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  • Writer's pictureJaci Mun-Gavin

Sweet Brokenness

The morning after Kiara’s first shower, I am surprised to see her come through to the lounge for school with her head uncovered. Our littlest two have passed thoughtless comments in the past: “Freaky!”; “Scary”; “Mommy, make her put her hat on.” She just smiles at them sweetly, accustomed to little children. On this morning, one of us gives her a compliment, to which she raises her chin with a royal grace, and again that sweet smile, but her glistening eyes expose hidden hurt.

We begin our morning worship, and as the others are singing, Kiara sits with her chin on one knee. She shrugs when I ask her if she is okay, and I take her in my arms. She smells of Savlon and sticky adhesive that will take days to wash out, but I stroke and kiss her head, and her unspoken sorrow seeps from her eyes. It is the compliment that has undone her. What if people think she chooses to look like this? I whisper in her ear about the beautiful long hair that is growing, and the crown of beauty she will have. That she is indeed the princess-ballerina, and not the funky, pixie-type. “But it’s just that you truly do look stunningly beautiful this way, too!”

My words are too weak to heal, and I beckon discreetly to her oldest sister and brother to come and pray. They place hands on her shoulders, and Kiara allows herself to break. She sobs more tears than she ever has - my strong, strong girl bowed by sibling-kindness. The younger boys gather around and soon they are praying aloud and a few have words straight from heaven brought as gifts in grubby hands. “Kiara, God says you’ll never be alone,” and “Kiki, God says you are so courageous.” And we cry together, for the fight she has won, and for the battles ahead that we thought she could manage without us.

In the afternoon, it is a brother who is sad. Deep disappointment at being dropped from a sports team. We have to peel him off the bed to get him to go to practice. He sits sullen in the backseat and I remember morning prayers. “Kade, put your hand on your brother. We’re going to pray for him, too.” And we do.

Again, sweet, fumbled prayers on lips of babes, but sibling-love is powerful thing, and God speaks clearly. Another brother hears a heavenly whisper and gives a perfect word. It has the power to creep under the broken boy’s skin, and encouragement births courage in him. When we arrive at the school they tumble out the car with heavenly purpose and the will to fulfil it. I am left wondering…

What is this strange atmosphere that has been birthed in my home? These are the same kids who squabble over carseats, who speak without thinking, who think mostly of themselves…

I am reminded of my recent introduction to home-grown granadillas, picked off the vine on a garden fence. As I cracked the leathery skin with my teeth, it burst open, leaving sticky sweetness all over my face. Even my hair was dripping with juice. It was worth it!

And I shake my head in awe and wonder at the way Kiara’s brokenness has left sweetness dripping through our family. She teaches us how to crack tough skins and expose soft hearts, and we accept the invitation of delicious intimacy.

Because life is busy and skin toughens for protection, and soon we have no idea what is hiding within. Mother and father and brother and sister, cohabiting houses and hiding hearts.

O, but sweet brokenness! Sweet brokenness breaks leathery skin and lets love in. Kiara has generously let us see her naked soul, even with it’s silly shame and pointless pride. She has let us in, and in doing so she has set a new normal. Days slip by and it becomes our way… we share our hurts and hopes; we take time to know and be known.

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Apr 23, 2019

Hi Jaqi! I've returned to reread this blog post, as it got my thinking. Could you perhaps give us an example of your morning or evening family devotion time? From your blog, I would guess that the family sings a worship song and then perhaps prays together, maybe everyone would take a turn for their prayer? Is this before or after a meal? I'm sure getting everyone together is difficult!

I grew up in a devoted family, with morning and evening devotional readings, but I find them now to be lacking and empty. As I start my own family, I would like to have a family time to devoted to the Lord. Perhaps a song and prayer together could also…


Apr 16, 2019

Absolutely beautifully written Jaci. Sibling love is such a beautiful and powerful thing. Couldn't help shedding a few tears reading your blog today thinking of my own girls who love each other so deeply and when one of them is going through a struggle of some kind, how they care for each other and pray together, lifting each other up. Such a blessing from the Lord.


Apr 16, 2019

Beautiful. When I look at Kiara I don't feel sorry for her. I think how beautiful she is, and how blessed she is to have such a wonderful family of believers big and small. When I look at her I see a miracle.


Barbara Neuper
Barbara Neuper
Apr 15, 2019

Worded so beautifully. I love your blogs. God inspired. You have an amazing family. May God continue to bless you all xxx

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