So she wasn’t perfect. Doc said.
He left me speechless.
I just sat there soaking in the truth of what he had just said.
You guys, I didn’t do mommy well.
For years I struggled to feel the way I thought I wanted to feel as a mom. Bella wasn’t what I expected. She came out screaming and crying and continued to scream and cry for months. And she puked. Like so much. Her rare stomach condition, called FPIES, took a full year to diagnose and by the time she hit 18 months I had 156 pukes accounted for that I had cleaned up.
I spent years at doctor appointments, therapy appointments, cooking and planning every meal, every snack. I had to think through every scenario we went to and what food would be there and how to keep her both fed and safe.
She felt like a chore; a task.
I have struggled to find intimacy and connection with Bella. For her FPIES. But also because she represented the perfect life I had dreamt of but felt so far away from.
This weekend, while in the airport awaiting my return flight from Boston, I found myself in a little sit down restaurant called Stephanies’s. My dear friend, Fallon, sat across from me as we divvied up the sandwich and salad we ordered to split.
Over the weekend I had shared that my life has taken me through a hard six months and just how broken I was…how broken I am.
Over the weekend I had also shared just how madly in love I had fallen in love with Bella over the summer, specifically the past few weeks.
As we broke bread together (not like the literal kind but like the BLT and quinoa salad kind) the conversation turned back to my brokenness. But as good friends do, Fallon then said, You know Kaylee. It sounds like you’ve struggled with intimacy with Bella. And it sounds like the brokenness of the past six months has taught you how to connect; how to have intimacy.
Her words, so full of truth. They weren’t just about Bella. They were about my entire story. Her words invited me into the deep truth of my childhood that in my deepest desires I had wanted intimacy and connection but had never let go to feel that connection. I always kept my heart at arms length. From age five to thirty one I had held my heart captive. It was mine. It felt safer in my possession than giving it out.
As this truth came over me, piercing me with the most beautiful of precise incision, I immediately buried my face in my hands, tears pouring down. I couldn’t stop the work the truth was doing – truth always sets you free, you know.
As my hands held my face up, I overheard the Hallelujah song; the one that sings BROKEN HALLELUJAH.
I realized in that moment just how much life is a broken hallelujah.
Hallelujah means God be praised or Praise God.
And to praise is to express thanks.
I listened to Hallelujah so many countless times my trip home. I found myself in a bathroom stall arms raised in praise (I was sorta trying to hide them because well, you know… a tiny bit weird to see someone’s arms extended over a bathroom stall. I mean, I think, right?) I was just so overcome with how God works. I was humbled. I was honored. I was thankful. The kind of gratitude that makes you praise. I think the same kind of gratitude that will make every knee bow when Jesus comes back on that cloud (A CLOUD!! For those of you that know me, you know how much I love that Jesus’ plans are to come back on a cloud.)
My life is a broken thank you. It is in my brokenness that I know and find God. It is in my brokenness that God continuously brings me to wholeness.
For so long I wasn’t okay with imperfect. I still find myself un-okay with imperfect. And in that, I have so imperfectly loved my imperfect people. I don’t want to do that anymore. I want to love. I want to always pick, choose and love that which is my broken hallelujah and to honor the broken hallelujah in everyone I meet.
This season of my life has taught me just how much I’m broken all the time. That humanity is a state of brokenness. I’ll never get it perfect. I’ll never have it right.
Author Brennan Manning, called himself a ragammufin; a ragged person, someone ill-fitting. I think he’s on to something. And in this season I have come to find just what a beggar of mercy and grace I am.
Tonight, while sitting aside the fire, I spoke these words into the silence and into existence:
I’m not a ragamuffin.
I’m just a broken hallelujah.
I don’t know where you’re at tonight. But I want you to know, I’m standing with you and I’m for you in your broken hallelujah. I pray that we can become a people accepting and loving of our human state of brokenness. I hope we can then stand in awe, applauding and rejoicing over the moments where wholeness is claimed.