Blessed to be Broken

God's not finished with me yet!

Gimme a “K”…Gimme an “E”….

cheerleaderI couldn’t for the life of me figure out what my beautiful niece was starting to cheer spell.  So I listened as she kept going.  Gimme a “T” and another “T” and then it dawned on me.  She’s cheer spelling her last name.  Kettell.  Pronounced (Kah-tell) I have to admit, I was taken back as she cheer spelled our family name and then gave the final cheer out; “what’s that spell?” “Keeeeeee-tellllll.”

When she was done, she jumped up in the air, clapped her little hands and then bounced off to her next adventure in a whirlwind of giggles. I, on the other hand, stood there perplexed that she chose to cheer spell that name.

Growing up with the name Kettell wasn’t a horrible thing per se.  But it sure never made me want to jump up and down for joy and give accolades through cheer praise.  I could in no way be proud of a name associated with such family dysfunction and tied to generations of alcoholism and abuse.

It boggled my pea brain this untainted little girl was cheering for all her worth because she was proud of her last name.  But she didn’t know what I knew.  She didn’t grow up with my family, and she will never be afforded the opportunity to meet her grandfather and be privy to his style of abuse. She only knew the life she has. Anything else she might learn about her grandfather will be passed down from those who knew him.

You see, when my parents got divorced, my father went out into the world and had another baby.  For the life of me I couldn’t figure out why God would allow this abusive man to have another baby.  But, it was permitted and my half-brother was born.  By the time he was born, I was in the military and other than having a baby picture of him with his name and date of birth, I would not have contact with him for 16 of his years.

I had already had several conversations with God about all this, but I never stopped to hear what God had to say, only what I wanted to tell Him.  That’s what our “relationship” was back then; me telling God what was wrong with His plans and thinking I knew it all.

I grew up with 2 brothers. I was the middle child and growing up we learned to survive life.  Ask us to share stories about growing up and you’ll hear different versions.  Not sure why that is, but when you survive life, your brain does things to protect you. Or so I’ve heard.   So when our half brother finally learned about his half siblings, he reached out.  My brothers freaked out a bit.  They didn’t know what our half-brother wanted and they for sure didn’t want to re-hash the past, so they chose not to speak with him.  Eek-gads, let the fear of the unknown take root.

I, on the other hand, wanted very much to talk with him.  Hello, I’m a girl, and I’m nosey, plus he was family.  So we spoke on the phone. I now had a link to a brother I often wondered about.  For years that one conversation was all I knew of him.  It would be many years later before we met face to face through circumstances only God could have arranged. Talk about mind boggling awesomeness!

So here we are, 14 years later and I’m watching my niece cheer our family name and I stand in awe as God no doubt smiles down of a piece of this family.  A piece only He knew about all those many years ago when I was telling Him what was wrong with His plan.  This puzzle piece that He made and knew would fit together for such a time as this has been one of the best, most awesome blessings in my life and I can’t thank God enough for His love and grace.

While my family as a whole still suffers from dysfunction and separation, I hold out hope for reunification and healing.  With faith as small as a mustard seed, I pray and lay our wounded family at the foot of the cross and hold onto God’s promises and know there is nothing too hard for Him.  Where there is no way, I know, God can make a way!  To God be the glory my friends.

To be continued….

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I wanted to be a cheerleader


Once upon a time, I had this dream. I wanted to be a cheerleader.  I’m not sure at the time I wanted to be a cheerleader for the right reasons.  The right reason in my opinion was because I was so proud of my school that I wanted to represent.  No, I wanted to be a cheerleader because I wanted to be liked, and I wanted to be popular, and I wanted the status that came with being a cheerleader.

I will n.e.v.e.r forget the first time I tried out.  I was giddy with excitement to be sitting on the gym floor amongst all the other girls, nervous for when they would call my name and I would get up to cheer for the judges.  I had prepared my cheer and I was ready.  The first girl was called up and her cheer was amazing.  Her movements were crisp, clean and very precise.  The second girl was called up and she knew the exact same cheer as the first girl. And so it went until my turn.  I didn’t know the cheer the others girl did.  I was no longer excited but I was determined that since I was there, I would do my cheer. I took my place, and I began my cheer.  Behind me, I heard hushed laughter and giggles as I performed for the judges.  Needless to say, I did not make the squad.

I tried out again.  This time I practiced with an actual cheerleader and I knew the cheer everyone was going to perform.  I practiced with my friend and on my own for countless hours.  But, I didn’t make the squad that year either. I gave up on cheerleading.  I decided I wasn’t popular enough or talented enough and this was just not my thing.  So I became a marcher.  I was on a team that performed a dance routine at halftime during our football games and I really loved it.  I even got to perform in the annual Christmas parade.

Years later a friend would bring me to a Jazzercise class.  I loved it so much, I signed up after that first class.  Three months later I decided I wanted to try out to be an instructor. There was a screening process you had to pass before you could be accepted.  I didn’t make it the first time around and I kept at it and a few months later, I did the screening again and I passed.  The screening process was easy compared to the next phase of learning 10 routines.  Well, I passed that part too.  My being a certified instructor gave me the opportunity to perform, tell people what to do, sing, and dance.  I thought this was it…this is my calling and I will love and do this forever.

Do you know what adultery is?  Do you know what idolatry is?  Did you know when you put anything, and I mean anything before the Lord you are committing both of those acts.  Color me shocked when I first learned about this.  You were created to worship and love your creator above all else.  How easy is it to turn our backs on the One who breathed life into us and become all about the worldly wants of this world? Too easy in my opinion…let me give you an example…if you’re doing something you know is wrong and you keep doing it…boom…you got yourself an idol.  You choose to enjoy doing the wrong thing over being obedient to God.  Ooops, now you’ve just cheated on Him too.  How did you cheat you ask?  You are to love the Lord with all you mind, heart and soul.  If you know what He says is wrong, and you keep doing it, what are you loving? You’re cheating God out of His best for your life.  The life He gave you.

God doesn’t like that.  You’ve heard He’s a jealous God and eventually the things you put above Him, you may just notice the passion you once had for those things suddenly or over time goes away.  Will you choose to put down what you’ve put above God or will you keep fanning the flame of sin?

Don’t get me wrong, I sin every day. Every day I have to evaluate my choices and ask who am I serving?  I put Jazzercise away.  It consumed too much of my thoughts and my time.  I laid it at His feet, confessed and repented.  It was hard.  I have no idea if giving that up was for a season, or forever, but I’m good with whatever God decides.  You see, God sent His one and only Son to die on a cross for me and for you.  And Jesus knows the temptations of this world and yet, He was without sin.  Wrap your head around that!!

Once upon a time, I had this dream. I wanted to be a cheerleader.  And I am!! Best part about it is, I didn’t have to try out, I didn’t have to be judged, I only had to give my life back to the one who brought me to this dance.  Every time someone comes to Christ and lays down their old life to begin their new life in Him…you can bet you will hear me cheer and shout to the Heavens…Wooo-hoooo!! Go God, Go God, it’s their birthday!! Gooooooo God!!  Well, maybe not that exact cheer, but you get my point.


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