The Weight of the Broken

So many broken hearts all around me today. The weight of it all tugs on my own to weigh me down. My mind swirls with the endless possibilities, the various scenarios, circumstances, and outcomes.

One heart is trampled after years of devotion, self-sacrifice and provision. Deceit and lies run rampant. Another is captivated by mistrust and fear, threatening to become the self-fulfilling prophecy through the tears. Still another is full of anger, bitterness and rage while pretending to love and adore a fantasy fabricated within the mind.

Oh dear Lord, how do we help them? How do we stop the bleeding? Can we even intervene? The pain is so great. The brokenness seems beyond repair. Is there any glimpse of hope to be found?

The questions thrash about like tornadoes through my head. Twisting and turning without end. We look to a book, a counsel, a song or a situation to correlate, to somehow make sense of this unfathomable reality.

Yet, no answer can be found in the carnal. No solution can be brought forth in mere words. No ears have the capacity to hear the true heartbeat of the broken.

The only answer is Jesus. The only shred of hope is Him. There is no guarantee of tomorrow. There is no promise of reconciliation, or even redemption, without His mercy and grace.

It may sound too cliche. It may sound like just another punchline, but I have found He is the only source of Truth. He is the only anchor that holds. He is the only Rock that stands when the whole world falls apart, and you’re wondering if you can even take the very next breath.

I can’t even walk without holding onto His hand.

He is all I need. ❤️

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Like a Bomb or a Flower?

I saw this photo the other day, and it made me think about its meaning…

A flower is…

Beautiful. Delicate. Created by the Master Designer. Needs water, soil and sunlight to grow and survive. Some grow perfectly on the windowsill while others flourish in a great garden. Some attract bees, insects and spiders, but most all invite a gentle touch, a sweet smile and a deep inhale and exhale of stress relief. Some open up with beauty in the early morning hours and close up to shield their fragility as the sun sets. Some can weather the worst of storms and then be crushed by the tiniest of hands.

Flowers can represent friendship, love, jealousy and celebration. They can bring healing with their fragrance and comfort with their beauty. They can bring joy to brighten a home and peace to a grieving soul. They have even been known to bring healing to an ailing body and peace to a tearful spirit.

A bomb is…

Intense. Intriguing. Resilient and steadfast for the moment. Needs human hands to be created, moved or altered. Needs nothing to remain as it is, only a man’s touch to flip the switch. Once set, it is just as fragile as a flower under a combat boot. Some are extremely complex. Some are too simple to be described. Some are designed by madmen, while others are constructed by a genius of authority. Some are made to bring harm, while others are invented to protect the innocent and defend the weak.

Bombs can represent danger, fear, desolation and destruction. They can also present honor, courage and perseverance through the darkest of nights. They can’t bring healing, but the when used properly, they can bring deliverance from fierce enemies. They can’t bring love, but when executed with precision, they can bring guardianship against terror. They can’t bring peace, but when stored and presented with life, liberty and pursuit of happiness in the forefront, they can create almost a holy hush that no one dare to unravel.

As a woman, I will choose to be both, a flower and a bomb. Yet, the only way to be perfected in each of these is to be submitted to and placed within the hands of Almighty God. For, He is the only entity who controls the air I breathe and protects the ground on which I walk. He is the only Deity who can bring gentle restoration to the bones and a fierce security to the mind, all in the same nanosecond. Within my own strength, I can be too breakable and too dangerous for anyone’s well being; yet, with His divine wisdom, I, and all those around me, are safe within His grasp, because of His eternal love, grace and justice.

Be Resilient Like a Chicken Nugget

Friends and I were laughing as one shared the hilarious story of “slinging food” at her children on a Wednesday night on the way to church, because as a school teacher, she leaves school at 4:45, goes down the road to pick up child #4 drives across town to pick up her other day three children and husband from home, drives through fast food to get everyone chicken nuggets and make it on time to Wednesday night church! 😂 We all laughed till our sides hurt as she shared all the “mom tactics” to having children clothed and in their right minds with a dinner in their tummies, and her own self in her right mind; so, they could behave and have fun while in the evening program. One of the statements she made was, “Let me tell you. Those chicken nuggets are resilient! They bounce off windows and don’t splatter. They are easy to handle for little fingers. You can get the 20 for $2.50 and have change to spare, too!”

It was such a comical moment, and, honestly, I’m not a great fan of chicken nuggets, but our kids loved them in their early years, and that simple statement made me start thinking…

Chicken Nuggets ARE resilient! We could learn a lot from that little nugget…

1. They are crunchy on the outside and soft and juicy on the inside. It’s ok to have a little tough skin to survive through life’s ups and downs, but be sure to stay soft on the inside. Keep your heart humble and your soul full of grace and love. Don’t be so tough on the outside that you harden all the way through. Nobody wants to encounter all that.

2. They don’t fall a part easily. In this day and age, we’ve got to have a little strength to who we are to survive. We can be, and need to be, cushy soft on the inside to bear the fruit of love, joy, peace, patient and with those other fruit of the Spirit. However, all the hyper-sensitive, can’t disagree with someone for fear of “hate speech” actually makes us a weak people and a crippling nation. Toughen up, people. Be resilient and live life full of strength and grace!

3. They come in large quantities for inexpensive prices. Be able to give the good parts of yourself away to lots of people and don’t be too demanding of what they give back. Now listen, I’m not giving you permission to be used and abused. If you tend to be a doormat, please understand, this point isn’t for you. What I’m talking about is giving your love in a hug, an encouraging word or time spent with a friend. I’m talking about sharing laughter, making a memory or spending time with those you love. Share these things in large quantities, and don’t be demanding of a condition to be met for you to share it. People need to know you care.

4. You can’t eat just one. Be the kind of person who is contagious, magnetic and engaging to those around you. Be the sort of friend others aspire to be. Be the type of leaders others seek after. Be the person of whom others just can’t get enough.

5. They are great in just about any sauce or condiment. Diversify your tastes, your likes and your knowledge. Extend your horizons. Learn something new. Try, taste, or even listen to something different than before. You never know, you might like it, and you may even find a new friend along the journey.

The Sweet Perfume

Over the last month or so, I’ve been trying to get consistent with walking daily through my neighborhood. I’m not crazy consistent, but I’ve definitely done better than before I started. Ha!

Our neighborhood is beautiful, and it has plenty of curves and hills; so, I feel I’m getting quite the workout, and the whole thing, all cul-de-sacs (5) included, is just shy of 1.5 miles. So, I try to make 2 loops, which gives me right at 3 miles. Woohoo!

The weather was absolutely perfect today. The humidity was extremely low, and the temp was maybe in the high seventies by the time I stepped out my front door, right at sunset, to try and get in a full 2 loops of walking before it was too dark. I asked my youngest son to go with me; so, I wouldn’t be by myself, and he wouldn’t be left home alone. So, he rode his bike alongside, while I walked. Well, to be more accurate, he rode past me and waited at the top of the hill before crossing the main road while I tried to speed walk to catch up! Lol! 😂

We crossed the road and proceeded to the other side of the neighborhood and down the hill. The sun was shining; the birds were singing, and the breeze was blowing just a bit; so, it felt glorious as I tried my best to catch up to my son who had coasted and proceeded to fly, down the moderate incline to the next cul-de-sac.

As I reached the cul-de-sac, the most beautiful fragrance reached my nose, I closed my eyes, and it was as if I was transported right back to my 5th grade year and my 10 year old self. I was standing in my front yard taking in the beautiful fragrance of the giant magnolia tree standing 100 feet tall (or at least, that’s what my 10 year old, little girl mind believed). I remember standing beside that tree, climbing way up in it’s branches and, sometimes, just staring up at it for hours, believing I was just as big and strong as that lovely green giant.

When it bloomed, we would take down one bloom at a time, bring it in the house, set it in a small bowl of water, and place the bowl on the dining room table, letting the fragrance fill the house. We would repeat this everyday, as the former flower would begin to wither, until the tree had no more blooms to share. It was glorious.

As I made my loops through the neighborhood today, I would pause beside that big lush tree each time, savoring the wonderful aroma, while cherishing those sweet childhood memories, and then I’d continue on my way to finish the tiring, but rewarding, three miles before dark. I even had my son go by and savor the beauty, hoping he would make a little memory, too.

As I finished my walk, I was reminded, again, of the sweet perfume of the beautiful magnolia tree, and I thought of several sweet friends who are walking through a tough journey right now. Their journey is hard and painful, and it even seems to grow a little darker at the moment; yet, they hold on tight to their faith, and we all hold onto the Hope, believing a brighter day is just around the corner for them.

That Hope is sweet perfume in the midst of struggle. That faith is the sweet fragrance of the magnolia tree in the midst of the sweaty, tiresome walk they are walking at this very moment. And I know, as they hold onto their faith and that blessed Hope, one day soon, this journey is going to be but a memory, with those sweet fragrances of the magnolia tree, to remind them of His grace and love in the midst of their storm. 💗

Be encourage, sweet friends. Enjoy the fragrance of beauty along this most difficult journey, and know I am here praying for you, and believing for your brighter tomorrows!

Say it with me… “NO.”

Boundaries are made to keep you healthy. Boundaries are given to keep toxicity out. Boundaries are taken from those who never set them. Boundaries are best when set, supported and reinforced.

Sometimes, we are living a life that is tiresome, weary and chaotic, because we continue to allow others to ignore the boundaries we’d like to have but never really put into place. Sometimes, our hearts are in utter turmoil, because we continue to complain about our conditions of relationship but never take steps to change them.

Boundaries are needed for peace to be found. Boundaries are necessary for joy to be restored. Boundaries are essential for sanity to be maintained.

How strong are your boundaries?

Best View

Are you struggling to climb today? Don’t stop. You can do this hard thing! The view is amazing! 😉

Romans 5:3-5, “And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”

Freedom of Forgiveness

I saw this post on FB today, and I thought it an awesome subject upon which to post. This is so very hard, sometimes, but it is so very true. The quicker we learn this lesson, the better, and the key to unlocking its truth is in the freedom of forgiveness.

I have found the quicker you can truly forgive someone who has hurt you, the less like them you will become. Over the years, I have watched family members, friends and acquaintances who have “claimed” forgiveness was in their hearts, but as you listened to them talk about the certain person or circumstances, all you heard was bitterness flowing from their souls. As I’ve watched these year after year, I have seen how, slowly over time, they have become more and more like the person who hurt them, the one whom they haven’t forgiven.

You see, the unforgiveness you harbor within your heart will fester and soak in anger and disgust. Eventually, that unforgiveness takes hold of your soul and buries a root of bitterness deep beneath the surface. Once the root of bitterness takes up space, it will consume and override rational thought, peace and even at times, your own sanity.

Learn to let go. Learn to forgive. Learn to show mercy and grace. It doesn’t mean all is well at the snap of a finger, and it surely doesn’t necessarily mean reconciliation is on the heels of the forgiveness. Some things just get lost in the pain, brokenness and years.

Yet, it does mean your heart can heal. It does mean you can grow and learn and dream once again. It does mean you can grasp hope, embrace love and be consumed by an inner peace that will no longer be easily shaken.

Warrior or Weeper?

I posted a similar pic the other day, using the same phrase; so, please, forgive me for being redundant. But this has been my motto for the last month, and yet, when I look back, I think this has been my motto for quite a while now…

Sometimes, I just have to remind myself to get back in the fight.

When you’ve fought so long to become someone, the person God has called you to be, there are moments when you just grow weary in the well doing. When you’re helping someone else through the battle, you know all the right answers to give them. You have faith to cheer them on. You believe they can and will make it through.

Yet, when it’s your battle… you know, that one you’ve fought your whole life and you thought it would surely have ended by now. Yeah, that one. When you’re in the middle of that battle, it can get wearisome. You can grow tired. You can become lonely and afraid that this is never going to end!

But can I encourage you? One warrior to the another? One child to the other… (because after all, that’s really all we are, aren’t we? Little children in grown up bodies who have learned to fight, frustrate, forge and forget.)

You were made for this! You have been equipped to win! You have been fashioned for this fight, and just as a trained boxer can get weary in the last round, all you have to do is stand and find your knock out punch!

So, raise your sword one more time. Lift that shield just a little higher. Take that next step toward your enemy and show him you will not back down.

You can do this! You will make it! WIN!!

“Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.” Ephesians 6:13

Need more encouragement? Check out this blog post and this one, too.

Fear or Fire?

When troubles come, what do you do? Do you cower, shivering in fear? Do run away and hide? Do you stand, paralyzed by indecision and doubt? Do you run to the flames, ready to encounter what comes?

How you endure the heat will often times dictate who you become when the embers cool. What wisdom you to use to conclude your decisions will often determine your promotion or your failure. The whys of your choices will always impact those who follow.

“And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:15

“Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” Romans 5:3-5

Fight Right

Too often, we fight the wrong enemy. We fight with the wrong weapons, and then, we wonder why we’re struggling and losing the battle we’ve engaged.

Ephesians 6:12, “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age,[a] against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.”

Wage war with the right enemy, or you will constantly be “spinning your wheels” in conflict but never achieving a resolution. Face your foe with the right weapons, or you will constantly be losing ground and be receiving wound after wound, never winning the victory.

Hebrews 4:12, “For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”

No matter the battle, No matter the giant, with God by your side, YOU CAN WIN!!

Romans 8:31, “If God be for us, then who can be against us?”