In a recent conversation with my counselor she said, “Karla, I’ve told you this before, but you are a woman who loves Christ deeply and it can be seen even in your grief.” And I don’t know what it is about the word Christ that gives me chills and reminds me of the kindest man I have ever met.
I know this is the month where everyone is looking at their goals for the year and resolutions and plans and I wanted that to be me too. I wanted to take the time to look back at the last year and the last 10 years as I say goodbye to my 20’s soon, but instead the only question burning up in my heart was, “how does one restore a broken soul?”
I posed the question to myself every day as the dusk of the afternoon arrived through my office window.
How does one restore a soul? How do you restore your soul? Where do you begin?
It’s been a rough year – spiritual and church trauma caught up to me, microaggression distress caught up to me, migration trauma caught up to me, and experiencing racism, whether through unconscious bias or blatant-right in your face- racism, caught up to me too.
So again I ask myself, Karla, how do you restore a broken soul?
There aren’t any songs, or soccer games, or tv shows, or art museums, or national parks, or Lionel Messi’s that will heal this soul – but there is a Christ.
The word Christ means Messiah, which means Savior. Jesus is referred in the Bible as The Christ or as Jesus Christ. In our culture this name of God is used so often, sometimes even as an expression that it is easy to oversee. Yet when I heard His name from my counselor it was as if suddenly, I knew exactly who she was referring to.
In recent years I have been awfully disappointed with the white evangelical church. I have seen many people take the Bible out of context to support wars, military efforts, not opening our doors to our neighbors because of their nationality, I have seen my brothers and sisters choose a man who dishonors God not only with his words but in actions too. A blog post is not sufficient to tell of what I have lost in the last 5 years, but perhaps the most painful acknowledgement is that I almost lost the Christ.
There’s a story about Jesus where during a trip to Jerusalem he stayed back and Mary and Joseph didn’t realize it until a few days later. As a kid I always pictured myself being like Jesus – the kid who runs away to church to teach and learn from the religious leaders. I mean, I did have a thing for running away as a kid (though that is a story for another day!). Yet here I am, as an adult, and I think maybe I’m more like Mary – I too almost lost the Christ.
I think of the desperation she must’ve felt, I think of the fear, maybe even the loneliness as the night came and she still didn’t know where Jesus was. There she is, looking for her son, and when she finally found him he exclaims a part of his identity that only she and Joseph would’ve known at the time – He was in fact, the Son of God; The Christ.
And so, I ask myself again, how does one restore a broken soul?
Maybe in the desperation of losing a version of Jesus that came with the teachings from colonization and the white church. Maybe in the fear of not finding the real Jesus. Maybe in the loneliness that I’d come to understand when night came and it felt like no one else understood that it felt like I was losing my Life – on a dark night of 2019, almost literally.
Yet on the other side, I found a Jesus who was exclaiming who He really is – the Christ. The Christ who isn’t afraid to love his enemies, the one who ran to the margins, the one who spoke to women and valued them, the one who knew what it was like to be an immigrant as a child, the one who didn’t have a place to lay his head, the one who was so patient with Nicodemus when he couldn’t make up his mind right away, and the one who loved all his friends so deeply and trusted them even when they left him, including me.
So this year, I don’t expect to do anything grandiose, I don’t expect any fabulous travels, I don’t expect any instagrammable events, but I expect the quiet and consistent work of healing.
He restores my soul, exclaims problematic King David, and I believe him because over and over the Christ has loved me to life even when I’ve been hiding in the grave. And perhaps, my counselor is right, I love the Christ, but most importantly, the Christ loves me in my humanity and brokenness and loveliness and healing process, and He is so ever present.
So I will keep asking the same question, with bravery, with patience, with humility, and hope. I know He will restore my soul.