Blessed to be Broken

God's not finished with me yet!

Treasure

Matthew 6:21 says:

“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

Don’t you just love this time of year! The lights, the decorations, the gatherings of friends and family? It seems just about everywhere you look people are a bit more generous, kinder, happy, and loving.

Kids are doing all the extras, thinking if they behave just a wee bit more, Santa will be extra nice to them. My social media is filled with all things holiday-related. Are you smiling in agreement?

One of my favorite things to see are the pictures of kids going to see Santa.

I remember my granddaughters’ first visit to Santa.  She was all dressed up in her little Christmas outfit and they handed her over to sit on Santa’s lap and she looked up at Santa like, “who in the world are you“? 

Santa

It seems the first year visiting Santa can be a bit scary for most kids.  A lot of pictures you see are of them crying with expressions that say, “what have you done to me”? “I want my mommy”  Seems, they can’t get away from Santa fast enough. 

When emotions and reactions collide you just don’t know what’s going to happen. 

A couple years ago, a big wooden cross was brought in for our Sunday morning message. We were asked to fill out a sticky note for something we wanted Jesus to do in our lives and then take that sticky note and place it on the cross. 

I remember filling out my sticky note and getting in line to place it on the cross. Easy peasy! Let’s do this! Everything was going pretty good, But, that was about to change.

The closer I got to the cross, the more my emotions came bubbling to the surface and my reaction to the meaning of the cross grew. My knees started shaking, my heart started racing, and I was overwhelmed with an array of emotions. It was all I could do to keep moving forward to the cross.

It reminds me of that song “I Can Only Imagine” by Mercy Me.

“Surrounded by Your glory
What will my heart feel
Will I dance for you Jesus
Or in awe of You be still
Will I stand in your presence
Or to my knees will I fall
Will I sing hallelujah
Will I be able to speak at all”

Pretty sure given my reaction as I walked up to the cross, I’m just gonna pass out when I come face to face with Jesus. Ha! 

I digress, back to the story.

That day at the church service we were given an invitation to write something on a sticky note and put it on the cross; to give whatever we wrote to Jesus. To be honest, I don’t remember what I wrote; I just remember my reaction to the cross.

Walking up to the cross, I felt so unworthy to even approach Jesus with my need. I felt vulnerable, yet compelled to keep moving forward. By the time I was face to face with the cross, I was overwhelmed with gratitude as I caught a glimpse of what Jesus did for the sake of all mankind; for me, and for each one of you.

But, don’t take my word for it. Let’s read Luke 2:8-20

The Shepherds and the Angels
“And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch
Over their flock by night.  And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear.  And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, 

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”

When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart.  And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.”

I suppose the shepherds could’ve chosen to stay in the field and keep tending their sheep, but they didn’t. They were sent an invitation and they answered with: “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” (bold and underline added for emphasis)

Did you catch the shepherds reaction?

They didn’t dilly dally and check their social media to see what the other shepherds were doing. They didn’t check with others to make sure it would be ok to go. They didn’t wonder if they were worthy or not enough or too far gone to go see the babe. No, it says “they went with haste.” Haste means “excessive speed or urgency of movement or action; hurry.” So, that’s what they did. 

And when they had seen all they were told about, they went back to their flocks “glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.”

The Lord’s invitation to come to see the baby Jesus is not just for the shepherds. Verse 10 says:

“And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.” (bold and underline added for emphasis)

Great joy for ALL the people; not some of the people, not a few of the people, not certain religious denominations of people, not specific race or gender of people, but ALL the people.

And that’s no different today! He invites each one of us into a relationship with Him: 

Matthew 11:28-30 in the Passion Translation says:

“Are you weary, carrying a heavy burden? Then come to me. I will refresh your life, for I am your oasis. Simply join your life with mine. Learn my ways and you’ll discover that I’m gentle, humble, easy to please. You will find refreshment and rest in me. For all that I require of you will be pleasant and easy to bear.”

So who is this invitation for? Say it with me…ALL the people. Just as the shepherds had a choice to answer the invitation to come and see what had happened, we have a choice to answer the invitation of relationship with Jesus. 

Jesus is calling…will you answer?

In closing, Luke 2:19 says:

“But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart.”

As we reflect on the Love sent down from Heaven during this season and the seasons to come, I wonder, what things you’re treasuring up and pondering in your heart? 

Remember, 

“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

Merry CHRISTmas to you and yours. May you know the abundant love, peace, and joy of our Savior, Jesus Christ.

 

 

 

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What’s In Your Treasure Chest?

When I was a little girl, I adored peeking into my grandmother’s jewelry box and playing with the baubles inside. I can still “see” and “smell” what I considered to be my personal treasure chest. 

The black leather box had a top that flipped open as well as several drawers that had delicate silver knobs on either side. Each drawer was lined with red velvet and the smell was like no other. 

Since my grandmother didn’t have pierced ears, she had those clip on style earrings.  When no one was looking I would take them out and carefully clip them on my ear lobes and pretend that their very existence on my ears made me oh so glamorous.

I’m not so sure she appreciated me trying on her troves of treasure or that pieces would come up missing from time to time. But, if she did mind, she never said. Or maybe she did say, and I don’t remember. Either way, the memory of her jewelry box brings a smile to my face. 

As I was driving to work today, a song by Mercy Me called “Dear Younger Me,” came on the radio. I’ve heard it many times before but today a line from the song stood out to me:

“My joy, my pain, would’ve never been my worth”

So here’s a peek inside my brain. As I sang along to those words, “my joy, my pain, would’ve never been my worth,” my soul was arrested with the thought, where are you placing your worth?  

As I dug a little deeper into that question, a visual of a treasure chest popped into my brain. This brought me to a paper I had written for a college class about topics I’d like to write about.  One of those topics was a story about my grandmother’s jewelry box. And voila! Here we are.

I remember lifting the lid to that jewelry box. I remember the jewels inside that garnered my full attention. I remember the anticipation I felt even though I already knew what was in there. I’m sure my eyes sparkled with the reflection of the treasure I held in my little hands.

But, I grew up. I stopped going to the jewelry box. I was no longer captivated by its contents. The things in there were familiar, dull, and lifeless. Yet it sat there, year after year, unappreciated.

The treasure trove once my place of temporary joy and wonder is now long gone with the passing of my grandmother years ago.  

It’s kind of like life, isn’t it? We find things that bring us joy and happiness for a moment and for a while we’re enamored with it.  We get the “thing” we wanted or lose the weight, or have the big wedding. We study hard and get the job we wanted so we can buy all the things we think we’d be missing out on if we didn’t have it in our lives. 

And yet, there’s still an emptiness. 

Once again, things become familiar, dull, and lifeless. So we search for the next shiny treasure that will bring us temporary happiness. It’s easy to kick things and people to the curb when they’ve served their purpose and we have so many other options available. 

So the question of where are you putting your worth is not a surface question. It’s a let’s get real with ourselves question of the heart. 

Is your worth found in people’s approval? The way you look? The amount of money you make? The material things you’ve collected? You’re job title? Maybe you’re basing your worth on societal standards. Only you know the absolute truth. 

There are so many things of this world we consider treasure. But they are all things that will one day fade away. I’m not saying it’s bad to have those things. It’s really only when we put our faith, trust, and worth in them that we can get in trouble. 

The harsh reality is, houses burn down, people steal your stuff, companies fold, things and bodies quit working, loved ones die, and accidents happen. 

When those unexpected things happen a hard downward spiral begins and you’re faced with the question, “what do I do now“? Sadly, some never make it to the other side of that question because they tied their existence to a thing or a person and their hope was lost. 

Having been at the brink of that dark precipice, many times, I get it.  

After retiring from a career I held 29 years, it was tough trying to figure out what to do next. My treasure was found in seriously numbing my senses with alcohol. 

After years of singleness and dating my treasure was to find the perfect mate. 

When marriage got too hard and I felt unloved, unwanted, and not enough. My treasure was found in men who made me feel “loved,” “wanted,” and “enough”. 

When menopause hit and I couldn’t lose weight the way I used to, I was beside myself. My treasure was self-loathing and disgust. 

When my body betrayed me and I couldn’t work out the way I used to, my treasure became excuses. 

When the reflection in the mirror started showing my age in years, my treasure became longings of days gone by. 

As if any of this was all there was to life on this earth. In all of that, I was so wrapped up in self, I couldn’t get past myself. I was always in my own way. It mattered not what any good thing anyone said because I bought into the lies that I was not enough based on unattainable societal standards. 

I was the picture of smiling on the outside, while slowly dying inside. 

I literally could not accept myself because everyone and their life looked better, shinier, happier, healthier, and more complete. My treasure was in the wanting. Have you ever been there? Maybe you’re there now. 

Can I just say, if you’re still reading this, you’re story is not over, it’s just a new chapter. It’s not going to look like the rest of your life for a reason. Times change and time most assuredly doesn’t stand still. We’ll either get stuck in what was, or we grab onto what is, and hope for what could be. 

I’m not gonna say some of the things that brought me down don’t come back and haunt me, because they do. But now I know better than to latch onto the lies that tell me I’m not enough and sit in my woe is me pot for days on end. 

These lies stole years from my well-being. Maybe you as well. If that’s true, I’m so very sorry for all you’ve been through. 

But today is a brand new day my friend. It’s full of God’s faithful love, faithfulness, and mercy. (Lamentations 3:22-23) When God says you the apple of His eye, (Psalm 17:8), then you’re the apple of His eye. When He says He takes great delight and is singing over you (Zephaniah 3:20) then take hold of that truth and run with it. When God says He’s got a plan for you (Jeremiah 29:11) then believe it. 

Can we just agree that God’s Truth should never be harder to believe than the enemies lies? And yet, here we are, letting the thoughts of the one who only comes to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10) take our thoughts captive. Let me just say he’s not the boss of you, unless you allow it. 

The fruits of the spirit are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. (Galations 5:22-23)

Did you see that…self-control. We have that. Plus all those other attributes. But, it’s up to us to exercise them. One last thing on this treasure topic and where we place our worth and then I’m off to seize the day. 

Matthew 6:19-21 says: 

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (bold emphasis added)

So, let me ask, what’s in your treasure chest? 

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