I used to think that I was in control and ultimately my own God. Life was just life - it just happened to us and there was neither rhyme nor reason to it. The steering wheel was mine and I didn’t want anyone else to touch it, or steer me into a worse state of affairs. My teenage mother and I were left by my father when I was less than a year old. She then married my stepfather, an alcoholic and Korean War veteran who verbally and mentally abused my beautiful mother; life was like walking on eggshells all of the time. He constantly reminded me that I was merely his stepchild, not truly his own. Mom tried to make up for the deficits but there are just some things Momma couldn’t do. It’s no wonder that I started smoking at the age of eleven, drinking at twelve and regularly using assorted drugs by the age of thirteen. My teenage years were a blur, filled with bad relationships and it seemed constant rejections. By the time I was eighteen, I was married to a boy who was much like me. We gave birth to a baby girl weighing all of two pounds. The world was suddenly on our shoulders and the three of us spiraled downward together. Years later, after experiencing the chaos and consequences associated with drugs and alcohol, my husband and I got sober. Now that we were better we flew right into our "American Dream." He became a hard working go getter moving up quickly in the oil industry and I graduated from college. What more could a woman want? We had a new house, a new child, yearly vacations, success, money and all we needed, but something was still missing.
Time was passing quickly and it seemed my precious baby girl went to sleep one night and awoke the next day a ravishing beauty. She was twelve years old when I began to see signs that scared me in the deepest parts of my soul. It was as if I were looking into the mirror of my past. How could this happen? We weren’t raising her in an alcohol or drug addicted home. We were doing everything right. Nevertheless, she plunged deeply into the life I thought I had left behind. I flew into action, making my full time purpose to save my daughter from certain death. When I found out she had been raped at sixteen years of age my world fell apart. My child was broken and I could not fix her.
I spiraled downward into a state of depression and despair that I had not known existed. Having no strength or desire to wake each morning, I fell back into my old life. Like a rushing river, old behaviors came in new torrents. The dreaded difference was the shame that covered me like floating debris. No matter what I said or did, I could not keep afloat, nor help either one of us. I was rapidly drowning in failure.
Having nowhere else to turn in this place of utter helplessness and shame, I cried out to God asking Him to come into my life and save me. He literally pulled me out of that deep darkness, filling my soul with light, hope and love that I have never known before. In an instant, all of the weight of my life and sin had been washed away. My brokenness became beautiful.
Twelve years later, as I reflect over my past, I realize that if it had not been for this brokenness I may have never met my Savior. In fact, it was my brokenness that has led to my purpose which is to love and teach those desiring freedom from drug and alcohol addiction. He took my old life and gave me a totally new one. I would not trade my brokenness story with anyone. After much grace, salvation and inner healing my family and I now live to serve and glorify God. I am so very thankful for every part of my life, even the hard parts which have led me in His path.
Taken from her latest manuscript “Beautiful Brokenness”
Christine Collier is a native of New Orleans who has lived in PRC for nearly 20 years. She and her husband of 30 years are active member of Resurrection Life Church since 1999. She is the director of New Life Now Drug and Alcohol Recovery Life group which she began in 2003 under Pastor Allen Hickman’s leadership. She is an avid writer and has a deep compassion for those struggling with addiction. She loves to speak and teach and hopes one day to go and plant New Life Now groups in churches, jail ministries and rehab centers around the world.