Magic is everywhere.

Mercy Gathers Broken Pieces

All these pieces, Broken and scattered, In mercy gathered, Mended and whole (Broken Vessels, Hillsong)

We awoke in the middle of the night startled by a loud crash. My husband and I raced out of our bedroom to find the source of the intruding noise. Suddenly…the realization hit me with the same alarming shock. Could it be my beloved china plates I had just hung in the dining room? I rushed to confirm if the incident was true, and yes; bone china shards pummeled the hardwood floor and scattered into a million broken pieces.

Have you ever stood and surveyed broken pieces of your life? How could this have happened? How could something so treasured and seasoned with hope suddenly slip from our fingers and fly in slow motion into a heap of fractured fragments? 

I knew how it happened and I was to blame. It’s one thing when accidents randomly happen with no finger to point, but all evidence convicted me as the culprit.

For years I had admired the china plate walls at La Madeline’s french cafe. Delicate china in all shapes, sizes, colors and patterns were arranged into a beautiful wall of art. I dreamed one day I would have a dining room where I could do the same thing and filed the idea in my card catalog of design options. I collected different pieces anticipating the day, and finally the time came to decorate my dining room wall in our new house. I arranged and rearranged the plates on the floor striving for the correct abstract pattern, until finally I had it right and it was time to recreate it on the wall.

It was all going well, until I realized I didn’t have a plate holder big enough for the large blue and white Mikasa plate. Should I WAIT and patiently save and shop for the right one…OR should I Pinterest a DYI idea to make one myself? I had to finish the wall that night, right? I had waited long enough! I had to see it finished NOW–even at the risk of my delicate plate.

My plate hanging DYI solution (as you can imagine) involved my faithful friend, the hot glue gun, along with gorilla tape and a metal key ring. It really LOOKED like a clever idea on Pinterest! Something in my gut told me to wait. This plate is worth too much to risk it. It looked beautiful for almost a week.

dish

Until it all came crashing down… 

I left the wreckage of the china pieces there for a few days until I could summon the grace to deal with it. I knew the big blue plate was the cause, but I was more disappointed about the small Royal Albert Rose Cameo vintage tea saucer that was my favorite.

Honestly, I left the pieces there in floor because it was symbolic of greater brokenness inside me.  Summer was not generous to us. It brought many emotional surprises that chipped a few pieces off my heart. Circumstances caught me by surprise and slipped through my fingertips in every effort to save them. Sometimes things get dropped, hearts break and best laid plans are forever altered.

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Days passed and I was reminded of my disappointed dishes and I knew I better sweep it up before the sharp-edged slivers injured someone. I’m reminded of a Maya Angelou quote that went something like, “In my pains, I don’t have to be one.” Lord, help me quarantine disappointment and hurt from spreading to others.

My heart jumped as I fully laid my eyes on the pieces. I couldn’t believe what I saw! There in the middle of the brokenness, mercy had gathered my rose saucer. “Lord, I can’t believe you did that!” I cried.

Even in my failure, a pillow of mercy caught my heart.

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I’m reminded how King David tried to collect his broken pieces after “Hurricane Bathsheba”. First he tried to hide them, then he tried to blame others, finally the prophet made him look at them for what they were. Broken human attempts to fix it. 

Psalm 51 portrays King David’s heart break with the prayer, “Have mercy on me O God, according to your unfailing love.”  MERCY. Mercy begins gathering. David repents for his contribution to the broken situation and beautiful mercy and grace appear with a broom. The humbled king gathers his broken pieces of grief, failure and disappointment–ugly and rejected as they appear–and offers it up to the Lord. Here, his altered future BECOMES an ALTAR of presence! 

A broken and a contrite heart—These, O God, You will not despise.” Our brokenness is God’s landing pad for His presence, right there in the middle of the mess! God has promised to be close to the brokenhearted. No matter if our stupid choices broke it or someone else’s. 

“Going through the motions doesn’t please you, a flawless performance is nothing to you. I learned God-worship when my pride was shattered. Heart-shattered lives ready for love don’t for a moment escape God’s notice.” Psalm 51: 16-17 MSG 

As I type this, Hurricane Harvey has thrown a heavy hammer breaking homes, families and lives into unrecognizable pieces. I have friends outside of Houston who were evacuated from their homes today. They wait and pray for a miracle to hold back the river’s crest and turn back the water’s rage to save their homes. What will be saved? What will be broken? Lord, let your mercy begin gathering broken pieces in Houston.

I’m reminded of an old gospel song…

Pick Up The Broken Pieces And Bring Them To The Lord
Pick Up The Broken Pieces Trust In His Holy Word 
He Will Put You Back Together And Make Your Life Complete 
Just Place The Broken Pieces At The Saviors Feet.

You May Feel That There’s No Hope 
Broken Hearts Just Cannot Mend 
Tho Your Torn In Many Pieces 
Christ Can Make You Whole Again. 
Storms Of Doubt Blow All Directions But Don’t Be Afraid. 
God Can Make All Corrections He Made A Body Out Of Clay.

I hung my “mercy” tea saucer back on the wall, thankful for what mercy saved. But for now I’m going to keep a space where the broken blue one was. It can’t be put back together, but I’m trusting for his GRACE to provide another one. In HIS time, not mine. I’m going to cherish the empty space right now as a sign of FAITH for what’s to come. I’m willing to be empty handed to seek what’s in His hand. “Empty handed but not forsaken.”  

emptyhanded

No matter what has caused your broken pieces, there is mercy and grace for your tomorrow. God may choose to mend and repair the pieces, or He may ask you to wait and believe for new provision. Either way, as we give the painful pieces to the Father, mercy gathers and graces provides healing for a hopeful tomorrow. Charles Dickens wrote in the classic novel, Great Expectations, “I have been bent and broken, but I HOPE into a better shape.” 

Mercy gathers and grace provides healing for a hopeful tomorrow. 

Jesus came for broken hearts, will you let him come to yours?

He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted. Luke 4:18 

 

 

 

 


Grace is enough

It’s OK to Not Be Enough

Lately, I’ve heard a lot of motivational gurus harping their mantra that “you are enough” or “you are good enough”. I’ve been scratching my head thinking, “Really?”

How could any of us be “enough”? Or good enough? Who says what enough is any way? The contrasting standard would determine what “enough” was or how much had been obtained or not. Who gets to determine that standard? Should it vary from age to age? Education? Life Experience? Shouldn’t there be a point where we “know better” and live it? How can humans ever be enough?

Even the best of us get divorced, make mistakes, miscommunicate, misunderstand. I think it’s a condition…of being human. Earthen pots in constant need of a sustaining source.

Enough: occurring in such quantity, quality, or scope as to fully meet demands, needs, or expectations (Merriam-Webster’s)

I’m not enough. (Unless you’re thinking about “enough” in usage where a man can’t take anymore of his wife’s nagging and finally screams, “Enough!” I might have been that. Sigh and smile.)

I need more than me.

I need someone to hug me from time to time. I need someone to talk to. I need someone to pray for me and discuss things with me. I need friends. I need community.

I need a savior.

In me I wasn’t enough. I failed. I made mistakes. I didn’t have the correct information to make the best choice and caused land slides (literally, in my back yard-lol).

I am not enough — and it’s okay.

God never intended me to be enough.

The creator actually made us to NEED. I need oxygen, I need food. I need coffee 😃 . We are not created “all sufficient” and all knowing—so trying to live that way is futile…and exhausts all JOY because it’s quarantined from the source of joy!

Jesus came for imperfect people because the Father loved us in our need. 

It’s okay to not be enough, because that’s how he created us — to need others, to need beauty, to need kindness, to need a second chance…to need HIM, because He IS enough. He is the only sufficient one and He gracefully extends “His enough” to me.

Freedom comes (along with a big sigh of relief and a ton of pressure off our shoulders) when we stop expecting other people to be “enough” for us, or demand the exhausting “enough” from our ourselves. Our father can route the reservoirs of resource to us when we turn our expectancy towards His grace in our weakness and mistakes.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 2 Corinthians 12:9

His GRACE is ENOUGH!

We often quote Philippians 4:19, “And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” In the verses right before this Paul is thanking the church in Philippi for sending things to bless him. Here’s how it reads in the Message paraphrase…

And now I have it all—and keep getting more! The gifts you sent with Epaphroditus were more than enough, like a sweet-smelling sacrifice roasting on the altar, filling the air with fragrance, pleasing God no end. You can be sure that God will take care of everything you need, his generosity exceeding even yours in the glory that pours from Jesus. Our God and Father abounds in glory that just pours out into eternity. Yes. Philippians 4:19 Message (emphasis added)

We see the beauty of how God meets our needs through others or straight to us. It all comes from Him.

Solo is good for cups, but not people.

We are made for partnership. The only thing that wasn’t “good” in the garden, was for man to be alone. We are not enough; we need connection.

Okay, I’m going to yell it…ENOUGH!

It’s time to stop the perfectionist, trying to measure up, exhausting people pleasing (the “people” is usually me) trap. Breathe.

You’re not enough and it’s ok, because The Father is MORE THAN ENOUGH for you! (That’s Huper!)

Receive your confidence back from your mistakes. Your failure is not fatal. There is an eternity to regain, regroup and relive.

I may not be enough…

but it’s ok because my Father is called, I Am.


roots

Are Your Roots Showing?

I prize and protect my hair appointments to ensure my “roots” are NOT showing. These “holy hair days” have priority in my calendar and are scheduled months in advance. They are sacred.

I have legit blonde moments, but honestly I’m not a natural blonde. (I know you’re shocked and surprised.) I’m not quite sure what color my hair really is now, but every six weeks my roots emerge with a mishmash color of dishwater blonde, dark brown and…um yes, grey. Ew, HURRY and cover it up!

Today I took a walk in Northern Ireland where we’re staying near the village of Cullybackey.

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The views of the rushing river are intoxicating.

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I felt God’s presence cleansing my soul as I watched the water wash over the rocks.

Life dumps lots of messes. If only there were SOUL MAIDS who rushed in after us and tidied up the disarray of stressful lives.

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Maybe this is the call for a Sabbath.

Could it be the reason Jesus snuck away for solace with the Father? To let the water of heaven wash over the residue EARTH leaves behind…on the soul.

“Learn character from trees – values from ROOTS and change from leaves.” – T. Hameed

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As I walked down the river path, I noticed some extraordinary roots supporting a huge tree. I laughed at my attempts to cover my roots, but this wooden beauty displayed them majestically.

Roots reach down to find the refreshing.

Nothing lives long without the root. Good or bad.

Root: 1.) the part of a plant which attaches it to the ground or to a support, typically underground, conveying water and nourishment to the rest of the plant 2:) the basic cause, source, or origin of something

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Could it actually be our GOAL to let our roots show?

Roots need time and attention…and more time. Roots thrive on faithfulness, with a daily agility that does not ascribe adulation. Fruits get attention. Fruits are displayed in bowls and prepared in puddings. (Okay, I’m in UK – Americans go with me. :) )

The Holy Spirit’s work in us flowers into great fruit.

Love. Joy. Peace. Patience. Kindness. Goodness. Meekness. Faithfulness. Self-Control. (Gal.5:22-13)

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BUT…the ROOT determines the fruit!

Some people say LOVE is the fruit that manifests into the other characteristics. I can see that, but LOVE is the ROOT as well. Ephesians 3:17 expresses that thought as we are “rooted and grounded” in the LOVE of Christ.

rootedground

As I ponder my heart ROOTS today, I’m thankful for those who showed Christ’s love to me…those who helped plant seeds of God’s word in me, who encouraged me, who believed in me, who corrected me, who grounded me in truth.

Lord, let my ROOTS show, and help me ROOT and establish a new generation in faith.

 17 that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height— 19 to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Ephesians 3:17 -19


praiseattention

Join me for 100 days of praise!

For the next 100 days I’m overseeing an exciting project at 100daysofpraise.com. The Bridge Church is celebrating 100 years of PRAISING God from it’s location on Fishtrap Road. One hundred years ago that land was gifted to a group of pioneering believers who started a vibrant faith community in Denton, Texas. It’s our turn to carry on that legacy into the NEXT 100 years! Follow the daily blogs and join in with #100daysofpraise!

Click here for a sample blog from this week – Are you a Praiser or a Pouter?

pout

 


be a well digger

Be A Well Digger

In biblical times and in developing nations today — life revolves around the water source or THE WELL. I’ve had the joy of watching my friends in Niger dig wells in remote villages and supply this luxurious necessity to the people as they bring them the living water of Jesus. (Read about the Ron & Jerry Childs and Neal & Danette Childs ministry here.) I just returned from Niger where people celebrate clean, drinkable water and do not take it for granted. It is a beautiful thing. Clean wells bring life to the whole community. As polluted water brings stomach sickness, polluted “heart wells” make our life sick.

Our hearts are wells that bring up healing or bitterness.

Continue reading…


mind reno

Mind Renovation – Day 21 – I Think I Can

We’ve reached the SUMMIT – 21 days of thought detox. Can you see a difference in how you’re choosing to think? 

Remember the classic children’s story of The Little Engine That Could? It’s hard to nail down the original author of this story, because it’s thought to be a folk tale; but one version appeared in a Sunday School publication in 1906 under the title Thinking One Can.

“I think I can. I think I can. I think I can. I know I can.” – Little Engine That Could 

My great grandmother read me this story of optimism and would say, “Can’t never could do anything!” 

you are what you think

Do you think you CAN? Or count the reasons why you CAN’T?

Scientist are astounded at the mind’s ability to produce it’s internal projections. You can actually “think yourself” sick. In a trial for Parkinson’s disease, participants were informed about the possible side effects with their medical trial. Surprisingly, “65% report adverse conditions as a result” even though they were only given a placebo. This is known as a NOCEBO–a negative placebo effect. (The Contagious Thought That Could Kill Youbbc.com)

Nocebo: A negative placebo effect as, for example, when patients taking medications experience adverse side effects unrelated to the specific pharmacological action of the drug. … Nocebo comes from the Latin noceo, to harm and means “I shall harm” whereas placebo means “I shall please.”

The devil always tries to make his NOCEBO effects (“I shall harm”) appear stronger than God’s TRUTH in our lives! 

if you think you can or can't

 

(Note: I have always found it fascinating how we’re so sick we can’t go to work, but if someone suddenly gave us Disney World tickets we’d miraculously feel better. Of course this isn’t true in all illness, but it is surprising how many times our mindset helps or hinders our healing.)

 

God Thinks We Can

I love the story of Gideon because I can totally relate. I’ve lived life in the shadows at times. In jr. high my friends were the cute cheerleaders, while I sat on the sidelines. My sister was valedictorian, while I struggled to pass Geometry. My husband preached around the world, while I cared for the kids and cleaned the house.  Continue reading…


Mind Renovation – Day 20 – Let your Mind Wander

Does your mind wander?

Like hopping from stone to stone in a raging river of nervous what ifs, our mind chases rabbits.

Worry will lead you to ledges and leave you.

God is our help. In worry you're alone.

“God is a help in trouble. In worry you are on your own.  When you worry, which do you worry about, what might happen or what might not happen? Whichever, turn it around, to relieve anxiety.” (source unknown) 

Not ALL mind walks are pointless

Does your mind wander to WORRY or to WORSHIP? 

Worry’s finger points toward panic, shouting, “hurry, faster…follow me this way!” After traipsing through paths of uncertainty and clouds of confusion, you look around frantically to realize you’re lost…wandering alone in a brain fog of hopelessness.

Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength.” – Corrie Ten Boom 

On the other hand…

Worship directs us toward the Master of the Universe who holds the compass of life. As we surrender our frets and fears to His promise we find ourselves surrounded by his steadfast strength. In worship we realize WE ARE NOT ALONE. As His presence fills the cavities of despair with renewed hope, our brain fog turns into a glory FOG–the FAVOR OF GOD!

“I will give You thanks with all my heart; I will sing Your praise before the heavenly beings. I will bow down…and give thanks to Your name for Your constant love and truth. You have exalted Your name and Your and your promise above everything else.” Psalm 138:1,2 HCSB

Favor of God

I Know THAT

Ralph Hagemeier is an amazing man of God and life-long missionary to the Democratic Republic of Congo. Over 20 years ago he preached a message that still resonates in my mind. My husband and I rehearse it often.

In his message, Ralph encouraged us that…

We may not KNOW howHow will it all work out and be okay? 

We may not KNOW whenOh, Lord when will you deliver me from this? 

We may not KNOW whereWhere will the provision come from? 

We may not even KNOW whyWhy is this happening, Lord? I don’t understand. 

BUT…

Psalm 139:14 says, “I will praise You, for am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my souls knows very well.”

We can KNOW THAT!

He loves me and made me for a purpose. I am His and THAT I KNOW WELL. It will not change with the hows, whens and whys. His faithfulness remains. When we turn WORRY into WORSHIP, we let this truth remain in us.

When my soul is in the dumps, I rehearse everything I know of you…Then God promises to love me all day, sing songs all through the night! My life is God’s prayer. Psalm 42: 6-8 Message (emphasis added) 


Turn worry into worship

Turn Worry into Worship

I’ll admit it…I have a chronic problem losing my keys. I’ve learned to THINK intentionally about placing them in the same spot every time I come in. Before my last trip, I remember hanging them on the wall hook for safe keeping. When I returned home and needed my keys, they mysteriously went missing from the hook! I wasn’t tempted to worry at first, but after I had looked everywhere and asked everyone, WORRY started inviting me WANDER!

Do you WORRY your prayers or WAR with them? 

I was in the middle of writing this THOUGHT DETOX, and faced with a huge temptation to worry! (Isn’t it funny how that always happens.) Philippians 4:6, bounced off the walls of my mind and I told myself…

Instead of worrying about HOW my keys could just disappear and WHY this was happening to me and WHEN I would ever find them…I will yet PRAISE HIM! Every time I would start to worry about them, I’d turn it into a prayer thanking Him for helping me find my keys! I praised Him for showing me where they were, and declared, “You are faithful, Lord! I refuse to worry!” 

I wish I could tell you I found them right after the first prayer. After four days of searching to no avail, I went to my office and I cleaned my desk off. Later on, I brought my yummy birthday cake balls out of the fridge and set them on my desk to share them with whoever walked by.

A few hours later, I looked up and something caught my eye. I lifted the plate up and my keys were under the plate! WHAT? I honestly can NOT explain how they got there. I’m thinking probably there’s an angel on special assignment to help with lost keys and phones–and they are assigned to me regularly! I don’t KNOW HOW the keys got there, but I know THAT God is faithful and I was walking in the FOG–the favor of God!

missing keys

Where will your MIND WANDER today?

Today whenever you are swayed to wander down the rabbit hole of worry, FLIP it into a prayer of faith, or a song of worship. As you continue to thoughtfully make that decision, you will find your mind walking in the FOG — the FAVOR OF GOD!

Hey friends, get a great song STUCK IN YOUR HEAD that will lead you to worship! Download the pre-release song, “It is Jesus” by my friend Tangie Callahan – iTunes download.

It is Jesus - Tangie Callahan

Prayer:

Lord, help me choose to worship you instead of worry. I pray for the Holy Spirit to set an alarm off in me when me mind begins to wander into worry. Thank you for a sound, disciplined mind, Lord, that I can choose to worship you. Help me to “flip worry” and worship you instead of running down an aimlessly trail of what ifs, whys and whens. I trust THAT you love me and are faithful to complete what you’ve started. As I put my hope in you, help me to WALK in the FOG — the favor of God. I receive your favor into every uncertain circumstance in my life. Your Kingdom come and your will be done in Jesus name! 

Scripture:

Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God. Psalm 42:5 NIV 

Big Thought: Turn worry into worship and let your mind wander in the FOG (favor of God)! 


mind reno

Mind Renovation Day 19 – Dream Seed

God always begins with a SEED.

In the beginning God DREAMED of a family, PLANNED how He would fashion one, and then CREATED them–with the SEED of His word.

DREAM   PLAN   CREATE 

When God dreamed of a new nation he planted the seeds of His dream in Abraham’s mind. It all began with an IDEA–a BIG GOD IDEA. The only problem–Abraham had no framework of what a nation was or how it would be possible. God took him outside of his limited mindset to ignite his imagination with some dream seed…

He took him outside and said, “Look at the sky and count the stars, if you are able to count them.” Then He said to him, “Your offspring will be that numerous.” Genesis 15:5 HCSB

it all begins with a God Idea

You Need to Practice Pondering

God planted dream seeds in young Joseph that would save Abraham’s star nation. Pondering those dreams kept him from rendezvousing with wayward wives and throwing in the towel behind prison doors.

quoteaddicts.com
quoteaddicts.com

We choose to harbor or abort the DREAM SEED by how we “let is dwell” or “let it leave”. 

let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God” (Col. 3:16). (underline mine)

The Father DREAMED, PLANNED and CREATED a way to redeem his family back to himself. He planted the dream seed in Mary who would carry the seed of his idea to us.

But Mary treasured up all these things and *pondered them in her heart. Luke 2:19 (emphasis added) 

*pondering them = (symballō) to throw together, to bring together / bring together in ONE’S MIND, CONFER WITH ONE’S SELF 

dream seeds Continue reading…


mind reno

Mind Renovation Day 18 – A Beautiful Mind

What is a beautiful mind? Art is always subjective and beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Beauty is very subjective to people, but not to God. What does a beautiful mind look like to Him?

beautiful mind

A Beautiful Mind…

Receives revelation from the Spirit 

Imagine a thirsty dry plant in need of a major summer soaking. Cheers of joy arise as the rain begins to drip, drip, drip down. Life and refreshment to the dehydrated and exhausted soil provided abundantly. Provision bestowed…but not received because of the umbrella shielding the clay from the downpour. What umbrella do you hold that hinders the downpour of God’s thoughts?

Are HIs thoughts sinking in?

These umbrellas are mindsets that limit and block our thoughts from receiving God’s. It could be insecurity, a scarcity mentality, fear, or many other things we throw up as EXCUSES.

Umbrellas sound like this…“I couldn’t do that because I owe too much money. I can’t dream that because I’m too old. I couldn’t have that because I know it’s too expensive. I couldn’t try that because I’m too scared.” 

God pours HIS THOUGHTS and DREAMS out and we put our hand over the cup saying, “Oh, no thank you. I couldn’t possibly have that.” (Did you read the statement in a proper British accent? Because we usually resist God’s thoughts very politely…yet firmly.) Our cup is empty and in great need of refilling, but we stop the downpour and keep GOD’s IDEAS at bay for fear that it’s too good to be true. 

Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. 1 Corinthians 2: 12 Continue reading…