Blessed to be Broken

God's not finished with me yet!


Before I dive into what’s on my heart today, I’m going to put this out there. The season of Lent begins today. 40 days is how long Jesus spent in the wilderness, fasting and being tempted by the devil. Don’t believe me? You can read it for yourself here in Matthew 4:1-11. It’s a season of preparation and reflection leading up to Easter. Moving on.

As I sat with Jesus this morning, I asked Him, “what would you have me give up during this season“? I had my own ideas. Mostly they’re driven from a place of guilt and my own condemnation. But, guilt and condemnation as we know, are not from God. So, I placed all my ideas on the table.

I didn’t get an answer right away, but I knew He’d be faithful to answer in His time. Turns out, that time was while I was in the shower singing a song of praise in my head. Earlier I had started to write a Facebook post about “Better”. As I got stuck writing part of it, I thought, “who cares about this any way?” So, I deleted the post and went on my merry way. La. la la. Post totally forgotten.

Until the shower. And then I knew what I knew. So, my answer in asking what I should give up to honor God in this season of Lent, is…drum roll please. Self-doubt. Ugh! Ok, Lord, I hear you. And in what area of my life would you like me to give up self-doubt? The word that came to mind. “Better”. Remember the FB post I told you about and how I deleted it and put it behind me? Apparently, it matters to my Heavenly Father. And what matters to Him, matters to me.

So, for the next (gulp) 40 days, I’ll be writing my little heart out, right here, with you all. I don’t know what it will look like, but that’s what faith is all about. This is me walking on water. Thanks for joining me! Now, let’s get this party started!

You could be better. Those weren’t the exact words a person spoke to me years ago, but it’s what I wrote on my heart. It came from years of being told I could do things “better”. I’m totally ok with learning new things. Ways that are tried, tested and true are great, but progress never came from sticking with “this is the way things have always been done.”

This time it was different. It took a lot for me back in the day to apologize. It’s not that I didn’t apologize, it just took a lot of “rehearsal” in my head before I ventured into the “I was wrong” waters. You can imagine the gut punch I felt when I apologized and was told, “thanks, but you could’ve apologized better.” To say I lost it, is an understatement.

Peeling back the layers of hurt caused by others is a journey. You never quite know when something is going to strike and trigger a buried wound or wounds that makes it feel as if it just happened. For me, that was the other day.

All this means is there was something in my heart that didn’t belong. It was time to let God in and heal the broken bits. But, that takes action on my part; hold onto the offense or forgive what I could in that moment. I chose to forgive. Why? Because it’s the better choice. Seriously, what good has ever come from holding on to hurt and pain? I’ll let you answer that for yourself.

I still believe most people mean well, they just don’t always say or do, well-meaning things. Myself included. We all grieve the heart of God. We all need forgiveness. How you perceive forgiveness is between you and God. I see forgiveness as a beautiful gift.

Jesus gave us an amazing example of forgiveness as He hung on the cross, dying. He’d been falsely accused, beaten, spit upon, and nailed to a sinner’s cross. Yet, He plead with His Father in what must have been excruciating pain:

Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”

Luke 23:34

Whoa! Talk about courage in the face of adversity. My friends, forgiveness is not weakness, it’s a strength. To face your pain, to wrestle with the unfairness and come out on the other side, is a gift. It makes me stronger, bolder, and more courageous. Instead of weaker, pained, and fearful. I think we can agree this is a beautiful exchange from our Heavenly Father that leads us into an abundant life.

Please remember that just as peeling back the layers of hurt in life is a journey, so is forgiveness. It’s not always a one and done. But, if you persevere, pray for those who hurt you, and give thanks for what God is doing, you’ll get to where God is leading you.

I promise you, His ways are always and forever, BETTER!

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Back to the Beginning

I began filling out my passport application.  I’m going along quite nicely until I get to the part where it asks the date I got divorced or widowed.  I had to think really hard on the date I got divorced, and I can’t quite pinpoint the exact date.

Earlier in the application process they asked if I had ever been married.  Piece of wedding cake!! (finger snap for emphasis) I knew right off the bat the date my last marriage occurred. OK, if I’m going to be really honest, I can remember the dates of 2 out of the 3 times I’ve been married but I can’t remember the dates I got divorced.

So I go to my “divorce” file.  I hate this file.  It reminds me I failed.  Not gonna lie, it’s a file that still makes me cry.  I’m not entirely healed of that mess just yet.  I realize I still carry some shame from that and I have to place that mess at the foot of the cross and let my Savior step in and heal the wounds.  I have…no…scratch that…I need to let His love and truth cover the stain of my humanness.  Jesus, I need You!!

When I was in the Air Force, we had to wear name tags on our uniforms that displayed just the last name.  For the most part of my career, non-flyers wore a sewn-on name tag on their utility uniform or what is now called Airman Battle Uniform.  However, the flyers wore a Velcroed name tag, one that could easily be taken on or off.

After my third wedding, my spouse and I attended my squadron’s Christmas party.  I don’t remember a whole lot about that party, but I do remember during that party when everyone in the squadron was receiving gifts.  I remember when they called my name and made a small speech about my “gift.”  They made fun of the fact I had been married a third time and said that I should go to a more temporary means of putting my name tag on and proceeded to hand me an empty Velcro flyers version of a name tag.  They all laughed and I died a little on the inside from being mortified.

Forgiveness….I need to forgive them.  In my mind, they don’t deserve my forgiveness. They were cruel and they laughed at my expense because they thought it was funny.  They put a nail in my flesh and I had covered up the nail with hurt, humiliation, and hate.  It was buried.

To be honest, I’d forgotten about this event.  As I started writing this story, I really didn’t know where I was going with it.  In fact, I had started taking a different road and got stuck.  I sat back and asked Him to show me, and the memory plopped in my head.  I was stunned.  I started crying…a lot.  I didn’t even remember their names, but I do now.  I remember the room, I remember the feeling, I remember their faces, and I remember the name tag.  I remember throwing it in the trash.

Sometimes, in order to move forward, you have to go back to the beginning.  It’s a necessary part of healing.  Yup, not gonna lie, it hurts.  My eyes are puffy, my face is red, and countless Kleenex lay on the floor.

So I say their names out loud, one by one, I say “I forgive you,” and then send a blessing their way.  I don’t want anything standing in the way of His redeeming grace.  I want to know the fullness of my Savior’s love, so I remember His words “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do,”~~ Luke 23-34 (ESV) and I step into His grace. And you know what?  I may look a little worse for the wear at the moment, but I sure do feel better.  Trust Him when He wants to do a work in you…He loves you so much and He knows what He’s doing.




I have always loved to write.  Looking back over the course of my life, I see the stories I would start and then leave hanging.  At the time I would write, I would, most times be overwhelmed by what was going on in my life.  I couldn’t or maybe I wouldn’t have ever told people nor family or friends how I truly felt, it would have exposed a weakness, a vulnerability that I instead would keep hidden and tried to bury.  Just seemed as if I told anyone the deepest parts of me I would be told yet again that I needed to see a doctor and get some “happy” pills.  I didn’t want “happy” pills.  I wanted to feel my pain and remember.  Not in a martyr kind of way, in a lesson learned kind of way.

If you check the date of my last blog, it’s been almost a month since I last wrote and I have been putting off writing because I was being led to this story I’m about to share over and over again.  I argued with God I didn’t know what to write and this story came up.   I argued more and this story came up and I even started another story and this story came up.  I guess God is telling me it’s time to let it out and it’s time to obey what I’ve been hearing. Ironically in church today, that was pretty much the message..hear and obey. So this is me, doing just that and I bet when it’s done, I’ll be happy I listened to the Daddy who knows me best.

It’s an unfinished story from May 16 2011, written in the very early morning hours.  I titled it “Beginnings,” but I’m not sure why and every time I read it, I cry and I thank God I’m not where I used to be, and that He is leading me to a place of total healing.  It really comes as no surprise that my Father should want me to reveal this as we come upon chapter 4 of Renee Swope’s book—A Confident Heart.  Chapter 4 is titled  “God promises hope for my future despite the pain of my past.” I read this chapter once before and then I put the book down for several weeks before I could read more. Those of you who have read the book or are going to be reading that chapter this week will understand.  So, here’s a glimpse into part of my painful past….

“Wow, would you just look at all this stuff.  Her stuff, stuff she collected to make herself feel good, decorate her home, make people feel welcome….stuff she collected to fill a void that to this day she has no clue what for.  BUT, she has learned that even with all this stuff, she feels empty, hollow, a shell of a person.  48 years old and she still has no clue who she is, what she wants, or why she’s been allowed to take up space on this earth, when there are so many with dreams untold that have vacated this earth for reasons unknown.  But here she is, here she sits, typing to no one but herself.  It feels good to get it out, to tell someone or in this case something.  The hole opens, the words pour out and she waits for the hurt, the pain, the tears, the godforsaken emptiness of her soul to be heard, to be healed, to be forgiven….except, she knows that deep in the depths of her soul, that first and foremost she needs to forgive myself.  Not absolution, never total absolution because she never wants to forget the person that took advantage of everything that was handed to her, who thought the grass was greener on the other side, who indeed coveted what someone may have had.  She was shameless in her quest to fill the emptiness that she felt for sooooo many years.  Her appetite was insatiable, incoherent and reckless.  She cared not for the souls in her path that could suffer the consequences of her own destruction and in doing so, now care nothing for the person who stares back at her from the mirror she can’t stand looking into.  She is the worst kind of person, the kind who obsesses about the negative no matter how hard she tries to make the positive the focus of her being.  It matters not the legs, the arms, the heart, the brain, that work perfectly, it only matters that the trials and tribulations have left her void of any hope of fulfilling her destination.  She breathes, but she knows not the reason breath was breathed into her lifeless body by God himself.  The whisper on an angels’ wing that sent forth her soul to become the person someone meant for her to be.  She lost her way, she laughed in its’ face and she never felt emptier, and she never wanted anything more than the light to be extinguished from her soul to make the pain of her own stupidity go away.  Except it’s never that easy, there’s a lesson to be learned, a lesson to be passed on to a generation that might listen, a forgiveness from within that might help foster the life to be lived move forward and not forever backwards.  It’s so easy in the moment to react to a situation and only focus on what you feel is the best thing for all involved and how easy is it to forget the vows that connected you to another human being.”

Actually when I go back and read some of the stories I wrote I wonder….who wrote that?!!   But the woman who wrote that, cries not for the person she is today, she cries for the brokenness that God saw fit to reach down and save…she felt unworthy….He told her she was His and she…..I am worthy.

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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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