Blessed to be Broken

God's not finished with me yet!

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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White Flags

If I had a white flag, I feel like today, I would whip it out and surrender. It’s just one of those days where I wish I could “make the world go away.”

Everything seems too much, too overwhelming, just too _______________________, fill in the blank. You know what I mean?

Let’s take a peek at what the symbolism for white flags mean, shall we? There may be people who legitimately don’t know or care, but here we go, just the same.

I googled “white flag surrender” and after skimming the sites it brought back I went with the History Channel. I’m only going to post an excerpt from the page:

“In more recent history, the white flag has become an internationally recognized symbol not only for surrender but also for the wish to initiate ceasefires and conduct battlefield negotiations.”

I knew it stood for surrender, I didn’t know it included conducting battlefield negotiations. Interesting. See, there’s so much I don’t know.

You know who you can’t negotiate with…ever. Satan. That means you can’t play in his playground and expect not to get hurt. Why? Good question.

Because he’s the father of lies and he only comes to kill, steal and destroy. He’s a master manipulator who only has one thing in mind for you. Your complete and utter demise. He’s a real pisser that one. Yep, I said pisser. Feel free to look that up should you need to, but know it’s not good.

But, the funny thing is (not the ha ha kind of funny, the ironic kind of funny), we all choose to play on his playground every day. Every. Single. Day.

No one is free from sin. It’s not to say we don’t try to stay free from sin, but somehow or another. Maybe you don’t believe me. That’s ok, you don’t have to, I’m a gonna show you what God says about it:

 “For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.” ~ Romans 3:23 (NLT)

Do you see that tiny three letter word ALL? All means all. I know, I say it a lot, but once I saw the word “all” jump out from the pages of Scripture at me, I can’t unsee it.

But, there’s good news. Don’t go all willy nilly on me thinking, might at well keep sinning because clearly we all suck. Even though we all sin, God, put a redemptive plan in place for us to surrender sin. Just a fancy way of saying, God made a way for us to repent through Jesus.

“Yet God, in his grace, freely makes us right in his sight. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins.” ~Romans 3:24 (NLT)

Wait, there’s more!

For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood. This sacrifice shows that God was being fair when he held back and did not punish those who sinned in times past,” ~ Romans 3:25 (NLT)

See! Good news!

Yes, we all sin! But, we don’t surrender to sin. We don’t give up the fight to turn from our sin and overcome it. We don’t wave that proverbial white flag and give Satan an all access pass to ours lives.

If we were as lasered focus on eradicating sin out of our lives as we were on how we look, we might stand a chance on being “sinless”. But most likely, we’d find something else to make into an idol.

Speaking of idols and flags, what do you think pledging our allegiance to a flag does for us? Can the flag save us? Can the flag heal us? Can the flag forgive us our sins? Can the flag stop the wind and the waves?

Just some random thoughts I had the other day and how we get all twisted up over an inanimate object. Now, before you get all up in arms over my statements, please hear my heart. I love the USA. I love our flag. I served in the military and I’m proud of our armed services.

But the flag, truly, is just a flag. Yes, it has significant meaning and history behind it but when we use it a divisive tool, what good is it doing. What was I doing in the military? What or whose freedom was I protecting? I didn’t take an oath to protect a flag. I took an oath to protect the country.

God is the creator of ALL things. That includes the creation of the flag. How you view it, is up to you. Just remember, when you’re in trouble, that flag can neither provide for you, nor save you. That’s God’s job. Yet, we always try and find things to try and replace Him.

Psssst…let me let you in on a little secret…He’s not replaceable. Not for our lack of creativity and trying.

I guess what I’m trying to say is, the battle for our hearts is always under attack. What we give our hearts to clues us in to where our true allegiance lies.

I desperately want to honor God in all things. No, I don’t always get it right. The beauty of that, is God sees my heart. He knows my motives behind everything I do. He leads me and it’s my choice to follow.

So, here’s my white flag Lord, I surrender, because there’s no way I can do life without you. The cost was too high when I tried.

Love, Trish

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Moose

As you all know, my sweetest Gabby gurl passed over the rainbow bridge the beginning of January. It’s been a couple months of those emotional roller coaster ups and downs. I even stopped wearing make-up because I never knew when the feelings would come leaking out of my eyes. It sure didn’t take much for the tears to flow. Some I choked back, but most just flowed unashamedly from my eyes. She was the absolute best!

A couple of days ago I heard about an adoption day at our local Pet Smart. Earlier in the day I did a bit of shopping and then had lunch with a dear friend. We also went out shopping for a bit after we ate. We parted ways and I decided to head to Pet Smart. To be honest, I wasn’t quite sure I was ready for this step but I decided what the heck and headed inside.

Immediately I was hit with all the emotions and the tears started to well up in my eyes. Y’all, I hadn’t even seen the adoptable pets yet. I walked quickly to the back of the store and went up and down a couple aisles doing my best to gain my composure. I prayed, “Lord, what is this mess all about? Please help and guide me, and don’t let me settle.” Did I mention I put make-up on today?

I meandered over to the dogs in the kenneled area and glanced at them. When I say meandered I mean I took my sweet time, weaving up and down the aisles. There were 3 small dogs. You could tell they were older and there were other future pet owners eyeing them and talking baby talk to the dogs. Why do we do that? I patted one of the dogs on the head, and walked away. It would appear this was not the day to get a new puppy.

As I walked further down the aisle, away from the adoptable pets, my phone rang. I looked at the unfamiliar number and decided to answer it. I was totally ready for someone to start talking to me about my expired car warranty. HA! Instead, it was someone from another local shelter saying they think they found me a match.

They described him….let me stop there. I was not looking for a him. They kept talking and said he had been surrendered to the shelter, was approximately 2 years old, maybe part terrier, part dachshund, and possibly chihuahua. There’s no way of truly knowing unless you get a doggie DNA test. They said he was all of 10 pounds. I was just about to tell them no, when then said his name. Moose.

The handler said he was the sweetest boy and just knew I’d love him. Hmm. Him. Since I was already close to the shelter, I thought I could swing by, look at Moose and see if they had any other small female dogs.

Now, if you’ve been reading my blog you know I spent 20 years in Alaska. I’ve seen my fair share of what I call “Mooser mooses”. One of the things I miss about AK is seeing all the moose. I love me some moose and especially when the mama’s are out with their new born calves. Sooooo flippin’ adorable.

When my grand daughter was born, because of her weight, one of the nurses referred to her as a “moose”. I kid you not!

I pulled into the parking lot and stared at the doors. Am I ready? Sigh. Only one way to find out. I walked in and told the woman behind the glass I was here to meet Moose. Her smile lit up her face and she seemed genuinely excited for me. Or maybe she was excited for Moose. Either way, she picked up the phone to let them know I was there and what do you think I did? That’s right, all the emotions bubbled up to the surface and I started to cry–again. I told you I put make-up on, right? I did the girl fan wave at my face and gained my composure. Does that wave thing ever really work?

I would like to say it was love at first sight, but Moose was not interested in me. Not even a little bit. And here I thought I wanted nothing to do with him.

He was totally invested in his handler and was doing his best to be right next to her. That is until she brought out chopped hot dogs and placed them in my hand. He inhaled them and she talked and talked about Moose and what he’d been experiencing since being at the shelter.

She didn’t know a lot because she had only just met him that morning when she came to work. She did know he was clingy. No doubt to be expected.

After all, his life was forever changed upon the owners surrender. Moose was a bit “mouthy” as the handler called him. He was skittish and yes, he was clingy. Again, all things to be expected given his situation.

We spoke at great lengths. I asked a lot of questions and I told her it was not my intention to get a male dog. Her face fell a bit, but it didn’t dissuade her from telling me more about him and they would be closed Sunday and Monday. By Tuesday morning they would need an answer or he’d be up for grabs.

Do you know where he was at this point? Laying partially on my feet on a cold floor. I asked her about returning him should things not work out? She told me it happens, and they understand that sort of thing. My mind said, “but the puppy doesn’t”. Ugh!!

I called his name. He looked up at me and showed me his belly. Biscuits! As my grand daughter would say. I couldn’t stand the idea of him being in the shelter any longer than he had been. Please know these animals are taken good care of given the circumstances. I rubbed his belly, I looked at the handler, I looked back at him, and I said, “ok, let’s do this”. She was thoroughly excited.

As we exited the meet and greet room so I could make the arrangements, they brought his dog bed and his little stuffed lamb-y. I didn’t know I was going to get these items. They told me how cute Moose was when he just stands there with lamb-y in his mouth. Next thing I knew, me and Moose or is that Moose and me, got in the car to start our adventure. And again, I pray. “Lord, thank you for this gift, please give me wisdom to take the very best care of him.”

Without further ado, allow me to introduce you to Moose and his sidekick lamb-y! How can you not loveee that face?!

Moose and his lamb-y
Making himself at home. Do you see lamb-y?
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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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