5 Ways Being Broken and Homeless Changed My Family

At the beginning of this month we took our first family road trip vacation in years. My wife and kids and my parents packed up two cars full of stuff and headed west. We were headed to spend time with my brother and his family in Missouri. But this was a trip that almost didn’t happen.

5 Reasons Why It's Good to be Broken - JackieBledsoe.com

We had an amazing time. The words I kept hearing from our kids were “epic family vacation!” I have to agree, although I didn’t think it would happen. Shortly after the trip was initially planned we found out that our daughter had a national track meet the same week.

Off and running, but broken

She had already missed the first two track meets of the year due to other commitments, so we weren’t planning on her missing a national meet. So, we opted out of the trip. Then it happened. After experiencing about two weeks of pain in her hip, she participated in her first track meet of the year.

It was a shortened meet due to rain, but she was able to compete in the 100-meter dash, and she got first place. But the pain in her hip was pretty bad, so we decided to schedule an appointment with her doctor. After some tests we were told she had a hairline fracture in her growth plate (the thing that connects the hip and thigh bones).

So, she was broken. And we were broken as this track season was basically over for her as she would miss all the qualifying meets. This was particularly frustrating to me as she opted out of the winter track season, therefore two whole seasons will have passed without her competing.

There is a bright side

But my family was exceptionally excited and reminded me that we now had no plans the weekend and days surrounding the Fourth of July. Which meant our family road trip was back in play!

And as I said that trip and time spent with my brother and his family was epic. And not just because we had fun watching fireworks, lighting carloads of fireworks, playing in bounce houses, having water balloon fights, getting family photos, going to amusement parks and water parks, enjoying church service together, and just hanging out.

But my brother and I reconnected after having been disconnected for a few years. I spent quality time with my 2-year-old nephew and my 4-year-old niece for the first time. Our wives spent time and deepened their relationship, and of course our kids and their kids fell in love with one another whom they’d really only known through photos.

Hindsight is 20/20

Yet, none of this would have happened had our daughter not broken her hip. It’s good to be broken. When I say this I speak from many broken experiences. You would not be reading this blog post if I had not been broken. My blog was birthed out of a broken situation.

The loss of a job (brokenness) led to some challenging times for me and my family. That job loss forced me to look at other ways to support my family. So, I started an online business only to have it fail (brokenness) after only gaining two customers. This led to me starting a blog.

While you may think the blog was the turnaround, it wasn’t, initially. Roughly seven months after starting the blog our money ran out, and the blog wasn’t making anything. We couldn’t keep our home (brokenness), so we had to move out with no place to go and no money to pay for anything.

Not sure it can get any worse than this

We were homeless and slept on the basement floor of some friends, stayed in my mother-in-law’s extra room, and spent some time in hotels that a friend paid for with his accumulated hotel points. I was at one of my lowest points.

We were finally able to afford an apartment of our own, just barely though as we received a “notice to vacate if not paid” almost every week we were there it seemed. Our furniture, the kids toys, and everything we owned except that which fit in the car was in storage. We made weekly trips to storage to search for stuff. Some weeks we made daily trips.

Great things are coming

Ironically, our kids were having a great time. We spent so much time together. Trips to the storage meant they could pull out their toys and play. It was like a treasure hunt for them. To my wife and I it was depressingly hard and discouraging work.

But as I said it is good to be broken, great things come out of broken situations. Through our brokenness our life has been changed for the better. Yet at the time I didn’t realize it.

5 reasons why it’s good to be broken

  1. Your values change. When you have no home, no money, and you’re sleeping on an air mattress with your wife and kids which was deflated by the time you woke up, you begin to reassess what is really important. The “little” things like family, health, clothes, and food become very valuable.
  2. You become passionate. I’ve always had a compassion for the person you see holding up the “need help, homeless” sign, but my passion for them grew greatly. As soon as we were able our entire family would pack “manna bags” full of non-perishable foods in our car then pass them out when we saw people in need.
  3. You develop grit. I had no paying job, so I had time on my hands. I used that time to write like a madman. At one point I was writing for seven different websites to the tune of 50 new and unique blog posts and articles per month, and sometimes up to 70. That habit developed skill, got me noticed, and played a huge part in launching my professional blogging career.
  4. You embrace humility. The biggest blessing to being broken was the humility it brought to me. I realized that I could do nothing of real significance alone. I’m not capable. Not skilled enough, not strong enough, not wise enough, not connected enough. As a Christian my help comes from a relationship with Jesus Christ. I had to connect with Him and rely on Him in every aspect of my life.
  5. You live boldly without fear. For years I’ve been afraid to share our story until recently. I was afraid of being looked at differently, and being viewed as a failure. But now I realize my brokenness was a good thing. And not just for me. Since I’ve started sharing my story people have been encouraged and lives are being impacted. I am now boldly living life without fear. I’ve faced some of my biggest fears, and here I am today. Leading and loving my family and being an example to others striving to do the same.

I honestly started writing this post with “writer’s block.” I had no idea what to write, so I did what all good writers do — I started writing. Now, after 1200 words I’m hoping it has an impact on you. If you’ve read this far you’ve probably been broken before or are currently broken. But as the title suggests and my story shows, it’s good to be broken, so be encouraged.

Question: Have you been broken? How did it impact your life? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

Is your marriage surviving or thriving?

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Tamara

    I’m going through a season of being broken now. I’ve hit rock bottom. Your story was a blessing to me.

  • Nathalie Lamontagne

    Thank you for the article! I am presently in the broken stage in my life! I have thanked God for giving me a chance to change my life but the hardest part is to see and believe that light will come after the darkness!! When all you have built as a foundation for your life have vanished! Having to build a new life! A challenge we are presented with but hadn t signed up for!!

  • Jacky, I love your honesty and your right! I’ve learned a ton from my own periods of brokenness too. Hard times are never fun, but they are when the most growth happens. Thanks for sharing some of your ups and downs. It makes my own story feel more normal. Sure appreciate you and your transparency 🙂

  • Years ago, during a :”breaking time” or season in my life, I read a refrigerator magnet that said: “Brokenness is the blue that binds us together.” So I put it on my fridge for years. Much of what you mention Jackie, actually helps us maintain our “togetherness” during and after our seasons of breaking. During our broken seasons we discover so much about our “heart beat” and the meaning of our existence in this life. It often drives us to become purposeful and meaningful in what we do. It is during the breaking points that our faith often stands trial and we can stand on our Rock and His Word to help us move forward in what he has in store for us.
    Hey thanks for the post. Good stuff to be reminded of and work with.

  • Deidra

    I work with broken people everyday and of course had many of my own personal stages of brokenness! I appreciate your heart and the opportunity to get to know you on a deeper level….despite over 25 years of “knowing” you

  • Ron Ryan

    Great post, Jackie. It seems we learn best from pain and hardship. Thanks for being open and “down to earth” with us. It encourages me to be more transparent also. My wife and I are blessed. But those blessings came on the back end of some tough times. Your five lessons learned are spot on. Again, great post.

  • Monisa White Vanlandingham

    Jackie, what an awesome blessing your words were to me on this blog. I wept as I read your story, and wept even harder thinking of my own brokenness, shame and disappointments. Just this morning after spending some time with the Lord, I began to recount the last several years of my life and how so many things have happened to break, shake and re-make me. A divorce after 25 years of marriage, feeling alone, isolated, ashamed, judged, humiliated and useless…How could God ever bless me or use me again after I failed my family, my friends, my church…My God! I saw a vase with various colors and jagged edges if you will. Through the jagged edges the light permeated and gave such a beautiful luster of light, color and unique character. I quickly began to see the parallyl that in our brokeness, God’s light shines best. Others are drawn to the ray of hope we dispurse…He can fix and remake our brokeness into something even more beautiful…So…although I’m broken, as we all are at some time in our lives…we are redeemed…we are blessed…we are His…every broken piece of our lives are His puzzle to put into a perfect picture which is the image of His Son…Jesus…
    Thank you for sharing your brokeness….thank you for shining for Jesus. I love you cousin and am always encouraged and inspired by you and Stephana… Continue on in His name…Love you and ever praying for you!! Moni

    • Hey Moni, thank you for your encouraging words and for sharing your story. I think we have to say it is a privilege to be broken, to allow Him to “break, shake, and re-make” us! 🙂

  • Wow. Compelling account of events. Thanks for sharing your story, as we each help each other by being open and honest. Keep up the great work!

  • Thanks for sharing this story, Jackie. I can’t imagine how difficult it was for you and your whole family going through that time. But praise God that He brings beauty from the ashes. My brokenness story is quite different. My husband developed a sudden illness that almost took his life and has left him permanently disabled (ashes). But we have been so blessed to more time together and get to write our blog together. We’ve drawn closer to the Lord and closer to each other (beauty). It’s amazing how God uses brokenness to bring healing.

    • It’s my pleasure, Sabra. Thank you for reading, and thank you for sharing your brokenness story.

      I clicked over to your blog and checked out your about page. I spoke with my wife and we wondered if it is a possibility that you and your husband join us as guests for an episode of our 7 Rings of Marriage Web Show when we kick off season two in a couple months.

      Would you be interested? Either way, your story is inspiring and a blessing to all who hear it.

      • What a gracious invitation, Jackie! Thank you. David and I would like to talk to you a little more about this. I will contact you by email. Blessings!

    • It is amazing how a illness can bring the out our strength. Almost four years ago, I was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Although difficult, I wouldn’t change it. God has been faithful in ways I never imagined. I am glad that you have also realized how God changes struggles into beauty.

      • God is so amazing, Kendra. I pray God will heal you completely. And, yes, the strength He gives us is such a blessing. And I agree, I wouldn’t go back to the way things were. The blessings have far outweighed the struggle.

      • Thank you for sharing, Kendra. God is so faithful!

  • Harriette A. Kimunya

    What an encouragement! You have touched our lives by bringing us into yours. Thank you for opening our eyes to the beauty that God has surrounded us with despite the immense crisis we find ourselves in.

  • Jackie, this is like a glimpse into your heart and soul. Thank you for sharing, especially at this time. It is such an encouragement to my wife and I. Actually, we were reading it together. It feels like we are going through something close to this. It’s been a long road, the money has run out. Our only hope is our belief in God and the dream He has placed in our hearts. Thank you again…

    • Be encouraged, Kimunya. I’m learning the absolute best place we can be is in a place where we are in total reliance on God. If you are in the place now count it all joy. Blessings to you and your bride, my friend.

  • Teresa Hall

    Jackie I have been broken many times but God strengthens me each time. As a 10 yr old child my dad broke my spirit by telling me I was stupid, dumb and ugly. At 12, I was molested and afraid to tell anyone. I became a rebellious teenager. I got married at 20, divorced at 25 due to abuse and shot at by my drug addicted spouse; remarried on the rebound at age 26 to another abuser trying to be loved, we separated, I was raped and beaten. I was broken so took my son’s to Georgia and stayed single for 5 years. I married again but he was my true love for well over 20 years. Last year he died from cancer, kidney failure and a heart attack. I am still broken. My oldest brother died recently. Even in my brokenness I trust God. Love you Jackie and Stephana and thanks for sharing your story.

    • Thanks for sharing your story, Teresa! I got goose bumps while reading. Isn’t it amazing how God shows larger than life in our states of brokenness. Just amazing!

  • That’s an amazing story, Jackie. Thanks for your boldness in sharing it!