Blessed to be Broken

God's not finished with me yet!

Strength

When the show Grey’s Anatomy aired in 2005, I was hooked from the first episode. I love catching the re-runs when it’s airing on tv. The other day I caught the episode where Derek proposed to Meredith in an elevator. The doors opened and there stood Derek in the middle of the elevator he had plastered with x-rays and medical charts and what not. He started explaining what each one meant. They all corresponded to moments in their lives related to the work they did together. It was perfect for them and it made my heart smile. He took such care in the way he wanted to propose to her. But, it’s tv, life isn’t always so charismatic.

Maybe you’ve never watched the show. That’s ok. I believe we can all relate to what Derek said to her. Yes, I’m that person who pauses a show and writes down word for word what a character is saying. Especially when those words reach into to my soul and speak to me. So, here we go. Derek said very tenderly to Meredith:

“If there’s a crisis, you don’t freeze; you move forward. You get the rest of us to move forward because you’ve seen worse and you know we’ll survive it too. You say you’re all dark and twisty. It’s not a flaw, it’s a strength, it makes you who you are.”

I love how he reminded her what she thought was weakness, what actually her strength. Not because of what she went through, but that she had the courage and strength to keep moving forward despite what she’d witnessed.

We all have dark and twisty parts. Parts we wish weren’t part of our stories. Some we caused ourselves and some were heaped upon us by others. Stuffing these parts down and trying to ignore their existence within us, causes damage to who we are.

I once thought the worst thing I saw as a child was my Father holding a rifle and aiming it at my mother who sat in chair, helpless. But what happened next was just as traumatizing. I watched the police club the man who fought against them as they put him in the police car. In that moment as I stared out through the window watching this play out before me, I cried for the man who just held a gun to my mother. I screamed out, “no, don’t hurt him”. How is that even possible?

I only watched this play out, but those things actually happened to them. Unfortunately, the trauma from those things affected us all. The things that happened inside me that day might be different, but they are no less emotionally disturbing. Trauma should never be reduced to a competition.

Later in the same episode as it was wrapping up, the character who plays Alex gave this narrative:

“Trauma always leaves a scar. It follows us home. It changes our lives. Trauma messes everybody up”.

I don’t know what dark and twisty things you see as flaws in yourself. But, if anyone tried to diminish what happened to you, I’m so sorry and I wish I could take the pain away. May I very gently remind you, you’re still here and those things you may be holding onto with shame, or guilt, or unworthiness are not what define you. They are real, and they deserve the grief and the anger and deep sorrow you need to let out. But, they don’t deserve your life. You can move forward. You can still make a difference!

If you let Him, God will use all of that mess. There’s someone out there that needs to know, that because you’ve “seen worse”, they too can survive. My friends that takes more courage and strength than you know.

On my bedroom wall is a chalkboard with this quote I wrote on it:

“She knew that she was formed by God’s hands, dreamed up in His heart and placed in this world for His purpose.”

Author unknown

It’s not the best picture, but this is what I look at first thing in the morning. A bold reminder that whatever’s happened in my life, God’s got a purpose for me each and every day.

The same goes for you. God loves you. God knows what you’ve been through and there’s nothing you’ve done that’s surprised Him or caught Him off-guard. Take those dark and twisty places and give them to Him and watch what He does with them.

But, that’s the thing. You have to do your part. God’s always ready to take what you think is a weakness and turn it into a strength. What Satan meant for your harm, God will use for good! Don’t take my word for it. I’m not the authority. Instead let’s stand on these powerful truths:

“Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.”

2 Corinthians 12:9 (NLT)

“You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people.

Genesis 50:20 (NLT)

Don’t miss that little word “all” in that last verse. When God says, “all,” He means ALL. He wastes nothing! So, take heart my friends, God is moving and He wants to use your dark and twisty flaws for His glory. If so, then get ready for your weaknesses to become your strength!

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Hard Things

The other day I got some unexpected snail mail. I love getting cards in the mail. Don’t you? Inside the beautiful card was a book magnet. It was also beautiful. Then I read the inscription. “You can do hard things.”

My eyes widened, my heart took a few extra beats and I thought, “Oh, Lord…what now’? My thoughts ran from, I can do the hard things, to what if I don’t wanna do the hard things? What if I’m not willing to do the hard things? What if I’m not really ready for the hard things?

Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t take everything as a sign as things to come, but this felt like it was something I needed to my attention. And the thing about doing hard things, you can’t really avoid them.

If 2020 showed us anything, it showed us hard things. But in the midst of them, there was a lot of good. It would’ve been easy to stay focused on the bad. I mean, it was constantly shoved in our faces at every turn. Good to the ness!

But what stood out in my mind, was the good. The people who stepped up and helped out and shared the love despite all the yuck. I bet if you look back, you’ll see some of that too.

Back to my impending “hard things”.

First of all, I gotta give praise to God. He’s been so faithful to walk me through what was coming up. I can’t even begin to tell you all the ways. I can tell you, it’s been a good couple of weeks that step by step He led me through and prepared the way.

Let’s see that Deuteronomy 31:8 has to say about how God goes before us:

“The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” (NIV)

Not only does He go before us, but He lets us know He’s with us and then instructs us not to be afraid or discouraged.

He’s such a good Father. Even in the wake of things to come. Even if things don’t turn out the way I want or think I need.

Last night the first hard thing came and it carried over to this morning. It wasn’t anything I planned or really saw coming. But, I knew in my heart that after a couple of days of hearing “it’s time,” the time had come.

I’ve been a hot, tears spilling down my face mess. I hear my Savior whisper to come to Him and lay my heartache down.

When God asks you do lay something down, it’s for your good. It may not feel like it in the moment, but if you stick to what He says, I firmly believe you’ll bear the good fruit that will come from obeying.

Remaining where I am or going where He wants to take me is of course a choice. I don’t have to do the hard thing. I can stay put and see how my plans work out, but the closer I grow to Him, the more I know He has the very best plan for my life. Lord knows, I’ve chosen my plans over His countless times and I know how those plans turned out.

Those plans were typically for my self-seeking pleasure. The all about me plans. The what I deserve plans. The what about me plans. Oy vey. And finally, the me, myself and I-(dol) plans.

So, I did what I firmly believed God asked of me and with tears I let the thing He asked me to lay down, go. I spent time with Him in prayer sharing how I felt. He sat with me as I cried it out. He sits with me as I type it out, and use countless kleenex to clean up my tear-stained face.

Yes, I can do the hard things. Not because of me. Because of Him. You my friend, can do the hard things too. Not because of you. Because of Him. Because He loved us first and He loves us best.

I don’t know what hard thing you may be going through. But, stick close to God throughout it. He’s going to carry you through to the other side. Whatever that looks like, put your trust in Him. After all, He is the one who controls the winds and the waves.

I’ll leave you with this promise:

“But now, this is what the Lord says—he who created you, Jacob, he who formed you, Israel: “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.  When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; he flames will not set you ablaze.”

Have an amazing day, friends. Be bold! Be courageous and set your sights on things above.

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