Blessed to be Broken

God's not finished with me yet!

You Can’t Out Maneuver God

Has anyone ever told you not to pray for patience because God will give you situations that will require…well, patience? This is me, raising my hand. Is that truth? I can’t really answer that for you, but I have seen a few instances in my own life where it seemed true. Just put me in a car and you’re sure to find out! Ha!

I’m a retired military gal. Being a strategist was part of the job. 

Lately I find myself praying strategically. I’m in the middle of a heartfelt prayer but then I step on my mental brakes and really think about what I’m asking. It’s like pulling back on a horse’s reins and repeatedly saying, whoa, whoa, whoaaaaa, now!

You’d think this would be a good thing, but truth be told, after I ask the Lord to (fill in the blank) I start playing out all the scenarios of how He might answer. Pretty soon, the praying stops, and I find myself in a panic and I try to rewind what I prayed. Do I really want my loved ones to know Jesus at ANY cost? What if God hurts them? What if He makes me sick? What if He takes everything from them like in the book of Job? And the list goes on and on.

Next thing I know I’m wading through my worry pool.

Lord, help me. When did I become even remotely like God in knowing how He’s going to do anything?

Control is something that gives me comfort.  Even though I know at any given moment my illusion of control can be obliterated, I still try to hold onto it.

Janet Jackson’s biography recently aired on tv. Can I just say how much I loved her style, her music, and envied her beauty?! What an icon!

Her song, “Control” was off the hook back in the day when it came on the scene in 1986. Okay, I may have just showed my age a bit. Do people still say “off the hook?”

The words to that song became an anthem to many who were tired of being controlled. Like Janet, we all wanted to be the one “in control.”

During the documentary I learned she dated and eventually married a man who seemed to film her every moment and “controlled” a lot of what she did. It was exactly the opposite lifestyle of her song. Side note. Since I wasn’t there I only gathered this snippet of information from her documentary. I’m in no way putting this phenomenal woman down.

My point is, it’s not so easy to be the one in control because there’s always someone who wants to be more in control. Take a look at the current world situations and you can see exactly what I mean. One power play after another. It’s exhausting to be part of someone else’s power trip.

It’s like when I pray. I know God is omniscient. I know He’s truly the only One in control but I don’t always act like it. I don’t want things to get uncomfortable for people. Yet, I desperately want them to know Jesus. So, I try to out maneuver how I think He’s going to move. That worked out really well for Pharaoh, right?

I don’t know anyone’s full story or relationship status with Jesus, but somehow I feel it’s my duty to tell God how to do what only He knows best to do.

Thankfully, God knows my heart. He knows where my misguided love of control comes from and we’re working on it. He’s so patient, loving, and kind as I learn to release my whole heart to Him.

When I start to panic over something I prayed and think I’m controlling any of the way He answers it, He reminds me who I am by showing me who He is.

I don’t know when in this journey with God I became fearful of Him in all the wrong ways. I do know it’s changed the dynamic of our relationship. It’s not because He’s changed, it’s because I allowed fear to creep in between us and build a wall.

Once again I found myself more comfortable being the one “in control.” Except it didn’t bring me peace. It brought anxiety, fear, and doubt. Every time I made a move I questioned it. I fretted over being in God’s will. I sought the things of this world over the One who has ALL authority over this fallen world.

Maybe like me, fear took a hold of some part of your being and it’s pushing you around and trying to back you into a corner. It’s ok. God knows exactly where you’re at and He’s still with you. He’s still for you. How do I know? Let me share one of my favorite heart verses from Him:

“The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.”

Zephaniah 3:17 (NIV)

I call it a heart verse because it speaks directly to my heart and makes my eyes well up with emotionally charged tears.

God will never force us to trust and obey Him. He graciously gives us a choice. Personally speaking I’m learning more and more that trusting God’s plan for me and anyone else is the very best plan of all. And that my friends, will give you peace!

Have an amazing day! You are loved!

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Silly Love Songs

The other day I overheard a few bars of a familiar song. I remember really liking this song back in the day, and now I wanted to hear it. I googled the lyrics “I’m not a perfect…” and before I could finish typing, google filled in the rest for me. I clicked the link to the “official video” and then I got distracted. It would be a couple more days before I actually listened to the song.

I’m extremely interested in song lyrics and the history behind the songs. Which is funny, because I can’t say I ever really cared for History classes and such. I’m learning to appreciate history more as I age. Math? Not so much. Ha! I digress.

The song’s real name is “The Reason” and it’s sung by a band called, Hoobastank. No, that’s not a typo. I’ll let you google the song if you want to know its’ history, I more want to chat about the lyrics. Are you ready?

“I’m not a perfect person

There’s many things I wish I didn’t do

But I continue learning

I never meant to do those things to you

And so I have to say before I go

That I just want you to know”

I don’t know about you, but those words really resonate with me. Probably not in the way you might think.

Let’s look at the next stanza:

“I’ve found a reason for me

To change who I used to be

A reason to start over new

And the reason is you”

Change. Change is hard. But according to these lyrics the reason for changing is “you”. Ok, one more stanza:

“I’m sorry that I hurt you

It’s something I must live with everyday

And all the pain I put you through

I wish that I could take it all away

And be the one who catches all your tears

That’s why I need you to hear”

Those are some pretty powerful lyrics wouldn’t you agree? If you’re an emotional person like me, you might listen to the song and get all teary eyed because someone came to your mind. I’m going to share with you who first came into my mind, no, more my heart. It was me. I came to my mind. I was like, no, that can’t be right. Except it was. God was speaking to my heart about the hurt I’ve caused myself.

It’s imperative to know that when you pray to God for healing, He’s specific in getting your attention. He’s absolutely not limited to what He can use. I’ve dealt a lot with the pain caused by others, but getting personal about the pain I’ve caused myself is, well, too uncomfortable. It means I have to own my behavior. It means I have to take accountability, and it means apologies will be part of the healing process. And it means, dun, dun, dun…change.

Like the first line in the song, “I’m not a perfect person”. I haven’t found one person on earth who can truly claim through and through, they’re perfect.

There are things, “I wish I didn’t do”. Unfortunately, no amount of wishing is going to change what’s done.

But, in order to keep learning, and moving forward, it was time to visit places where I knew I needed not only forgiveness for me, but from my Heavenly Father. You see in the process of hurting me, I also hurt the One who created me. Did He want me to suffer those things? To cause myself pain? No.

The hurtful choices I made are my own. The hurtful words I say to myself are a reflection of the wordily standards I’ve mistakenly placed over and in my life. Those hurtful, ugly words…not from Jesus. He speaks words of life.

The beauty here is that unlike the lyric, “it’s something I must live with everyday”, I can lay the yoke of any burden that threatens to “kill, steal and destroy” (John 10:10) down at the feet of my Savior and He will forgive my transgression as far as the east is to the west (Psalm 103:12). I need only to receive the grace, mercy, love and forgiveness to live the abundant life my Father promises.

It’s a choice. Receive the abundant gifts or live in my own bitterness, resentment, and hurt. It’s a renewing of the mind (Romans 12:2) that needs to happen. Kicking the old thoughts to the curb and replacing them with the affirming life giving words from the lover our souls, Jesus Christ.

I don’t have to get caught up in the words of the silly love songs that threaten to take me down a rabbit hole of depression and angst. I don’t need a song to make me feel worse about myself. I got that covered pretty good, thank you very much. I don’t need a song that reminds me of the things I don’t have because of my screw-ups. I don’t need a song that speaks death into my life because I no longer have a “love” that only loved me for their convenience and ease. And I most assuredly don’t need a song that attacks who I am. Which by the way, is not a piece of meat to pick apart or tear down.

I can flip the script on all the silly love songs and have them be a life affirming love song between me and my Heavenly Father. And let’s talk about one last line of this song:

“I wish that I could take it all away”

Hindsight is 20/20, and if wishes were fishes, we’d all have a fry. The fact of the matter is, we have a choice over the words that come out of our mouth. And, we have a choice over our actions. See me and know I’m here with you. Because, “I’m not a perfect person,” is truth. I make mistakes. But it’s ok as long as I don’t allow it to become an excuse to change what God shows me needs changed. There’s a fancy word for that…it’s called repent. Which means to turn from your current “hurtful”/sinful ways.

Is it any wonder God gave us these words:

Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger;

James 1:19 (ESV)

Every person. No exemptions. Every.

God gifted us with two ears, and one mouth. Quick to hear, slow to speak. He knew how easy it is to be reactionary over cautionary. He gave us the instructions, what we do with them is a choice.

And with that, I’ll leave you with this, there’s nothing wrong with silly love songs, just be aware of the way you allow them to affect your heart; because everything you do, flows from it.

Happy Valentine’s day my friends. Remember, it’s still the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice in that!

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Finite Thinking

I recently did a thing. I resigned my full-time position. To be fair, when I entered back into the work fray after my military retirement, I only wanted a part-time position. Which is what I originally found but then a couple years into things, and a couple of position changes later, it morphed into a full-time position.

I tend to stay longer than I know I’m supposed to because I don’t always trust when God says move. It doesn’t always make sense. So, I bargain with God and I plead my side of things and try to out maneuver God with how I think things will go or that maybe, just maybe, He’ll change His mind. I walk by my finite thinking and sight instead of walking in faith.

As I was reading my Bible this morning and journaling the verses I was prompted to read in my Cultivate What Matters – Write the Word Journal, I found myself contemplating Adam and Eve. These were the verses I was given to journal:

The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”

Genesis 2:15-27 (ESV)

God commanded Adam (the man) not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. He even told him the consequence that went along with disobeying that commandment. Let’s look at what God did for Adam:

  • Gave Adam life
  • Gave him an awesome place to live
  • Put him in charge of working and keeping the garden (no doubt to keep him away from social media and all things news) HA!
  • Gave him an abundance of food

All God commanded was one thing. Don’t eat from the one tree. And yet, even with all he’d been given, he ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

From the very beginning God has given, warned, and watched His children choose sin over and over again. And yet, He still provides. Not only does He provide, but He comes after us so we won’t hide in our sin.

I don’t believe the story of Adam and Eve being the first personal story is any mistake. More often than not, we tend look to the sin factor of the story. We look at what Adam and Eve did over all the things God did before and after they ate the fruit from the forbidden tree.

Did He like what they did? Nope. Did He give them a pre-cursor of things to come should they do what they wanted? Yep. Did they hide from God because of fear, shame and guilt? Yep. By the way, fear, shame and guilt were part of the evil knowledge.

It’s important we don’t lose sight of God’s character here. He may have loved them through their sin, but consequences came with that original sin that still affect us today. Sin is no joke to God. Yes, you have free will to choose sin, but make no mistake, your sin, just like Adam and Eve’s sin, affects more than you and can cause serious generational damage. Because quite frankly, nothing is just about you. Nothing.

That’s why it’s imperative we keep our eyes fixed on God, not ourselves. We are flawed yet He calls us His masterpiece. We are sinful, yet He gives us a way out of sinning. He’s a loving Father who provides a way each and every day for us. Choose your path wisely!

A rose by any other name is still a rose. A sin by any other name is still a sin. God hasn’t changed His mind about sin. Have you? Walking by our finite thinking and sight is dangerous. It puts God in a box and brings Him down to our level. In the infamous words of Charlie Brown, good grief look where that’s gotten us!

Yet, God still provides. Why? Because God’s character doesn’t change. We do. And we think God should change with us. Sorry, it doesn’t work that way. We humans are a fickle lot. We do what makes us feel good, and what we think we deserve. Please know, I’m right there with you. I still make bad choices, but the more I grow in Christ, the more Christlike I become. That’s my hope and that’s His promise.

I’ll leave you with this reminder from Hebrews 13:8 about God’s character:

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

ESV

Think about the number of times your character has changed over the years. Now aren’t you glad we have a constant in Jesus? Amen and hallelujah!

Have an amazing day! After all, there’s not been one just like it! It’s all new, brought to you by…not you! Thank you, Jesus!

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