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Sticks and Stones May Break My Bones, but words …

Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words …

May kill me!

Many children have been taught the saying “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.”  Although a well-intentioned notation to help our youth develop “thick skin”, it is quite inaccurate.

Words actually have the power of life and death. What is spoken over an individual, good or bad, can sink deep into the heart and begin to play out in their life.  

This is especially alarming with middle school aged students who are already in the midst of hormonal and emotional changes that seem to cause a war within themselves. When you add the aspect of hateful words and bullying into the mix, the results can be tragic even to the point of death.

A little dramatic?

According to the CDC:
·         Suicide is the third leading cause of death among persons aged 10-14, the second among persons aged 15-34 years.

In addition to the CDC findings, my community has witnessed at least one youth suicide a year over the last several years. 

Please don’t ignore the facts. Don’t discount it as small, a passing fad, or middle school drama.

Instead, be a place of hope for them when they feel no one else is listening.
  • ·         Speak life giving words to your kids and the youth in your life every day.
  • ·         Teach them to value themselves and others.
  • ·         Help them recognize that the cutting words of others are not a reflection on them but on the person who spoke the words.
  • ·         Show them that a damage causing person is someone who has not yet realized their own value. This is not to say that you ignore poor behavior or act like those who harm others “deserve” sympathy. It is to free your child from feeling like the problem and puts the source of the issue back where it belongs.  
  • ·         Most importantly, keep the lines of communication open and seek help when needed.  

Words can be deadly, but we have the power to give them life! 

My full heart and request for you to join me in doing a work that matters

My heart is full today because I was able to do what I love. It’s a program called cooltable. Through it I was able to go into a school, play games with a group of kids, and begin a conversation about three key traits we believe every student has: value, potential, and purpose. It was the kickoff of a twelve lesson journey with these students where they will learn how to navigate a few key areas of life while discovering their value, realizing their potential, and believing they have purpose.

This is something that I absolutely LOVE to do because I believe in the power of the next generation to be a catalyst for positive world change. I see a generation ready to rise up and take on the issues of their day; to be leaders that stand up and speak up, and who always find a way to unite in love in order to promote the betterment of their world and their fellow man.

Even with all the potential they have, I know that the next generation cannot become the leaders they were created to be without the support, encouragement, and leadership of the current generation. They need this generation to speak life to them, to believe in them, and to see potential in them that they can’t yet seem to see in themselves. This is why I am grateful to so many who have come along side of my husband and I to do just that, be the hope for the next generation.  

So yes my heart is full today, but I know that we are not even close to doing all the work there is to do. I know that the mission is greater than me, my family, and our current volunteers. To spread the message of value, potential, and purpose to the next generation it’s going to take A LOT of us working together.

So I’m wondering … would you like to join us in doing a work that matters? If so, contact

I can’t wait to hear from you! 

Step out of the broken and into the restored.

That one, don't use her. She's damaged. Those are the thoughts that taunt me with regret and press me to fall into submission.

I mean what defense do I have. It's true. The damaged, broken, made a lot of wrong choices and carried a lot of shame girl is me.

     How could THAT girl possibly carry a message of hope?

     How could THAT girl possess anything of value?

     How could THAT girl move from shame to confidence?

Believe me, some days I sit sidelined trying to answer those very questions.

Then I remember that my story doesn't end with the taunting thoughts of worthlessness but rather the truth of who I am through the forgiveness and love of Jesus.

Don't you just love a good plot twist? I do because it means that my story no longer ends with brokenness. Instead, it goes a little like this:

That one. She may have been damaged, but she's not identified by her damage because she has been restored. So that one, use her. Because she knows what it's like to feel hopeless, use her to share a message of hope. Because she has looked for value in so many wrong places and knows it doesn't satisfy the soul, use her to point to things of real value. Because she has carried shame and then experienced the greatness of forgiveness, use her to show others the freedom forgiveness brings.

Now listen, don't think for one second that this starts and stops with me or that it is even all about me.

This is for you too. Maybe our shames and shortcomings are different, but the goal is the same. God wants to move you from the captivity of your past fears, failures, and regrets into a place where you can live confidently in His love.

Go ahead and find your plot twist. Step out of the broken and into the restored.

Identity Crisis

Whoa wait! Who am I again?

That's the question that often comes to mind when I am in the middle of day to day life. It's in the moments when no big accomplishments seem to be propelling me forward, and I am in the heat of the endurance race of life that I lose sight of my value and forget who I am.

I start striving. I start comparing. I start whining. I start wandering.

It's in this plateau of life that I seem to forget my purpose because growth slows and everything seems to be a grind.

Seriously, I start flailing around life in attempt to keep from drowning in the depths of the mundane.

My inner self begins this narrative: I need to be accomplished. I need to be popular. I need to start something new. Who can I serve? What can I start? When will the next big surge of life come and push me forward?

Then as all my value seeking efforts fail me, I realize that I am indeed in an identity crisis which leads me to the my initial question ‘who am I?’

Seeing that the question can't be filled with the external because it is ever changing sending me through success and failure, busy seasons and slow seasons, times of being surrounded with friends and times of being alone I have to to look to something more.

I have to look to the unchanging. To the Creator of my soul. To the One who tells me I am wonderfully and fearfully made. The One who tells me I am loved and redeemed. The One who tells me He has brought me into underserved grace so that I may share in His glory. The One who knew I wasn't enough but didn't let that stop Him from dying and being enough for me.

What I'm saying is that when I get tossed about on every thought and action leading me seeking my value and my worth, I have to look to Jesus because, for me, who I am rests in who He is in me.

So how about you? Do you go through seasons of life that try you and make you feel unimportant and small?

If so, perhaps focusing on the love the Creator has for you will help you regain your identity and allow you to rest in the slower less extravagant seasons of life.

Reclaim your identity this week and live every moment like it’s big!

When you don't have the answer

Have you ever felt that to acknowledge a problem that you first have to have the answers?

I know I have. When I don't understand, when I can't see the silver lining, when senselessness makes no sense in no way, I often ignore problems,  stay silent, or divert to things I feel like I understand.

The truth is I feel helpless in the face of doubt because I have often felt the pressure of making things right and believing that the world in general is good.

The  more vulnerable I have become,  the more I have realized that the world is full of problems that I don't understand. It is so easy to sweep it under the rug or even play the devil's advocate.

But today I want to say, I don't understand. I don't understand the police shootings and brutality. I have watched the videos, and I don't understand. I don't know what it is like to be in the black community. I don't know what it is like to be a police officer. I don't know what happens in the moments from life to death. I don't know. I am not going to pretend that I know. I don't.

All I know is that lives have been lost, pain and voids have been left for family members to deal with, and our communities are left more broken.

I don't have the answer, but I can surely see there is a problem. People are hurting, and I hurt for them.

I can't fix the problem,  but I will work to find out how to be a solution where I am and how I can.

What about you? Would you be vulernable this week and acknowledge even the things you don't understand and don't have the answers to?

Maybe this is what I am feeling ~ He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it. - MLK JR (thanks to my sister Maria Morris for sharing this)

What's stopping you from accomplishing something great?

Have you ever desired to doing something so great that it scares you? Like you don't even want to speak it because surely someone will tell you that it'll never happen, it's impossible, or that you're plain crazy. Even still, you honestly have doubts about it yourself?

No? Good, me either. I totally like to set my eyes on the easily achievable tasks while playing the background in my own life. 

So maybe that's no entirely true; however it is what I revert to. Because even though I do have big dreams, sometimes I'm just scared. I'm afraid that no one will join me or find value in what I'm doing. I'm afraid that it just won't matter, or I just won't be good enough to achieve all that is in my heart to accomplish. 

I have even allowed those fears and insecurities to let me act small, settle for less, and to hide my abilities in places of comfort and complacency.  The only problem is that the approach hasn't worked. After every adjustment I make to try and be less than who I was created to be, I find that my true heart's desires are still there challenging me to be more and live on purpose.  Unfortunately, I haven't lived up to the challenge on many occasions.

How about you? Is there something that you are so purposed for yet you settle short of it?
I wonder, what is really stopping us? Sure there are valid life responsibilities, and we need not bail on those. I just wonder what keeps us from intentionally stepping closer to that thing that we've been reaching for in our hearts only not allowing our mouths to speak of its reality. 

Perhaps it's fear, insecurities, lack of focus, doubt or a combination of all of those and more. Or maybe it could be that we haven't seriously admitted our BIG dream(s) exists.

That's what I found. I had lied to myself to the point I believed that if in my entire life I only helped make the world better for one person, I'd be satisfied. You know what? That was a sugar coated feel good lie seasoned with false humility.

It was dishonoring to God because He created me for more, and it was disrespectful to myself because I sold myself short. 

The truth is that I want to be a catalyst for world change not just one person change. Just admitting that adds possibilities that I never saw before. Of course, there are still fears and insecurities that pelt my mind and soul with doubt and condemnation. Being honest about my true desire hasn't been some magical elixir that set the world right. It has, however, forced me to own my heart's desire which means I am now responsible for it.

That in itself has been a huge for me. It has pushed me to step forward in the discomfort and fear and doubt. It has called me to continue even when I think it isn't making a difference. It has significantly defined the decisions I make and the attitudes I embrace which have set me up for incremental progress that over time adds up to much larger gains. It has added life to what was once lying buried in my heart and soul. 

What about you?  Do you have BIG dream just lying in your heart? If so, why not take responsibility for the dream and give life to it by just admitting that it exist. That one simple step could set you on your path to fulfilling your purpose. 

No more living small when we know that we desire to be more. It's time to own those BIG dreams and fulfill our life's purpose.

Here's to the adventure ahead!

Orlando, evil, and the light.

As my heart aches for the victims in Orlando and grieves for the attacked world at large, I sit back and watch. I feel small and helpless. There are days that hope completely flees my body, and I find myself gripped in fear. I question the significance of my prayers and how I could ever make a difference in this world.

Then, I realize that those are the exact feelings that the enemy, those who do evil and cause terror, desire. When I give in to those feelings, I surrender my victory and admit defeat. My light burns more dimly and allows the world to grow a little darker.

If too many of us fall prey to this defeated mindset, then a multitude of lights grow dim and darkness spreads even more quickly; however, if we join together and spread love in deed and action, if we lift one another up when we are fallen, if we unite as one people and treat our fellow man as we, ourselves, would desire to be treated, then those lights that were threaten by darkness will begin to burn a little brighter and illuminate the world.

So it may be that in the face of evil, I feel small, but it's in the darkest of days, that I choose to be a light.

Prayers for Orlando and peace to my fellow man.

Don't stay under the stereotypes and labels of this world.

The quote pictured above sits on my 10 year old son's desk at home. He found it while doing a project for school and has left it there because he has a heart to fight injustice, and it inspires him.

Recently, I was reading the quote and it struck a cord in my heart as I realized that those words were needed because  people had been judged based on external features rather than internal qualities.  It aroused something so deep inside that it almost made me afraid of what I was feeling. I became angry and passionate and angry once more. In that moment, I wished that I could have stood on a mountain top and yelled to the whole world to "STOP IT!" (and that was the nice version)

But really we need to stop it! We need to stop labeling groups of people based on skin color, ethnic background, gender, and so on.

There is no group of people that are ALL the same. All women aren't, all men aren't, all African American people aren't, all Caucasian American people aren't, all Asian people aren't, all Hispanic people aren't, all baby boomers aren't, all millennials aren't, "fill in the blank".  (of course the list could could on)

In fact, the only thing that I can think that we ALL are is unique individuals who happen to be flawed in someway. And those flaws are NOT defined by some physical feature that we were birthed with.

Those flaws are defined in areas where we lack character, understanding, self control, and compassion. In areas where we choose to harm our fellow man in word or in deed. In areas where we choose to ignore people as individuals but rather live according to stereotypes. In areas where we choose not to rise above hate, but play right into its hand with division and labels.

I, for one, choose not to live under the labels of this world. I choose not to speak negatively of people groups as a whole.

I chose not to see you as the world may have labeled you. I choose instead to see you as an individual who has a story that I may not have yet.

I choose a brighter freer future for my children and their generation. I choose to be a part of the solution by helping the next generation build the type of character that will not only benefit them but their world as well.

Would you join me in removing all the stereotypical labels that are in your life? It doesn't matter if they are applied to you or others. Just remove them.

Now, let's take our flawed selves out into the world and show that we are also capable of love, forgiveness, and grace.

It's simple. Life is complicated.

I knew I needed to write this week but, I wanted it to be simple. In fact, the topic I had chosen to write about was simplicity.

And honestly, I love simplicity. I mean I really really do. I'll prove it:

I keep my pantries and closets lean and always purge old stuff before buying new stuff. Or maybe that's just because too much stuff freaks me out and makes me want to hyperventilate.

Okay, so what about this:

I prefer picture instructions, working on a smart phone, shopping online, and texting over talking on the phone. Or maybe that's because I have a lazy streak and am an introvert.

Let's go in this direction:

I like structure, lots of structure, unless I'm not feeling the structure. Then I want flexibility, lots of flexibility.

Oh and I like to give details, lots and lots of details, to build up to any point that I'm making unless I'm mad at you or am just feeling blah. Then I'd don't want to talk. I mean like nothing; no eye contact; no words; nothing.

And ... I like to talk things over, ponder deeply, and look at every single angle before moving forward unless it's eating chocolate. Then I just go for it; milk chocolate, dark chocolate, Belgium chocolate, chocolate chocolate .... ummm

Oh yeah, back to writing. Where was I? Yes, simplicity.

Those all sound pretty simple, right?

Okay, so I proved nothing to you except that I can be really complicated, but can't we all? Isn't life an ever changing, refining fire that we are continually adjusting to day by day, week by week, and year by year?

We are continually learning, growing, and adapting to who we are becoming. It's never ending.

Now, I could turn this all around and leave you with a sweet clique like: "Life is simple, all you need is love." Then send you about your day, but that's not true. Neither, life nor real love are simple. Both require work, and both require grace (two more non-simple things).

So maybe life isn't simple, but I have some good news for you. We are all in it together.

Since life is a collaboration, why don't we make it a group effort to show love and offer grace. Then when one of us messes it up (and we will), there will be another one of us awesome complicated people there to help.

Now, take your complicated self in the world and make it great!

Tension is the space between where I am and where you are, but how will we fill it?

In life there is tension, and it's inescapable.

It's the pull between the has been and will be, the known and the unknown, the right and the wrong; my reality and your reality.

This tension although wound tightly by our stances, is really an open space. It's a space that surely can divide us, but if handled correctly, I would like to suggest that it can also grow us; maybe in some ways even united us.

You see, this open space between where I am and where you are, gets to be filled by our choices. Now, we can pull away and go on believing that we have every answer and that every thought which comes to our mind is pure perfection. Don't act all modest now. I know that happens because, well, "me too." I've done it and still at times revert to continuing it. In doing so, we choose to fill our space with more tension.

There is another option, we can step forward and fill that space with conversation. Not just any conversation, but an intentional conversation that takes the time to see the value in others. A conversation sparked by love and a selfless agenda. One that begins and ends with respect. One that seeks out individuals whose reality isn't your reality and takes the time to listen to their stories without casting judgement.

And when we step forward, we find that the tension which once kept us apart has been transformed into a tether binding us together. (cheesy rhyme that just sort happened)

Let's wrap up with these two thoughts ...

First, maybe you are reading this and cheering me on becasue you think it is about time that someone sees you beyond whatever external barrier they have in which they stand and pass judgement on you. I understand. I've been there. Also, I apologize because I too have stood at that those external barriers and passed judgement on others. I hope today, you have been refreshed by knowing that there are people out there who are loving and will sit down to hear your story. Don't lose heart! Sometimes it takes us time to realize our fault.

Second, maybe you are reading this and are hanging in the balance of what you see as a moral or even faith dilemma. On one hand you want to love others, but on the other hand, you feel as though perhaps your loving others or  sitting down with those in which you disagree with is like acceptance of their wrong doings. I understand. It is a constant struggle I seem to face, but it has recently been combated with these thoughts that are guided by my faith: Love is my greatest obligation in carrying out my faith. Conversation and different perspectives shouldn't cause me fear or offense, but rather be a place of refining and solidifying my own beliefs while possibly gaining the opportunity to share the hope I have with others. ( If you'd like to learn more about where I have drawn my conclusion on these thoughts, you can find it here.)

So there you have it. Life is filled with tension. It's the space between where I am and where you are, but we get to choose how we fill that space.

Go and fill your space with goodness, growth, and understanding!

When you realize you can't change the world, but you can better yourself.

In a world that widely varies on it's values, beliefs, and lifestyles, how can we ever expect to be heard or find peace? 

It's a crazy question, I know! The impossible of impossibilities I will admit, but I like challenges so I started thinking about how we could accomplish this. Thanks to my spaghetti brain, that thought led to a list of "what ifs"

     What if instead of trying to at peace with the entire world, we started with our neighborhoods and communities?

     And if that is too much, what if we just started within our homes? 

     What if instead of trying to be heard, we first started listening?  

     What if instead of wanting someone to peaceable to us, we started being peaceable to them? 

     What if instead of waiting on the world to change, we became the change that we wanted to see?

So what would it look like if we began to take on the challenges posed in the above questions? Well, I tried (that's a loose term for thought deeply on it and failed often) it, and here is what I found:

Practicing these things hasn't led me to perfection and never will, but it has made me better more often. It's helped me be more compassionate, less insecure, and has led to more fulfillment and contentment which in turn has allowed me to focus on my fulfilling my own purpose. (That's a nice way of saying that I mind my own business more often which really is a move towards world peace!)

And although I'll admit that I'm a little bummed to realize that you and I aren't going to change the world in one big sweep, we can still make incremental changes to better ourselves. This will help us positively impact the few around us. If done by enough people in enough places, it could eventually lead to world domination - umm ... I mean world change. 

Now go and brighten your little piece of the world! 

Opinions don't make us hateful. It's how we express them that do.

I am just learning to adult and with that came a hard lesson. (When I say hard, I may mean that is had me curled up in a fetal position, sucking my thumb, and rocking back and forth for a few days; however, that's not very adult like, and there is no evidence so let's move on)  

Here's the lesson: Because I have an opinion about something, doesn't make it a fact. Because someone disagrees with my opinion or I disagree with their's, doesn't make them or me a hateful person. What makes us hateful is the words and actions that we choose to use to express our opinions.

I know the world is full of places where we can exercise our freedom of speech, debate openly, live differently, and wildly disagree; however in doing so, let it be path of learning, becoming better individuals, and even in some cases healing not one of destruction and hate.

I guess what I am saying is let's offer the same respect to others as we would want for ourselves. (Ahh... the pesky ole' golden rule strikes again!) We just might be surprised at what happens when we move from name calling, obscene gestures, and physical violence to meaningful discussion. Maybe we would find that when we listen, we may also be heard.

And since I know that you are going to take on the challenge, here's to a week of respecting others, awkward conversations, and knowing that you only have part of the story!

Now get out there and make a difference!

Fragmented at Heart: Broken People Made Whole - Part 5

We have reached the final part of this series. I truly hope that along the way you have discovered that your brokenness doesn’t disqualify you from being made whole. In fact, I hope you have seen how a beautiful mosaic can be made with those stained broken pieces of your life.

Along the journey we have talked about healing, forgiveness, power, and even how our own actions play a part in a better story. In all of that, I have pointed to God and wisdom from both life experiences and scripture. Then in part 4 of this series, I pointed out the fact that we needed to be responsible for our part of the story and trust God to fulfill His promises.

How and why do we trust God? Knowing the complexity of the question I left some with, I signed off to leave it for another day, and today is that day.

Brace yourself because I am about to answer the seemingly unanswerable: I don't know. That's right you have read this painfully long series to hear me say “I don't know.”

I can't give you a one size fits all answer. I can't step into your life and sculpt a personal relationship with the person of Jesus Christ, the Savior that God sent for you. I can't tell you your how and why, but I can tell you mine.

I acknowledged that I needed a Savior who was Jesus.

For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God. 2 Corinthians 1:20

Then I went on the journey of life with that acknowledgement. It has been ugly at times. I have gone my own way. I have been ignorant and arrogant, and I have been wise. I have been redirected and challenged. Through it all I can say I have never once been without anything I have truly needed. Yes, there has been temporary discomfort, but it's was to my benefit. It was in those times that I came out stronger and more equipped. So for me, trusting God has been more than a belief. It has been a life truth proven by experience.  

Trust is a process of personal experience. With what I’ve learned so far, I’d encourage you that wherever you are in the process to jump out and test the waters of God’s promises.

Fragmented at Heart: Broken People Made Whole - Part 4

In part 3 of this series we discussed the idea of breaking free from guilt and shame so we can embrace our call to be God's masterpiece. The main idea of the post was to declare that we are not too far gone to be loved by or used by God.

But what's our part?

Here's my take: We are not merely existing without any bearing on what the outcome of our days will be. Life is full of actions and reactions.  A relationship with Jesus does not negate this law of life. In fact, it is God's law of sowing and reaping that we see play out in this cycle as choices are followed by consequences.  

Throughout scripture we find wonderful promises from God as well as great proverbs (wisdom or advice) for life. Many of these require some action on our part.  Take these few for example: Tell the Lord what you need and His peace will guard your heart and mind (Phil 4:6-7); Trust the Lord instead of your own understanding and He will guide you (Proverbs 3:5-6); Delight in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart (Psalm 37:4)

Did you catch it? It's the verb before the promise that we are responsible for. We aren't held accountable for the promise itself, but we are held responsible for the action that prompts God reaction. 

Why do I share this? Because I think we are made up of largely two mindsets and from time to time straddle both. The first being that we are powerless and victimized by whatever evil system that is present in the world to keep us bound. The second being that our life is solely what we make of it and not only do we have to monitor how we act but we also have to control every reaction to us. I'm not sure where you stand, but I've tried both and both have failed me at some point.

I want to suggest a third mindset for us to consider, what we dig up depends on what we plant; however, there are conditions outside of our control that can affect our harvest. Take a farmer for example, he can control the seeds he plants, the care he gives to his crop, and any precautions he takes from outside forces, but he can't control the temperatures, the rains, or natural disasters

Here's what I'm saying: There are only certain things in which we can control. Our obedience to God, the required actions that proceed His promises, and the return on living according to Godly wisdom are in our control. The unseen obstacles of life are not. We can take precautions, but we can't control them.  So as we journey from a fragmented state to being whole, let's practice controlling what we can control and then trust God to fulfill His promises.

      Here is a list of promises and life wisdom to get you started.  

P.S. If you are anything like me, you may be still wondering if God can be trusted to fulfill His promises.  That's one we each will have to wrestle in our own arenas of life, but in the next and final part of this series I will try to explore that question a little deeper. 

A List of God's Promises and Wisdom for Life - Share your own favorite

This is a list of scriptures that I have started as a link for the series Fragmented at Heart - Part 4. It is intended to be the beginning of a collection of promises from God as well as scriptural wisdom for life that calls us to act, even if that action is waiting. 

Please help grow the list by leaving your favorite "action scripture" in the comments.

Note: I'm working on linking each verse, until then you can use this bible gateway link

God's Promises You Can Act On

But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. Isaiah 40:31

Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved. Psalm 55:22

Cast all your cares on Him because he cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7

This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9  

And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you. Philippians 4:8-9

Come close to God, and God will come close to you. - James 4:8a

So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up. Galatians 6:9

Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. – Colossians 3:13  

If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. James 1:5
Commit your actions to the Lordand your plans will succeed. Proverbs 16:3 

Seek the Kingdom of God[a] above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. Matthew 6:33

Take delight in the Lordand he will give you your heart’s desires. Psalm 37:4

Give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you. Luke 6:38

“I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father. John 14:12

Godly Wisdom for Life (honestly we could just quote the book of Proverbs) 
Pay careful attention to your own work, for then you will get the satisfaction of a job well done, and you won’t need to compare yourself to anyone else. For we are each responsible for our own conduct. Galatians 6:4 

All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty. Proverbs 14:23

A man who has friends must himself be friendly, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. Proverbs 18:24  

The path of the virtuous leads away from evil whoever follows that path is safe. Proverbs 16:7

Pride goes before destruction and haughtiness before a fall. Proverbs 16:8 

Those who listen to instruction will prosper; those who trust the Lord will be joyful. Proverbs 16:20 

A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare. 
Proverbs 15:1 

If you listen to constructive criticism, you will be at home among the wise. If you reject discipline, you only harm yourself, but if you listen to correction, you grow in understanding.Fear of the Lord teaches wisdom; humility precedes honor. Proverbs 15:31-33 

Fragmented at Heart: Broken People Made Whole - Part 3

If you have been following this series with me, we've looked at the reality that we are complete in Christ, yet we have some unhealed wounds that need to be dealt with before we can walk in the wholeness and victory we have been called to.  (If you you haven't been following along you can go back and read the previous posts linked above)

Today I want to share some good news that will hopefully quite the raging lies brought on by living in guilt and shame. It's news that I need to be reminded of quite often: we are not too broken, too shattered, too wretched, too sinful, too far gone, or too much of any other accusation we have faced or offense we have committed to be used by and loved by God.

  And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be  able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.   
                 Romans 8:38-39 (NLT)

Too many times, we believe the opposite is true becasue our fragmented heart often backs up the thinking that we have fallen out of God's grace as it haunts us with failures, unnamed sins, missed opportunities, unmet dreams, and more. They call out from the depths in which we have hidden them and remind us that our blemishes have no place in the presence of God much less doing any work that counts. Truth counters that and affirms that God can use it to our good and His purpose.

 And we know that God causes everything to work 
     together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.  
                                       Romans 8:28 (NLT)

So the next time we are tempted to let the guilt and shame stained pieces of ourselves sideline us, let's instead, surrender those tainted pieces to the artistic hand of God and live like the masterpieces we are.

 For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in        Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. 

Fragmented at Heart: Broken People Made Whole - Part 2

In part one of this series, we began looking at the idea of being fragmented; broken people who allow the cares of this world crack us and leave us feeling incomplete and without. Then we looked at the hope of being made complete in Christ.

Let's reverse the train for a moment becasue there is something that we must address before continuing the journey from broken to complete. It's a truth you and I have to admit before we can move forward. 

We have all been a victim. Now, we don't stay here, but before we can move ahead we must acknowledge truth. Some wrong, abuse, or injustice has crossed our path and left wounds in our heart. We must acknowledge these areas in order for healing to occur. 

If we ignore the wounds, then we allow the power of their poison to continually flow through our hearts. We accept the injury and refuse the removal of the pain. It is like an infection buried in the depths of our heart. Although we think we have it so quarantined from the remaining parts of our life, we are wrong.  That one infected area is seeping out and tainting what is healthy. The only way to truly be free of its affects is to remove the poison. 

But how, we wonder?  

The first step is to reveal it (admit it). By doing so, it will shine a light into the hidden parts of the heart uncovering the unattended injury. Then once it is revealed, there has to be a process for healing.

He heals the brokenhearted
    and bandages their wounds.

                              Psalm 147:3(NLT)

So practically what does this look like? 

Prayer. Grab a notebook and write down all the unhealed "heart wounds" that come to mind. Then address the feelings that come with each. Finally, take the action steps needed for healing. This may look like counseling, talking with the offender, admitting personal fault, forgiveness, or something further that God reveals. 

    The Lord is close to the brokenhearted;
       he rescues those whose spirits are         
        Psalm 34:18(NLT)

Now it is time to release the VICTIM mindset so that you can step into the WARRIOR role which God has already given you. 

    Yet in all these things we are more than        conquerors through Him who loved us.

                                   Romans 8:37(NKJV)

You are no longer bound by the circumstances of your injury, but through the name of Jesus you have power to overcome and become more than anything that has tried to keep you bound.    

No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.

                                       Romans 8:37(NLT)

Even after wounds have been revealed and healing has occurred, everyday presents a new challenge to live like we believe we have the overwhelming victory and are loved by God.