Search This Blog

Friday, July 21, 2017

Quote of the Day

"Only the man who has had to face despair is really convinced that he needs mercy. Those who do not want mercy never seek it. It is better to find God on the threshold of despair than to risk our lives in a complacency that has never felt the need of forgiveness. A life that is without problems may literally be more hopeless than one that always verges on despair."
               - Thomas Merton in No Man Is An Island

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Quote of the Day

"The very thing we are afraid of, our brokenness, is the door to our Father's heart."
             - Paul Miller

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Why Brokenness Matters

Seizures. That was the common bond. I never would've thought such a topic would be the start of a connection. But we both dealt with them. And thus, we felt bonded. Because we knew what it meant to live with a broken body. What wasn't right with us gave us understanding between ourselves. Imperfection was our starting point. Because, for once, two people couldn't put their best foot forward but rather, their worst.
 I've been thinking a lot lately about brokenness. About why we struggle to accept it as a means to our healing, about why we fear it and think it's our un-doing, about why we are turned off by the presence of it in one another. 
 Several conversations and experiences in the past few weeks have brought it to my attention and have gotten me contemplating the importance of a life lived vulnerably - that the heart is incapable of loving fully without being broken, that we can never gain a full and open life without having a knowledge of our human incapacity to get it right. A life must be emptied of itself before it can be filled with God. It must have felt its worst before God can re-make it into it's best. 
 Lately, I've seen so much evidence of what is not right with the human condition. So many examples of people who would rather run from their fears instead of face them. People who choose to resist the broken way. Who would rather suffer in their soul-hardness than let the pain of being re-born take place. 
 And now I see why some relationships between people hit their ending - it is when souls no longer center around their need for Grace. When witnessing broken things in yourself or another becomes too much, you choose to walk away instead of to welcome God into the situation. And I'm learning to let go of those who make this choice. Because the only thing I can do is to keep on letting God break me to re-make me. Because He loves me. If another decides not to come this hard way with me, then let it be so. I have no control of their soul-ways anyway.
Perhaps it is seizures of the body or seizures of the soul, but I'm beginning to grasp that a broken way leads to abundance because only then do we begin to lean on God more completely. Through all the ways in which we are not perfect, we can begin to slowly see that He is perfection for us. The more I walk this journey to Grace, the more I see proofs of my own ignorance and inability to be the person I want to be. The more I see my own failures, the more I accept the fact that anything worth saying or doing in this life must stem from God. That it's not so much that I am a gift that that world needs but, instead, He is the gift that the world needs! It's not about me. At all. Ever. 
 If I'm not being broken of my pride, my need for control, my ever-present fears that reign...if I am not surrendering all the shattered parts of me so that God can turn me into His re-made masterpiece, then I am no blessing to anybody.
 Truthfully, the friends I most value are those who offered their resigned and God-broken hearts to mine and who accepted this flawed individual lovingly and without reservation, knowing that God is re-making all of us, so why not see through this resurrecting process together?! Shared brokenness brings people closer because God is about making dead things new...
 So why fight the very things that could make us better? Why resist taking the very journey which could lead to our transformation? 
Those who press into the hard lessons, who don't run from the messy in one another but who, instead, sympathize and encourage each other to look to the One who can turn all hard things into good...those are the willing ones who, in turn, see God. And didn't He say so in His sermon of Beatitudes? That the weak ones, poor ones, humbles ones, grieving ones, broken ones, would be the blessed ones (Matthew 5:1-12)?! 
 He gives me a hug and says gratefully, "Thank you for being a part of helping to change my life." Seizures and all that isn't right in this broken world...that's what broke down the barrier and brought understanding. That's what made us want to be friends. Not because we were strong, perfect, or had it all together. But rather, because we didn't. 
 I can't love or listen or help the way I want to, and neither can you. I can't be all I want to be in this one life, and neither can you. Daily, our failings remind us of all the ways in which we're not right. But somehow, by the never-failing grace of God, we can take the path of bravery in that being willing to enter the hard places nobody else will go, we may experience miracles and blessings we could never live otherwise without.
 Whether it's in your marriage, parenting, your dating life, your friendships, your church, your family, your workplace, be patient with the flaws of others. And be patient with yourself. God isn't done with all of us yet and, for every stumble, there is more grace given from Him. By taking the broken way, you just may find healing that you never expected...both for yourself and for others. 

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Quote of the Day

"Who gets over a love like this? In the midst of trials, Jesus guarantees the best trial outcome: you're guilty, but you get no condemnation. No condemnation for failing everyone, no condemnation for not doing everything, no condemnation for messing up everyday."
                      - Ann Voskamp in The Broken Way

Monday, July 17, 2017

Quote of the Day

"...There was what an Orthodox Hasidic rabbi had said on a flight westward...Somewhere over the mountains, the light thick above the clouds, the rabbi had turned to me, mid-conversation. 'Why do you people always say it's about having a strong belief in God? Who sits with the knowing that God's belief in you is even stronger than yours in Him?' 
I'd put down my Styrofoam cup of black coffee and tried to read the rabbi's face. He'd leaned forward in his seat and tilted his head so he could look at me directly. 'You may believe in God, but never forget - it's God who believes in you.'
He looked out the window and pointed. 'Every morning that the sun rises and you get to rise? That's God saying He believes in you, that He believes in the story He's writing through you. He believes in you as a gift the world needs.'
God's mercies are new every morning - not as an obligation to you, but as an affirmation of you. Was I living my life like I fully believed that?"
                     - Ann Voskamp in The Broken Way

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Quote of the Day

"When your identity is in Christ, your identity is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. Criticism can't change it. Failing can't change it. Lists can't determine it. When your identity is in the Rock, your identity is rock-solid. As long as God is for you, it doesn't matter what mountain rises ahead of you. You aren't your yesterday, you aren't your messes, you aren't your failures, you aren't your brokenness. You are brave enough for today, because He is. You are strong enough for what's coming, because He is. And you are enough for all that is, because He always is."
                      - Ann Voskamp in The Broken Way

Friday, July 14, 2017

Quote of the Day

"There is a union for all this brokenness. 
'Ultimately it comes down to this, that the real cause of our trouble is failure to realize our union with Christ,' Martyn Lloyd-Jones wrote. That. I sit there in the realization of that real cause of all troubles...
The pieces of me, the shards I didn't know how to gather together again, the ache that kept me up at night that I didn't even have words for - none of the pieces of me would find peace - until I could see and feel and experientially enter into the reality of my union with Christ. Peace isn't a place - its a Person. Peace isn't a place to arrive at, but a Person to abide in. 'I myself am your peace,' says Jesus. 
Is this how you live with your one broken heart? Your one broken heart is only healed by a oneness with Him.
Am I willing to give all I have to Him?"
                - Ann Voskamp in The Broken Way