Broken for HIS Glory

It's too easy to live life striving for the perfect spouse, cute family, cozy home and debt free living. It's the picture of ourselves we'd all like to paint. We don't make it a habit to celebrate our weaknesses or flaunt our struggles. Yet tonight I am overwhelmed by the reality that perfection is a completely false picture of what God's Church looks like. I look at the things in my life that are challenging and everything in me wants to get rid of them. To just cut that section out of my life because it sure would be a lot easier and a lot more enjoyable. But as I sit here after an emotionally exhausting day and watch our three kiddos crawl over my husband with their running noses, crazy personalities, and mix-matched outfits, I am hit by the reality that we were never intended to find joy in the "perfection" of our earthly lives, but rather the brokenness.

Because it is in the brokenness that we see God.

It's in our brokenness that life stops being about us and our glory, but rather about God and HIS GLORY.

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

It's in the difficult seasons of this life that I see God changing my heart. It's been in the struggles where I've stopped relying on myself and seen more clearly the incredible strength of God. It's been in lonely times that I've opened up my Bible to find the comfort of Immanuel, God with us.

No, the truth is, we are a broken and messy bunch of people walking out difficult roads that, many times, leave us hurting and exhausted. We are to be the springs of living water to the needy, hurting and broken. Not because we've reached some state of perfection in our own lives. No, we are given the chance to be a spring of life to people because of the testimony of what God has done in our own weakness and failings.

Jesus said to them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners. - Matthew 2:17

Heaven isn't going to be filled with a bunch of perfect, wonderful people with trendy outfits and saintly children. No, it will be filled with multitudes of broken, messed up people that Jesus redeemed in incredible ways. We will all gather around God's thrown and worship him in endless praise, because God prevailed in our lives despite our weaknesses.

All glory will be his and all joy will be ours.

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If we are honest with ourselves. Our desire to hide the realities of our struggles behind clean facades all comes down to pride. When we are too prideful to be honest about our weaknesses, we close off opportunities to share the incredible things God has done in us through those times. We make life about us, rather than God. God says that he opposes the proud, but shows favor to the humble (James 4:6). When we humble ourselves before God and before others, we become usable. When we are able to admit that we are imperfect, as is everyone else, we can see clearly how the playing field is level; that we need God just as much as the drug addict, the homeless person on the corner, or that person who drives us crazy.

Have you been spending more time striving for some ideal of "perfection" rather than letting God use your brokenness to be a witness for him? Will you join me in praying for strength to let go of your pride today so that God can be glorified through our weaknesses?

Seeking Him

"Seek the Lord while he may be found; call on Him while He is near. " ~Isaiah 55:6

Alright. True confession time.

My personal time spent in the Word is lacking and has been for quite some time. Even as I type these words now I think to myself, “What a hypocrite! Here you are writing for a Christian women’s website and you’re openly admitting that your personal spiritual life could use a swift Kick in the pants. How could your words be anything close to inspiring?”

Hypocritical or not, that is the truth. And it’s the main reason I hedged when originally asked to be a part of this wonderful creation called Holy Hen House. Could God really use me, a broken, wandering sinner and could I ever meld with such a seemingly put-together group of Christian sisters?

I figure that it’s time to come clean. I am no Martin Luther. I do not spend hours a day in dedicated meditation and prayer and I am ashamed to admit that days go by without my Bible being opened – sometimes I have to stop and think for a moment just to remember where it is. I rush through my mornings, my afternoons, my evenings without giving the numerous devotional books I’ve purchased over the years a second thought (and yes, I have purchased quite a few – and even started some of them).

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However, the paradox of it all is this: these same reasons that made me feel unfit to be a Holy Hen House writer are the same reasons why I felt God leading me to accept the calling. Not only did I feel my own faith would benefit from the challenge of providing a weekly or bi-weekly devotion for others but I also, somewhere in the depth of my soul, truly believed (and still do) that a lot of what online content needs these days is truth. Realism. Women especially need to know that it is okay to not be pinterest perfect when it comes to their homes. Their relationships. Their families. Their lives. And perhaps, just may be, this can be said of their FAITH as well.

Today I write from the heart – I’m letting you all in and admitting that I don’t have it all figured out where my personal devotion/meditation is concerned. And I’m finally committing to myself and more importantly to God, to try doing something different. Obviously what I’ve been doing the last few years hasn’t been working. I’m one of those “lucky ones” who was raised in a Christian home, sent to a parochial elementary and high school and managed to find an amazing Christian man to spend my life and raise a family with. Yet as much as these facts are all incredible blessings, they also bring with them a set of their own challenges.

 In a life where faith in God and access to the Word of God has been so “available”, how does one keep her own faith alive, striving, and growing? I began asking myself this question several years back when I made the realization that church on Sunday just wasn’t enough for me anymore. Sure, I know that Jesus Christ, the Son of God is my Savior. It is my hope and prayer that all of you reading this feel that way, too. But after more than thirty years of hearing this great truth, isn’t it time to move past the “spiritual milk” (Hebrews 5:11-14, 1 Peter 2:2) and onto a more living, breathing relationship with my Heavenly Father?

So just how do I accomplish this? Perhaps you currently find yourself in a similar state…just how do you accomplish this? The difficult part of the answer to this question is that there isn’t one. Just as God has created each of us to be our own people, with our own set of circumstances, our own experiences, and our own personalities, so we will each respond in our own way to different methods of meditation and time spent in His Word and devotional materials. But the important part is that you start somewhere.

As I mentioned above, I have purchased more books – which still remain unread -- than I would like to admit. Always thinking that the problem had more to do with the content, the length of the devotions, the author, the subject matter, or some other excuse, I would soon tire of each and it would slowly be transitioned back to the bookshelf. It was not until I began to not only be honest with myself about a lack of personal spiritual growth but also with others that I trust when God began to open my eyes to part of the problem.

A dear friend of mine, as a follow up to a heart-to-heart which we had shared on this very topic, recently wrote to me in an email, “I just want to encourage you [to do something], however small, maybe it's one passage a day that you ponder.” For some reason, this statement spoke to me.

 It finally dawned on me that perhaps I was over-complicating things.

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How much money had I spent on countless books written by mortal men when I have had multiple copies of the most infallible source of spiritual encouragement, enlightenment and wisdom known to man sitting within arm’s reach of me at home? Please do not misunderstand me: I don’t see anything wrong or “wasteful” about supplementing personal time spent in the Word or in prayer with a doctrinally sound devotional or other spiritual writing. But for someone like me, who is ultimately seeking a closeness with God through developing a habit of being “in the Word” daily, doesn’t it make more sense to actually start “in the Word”? It was such a simple answer.

Over the past week or so, I’ve challenged myself to do just that: find one passage a day to “ponder”. I re-write it on a half sheet of paper and hang it wherever I happen to be sitting on that particular day as I read it. Sometimes this is at work, sometimes at my desk at home, sometimes in my kitchen. Wherever it may be, His Word follows me and I cannot help but re-read it over and over as I go about my tasks of the day.

This method may not work for you. Perhaps you are closer to having it all “figured out” than I am – but I truly believe that we could all use a boost. I look forward with great anticipation as to where this leg of my faith journey will lead me and I’m excited to share it with you along the way.

 What have you found to be most helpful in the strengthening of your relationship with your Heavenly Father? Please feel free to share in the comments below!

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