Blessed to be Broken

God's not finished with me yet!

Show Me The Way

The other day when I turned on the tv, Little House On The Prairie was what popped up on the screen. I can’t say I remember watching too much of this show when it originally aired or even the reruns. But for some reason this one caught my eye.

There’s a character named Edwards. I guess he hurt his foot and was feeling pretty useless and depressed. So, Ma Ingalls suggested to Pa Ingalls to take Laura over to Edwards house and go help cheer him up. Over the course of the visit, the man, Edwards suggested a hunting trip, and it was agreed that Pa Ingalls and Laura would go along.

Once in the woods Pa and Edwards decided to head out to hunt while Laura stayed behind to make some grub. Aha! Herein lies the true reason Edwards wanted to go into the woods. As I said before he felt useless because of his bum foot. It made him feel like a burden to his wife and friends. So he concocted a plan to off himself. He was just about to pull the trigger of his rifle to shoot himself in the head when Pa Ingalls kicked the gun away. With his suicidal plan out in the open, Edwards told Pa his plan and “reasonings” behind it. Who knew Little House tackled such heavy subjects as this?

Edwards was determined to finish what he started. But Pa Ingalls was just as determined to save his friend. While praying to God, Pa asked the Lord to show him how to help his friend. Help being the key word here. He asked God to show him the way. Just then a deer came out into the open. Pa said it was pretty much the deer’s lucky day and tried to shoo it away.

He fired a round into the air to scare the deer away. It didn’t move. A perplexed Pa then had an epiphany and said “show me the way.” Next thing we hear is another shot fired. This second shot captured Edwards attention who was sitting in his woe is me stew several hundred feet away. Pa screams out Edwards name and Edwards quickly hobbles over to Pa. When Edwards reaches Pa, he sees Pa on the ground looking poorly. There’s blood on Pa’s shirt. Dun, dun, dun.

Pa tells Edwards he needs to go back to camp and get Laura and a horse. Surprisingly, Edwards makes it back to Laura at camp and says her Pa’s been hurt and they have to go get him. BUT, Pa strolls into camp, blood still on his shirt, uninjured. Seems it must not have been the deer’s lucky day after all. The blood smear had to come from somewhere. Poor deer.

Edwards is pretty angry after having to hobble all the way back to camp on his walking stick crutch and complains he almost killed himself doing it. Ironic huh? Little House all over here teaching folks big lessons.

Once Edwards got outside of his own dark musings and thought more of helping his friend, his life took on another meaning. Instead of thinking he was useless and no good to anyone, he put all those type thoughts behind him and dug deep to find the strength he needed to help his friend. His injury may have hindered him a bit, but it couldn’t stop the overwhelming desire within him to help Pa. That desire to help, propelled him into action.

The enemy loves to isolate and speak death into your mind. He only comes to kill, steal, and destroy. Edwards couldn’t see past his injury. He allowed the lie that he was useless because of his injury define the rest of his life. How often does this happen in real life? Life isn’t what we think it should be, so we shrug our shoulders, say this is as good as it gets, and become like the walking dead. We draw further into our own world and forget that life is best lived when we help one another.

We all have different skills and gifts. We’re wired that way to help one another, not hurt one another. We’re wired that way to lift one another up, not tear each other down. Love one another is the Lord’s commandment for a reason. He knows what hate can do, what it’s capable of, and the way it hardens our hearts. Hate doesn’t make us stronger. It makes us weak. So weak in fact, we give up on the life Christ died to give us. I’m just gonna let you think about that on your own.

Today’s a new day. It already looks different than yesterday. Tomorrow’s not promised. How will you LIVE out this gift of today? It’s your choice. I hope you choose love. Love is its own reward when lived out as intended.

What does that love look like? I’m so glad you asked!

“Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.” 1 Corinthians 13:4~7 (NLT)

Love well my friends!

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There’s More To Your Story

He wanted to die. For whatever reason, life on this side of Heaven is not what he wanted. Maybe it was too big a disappointment. Maybe it was too hard. Maybe it was too painful or maybe, just maybe, it was the separation of his earthly vessel from His Heavenly Creator that caused a cavernous emptiness so encompassing that he felt only death could fix it.

So he set a course of action in play, one he was sure would take him out of this world, out of his pain, out of his misery, out of his suffering, BUT…God.

“You can make many plans, but the LORD’S purpose will prevail.” – Proverbs 19:21 (NLT)

This day was not like any other day. His body screamed “enough” and told him in more ways than one that he couldn’t keep going at the rate he was going. Many pieces and parts of his inner frame started to shut down from the years of abuse. He was on a mission, but so was God.

He would find himself in the ICU, hooked up to numerous medications. Each day during his stay I watched his body fight back from the brink of death. I witnessed glimpses of hope. I saw his body get the rest it so desperately needed to repair the damage from the choices he made.

I was very much aware of God’s mercies being new every morning and each second as recovery took over destruction. I watched the hands and feet of Jesus at work in those who claimed not to believe in Him. And I marveled as I watched God wooing those who are wandering.  How could I not be amazed at His beautiful and amazing grace?

I was reminded of this verse: “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.”  – Psalm 23:4 (NKJV)

I don’t know the reason he set out on his own path away from God. But his plans did not prevail, and he’s still here. Whatever caused that broken relationship with himself, the one that told him, his life was not worth living, is as personal as the love Jesus has for him. And just as I saw miracles happen over the course of that hospital stay, I know God won’t stop reaching, fighting for His son, His child, His beautiful creation.

I know, because I also found myself wanting to quit this world when it got too hard and the pain seemed unbearable many years ago. It was in this place of  desolation and the belief that no one cared that I thrashed about like a fish out of water screaming: “God, where are you?” And He whispered, “I’m right here, where are you?”

Indeed, where was I? Sin had pulled me far from God, but not so far that His love couldn’t save me. So, if you feel the lack of God’s mighty presence, I wonder, where are you? Because God, He’s right here.  I know, because His promise in Deuteronomy  31:6 says: “I will never leave you or forsake you.” Never…that’s a long time.

Sweet friend, if you’re still here, please don’t give up, there’s more to your story than just this moment. Whatever piece of this journey you’re on, it’s nothing that will last forever…it’s just a season. Please remember, you’re life is precious and you have a purpose and there is no one exactly like you that can do all you were created to do.

Your story’s not over, it’s just beginning.

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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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