Sunday, December 9, 2012

Broken Longings - Reflections on Love

Week Two of an Advent Synchroblog

The sky has decidedly turned gray and rain drops fall slow, moved by the wind, splattering against my dining room windows. No snow to be seen, but there is something comforting about needing to wear warm coats and having your windshield wipers turned on while driving, and it makes my once Minnesotan heart happy. The living room lights are off; we are left with the glow from the Christmas tree, the decorations, and the TV that plays a Christmas movie for the girls to watch while Adam studies for finals and I try to get my writing in.

I am meditating on love, for on this second week of Advent, we light the Bethlehem candle and focus on the great love that God had for us in sending His Son to earth. A love that ripped through history. That came down to save a people. To save us. To save me. This is the motivation for it all. And yet, I am blank. And I shouldn't be. I am a child of God. And I know, and I know, and I know.

The words get stuck when I speak about Love. 

My heart bursts of love for my husband, my children, my family, my friends. My heart breaks when it hears stories of war, of famine, of families torn apart, of genocide, of.....

But when at two a.m. when I am trying to soothe my three year old back to sleep and I hear the downstairs neighbors laughing as they play their video games, the bass reverberating through the very bed that my baby tries to sleep in, I have no love. And I am awakened by my anger. I am supposed to be celebrating a love so powerful that our actions and motivations are forever altered. Instead, I am face to face with the worst of me, and even in the darkness of two a.m. I can clearly see what I am.

Who am I to write about love? And how can I say I really care about war, or famine, or families torn apart, or genocide, when I can't even love my neighbor?

Here in my darkness, even while I feel so unworthy, I know that I am loved. I sit here, still broken. Still feeling the Big Hurt more than I want to. And I slowly become aware, that the Christ child was born in our darkness with a Love that can break through my hurt. Break through my pain. And it does not stop. He is relentless in this Love. Relentless in pursuing me.

I fall on my face and cry out. 

So much of my life is made up of longing. Longing to be a better wife. Longing to be a better mother. A better writer. Better friend. Better teacher. Longing for more family time. More quiet time. More writing time. More quality time. Longing for a single family home. A backyard. A garage. A garden. Longing for so much. So much. 

Too much.

As I long, I am so oblivious to the Love that surrounds me. That chases me. 

But it was longing that brought this Love to us in the first place. Not the human, sin-filled, me-driven longing that I know. A longing from the heart of a Father to save His children. To save my children. To save me. 

To save my downstairs neighbor. 




And in this place, my longings, my desires, my hurts are eclipsed by this great Love. A baby sent to be our King. To save us from ourselves. 

The Love that found me in my darkness. A Love that contains a power the earth had never felt. And it changed everything. It changes me.

As I am broken, I allow bits of His glory to shine through me. And I am filled with His Love. Love big enough to save me from myself.


And so tonight, I think of my broken longings, and a Love I simply cannot understand.

Come visit us here
Caris Adel
Emily Miller
Katie Axelson

Would you like to join us? We would love for you to share your stories of Advent. Your stories of Love reaching down and meeting you in the darkness.

Today I am also linking up with another synchroblog, A Broken Hallelujah with Prodigal Magazine and SheLoves Magazine. Be sure to check them out as well for more stories of brokenness and redemption.

**Photo Credits:  Whether you are a parent or not, can I suggest reading the Jesus Storybook Bible written by Sally Lloyd-Jones and illustrated by Jago? It will help you feel the love of God in a new way. I promise.**


  1. This is beautiful, Brenna. I LOVE it!

  2. This is so good Brenna! I love that Bible too.

  3. I love this: "I am supposed to be celebrating a love so powerful that our actions and motivations are forever altered." And I'm contemplating its inherent challenge this morning: To LET that love alter my actions and motivations this season. Thank you!

    1. I kept reminding myself of this when I was driving and weaving myself through Target today :)

  4. Dear Brenna, I am always moved by your writings. You have the gift of expressing the Christian heart so beautifully. Thank you for using and sharing the talent that God gave you to bless us.

  5. So much truth in these words, and so much love. Thankful for you, and your heart and your words. More, please.

  6. I understand this. The wanting to know Jesus and see the beauty in the manger, yet transcribing that love into our day to day is another thing right? I'm right there. The day my neighbor came knocking at my door and basically telling me I was a mother who was clearly not good as I allow my daughters to do whatever they wanted (along with others things she welcomed upon me at 8:00 Sunday morning). Hospitality and the love of Christ were the last thing I was wanting to give. Oh man, do I have loads of stories on that.