compassion, suffering, example, God’s love, Jesus, love others, redeemed, Oh Lord Help Us, Christian, women, mentor, ministry

Suffering With: Compassion’s True Nature Revealed through Jesus

Today’s interpretation of ‘compassion’ doesn’t compare to God’s intended design. The true nature of ‘suffering with others’ was perfectly exemplified through the life and death of Jesus.



When I entered my initial internship for hospital chaplaincy, I believed I was equipped both theologically and emotionally to provide the care my patients would need. After all, I was an adult who had already raised a family, taught the Bible for twenty years, and had experienced, (and had therapy for), several painful life events.

Astonishing – how wrong we can be when we believe we’re so right.

Our interpretation of compassion doesn't compare to God's intended design. 'Suffering with others' was perfectly exemplified in the life and death of Jesus. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #devotional #scripture #compassion #GodsLove #redeemed #suffering

The World’s Compassion

Chaplaincy internship involved many spiritual books assigned to us, weekly theological reflections, group meetings/assessments with fellow interns, and a weekly one-on-one with our supervisor. It didn’t take long for most of us to ascertain that, while our theological training was imperative and our life experiences significant, how these aspects came together to minister care to a hurting soul was vital.

The word compassion is thrown around frequently in our culture. It seems the word is used to pull at our heartstrings and guilt us into performing a service. Or, to give to a cause in which someone, or an entity, believes we should. You know what I mean. I imagine your mailbox is full of the same appeals as mine.

Don’t you have any compassion for these-

  • starving children
  • wounded vets
  • people with cancer
  • lost people
  • dying people in (name the country)

And if you’re a television watcher…well, the visual is worse.

Inadequate Compassion

While I was in chaplaincy, I was seeing a wonderful Christian therapist. At times, I felt overwhelmed and deeply inadequate by the needs I faced each day. My heart, my own compassion, could not handle the onslaught of pain and suffering. I remember the day I expressed this to her, and she told me, “I believe we already have a Savior to handle the world’s pain. We don’t need another one.” Ouch.

But the truth is, like so many other words in our world, compassion has been co-opted to take on a new meaning. Rather than the way, God, our Father used it, or Jesus used it, today it is used more as ‘feeling sorry for.’ With this meaning, we can throw money at the above list, or even a little time, feel warm and fuzzy, then go on our merry way.

However, in the Old Testament, where the Hebrew word is Racham, it is translated to ‘love deeply;’ it is used most often in Isaiah.

Yet the LORD longs to be gracious to you; therefore he will rise up to show you compassion. For the LORD is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him!

Isaiah 30:18, NIV

Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you!

Isaiah 49:15, NIV

Can we fathom this love?

Suffering With

The Greek word splanchnizomai, “to be moved as to one’s inwards”, is used most often when referencing Jesus’ compassion.

That one is a bit more difficult to grasp. Imagine your child with a raging fever and your willingness to take his/her place just to ease the pain and suffering.

Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.

Matthew 9:35-36, NIV

When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick.

Matthew 14:14, NIV

As he drew near to the gate of the town, behold, a man who had died was being carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow, and a considerable crowd from the town was with her. And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her and said to her, ‘Do not weep.’ Then he came up and touched the bier, and the bearers stood still. And he said, ‘Young man, I say to you, arise.’

Luke 7:12-14, ESV

‘Pain-Avoiders’

Henri Nouwen describes it well in a book he co-wrote with two others.

The word compassion is derived from the Latin words pati and cum, which together mean “to suffer with.” Compassion means to go where it hurts, to enter into places of pain, to share in brokenness, fear, confusion, and anguish. Compassion challenges us to cry out with those in misery, to mourn with those who are lonely, to weep with those in tears. Compassion requires us to be weak with the weak, vulnerable with the vulnerable, powerless with the powerless. Compassion means full immersion into the condition of being human.

It is not surprising that compassion, understood as suffering with, often evokes in us a deep resistance and even protest…It is important for us to acknowledge this resistance and to recognize that suffering is not something we desire or to which we are attracted. On the contrary, it is something we want to avoid at all cost. Therefore, compassion is not among our most natural responses. We are pain-avoiders…

Henri Nouwen, et al, Compassion, A Reflection on the Christian Life  

Full Immersion

Dear friends, sisters, is it not much easier to remain at a safe distance from sufferers than to be in “full immersion” with them? Wouldn’t we rather tweet: “I’ll pray for you!” with an added heart emoji than go sit in silence with a depressed friend?

Let’s be painfully honest – it takes little effort to say, “Let me know if you need anything,” but to take the initiative to keep her kids one day a week? Seriously?

I find it much more challenging to experience the powerlessness of someone in grinding poverty than to go to my intellect and tell her about job opportunities. I prefer to inform her of the stage of grief she is in than to weep and mourn with a sister who is mourning.

Because truly? While the practical answers are necessary, they are not what Jesus meant by compassion.

Jesus’ Example

There was a time when I was very good at doling out useless offers and banal, spiritual phrases. Then cancer hit my family, (my dad, Gary,) and chronic illness, (me, mom.) Gary and I began hearing those words and good intentions coming our way. It didn’t take too many instances for God to reveal to me how insincere I had been.

When I had cancer three years ago, the same thing occurred with people I believed were close to me. While the experience was hurtful and disappointing, it helped me realize anew how little we understand suffering with each other. Even in the Body of Christ.

God, in Christ, loved us to such a degree that He stepped down to earth to redeem us. He was tempted and suffered in every way as we do, (Hebrews 4:15; Isaiah 53:5-6). Jesus is our supreme example of compassion, suffering with. He will enable us to do the same with others if we will ask.

Let me warn you…it hurts.

…but the rewards are eternal.

Jesus is our supreme example of what compassion looks like: He stepped down to earth as a human, suffered as we do, then died and rose again to redeem us all. Click To Tweet

Our interpretation of compassion doesn't compare to God's intended design. 'Suffering with others' was perfectly exemplified in the life and death of Jesus. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #devotional #scripture #compassion #GodsLove #redeemed #suffering

unsplash-logoAnnie Spratt
Deliverance, freedom, hope, plans, redeemed, salvation, Oh Lord Help Us, Christian, women, mentor, ministry

Hoped: Past or Present, God Reveals and Restores

Circumstances can pull us away from our once fierce hope in the Lord. We don’t know the whole story and must submit our “hoped for’s” to God’s plan.



But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel…

Luke 24:21a, ESV

The road to Emmaus…Cleopas, (and several scholars believe), his wife Mary, were decimated by the crucifixion of Jesus. After the Sabbath finally came and went, with heavy hearts and dragging feet the couple gathered their belongings together to return home. Despite Mary’s news of seeing the angels at the tomb, despite the unthinkable announcement that the tomb was empty, Cleopas and Mary headed out of town, shrouded in sorrow. In the words of Dr. James Boice:

…they were going home. It was all over. The dream was dead, and they were sad.

Many, many years ago, the infant daughter of some friends of ours was diagnosed with a brain tumor. At the time, our church was in the throes of an unusual months-long, Spirit-filled revival. We experienced the power of God in numerous, unexplainable situations and we were excited to incorporate it in prayer, at times without wisdom and discernment. Oh, how we prayed for that baby! How we entreated God’s healing hand, anointed with oil, trusted He would intervene, despite what the doctors said…

Precious baby girl died three months later. Our small group was devastated, not to mention her parents. We had trusted. We had believed God. Had hoped He was who He said He was.

Circumstances can pull us away from our once fierce hope in the Lord. We don't know the whole story and must submit our "hoped for's" to God's divine plan. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #devotional #scripture #salvation #freedom #hope

Hoped…

Not unlike Cleopas and Mary, our hope and trust became past tense for a season.

When Jesus joined them on the road home to Emmaus, He didn’t allow them to recognize Him. After all, the last time they had seen Jesus, He had been a bloody mess, beaten and beyond recognition, hanging on a cross. Their story borders on comical, however. Jesus approached them on their journey, behaving as though He was clueless to recent events. Jesus asked them why they were sad. Cleopas and Mary were incredulous!

Art thou only a stranger in Jerusalem, and hast not known the things which are come to pass there in these days?” Jesus said, “What things?” They answered, “Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, who was a prophet, mighty in deed and word before God and all the people; and how the chief priests and our rulers delivered him to be condemned to death, and have crucified him. But we hoped that it had been he who should have redeemed Israel.

Luke 24:18-21, KJV

But we had hoped that He should have…

I wonder how often I have looked into the face of Jesus and claimed, I had hoped, I had trusted, I had believed, but You didn’t do what You should have done.

For we hoped that He should have redeemed Israel. We had hoped. We had trusted that He should have redeemed Israel.

Irony

If it didn’t feel so sadly familiar, I would feel sorry for the Emmaus disciples. I wish they had said, “Even though everything we see assaults our hope, and it looks as though we have trusted in vain, we continue to believe that we will see Him, again!” But instead, they walked beside Him declaring their lost faith, and He had to say to them, “O fools, and slow of heart to believe!” (L. B. Cowman, Streams in the Desert).

The irony is that Jesus, indeed, came to redeem Israel, whether each of His disciples held to their faith or not. That is exactly what lead Him inexorably to the cross – our redemption from sin. This kind of redemption, this freedom from bondage and subjugation isn’t what Cleopas, Mary and many others had in mind; not at all. Their sights were set too low. They only wanted a physical king to bring emancipation for an earthly season.

Jesus offered so much more…immeasurably more.

Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree’—

Galatians 3:13, ESV

knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ.

1 Peter 1:18-19, ESV

Deliverance

In today’s culture, everyone seems to have their rights violated in one way or another. It might even be labeled oppression. Sometimes the pervasiveness of that attitude becomes wearisome.

But let me be clear, the Jewish people had experienced centuries of severe oppression, so I don’t want to be too critical of Cleopas and Mary. Their hopes were soaring. Jesus was finally going to bring the longed-for deliverance for which their hearts had yearned for generations.

And then He was crucified.

Hopes dashed against a cross.

What else was there to do, but to go home?

But then Jesus, in His infinite love and mercy, showed up on the road to Emmaus. He began revealing to them the Scriptures. He told them the rest of the story.

And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.

Luke 24:27, ESV

Eyes Opened

Do you ever stop to realize that we don’t know the whole story? The beginning, middle, and end? Has it ever occurred to you that maybe we only have a minuscule speck of awareness concerning what God is doing in relation to the vast scope of things? We see through a glass darkly (I Corinthians 13:12); unless and until the Spirit reveals His truth to us, that is our limitation.

And their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. And he vanished from their sight. They said to each other, ‘Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures?’

Luke 24:31-32, ESV

Their eyes were opened. Their hearts burned within them.

Where do we need our eyes opened? When did our hearts stop burning and our hope fail? Did God’s answer refuse to fit the parameters we had set, Beloved? It happens to all believers at some point. For reasons of sin or reasons of growth or both, we have each known times when we were convinced God was going to answer one way and He didn’t…or hasn’t.

Has God failed? We may never utter those words, but what does our walk with Him look like today? Do our hearts burn within us or is our hope a past tense thing, our faith a yesterday or last year topic?

It doesn’t have to be. Cleopas and Mary were desolate, hopeless. Yet, Jesus restored them to resurrection hope by opening their eyes to Truth.

May He do the same for each of us.

Did God’s answer refuse to fit our parameters, Beloved? Do our hearts burn within us or is our hope a past tense thing, our faith a yesterday topic? Jesus restores us to resurrection hope and opens our eyes to His truth! Click To Tweet

Circumstances can pull us away from our once fierce hope in the Lord. We don't know the whole story and must submit our "hoped for's" to God's divine plan. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #devotional #scripture #salvation #freedom #hope

Annie Spratt

Sisterhood, emotion, serving, redeemed, Oh Lord Help Us, Christian, women, mentor, ministry

Sisters: Learning Priorities and Redemption through Mary and Martha

We can often become defensive when others point out our shortcomings. Jesus used both Mary and Martha to teach a powerful lesson. Our walk with God strengthens through the encouragement and example of our fellow sisters! 



And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, ‘Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.’ But the Lord answered her, ‘Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.’

Luke 10:39-42, ESV

Jesus used both Mary and Martha to teach a powerful lesson. Our walk with God strengthens through the encouragement and examples of our fellow sisters! Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #sisters #scripture #emotion #redemption #serve

Sisters

My older sister and I joke that I am Mary and she is Martha. To understand what we mean by this, you need to understand who Mary and Martha are in the Bible. These two women are best known for being the sisters of Lazarus, the dead man that Jesus called out from the grave. Many people can easily recall the story in which Jesus resurrects Lazarus from the grave, but few seem to know who Mary and Martha were.

Martha gets a bad rap for this verse in the Bible. It seems that Martha is doing everything wrong and Mary is doing everything right. Though this may be true, it should never discount Jesus’ love for both sisters. Though Martha possessed the ability to poorly prioritize, Jesus makes her aware of this and offers redemption.

We can learn a valuable lesson from the redeemed Martha, Ladies. Today, Beloved, consider these questions as you read: “Am I more like Mary or Martha?” and “What lesson did Jesus teach Martha that will help us in our lives today?” 

Mary’s God Given Characteristics

Any Marys out there?

ME! ME! ME!

Mary is best described as the prayer warrior, deep thinker, and more often than not, an overly emotional woman. Mary LOVES Jesus deeply, with a sincere heart. I think it is safe to say that Mary’s heart was “smitten” with Jesus. She is the one that hears another woman’s troubles and weeps WITH her. Mary has the ability to connect with people on a personal level because she meets them where they are.

Mary is found sitting at the feet of Jesus quite a bit, (John 11:2, vs. 32; John 12:3). She was SO intrigued by Him, that she became blind and deaf to everything and everyone around her. Including her sister, Martha. Some might say she was, oblivious to the obvious.

I am like this all the time! Once I enter my time with Jesus, I have an extremely hard time stopping. I think things like:

“I should probably stop reading and go feed my kids their lunch. It’s like 1:30 pm!” -((cough cough)) not joking ((cough cough))-

The struggle is real! I seriously have NO problem neglecting my house chores to sit at the feet of Jesus. Nope, no guilt at all!

Mary’s Emotional Side

Mary’s relationship with Jesus is evident to all who know her. She is the woman that is constantly talking about Him. Her ability to pray and love from a heart that is captivated by God is authentic and contagious.

Mary is more than likely the overdramatic and sensitive woman. She wears her heart on her sleeve; so when someone gives her a taste of their mind, it doesn’t usually go well for her. She doesn’t often fight back. She cries. Okay. Okay. I cry! Her sensitivity is what draws crowds to her though, (John 11:31).

Not to mention, Mary’s emotions brought Jesus himself to tears. John 11:35 “Jesus Wept.” The shortest verse in the entire Bible. Pretty powerful, Mary Ladies!

Truthfully though, Mary wanted nothing more than for people everywhere to feel the height, depth, and width of God’s love for them. She has felt that kind of love and hopes all will experience it in life. Mary demonstrates her love for Jesus by having a deep, personal relationship with Him. Mary’s Spirit is MOVED to simply sit and bask in the presence of Him whenever He enters the room.

Does Jesus have that effect on you, Dear Sister?

Martha’s God Given Characteristics

I view Martha as your typical type A woman that clearly has a gift of hospitality and a heart to serve those around her. Martha is naturally task oriented and probably prone to being the person who thrives on hearing “That a girl!” Her top love language would easily be Words of Affirmation!

Martha LOVES Jesus and lives her life dedicated to following Him and all His commandments. She is naturally a rule follower, so for her, keeping Jesus’ commandments is a challenge that she enjoys pursuing. This girl seems to NEVER miss a beat. She prioritizes and uses her time efficiently and effectively every day.

She is also the one that pampers you with such love and kindness when you enter her home that leaves you thinking “is this girl even real!?”.

Martha’s Serving Side

My older sister has a knack for this! She will leave welcome baskets for anyone that stays in her home filled with such love and attention to detail. I remember staying over at her house one night and seeing this sweet basket all done up with rolled up washcloths, fresh clean soap, face mask, lotion, shampoo, conditioner, toothbrush, toothpaste and a sweet note telling me to relax and enjoy. Oh, and FRESH flowers by my bedside!

This kind of hospitality, in my opinion, is VARSITY level. We need more on the Varsity team of hospitality if you ask me. Martha cares for people because she recognizes how much Jesus cares for her. She displays how to serve God’s people with ACTS of kindness and love. She naturally puts her love for Jesus into action. Her spirit was literally MOVED to ACT on her love for Jesus.

By doing this, she misses the point of Jesus’ visit though. To listen in close relationship with Him. Basically, It’s hard to listen to Jesus when we’re moving around and have our minds preoccupied, Sisters.

Prioritize According To Jesus

Clearly, we can see that these two sisters are vastly different from one another. Yet they share something in common; They both love Jesus. They show their love for Him in different ways, which we see played out in these few verses.

Mary shows her love for Jesus by sitting at his feet and soaking in His every word. Martha shows her love for Jesus by preparing the meal and cleaning her house so He is comfortable. Jesus appreciated both sisters. Yet, he chooses to acknowledge Mary here. He does this is to point out how to prioritize correctly according to God’s will. God says to Put. Him. First. PERIOD.

But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you.

Matthew 6:33, CSB

Our Lord, Jesus, was never upset with Martha for serving and showing hospitality. He simply didn’t want her focus to be primarily on her tasks. This is the same for us as well. Even if our motives are good, if we aren’t careful, those tasks have a way of keeping us from a relationship with Christ.

Mary chose to prioritize Jesus first. Because Jesus loves Martha, He acknowledges this to her, gently. With compassion, He calmly makes her aware of her sin. He then offers her redemption through this newfound awareness. He does this for us too, Sisters!

How Does This Lesson Apply To Us?

This is an excellent lesson for all of us women to learn. We should never assume that our sisters in Christ are doing something wrong by not doing what WE think they should be doing instead. This type of toxic thinking only leads us to resent our sisters instead of cherishing them.

To understand our sisters in Christ well, we need to intentionally note how they love Jesus well. By doing this, we save ourselves from falling into the trap of distractions and false motives. You see, Martha may have been distracted with her tasks, but she also thought her sister was being inconsiderate.

Mary, on the other hand, never intended to ignore her sister. Her motive was simply to love Jesus well. For her, this meant spending time with Him.

And when Jesus makes us aware of our sin, by pointing out what’s right through another sister in Christ, we would be wise to imitate her good example. Doing this, we become a force to be reckoned with. Looking at each other this way will help us grow deeper in our faith.

Today, Sisters in Christ, let’s acknowledge the sins in our own lives and let’s receive Jesus’ redeeming love. Together, with Jesus, we are stronger!

And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.

Ecclesiastes 4:12, ESV

To understand our sisters in Christ well, we need to intentionally note how they love Jesus well. This saves us from falling into the trap of distractions and false motives. Click To Tweet

Jesus used both Mary and Martha to teach a powerful lesson. Our walk with God strengthens through the encouragement and examples of our fellow sisters! Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #sisters #scripture #emotion #redemption #serve

Daiga Ellaby

repentance, conviction, condemnation, Oh Lord Help Us , Christian, women, ministry, scripture

Repentance: Understand the Difference Between Condemnation and Conviction

Condemnation leads to guilt and shame. Conviction, however, is God’s loving kindness leading us to repentance and back to His refuge.



There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

Romans 8:1, ESV

If that is true, why do so many wrestle with feelings of condemnation? I believe it’s the fine line between condemnation and conviction.

The difference…

Condemnation oozes from the knowledge of laws and rules. When I feel condemned, I seek to soothe the discomfort of guilt and shame. There are plenty of cheerful quotes on Pinterest to set me right. There’s generally glitter and flowers and unicorns on them, too. Or a Chevron pattern. Whatever floats your boat. Frankly, I’ve come to know that condemnation plugs the holes in my boat with a sponge.

When I feel condemned, I seek to soothe the discomfort of guilt and shame. Click To Tweet

Conviction is entirely different because it is borne from the Holy Spirit and leads to repentance. Understanding Almighty God fully loves me means I no longer fear punishment; I know I am His. In response to the sin that separates me from Him, conviction leads me back to His loving arms.

  • I’m not spending enough time with the Lord.
  • I don’t have enough self-control.
  • I’m not good enough for God.

Condemnation screams: “You should be more. You’re not good enough.” Well-meaning friends (and social media) argue “You are enough!” But the guilt perpetuates. Because the reality is—I keep falling off the proverbial wagon and landing face first in the mud. The cycle repeats ad nauseam. Why? Because contrary to popular belief, it’s not the thought that counts. Feeling bad about something and saying I’m sorry is about me. When I feel convicted I have to be vulnerable, repent, and ask forgiveness; because I know what I did caused brokenness.

Conviction says: You’re right. You’re not good enough. “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ.”(Ephesians 2:4, ESV).

Condemnation leads to guilt and shame. Conviction, however, is God's loving kindness leading us to repentance and back to His refuge. #repentance #spiritualgrowth #scripture

From death to life…

This can be a hard pill to swallow initially. It seems to contradict fairness and encouragement. However, when the Bible talks about us being dead in our sin it’s only figurative to the point that we don’t know when our physical bodies will perish. Yet we are literally spiritually dead as a doornail until God breathes life into our dead souls. We cannot ultimately save ourselves from anything.

No one is getting up and walking out of a morgue. You’re dead on a slab. Resuscitation is off the table—you have to be resurrected.

Edward Hunt, Associate Pastor Sojourn Fairfax

For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.

John 3:17, ESV

How deep the Father’s love for us! He sent Jesus! It is He who makes us good enough through the work of His Spirit. Friends, it is God’s kindness that is meant to lead us to repentance. Not fear of judgement or completing our check-list of self-punishment.

The Lord redeems the life of his servants; none of those who take refuge in him will be condemned.

Psalm 34:22, ESV

Refuge…

When the boat is sinking back into condemnation land, or the wagon threatens to throw us off, we must find refuge in Christ. And if we still feel swept out to sea and can’t see any redemption or refuge in sight, let’s do a little backwards planning (as my husband likes to say). The instruction in Psalm 34:22 is to run to the Lord for rescue. Deliverance isn’t found anywhere else.

Those who look to him are radiant with joy; their faces will never be ashamed.

Psalm 34:5, CSB

When sin creeps in, don’t allow condemnation to drown you. Instead, permit conviction to bring you back to the One who loves you with an everlasting love. Take shelter in His arms; and worship your Redeemer.

Condemnation leads to guilt and shame. Conviction, however, is God's loving kindness leading us to repentance and back to His refuge. #repentance #spiritualgrowth #scripture

broken, brokenness, beauty, faithfulness, redeemed, redemption

Making Mosaics

God, the Master Artist, looks at the shards of our brokenness and sees beauty that we can’t. God uses the brokenness and creates a new, beautiful mosaic.



I don’t know anyone in this world who has escaped brokenness. I know I haven’t. In fact, brokenness touched my life in profound ways early on in my life. I spent most of my adult life thus far trying to hide how broken I was, but once I began to acknowledge all the scattered pieces of me laying all around, I found myself desperate to find a way to put the pieces of me back together.

I found myself on a journey towards healing from childhood sexual abuse. But every time I thought I had finally fit two pieces of me back together, I would see a new pile of all that was shattered in a corner I didn’t see before. I pleaded with God to put me back together. After all, He promises “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds” (Psalm 147:3, ESV). Surely healing meant He would put me back together.

As I have walked this journey, I have come to understand healing isn’t what I envisioned it would be. I thought of healing as God putting the broken pieces of me back together like a puzzle. While I can’t possibly put all the countless pieces of me back into the places they were before, I was certain God could. Yet, He hasn’t. His healing isn’t about putting me back together.  It’s about making the old new.

His healing isn’t about putting me back together. It’s about making the old new. Click To Tweet

The problem with putting the pieces back together is that once the pieces were fitted where they were to begin with, they provide an appearance of wholeness yet are still fractured. A puzzle put together still breaks in the same places.  It appears whole, you see the entire picture the pieces come together to create, yet it’s perpetually broken, fractured forever. God’s healing won’t put the pieces back together to give me an appearance of wholeness while leaving me still broken. So what is He doing instead?

God isn’t putting me together like a puzzle. When He looks at the chaotic mess of my scattered shards, He sees a new work of art as only an Artist can. He not only sees this new work of art, He begins creating it. He picks up each broken piece of me, lovingly cleans it and polishes it, and He places it in its new place in the mosaic He is making out of me.

When He looks at the chaotic mess of my scattered shards, He sees a new work of art... Click To Tweet

A mosaic, you see, is made by taking broken pieces and arranging them into a work of art held in place by some kind of glue or cement. That glue holds all those broken pieces together as one work of art. It is whole yet comprised of what was once broken. But the eyes of the artist saw beauty in the midst of the broken, and created something new out of what once was old. Unlike a puzzle, a mosaic, though made of broken pieces, is completely whole. It is held together, cemented in place, so it can’t be taken apart.

God, the Master Artist, looks at the shards of my brokenness and sees beauty that I can’t. The abuse that broke me cannot be undone (trust me, I’ve tried), but God uses the brokenness and creates a new mosaic. He doesn’t place all those shattered pieces back where they once were to create the appearance of wholeness. No, He does more than that. He honors the story of each broken piece, polishing it off, and places it in the glue of His grace and mercy and love. That glue can never be broken again. Out of old, broken pieces, He is fashioning a beautiful, new mosaic.

Of course, the brokenness can be seen and each shard still has a story to tell, but the glue of His faithfulness holding all the pieces together creates a whole piece of art that tells of His goodness through the brokenness. It tells of a love that refuses to leave me shattered. Healing is not putting the pieces of me back together. It’s much greater than that. Healing is making a new work of art…wholeness made out of brokenness.

...the glue of His faithfulness holding all the pieces together creates a whole piece of art... Click To Tweet

As I said at first, I don’t know of anyone in this life who has escaped brokenness, and I don’t know what it is that broke you and left you in pieces. So my dear and precious sisters, broken and scattered, take heart. He is not putting the old you back together. He is not merely fitting pieces of an old puzzle back where they once were so all can see where you broke.

He loves you too much to leave you with the appearance of wholeness yet perpetually broken. He is taking all the broken pieces of who you used to be and artfully creating a new masterpiece, telling a story of how you are being put back together…a story of how where you have walked will shape who you become. You, my dear sister, are not a puzzle to be fit back together into the old. You are a mosaic being masterfully made new.


God, the Master Artist, looks at the shards of my brokenness and sees beauty that I can’t. But God uses the brokenness and creates a new, beautiful mosaic.

No Longer Broken

Ever feel like life just isn’t fair? Yeah me too. I’m just going along, minding my own business, doing the right thing because it’s the right thing, and then BAM!!! Life slams you down.

It could be the death of a parent,

…or spouse,

…or even a child.

Or it could be an unfaithful spouse.

Or an employer who has it out for you.

Or that investment that left you unable to retire,

…or homeless.

Or how about cancer, it could be that too.


Broken

The things that leave us feeling broken are tragedies out of our control, or things that have been done against us, or a result of our own mistakes.

Tragedies emphasis our lack of control in this life more than anything else. You don’t plan for car accidents, or cancer, or for the housing market to crash. And even though it is completely out of our control, it’s easy to to question ourselves and the Lord. We start to play the “what if” game. What if we had made different choices? But we didn’t, and we are unable to undo what has been done.

Wrongs done to us or against us make us want to scream against the injustice.  It’s an attack, abuse, or assault. And even though it has been done to us by someone or something else, we feel responsible. Maybe if we hadn’t taken that risk, or chosen that mate, or followed that dream then we wouldn’t be in this position of feeling broken. We wouldn’t have to feel this pain or take the first of many steps on the journey of healing.

Or maybe our brokenness is because of poor choices. The guilt is heaviest here. How long do we have to suffer the consequences? How many times do we need to say we are sorry? Probably, at least one more time…

You have taken up my cause O Lord, you have redeemed my life.

Lamentations 3:58


Redeemed

To redeem is to either compensate for bad, or to gain something in exchange for payment. In our desire to find redemption, we find ourselves asking, “What good could ever come from this?”

Know The Lord sees your hurt. He hears your groans. Believe that He wants good things for you. Trust His timing, not yours.

Confess If your brokenness is due to mistakes you have made, admit them, and apologize. And if it is possible to remedy the wrong, then do so. Your brokenness has also resulted in the brokenness of others. By confessing and repenting, you will be aiding in their redemption as well. And then please be patient with them as they are healing. Forgiveness may have happened, but trust takes longer to return.

Hope Continue to long for better things. We live in a broken world full of sin. Yet our souls were created for eternity. There will always be a yearning for more or better. Long for Jesus. Hope for His peace

Trust In the bleak hours, trust that He will redeem your story. He is faithful.

Now I’m going to tell you what you don’t want to hear. I want to be honest with you, and not mislead you in any way. It may be that the Lord will not redeem your story in your lifetime. I know that is not what any of us want to accept. We need to know that our stories may not be for our own benefit, but for those to follow. As a follower of Christ, who believes in eternity, I know that my time on earth is a vapor, a mist, and then gone. But that doesn’t mean that my actions don’t continually affect others long after I am gone. The purpose of life is to glorify God, not myself, or to have an easy, carefree life.


I know there are women reading this who have lived through domestic abuse, sexual abuse, cancer, eating disorders, loss of loved ones, affairs, physical disabilities, addiction, loss of income and homes. The list goes on. At some point in our lives, all of our hearts have been broken. He will redeem your story, and though it may not be pretty, He will make it beautiful.

Dear lady, the Lord loves you fiercely, and pursues you fiercely. He sees your brokenness, and He cares. He will mend you. He will redeem you, and your story.

Broken, but God has redeemed me.

 

xoxo

 

broken

Replacing the Lies

After months of brainstorming, planning, critiquing there is now a shop of items offered through this little blog. I’m excited to tell you more about it, because it is more than pretty jewelry, or cute apparel. Please allow me to share my heart with you.

We have all had encounters and experiences in our lives that have planted a seed of doubt. They have made us question our purpose, our value, ourselves. These are lies that have been whispered to us repeatedly, and if we don’t acknowledge them, they can make us less effective and destroy our influence. These lies feed our defensiveness to protect ourselves from feeling weak. Our weaknesses can hinder us and cause insecurities, but those same weaknesses, if we acknowledge and address them they can bring us strength and give glory to God. Let’s change the repetition of lies. Let’s replace them with the truth of God.

Afraid, but GOD…has loved you.
Running, but GOD…has pursued you.
Broken, but GOD…has redeemed you.
Messy, but GOD…thinks you are beautiful.
Striving, but GOD…says you are enough.

I believe in a God, and that He is good. As C.S. Lewis wrote in The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe:

“Safe?” said Mr. Beaver; “… Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.” 

I also believe that there is an enemy that wants to destroy our influence and ultimately our lives.

This message that I want to share I believe is from God, and I believe the enemy wants to keep me silent and to keep you from hearing it. This past week, I felt completely under attack mentally and emotionally. To make it worse, I was attacked with each of these lies that I am telling others to replace with truth.

I felt afraid that people would reject me. I wanted to run away from this project. I felt defeated and broken in my spirit. I felt like my life was out of control and messy. I felt like I needed to strive to be different and felt envious of others. And when I realized that I was struggling with the very thing I was speaking against, I felt like an imposter. Who am I to be sharing this? This is the exact response the enemy was looking for.

The morning after I realized all of this, my oldest son woke up and wanted to tell me about a dream he had. In his dream, he was with Jesus and they were fighting demons. He wanted to know what it meant. I told him that I believe we are constantly in a battle. And that is why it is important to put on the armor of God that he has been learning about at church.

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. Ephesians 6:10-18, ESV

Shortly after this, my middle child woke up and he started talking about his dream. In his dream he was standing in our living room and people were trying to break in and attack us. Yikes.

After sharing this with my mother-in-law, she shared with me:

…Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God. Revelations 12:10, ESV

The enemy accuses us of being imposters, of being weak, of being sinful. BUT, he has been thrown down!! He has been defeated!! Hallelujah, there is a NEW truth!

Yes, I would say that the enemy doesn’t want you believe the truth. The enemy wants you to be afraid, running, broken, messy, and striving…

but GOD….

Oh ladies!! This is where it gets good!

but GOD…

That means the story changes!

but GOD…

It means there is hope!

Afraid, but GOD…has loved you.
Running, but GOD…has pursued you.
Broken, but GOD…has redeemed you.
Messy, but GOD…thinks you are beautiful.
Striving, but GOD…says you are enough.

Here is the truth: You are loved by the Almighty, and He is pursuing you in order to redeem you. He has made you beautiful, and because he has loved you, pursued you, and redeemed you; you are enough!

I wish you could hear the excitement in my voice! I wish I could tell you to your lovely face! I wish I could rejoice with you right now as you are reading this!

The items in the shop are simply to help remind us of the truth and to change the repetition of lies that we have listened to. I pray for us all to change the dialogue in our minds and to live the abundant life that Jesus told us about.

Here are several of the items.

Click on any picture to take you to the shop to see all of them.

bracelet-silver

earrings-loved

necklace-pursued2

ring

Shirt

Bag

I will be in the Louisville, Kentucky area Memorial Day weekend. If you live in that area, and would like to eliminate shipping cost by picking them up from me while I am there, simply select “Pick up” when checking out and send me a note. xoxo