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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Stay away from my husband…

Even though it was a voice I had never heard over the phone or ever before for that matter, I knew she was hurt, angry, and territorial despite her trembling voice which gave away the fear behind her words.

I was doing something upstairs in my bedroom when my son came in and handed me my cell phone and said it was for me.  I asked who it was and he didn’t know so I answered…”hello,” and she simply stated, “stay away from my husband.”  My first thought was…which one…whose wife could this be? But she continued on and revealed the little bit of what was going on because she’d found an email between myself and her husband.  Not my finest hour.

But you know what?  After we hung up, these were my thoughts.  Thank God my husband didn’t answer the phone and what was she doing calling me when she should have been talking to her husband?  In my righteous indignation, I thought, “if she’d have been the wife he needed, he wouldn’t have come looking for me.”  There, right there was my justification for being an intruder in someone else’s mess.

As the day wore on, I grew livid and even more indignant.  How dare…how dare THIS man put MY marriage in jeopardy by being so stupid as to leave “evidence” out in the open for his wife to find? How dare she call me and try to put me in my place?  Are you getting the irony of this?  Do you see the problem here?

My day was spent with my heart doing a new little pittery pattery type of “how to cover my tracks” dance while I thought of ways to make this go away so my own marriage wasn’t affected.  Ummm…too late.  It was affected when I chose to step outside of the sacred marriage bond and smack onto Satan’s playground.

When I was a little girl, my family would go camping.  If they couldn’t find me close by, my mom knew I had traveled to the women’s restroom so I could talk with whoever would listen.  She told me she would either come herself or send one of my brothers to come get me.  She knew I would be telling those souls who would listen how my daddy was drunk and my parents were arguing.  Lord knows what else I may have babbled on about.

During the majority of my school years, I would be set off to the side at a table or desk by myself so I would keep quiet.  Ummm…helllloooo, I wasn’t talking to myself, but it was me who invariably wound up separated from the pack.

I once got into a fist fight because of my never ending chatter. Nice way of saying gossip. I have a point.

Yes, I was an adulterer…a very brazen adulterer.  I didn’t know my worth.  I didn’t know my place.  I didn’t understand the full affect of my actions.  Yes, I knew right from wrong….however, when you hang with the adulterous crowd, the wrong fades into the background.  Birds of a feather most certainly do flock together. But, in the end, I’m responsible for my actions.  I own them.

Before you throw that proverbial stone my way, make sure your slate is clean.  Would it make it better if you knew the destruction I brought into my own life?  Would it be helpful to know the guilt, shame, and regret brought me to the point of a suicide attempt?  Maybe you’re thinking….good, you reap what you sew.  But my answer to that is, it matters not what you think.  You weren’t there. You don’t know why it was permitted in my life.

What I do know is, its part of His redemptive story in me and just like all those years ago telling strangers about my parents arguing, I can’t keep silent about this any longer.  It screams to be released and I won’t let it consume me any longer.  I was meant for more.  And if you find yourself in an adulterous relationship, in case no one has ever said this to you…let me say it.  You were meant for more.  You are worth so much more than being someone’s side dish.  You deserve to be the main course.

I no longer dance on the devil’s playground.  Being lulled into a honey trap of deceit, dishonesty, shame, and guilt wields no power only regrets.

These days I dance on God’s amazing dance floor.  I have nothing to hide.  I twirl and spin as He holds my hand and calls me redeemed, forgiven, precious, a jewel to behold and daughter of the One True King!!  I owe Him everything because He gave His ALL for me.  Let me tell you, this life….this resurrected life…a bazillion times better than I could have ever imagined.   He is all that and beyond.  He’s where I find my salvation and here is where I sit, at the foot of the cross where my sins are nailed and forgotten.  No sin is worth my joy.  Jesus…there’s my joy.   Jesus….there’s my life.

If you need a little more insight…take a look at a story written long ago…

John 8:1-11~~“Jesus returned to the Mount of Olives,  but early the next morning he was back again at the Temple. A crowd soon gathered, and he sat down and taught them.  As he was speaking, the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in the act of adultery. They put her in front of the crowd.

“Teacher,” they said to Jesus, “this woman was caught in the act of adultery.  The law of Moses says to stone her. What do you say?”

They were trying to trap him into saying something they could use against him, but Jesus stooped down and wrote in the dust with his finger.  They kept demanding an answer, so he stood up again and said, “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!” Then he stooped down again and wrote in the dust.

When the accusers heard this, they slipped away one by one, beginning with the oldest, until only Jesus was left in the middle of the crowd with the woman. Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?”

 “No, Lord,” she said.

And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.

Repent, ask forgiveness, and sin no more…yes, it can be that simple.  Grace is the pardon for your jail time, but not a license not to change.  “Go, and sin no more.”  Means you’re not stuck in the pit you created.  Means you have an out.  Grab your “get out of jail” free card and live the life He created you for…live the beautiful life.

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You Never Forget Your First…

Pick a first…any first in your life that you can remember from the time that you could….well, remember.

You’re first kiss.  The first time you held hands with a crush.  The first time your heart was broken.   You’re first roller coaster ride or plane trip.   The first time you “knew” what you wanted to be when you grew up.  The first time you got humiliated, or bullied, got detention or even the paddle at school.  Your first team win, or loss.  A realized dream come true, or a dream crushed.

I remember the first time I got caught singing by a total stranger.  I was walking home from the store and I sang the words, “baby, baby, don’t get hooked on me, cause I’ll just use you, then I’ll set you freeeeeee, baby, baby, don’t get hooked on me.”  The song was by Mac Davis. Ironically, he also sang the song, “Oh Lord, it’s hard to be humble, when you’re perfect in every way.”  I digress.  When I finished singing, this guy passed me, turned around, looked at me and smiled.  I was a bit taken back that someone had heard me. For whatever reasons, I liked these songs…very self-absorbed songs.

I remember saying on more than one occasion growing up, life was too short to be unhappy, and if I ever got married and it wasn’t fun, I wouldn’t stick around.  Yep, I made that all about me!  I also said “people weren’t made to stay married for 50 years!!”  “Back in the day before medical advances, people got sick and died or were killed, and the widower remarried.” As you can tell, I didn’t have any relationship role models.

This leads me to the first I never thought I would have.  I most certainly never uttered the words,”I can’t wait to grow up and cheat on my spouse.”  And yet, I did.  It’s a first I will never forget.  I never dreamt of divorce, I dreamt of marriage.  I did both.  Firsts, I’ll never forget.

I wonder if the woman who was brought to Jesus to be stoned for her sin of adultery actually did as He said…”go, and sin no more.”  I wonder what she must have looked like from the inside out.  What mess in her life brought her to commit adultery?  How she justified the act in her mind.  I wonder if she considered herself fortunate to escape her punishment?  Knowing that women thousands of years ago committed the same act as we…I did…sure hasn’t stopped history from repeating itself.  I dare say, sexual immorality runneth amok!!

It would appear instead of adultery being frowned upon, it’s glamorized in tv shows, movies, reality shows, books, etc.  I can look back and remember my favorite soap operas being all the talk about who was cheating with who.  Or is that whom? To be honest, I’m glad most of them are now off the air.  I stopped watching them, years ago.

The tragic part of all this glamorization of adulterous living is in real life… getting cheated on hurts.  Truth be told, there is no victory in this tangled mess.  I can tell you from personal experience that no good comes from committing adultery.  Eventually, there is a price to be paid.  Your conscience will catch up with you, and you will never forget those firsts.

You can no doubt go back through your mind and pick out all kinds of happy and sad “firsts.”  Hopefully, you have more smiles than tears.  But whichever that may be, today is a new day that can be filled with firsts.  You’re here, life is not over!!  You’re story is not over, it’s just beginning.

And just like the adulterous woman, you too can come to Jesus, repent of your sin, be forgiven as far as the east is to the west, (because God is just that awesome) and with God’s help, “sin no more.”  But….what devastation did you leave in the wake of your lust?  No sin goes unpunished.  Someone will suffer. There are consequences to every choice we make.  What choice are you making?  More importantly, who are you making it for and what will it look like when the choice has been made and the action completed?

Some of the hardest lessons learned come from being all about self.  I’ll never forget the first time someone told me, “everything in life is not about you. “  It was like I just got slapped upside my head.  So this is me, paying that forward. Consider this your slap upside the head if you’re living life all about you.    Wake up!!  Life is not about you.  It has never, nor will it ever be about you.  It’s about the One who gave His life for you, the One who suffered and died for your sins.  Get over yourself already and start living for an eternal life.

“Then Jesus went to work on his disciples. “Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You’re not in the driver’s seat; I am. Don’t run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I’ll show you how. Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to finding yourself, your true self. What kind of deal is it to get everything you want but lose yourself? What could you ever trade your soul for?” ~~Matthew 16:24-26 (The Message)

“What could you ever trade your soul for?”  Think about it.  Where will you be spending eternity?

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The Blame Game

Blame

It’s been happening ever since we heard about Adam and Eve.  Eve blamed the serpent for eating the fruit she was forbidden to eat, Adam blamed Eve and the serpent and so it begins.  But, did you notice what happened to Eve?  How about Adam?  Did Adam get away with what Eve “made” him do?  Did he suffer a less consequence because Eve ate the forbidden fruit first, or did he suffer the consequence of his own actions?  If you answered that he suffered the consequence of his own actions, then, ding, ding, ding….you win.

No one wins in the blame game.  When I stand in front of my Father, will whoever I chose to blame for my actions be standing with me on judgment day? I think not.  But, how funny would that be to glance over and see my accomplice or scapegoat and point and proclaim…”it was all their fault.”  Do I really think I could stand in front of Him, He without sin and say… “that sin of adultery was soooo not my fault.  No, no, no, I was drunk and soooo…..yea….the alcohol brought down my inhibitions and well, I wasn’t in my right frame of mind.  And, hellooo, let me just add I didn’t commit adultery by myself….after all, I had a partner. You saw that, right?  They took advantage of ME.” Insert Cheshire cat like grin here because I was just ever so clever justifying my sin away.

                                                                                                blame-game

Better not get too comfortable patting myself on the back because I’m pretty sure the blame game might “work” here on earth, but I’m for certain it ain’t a gonna fly with the One who very specifically said…”Thou shalt not.”  There’s a whole list of those pesky “Thou shalt nots.”  They’re very specific and geared for our safety and well being.  When was the last time you took a good look at His Commandments?  Break one, break them all.  Sin is sin, no matter how big or how small.  You can’t ignore it, you can’t justify it, and you can’t blame anyone or anything else.  You have to be able to stand on your own merit and claim it.  Otherwise, how do you repent?  How do get the forgiveness He wants to give you?  How do you live the life He wants for you?  Oh, that’s right, you don’t!! 

What sin are you holding onto by blaming someone or something else?  As you read that, did something “pop” into your head? It’s there because you can’t wish or will it away.  It will always come back until you lay your claim to it, repent and seek forgiveness from the Only One who can wash away that which takes up negative space in your being.  I say being, because sin doesn’t just affect your head.  It affects your health, and it affects the person you can’t be because you’re too worried that someone may find out your “dirty little secret.”  How exhausting is that?!!  Trying to constantly hide behind your sin is no way to live.  Oh, the enemy loves for you to live your life this way.  In fact, he hopes you get totally reconciled with your sin so that you can do the next bad thing that will put you even more under his control.   I don’t know about you, but I never want to be OK with my sin. I want it gone.  Confession is good for the “soul.”  If it’s good for the soul, it’s totally good for you and those around you!! May not be easy to stand on your sin, but it’s gonna be way easier than carrying it with you where ever you go.  Time to get out from under that mess and get your life back on track.  Let go, and let God!!

sin-guilt-causes-body-pain-sickness

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