Held together

Shattered and Broken. Destroyed and torn apart.

Everything is ending, the pieces are on the floor in front of you. The door just slammed, the call just came, the tears are running down your face.

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Maybe it is a job, a relationship or a family.  Or maybe it is a hope, dream or desire you have held as a pillar in your life for so long.

Whatever it is, you can’t breathe or focus, or seem to move on, it just feels as if you will die under the weight of the shattered pieces of your loss.  You might feel as you can’t continue, you can’t face the world, the others that haven’t been broken, and everything is together for them.

Perhaps you are in hard place of “this time of year” that can be suffocating.  You can’t muster the strength to smile and pretend everything is fine, so you just don’t go to that work party or that event with your friends.  You can’t face them again when your insides feel ripped in two. The happy couple or put together family is a punch to the gut.

My heart has been heavy this year thinking about how this advent season, the season of longing is truly that for many people.  2016 was a hard year for many, filled with heartache and pain and worry.  A year that just didn’t seem to quit. The world seems to be aching in so many ways.  Brokenness, shattered lives, cities literally crushed by hate and war, it is all too much.

We want to look away, we want to run and hide.  It seems too much to handle, to bear, to carry around from day to day. So maybe you ignore or just numb your self to the pain because you just can’t.

If you are anything like me, there might be things that seem impossible to hold together, to balance, to get through.  I look to myself to try to do it for myself, to pick up the pieces, to hold it together until I leave a party before I crumble.

The truth is that we actually don’t have to just power through, keep it in, and stuff it down.  Friends, we don’t have to hold ourselves together.  

We don’t do a very good job anyway, right.  We make a mess of it, like a stain that we try to fix without the stain remover.

The truth is that we have something that holds us together.  Someone, really.

In this season of Advent, of waiting and longing, I have been reminded that what we receive in the birth of Jesus is way through the pain, someone to hold it together for us, to be with us in the suffering.

“He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” (Colossians 1:15-17 ESV)

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And in Christ, all things hold together.  

The power of that statement, in those moments when all the plates you have been juggling come tumbling down, when you feel at the precipice of destruction, when nothing seems sure, is water for the parched soul.

He came to us, he came to our world and lived the hard life that we are living.  He knows the pain and suffering of living this human life.  He knows. And he is still here.  He doesn’t run from it or hide from us. He stays and is with us. What a beautiful savior we have in Jesus.

Friends, as we wrap up 2016, we don’t have to pretend or posture before God about the state of our lives.  Our lives might be laying there destroyed by our sin or by others.  We might be in the midst of suffering and pain.  Or maybe 2016 was one of your best, but the message is the same.  It isn’t up to us to hold it together. 

We don’t have that power or might, but we have the One that does.

Friends, live in the freedom of not having to hold it together.  Step into the heartache and pain, you won’t be left there, you won’t be alone in it and it isn’t up to you to make it better. Praise Him.

photo credit: Shattered dove via photopin (license)

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Lies with too much power

“You are ugly.”

Those words too long held power in my life.  I believed them.  I believed that those words spoken by an immature, thoughtless 5th grade boy were true.  At that age, I didn’t consider the source, I believed it named what everyone thought about me. For an 11 year old, fighting for some sort of identity, a place in the world, figuring out how to dress for her body type that was continually changing, these words stung.  

As a semi-well adjusted almost 30 year old, I still feel like that 5th grade girl, anytime I get ready for a date, dress up for a fancy function.  I fear that everyone in the room is thinking what that boy said out loud. 

If I am honest, sometimes, when someone does compliment me on my appearance, I don’t even hear them.  I think they are lying, just being nice, or even just humoring me.  Those words from so long ago, have such a strong grip on my heart, that anything anyone would say now, falls on deaf ears.

In my head, I know that those words weren’t even true.

They were flippant words that the boy doesn’t even remember saying.  (Believe me, I have asked.  I now happen to be related to him. Long story.) They were words that were said out of carelessness. 

However, the enemy uses this lie and others to debilitate me over and over again.  The enemy knows my weaknesses, my sin, my desire for others to approve of me, to be liked, and to be enough.  This lie and many others can paralyze me and make me ineffective and to hide from God. 

The one that has been hitting me hard lately is:
“You will be alone forever.”


Okay, so there are obviously so many things wrong with this lie. On good days I can see right through it, and carry on.  But on days, when I drive away from an event all by myself, or another friend gets engaged or starts a relationship, this lie comes to a head and I become a sopping mess. 

We all do it, we have those lies that haunt us on our bad days.  We have those words that we easily believe because life is hard or isn’t turning out how we thought.

Those lies hold a lot of weight when we are disappointed or rejected.  Those lies grip onto our thoughts and our lives in powerful ways.  Maybe, ike me, they cause you to act crazy or irrational.

Funny thing is that when I start to measure that lie up against scripture and what God has to say about my life, the lies become weak.

“I am afraid.”
Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.  -Isaiah 41:10


“I am not enough.”
The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing. – Zeph. 3:17


“I am not important.”
For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” – Psalm 139: 13-14


“It is hopeless.”

When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles.  The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.  Many are the afflictions of the rightous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all.  He keeps all his bones; not one of them is broken.               -Psalm 34:17-20

God left us with clear scripture that tells us the opposite message of this world. 

The lies sometimes look like truth, sound like truth, and come from people that maybe also speak truth.  The enemy gets sneaky and wants to debilitate those that would glorify the world.  

As I reflect on the last couple of months, my head and heart are heavy.  Not just for the lies that I have been believing but for those that are still unaware of the lies that they hold on to.  My heart is heavy for those lies that are being screamed from the rooftops, through print, social media, and through each other.  

Friends, let us name those lies for what they are, lies, and speak truth, life, and hope into each others life. Let us come back to God’s words to us to help us.

One final truth to leave you with.

In the darkness

Romans 5:8
…..but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

He loved us in our darkness.

Wow, those words have a way of striking at my heart.   

For so all I want is to have someone love me for all the good and bad
….not just for who I am in pictures or who I am on the first date!   

I want to know that if they find out about the rest of me that they will still want to be in my life. 

I think for so many years I was so afraid of people really finding out what a horrible sinner and friend that I was….
…that I hid…I hid behind good things.
I hid behind words and smiles and good deeds.  
I hid behind hard work and generosity.   
I hid behind anger and frustration.   
I hid behind friends.   

Slowly my sin started to creep up and I couldn’t hide it anymore.  

I let it out, I talked about it, I let others in.   

I started to be real and honest, not just before other people always but before God.  

I let him in, I let him transform my heart and mind and soul.  I know with every fiber of my being that I am His.

I know that there is no one, nothing, no circumstance that can take that away. 


I let Him into my darkness to bring me into the light.

Now, the battle is to NOT go back to the darkness when I am afraid or ashamed or guilty, but to continue in the light.

Words of Truth

Sometimes I am my own worst enemy.  

Sometimes my thoughts spiral out of control….
….and I end up curled in a ball on my bathroom floor freaking out about life.

Sometimes the lies are so loud that I can’t hear the small quiet truths.

That happened this week.

Maybe I am weird but I worry, I am anxious, I am torn up about the should of, could ofs, didn’ts, and didn’t want tos. 

These thoughts paralyze me.  

So much so that I am sitting in my car breaking down because I don’t know what to do next.

One of the blessings that I have in my life is this person…..

Angie!

She  listens, speaks truth, shoots it straight, doesn’t let me believe the lies, and all the while kicks my butt into shape!

I know that when I see her, she will be in my corner, not to just build my ego or feed into my crap, but she will be in my corner and believe in me when I don’t believe in myself.  I am so much stronger now mentally than I used to be, and I know it, but sometimes I forget.  She reminds me of that.

She reminded me this week that I do not have to be weak anymore, and it has made all the difference.

Sometimes I forget that I am transformed, heart and soul.
(2 Corinthians 5:17 – Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. )

It is almost as if, even though I have lost the weight, I am still wearing all my old clothes.  It doesn’t make any sense. 

I am transformed heart, soul, mind and BODY!!  
 I am free to be who I am meant to be.  THAT is the truth I want to listen too!
What are the lies that you are listening too?  Who in your life speaks truth to you and believes in you when you don’t believe in yourself?

New blog

Explanation for the title comes with a poem…


“The Servant in Battle”

O LORD,
I bless thee that the issue of the battle
between thyself and Satan
has never been uncertain,
and will end in victory.
Calvary broke the dragaon’s head,
and I contend with a vanquished foe,
who with all his subtlety and strength
has already been overcome.
When I feel the serpent at my heel
may I remember him whose heel was bruised,
but who, when bruised, broke the devil’s head.

My soul with inward joy extols
the mighty conqueror.

Heal me of any wounds received
in the great conflict;
if I have gathered defilement,
if my faith has suffered damage,
if my hope is less than bright,
if my love is not fervent,
if some creature-comfort occupies my heart,
if my soul sinks under pressure of the fight.
O thou whose every promise is balm,
every touch life,
draw near to thy weary warrior,
refresh me, that I may rise again
to wage the strife,
and never tire until my enemy is trodden down.
Give me such fellowship with thee
that I may defy Satan,
unbelief, the flesh, the world,
with delight that comes not from a creature,
and which a creature cannot mar.
Give me a draught of the eternal fountain
that lieth in thy immutable, everlasting love
and decree.
Then shall my hand never weaken,
my feet never stumble,
my sword never rest,
my shield never rust,
my helmet never shatter,
my breastplate never fall,
as my strength rests in the power
of thy might.