Wounded, Broken and Called to Be World-Changers!

Have you ever felt like not enough, my friends? I know I have. In fact, more times than I care to admit I have felt like not enough. In fact, sometimes I find myself stumbling through life wondering if I am visible in the world. But then I am reminded that God used the unlikeliest of people to be world-changers.

“Hannah tasted the salty tears of infertility.
Elijah howled for God to take his life.
David asked his soul a thousand times why it was so downcast.
Next time you feel like not enough know that God sees the broken as the best and
God calls the wounded to be world-changers.”–Ann Voskamp

Yet even though Hannah, Elijah, and David were broken, God used them for God’s glory. They were indeed world changers. Many of the broken were world changers including Mary. This unlikely virgin woman gave birth to Jesus; the Messiah; the one who would come to turn the world upside down and would eventually be crucified on Calvary’s hill for our sins. What if these world-changers had quit?

I don’t always see myself as a world-changer, but I am indeed a broken individual. I am the daughter of a woman who lives daily with a mental illness. I am a single 37 year old alone waiting for her deepest desires to be met. I am a woman who was scarred by the words that were hurled at her as a child. And there are still days that I wonder if I am smart enough, pretty enough, etc. Through a mirror dimly, there are indeed days that I yearn to see myself as everyone else sees me with all the gifts God has bestowed upon me because most of the time all I can see are my flaws.

Like many other women in this world, I find myself standing in the midst of the wilderness clinging to my faith and hoping to find the light that will lead me out of the wilderness. My beloved author BFF (ok we aren’t really BFF’s but I would love to be!) Annie F. Down’s in her new book Looking for Lovely captured this so well when she wrote: “And that question, the question I can’t quit about the hate I can’t quit is the one I have been trying to answer ever since (P.24).”

My friends, I don’t know about you. But I think it can be so easy for us to get wrapped up in our own hate; our own insecurities; our own feeling like we are not enough. Yet God may and does call us out of our own brokenness to be world-changers. I think of the ways that I have been able to share my families struggles with a mental illness. And in sharing our story, I have connected with others and been able to grant them peace in knowing they are not on this journey alone. The truth is that God does indeed use God’s children with their scars, wounds, and brokenness to share God’s love and grace to be world-changers.

I’ll admit that in our every day lives, being a world-changer is not an easy task. But God uses all of us–with our own brokenness–sometimes with our visible scars–sometimes with our open and bleeding wounds–to be world-changers. So my friends, how might God or has God used you to be a world-changer? You never know how God might use you like God used Mary, Elijah, Hannah or the many other broken disciples of Christ to change this world!

I am linking up with my favorite lovely ladies–Holly and Testimony Tuesday, Kelly and the RaRa linkup, Jennifer and Tell His Story, Holley and Coffee for your Heart and Kristin and Three Word Wednesday.

 

Out of the Wilderness

Life is not all a bed of roses, is it? I came across a post from a fellow blogger where she felt like she was sharing too much about her wilderness experience. I want her to know that life is not full of a bed of roses. No one is perfect and life happens. I would much rather read about someone’s wilderness experience in the very midst of their own wilderness experiences. It reminds me that we are not on this journey alone. In fact, wilderness experiences are a necessity of life. “Wilderness is not a luxury, but a necessity of the human spirit.”–Edward Abbey

Paul wrote in jail. David wrote in the midst of his own trials and tribulations. Abraham and Sarah tried to cling to their faith even when they still weren’t parents. But then out of the wilderness, each of these individuals found themselves. Abraham and Sarah were granted a child. Paul continued to share the message of Jesus Christ. David even defeated the giant of a man Goliath.

Being in the wilderness can be such a scary place especially when you do not know the terrain and are unfamiliar with the land in front of you. You have to put one foot in front of the other and trust that God is with you. Now I know that is so much easier said than done especially when we are barely clinging to the rocks and such that are in front of us. But then I am reminded of how Jesus spent 40 days in the wilderness himself. Jesus knows our own wilderness wanderings and promises that he will continually walk with us. Jesus understands what it means to be standing in the wilderness wondering which direction to go.

Eventually though, we are led straight out of the wilderness into the light. Sometimes that light can be but only a glimmer. Other times that light can practically blind us. But what I have to come realize is that God leads us out of the wilderness into the light of day that grants us hope in the midst of our own clinging to faith in the wilderness.

I am linking up with Anita and Inspire Me Monday today! 

Sunday Blessings 122

(1) A call from my momma

(2) Talking to Uncle T on the phone

(3) Visiting with the Curves ladies

(4) LCM soup Tuesday–visiting with some of the students

(5) Picking up goodies from a member to take to soup Tuesday.

(6) Spring rain

(7) Both of the books I ordered have shipped.

(8) A great Confirmation class about Baptism

(9) Someone asking me if I’m losing weight.

(10) Hugs from RT and CT

(11) A check in the mail

(12) Subway Sweet Onion Chicken Teriyaki.

(13) Bible study at one of the local nursing homes.

(14) Voxing with MG

(15) MH helping me out and taking FLC kids to Camp Metigoshe this weekend.

(16) Lunch with a neighbor friend and her family who I haven’t seen in ten years.

(17) Playing with Max and Cadence

(18) Max calling me “his friend!”

(19) Smores and more gala

(20) Hanging out with my friend EG

(21) Getting an upgrade to a jacuzzi tub suite at the hotel. Thanks Janis and Camp of the Cross.

(22) Hearing Ruben Duran and Keith Zeh at synod event.

(23) Being told that you’re missed in the synod you left to come to this synod. Makes me feel loved!!

(24) A 70 degree day

(25) Smoked Butterscotch Frappucino

(26) Looking for Lovely in my mailbox

(27) Playing a board game with some of our youth.

(28) Family SS Friendsgiving

(29) Finishing Love Does

(30) All of you–my dear friends and family

Making A Whole Harmony Together

Thursday night is totally my jam! It’s the night my Five Minute Friday crew gathers on Twitter. We chat about life and whatever is going on. Tonight it was all about the Idol Finale and some of our favorite bloggers/writers Jennifer Dukes Lee, Emily P. Freeman and Annie F Downs to name a few. We chat until our fearless host Kate shares the prompt for the week. I love these people so much because they are indeed that “my people.” Love you all! 


I am linking up for the Five Minute Friday. The FMF is hosted by Kate Motaung on her blog Heading Home. Today’s prompt is “whole,”


I write the songs that make the whole world sing
I write the songs of love and special things
I write the songs that make the young girls cry
I write the songs, I write the songs 
(I Write the Songs by Barry Manilow)

I have watched American Idol almost since the very beginning. I started tuning in during season two and have watched every season since. Tonight the curtain was closed as American Idol said goodbye for the very last time. The song lyrics from above remind me of the many stars that have come out of this show. American Idol has been the voice for this generation of musicians. I love how tonight’s finale celebrated the whole of this show.

And as I think about all those voices who have shared on the show, I am thankful for the whole of community that God placed into my life as well. Without community, I wouldn’t be blessed to share my story. I wouldn’t be able to know that I am enough and to know that I am indeed loved…loved for the whole of who God created me to be. Earlier this week I shared a quote from Annie F. Down’s new book “Looking for Lovely”–“Your people remind you of the goodness of God and remind you what it means to finish.” YES!!!!

As I celebrate the music and community in my life, I cannot help but think of one of my fave Sunday School songs “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands.” Are you singing it along with me friends? “He’s got the tiny little baby in his hands. He’s got you and me baby in his hands. He’s got the whole world in his hands.” God created the world and everyone in it. *I wish everyone truly understood the whole of these verses and treated everyone equally.

But sadly, I know that the world is full of hatred and unfairness and even racism. It breaks my heart that we cannot treat each other equally; to treat the whole of who we all are. We are all “fearfully and wonderfully made” called and claimed by God. God sent God’s son into the world and Jesus wasn’t afraid to turn the world upside down. Jesus broke bread with tax collectors and sinners. Why cannot we all be kind to one another? I strive each and every day to treat the whole of who God created each of us to be. For when we are able to do that…the whole world is able to sing together and make one gorgeous harmony! 

*Where my five minutes ended 

 

Finding Lovely in My People

I am like a giddy child today!  Last year my one word for the year was “brave” and several of my blog friends introduced me to author Annie F. Downs and her book “Let’s All Be Brave.” I even wrote about how this book was wrecking my soul…in a good way. I immediately became a huge fan of this sweet author.

Today Annie’s new book “Looking for Lovely” released. I applied to be on her launch team but unfortunately did not make the team so I am patiently waiting for the book I pre-ordered to arrive in my mailbox. As part of the pre-orders, Annie has been giving goodies to those who pre-order the book. So this afternoon, I signed onto my email account to see some of those goodies which included some phone lock screens. One of the quotes on the lock screens jumped out at me and now I am even more excited for my book to arrive.

The quote from the book is as follows “Your people remind you of the goodness of God and remind you what it means to finish.” Yes, I find so much lovely in the awesome relationships that God has blessed me with over the course of my 37 years on this Earth. There are times I wonder how I got so lucky…but then I am reminded….only God! Only God can bless these relationships in my life. 
Growing up, I was blessed to have neighborhood friends that only lived a block away from my family. Between their family and my family, there were four girls all within the span of four years. We grew up together. And even now, we are separated by the miles, but I am so thankful for the time we shared together. I see lovely in the times we spent on their front porch playing Miss America and riding our bikes around the neighborhood. 
Besides these neighborhood friendships, my best friend growing up was my friend Mandy. Mandy was a few years older than me, but was held back due to a kidney transplant she had in 1st grade. Mandy had her difficulties. Yet despite her health issues, Mandy was a lovely individual. We loved spending time together. I was a bridesmaid in her wedding. During my seminary days, I saw lovely when she would call me out of the blue to chat. Unfortunately Mandy passed away at a young age. I was so sad to say goodbye to her. But I am thankful that God brought her into my life.
But these are only a few of the friendships I have been blessed with over the years. There were my classmates who I did theater with in high school and college. I saw lovely in them when I lost my voice and they made sure I didn’t speak until our state performance. There were those I got to meet and know by being a part of the campus ministry team at my college. I saw lovely in how we learned to embrace our denominational differences. There were those that I got to meet at Super Awesome Bible Camp. I saw lovely when they taught me that it was okay to share my family’s journey with mental illness. I also saw lovely in the amazing kids I got to counsel. They taught me more about God then I could ever teach them. There are the dear souls I was blessed with during my seminary journey and who made me buy my own Birthday cake! And yes, I even saw lovely in them when they made me buy my own birthday cake. Years later, this is still one of my most favorite, lovely moments of seminary. There are the dear colleagues and friends I shared life with as we served together in the Fargo-Moorhead community. (I miss them dearly!) I can honestly say that these are some of my best friends! I saw lovely in how we shared in each other’s joys and sorrows. 
Two years ago, when I moved to Minot, I was so scared about making new friends. God had provided for me and blessed me with amazing friendships. Would God do the same again? 
My friend Mel surprised me with flowers the day she found out I was moving..”just because we love you flowers” as she called them. I was scared about leaving her and so many of my friends behind. They had taught me so much about finding the lovely in each other. The first few months in Minot, I found myself lonely and yearning for new friendships.
I should have never doubted God, because God has blessed me one hundred fold in these days, weeks, and years following. I remember meeting my friend CT for the first time. We chatted over coffee for almost two hours and we only quit because she had to pick up her daughter. CT has become one of my best friends over these last two years. But God did not only provide me with CT, he provided me with KW and MJ  (who have both since moved away), with EG (a lovely woman who sat with me and my mom in the emergence room one hot summer day) and KG (another lovely soul who God has blessed my life with) and so many others. I wonder how I got to be so lucky, but the thing is these friendships are pure gift. These are indeed my people! 
And there are all of you who I have been blessed with as part of the blogging world. I cannot even begin to name you all by name, because I am bound to forget someone and I do not want to do that at all. You have read my words. You have shared your heart with me. You have allowed me to hear your story and you to hear mine. You are my writing sisters—my survivor sisterhood. You are all lovely!
To all of you, thank you for being my people! Thank You for continually showing me what the goodness of God looks like and teaching me what it means to finish because I have no doubt you are my biggest cheerleaders and will cheer me on until I cross that finish line. And know that I will do the same for you!
I am linking up with these lovely ladies today: Holly and Testimony Tuesday; Kelly and the RaRa linkup; Jennifer and Tell His Story; Holley and Coffee for your Heart; and Kristin and Three Word Wednesday!

 
 

Sunday Blessings 121

(1) A much needed day off

(2) A beautiful walk outside

(3) An Easter card from a parishioner with gift cards to one of my fave places

(4) A great Confirmation class after six weeks off.

(5) CS giving me a ride to LCM board meeting.

(6) A fixed car

(7) Seeing baby Rhoda

(8) Baby snuggle time with Rhoda

(9) A drive with CT and hugs from her girls.

(10) Texting with my friend STM

(11) Voxing with TM, AH and MG

(12) Compliments on my sermon

(13) A nice PLN

(14) A great afternoon walk

(15) Country Fried Chicken from Blue Apron

(16) Hugs from one of my fave kiddos

(17) 60 plus degree weather on Sat

Healing and Hope

I got to cuddle a four month old baby today.

Anyone that knows me knows that this is my most favorite thing in the world.

I took Little Miss R into my arms and a peace immediately came over me. We walked back and forth talking to one another. The room was full of people, but in my world, it could have easily been just the two of us. Her sweet fingers curling into mine, her beautiful baby scent encompassing me….I was in baby heaven.

Since I was little, I’ve been chasing the very “until” of being a mom. Yet at 37 years old, this dream; this “until” hasn’t been met for me yet. It’s something I pray for daily. And the more I pray, I wonder if God is calling me to foster or adoption or both.

Every time I get to cuddle a baby, my heart is content…a contentment that I honestly can’t seem to find anywhere else in my life. So when I get to snuggle a baby, I wonder if God is affirming who God created me to be; a woman who deeply loves babies and has wanted to be a mom her entire life.

I continue to lift my prayers to God and trust in Gods call for me. I’m also very thankful for colleagues and friends who allow and have allowed me to have precious baby time with their babies.

For in those moments, when a sweet baby is snuggled into my arms, I find healing………………………

But more than anything I find hope!

LuLa Roe, Books and Life’s Decisions

If you don’t know the low down, Thursday night is the night for FMF party where we gather and catch up on life and wait for our gracious host Kate to give us the word prompt for the week. Tonight we celebrated the birth of Asheritah’s new baby. We talked about books and television and so much more. I seriously gush over these people and this community at every chance I get. I am so blessed by each of them and cannot wait until we meet in real life. Love you peeps!!


I am linking up for the Five Minute Friday. The FMF is hosted by Kate Motaung on her blog Heading Home. Today’s prompt is “decide.”


Leggings, Irmas, Nicole Dresses,  Randy tees, Amelias, Azures, maxi skirts and so much more. Before Christmas, I went to my first LuLa Roe party online. And now I cannot get enough of this awesome clothing. It feels like pjs and is so comfy. Before a party, the consultant posts the variety of items she has in stock. As I glance through her photo albums, I often have a hard time deciding if I like a pattern or not.  Sometimes I decide based on my fave color green. Once I decide on a piece I like, I comment “sold” to let the consultant know that I want to buy that item.

But clothing isn’t the only thing I have to decide about in life, life is full of decisions. I have to decide what shows to watch. I have to choose which book to read next. That choice is often so much easier said than done. There are so many books that I want to read. I am reading “Love Does” by Bob Goff and “Even If Not” by my blog friend Kaitlyn. What will I decide to read next–Looking for Lovely by Annie F Downs, A Witness by my friend Renee, or Accidental Saints by Nadia Bolz-Weber?

Life is full of so many choices and it is often hard to decide. Yet God is the one we must trust in. God will help us decide and know what is right for us. Sometimes it is so hard to give all control over to God though. I have been praying and trying to decide if God is calling me to foster care and/or adoption. The more I pray about it, the more I feel like the answer is right in front of me. God wants me to decide what to do and take action when I make that decision. It is a scary place to find myself. But I also have decided to trust in God’s call for me.

What is God calling you to decide about in your own life?