I’ve been where you are.

I’ve woken up with my heart clenched like it’s a fist, it’s knuckles and fingertips white with pressure. I’ve woken on the tip of normalcy, my mind reaching out to routine and laundry and lunch-making, but then it crests and crashes into the reality of what is NOW and the after. Not the before.

I’ve been there.

When someone has walked in the same path I’ve walked, when they have worn the same scarlet letter that I’ve worn and they tell me so, I let out a sigh of relief. I think we all collectively breathe a sigh of relief.

Because all of a sudden

I’m understood

and known.

And there is little judgment because we’ve worn the same shame and we’ve stood up under the same grief.

I gather these stories around me and they hold me up. I’ve heard 10 stories, 50 stories, 100 stories of other girls




And there is freedom and relief in that. I’m no longer standing in the middle of the room with everyone staring. You are standing with me.

But what if you haven’t known the same grief or shame? What if we haven’t held the same hands with the deep water or looked into the same mirror with disgust. What if we haven’t cried the same  hopeless tears…

It doesn’t matter because we’ve all been broken. Brokenness is what binds us. It is why my heart can find a puzzle-perfect match with yours. We’ve been wrecked, maybe in different ways, but we have all felt the yawning pain of brokenness.

And that is precisely what makes my heart resonate with yours.

I love hearing a story of “I’ve been there.” It is a treasure, it is priceless and it is unique. But I also love stories of “I’ve been broken” because it reminds me how connected we all actually are.

I’ve been where you are. I have. Maybe not in the very same way, but I’ve walked through brokenness {I walk through brokenness} and I know it hurts. But there are 10, 50, 100 of us all here with you.

by Sarah Markley

Have you shared stories of brokenness with others? Have you found friends who’ve “been there” too?


comments (closed):

  1. 1

    Girl — I haven’t carried the exact burden but oh I have carried the burden of failing. And lately, it is so profound. Failing my faith. Failing my family. Just failing.

    I used to be so strong. When I was younger. As if faith gets brittle like bones.

  2. 4

    i’ve chosen to share my story of anorexia with others, and the blessings have been plentiful. and even i’m not talking with someone who has battled an eating disorder, i can at least admit that i have been wrecked (like that term). this is what community is all about. open, honest, beauty.

  3. 6

    Honesty is so refreshing, and there is nothing that connects and encourages me to know that all the lovely bloggers I admire and enjoy are just as flawed and broken as I am, as I’ve been. AND, that they have redemption, just like I do, in Christ. Thank you for these lovely words.

  4. 7

    Broken is a wonderful and powerful word. This is how I feel, broken hearted, broken in spirit but repaired in God’s grace x

  5. 8

    Thanks Sarah for your transparency!

    I am claiming satisfaction in Jesus only today in the brokeness which is producing Joy!

    Remaining In His Arms, Beth

  6. 9

    What a beautiful way to express the support we can be for one another! Years ago when I first heard the term “wounded healer”, I felt the same way – like I had found a “home”, that I was not alone, that I no longer had to stand “in the middle of the room with everyone staring”.

    Thank you!


  7. 10

    I shared my struggles with anxiety/depression for the first time with some close friends last week and was so moved by their compassion and love for me despite my brokenness. It was a beautiful reminder that He loves me no matter what, that His love is everlasting and unconditional. And, in sharing my story, I realized that I am not alone, that we all have struggles, we are all broken, but what binds us together is the fact that we are redeemed, that He uses our brokenness to create something beautiful.

  8. 11

    I decided to share our brokeness on our blog this past few months. It is good to read of others sharing theirs too

  9. 12

    Wow! Loved this so much, I had to write. Thanks for SHARING.

  10. 13

    I’ve not shared my struggles yet. but going through everything right now I KNOW (and I trust) that God has a plan in it. I did not go through years of hell for nothing. Even if it is to help just one other person then it’s worth it.
    Strike that…it’s worth it anyway because it made me who I am. Maybe a bit more broken than I was, but that is just more room for God to work. More glory to Him.
    I praise God for the struggles I go through because then I know I’m being refined into who He wants me to be.
    “Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory He will give us later” Romans 8:18
    I will gladly suffer

  11. 14

    This is so exactly what I needed to “hear” this morning. I’ve been struggling really badly and just feeling so alone and hopeless.

  12. 15

    Right now I’m more broken than I’ve ever been. My beautiful 15 year old is lying in bed with a cyst in her brain, and I can’t do a thing to help her. Please pray for Dorian.

    • 16

      I will pray for Dorian, Penny.

      Lord, I pray your peace over Penny, your healing over Dorian and your grace over their entire family. Thank you for their courage and their faith; I ask that you would increase it in a time of brokenness and confusion. Please heal Dorian and continue to strengthen her family during this time.

      We will stand with you Penny!!

  13. 17

    I’m standing with you…I’ve worn that letter and one of my children is a result. I’ve shared my story with a few but my fear of the consequences…the story I’ll have to explain to my children when they get older…keeps me from sharing it with many. My husband is amazing. He’s the one God used to show me what love and forgiveness is all about. God sent my husband to show me that families aren’t all as angry, abusive, and violent as mine growing up. I didn’t get it at first and tried to destroy it but my husband never gave up on me. God used him to show me real love. But the fear of having to tell my daughter that the father she so adores isn’t her natural one and the fear of explaining to my son that his sister is only his half sister….I’m terrified of that. I trust God to make it all work out in the most amazing way but I still feel overcome with anxiety about it sometimes. But, I’m with you…standing there. I still struggle with the shame but I’m so thankful for God’s love. It’s amazing!

  14. 19

    I am thankful for the times that God has given me the courage to share my brokeness and the ways in which sharing creates community when you least expect it. The power of vulnerability and authenticity!

  15. 21

    Just yesterday, I shared in a new class about the abuse in my class – unknowingly there was instant connection with others.

  16. 22

    Love this, Sarah! :)

  17. 23

    Wow- I JUST blogged on brokenness last week. I understand where you’re coming from sister…

  18. 24

    So true! When we began walking through our brokenness I remember coming across the first website/blog that came from the perspective of the cheating woman. I thought how different we were. How could I relate? But the process of forgiving my husband and moving toward restoration brought freedom to my heart. I was able to see the other woman, even “my” other woman, through the lens of our similarities rather than our differences. For, I too was broken. It easily could have been me.

  19. 26

    I do understand that feeling of waking up “with my heart clenched like it’s a fist, it’s knuckles and fingertips white with pressure.”

    I woke up with that feeling this morning. Thank you for this post – it does help to be reminded that I am not the only one who has been or is now being broken.

    I have failed, I have been forgiven by those matter most, and I must continue to forgive myself, even these years later.

  20. 28

    I’m so broken. That might come as a shock to some…because I’ve gotten kinda good at hiding it. (Or maybe I haven’t and I just think I have.)

    The miracle though, is that Jesus really does come in and pick up my pitiful pieces.

    You are right – we are all broken. In different ways – but we have all tasted it and recognized that fellowship in our brokenness is imperative.

    So good.

    Kate :)

  21. 30
    Tracy in NJ says:

    Over the years I’ve learned that as difficult as it may be sharing your story almost always breaks the ice for others who also walked in my shoes ( whatever those were at any particular time) and are relieved to be able to share. It seems whatever the burden others are carrying the same thing and sharing the story helps to share the load.

  22. 32

    This is beautifully written.

  23. 33

    One of my absolute favorite things about Jesus is how much he loves those who are broken. He knows we desperately need him (every single one of us whether we admit it or not) and he NEVER throws stones at us. He just lovingly restores us and heals. I love seeing his daughters treat eachother the same way, because that is how we show the true nature of Jesus to this dying world!
    I have not walked the same path as you, Sarah, but I LOVE seeing how God is using your submission to Him. Thank you for your openness, vulnerability and obvious love for Jesus. Keep shining, sister!

  24. 35

    I have been hearing stories of our brokenness leading to adoration. Even if i am in a place of brokenness (at one time or another) God is still Holy. Even when I don’t feel like i am healed, God still heals! Brokenness=Adoration.

  25. 36
    Beth Williams says:

    Yes!@ I’ve learned that God allows certain trials in our lives so we can “BE THERE” when others are going through the same thing.

    I’ve shared information I gathered in my personal life with patients so as to ease their burdens.

    Thanks for the post!

  26. 37

    This always amazes me, how God welcomes us in spite of our brokenness. I’m feeling very broken right now, but am clinging to God’s love with the little energy I have left.
    Thank you for posting this and encouraging us all!

  27. 38

    It has helped me greatly to know I’m not the only one who has been through and continues to go through brokenness! Words like yours, Sarah, are helping greatly in moving God’s message of love and redemption throughout the world here via cyberspace, and touching the hearts and souls of so many of us who have oftentimes felt so alone. But the truth is that we are not (hallelujah!) and God’s light is shining through. Smiles to you!!

  28. 40
    Anonymous says:

    I’m in the midst of brokenness right now.
    It’s hard, it hurts, and I’m so tired.
    I know in my head I’m not the only one, but my heart feels so lonely sometimes. I so want to have a real-life friend who’s been there – someone I can call that knows exactly what I’m feeling.

  29. 42

    I have cried way too many “hopeless tears”.
    Thank you for sharing and its so good to know that we all can stand together in our brokenness. We are never alone!

  30. 43

    broken is one of the only ways to explain the experiences of life sometimes.
    I was raised, in a broken, hurt family that was reunited…only to discover today that it’s about to broken again. It hurts. I hurt. Not for me, but for my young sisters.

    I’ve been broken with a lack of trust, for anybody.

    Broken through the pain of infertility.

    Completely, utterly broken and hurt.
    Yet I know God is still there. And all I can do is cling.

  31. 46

    Awesome post. Thank you so much. I’m there with you, too.

  32. 47

    It’s at this season of brokenness that I have felt the need to get closer to God for only He can truly heal and restore us.

    It’s also at this time that He has used other people going through their own brokenness to encourage me and show how faithful He really is!

  33. 48

    “We’ve been wrecked, maybe in different ways, but we have all felt the yawning pain of brokenness.” I love this line. So true.
    I have felt the depth of brokenness. As a young girl, it was anorexia. I carried the body image issues with me for many years, hating the way I looked. As an adult, I experienced extreme brokenness when my marriage almost fell apart as the result of my husband looking at pornography. I experienced brokenness when, as an adult, I was diagnosed with Panic Disorder. These were all dark times in my life; and yet, God’s light, although dim at times, was still there. I have shared these stories many times with women and am amazed at what happens; the faithfulness of God is seen, women no longer feel alone, and God continually redeems my brokenness. In my brokenness, I have found healing.

  34. 49

    I’m broken too. I wore the letter too. We’re 9 years out (8 years after confessing) and I’ve never found a soul who has been there too, except here. But even if I did, I do not have my husband’s blessing to share it with anyone – so I (respectfully ) submit and remain silent. God has done an amazing work on me and I can confidently say I am not anything like that woman I once was for a time. Still, pain lingers that I could have done that to my husband. He forgave me, by God’s grace, he forgave me. It is indeed a relief to know I’m not alone. Thank you for this.

  35. 50

    Yes we all have been broken, but in the breaking that is where we find our deepest needs met by Him. God the one who tells us His grace is sufficient for us for His power is perfected in weakness. For when we are weak, He is strong. Praying as broken women we rise up in His strength.

  36. 51

    I just spent some time reading through your story on your blog. What a beautiful story of redemption. Praise God! I can’t wait to read your book :) You write beautifully.

  37. 52

    “I’ve woken up with my heart clenched like it’s a fist” the past 5 or so years. My heart is slowly softening. I have opened up to a couple people. I have heard stories of brokenness without the prompting of my own. Depression and self-injury are becoming all too common but through realizing each others brokenness we can begin to heal. Begin to heal from past heartbreaks and future worries to come. Begin to heal from negative stress management techniques and slowly learn how to manage in different ways. I feel alone. I feel alone a lot. I am slowly trying to make my way through this and your post is a reminder that I’m not in it alone, even when the darkness is surrounding me.

  38. 53

    I love this post, I have battled somethings depression, self-doubt, among others. Self-doubt that I went to get a second degree while being a mother of the two most precious girls. Feeling that I am not giving my all to them. Hoping that will understand that I am doing my best, scared of women being so judgmental because of my choices.

    I love this post, more women need to stand together because all of us have been through some similar things.


  39. 54

    i’m standing with you, sarah.

    really did need to read this today. it’s sinking in…again.

    thank you.

  40. 55
    Anonymous says:

    it’s comforting to know we’re all messed up or have been messed up by others

    but, still i have never found anyone else who has “been there”

    i wish i could, that way i could ask them “what did YOU do?”

  41. 56

    I have shared my story of my mental meltdown on my blog, and the depression and especially the anxiety that had lingered. So many readers came alongside and reassured me. I also have made many friends via twitter who may not have dealt with the same, but they understand, and so they stand with me as well.
    Awesome words!
    a href=”http://livingthebalancedlife.com/2011/letting-go-of-who-i-thought-i-was-supposed-to-be/” target=”_blank”>Letting go of who I thought I was supposed to be

  42. 57

    Your testimony is a blessing, and I share the desire to embrace transparency for God’s glory. My own broken places are different than yours, but you are so right that it is in the willingness to haul the truth out of the darkness of shame and into the light of God’s healing and restoring presence that the enemy’s grip of shame is defeated and God is truly able to use our stories to bring us grace and to bring Him glory.