The Art Of Making The Broken Beautiful Again

When I was a little girl, I would help my mom with the dishes. She washed and I dried. One time as she handed me a bowl to dry the wet porcelain slipped through my fingers, crashing to the floor.

Broken

As it hit the floor it shattered, and I began to cry. My Mom wasn’t mad. In fact, she comforted me, letting me know that it wasn’t a big deal but I just hate it when things break.

Mourning What Is Broken

Fast forward to two years ago. As I walked toward a table in my library I lost my balance. Falling forward I reached out to steady myself on the table.

My hand hit a small bowl that was on the table and the bowl went sailing into the air. Although it landed on the carpet it shattered into several pieces.

I may no longer be a little girl but I still cried. It had been a birthday gift from a friend several years prior and I treasured it.

Why am I such a crybaby when it comes to breaking things? Why do I hate it so much?

Because, well, they’re broken. Ruined. No longer perfect.

What On Earth Is Kintsugi

At least that is what I thought until I learned about the Japanese art of Kintsugi.

Kintsugi has been around since the 15th century but I only learned about it this past July while reading the book, The Story of With.

Kintsugi takes a very different approach to broken vessels. Instead of trashing them as broken, flawed, and useless the artists discovered a way to make the broken beautiful again.

My first thought when I read about this art form was, “Won’t that just highlight the brokenness?”

I mean after all, instead of hiding the imperfections the artists illuminate them by filling the cracks with gold.

They view the repaired item as more valuable than it was before because now it is a one-of-a-kind original with its shimmering lines of gold.

It isn’t just usable again; it is stronger. What a lesson.

How Our Scars Make Us Stronger

Kintsugi makes what is broken beautiful again but long before these Japanese artists discovered this art form Jesus was was fulfilling his mission by healing our shattered hearts and setting us free.

The Spirit of the Lord, the Eternal is on me. The Lord has appointed me for a special purpose. He has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to repair broken hearts, And to declare to those who are held captive and bound in prison, ‘Be free from your imprisonment!'” – Isaiah 61:1

He puts the fragments of our shattered hearts back together again with His healing light. And when He heals us were are infused with his healing power.

The truth is we don’t get through this life without being wounded. We all have scars but most are unseen.

Scars from the betrayal of someone we trusted or conditional love based on our performance. You get the idea and I’m sure you can name many other wounds.

These scars may be invisible but the wounds cut deep. But I believe that the same principle that holds true for Kintsugi holds true for our brokenness.

Scars are an integral part of our stories. We don’t like them. The pain is real.

But the good news is we serve an awesome Creator who makes all things new (Rev. 21:5). If we surrender our brokenness to Him He will not only heal the wounds He will use them to make us stronger.

That means we don’t need to be afraid of our most painful brokenness because it is where our most meaningful purpose will be found.

So don’t be afraid to dive in and trust Jesus at levels you have never trusted Him before. Because when you do not only will He mend your broken places, your scars will shimmer with new strength. His strength, empowering you to share your story with others in a way that encourages and blesses them.

Question: What scars are you hiding? Do you believe your scars can make you stronger? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

 

 

 

Finding My True Identity In The Great Mouse Adventure

What happens when two dogs, a cat, and a furmom set out to catch a mouse running through the house?

mouse

Well, the answer is both easy and surprising.

The Easy Part

As you might expect, once the little mouse made his presence known a whole lot of chaos ensued. And a lot of laughter followed.

Here is how it happened. Shortly after supper, I noticed Bailey (my cat) was stalking something in my library.

I couldn’t imagine what was so interesting about the stack of plates on the floor. Disclaimer – the plates were on the floor because I removed them from the kitchen during a decluttering session and had not had a chance to send them to their new home.

I jumped back, shocked and startled by what I saw. Yes, it was a little mouse, and when I moved the plates, it scampered across the floor.

For the next ninety minutes, it scampered from room to room with all four of us in pursuit.

The Surprising Part

All four of us reacted to the mouse in different ways.

Both dogs showed little to no interest in catching the mouse. Which is shocking since they both have high prey drives and have been known to chase and kill any critter that dares to trespass in their yard.

Even more surprising was Bailey’s response. The more I tried to catch the mouse and point out to him where the mouse was the more he seemed to lose interest in the chase.

Since he had caught several mice a few years ago, I didn’t know what to make of his response.

The biggest surprise of all came as I started to close my front door for the evening. As I began to move the door, I saw him. The little mouse was sitting in the corner behind the door facing out.

I thought, “I’ve got you now you little bugger.” I called Bailey, no response, so I went and grabbed him and put him behind the door facing the mouse and waited for the action to start.

Knowing Your True Identity

To my utter disbelief, Bailey turned and ran the opposite direction as fast as he could. In fact, he went to the basement and stayed there.

Scratching my head at this weird encounter, I decided to give up the chase for the night and worry about it tomorrow.

I laid down on the couch to watch a little TV and promptly fell asleep.

At 1:30 am I awakened to the sound of a loud thud and then a second loud thud coming from the kitchen. Followed by little kitty-boy strutting into the living room carrying the dead mouse.

My Mistake

As he strutted around the room for several minutes displaying his captured foe, I realized my mistake.

Baily knew something that I had forgotten. He understands who he is and what he is created to do.

When I tried to force him to do it my way he ran and returned when he had the opportunity to do it right.

It reminded me of the story of David and Goliath. The part where King Saul put his armor on David when he was going to fight the giant. But it didn’t fit. It wasn’t who David was. So he took it off and went out to face Goliath in his true identity with a slingshot and five smooth stones.

Run In Your Lane

Just like Bailey and just like David each of us is a one-of-a-kind, had crafted creation not a mass produced copy.

“For we are the product of His hand, heaven’s poetry etched on lives, created in the Anointed, Jesus to accomplish the good works God arranged long ago.” – Ephesians 2:9 (Voice)

But then life happens, and we forget whose we are. When that happens it’s easy to get bogged down in fear, shame, disappointment, and ________(fill in the blank). If we stay there, it will short-circuit God’s plan for our life.

The Truth Will Set You Free

God used a sweet little kitty to remind me of these truths:

God created you and me. We are His artistry. His masterpiece. This truth is the foundation of our identity.

God has chosen us. He not only created us He created us for a purpose. Because of his love for us, He will equip us for the purpose He created us for when we fully surrender to Him.

He reminded me that my sense of worth should come from Him and Him alone. I am a child of the King, and so are you. And we need to hide these truths in our heart.

I love the way He uses such seemingly silly or unimportant things like a kitty and a mouse to remind us of these essential truths. I’m so glad I didn’t miss the lesson of finding my true identity in Him alone.

Question: Where are you getting your sense of worth? Are you letting someone or something force you to run in a lane you are not created to run in? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

 

 

 

There Is More to Your Story Than You Think

You have a story, and it matters! But let me ask you a question. Have you embraced your story? Do you even know what it is and who is writing it?

story

What Is A Story?

Before we answer those questions, we have to understand what a story is.

Simply defined, it is a character that wants something and overcomes conflict to get it.

Just for a minute think about your favorite movie, book, or TV show. Isn’t it about a character (or characters) that want something and overcomes conflict to get it?

Stories also have structure. Put another way they have a beginning, a middle, and an end. So where does our story begin?

Whose Story Is It Anyway?

First, we have to understand that it is not about us. Say what? You heard me right. It is not about us. The story is about God. It’s His story, and He is the Ultimate Author. So where does that leave us?

All epic stories have subplots, and each of our lives is a subplot in a bigger story.

As I pondered my story, I realized I didn’t like it very much. Why, because I had made it all about me. The day I came to understand that it wasn’t all about me was the most freeing day of my life. I was able to embrace my story as a subplot in the story of God and acknowledge Him as the Ultimate Author.

That realization freed me from going through life focusing on myself and trying to control the outcome of my life. The weight of the world lifted off my shoulder when I stopped trying to be God.

What’s Your Perspective Of The Author?

To begin understanding our story and living the subplot He created us to live we must have a right view of the Author.

A.W. Tozer said, “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.” It will influence every aspect of our life. If we have an incomplete or false understanding of God’s character, it will set the plot of our story in the wrong direction, negatively affecting our decisions and choices.

There are two primary reasons we misunderstand God. First, is a bad relationship with a parent or authority figure.

If they fall short of God’s design, it can cause us to have a distorted view of God because we see Him through the lens of our experience with that person.

Second, some of us are more interested in what God can give us and do for us than we are in just knowing Him.

What Is Your Role?

Both of those reasons result in one thing. A lack of trust in God, the Father. If we don’t trust God completely, we will never be able to submit and partner with Him to write our epic subplot.

God used a childhood memory to help me understand what it means to trust Him completely.

When I was a little girl whenever we would pile into the car to go anywhere, I had perfect peace. Why? Because I trusted my earthly father, I had no doubt that he knew where we were going and how to get there. In fact, I was so confident that we would arrive safely I would curl up in the back seat and go to sleep.

God pointed out to me that if I could trust my earthly father that much surely I could trust the One who authored my story. The One who knows me best and loves me most. That was a light bulb moment for me.

Can I trust Him? Do I trust Him? Trust is not an emotion, it’s a choice, and it’s the key. When the answer to those questions is yes, fasten your seatbelt, because we are about to embark on the grand adventure He has for each of us.

Trust will allow us to partner with the Ultimate Author, as He writes our story and penning us in His image. Like any story, ours will consist of both positive and negative plot twists. It will not be perfect this side of Heaven.

But if we will allow Him, He will use the plot twists to author our unique subplot in His story. If we trust Him, we can embrace our story and know we are becoming who He created us to be.

Question: What are the areas of your life where you find it difficult to trust God? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

You Are Unique And Why It Matters

You are not an accident. Not even close. Long before your parents ever gave you a thought; God designed you. Uniquely handcrafted with beauty and purpose. He wrote your story long before you were born.

unique
“For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” – Ephesians 2:10

God doesn’t do anything by accident. That means there is a purpose for everything He creates. Everything! So that means you were created on purpose for a purpose.

Not only are you uniquely designed you are uniquely loved.

Equal Or Unique?

We often hear it said that God loves us all the same, but that isn’t true. He loves us all, but He loves each of us uniquely. This is something I just recently learned and am starting to wrap my head around.

If you are a parent, you’ll understand this concept. When your first child is born, your heart is bursting with love. It seems you love that precious little one with all the love you have. But then your second child is born and wonder of wonders you find yourself head over heels in love with number two. You don’t feel any less love for number one. It seems your heart expands with each child. You discover your love is unlimited.

As they grow, you discover that they are each a unique individual with unique personalities and talents. You love them with all your love as the individual they are. In other words, you love them uniquely. Still, you love them both with all your heart.

Forget Comparison

When you understand this, it creates freedom for you to embrace your story. To like who you are and pursue who you were created to be.

Understanding that we are uniquely loved because we are uniquely created frees us from the need to compare ourselves with anyone else. We are the apple of His eye, and He pursues us to be in a relationship with Him.

Sure, we all have parts of our story that we would like to forget, details we wish were not part of our story. But here is the thing to remember He can and will use those ugly painful parts of our story for good if we let Him.

Seeing Yourself Through His Eyes

It’s important to understand it is not about trying harder to be a better you. You already have all His unique love for you. Always remember that there is nothing you can do to make Him love you more and nothing you can do to cause Him to love you less.

But you can partner with Him to be the best version of you. Ask Him to let you see your story through His eyes. He will show you how the hurts and wounds are making you even more beautiful and strong. In spite of all that has happened in your life, your story is still beautiful.

When you see yourself through His eyes, it will bring wholeness into your life. Also, when you see as God sees you will do as God says. That means in addition to the wholeness embracing your story brings you, it also allows God to love others through you.

Question: What you believe you are uniquely loved? In what areas of your life to you find it difficult to embrace your uniqueness? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

What Happens When You Embrace Your Calling?

Are you running to or from your calling?  When you hear your calling will you answer, will you embrace it? Those are the thoughts that crossed my mind recently as I drove down the highway.

calling

I flashed back to a time several years ago, and Alice (not her real name) came to mind. A member of a small group I was in asked if she could invite her to join the group. She explained that Alice had stopped going to church and she hoped being in the group would encourage her to reconnect with the church.

A Contrast In Perspective

Of course, we said yes, and Alice came to our next meeting. After a couple of meetings, she was comfortable enough to share why she had stopped attending church.

She was certain beyond any doubt that if she fully surrendered her life to Christ that He would immediately call her to go to Africa as a missionary.

In her mind, this was a fate worse than death. It caused her extreme anxiety just to think about it. Sadly Alice did not remain part of the group very long because attending caused her fear of going to Africa to resurface.

I came back to the present. As I continued to drive my thoughts immediately turned to my friend, Katie Colucy. This remarkable young woman is the polar opposite of Alice.

You see, when Katie was was between 10-12 years of age she attended the Believe Conference. During the conference, they showed a Compassion video, and it rocked her world. She knew then and there that she wanted to be a missionary.

Calling Is A Journey

One day shortly after the conference her teacher pulled down a map during class. As Katie looked at the map of Africa, she saw the country of Uganda. At that moment, as Katie shares, she “just knew in her heart” that is where she would be serving God.

After making five or six in-state mission trips during High School, Katie made her first mission trip overseas to Hatti at the age of 16. Knowing all the while that one day she would travel to Uganda to be the hands and feet of Jesus in this East African nation.

Through a series of “Only God” experiences Katie connected with the SOZO Children organization.  At age 17 she made her first trip to, you guessed it, Uganda where she immediately fell in love with the people.

calling

Katie Colucy with Jimmy Thing and George

Fast forward to today. Katie recently graduated from college and accepted a position as an intern with SOZO. She is currently preparing to make her seventh trip to Uganda. Later this year she will escort the SOZO children’s choir on a four-month tour of the U.S.A.

So what is different between Katie and Alice? Why did one woman run to and embrace her calling and the other ran from even the possibility of being called? What caused their perspectives to be so different?

The Answer Is Trust

Calling can be very scary if you don’t trust the Caller.

For whatever reason Alice’s life experiences caused her to see God as someone she could not trust. She viewed Him as a harsh taskmaster who would force her to go somewhere and do something that she neither wanted or felt qualified to do.

On the other hand, Katie understands what a loving and faithful God she serves and for that reason, she is willing to follow Him anywhere.

What Is Your Africa?

Every single one of us has a calling. You were created on purpose with a purpose. Do you know what your calling is?

Now granted God may not be calling you to the mission field in Africa but you do have a purpose that you are uniquely designed to fulfill.

Finding our calling is a journey. Some of us, Like Katie, know the answer for certain at a very early age. Some like me think we know our calling only to find out it is something different than what we thought.

Still, others continue searching. Next week we will dig deeper into how you can know and embrace your calling. Until then know this, it starts with trust.

“Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God” – Corrie ten Boom

Final Thoughts And An Opportunity

I do know this; there is no limit to what God can do with a totally surrendered life.

I asked Katie if she could share one thing with you what it would be. She said, “God is faithful! He will be with you and see you through. If something seems impossible, it’s an opportunity to trust.”

In His Word God tell us: “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me.” (Jer. 29:11-13 NLT) I don’t know about you but that sound like a God I can trust.

I’d like to invite you to get involved with Katie and SOZO Children. First, I ask that you keep her in your prayers. And if you feel led, please go here for further information on how you can support this amazing young woman and the SOZO Children organization.

Question: Do you know your calling? Are you embracing it or running from it? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

 

 

 

Freedom Is More Than Life, Liberty, And The Pursuit Of Happiness

Happy Independence Day! Now, I know that everyone reading this is not from the United States but around here July 4th is kind of a big deal. Families and friends get together to celebrate.

freedom

Food, fun, and fireworks abound but what are we actually celebrating?

Celebrating Freedom

On this day 241 years ago 56 brave men signed the Delectation of Independence. If you haven’t read it since your school days, I encourage you to read it and to check out the history behind its creation.

One of the most well-known statements in the document is: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

As a result of the Declaration of Independence, a nation was born but not before a war was fought to obtain that freedom. Many brave souls fought in the Revolutionary War to gain independence. And many have fought and are fighting to this day to protect the freedom established so long ago.

I am so grateful to live in my country and for all I have because of the sacrifice of others. But, today I want to talk about a different kind of freedom. One that also came at a significant cost but is far more valuable.

A Different Kind Of Freedom

The freedom I’m talking about is so much more than the life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. I’m talking about true freedom.

True freedom comes from within, and only Jesus can give it to us. That is why Jesus came to earth. He died and rose again to set us free.

“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.” – Galatians 5:1

Often we don’t realize what it truly means to be free in Christ, and that results in us living with less liberty than God intended.

Instead of living like the sons and daughters of the King that we are we live like slaves in bondage.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. This 4th of July we can step into the freedom that is ours in Christ Jesus.

Claim Your Inheritance

Take a minute and open your Bible to read God’s declaration of freedom for you.

When you do, you will discover these 16 revolutionary freedoms that are ours if we have accepted Jesus as the forgiver of our sins and the leader of our life.

Freedom :

Romans 6:15-18 (MSG) –  From Sin
John 8:36 –  To be truly Free
Galatians 5:1 (NLT) – To Stand Firm
Colossians 1:21-22 – From Accusation
James 1:25 –  By the Word
Ephesians 3:12 –  To Approach God
Psalm 118:5 –  To Cry Out to God
John 10:10 –  To live Abundantly
Galatians 1:4 – From Evil
Hebrews 9:14 –  From a Guilty Conscience
Romans 8:1-2 –  From Condemnation
Galatians 2:4 –  From Religious Slavery
Galatians 5:13 (TLB)-  To Serve One Another In Love
1 Peter 2:16 –  To Be Authentically Holly
Romans 8:15 –  From Fear
Psalm 91:14-16 –  From Trouble

This list is by no means exhaustive so let’s make July a Freedom Challenge month. Dig into Scripture and see how many other “Freedom in Christ” scriptures you can find. And as you find more verses go to our community Facebook page and share them.

Question: What area of your life do you find yourself living in bondage? What steps are you taking to claim the freedom that is yours in Jesus? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

 

What Do You See When You Look In The Mirror?

Mirror, Mirror on the wall… Are you still reciting this fairy tale rhyme? When you Look into your mirror what do you see?

mirror

Of course, we use a mirror to make sure we don’t have wild hair or a smudge on our face. But what we tell ourselves when we look at our reflection is more about our identity than our physical appearance.

A Distorted Image

The problem with mirrors is, if you are not looking in the right mirror you are going to get a distorted image of your true identity.

A full-length mirror hangs on the closet door in my bedroom. It was in my childhood bedroom, and now it’s in my adult bedroom. I use it every day. I’ll be honest; I don’t like what my reflection, and every time I look at my image that is precisely what I tell myself.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying we shouldn’t want to improve on ourselves. But we can’t do that unless we are using a mirror we can trust.

I have trusted my bedroom mirror for years to tell me about my physical appearance. But then one day I took a visiting friend into my bedroom to show her some updates I had done. She took one look at the mirror and blurted out, “Your mirror is distorted.”

My first reaction was to think she was just in denial because she didn’t like the reflection it was showing to her. However, as I looked through her eyes, I could see the distortions.

Why hadn’t I been able to see those flaws before? Good question. My answer would be that my focus was in the wrong place. I was focusing so much on my flaws I couldn’t see the flaws in the mirror.

And that is exactly what happens when we trust the wrong mirrors to discover our true identity.

From Plain K To Special K

But in Jesus, we have a mirror we can trust. He is the only one who can or will reflect our true identity back to us.

You may have noticed I have an unusual first name in that it is spelled with only one letter. It was a standing joke with my classmates that on the first day of school, when the teacher asked what the K stood for, they would recite as a whole, “It’s just plain K.”

Everyone, including the teacher, would all get a good laugh. But the truth is plain is exactly how I saw myself when I looked into the mirror. It is the lie that I told myself for years. I’m just plain K. Nothing special about me.

That all began to change as I grew in my relationship with Jesus.  I began to trust the reflection of who He says I am.

I went from “Just Plain K” to “Special K.” Now I’ll be honest with you.  It’s still a struggle for me to say that. It sounds so egotistical. Not to mention it is still hard for me to see myself as special. I’ve been looking in that distorted mirror for too long.  But I want to discover and embrace who He created me to be, to know my true identity. So I am using a new mirror.

The Only Mirror You Can Trust

In his book Abba’s Child, Brennan Manning tells us, “Define yourself radically as one beloved of God. This is the true self. Every other identity is and illusion.”

“It is in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for.” Ephesians 1:11 (MSG)

One tool that helps me not slip back into plain K mode is a list of scriptures that point out and remind me the truth about who I am in Christ. It was developed by Freedom In Christ Ministries, and I use it every morning during my time with God. I read it out loud before I start my day. You can get a free copy here if you would like to use it too.

Jesus really does want us to know how He sees us and what He knows is true about us. He is not willing for us to live in the reflection of a lie so He invites us to journey with Him.

Ned Erickson of Young Life calls the journey a “progression” and it goes like this: “Get to know Jesus well, because the more you know him, the more you’ll love him, and the more you love him, the more you’ll want to follow him, and the more you follow him, the more you’ll become like him, and the more you become like him, the more you become yourself.”

Let’s make Jesus the only mirror we trust. It’s not about our accomplishments or failures or gifts or anything else. We are only truly defined by what Jesus says about us. We find ourselves in Him.

Question: Remember there are only two questions that matter. Everything else hinges on your answer. They are: “Who do you say Jesus is?” and “Who does Jesus say you are?” You can leave a comment by clicking here.

 

 

 

 

When Your Bad Day Intercects With My Not So Good Moment

Bad days. We all have them. But what happens when two bad days collide? Sounds like a prescription for the perfect storm.

bad day

That’s what happened to me recently when I made what I thought would be a quick an uneventful trip to the grocery store.

The Perfect Storm Is Brewing

It was one of those mornings. You know the kind. Open the fridge to get some breakfast fixings and the fridge is empty. No problem, I’ll just throw some clothes on and run uptown to the store and grab something. Oh, if life were only that simple

The local grocery store in my small town, while a bit diminutive is a great place. Especially for those in-between shopping days. On this fateful trip, I grabbed a few things and dashed to the checkout line. That’s when it happened.

The cashier rang my purchases up and I inserted my debit card in the the card terminal. Sounds simple enough.

The problem was, I misread the question on the terminal screen and accidentally canceled my entire purchase. The cashier informed me of my sin in a slightly disgusted way.

I apologized and tried to make a joke about the situation but she did not find it amusing and it clearly showed in her body language and expression.

From Bad To Worse

She reset the transaction with a single keystroke and I inserted my card into the chip reader once again. When I looked at the screen this time I thought it said to remove my card so I complied.

The only problem, that is not what it said which resulted in the transaction being canceled again.

How did I know that is what happened? Well, my less than happy cashier told me so in no uncertain terms. Apparently, she believed that I was intentionally trying to ruin her day and make her life miserable.

Now let me give you a little back-story. This isn’t the first time I have found myself in this cashier’s lane and she always has a scowl on her face. But today was by far the worse I had observed. Although I felt bad about making her reset the card reader two times It wasn’t like I was doing it on purpose.

Thoroughly embarrassed, I apologized once again. She was not impressed. And now her body language was even louder than the first time. I couldn’t wait to get this transaction completed and retreat to my car.

Mercifully, at last, I found myself walking out the door. As I made my way to my car I found myself starting to judge her. I didn’t appreciate her rude treatment.  I considered turning around, going and going back into the store to inform her of that fact. Especially, since I was having also having a bad day.

In fact, my bad day was the reason for my problem with the card terminal. You see, I started to get a migraine while I was shopping. By the time I reached the checkout I was having visual auras. If you suffer from margarine headaches you know what I mean.

My vision was blurry and I just couldn’t focus my eyes. Therefore, I could not see the screen well enough to read the directions. I tried to guess the right button to push but unfortunately, that didn’t work quite as well as I had hoped.

Seeing As God Sees

As I drove out of the parking lot, I contemplated going home and writing a rant about my experience on Facebook. It was at that moment that the Holy Spirit nudged me, interrupting my thoughts. He reminded me to look at her heart. He helped me understand the unhappy look she always wears is a symptom of something deeper.

Perhaps her attitude and actions, although inappropriate, were due to some heartache that I could not imagine.

“The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”  1 Samuel 16:7b (NLT)

As our bad days collided I was glad I listened to the Spirit’s nudge and didn’t respond to her treatment by lashing out at her. Instead, I decided to pray for her and the next time I find myself in her lane I will smile and find something encouraging to say to her.

My pastor often tells us, “When you see as God sees you will do as God says.” I’m starting to understand that and I’m so thankful that He looks at my heart. I want to see God’s heart as I get to know Him more. And I want to learn to see the hearts of people. To see them through His eyes and respond in a way that not only pleases Him but brings Him glory.

I’m discovering that heart gazing turns bad days into opportunities for love and encouragement.

Question: What are some things you can do to remind yourself to look at someone’s heart? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

 

 

 

 

When You Use The Right Glue It Makes All The Difference

This post first appeared on October 13, 2016

Do you ever feel like your life is coming unglued? Do you struggle with how to get it under control? What glue do you use to hold it together during life’s ups and downs?

glue

Stock id:14900578 copyright Alexandr Makarov

So Many Choices

There are thousands of glues and adhesives on the market today. Each has a particular purpose.

It doesn’t matter if it’s a craft project or your life situations. Choose the wrong glue for what you need to glue, and it will just fall apart again.

Glue Gone Wrong

Several years ago one of my dogs was experiencing a problem with her foot pad coming loose. Under the direction of my veterinarian, I was to apply a couple of drops of super glue to reattach it.

I thought I knew what I was doing. I carefully placed the nozzle of the tiny vial of glue on her foot and gently squeezed. Let’s just say I wasn’t prepared for what happened next.

I watched in horror as a large stream of glue shot out of the nozzle. When the glue stopped flowing, I had succeeded in gluing three of my dog’s toes together as well as two of my fingers.

Needless to say, I felt like the worst dog mom ever. Fortunately, super glue dissolves with nail polish remover and ice.

Life is a lot like my experience with the super glue. It is full of surprises, and things don’t always go the way we want or plan.

Jesus Is The Right Glue

Life is about change. Even when our life seems stable and routine change is happening. But when a lot of change happens at the same time it can seem like we are coming unglued. So how do we deal with that? How do we hold it together?

We think we can handle it just like I thought I could control the super glue. The truth is we can never hold it together on our own. There is only one who can hold us together, and His name is Jesus.

I love Colossians 1-15-17. In it, we learn: “Christ is the visible image of the invisible God. He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation, for through him God created everything in the heavenly realms and on earth. He made the things we can see and the things we can’t see – such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world. Everything was created through him and for him. He existed before anything else, and he holds all creation together.” NLT

Wow! We were made through Him and for Him. But did you catch those last four words, “… he holds all creation together.” Jesus is the glue.

I don’t know how many times I read this verse without catching this. Then several years ago I heard a sermon by pastor and author Louie Giglio which brought it to life in an unbelievable way. I’ll let Louie tell you himself. Please watch this short video to learn what I’m talking about (even if you have seen it before).

How Great Is Our God

Wow! Just Wow! How cool is that? Think about it. Thousands of years before the technology existed to learn about the glue that holds us together God had Paul pen the words of Colossians 1:15-17.

Jesus, the creator, the Master Artist, signed His work deep within us with confirmation that He will hold us together. Not only did He redeem us by the Cross He is holding us together by the cross!

So when life seems to spin out of control, and you feel like you are coming unglued, you can be confident that not only can Jesus hold you together He will!

Question: Do you feel like your life is coming unglued? What steps do you need to take to allow Jesus to be your glue? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To Becoming Me

This post first appeared on September 12, 2016

“You’re not likable.” My supervisor’s words sliced through my heart like a hot knife. They amplified my greatest fear, rejection.

Becoming Me

I have spent most of my life trying to be who others think I should be so they will like me. It is a painful and exhausting way to live. And it is not the way God intends us to live life.

Words are powerful. They have the power to give life and encouragement or like the words uttered by my supervisor so many years ago, the power to crush and wound.

Their Words

My supervisor made that statement to me during an annual review. He indicated that none of my co-workers liked me. He then suggested a book I should read that would help me be more likable. I kept my composure until I was alone, and then the tears flowed freely.

The tape of those words played over and over again in my mind not only then but for many years after. I’m sure that supervisor didn’t realize the damage his words caused. His motive was probably to cause me to be a better version of who he thought I should be.

However, what they did was reinforce my belief that I was not likable or lovable. And the belief I had to fix what was wrong with me, whatever that might be so that others would like me. I believed the lie that if I never said no and did everything others asked of me perfectly, then they would like me.

My Words

Not only are the words others speak to us powerful, so are the words we speak to ourselves.

Several years ago when God placed a dream in my heart to write, I spoke negative words to myself that resulted in it taking years longer to pursue that dream than it should have. Words like; you’re too old, you don’t know how to write, you’re not a good writer, you don’t have anything to say that others will want to read, your not likable so why would anyone like your writing.

God’s Word

God tells me a different story in His Word. He says I am fearfully and wonderfully made (read Psalm 139:13-18). He tells me that He created me intentionally and on purpose. “For we are God’s masterpiece. He created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” – Ephesians 2:10 NLT. I have to trust Him. Trust that He created me the way He wanted me to be. His unique child with a personality that has strengths and challenges.

The Journey To Becoming Me

The past few years God has been leading me on a journey to become myself. A journey that is about progress, not perfection. A journey that will not end this side of heaven.

I’m learning to get unstuck from my past and allow the painful events to teach me to tell myself the truth. I realized that the truth behind the remarks of that long ago supervisor was that he didn’t like me, and possibly some of my co-workers shared the same feelings. But that is OK because not everyone will like me when I am true to who He created me to be.

I am also telling myself the truth that it is never too late to dream a new dream.

“You are never too old to set another goal or dream or dream another dream.” C. S. Lewis

What Else I Am Learning

I have learned that I am penned in His image, and I have a story. A story He authored and wants me to share.

I have learned that there is nothing I can do to earn His love and nothing I can do to cause Him to love me less. So now, this hot mess of a recovering perfectionistic people pleaser is living for the applause of nail-scared hands, and so I write.

I also know this truth,  if you are reading this you have had painful experiences in your life as well. But they do not have to define you. You can be who He created you to be. So I invite you to join me on this journey of becoming ourselves, of being who He created us to be. Let’s travel together one grace step at a time.

Question: What painful experience have you been allowing to define your life? Where do you feel stuck? How is God showing you how to become yourself? You can leave a comment by clicking here.