Blessed to be Broken

God's not finished with me yet!

Cover-Up

You know that moment everything is going really well and the next thing you know, tears are streaming down your face? Yeah, me too. It’s kinda important to pay attention to what’s happening in that moment. Then again, it’s way easier to ignore the inner turmoil and just “keep swimming” as Dory, the Pacific blue tang fish from Finding Nemo would say.

I recently visited Santa Rosa beach in Florida. It was beautiful. I’m not your typical beach- goer. I love to watch the ocean and all its majesty, but I neither care for sand or the things that live and breathe in those waters. Literally, shiver me timbers mate, at the thought of all the creepy, crawly, wiggly tentacle and sharp teeth having creatures that could come alongside me.

This particular beach had the softest sand and the prettiest shades of blue water. It was peaceful and just what my soul needed. What I didn’t appreciate were the translucent looking crabs. These camera shy claw pinchers would burrow under the sand to get away from any and all prying eyes. This didn’t stop my friend and I from trying to get the ones we saw to smile for the camera. And, it didn’t stop people from trying to catch them. It’s no wonder they took to burrowing under the sand.

One evening I was walking along the beach, getting my feet wet and decided to take a few pictures. Little did I know I was standing on one of them buried crabs. The crab had enough of me and scooted out from under my foot. I jumped up like a crazy arm and legs flailing ninja and quickly backed away from the water. Done! I wanted no more crab encounters.

Let’s talk about those crabs for a second, shall we? As I thought about the crabs I thought they had a good lesson about hiding. These crabs just wanted to do crabby things. Whatever that may be. They hid when they didn’t want to be seen, and they revealed their hiding place if too much pressure was put on them. I‘m guessing they hid because they automatically considered us a foe and it’s a good defense mechanism.

What the crabs may not know is what’s under where they’re trying to hide. Is it possible for an even bigger danger to be found? Only the crab knows.

We’re not too far off from the crabs. When someone hurts us, we tend to hide and cover-up the wounds with false words like ”I’m fine.” When too much pressure is applied we use learned defense mechanisms to ward off potential foes. I say foes because it gets harder to make friends when pain and hurt do the leading under the false bravado of ”I’m fine”.

I don’t know how deep those crabs can dig down, but, I know how deep wounds can go. That’s where I found myself the other day. Thinking everything was fine. I said I had forgiven this person. I appropriately and messily walked through the hurt with Jesus and declared myself healed.

Imagine my surprise when something out of the blue nudged that ”healed” place. I exclaimed, ”Lord, I thought we were done with this?” Now, this is a great place for the enemy to try and convince you what a failure you are because you’re still dealing what seems to be the same hurt. Don’t you dare buy a ticket to that condemnation show.

God wants to fully heal and restore you. If something you thought was healed comes back to “haunt” you, take this opportunity to go deeper with Jesus into healing. As I processed this familiar hurt once again, God showed me I had merely covered up the remainder because I thought it to be inconsequential to my journey.

Apparently, God didn’t think it was inconsequential. Friends, God loves you. He wants to fully heal and restore all the areas we try to hide. He knows all the bad and sad things that covering up and storing our hurts away does to our mind and body.

Feeling shame or guilt from not being where you think you ought to be on your healing/forgiving journey only hinders moving forward. It doesn’t stop it, but it adds undue pressure on top of it. Remember, condemnation is not from God.

I had to remind myself that I was years in the making of where I am today. Why would I think it would take mere seconds for the undoing? There’s beauty to be found in the ashes and my pile of ashes is pretty hefty. But that just means even more beauty to be discovered. That’s good news!

Wherever you are in your journey, let God walk with you. He knows how slow or fast that healing will take. And if you think its done and something nudges your heart to go deeper, trust that on the other side of deeper, is everything God intends for your good. Heal on my friends!

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Its Done Me Wrong

The other day I was watching TikTok and a reel came on with Richard Marx. Good Lord, talk about a blast from the past! Richard’s a singer/songwriter that sprang up in the 80s and recently joined the community of TikTokkers with a compilation reel of his hit songs.

I smiled as I listened to the songs but was sorely disappointed when I didn’t hear my favorite song, Hazard. It’s a haunting tale of a young boy who moved to a small town and the town folk found him less than desirable.

In this sad-ish tale, he managed to find one person in town who he gelled with, Mary. Mary loved sunsets, hanging by the river and being with him. That is until Mary goes missing and everyone looks to the “boy” as the reason to her disappearance. I say boy only because the song alone doesn’t allow for you to know years pass by and the two are now grown.

Once again, based on the song, you get the impression the boy, despite his cries of innocence is found guilty in Mary’s disappearance. Look at these lyrics from the bridge of the song:

“I think about my life gone by
How it’s done me wrong
There’s no escape for me this time
All of my rescues are gone, long gone”

The song video tells a different story. The villain in this story is actually the local town sheriff. And in the video, the accused man is actually seen walking away from the town, leaving it ”all” behind him.

The things of this life have a way of getting deep into our souls. When allowed to sit too long, they twist and turn our insides until we feel like the person in the song…”there’s no escape,” and nothing good is ever going to happen. Our mantra becomes, “this is as good as it gets”.

That’s how I felt when I left my hometown years ago and went into the military. I couldn’t wait to kick the dirt of Elmira off my shoes and leave it all behind.

God had other plans. 32 years or so after I left, I moved back to Elmira. The circumstances that brought me back are unimportant now. It’s in the past. Suffice it to say, I made some bad choices and once again, Elmira left a sour, bitter taste in my mouth.

Had I not returned to Elmira, I would’ve not gotten to spend precious time with my dearly departed brother. How I miss him.

I remember whining to God for the umpteenth about Elmira. How could this be part of His plan for me when He knew how much I hated it?

His answer; it’s not Elmira you have a problem with, it’s what happened to you here. That was kinda like a gut punch, taking the wind out of my sails. He was right, Elmira did nothing to me but in my eyes, it had done nothing for me either. Elmira was not the problem.

Dang it. Now I knew I had work to do. It was time to transform my thinking. (Romans 12:2)

As long as I was blaming a city, how could I forgive the life things that happened here? How could I escape from the clutches the negative strongholds had on my hardened heart?

One by one, as I drove or walked by places I would say out loud, “you didn’t defeat me”. “Lord, help me forgive what happened here. Lord, show me where you were in this?”

On my own, I would’ve kept holding onto the bitterness of the hurt and pain form these hurtful incidents.

It’s hard to turn beauty from ashes when you won’t let go of the ashes.

The hard things of this life when allowed to take up any kind of residence changes you. It’s why forgiveness is so vital in keeping our souls moving forward.

Unforgiveness cripples our forward momentum and keeps us in an invisible prison. Stuck inside this prison we become victims to the schemes of the enemy. It’s a perfect playground for him to keep you in the darkness of pain and suffering as he replays the events like a vinyl record skipping on the same note.

Whenever I read Bible verses about weeping and gnashing of teeth, I’m reminded the pain and suffering of unforgiveness go hand in hand with this. I know whenever something from my past creeps in, my teeth clench as my face changes and contorts to the distasteful memory.

Being brought back to Elmira was not a punishment from God. It was a blessing. No, it most assuredly didn’t feel like a blessing each time I visited or drove past a hurtful place. However, each time I invited God into the mess, I opened myself up to the possibility that God would fulfill His promise and redeem/restore another part of my story.

I’m still working through parts of my story that didn’t have that happily ever after ending. Instead of dreading those parts now, and as crazy as this may sound, I look forward to working it out with God. I want all the ashes gone. They serve me no good purpose and the weight of their pain is too heavy a burden for my heart.

Friend, I don’t know what’s caused you deep pain and suffering. But, know you weren’t alone when it happened and you’re not alone now. The first step is acknowledging what happened. Invite God into that mess and allow Him to walk it out with you. It may take several times. Don’t lose hope in the process Hang onto hope like it’s your best friend.

One last thing. Whatever your “its” done me wrong is, I daresay, and with boldness and godly confidence, this is not as good as it gets, the best it yet to come!

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I Believe In You

This morning I was having a conversation with my 5-year old baby grand. Every time I see her she imparts innocent wisdom my way. What is it that they say? Oh yea. Out of the mouths of babes. This morning out out the blue, she simply said, “I believe in you”.

It didn’t take long for the tears to well up in my eyes and start their trip down my cheeks. I didn’t even know, I needed to hear those words. But God did. So allow me to pay it forward.

If no one has told you lately, let me say with all the love I felt when my granddaughter said it me.

I believe in you.

I don’t know what you may be going through, but I believe if you’re reading this, God wanted you to know He heard you and He’s working on it! Our God never stops working!

Sometimes I picture God in Heaven with a glittery musical conductor’s baton. He points the baton and things begin moving in place. Trumpets sound, and then He twirls in another direction, points that baton and things begin working in concert together. The way it’s meant to.

God knows I’m a visual gal. Visual’s help me understand things better. Demonstrations help too!

Since I love music, I believe the visual of God with a glittery baton helps me better understand these verses from the book of Romans:

And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God’s own will. And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.

Romans 8:27-8:28 (NLT)

This visual picture also helps me remember God is not looking down at me, scowling. That’s how I pictured Him for a long time. Disappointed and sorely grieving over me. I constantly wondered why He allowed me to be here on planet earth. This was the misconception of God I had.

Comparing the pain humans cause to God’s actions has a tendency to make us believe God is just as angry and hurtful as humans can be.

Let’s not forget that God is the One who sent His Son down from Heaven so He could have a relationship with us. Not a condemning one, but a loving one.

As His Son hung on a cross, dying, He taught us the greatest act of love. He asked His Father to forgive the ones who put him on that cross. Forgive them, for they know not what they do. Even after He asked God to forgive them, they divided up his garments and cast lots for them. I guess it wasn’t enough to take His life, they needed to take it all. (Luke 23:34)

Anytime we confuse what God is doing with our limited understanding, we tend to lean toward the fallacy that God hates us. That includes the bigger picture of why God would allow His own Son to suffer. The bigger reason behind that is more than we could ever imagine and more than we could ever understand.

When God says He will take EVERYTHING to work together, He means both good and evil. Evil is a part of this world and God continues to use it for His glory. Because the darkness of evil will never prevail over the light of goodness.

It’s why He can promise to turn beauty from ashes. But, you have a part in that. You have to want to give up the “ashes”.

Beautiful friend, you will have people come into your life and not all of them will mean you well. I’m sorry for that. It sucks when people hurt others. But in order for us to live the life God intends, we need to move forward in love and forgiveness.

But just as those people come and go, so do ones who love you well. Hold onto them.

Pay close attention, because His love can come through people you never expected and yes, even 5-year old’s who simply say; “I believe in you”.

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Heal

A friend sent me a quote today. The world is full of quotes and memes and advice. If only quotes could fix all our problems after we read them and let them sit in our souls for a bit.

Just like anything else, we need to be careful what we allow to sit in our souls.

I’m not entirely sure as I type this out what I want to say. Writing everyday has been a bit of a challenge for me. Friends, we’re only 13 days into Lent which means there’s 27 more days to go of daily writing.

It’s not that I don’t usually write something everyday. I just don’t usually share it with the world. I always have plenty to say. Just ask any of my elementary teachers who put my desk in the corner from talking too much. Harumph!!

They always wrote on my report card that I was a daydreamer and that I talked too much during class. As if recess was ever enough time to get all your chattering done.

Reflecting back I don’t really recall what I was daydreaming about. Maybe it was being a star in either singing or acting. I use to love me a hairbrush microphone and a good 45 vinyl record. I do remember wishing I had big hair on my head over the ridiculous amounts of hair I had on my legs and arms. Oy vey!

But, as a friend was said and it stuck, “if wishes were fishes, we’d all have a fry.” Ha!

Ok, back to the why of this story. My goals aren’t together all that lofty these days. I don’t have a 5 year or a 10 year plan. In this season of life, I’m ok with that. Seems I’ve been running my whole life. A little downtime is needed every now and again. No rushing. No agenda. Just daily asking my Jesus, what shall we do today?

This “quote” my friend sent this morning, struck a chord in me. So I thought I’d share with you all.

Heal – author unknown

Healing like anything else takes time. When I came up with the name of my site, “Blessed to be Broken” it was for the acknowledgement that even broken things have purpose. Why was I blessed in that? Because that’s where my Savior met me. At the very bottom of my brokenness, He stepped in and rescued a wretch like me.

Did He leave me there? No, He didn’t. He started closing doors and opening new doors. Did I like all of it? No, I sure did not. Was it for my good? Yes, it sure was. I don’t always understand what’s going on, but I don’t have to. I just need to trust that a good and loving God is leading me. He’s been with me all along.

I can get on board with this healing quote. I want to be so healed that when others hear my story they can’t believe the fires Jesus stood with me in and know it’s not about me, but all about Him and His transformative love.

No one’s journey is perfect. If it were, we wouldn’t need a perfect Savior. And I don’t know about you, but to be the example for others to follow is way more pressure than I either need or want. Plus, I’m just as imperfect as the next person. That’s why you’ll always find me pointing to Jesus.

I don’t know where you are in your healing journey, but Jesus does. Do you trust Him to lead the way? If not, how’s doing things your way working out for ya? Just a little something to ponder on.

Heal on my friends! There’s beauty for those ashes.

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