Blessed to be Broken

God's not finished with me yet!

Choose Life

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Every time I hear someone say…”I just don’t understand how someone could commit suicide,” I admit, I cringe just a little.  I guess for those who say that, they’ve never felt the desolation, the isolation, the…just make it stop, so it doesn’t hurt anymore pain.

Did I ever think for a second that I would find myself in such a place of darkness? No.  Did I say the same things about people who commit suicide?  Things like “it’s the ultimate selfish act,” or “there’s just too many places to seek and get help for anyone to get to that point,” or “somebody should have been paying closer attention…” yep, I sure did. So color me surprised when I was inches away from committing that “ultimate selfish act.”

What happened? How did I get to a place where I thought death would be better than living?  Years…it took years.  Too many years trapped in my own head with the same “voices” repeating my failures over and over.  Those thoughts squashed any successes I should’ve held closer and celebrated.

My actions caused me great pain, which led to great shame, which led to, in my head, believing I had only one way out.  No one knew.  I hid it well.  I for sure, didn’t go around talking about it.  I didn’t take any steps to prepare for it, didn’t prepare a will or write a note, it all just came to a head and I just wanted the pain gone.  I didn’t stop to consider anything else.  Nothing and no one else mattered.  The pain was just too overwhelming and I was tired of putting on the “I’m fine” façade.

At the time I was still in the military.  I attended all kinds of training about “how to” help someone or “how to” spot the signs of someone “in trouble.”  Maybe it was in that training I learned what not to show others.  I knew who I could go to, and I knew if I did what it could cost my career if I admitted such a thing.  I wasn’t going to be “that” person everyone whispered about when it came to my mental health.   How sad that I cared more about those things than I did in taking care of me.

Thankfully, my plans didn’t prevail.  God stepped in and showed me a better way.  God helped me see the person He sees and He’s showing me the person He created me to be.  This too has taken years, but I was a hot mess and there’s lots to reverse.  However long it takes, I’m in it all the way to see what He’s planned for me.  “For I know the plans I have for you, “declares the LORD,” plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)

I know whose waiting for me at the finish line….and until He calls me home I will continue to push forward where I’m planted, while He cheers me on.  So while I’m living for today, I want to live for my life eternal.  I’m not perfect, and I’ll make mistakes, but ya know what?  God already knew that and He gives me grace and loves me anyways!!  How awesome and amazing is that?!

Whatever you’re facing, whatever trial seems too much for you, is not too hard when you grasp onto the hands of Jesus.  Claim Him as your Savior and watch what He will do.  You won’t want to miss one second of what He has for you.  This life needs you and believe it or not, someone needs the gifts you have to offer.  Choose life my friends.  Choose Christ!!

Father God I just pray that for anyone reading this, they realize they are not a mistake, that you made them for a purpose and no matter what they have done, You are there with forgiving arms.  Nothing is wasted Lord and nothing is too hard for You.  You are the master and creator of ALL things, including your precious children and this precious child…(insert your name here).   I lift…(insert your name here) up to you Lord and  claim Your love, comfort and peace wash over and in them, right now as they seek you.  You love us so much Lord, You gave Your one and only Son to die for us, to remove our sins, and I pray this precious child understands You love them beyond anything they could ever imagine. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

Rascal Flatts – Why

Choose Life–Big Tent Revival

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Please Don’t Inject Color Here

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Some years ago, I had this friend.  She was beautiful. Every time I looked at her, I thought how pretty she was, and one day I decided to tell her.  She thanked me and the days passed by one by one.  Telling someone they were pretty back then didn’t come naturally to me.  Maybe inside I was jealous over their beauty, or to me, it just seemed liked they might already know it.

However, my friend wasn’t overly thrilled with the fact that I had told her she was pretty.  At the time I told her, I didn’t know that.  It was actually a couple months later when she decided to talk with me about what I had told her. 

She asked if I remembered telling her she was pretty and I said yes.  She said, so you think I’m pretty for woman and again I said yes, and then she said, so why when you told me I was pretty, did you say I was pretty for a black woman?  The obvious answer to me, was, well, because you’re black.  The point she made was, she was a woman and the color of her skin shouldn’t have come into play.  Ouch!!

I had injected color where color did not belong.  Here I thought I had paid her a compliment, but instead I had insulted her.  Needless to say, I was floored.  I had no idea.  I was of course apologetic but our friendship changed, and it was never quite the same.  We were both in the military at the time, and eventually we lost touch, but her life lesson has remained.

We are all children of God, it doesn’t matter the color of our skin.  God looks at our hearts, not our appearance.  We are all uniquely and individually made and while our backgrounds are different, His message is clear, “A new command I give you: Love one   another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.  By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”~~ John 13:34-35 (NIV)

Nowhere in that verse does it say love one another based on the color of their skin or that we are to live as colors.  We are to live as children of God.  And yet, everyday, we see life lived just the opposite.  We verbally and physically attack one another based on what we are instead of treating each other out of the respect for who we are and who we are is His children.  Just like watching our children fight, imagine how it must make God feel to see the way we fight amongst ourselves.     

This video clip is circulating around the internet from the television show, “What would you do?” 

Clip from “What would you do”

I’ll just let you watch it and come to your own conclusion, but what a powerful message!! Some parts just brought tears to my eyes.  How we treat each other is paramount to the testimony of our lives and what we are passing down to the next generation.  We have to be the change.

Michael Jackson was an amazing artist.  I don’t care what anyone says about him, that man was talented with a capital T.  In November of 1991, the song he sang called “Black or White” was released and of course there was an awesome video made. Towards the end of this video, the actors seamlessly transform from men to women of all colors, shapes and sizes.  So very cool they way they did this.  Still amazes me.  Best line in my opinion from that song; “I’m not gonna spend my life being a color.”  You can watch the video here: Michael Jackson~~Black or White

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want anything to define me.  Not the number on a scale, not my past, not my age, not my job, not societal standards of wealth, or the color of my skin. Those “things” just put limits on who God says I am.  God is limitless, and who am I to put a limit on an infinite God and what He will do in my life.

Ephesians 3:16-21 reads, “I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.  Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever! Amen.”

Did you really catch this promise~~  “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.”

His power is at work within us and can do more than we can imagine.  Wrap your head around that and let Father God show you who you are.  Don’t be defined by the things of this world, but look up and know that He is God.

 

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Would you get married if…

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Every little girl dreams of the day she will get married. Maybe the vision starts with Barbie marrying G. I. Joe, or some other set of toy dolls. Maybe it starts with wrapping a sheet around her body and holding some dandelions plucked from the yard as she walks down the aisle to a stuffed teddy bear. 

Eventually you graduate from the childlike wonder of the wedding to the big girl dreams of the perfect man.  Yes, we are looking for the perfect man…not perfect in the he has to be the best of everything, he just needs to be perfect for her.

Today the traditional marriage vows don’t always come into play as some decide to write their own vows to declare the love they have for each other.  But I wonder if anyone would ever get married if the vows looked something more like this…

I vow to totally put my needs above yours

I vow to withhold sex from you when I don’t get my way, which I already know will be a lot!!

I vow to spend money on whatever I want and not care about debt

I vow to lie to you every once in a whilesometimes…no, make that daily

I vow to cheat on you whenever a better opportunity presents itself

I vow to check out other people even when we’re out together, because you never know when that opportunity to cheat on you could arise

I vow to take my wedding ring off when I’m on business trips so maybe I can get some action, since I’m unappreciated at home

I vow to ignore you while I play on my smart phone, tablet or dive deep into the pages of a book or if my favorite tv show is on…anything over talking with you

I vow to talk to all my friends about the things I don’t like about you, while I give you the silent treatment

I vow to totally tear you down while I build myself up

I vow to nitpick you to death

I vow to disregard your opinion because you really just don’t understand me

I vow to put my friends’ advice above yours because you really just don’t understand me

I vow that at some point I will hope you would just die

I vow to bring porn into the marriage in an effort to spice things up

I vow to drink copious amounts of alcohol to numb myself

I vow to slap you upside your head because I can’t control my anger

I vow to eat my way into oblivion finding solace in all things food

I vow to gamble and hide my addiction until it’s too late and we lose everything

I vow to make life so miserable that you will ask for a divorce so that I can play the victim

I vow to divorce you the second things get too hard…forget that better or worse mess

I vow to divorce you if my affair turns into something more than just a casual fling

I vow to divorce you because, well, simply put…you just don’t do it for me anymore

Sounds appealing doesn’t it? This is what happens when the marriage becomes all about you. Marriage isn’t about the wedding day, the cake, the rehearsal dinner or the honeymoon.  Contrary to modern day belief, it’s not about the bride and her dress or even the rings. The day, the cake, the dinner, the honeymoon, the dress, the rings….those are things.  If you lose your wedding ring, it can be replaced. Is it upsetting to lose the ring, you bet it is, but marriage isn’t about things, it’s about people. Things don’t have feelings. People do.  

Bottom line…marriage is not something you shop for at a convenience store.  Marriage is a union of two souls, it’s a recommitment every day and if you know what’s good for your marriage, it’s first and foremost about honoring God.  If you’re honoring God, letting Him lead, then you know the words “let no man tear asunder” are more than just mere words. They are a way of life.  By the way, “let NO man/woman, tear asunder” includes you.  Don’t let that person who tears your marriage asunder be you. 

Marriage is a gift you get to open every day.  How are you treating your gift today?   What kind of advertisement are you for your spouse? Please take about 10 minutes to watch this very enlightening video.  Just click on the link below.  

When you lose your first love~~Marriage Today~~Jimmy Evans

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I wasn’t equipped to handle it

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Abuse, whether it’s caused by your own actions or someone else’s, unless you deal with it, it will deal with you.  It will haunt you, rob you of joy and suck the life right out of you and those around you.    

When I was in the military, community outreach was always promoted as something we should get involved in.  I volunteered for several organizations over the course of my career.  At the time, my heart cried out to those who couldn’t speak up for themselves, so I found areas where I could help with abused and neglected children.

Several years ago I found myself in a meeting with a few other volunteers who had a heart like mine for these little souls. To be honest, it was so long ago, I don’t remember the name of the place or how I even was led to this place.   But, I do remember the group director saying “whatever you do, no matter what these kids say to you, do not react with any kind of emotion. They don’t always understand the things that happened to them, but they do sometimes tell their story.”  That was pretty much the extent of training received.

Let me just say, I had no idea what I had gotten myself into.  I figured this was gonna be an easy check mark in the volunteering section of my annual appraisal and then I could just go about my everyday life.  I really just thought this was gonna be like a big babysitting type gig.  Get in, watch some kids, get out.  I don’t think I will ever forget her beautiful little face.  So innocent, so trusting and fragile that you just wanted to scoop her up and give her a big ol’ hug.  You couldn’t help but notice her.

Then she looked at me..her big blue eyes, her long blond hair, and truly, an angelic face.  She just skipped right up to me, smiled and said; I have to tell you something. She grabbed my hand and she led me to a door that led into a stairwell.  She was just so stinkin’ adorable and I couldn’t help but smile. She told me to sit down and I was thinking this was just some type of game she wanted to play.  Then she sat next to me and started talking.  Not in a normal speaking voice, but more of a hushed voice.   It didn’t take long for me to figure out this was not a game.

The director’s voice came back to me….”don’t show any emotion.”  So, I just sat there and listened to her tale of abuse. I couldn’t figure out why this small, beautiful soul had picked me to listen to her story.  She never looked at me while she spoke. She just looked straight ahead. When she was done, she got up and walked back into the room where all the other children were playing.  I sat there for a few more minutes, unbelieving what just happened, and then I got to my feet, and I walked into the same room where they all played, and I kept walking, right out of that room and into the evening air.  I never looked back because there were tears streaming down my face.  My fists were balled up containing the rage that I wanted to release into the world but I knew that would need to wait. I just needed to make it to my car, get inside and drive away.  I never went back. I wasn’t equipped to handle that kind of truth.

As a child, my life was less than stellar.  As I grew up, there were things I forgot.  Things I never wanted to think about and things I wanted to run as far away from as I could.  I guess you could say, I wasn’t equipped to handle my own past.  I chose to bury it and not deal with it.  But this led to the decaying of my soul and the stink buried deep inside…well…let’s just say the funk rose to the top and started seeping out into the areas of my life, flooding into my  relationships, and causing major meltdowns.  I was a hazardous waste dump.  Something had to give.

That something was almost my life.  I had made of mess of things.  I didn’t think there was any way to recover.  Everything hurt too much, took too much effort, and who cared any ways.  Life sucked and I wanted out.  I had let all the abuse in my life deal with me. But God stepped in…and no, my life didn’t immediately get better, in fact some things got worse.  But day by day, hand in hand with God, I can see the times He was with me, even if I wasn’t with Him.  I can see how He was calling, but I wasn’t equipped to hear Him.  I shut Him out and He waited and I’m sure while He waited and watched, I broke His heart with the story my life had become.

But here’s the beauty of that mess.  My story can become HIS-tory.  My mess can be His message.  Jesus walked before us, He knew what this world was about and He knew nothing good could come from participating in the actions related to “thou shalt not.” Those commandments are as relevant today as they were the day God first gave them to us.  I guarantee you won’t fret over doing the right thing like you will over doing the wrong thing.  And yea, I made choices, some good, some not so good and there were and will be consequences to every decision I make.  The difference now is I’m letting God do the leading, and I’m equipping myself daily with His word…His instructions for how to walk through this life, so next time I’ll be equipped to handle what God places in my path.

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