Blessed to be Broken

God's not finished with me yet!

The Choice You Choose

The hard fact of the matter is, you may not like it, you may not agree with it, but it is their body and it is their choice. Please, hear me out. Your right to believe in something does not give you the right to stomp all over someone else’s choice and make them feel less than because you believe your choice is better.

Screaming louder does not make your choice superior. Nasty quotes and making fun of things you wouldn’t choose, or name-calling is a form of bullying, allowing for division and pompous “knowledge” to rule over compassion.

From choosing whether or not to go to college, choosing a career path, getting tattooed or pierced, who to vote for, pro-life or pro-choice, having sex before marriage or not, to eat the donut or not, and so many more, are all choices an individual makes. You and I both know that choice conviction comes from God, not man.

Need an example? Read John, chapter 4 or 8. Let’s look at John, chapter 8. Here we learn the penalty for adultery is death by stoning. Could you imagine being hit full force, over and over with stones laced with hatred and “righteous” indignation, until you died? Umm, no, thank you. I’ll take a hard pass on that one!

But, that was not the case in this story. Two people decided to commit adultery anyways. They both made the choice and agreed that the act of committing adultery was worth dying for.

No matter the law, or what anyone else may have said, in the end, despite knowing the severe penalty it was their choice. They wanted what they wanted and they went for it.

Maybe like them, and dare I say me, you’ve made dangerous choices that weren’t in your best interest. Choices, no doubt others didn’t agree with or wouldn’t do. Choices others warned you about. Choices deep down you knew were wrong. So.Very.Wrong.

But if someone made the “wrong” decision in your eyes, what was your choice? Did you fight fire with fire or did your words/actions help put out the flames? Ugh, let me just say, I’ve fought fire with fire. But, I’ve learned that tactic only causes division, heartache, and regret.

Friends, God didn’t call us to shame and condemn one another. When did any of that ever make a relationship better? You could actually push the person to do exactly what you’d rather have them not do by being so crazy zealous over what you think they should do.

All you have to do is look back over your life and I bet you find a decision you made was because someone “forbade” you to do it. And you got all puffed up and under your breath, you muttered: “I’ll show them.”

Just so you know, that’s probably proof you shouldn’t make that decision. Nothing good ever really comes from, “I’ll show them.” Oy to the vey!

When did we get so wrapped up in trying to live other people’s lives, we forgot how to live our own because we knew in our knower, we “knew” what was best for them?

Why would I think I’m so good at telling others how to live their lives when my life can be such a mess? Maybe because it’s easier to put our focus on others instead of cleaning our own house?

In all honesty, I think we truly have the best of intentions when we want our loved ones and others to learn from our mistakes. I mean, experience must count for something, right? Seeing others fail must make a positive impact on our choices, right? That would be awesome, but it’s just not always the case.

A lot of my family members were alcoholics. I witnessed the devastation from it. I knew my chances of becoming an alcoholic were higher than others. I was educated on the effects alcohol has on the body and brain. However, despite being armed with all that knowledge, I still drank copious amounts of alcohol for years. That’s right, years. So.Many.Years.

No one made me do it. I chose it and many suffered from those choices. I can’t change it. It’s part of my story. But, it doesn’t define me. And no one can make me feel worse about my choices than myself.

The result of condemnation from myself is bad enough, but pile on condemnation from others and my little “woe is me” pit, will quickly escalate into a cavernous pit of self worthlessness and defeat. It’s the perfect place for the enemy to come in and keep talking me down.

Is that what we want? To help the enemy kick a person when they’re already so down on life they might not find their way back? What proverbial stone are you picking up and launching via your mouth, just because someone made a choice you wouldn’t? And don’t think that disapproving scowl goes unnoticed. That’s just adding insult to injury.

If we truly trust God, then can we have faith that while we “know best”, He actually knows better? That in fact, Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:16) and not you. That what we should choose instead of slapping people with our churlish tongues is to pray for them while we love them through it? Not berate them through it?

And since we trust that God knows better than our best, maybe we should ask Him how we can help, not further hurt another.  Actually, pray for God to show you, your part in this process. Psalm 51:10 is an awesome prayer, “Create in me a clean heart, and renew a right spirit within me.” (bold emphasis added) Notice, you put the focus back on you in this instance and off of them. Lord, how can I help and not hurt?

Y’all, hate, bitterness, and rage are harsh taskmasters. All kinds of unhealthy emotions and physical and mental unwellness are tied to it.

In a world of “what have they done for me lately” (Totally just sang that Janet Jackson style) maybe start asking “what can I do for them?” Because in the end, all the shoulda, coulda, woulda’s and what-ifs, will never change the choice of what is. And when someone leaves this earth, you won’t worry or regret that you coulda, shoulda, woulda done something more.

We’re really only a choice away from what someone else chose. Every choice has a ripple effect. They’ll touch more than just our own life and we may never know how what we chose to do, say or act will impact another. But whatever they choose to do from what they’ve seen, learned or heard will be their choice.

So, share your stories. Share your failures and your wins. Share love, hope, and give great encouragement. Share your faith and your fears, and do unto others as you would have done to you. Share your gifts and give abundantly and don’t worry about the outcome. God’s got that part. Just do what you know to do with love and I guarantee you won’t regret it!

But that’s my choice, what’s yours?

Peace and much love to you my friends.

 

 

 

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Stay away from my husband…

Even though it was a voice I had never heard over the phone or ever before for that matter, I knew she was hurt, angry, and territorial despite her trembling voice which gave away the fear behind her words.

I was doing something upstairs in my bedroom when my son came in and handed me my cell phone and said it was for me.  I asked who it was and he didn’t know so I answered…”hello,” and she simply stated, “stay away from my husband.”  My first thought was…which one…whose wife could this be? But she continued on and revealed the little bit of what was going on because she’d found an email between myself and her husband.  Not my finest hour.

But you know what?  After we hung up, these were my thoughts.  Thank God my husband didn’t answer the phone and what was she doing calling me when she should have been talking to her husband?  In my righteous indignation, I thought, “if she’d have been the wife he needed, he wouldn’t have come looking for me.”  There, right there was my justification for being an intruder in someone else’s mess.

As the day wore on, I grew livid and even more indignant.  How dare…how dare THIS man put MY marriage in jeopardy by being so stupid as to leave “evidence” out in the open for his wife to find? How dare she call me and try to put me in my place?  Are you getting the irony of this?  Do you see the problem here?

My day was spent with my heart doing a new little pittery pattery type of “how to cover my tracks” dance while I thought of ways to make this go away so my own marriage wasn’t affected.  Ummm…too late.  It was affected when I chose to step outside of the sacred marriage bond and smack onto Satan’s playground.

When I was a little girl, my family would go camping.  If they couldn’t find me close by, my mom knew I had traveled to the women’s restroom so I could talk with whoever would listen.  She told me she would either come herself or send one of my brothers to come get me.  She knew I would be telling those souls who would listen how my daddy was drunk and my parents were arguing.  Lord knows what else I may have babbled on about.

During the majority of my school years, I would be set off to the side at a table or desk by myself so I would keep quiet.  Ummm…helllloooo, I wasn’t talking to myself, but it was me who invariably wound up separated from the pack.

I once got into a fist fight because of my never ending chatter. Nice way of saying gossip. I have a point.

Yes, I was an adulterer…a very brazen adulterer.  I didn’t know my worth.  I didn’t know my place.  I didn’t understand the full affect of my actions.  Yes, I knew right from wrong….however, when you hang with the adulterous crowd, the wrong fades into the background.  Birds of a feather most certainly do flock together. But, in the end, I’m responsible for my actions.  I own them.

Before you throw that proverbial stone my way, make sure your slate is clean.  Would it make it better if you knew the destruction I brought into my own life?  Would it be helpful to know the guilt, shame, and regret brought me to the point of a suicide attempt?  Maybe you’re thinking….good, you reap what you sew.  But my answer to that is, it matters not what you think.  You weren’t there. You don’t know why it was permitted in my life.

What I do know is, its part of His redemptive story in me and just like all those years ago telling strangers about my parents arguing, I can’t keep silent about this any longer.  It screams to be released and I won’t let it consume me any longer.  I was meant for more.  And if you find yourself in an adulterous relationship, in case no one has ever said this to you…let me say it.  You were meant for more.  You are worth so much more than being someone’s side dish.  You deserve to be the main course.

I no longer dance on the devil’s playground.  Being lulled into a honey trap of deceit, dishonesty, shame, and guilt wields no power only regrets.

These days I dance on God’s amazing dance floor.  I have nothing to hide.  I twirl and spin as He holds my hand and calls me redeemed, forgiven, precious, a jewel to behold and daughter of the One True King!!  I owe Him everything because He gave His ALL for me.  Let me tell you, this life….this resurrected life…a bazillion times better than I could have ever imagined.   He is all that and beyond.  He’s where I find my salvation and here is where I sit, at the foot of the cross where my sins are nailed and forgotten.  No sin is worth my joy.  Jesus…there’s my joy.   Jesus….there’s my life.

If you need a little more insight…take a look at a story written long ago…

John 8:1-11~~“Jesus returned to the Mount of Olives,  but early the next morning he was back again at the Temple. A crowd soon gathered, and he sat down and taught them.  As he was speaking, the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in the act of adultery. They put her in front of the crowd.

“Teacher,” they said to Jesus, “this woman was caught in the act of adultery.  The law of Moses says to stone her. What do you say?”

They were trying to trap him into saying something they could use against him, but Jesus stooped down and wrote in the dust with his finger.  They kept demanding an answer, so he stood up again and said, “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!” Then he stooped down again and wrote in the dust.

When the accusers heard this, they slipped away one by one, beginning with the oldest, until only Jesus was left in the middle of the crowd with the woman. Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?”

 “No, Lord,” she said.

And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.

Repent, ask forgiveness, and sin no more…yes, it can be that simple.  Grace is the pardon for your jail time, but not a license not to change.  “Go, and sin no more.”  Means you’re not stuck in the pit you created.  Means you have an out.  Grab your “get out of jail” free card and live the life He created you for…live the beautiful life.

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You Never Forget Your First…

Pick a first…any first in your life that you can remember from the time that you could….well, remember.

You’re first kiss.  The first time you held hands with a crush.  The first time your heart was broken.   You’re first roller coaster ride or plane trip.   The first time you “knew” what you wanted to be when you grew up.  The first time you got humiliated, or bullied, got detention or even the paddle at school.  Your first team win, or loss.  A realized dream come true, or a dream crushed.

I remember the first time I got caught singing by a total stranger.  I was walking home from the store and I sang the words, “baby, baby, don’t get hooked on me, cause I’ll just use you, then I’ll set you freeeeeee, baby, baby, don’t get hooked on me.”  The song was by Mac Davis. Ironically, he also sang the song, “Oh Lord, it’s hard to be humble, when you’re perfect in every way.”  I digress.  When I finished singing, this guy passed me, turned around, looked at me and smiled.  I was a bit taken back that someone had heard me. For whatever reasons, I liked these songs…very self-absorbed songs.

I remember saying on more than one occasion growing up, life was too short to be unhappy, and if I ever got married and it wasn’t fun, I wouldn’t stick around.  Yep, I made that all about me!  I also said “people weren’t made to stay married for 50 years!!”  “Back in the day before medical advances, people got sick and died or were killed, and the widower remarried.” As you can tell, I didn’t have any relationship role models.

This leads me to the first I never thought I would have.  I most certainly never uttered the words,”I can’t wait to grow up and cheat on my spouse.”  And yet, I did.  It’s a first I will never forget.  I never dreamt of divorce, I dreamt of marriage.  I did both.  Firsts, I’ll never forget.

I wonder if the woman who was brought to Jesus to be stoned for her sin of adultery actually did as He said…”go, and sin no more.”  I wonder what she must have looked like from the inside out.  What mess in her life brought her to commit adultery?  How she justified the act in her mind.  I wonder if she considered herself fortunate to escape her punishment?  Knowing that women thousands of years ago committed the same act as we…I did…sure hasn’t stopped history from repeating itself.  I dare say, sexual immorality runneth amok!!

It would appear instead of adultery being frowned upon, it’s glamorized in tv shows, movies, reality shows, books, etc.  I can look back and remember my favorite soap operas being all the talk about who was cheating with who.  Or is that whom? To be honest, I’m glad most of them are now off the air.  I stopped watching them, years ago.

The tragic part of all this glamorization of adulterous living is in real life… getting cheated on hurts.  Truth be told, there is no victory in this tangled mess.  I can tell you from personal experience that no good comes from committing adultery.  Eventually, there is a price to be paid.  Your conscience will catch up with you, and you will never forget those firsts.

You can no doubt go back through your mind and pick out all kinds of happy and sad “firsts.”  Hopefully, you have more smiles than tears.  But whichever that may be, today is a new day that can be filled with firsts.  You’re here, life is not over!!  You’re story is not over, it’s just beginning.

And just like the adulterous woman, you too can come to Jesus, repent of your sin, be forgiven as far as the east is to the west, (because God is just that awesome) and with God’s help, “sin no more.”  But….what devastation did you leave in the wake of your lust?  No sin goes unpunished.  Someone will suffer. There are consequences to every choice we make.  What choice are you making?  More importantly, who are you making it for and what will it look like when the choice has been made and the action completed?

Some of the hardest lessons learned come from being all about self.  I’ll never forget the first time someone told me, “everything in life is not about you. “  It was like I just got slapped upside my head.  So this is me, paying that forward. Consider this your slap upside the head if you’re living life all about you.    Wake up!!  Life is not about you.  It has never, nor will it ever be about you.  It’s about the One who gave His life for you, the One who suffered and died for your sins.  Get over yourself already and start living for an eternal life.

“Then Jesus went to work on his disciples. “Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You’re not in the driver’s seat; I am. Don’t run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I’ll show you how. Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to finding yourself, your true self. What kind of deal is it to get everything you want but lose yourself? What could you ever trade your soul for?” ~~Matthew 16:24-26 (The Message)

“What could you ever trade your soul for?”  Think about it.  Where will you be spending eternity?

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