break bread.

This post is part of a 31 day journey. See the rest of abide: love where you live right here.

pizza run. #wishicouldhavehershoes

All day yesterday I prayed and hemmed and hawed about how to keep writing about belonging. It’s been the hardest to write about for me. If you’re new here, you might not know that my husband works for a residential children’s home. We live next door. For nine years now, our hearts have burned and ached as we’ve walked beside children in this little home. Sometimes we know them for months at a time but a handful have been part of every day and month we’ve been here.

I ache for them to know what it means to really belong. To know that there is One who wants relationship with them so much that He gave His life for them. To know what it means to have a loved one do hard things for them because they are worth it.

The thing about child services right now in this country is that there are very few orphans. Most of the children we see still have some sort of relationship or contact with their parents.  I’ve learned to tread lightly there. While there might be varying degrees of attachment, there can be fierce allegiance. I have to check my frustration and anger as some times I watch tender and scrappy hearts be failed by human hands again.

It’s a sour water that runs underneath. We watch as children avoid failure by not showing up. They give up before it gets too hard. We watch as teenaged girls search every interaction with veiled longing in their eyes. Are they worth it? And while it looks like bad decision after bad decision we’ve learned to call it brokenness and to remember that we are all broken. This is what happens when brokenness sows brokenness. And it is why it’s hard for me to write about belonging. It’s awful close to my heart.

Belonging is breaking bread. All of the mixing and kneading and rising and waiting and fire and powder of becoming who we are isn’t really for us. We are called to break that open for others. To invite them to the table and share all of the richness that comes from our process of becoming. We will do the hard things because people matter. We will show our mess because people matter. We will heal and walk through brokenness because people matter. We will share our embarrassing and used-to-be-shame-filled stories of redemption because people matter. People matter to God.

That’s where you live. You live in that place, a place to break open the bread of your life and share it with others.

Be brave.


15 thoughts on “break bread.

  1. Absolutely beautiful and thought provoking post- I love the last part and the analogy about us being the bread that is broken open for others to share. I work at a church on a training team that goes out and trains leaders across the country about Relational Discipleship. Transparency in relationships is key. Thank you so much for sharing your heart :-)

  2. to love and live beside children with such stories must and obviously be changing your own. i pray it continues to define you and your words here as you share. we often have a couple children in our neighborhood who are in alot of parent relational pain and srife, and they find their way at our table or movie nite couch on different occassions and it is abvious we are not just ‘neighbors’ at times for them.
    i am grateful for have found your series here.

  3. Friend, you have no idea how all of your words are used in my life. This is beautifully convicting to me- not you, but knowing I have as much as I do, still feeling little contentment, and then knowing that there are precious others with so much less than I, not even in terms of physical belongings, but in treasures of the heart. Goodness, I’m thankful for you.

  4. This is so beautiful. Thank you for sharing. I had a student who sat in my 9th grade class 2 years ago who lived at our local residential children’s home. I couldn’t stand anymore. My husband and I became foster parents and in February of this year he moved in with us. As of November 7 of this year, we will have adopted him as our very own. So, these words that you just shared are so close to my heart. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  5. Just in tears (again) thanks to another beautiful post (and I am working out on my back patio right now and the pool guy just showed up so he probably thinks I am nuts). As a Mommy of three this just breaks my heart wide open – it’s the kind of thing that gets shoved under the rug. It’s the hard to talk about stuff. “We watch as children avoid failure by not showing up. They give up before it gets too hard.” Sure, I’ve been guilty of that myself, but I can kick myself (or laugh at myself depending on the day) – I am not as emotionally fragile as a child or teen looking for a place to belong.
    Thank you again for your heartfelt, emotionally invested posts.
    – Claire

  6. Pingback: break bread, part two. | sweetwater

  7. Heart-clenching gratitude for your words of brokenness to openness, of sharing the pillaging of the heart and the fertility the breaking of our bread may offer to others. I still write about loving and losing my glorious 17 year old daughter 19 months ago. I have not understood the meaning of my heart wounds to others, or fathom the importance of my broken sharing. Until now. Thank you.

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