Tag Archives: brokenness

A Closer Walk: Fear & The Broken-Hearted-Vessel

Nothing can send hailstorms of ice cold fear rampaging across the landscape of my soul like being asked to speak in public!

(Yep, that’s my thing.)

Think of that thing you hate doing more than anything else. Now multiply it times ten and you have an approximate idea of how I feel about public speaking.

It’s my absolute worst thing.

If the choice is speaking in public or hot coals… bring on the coals!

I once signed up for a speech class in junior college thinking I would conquer this fear.

I lasted one day—one.

All I had to do was get up in front of the class and give my name and a little information about myself. (You’d have thought it was the Gettysburg Address the way I was shaking and quaking on the inside!)

When I was on staff with a large church, I wiggled and squirmed for months, trying to get out of the first time I had to do my own program presentation in front of the whole church.

A Single Dream I can still see myself, standing in that darkened doorway stage right, waiting to walk out into those bright floodlights. I was so terrified, every single “prepared” word evaporated from my brain. I remember sending up this panicky prayer that went something like, “God, please! If you don’t put some words in my mouth right now, this is going to get real ugly, real quick!”

To this day, I have no idea what I said. All I know is that later in one of the back rooms of the church, people kept coming up to me, thanking me profusely for all my wonderful encouragement. I stood there smiling politely, repeating over and over in my heart, “Thank you God. Oh, thank you God. It was only You.”

And so now you’re probably thinking, “And God called you to be a WRITER? Really?”

Yep, isn’t it hilarious?

(I think so too, since the idea of public speaking still turns my legs to spongy gelatin, and my mouth to dust.)

Why does God do this?

It’s completely crazy, but He always has, and still does.

Abraham, Moses, Jonah, Gideon, David… just to name a few. (All men after my own heart.) People with huge flaws and failures, but all God-called and God-commissioned. Men God used mightily in spite of their brokenness and weakness—if not because of it.

This is not the way the world does it.

Nope. No way. No how.

The world goes for the strong and outwardly shiny, while God chooses broken men—the storm-driven weak ones.

He seems to specialize, in frail human beings with a myriad of flaws and failings—just like us.

A Closer Walk

THE MOST!

Storms make muscle.

(It’s as simple as that.)

I want you strong! I want you confident!

How will you become strong and confident if you never go through storms?

You know Me by now, you know, nothing, nothing, touches you by chance. (Not My child!) But, because you are My child, I decide what is best for your training and development.

This part, the suffering, is for training; deepening your character. Before you can dress another’s wounds, you must feel the knife yourself. (You know this.) You cannot touch, you cannot heal broken hearts, with a heart that’s never been broken! Too, many of My children have tried, and failed.

I AM weary of these would-be-healers.

Away, with physicians of no use!

Come, let us be reasonable.

I AM building in you, compassion, understanding and caring.

(You know I AM.)

You also know by now, that these precious qualities are only purchased at great cost.

Why are they so rare?

(You know why.)

Because suffering, especially unjust suffering, is hard to bear.

Fear & Broken HeartedBut dearest, did I not tell you that the greater your suffering, the greater your reward?

Honey, it is the broken-hearted-vessel that holds the most!

These are not just clever words to soothe your pain.

This is the stuff—the place—where true healing begins.

a closer walk

 

“…for he will never fail you.”

1 Peter 4:191 Peter 4:19
English: World English Bible - WEB

19 Therefore let them also who suffer according to the will of God in doing good entrust their souls to him, as to a faithful Creator.

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A Closer Walk: Beauty In The Brokenness

We all have something, don’t we? Some fear, or flaw, or brokenness; some insecurity or sense of inferiority that we desperately want to overcome.

(Whether we admit it or not, we all do.)

Sometimes it’s a glaring and obvious failure; something that we believe everyone can see. Sometimes it’s our blind spot; something everyone, but us, can see. And sometimes it is a hidden something, we struggle with all alone, stumbling, falling, getting up again, hoping to conquer it, yet continually falling short of our goal.

We are all of us only human after all, and our weaknesses are ever present, daily reminding us of that fact.

Being weak is rarely admired in our society. We admire the strong. The brave. The people who are considered conquerors. Victorious overcomers. The winners. People who habitually “look and act” successful, and are always, always, admired by the crowd. And let’s face it, we admire them, too.

Yet every “winner” has that something… just ask them (in a transparent moment) they will confess to struggling, too.

We’re all flawed.

Doubt it for even a moment and your weakness will usually pop up somewhere, somehow, to remind you (and everyone else) that you are so much less than what the world admires the most.

the weak things

So why is it, “the strong” that the world lifts up, God looks down on?

The Bible says, “But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty.” 1 Corinthians 1:271 Corinthians 1:27
English: World English Bible - WEB

27 but God chose the foolish things of the world that he might put to shame those who are wise. God chose the weak things of the world, that he might put to shame the things that are strong;

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Why do we tend to think of brokenness as bad?

It has taken me almost a lifetime to come around to God’s way of thinking about weakness. He seems to specialize in choosing the people we would never think of. And then, to make His point, He sends them off on some monumentally heroic or difficult assignment.

Almost without fail God picks the last guy we would pick.

(Someone like me… or you!)

God just loves showing off through the weak and helpless people of this world.

Beauty shines through

Don’t be surprised if God puts His finger right on that “something” you have, that ONE THING that makes you cringe in fear, or embarrassment, or frustration… that weakness or brokenness that you long to keep hidden, to conquer… yet always seems to be conquering you.

Yeah, don’t be surprised if THAT THING, is “the thing” that He calls you to do.

Someday when you least expect it you may hear God whisper, “Right here, in your greatest weakness and brokenness… this, is where you will serve Me and honor Me the most.”

A Closer Walk

“I CAN’T!”

My child…

I know how difficult and crazy your life has become. You are to press through these difficulties until you get to the heart of the matter.

There will I be.

I AM always with you Sweet Heart no matter what the problem. But you will not discover My presence in your outer stress.

No, My place is in the center of your storm. That is the place of peace. That is were you will find Me and My strength to go on.

You can do this thing you keep saying, “I can’t!” to.

(Press in. I’m there.)

It is your fear that immobilizes—your anger that paralyzes!

Your peace is not in the absence of conflict—it is in Me.

(You know this.)

Arise, My BelovedCome, I AM all you need.

I will bring you through.

Don’t focus on what you can’t do.

Focus on Me.

Did I not create you?

Who knows better than I? Your strengths, your gifts… even your weaknesses are from Me.

(Ah, you thought you were the source?)

I AM a God of balance.

I create the light and the dark.

Your weaknesses gift you.

Beauty in the broken

(Now that one surprised you!)

It’s true!

Listen, I’ll ask you again, “Where does true power come from?”

(… of course.)

And would you come to Me if you were nothing but “strength and gift”?

(We both know that independent streak you have.)

So… the storm and difficulty are for revealing you to you.

And as you see yourself, as you really are, you run to Me!

(I like that.)

a closer walk

“…keep on doing what is right and trust yourself to the God who made you…”

1 Peter 4:191 Peter 4:19
English: World English Bible - WEB

19 Therefore let them also who suffer according to the will of God in doing good entrust their souls to him, as to a faithful Creator.

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Challenge of Jesus In A World of Brokenness

If not us, then who?“What we are faced with in our culture is the post-Christian version of the doctrine of original sin: all human endeavor is radically flawed, and the journalists who take delight in pointing this out are simply telling over and over again the story of Genesis three as applied to today’s leaders, politicians, royalty and rock stars. And our task, as image-bearing, God-loving, Christshaped, Spirit-filled Christians, following Christ and shaping our world, is to announce challenge of Jesusredemption to the world that has discovered its fallenness, to announce healing to the world that has discovered its brokenness, to proclaim love and trust to the world that knows only exploitation, fear and suspicion. So the key I propose for translating Jesus’ unique message to the Israel of his day into our message to our contemporaries is to grasp the parallel, which is woven deeply into both Testaments, between the human call to bear God’s image and Israel’s call to be the light of the world. Humans were made to reflect God’s creative stewardship into the world. Israel was made to bring God’s rescuing love to bear upon the world. Jesus came as the true Israel, the world’s true light, and as the true image of the invisible God. He was the true Jew, the true human. He has laid the foundation, and we must build upon it. We are to be the bearers both of his redeeming love and of his creative stewardship: to celebrate it, to model it, to proclaim it, to dance to it.

“As the Father sent me, so I send you…

…receive the Holy Spirit; forgive sins and they are forgiven, retain them and they are retained.” That last double command belongs exactly at this point. We are to go out into the world with the divine authority to forgive and retain sins. When Jesus forgave sins, they said he was blaspheming; how then can we imagine such a thing for ourselves? Answer: because of the gift of the Holy Spirit. God intends to do through us for the wider world that for which the foundation was laid in Jesus. We are to live and tell the story of the prodigal and the older brother; to announce God’s glad, exuberant, richly healing welcome for sinners, and at the same time God’s sorrowful but implacable opposition to those who persist in arrogance, oppression and greed. Following Christ in the power of the Spirit means bringing to our world the shape of the gospel: forgiveness, the best news that anyone can ever hear, for all who yearn for it, and judgment for all who insist on dehumanizing themselves and others by their continuing pride, injustice and greed…

The gospel of Jesus points us and indeed urges us to be at the leading edge of the whole culture,

…articulating in story and music and art and philosophy and education and poetry and politics and theology and even–heaven help us–Biblical studies, a worldview that will mount the historically-rooted Christian challenge to both modernity and postmodernity, leading the way…with joy and humor and gentleness and good judgment and true wisdom. I believe if we face the question, “if not now, then when?” if we are grasped by this vision we may also hear the question, “if not us, then who?” And if the gospel of Jesus is not the key to this task, then what is?”

—  N. T. Wright, The Challenge of Jesus

You’ve got a smile
That lifts me out of here
When I’m all tripped up
And turned around
Down in the trenches
Where you lift me up again
My heart and mind so far away

For the longing, the aching and the call
There is no denying her at all now

Beauty leads the way
Beauty leads the way
To the glory of the world
We were made for
Beauty leads the way

Look in the spaces
Where the separation thins
To dislocated cracks of light
Under the surface
Up above it’s all the same
You’re everywhere but hard to find

For the longing, the aching and the call
There is no denying you at all now

Beauty leads the way
Beauty leads the way
To the glory of the world
We were made for
Beauty leads the way
[x2]

our brokenness

Take you by surprise
Go right into the flames
Measures the sacrifice
‘Cause beauty leads the way

She’s like the morning sun
The answer to your shame
Rescued from where you were
Beauty leads the way
Beauty leads the way
Beauty leads the way
Beauty leads the way

Tears, brokenness & broken hearts

“Heaven knows we need never be ashamed of our tears, for they are rain upon the blinding dust of earth, overlying our hard hearts. I was better after I had cried, than before–more sorry, more aware of my own ingratitude, more gentle.”
― Charles Dickens, Great Expectations


 

My Greatness

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 Do not fear the unbelieving. They are chaff before My Spirit Windsas helpless as newborn babes.

I told you in the Last Days mockers will increase.

Is it not so?

The world seeks its own greatness and honors self above all else.

My greatness shines most from broken things.

This is something the world will never understand.

To them, it is rubbish—pure foolishness.

I have set the example for you.

The higher you go, the lower you must be willing to stoop.

Beware of the one who refuses to be faithful in the small things.

Before honor comes humility.

Always.

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Jesus knew that the Father had put him in complete charge of everything, that he came from God and was on his way back to God. So he got up from the supper table, set aside his robe, and put on an apron. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the feet of the disciples, drying them with his apron. When he got to Simon Peter, Peter said, “Master, you wash my feet?”

John 13: 3-6John 13: 3-6
English: World English Bible - WEB

3 Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he came forth from God, and was going to God, 4 arose from supper, and laid aside his outer garments. He took a towel, and wrapped a towel around his waist. 5 Then he poured water into the basin, and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him. 6 Then he came to Simon Peter. He said to him, “Lord, do you wash my feet?”

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The Message

 

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The Table (Part 1 – Social Doofus)

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I wonder how many people are like me?

I live in this weird parallel universe of making myself do what I need to do, while at the same time feeling totally incapable of doing it.

(I think it’s a holdover from my childhood.)

I remember the first time dad stood me on a kitchen chair in front of the washing machine. I was seven years old. He began explaining what all the dials meant and how to use them. Terrified of letting him down, I struggled to comprehend all that he was telling me. How would I remember all these directions?

Most of my life has held moments and experiences that felt just like that day standing on that chair.

  • My first time sitting behind the wheel of a car.
  • My first apartment in a large city where I knew almost no one.
  • My first job interview in that city interviewing for a job I had zero experience doing.

Does life do that to each of us? Thrust us into situations we have zero talent, or ability, or training for? Then, we have to “step up” and somehow, or some way, pull the rabbit from the hat?

Yeah—I think so. And that is definitely me, and the assignment to Hostess—anything.

I have no natural gift of feeling at ease in social functions. ZERO. I ask you then, “Whatever possessed me to sign up to Hostess at my church’s premier women’s social event: Hats Off To Hospitality?” And, at the last possible minute?

christmas-holiday-banquet-room-have-centerpieces-for-banquet-tables

Total insanity!

I’m standing there in front of the sign-up sheet, looking at all the “taken tables.” Only the least desirable spots in the room are still available.

“Just choose one.” I think.

(Yeah, sure.)

So I take number eleven, way off to the right, next to the wall and the doors to the kitchen.

Talk about the worst possible spot!

(I mentally picture bending to fill someone’s glass, just as a busboy boots me in my you-know-what, with one of those swinging doors!)

Now, what?

Well, I’m supposed to come up with a table theme. So I think of the book I’m currently reading, Jim McGuiggan’s, “The God of the Towel” and I think, “Yeah, maybe I could do something with that?”

I make lists for everything, so of course, I started making my list.

I thought I knew just what to buy; just what I was going to create. I smile remembering because God was about to tweak my plan with a few ideas of His own. He was about to take my moment of temporary insanity and pull off something, well let’s just say, I was about to learn that being a social doofus is a REAL KINGDOM ASSET to God’s way of doing things.

In my greatest fumbling weakness?

He was about to work His quiet little miracles!

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