Spirit Stolen

Social media has been quite daunting to look at all around this year.

Just like COVID at the beginning of the year and it’s revelation of people’s faith in general revealing in how quickly we let fear invade which then led to hoarding and anxiety to the extremes at times, I feel this election is stirring the same feelings all over again.

Circumstantial happiness will never find a happiness that lasts.

What many of us call the best time of year is upon us.

This morning I woke up thinking about the part in the movie of the Grinch where the Whos awoke on Christmas morning and everything they had bought, all the decorations they had put up…was gone.

During the night the Grinch full of bitterness, crept into each Who’s home and stole the things that the Who’s thought would bring them happiness. When they woke up and saw these things were gone …they were miserable until Cindy Lou Who’s dad made the statement  about how proud he is of her making them realize this season is something we should celebrate in the spirit not in our things or in our circumstances.

God has given each one of us so much to be thankful for. 2020 has thrown some major curve balls for sure, but should that darken our spirit? Children are watching how we respond to the outside world. Are you instilling in them a platform by which they can stand when all around them seems to crumbling?

For God so loved the world that He gave his ONLY begotten son and whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. (John 3:16)

Everlasting life! Guys, we have hope. We have purpose. I don’t want to see my friends and family suffering through the holidays because we’re all stuck on the circumstances going on in the world right now.

My wish is that in every home the spirit of love, peace, joy, faith, and family transcends everything else.

I remember a long time ago when my boys were little Aaron and I would put them in their blanket pajamas. We would pack some hot cocoa and we would drive around and look at the lights. Back then everyone, well not everyone, but a whole lot more than what happens now, would decorate for the holidays. It was such an enjoyable time. But we don’t see that anymore. Our youngest is 11 we have not got to go and see lights because they just don’t happen like they used to. Why can’t we bring that spirit back? Why can’t we light up the world for Jesus? We’ve allowed the world to darken our spirit and it’s heartbreaking. 

As for me and my house we will serve the Lord. (Jeremiah 24:15) And I’m going to focus on keeping that spirit vibrant and alive for the rest of the year. We’re going to have those family get togethers. We’re going to find that joy and that peace and we are going to bask in the joy that the Lord gives us.

May I challenge you to do the same for yourself and your family as well as those around you?

Never too many
He is the REASON

Citrine

This morning I was taking my little Frosty Bear (maltese) out for a walk down our driveway. As I progressed down the road I came across this leaf that reminds me a lot of my birthstone. My birthday is in November and so the color of that birthstone, which is citrine, has never really impressed me. I always have felt a little cheated when in comparison to the other birthstones.  Ruby, Diamond, Pearl,  even Emerald and I get the dull Citrine as my stone.

This leaf caught my attention. It had no tears and was symmetrically equal. It stood out amongst all the other leaves and lo and behold it was that color that I mentioned as not my favorite, Citrine.

I walked past it and then I turned around and came back and just stood there and stared at it in it’s place. And then, as so often the case, the thought occurred to me that we spend our lives comparing ourselves to those all around us. We look at how we’re not as good as other people, or how we don’t have what they have, or how we’re not as beautiful, as intelligent, as worthy as they are.

Out of all the leaves covering our yard and driveway this one particular leaf stood out to me most today. It reminded me that God makes each one of us very different in our own way and though we spend our lifetime oftentimes comparing ourselves to all the other leaves around us we have a splendor and a purpose uniquely fashioned just for us. Our personal place and purpose in this world. So while we waste so much of our time trying to be like everyone else, it’s crucial that we focus on God and His calling for our life and let Him fashion us and the way He meant for us to be. The way He knew works best, to bring out the best so we could do our best down here.

And just like this leaf, unknown to you most of the time, you will stand out and be unique in your own way, unparalleled to anyone else on the face of this Earth. Why? Because you are God’s creation. You are fearfully and wonderfully made exactly as you are. You’re one of a kind. And that’s something to celebrate. How do we celebrate? We live our life to the fullest in the calling which God gave. To me that’s a celebration.

I think after this little walk with God today, Citrine might just be my favorite color.

The Sabotage Of Self-Pity

Have you ever congratulated yourself for not drinking, smoking, gambling, doing drugs or fooling around? Did you pat yourself on your back and feel good about it thinking you don’t carry on like the rest of the world seems to?

There is something outside of the before mentioned list that damages our body, soul, and spirit a lot of the same way. What is it you may be asking? Well, it is an ugly little thing we call self-pity. It seems to be more destructive than anything else. I call it the sabotage of self-pity. It can literally eat you up physically, emotionally, and spiritually. It is a serious enemy and we need to be actively fighting against it.

I love this segment written by Francis Roberts, “Your physical energy is a gift from God, entrusted to you to be used for his glory. It is a sin to take this gift and dissipate it through the trap doors of the evil emotions of the disposition. Look not upon others and condemn them for jeopardizing their health by harmful habits and wasting energy on vain pursuits while you yourself undermine your own health by unworthy emotions and take time, which by keeping your mind in an attitude of praise and faith could be constructively employed, but instead you allow this time to be a period of destructive action by entertaining such things as self-pity, remorse, and evil surmisings.”

How can we fight and seriously pursue handling self-pity correctly?

“You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.” Isaiah 26:3

WE HANDLE SELF-PITY CORRECTLY WHEN WE FOCUS ON THE GOODNESS OF GOD.

What is something you find yourself doing to actively combat self-pity when you feel it knocking at your door?

Keep my mind focused on You, Lord.

A Prayer

Great is thy faithfulness Lord, and lousy is my example at times. I ask for your forgiveness. In Luke 18:29, 30 you say that no one who has left home or wife or brothers or sisters or parents or children will fail to receive many times as much in this age AND the age to come eternal life. That not only means missionary work but in attending church. Go alone even if no one else will go. Do the class the Lord has put in your heart even if it means leaving friends and your husband in the other one you’ve grown to love, even if it means missing out on an event with family (church or immediate) because God has a divine appointment set up and it’s potentially Kingdom building. Keep me focused on You.

Lord,  You are leading me and as much as it scares me I have several watching me, following my footprints. I do not want to be their leader. I hope Lord God that I can show them the true leader Lord is You. I want to reach a place I can go to the back of the line and they progress without my lead. It’s a very serious position to be in knowing everyone is watching you. That they take you serious. I pray nothing more that the trust they have put in me can transition to a love relationship with You.

Lord, keep my head out of the worlds business. I want no part of it. Break me for all that breaks You. Keep me sensitive. This world tries so hard to use the cracks You’ve allowed in my life to grow me bitter, weary, indifferent, uncaring, and unfocused. It wants nothing more but to put this light out that You’ve grown in me.

Satan knows my potential. He knows my strengths and is all giddy over my weaknesses but God,  he also knows that because of Your love and Your Word I KNOW who I am in You and it terrifies him. May those I lead Lord God be inspired to be BOLD for You. May they love you more and more every day.

Lord God, allow me this in this lifetime. If they only knew of their value and worth in Your eyes. If they could just see it. Lord God, help me show them. In Jesus Name I pray, Amen.

Prayer is not a talk with an absence but with an ominpresent Presence.

Pursue Each Other

I overheard her say, yet not in a tone audible, “Am I enough? Why doesn’t he love me anymore.”
You could read it in her body language.

This struggle is real. When a guy pursues a mate and he does all he can to woo her, to win her affection and by doing so they get to a place she commits to choosing him as her life mate,  her husband, it’s such a beautiful pursuit.

Yet the pursuit can lead to an ash pile soon if the now husband or wife no longer treats it’s mate in the same manner as they first met. Hopefully the relationship deepens and intensifies in intimacy. Marriage is designed to be like that. In many cases though, laziness settles in, overloaded work agendas, and a lack of making your mate a priority causes such a  deep anxiety to build. More times than not, this feeling gets shoved down. One doesn’t want to mention it to the other as, quite frankly, they feel they shouldn’t have to say anything. And in a perfect world, you wouldn’t have to.

Marriage is like gardening. In order to see something beautiful you have to diligently nurture, prune, water, weed and even dress for the occasion. And like gardening, if you fail to do any of those things, death creeps in.

Marriage is hard. Ask any couple that has been committed for awhile. You will hear of the struggles they fought through. Admire them. Because they chose to fight for their marriage instead of quitting. It’s not easy. The marriage union grows until death does it part …that’s the original design. And for those who choose to tough it out, they will say, “WHAT A RIDE!”

Husband, pursue your wife like the days before you asked for her hand.

Wife, attract his attention. Nuture his heart. Build him up and support him just like you did when you tried to turn his head the first time.

Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.  Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— for we are members of his body. “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.”  This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.”
Ephesians 5:22‭-‬33 NIV

How do you continue to grow in your marriage? What do you do that makes the bond stronger?

Lost: Childlike Spirit

Do you ever have one of those days where you seem a bit distant? You find yourself wanting to isolate and be left with the thoughts waiting to be processed in your heart and mind?

Today is a day like that for me.

When is the last time you remember feeling great excitement for something?

As a child when it came to spending the night with a friend, going camping and braving whatever the wilderness offered, that feeling you would get when riding horses (carefree), shooting guns, mud fights, night tag, Christmas mornings, vacations. It seemed so much easier to be excited and energized. It seems as our young hearts fade that these giddy emotions only come in waves.

Do our experiences and the obtaining of wisdom cause our childlike spirit to quieten? Is it meant to work like that? I want to go back to the place of facing something new. I want to experience the exhilaration of a ‘first time.’

This song Waves by Dean Lewis, I happened across for the first time today. It fits perfectly into what I am trying to convey in my writing.

Perhaps I’ve let the world slowly creep in and become a cancer to this spirit I am seeking, to the one I had. I hear others often say, “I’m too old to do that anymore.” “I am too old to be so carefree, Ive seen alot in this life and I am tired.” “I am too old to play.” “I am too old to dress like that.” Maybe I have let this world dictate how I should act too much.

Roman 12:2 states, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” I believe a Spirit keeps its childlike momentum when in the presence of its Father. Makes sense.

I have seen many grown adults when in the presence of their parents become childlike again. I have observed the behavior many times. I personally don’t have parents I can come to like that. I see my mom rarely but when I do get the chance, I do tend to act like a child again because I know she accepts me. She makes me feel young. And I think coming in God’s presence can be a key to resurrecting this childlike spirit I crave so much. So I will pursue.

Yearning To Be Whole

Solitude breeds thought which brings forth perspective. 

He is heard in a still small voice, a gentle whisper, yet we search for the audibly, louder signs. 

He is felt on the gentle caress of a breeze, the solstice of a nighttime walk, yet we pay no attention. 

All day long we run the rat-race chasing things of little importance in hopes of having these gaping holes inside of us filled. We want to know there is a purpose for us. We yearn to be whole. Complete.

All around us negativity and fear is blossoming like sunflowers in the fields too numerous to count. Our world has changed a lot. We are looking at things square in the eyes that we hoped we would never have to experience in our lifetime. Pandemics, self quarantine, riots, incredible storms, murder, and lack of morals seem at an all-time high and so close to home. We want peace. We want harmony. We want security. 

I sit here and this chapter comes to my mind. Slowly I read and reread its content. 

“As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. “Tell us,” they said, “when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?”  Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you.  For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will deceive many.  You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come.  Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places.  All these are the beginning of birth pains.   “Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me.  At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other,  and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people.  Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold,  but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.  And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.   “So when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation,’   spoken of through the prophet Daniel—let the reader understand—  then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.  Let no one on the housetop go down to take anything out of the house.  Let no one in the field go back to get their cloak.  How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers!  Pray that your flight will not take place in winter or on the Sabbath.  For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now—and never to be equaled again.   “If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened.  At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Messiah!’ or, ‘There he is!’ do not believe it.  For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.  See, I have told you ahead of time.   “So if anyone tells you, ‘There he is, out in the wilderness,’ do not go out; or, ‘Here he is, in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it.  For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.  Wherever there is a carcass, there the vultures will gather.   “Immediately after the distress of those days  “ ‘the sun will be darkened,  and the moon will not give its light;  the stars will fall from the sky,  and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.’    “Then will appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven. And then all the peoples of the earth   will mourn when they see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory.  And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.   “Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near.  Even so, when you see all these things, you know that it  is near, right at the door.  Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened.  Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.   “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son,   but only the Father.  As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.  For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark;  and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.  Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left.  Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left.   “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come.  But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into.  So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.”

Matthew 24:3‭-‬44 NIV”

I encourage you to seek comfort in these words, to rest assure that the world may be surprising us left and right but God is not surprised.

Hold on my brothers and sisters. Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes in the morning.

Suicide Is Not Normal

Your actions put you in the limelight.
My senses are heightened as
I recognize this behavior.
I try to offer a warm embrace instead you push me away.

Habitually, you run to isolation.
Chased there by fear of the light,
Not wanting any piece of you exposed,
As you cope through being scared and shaken,
Wondering how you can get through one more night.

Yet, in shadows I quietly pursue
Seeing that the temptation to self destruct is making you sway.
I want to be there to break the fall.
Actually, I want to keep you from falling at all.

You collapse into a dark corner’s embrace.
I see a familiar glint of silver.
My heart quickens.
Lunging from the darkness,
I grab your hand just as you start to bring crimson.

Suicide doesn’t take away your pain,
it gives it to someone else.
I know how you can be led here. To this place.
I know it’s not really what you want,
you just see no other way.

You run from the Light. However in this moment I will boldly show it.

James 4:2 You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask.

It is not normal to want to kill yourself. 

Ephesians 5:29 After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church.

I think you’ve sat at all wrong campfires
Taking to heart all the wrong stories.
So much that you’ve let it wax your heart so cold.

One of the questions you must ask yourself, is suicide really enduring to the end?

Matthew 24:13 But the one who endures to the end will be saved.

I cannot complete you. I cannot make you see what you refuse to look at. I can’t reach in and take all the anger and hurt you carry and crush it in my hands. I wish. The important thing is I know someone who can. These are His words to us.

Matthew 11:28  “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”

Psalm 43:5 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.

Romans 15:13  May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Psalm 34:18 The LORD is close to the brokenhearted, and he delivers those whose spirit has been crushed.

As I finish reading these to you, I notice around us, it seems that darkness is slowly stepping away.
Your tears begin to stop flowing.
And the glint first held in a blade is now seen as that start of a sparkle in your eyes.

Hope has arrived.

I step back to allow Him room.
As I do He takes her in His arms and begins loving her back to life.




COVID And The Paradigm Shift

I would have to say COVID 19 has probably brought about connection and reassurance as well as an urgency in my life. 

I say connection because for my family and I, COVID 19 has served as a positive reinforcement to establish a more genuine, authentic family bond. 

I am sad that COVID 19 has caused so many deaths, bred fear, conjured up uncertainty, stress and many other negative emotions. This is life as we know it living among the dying. Everything  here is so temporal.  What we thought would never happen in our lifetime has happened. Event after event we are either left with questions or answers. This is why I say for me COVID 19 has brought reassurance. 

COVID 19 has been a paradigm shift for me. My way of living and thinking is forever changed. For 4 months, we’ve been home together with very little outside influences or distraction, forced to reconnect with one another, learn how to communicate better, give each other space, slow down our pace, take time as we do devotions to let it soak in, and be a stronger family than ever before.

Life before COVID felt hectic. There never seemed to be time to relax. To meditate. To soak things in like God’s Word, nature, and the simple moments which really are the best of moments. 

We still work and do school. It is not perfect, but it is fairly productive and good.  We’ve been cleaners for 20 years and I will seriously state that it’s nice to see people actually use the soap, paper towels, and sanitizers. We stock those supplies much more frequently than prior to COVID. Though we use masks and gloves in each place, we are beyond blessed to have been able to keep on working through this pandemic. We are deemed essential oddly enough. 

My  study time has been much more real. I have quiet time that is actually (usually) quiet – and I can devote real time to it.  Most days I have so much more time to think, to listen, to process, and to discover.  I am discovering the good gifts that God has given me and my family. More than anything, I am overwhelmed by God’s goodness at every turn.  He overwhelms me with His goodness. 

Fear is a faithless coward and has no place in our lives as believers.  Fear and worry have no seat at our table though they are at the door constantly seeking entry.  We are here because God wants us here, right now, for His purpose in this pandemic. 

COVID 19 wants you to isolate, stock up, and take care of your own first.  Let us instead look to Him first, while we also take care of others.

I believe also there is an urgency to seek out the lost. God makes it very clear in His Word  that this world as we know it will fade away. Wars, disease, and apocalyptic events will unfold. Whether it’s in our lifetime or time to come, COVID may just be the catalyst that gets our mindsets in order. 

What if He would have come back mid-March? Would you have been ready? How about those you love around you? Would they have been ready? This is where urgency resonates for me. I want to be sure my answer to all those questions is, “Yes, I am and they are ready, for His return.” 

Daily, this song resonates nonstop in my head, “Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God. It chases me down, fights ’til I’m found, leaves the 99.  I couldn’t earn it, I don’t deserve it, still, You give Yourself away. Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God.”

“The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid.  What can man do to me?” Psalm 118:6

An Era Of Brokenness

This song is one of my favorites and I found it fitting for this writing. Enjoy!

It is unique how a thought can seed in one’s heart and slowly start to arise creating a writing such as this. In all I write I know it is not of my ability as I am encouraged as well by its content. Many thoughts run in and out of my mind but it seems few take root like this one. Some create an atmosphere and family plan in raising and nurturing my family, in managing our business and farm; some become original quotes and even yet, some become much deeper than that. It is a thought that raises from my core. Something I’ve chewed on awhile.

Around me events continue to happen, summoning me to draw out this pen and paper and let this thought extend to a world of those willing to hear it.

I understand the process by which the Bible was written where a man’s heart was led and inspired to write God-ordained content. I am sure each one would comment on just a thought taking root and it growing through their core until it had to be let out. Spoken. Written. I wish I could sit and have coffee with them and talk.

Since March life has been full of brokenness. Now before one thinks I am writing some sad-poor-pitiful-me piece, bear with me. I did mention I am encouraged by it. Bear with me.

COVID-19 hit and our world reacted. My initial observation was the massive surge in fear leading to panic. I thought back to 9/11 and recall the same reactions yet with COVID being a global issue, fear tends to be breeding excessively; needlessly. Security is broken–yet have we truly ever been secure?

I am beyond blessed in my friendships. I love my friends deeply. An observation I have made of late is that all of them–and I mean all–are suffering trials of varying degrees. Job loss, health issues, relational struggles, supply shortages, isolation, depression, and tons of soul searching. They all have brokenness–yet have we truly ever been without blemish?

Our family has dealt with a lot of tangible brokenness. It has been nothing but repair after repair. As I shake my head, each thing we’ve fixed feels like it has led to three more breaking down.

It started with an oil leak in the Kia: a seal in the engine needed replaced. It was taken to a mechanic and fixed. Then the radiator started leaking and it got replaced.

Our home AC unit went out and we had to replace the motor and blower wheel–this fix was extensive. The humidity was not a kind helper. We were hot and in being amateurs, it took us a while. I can say should we have to do that again, we will be pros.

On the farm we had a cow bust out a tail-light with her head. Our hay isn’t getting cut in the timeframe we want it to as a major mechanical breakdown has hindered the process. It’ll get done, just not as soon as we had hoped.

The lever to the three-point hitch on the tractor busted and needed repair. The AC in the tractor went out. We were going to have our HVAC man come fix it but decided to buy the equipment and do it ourselves. Amidst brokenness we are learning self-sustaining skills.

There was a serious wreck on the highway that destroyed our mailbox. However, this repair is made with special prayers. We won’t be petty about replacing this nor will we complain as a young man almost lost his life. I wish the mailbox would have been the only damage rendered. Mailboxes in our area have a short lifespan. It’s annoying having to replace it often but it will never be superior to someone’s well-being.

We are still praying for this young man to make a full recovery. He has endured several surgeries and has a lot of therapy to handle, but given his outcome already it’s obvious he has the Higher Power by his side which brings comfort.

As if all of this was not enough, our cleaning in our facilities has gotten much more aggressive. Heavy sanitizing, masks, gloves. Harboring a little fear of catching COVID that seems to want to manifest itself but we won’t let it. Our cleaning business is our livelihood. It’s a business my husband and I manage well as it has allowed our family to be together and has always provided for us financially. It is a gift.

Perhaps our van was paying attention to all that was going on. Perhaps our vehicles aligned with each other in the parking lot and conspired to defeat the human race because the van has pitched a fit.

First, while taking the Kia to the shop the window fell in the door. The regulator broke. My husband called me to make an appointment to get it fixed and I did. We have also had issues with the van eating through fan belts and the light is on for the sensor in the tires so I thought I’d kill three birds with one stone.

We took our van to our mechanic and left it for the day. The receptionist called reporting the damage. The window repair would be $280. The reason for our belt-eating issue was a damaged harmonic balancer and was quoted $189. Then she mentioned the sensors in the tires. Now the only thing these sensors do is tell you your tires are low on pressure. I double-checked that I understood this correctly. So when she quoted me $522 with $98 for labor just for the sensors I declined. The van is a 2011 with over 170,000 miles. I was taught to use a tire gauge before sensors were such a big thing. It just didn’t make sense to get that repair. She said they’d get right on it. 

We picked up the van and by Thursday it was headed back on a tow truck. No, it was not our mechanic’s fault. On Wednesday night at 11:30 we were heading home from a cleaning job. When we turned the van on (I was driving) there was a high whine, then a low growl and a pop. We thought since the harmonic balancer was new, maybe it was adjusting. The van had made similar noises before and I felt no difference in its driving or steering. Coming to a stop at a stop sign, a horrible rubber smell was evident. An old truck had pulled off the highway besides us so that assumption was made that it was that truck since we didn’t smell it for long after. We pulled out on the highway and about one mile down the road, our van battery light comes on–and stays on. Usually it just flashes if the battery is low, but we just had a new battery put in. My husband looks it up on the phone as I am driving and says, “Don’t slow down; just get home.”

The driving of the van was fine. I turned off everything electronic I could; the AC and the radio. Nothing felt wrong. Yet. Everyone in that van was praying we’d get home safely. We were twenty minutes away. By God’s grace we got to our driveway and home. I turned the van off, popped the hood, and out billowed smoke. We were sure our alternator had just died. My husband couldn’t get the van to start back up. We were glad to be home. Tomorrow would be another day of repairs which seemed to be the case lately.

Early Thursday morning a tow truck was called (which our insurance covered 100%). Friday I get a call and the sweet receptionist seemed down. She confirmed it was the alternator but added, “That pop you heard was the computer system and fuse box, it fried. It will need fixed, and that’s $1,280.” Now I understood the tone of her voice.

We’ve been in a lot lately for repairs. The harmonic balancer that was fixed prior is not a usual failure. The guy that fixed it had only fixed one other in his nine years there and this situation she said was not usual as the van shouldn’t have run as long. I told her, “We know life works this way; God wanted us home. He got us home. All these repairs–well, they reek. But it is what it is.”

Nothing here lasts. It’s all temporal. We’re being reminded that our job amongst the brokenness is to stay focused upward, to have our hands and heart extended to lift those who fall down, and step by step press on through this boot-camp called life. Brokenness brings perspective. It humbles us. It also allows us to see the true soul in someone. Whether it’s in this life or eternity I cling to Psalms 71:20: “Though you have made me see troubles, many and bitter, you will restore my life again; from the depths of the earth you will again bring me up.”

Since March God has been rebuilding me and my family. We have been worn down, tested, and scattered thin, but God is restoring us. He is making us better as a family, as friends, and as His children. We have made Him the cornerstone of our lives, and though we tend to avoid brokenness, it should instead be embraced. It’s not something to be ashamed of, like something is wrong with us. Exposing our hearts and admitting our vulnerabilities is nothing but humbling. Given these past circumstances, I see brokenness as beautiful. I see it as fertile soil. I see strength and I am encouraged.

How about you? Are you broken in any way? Care to share?

“But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: ‘God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.’” – James 4:6 NIV