Category Archives: Life Lessons

Gather the Fragments {Notes for the Broken}

We live in a broken world.

Broken marriages. Broken homes. Broken hearts. Broken dreams. Broken…

Whether you’ve just lost your job, lost a loved one or are dealing with the aftermath of a broken childhood, there are times when we all just feel…broken. Sometimes we don’t just feel broken; sometimes we are broken.

Be it from the day in, day out wear down on our bodies, minds and energy or the sudden, harsh stress of a traumatic event, the small, subtle cracks suddenly burst open and we find ourselves scattered and shattered all over the floor.

Have you ever been there? Or perhaps I should ask, when was the last time you were there?

I recently read a tweet from Lisa Jo Baker that really stuck with me:

 

 

The next day I read the following verse:

“And when they had eaten their fill, he told his disciples, ‘Gather up the leftover fragments, that nothing may be lost.’” John 6:12 ESV

Gather the Fragments: Notes for the BrokenThis verse comes right after Jesus had fed a multitude of people on the side of a mountain. Jesus took the five loaves of bread and two fish a little boy had offered him and multiplied it and used it to feed 5,000 people.

I had heard and read this story literally hundreds of times yet this time, something really stuck out to me: that nothing may be lost. Another translation says, “let nothing be wasted.”

What on earth did the disciples do with those twelves basketfuls of leftovers they collected?

Did they take it to the local village and spread the wealth? Did they send a basket home with twelve family groups? Did they send them to the local homeless shelter? The Bible doesn’t say. All the Scriptures promise us is that these broken fragments – the ones nobody else wanted; the ones nobody else needed; the leftovers; the crumbswould.not.be.wasted.

I have been going through a season in which I am dry, weary, exhausted and…well, broken. To be totally honest, I had not been very grateful for the broken bread of my heart, as Lisa Jo so beautifully put it. I have been wallowing in fatigue and self-pity feeling quite justified in my low state.

It felt like all the pieces of me that had been broken off – either to serve others, or from the sheer beating taken by the storms of life – were being utterly wasted. Blown away in the gale-force winds of the world.

That nothing may be lost…

Why would God make sure to include this small detail of the account to be included in Scripture if He wasn’t going to tell us how He was going to use them? I am no Bible scholar, but perhaps it is in there for days like this when I read His word and words of wisdom from a Godly woman who seeks after His heart to remind me that through the hard times of life, when walking through the Valley of the Shadow of Doubt, when broken and run down and not-sure-this-is-what-I-signed-up-for that when I commit my ways and days to Him, nothing is wasted.

Perhaps He is gathering all these broken, leftover fragments together with a great plan to sustain the heart of another when we are whole again? Maybe He is saving up these un-wanted bits to work a miracle of which we could not even begin to fathom.

Friend, are you broken today? Are you tired, rundown, weary

Let me encourage you to bring your brokenness to the One who made you, and knows every part of you better than you do. When it seems that the world has eaten their fill of your heart and left the rest to dry and blow away like chaff in the wind, let Him gather the leftover fragments so that nothing will be wasted. We may not understand His plans for the broken bits, but we can trust His heart is pure, His love is strong and He has our very best interests in His heart, and His hands – so that nothing may be lost.

 

Unexpected Life Lessons from A Foot

Have you ever had a God speak to you so clearly there was no doubt it was His voice you were hearing?

Has He ever used a totally random, completely unlikely source through which to do it?20140315-205406.jpg

How about a pair of water-wrinkled feet with chipped nail polish?? Join me at The Better Mom today as I share How An Old, Chipped Pedicure Made Me a Better Mom!

What unlikely ways has God spoken to you?

If you’ve just clicked over from The Better Mom, I want to extend a warm welcome to you. I do hope you’ll stay awhile and make yourself at home!

In A Courtyard of Stone

We enter the empty courtyard on a brisk Sunday morning. The sky, a cloudless azure, is a stark and beautiful backdrop to the towering stone spires and turrets hovering above.

We are stopped in our tracks by the beauty. The stature. The solitude. The silence.

We stood there for an eternity – though really only a moment or two – and took it all in. A lone bench stood sentry between two bare trees. The monastery sandwiched between some classical architecture of which I do not know the name; I only appreciate the beauty.
These buildings, standing longer than my mind can engulf, represent my new home. Beauty. Strength. A deep and rich history – one of which I have barely begun to scratch the surface.
I stand before these structures and all I can do is stare. In awe. My balance waivers at the weight of the emotional and historical atmosphere. Or is that just the cobblestones beneath my feet? Or is it the jet lag? Or brain fog?
Everything is the same color. The same taupe-ish white covers the walls, the spires, the cobbles below. It is stunning. It is imposing.
It is the perfect mirror for the culture surrounding me. So beautiful and intricate and delicate and strong it all looks the same. At first glance. Yet the more I look, the more I learn, the more details emerge. The distinctions that once made it all look exactly the same are now the things that set one thing so distinctly apart from another.
My internal wandering and monologue is interrupted when something catches my eye.
A balloon, as orange as the day is long, bops and swoops on the breeze around the floor of the plaza. It makes no noise. No squealing child chases after it. It dances and sways this way and that. Its bright color and chaotic activity stand in stark contrast to the quiet and stoic setting.
I feel like that balloon.
Standing out, sticking out, no matter how much I try to blend. I just want to fit in; blend in. To know all those unwritten rules everyone else just follows without even knowing it.
Even in those moments in which I exhibit the perfect behavior, my very appearance gives me away. I’m simply an orange balloon in a courtyard of white stone.
And yet, there is something I enjoy about the chaotic blowing of the cultural breeze…of being swept about and dancing around the social cues and unwritten nuances of a city alive with a thousand nations, countless languages, running on the heels of a millennium of history.
One day, and I probably won’t even notice it happen, I will cease to be the orange balloon and will have emerged from my cultural cocoon some creature closer to what is native to this land. I won’t have to think about every step, every word, every road, every turn. Life will just be life, with it’s routines and friends and jobs and laughs.
I hope, though, not to lose some of the sheer awe and delight found in these early days in a new place. I am treasuring the newness; the discovery; the excitement. I will never experience these particular firsts again.
So, while I look forward to the day when I seem to belong in this courtyard, I know it is ok to be a little bit orange for awhile.

Do you need a time out?

When Mom Needs A Time OutHey there, fellow moms. Have you ever put your kids in a time out when either their behavior or attitude wasn’t matching up to your expectations? Or what you knew they were capable of?

How about yourself? Have you ever felt the tensions rising, temper shortening in your own heart? Have you ever put yourself in a time out?

Join me at The Better Mom today as I talk about what we can do When MOM Needs A Time Out.

If you’ve just clicked over from a The Better Mom, I want to welcome you! If you were in my living room, I’d hand you a nice, hot cuppa and fresh-baked biscuit. Feel free to make yourself at home and have a look around!

The Dirty Bowl in the Cupboard: Lessons from the Kitchen Cabinet

I shuffled into the kitchen to fulfill my daughter’s request for cereal.

I had been up for awhile, but its safe to say I wasn’t fully awake yet. I grabbed the plastic pink bowl and set it on the counter. I saw two crusted bits of food on the edge. Meh, I can scrape that off, no bother, I thought to myself. After gathering the other necessary items, I returned to the bowl on the counter. My eyes had adjusted further to the dim light of the kitchen (and my senses stirred awake by the fresh aroma of coffee brewing) and stopped cold in my tracks.

Not only were there two crusted pieces of food on the edge of the bowl, but the whole inside of the bowl was crusted as well! I have no idea how I didn’t see it before, but there was no denying it now. No amount of fingernail-scraping would make that bowl suitable to eat from – it needed to be completely washed, and washed well.

The Dirty Bowl in the Cupboard

Isn’t that how it is with our own hearts; our souls? We look at ourselves and think we’re pretty good. Sure, there are a couple of things here or there we need to work on – things that need cleaning up. We’ll be the first to admit we’re not perfect, but we’re not as bad as we could be – especially when compared to the dirty dishes still in the sink.

In the dim morning light of our lives, we take a look at ourselves and from what we can see, we can fulfill our intended functions without problem.

But once our spiritual eyes adjust to the light of the Gospel, suddenly a myriad of muck and grime are exposed. Seemingly out of nowhere, issues that have been caked on through life, trials, heat and struggle are blatantly clear – whereas before, in the dim light of our own understanding we were perfectly clean.

Just as with that pink plastic bowl, it’s tempting to toss it back into the cupboard and let someone else deal with it. After all, I have more important, more pressing matters to deal with. But the next time a bowl is needed, that crusted nasty is still going to be there needing to be dealt with.

Its the same with our personal spiritual nasty. Its so tempting to just toss it to the back of the shelf and let our future selves deal with the dirty work. But the only true remedy is to be completely washed.

To allow the cleansing waters of the Holy Spirit wash over us and do the hard – sometimes painful – work of removing the gunk, grime and stubborn stains from our hearts. To immerse ourselves in the warm, healing Word of God. To fill our hearts with the Living Water and let it soak; let it soften the muck until it washes away easily.

So, how’s your bowl looking today? Do you need to take some time out and let your heart soak?

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