Blessed to be Broken

God's not finished with me yet!

Just As I Was

A friend of mine once lovingly told me after I had decided to follow Jesus, “you don’t get to pick and  choose what you want to follow, you pick up your cross and you follow Him.”  I would like to say after she told me that, I did exactly that, but I didn’t.  I’m a work in progress and I’m human, and every day, Jesus teaches me His ways through the Bible.  Not just your ordinary every day book, but a living, breathing life altering, mind transforming (not to be confused with brain washing), heart softening, truth speaking guide to life.

The Bible is His Word speaking to us today.  Yes, I have free will and I live in a fallen world.  The sins of people (including me) are no different than the sins of yesteryear.  A big difference however is that people used to hide their sin and were either ashamed or shamed into hiding or possibly executed or exiled. Today, we flaunt our sin flags proudly and we ask others to watch our sin and then take you to court if you don’t agree to play on the playground of our sin.  It’s splattered all over social media, television, magazines, books and well, just about everywhere you look.  I’m offended by your offense and you’re offended that I’m offended by your offense and everyone’s walking around offended by offense.

What’s a follower of Christ to do?  Do we take our Bibles and thump away at will or do we look the other way and put ourselves in a Christian bubble? We’re just as human and as sinful as the person next to us. Putting ourselves on a pedestal isn’t going to bring lost souls to Jesus.  We can’t run around shaking our holier than thou finger in their faces, because you better start with the person looking back at you in the mirror.  Good grief we’ll chase away those searching for Christ in a NY minute that way.

What brought you to Christ?  I can tell you it wasn’t any one thing for me.  I know it’s more than I’ll ever know this side of Heaven, but what I do know is, people were praying for me and I had no clue about that until after the fact.  Jesus placed people in my life that knew Him but I was too far from Him to grasp it. It wasn’t until my best friend started changing that I started to question what was happening.  It wasn’t an overnight, she took a Jesus pill and was instantly changed. No, it was a gradual change.  I have to be honest, I didn’t quite know what to think.

As she changed, something slowly started changing in me.  She never told me I needed to change. She never told me I was a bad person. She never changed how she loved me.  She told me about her life changing and what work Jesus was doing in her.  There was no holier than thou finger shaking or Bible thumping involved.

See, I already had guilt and shame deep seeded in my soul. I didn’t need anyone telling me my sins were offensive because deep down I already knew.  My best friend loved me just as I was.  Did she want better for me?  Sure she did, she always had, that part never changed. But she never once forced Jesus on me.  She loved me as Jesus loved me.  Just as I was.

But through it all, God was there. It was my time and I was ready.  I’d come to the end of myself and I wanted something better than the living hell I was putting myself through.  You want to know why I changed…ask me.  I’ve been telling people all about me for as long as people will listen.  Difference now….I have nothing to hide.  My chains are gone, I’ve been set free.   This is absolutely nothing I did for myself.   It’s all about Jesus and what He’s done.

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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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His Grace Covers

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I love my mother, but I can’t say I always like my mother.  Now I could go into the thousand little things that rub me the wrong way about her, but we’re taught as Christians for our words to uplift not tear down.  On the flip side, I”m sure I have the propensity to rub her the wrong way as well.   Although, I can’t imagine that (total sarcasm).  Maybe that’s part of the reason when it was time to leave home, I went sprinting for the nearest way outta dodge, so to speak. For 20 of those years I was fortunate enough to live just about as far away from NY as I could get while still being in the US.  Key words being “just about.”

Living in AK. I learned a thing or two about moose.  I was intrigued by these lovable monstrosities.  I loved the way they sauntered from yard to yard, neighborhood to neighborhood, and right out into traffic without a care in the world. The only time I ever really heard of a moose getting all riled up was if you got too close to the baby moose.  Thankfully, I was never witness to such a scene.  I knew if I saw a young ‘un, I’d better high tail it in another direction. I would cross the street, go through ditches, scale fences if need be and stay inside the safety of whatever building or vehicle I was in until the “danger” was over.

It was something I could see, something I knew I could avoid.  It’s easy to avoid the danger when it’s out in plain view.  But what about the times when the danger isn’t obvious and you don’t see the “attack” coming, or as you see the “attack” coming, instead of running in the other direction, you run head on, full steam ahead? 

Before Christ, I always chose to head into the fray with my mom in full steam ahead mode.  Oh, how that woman could push every single one of my “how dare she…who does she think she is” buttons.  I’m a grown woman after all and I don’t have to live the life she thinks I need to live and then…… ”who is she….like she didn’t make a mess of her life,” and seriously, “what did she have to offer me?”

Sometimes I felt quite victorious when we both hung up in fits of anger. Better yet, now I wouldn’t have to speak with her for weeks, cause I sure wasn’t going to apologize for the argument she started. How awesome was I that I just put the smack down on my mom and used all the big words I know to put her in her place?  Can anyone relate?  If you can, then you know, the weeks afterward that you didn’t speak, weren’t peaceful, because the argument was replayed over and over inside your head. It was then that I would think of things I could’ve said to prove my points even better.  In fact, I would think to myself, “when I speak to my mom again, I’m so working those points into the conversation.”  Harrumph…I’ll show her!!   

How unhealthy is that? Can you just feel the burden I placed on my “victorious” self? There’s a reason God says, “In your anger do not sin:” Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry,” Ephesians 4:26 (NIV) Anger is not from God, He is a God of peace.  The enemy will have you replaying the hurtful event over and over.  Why?  It’s simple really…because your focus is now where the enemy wants it.  Is it on the goodness of God?  No!! You’re now playing all over the devil’s playground, and I don’t know about you, but my experiences there have taught me that playground straight up sucks!  

Therein lies God’s amazing grace. Christ came in, plucked me out of the pit, I dug over the years and rescued me. Every day He lovingly shows/guides me with His Word on how to be the person He created me to be.  Now, that’s a realm where I can flourish and grow and play to my heart’s content.  By being obedient and submissive to His teachings, I can go to Him any time of the day or night and cry out to my Daddy for assurance of who I am in Him and receive all the love He has to give. In case you haven’t heard, God’s love doesn’t run out.  Can I get an Amen!!

I would like to say I have it all figured out, that I know exactly how to deal with my mom and she can’t phase me at all with her words.  But, that’s not true.  To be honest, I sometimes feel even more vulnerable when an “attack” happens.  She still has the “power” to make my heart hurt, and tears fall down my face.  But, there’s a huge difference now.  While I may want to feed into the unhealthy frenzy, I know I don’t have to defend myself and who I am to her.  I am accepted and loved just how I am by the King and Creator of the Universe!! 

When I feel offended or hurt by what my mom says, I have a solid Rock to stand on.  I can go to the Word of my Father and receive what He tells me about who I am in Him.  And if I “blow it,” I can go to my Father with a repentive heart and His Grace Covers me.  Doesn’t give me the license to sin freely, just lets me know, when I make a mess, I don’t have to wallow in it.  And neither do you!!  Let the Grace of God cover you, then take that godly grace and share it abundantly. Oh, and don’t be surprised if you have to be the one to apologize first, the results may just surprise you!!  And as I make my trek with God, I can see how He’s working in her life, and the small changes being made in her, but I more notice the changes He is doing in me.  And while I still stumble, I’ve never been more at peace with my life.  Thank you Lord, for calling my name!!

Have you made peace with our Savior?  Do you feel that something is just not right, that there must be something more? That’s not a worldly “thing” calling out to you…that’s your Heavenly Father.  No earthly “treasure” can fill that void.  I know, I tried for far too many years to fill it with all the wrong things.  Will you answer His call?  I guarantee He won’t hang up and His treasure won’t fail and can’t be taken from you!!

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Good Enough

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Over on the Proverbs 31 site, we are having our weekly blog hop day for our current On-line Bible Study…A Confident Heart, by Renee Swope. It’s an awesome book and highly recommended for anyone no matter where you’re at in life.  I liked the idea of writing myself a letter, that because of Jesus, I am good enough.  I walked through too much of this life thinking just the opposite.  I still have days that I struggle and I’m thankful for these times because I can lean even more into the love of my Father and let His truth wash over me and fill me like nothing of this world can.  Because of Jesus, I am good enough.

Dear Defeated,

Sorry if this shocks you, but something tells me you’re going to need this! You’re gonna go through some serious stuff.   Some of this “stuff” will be caused by the people in your life, but most of this “stuff” you’ll do because you left someone behind.  You’re going to make a lot of mistakes and you’re going to put yourself before others and commit acts that will put such a burden of shame on you that one day you’ll be filled with so much pain, loneliness, regret, and hate, you will decide to take your own life.

Funny, I don’t ever remember saying “when I grow up,” I would love to be filled with self-loathing, low self-esteem, and thinking I would never be good enough.  But, that’s exactly what happened from the choices I made following after the worst taskmaster who found pure joy seeing me right where he wanted me. Defeated.

Dated: March 1963 – September 2010

Dear Daughter of the Most High King,

Yes, that’s who I am.  I am not defeated, I am raised up.  I am not the things of my past, I am free from condemnation!  I was bought at a great price, and I am born of God, and the evil one cannot touch me. No longer do I bear the pains from the sins of my past.  I am dearly and wholly loved by the King of Kings.  I am redeemed, chosen, renewed, blameless and holy. I am a citizen of Heaven.  I am saved by the grace and mercy of God.  By myself I could do nothing, but in Christ, I can do all things!  I am forgiven, I am loved, I am His and He is mine.  You see, the one I left behind, went before me and is making my paths straight.  I am not defeated, I am victorious, and I am good enough because His goodness makes me good enough!  Glory to God the Father—all the glory is His.

Dated: Nov 2013 – eternity

Have you accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior.  He will meet you where ever you are!!  You’re never too far gone for His loving embrace!  He truly is the only way!

(Verses: Romans 8:1-2, Philippians 3:20 and 4:13, 1 John 5:18) 

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Life Interrupted

JoyoftheLord

Being new in my faith, I can’t say as I always “get” what God is trying to tell me.  I can read His Word and listen to Worship music, tap my feet and sing till someone tells me to stop because I’m told, someone else is on the radio for a reason. I can go out into the world, smile at people and say a friendly hello, come home and plop back into my comfortable life.  Those are all very good things, but there’s something that God didn’t see from me.  So, what started out as a subtle Fatherly nudge, over the course of a few months, suddenly became my life interrupted.

For years I’ve lived my life day by day in a state of what I would call, dutiful.  I know what it means to be a dutiful child, a dutiful mother, a dutiful friend, and well, you get the picture.  But there was no real joy in all of this duty.  Somewhere along the road of life and all it entails, I can say I truly lost my joy.  I love to help people, and you would think that would bring me great joy.  But, it didn’t.  I love to give, and you would think that would bring me great joy.  But, it didn’t.  I love to make people laugh, and you would think that would bring me great joy.  But, it didn’t.  I love to receive (just keeping it real), and you would think that would bring me great joy.  But it didn’t.  I asked Christ to come into my life and I got baptized and you would think that would bring me great joy.  But, it didn’t.  Now don’t get me wrong, best decision of my life was to give my life over to the Lord, but that didn’t mean I took a magic pill and I was instantly transformed.  Took me years to get to where I am, and I gave God a lot to transform.

All around me now are Biblical verses and messages of joy, and love, and joy, and love, and joy and love; have been for quite some time actually.  This is where God’s nudges have turned into…umm, hello, will you let Me not just talk, but will you listen and obey?  Of course God, but, I’m still not sure what you mean, I’m doing what you’re telling me.  I’m loving on people and I’ve got my smile on, so why the same messages?  Did you just hear God sigh? I think He may have just sighed.

Deep down, way deep down, there was this child, who never got to be a child.  Life became very serious, very early on.  Life was chaotic, emotionally and mentally destructive and painful. In order to survive, she shut herself down and started to live life dutifully. Everything was done out of this sense of duty instead of joyfully.  So it should come as no real surprise for her to understand that God didn’t want this for her…God didn’t want this for me. I took joy and shoved it under the weight of many blankets and I carried out my life dutifully.  In doing so, I left myself wide open to all kinds of spiritual warfare.  I needed my life interrupted so I could get my joy back.  But first, I needed to understand a little bit more about joy.

In all of my Bible teachings no where have I read that life is meant to be lived dutifully.  In my pea brain, this is how I got it worked out.  First off, I had to understand this is not a circumstantial emotion. Regardless of our circumstances we are to do everything with joy.  Roll my eyes, yea, blah, blah, blah.  No disrespect meant here.  My structured logical brain got it.  My emotional brain was still saying….huh?  Okay, so let’s try it from this perspective.

If I don’t have joy knowing God is in control and that He works everything out for my good, then when life beats me up, what will happen? I’ll lose my joy, feel defeated and now the enemy can come creepy crawling in and fill my head with lies.  That’s why God says to “rejoice” always, not sometimes, not just when I feel like it, but always.  If I’m busy re-joy-cing, no matter the circumstance, the enemy can’t come in and turn me into a dutiful, depressed, the life has been sucked out of me zombie.  Joy doesn’t have to be complicated.  Simply put, I have joy because I have God.  So that’s where they joy comes from, it’s a gift from God.  He gives it, and all I need do is receive it.

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#SayWhat

forgiveness-prisoner

I was sitting in the craft room at my computer no doubt doing something of no real value when I felt this nudge….“confess.”  In my head I said “I’m sorry, #saywhat?” I looked around the room as if someone were there whispering from the hallway.  Nothing.  So, I shook my head and went back to what I was doing and then it came again…..”confess.”  My heart started to beat rapidly and I’m pretty sure I was holding my breath when I said in my head, a little more timidly this time, “#saywhat?” and now there was no doubt; God was telling me it was time to “confess.”   

I pondered what I should do about this “nudge” which now felt more like a full-on assault. I knew what I needed to confess was more than just a “little” sin.  In my mind, this was huge, this was “lives” changing and this could never be taken back once it was out there. There were gonna be serious consequences and I played all of them in my mind and none of them were gonna be pretty.  It’s done; it’s in the past, what good could come from any of this coming out now after all these years?  “Seriously Lord, I can’t wanna do this.”

I thought when I accepted Christ as my Lord and Savior, got baptized and started walking in the ways of the Lord, I would just be able to shake off that prison. I mean I was forgiven, right? I was a new creation in Christ and I was forgiven.  Total truth!! Problem was, the Lord forgave me, but the past regrets and fear of one day being found out kept me from forgiving myself and moving forward.  I pushed my chair away from the computer and defiantly walked away. I started pacing the floor arguing the whys, and no-ways of how this was not going to be good for anyone least of all me.  I worried about the past catching up with me and letting the lies be found out by the very people I sinned against. Nope, absolutely no good could come from such a confession.

I don’t know why I argue with God.  He will win when you want to live the life He has planned for you.  What I didn’t know or truly understand was sometimes you will be found in a place where you will have to be radically obedient to what He says.  This was one of those times.

Hands shaking, tears already welling up in my eyes, I sat down to type one of the scariest letters of my life.  You see, I was a wife..not once, but three times.  During those days there was no personal relationship with the Lord there was pretty much only self gratification.  I was a good wife, but, gulp, I wasn’t a faithful wife.  I gave no heed to the commandment “thou shalt not commit adultery.”  So in not paying heed to that commandment, I also broke many more.  I would like to say I didn’t commit murder, but in fact I had murdered a spirit…mine.  I walled myself in; built an emotional fortress, cementing the wall with tears, pain, shame, guilt, anger, worthlessness, and loathing and no matter the forgiveness I knew the Lord gave, I just couldn’t get past what the lies were holding together.  Confess. Confess.  Confess.

It’s true you know….confession IS good for the soul.  It took time to tell all three of my ex-husbands what I had done and no, it wasn’t an overnight feeling of “I’m free,” but day by day the guilt lifted.  God knew what I needed. In my own strength there was no way I could have ever confessed, but He lovingly carried me through and continues to prune the garden of my heart, pulling the weeds and filling the cracks with His everlasting love.  I think I’ll take love over guilt any day!  Best part….the enemy no longer has that foothold in my life.  It’s crushed under my feet and I stand firm on the rock that is my God.

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Clothes and Curves

fashionable encouragement

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