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"My story collides with Jesus, here in my brokenness. It crashes into His story because it is here in my brokenness that I have fully surrendered."

April 1, 2021

Broken but not shattered

Who am I? That is a good question. Two years ago, I would have given you a quick answer, an elevator pitch, as I was a confident, almost arrogant wretch, instead of the priest, father, husband and leader God called me to be.

Today, I am a broken man, divorced and lonely. Two years ago, I had most of the answers, like I used to have about child discipline before we had children. Today, I am not even sure I know the questions.

It is said that hurting people hurt people, and I know that I have yelled, screamed, ranted, and raved at my family, but I don't believe I have done anything else. However, I struggle with wondering, “What is wrong with me?” Am I a Jekyll and Hyde? I know that God in His mercy has allowed me to forget many of my negative experiences. Yet, I wonder if I have forgotten my actions? Has the trauma of my childhood caused such dissociation that I don't know who I really am? Am I this blood-thirsty dictator, hellbent on control, no matter the cost to my family that my beloved has portrayed to the court?  

I don't ask these questions to justify my actions, but to understand so I can heal. Has the unresolved trauma of my mother's suicide, aggravated by the financial stress, caused a PTSD that turned me into a monster?

I clearly remember many of the negative experiences that have happened with my family. I remember the frustration from the lack of control I felt when they ignored my needs. I remember the guilt from yelling, the self-justification. I remember the pain of feeling like a slave. I remember the anger when they would take my words and twist them to change their meaning. I remember the feeling of relief when I was able to walk away without physically destroying my beloved, the night my world fell apart.

I did not physically abuse my family, yet scars remain from the words I have spoken and how I said them.

My story collides with Jesus, here in my brokenness. It crashes into His story because it is here in my brokenness that I have fully surrendered. Yes, at times, I still struggle with not taking it back. For years, I was good at getting on my knees, surrendering my will to God, but when the physical act of surrender was over and I got up, I would take back control of my will and try to do things my way.

At times, I struggle with the hurt the comes from the injustice I am experiencing, my pain and anger preventing me from experiencing the peace that comes with knowing that God has forgiven me. Yet, when I ask, He takes my hurt, my anger, and fills me with His peace.

Who am I? Who will I become? I am not sure — that story is still being written, but this I know:

1. Therefore, if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new (2 Corinthians 5:17, KJV).

2. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9, KJV).

Who am I? I am not Carlton*, the failure. I am not Carlton*, the lonely, divorced abuser. I am Carlton*, a child of God who stands before the throne of judgment, robed in Christ's righteousness, for I have confessed my sins and received God's forgiveness. 

 

Anonymous. *Name changed to protect the author’s family.