Those Who Are Called

 

those who are called (1)

“Now to the unmarried and widows I say this:  It is good for them to remain unmarried as I am.”  1 Corinthians 7:8

Oh Paul, if only it were that easy.

Paul didn’t have to answer to his Great Aunt Bessie at every family wedding, who lamented over whether or not he would ever find the right girl and settle down.   Paul didn’t have a mother who kept hounding him about making her a grandmother.  Paul wasn’t playing house at preschool, didn’t receive Wedding Day Barbie for Christmas.  He wasn’t surrounded by Bridal Magazines on every check out shelf, nor was he feeling like he was “always the groomsman, never the groom”.  No, Paul’s greatest concern here was that if you were tempted to give into your passions… then you should marry, otherwise stay single.

It was the cultural norm to be married, have kids.  There are even denominations that encourage large families because the man who has a full quiver of sons is blessed (Psalm 127:5).   I want to think that Paul experienced the cultural pressure of marriage and family, but he seemed so very confident in his singleness.  I look to our own culture today, and I see there is still this unwritten rule about our timeline of life.  We are kids, go to school, get a job, get married, have kids, become grandparents, retire.

I’ve never pressed this on my children, and yet I remember my middle child being completely shocked when I told her she wasn’t required to get married.  I thought to myself, where did she even get the idea that it was a requirement in the first place?  It’s such a cultural norm, and marketed in television and movies, that I didn’t even need to talk to her about marriage for her to think it was an expectation of adulthood.  Women are building up Pinterest folders full of wedding ideas, bridal shower suggestions, and reception decor.  We are not just dreaming of our future wedding, we are already planning it… down to the very last detail.

There are those who are called to a season of singleness, and those who are called to a lifetime of it.  For those who are in a season of singleness… it can seem like a really long season (such as Nancy Leigh DeMoss Wolgemuth experienced).  You may feel like you are floating in the ocean watching others catching all the fish, while you net comes up empty.  You may even wonder if there are as many fish in the ocean as people keep claiming.  But do not be discouraged!

  • Pray that the Lord would guide you through this time (Psalm 94:19).  That He would not only give you peace, but also guard the mouths of those around you to be encouragers.  Pray that He filters the words of those who would discourage you from your hearing.
  • Don’t worry about tomorrow (Matthew 6:34), but instead focus on what God has called you to do today.  Stand in obedience to that and know that whatever blessings He has in store for you will come at His perfect timing. (Ecclesiastes 3:1)
  • Look for single mentors, those women who have been walking this road ahead of you. Along with other single women desiring to live virtuously for Christ. Seek their wisdom and comfort. (Proverbs 1:5) We Recommend Joining VirtuousBella’s Community of Single Women living Virtuously for Christ and The Purity Pledge.
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  • Turn to the Scriptures and let your desires be transformed into His desires (Matthew 6:33), you may find as you grow in this area that you become more confident about your singleness, like Paul was.

 

You’re Kind of Pretty

I was in high school, going through one of those phases where it seems like “everyone has a boyfriend but you”.  I was tired of being home alone when my friends went on dates.  I was over and done with being the third wheel on outings.  I didn’t understand why I was not on anyone’s radar.  Even to the point where none of my friend’s boyfriends were thinking of introducing me to their friend.  I didn’t get it.

One night, I was watching my friend finish up her hair and make up.  I was third wheeling it, once again.  I cried out in lament, “What is wrong with me?  Why can’t I get just ONE date?”; tossing myself on her bed in the most dramatic way possible.  My friend, of about 12 years at that point, said:

I really don’t know.  You’re kind of pretty.

Kind of.

Certainly not the encouragement one would hope for from her best friend.  Nor was it followed up with any sort of help either.  If she told me that I dressed like a hobo or needed to talk about something other than unicorn collectible figurines… that would be something.  But nothing.  End of sentence.  Back to hair styling and lipstick.

Kind of pretty.

I knew that in a sea of sun-kissed blondes, in S. Florida, I was an oddity.  Porcelain skin and fiery red hair sticks out like a sore thumb around these parts.  I had never considered that I wasn’t attractive at all, or not fun to be around.  I had loads of guys as friends.  But, my dance card remained empty.

In this time of being alone, I learned a few things.  I watched my friends navigating in and out of relationships.  I began to get a better idea of what I did and didn’t want out of a relationship.  I also learned something about my friends, as I watched each of them alter their personality to fit the interests of their new beaus.

He likes country music, she likes country music.  He is into deep sea fishing, she is into deep sea fishing.  He loves Mountain Dew… oh my gosh, so does she.  Music preferences changed by the month.  How the girls dressed and what fashion trends they followed created a mountain of clothes hiding in their closets and spilling out their drawers.  I also watched these same girls being ultra conservative with the guys they picked up at youth group, and then wearing next to nothing when it was the guy they met at the beach.  In order to stay in relationships and never be single, these girls were compromising their “true self”… all of the time.

I learned in my season of drought, that I needed to be true to myself.  I needed to really figure out who I was, what I wanted out of life, and where I was heading before I could even consider who would becoming along for the ride.  If I don’t really understand myself, how could I ever find my place in a relationship?  How could a relationship be built on honesty and commonality if I transformed myself at every flash of a cute smile or twinkling in a casual eye wink?

On an even deeper level, I realized that the relationship I wanted to focus on most was between myself and God.  If I was going to conform to anyone, I wanted to conform to His image (Romans 8:29).  I needed to embrace the way He knit me in my mother’s womb (Psalm 139:13), and the very hairs on my head that He knew the count of (Luke 12:7).  And so, I began to make new decisions.

I would stop dying my hair to hide the fiery locks that He chose for me.  No more bottles of various temporary tan lotions would scatter my bathroom.  The time to stop wallowing over boys was upon me.  I was going to choose to focus on all the wonderful things about being single.  From not having to share my popcorn and drink at the movies, nor having to worry about someone stealing fries off my plate.  I didn’t have to worry about what activities WE could afford to do, but what I could afford to do.  I learned to be brave and go places by myself.

I can assemble furniture, change the oil in my car, get a quote on home repairs, and so much more.  It wasn’t that I didn’t “need a man”, but rather that I became more comfortable with myself until the right man came along.  I was no longer on the hunt, but living life to the fullest.  I have great memories of that drought season, and that independence has served me well even in my marriage today.  I am great helper to my husband because he can count on me to do so many things in his absence.  I was exactly the kind of woman he needed in his life.

The season of drought allowed me to figure out who God wanted me to be, and to travel those roads.  I had no idea, that at the very same time, God was working on the heart of a guy who was among our circle of friends.  In this same time that I was figuring out my way, the Lord was changing him from a boy into a man.  One night, many years later, hanging out as a group like we had always done… something was different.  These two familiar faces were suddenly being seen in a new light.

Less than a year later we were married.  That was twenty years ago.

We tend to think of droughts as bad, negative forces.  However, for the wetlands, droughts are wonderful news.  It actually allows the land to rejuvenate itself, the old becomes new again.  Now when I feel like I am in a dry spell, I embrace it as a time to rejuvenate myself.  Whether the dry season is related to relationships (romantic or friendship), your career, or even your ministry calling… droughts allow us to focus on God and His purposes.  Lean in to Him, to be the living waters in a dry land.  Lean into Him, to cleanse the dust from your heart.  Allow Him to work IN you, rejuvenating you from the inside out.

When It Hurts

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There are times when life just hurts, deeply.   We can take those wounds to the cross, crying out for God to bind them.  Time passes, and the wounds heal.  We pull off the bandages to see that God has created something new.

He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.  ~ Psalm 147:3

However, even when we do our best to protect ourselves, an injury may find us again.  Old wounds are opened, new wounds are formed.  We may find ourselves tempted to keep those wounds bandaged, to protect ourselves from every being hurt again.

Do you know what happens to a healed wound that is kept wrapped up indefinitely?

It festers.  A new wound forms and it can end up being worse than the original.

While it is important to guard our hearts, we must be careful not to build walls.  A shepherd guards the gateway to the pen that holds his flock.  He doesn’t block the entrance with stones, keeping the sheep enclosed for ever.  A good shepherd takes His sheep out into the pasture, tending to their needs, and keeping them safe from harm.  He takes the sheep to choice areas where they will receive the nourishment they need.  At night, the sheep return to the safety of the pen.  The shepherd stands guard until it is safe for the sheep to return to the pasture.

We can guard our hearts against being hurt again, by surrounding ourselves with people who give wise counsel.  Guarding our heart also means that we are reading the Word, praying, and leaning into the guidance of the Holy Spirit in our lives.  When we venture out into the world or into relationships, we do so with our Good Shepherd.  And, when danger reveals itself our Shepherd takes us into His safety and stands guard at our hearts.

Our Good Shepherd doesn’t lock us into the safety of a walled up pen.  The Great Physician doesn’t bind up our wounds permanently.  He tends to our needs, helps us to heal, to learn from our errors, and then accompanies us when head back into the pastures.  He commissions us to:

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.  Matthew 28:19-20

When it hurts, pray for healing.  Trust in Lord and put on the FULL armor of the God.  The harvest is plenty, and the workers are few. Do not be tempted to hide form the world, by licking your wounds, and allowing the hurts to root deeper.

Forgive.   Love.   Pray.   Trust.

When Your Dreams Are Big

Big Dreams

Do you feel it?  A stirring in your heart to do something others may think is crazy? Do you find yourself staring into space and dreaming a dream that is so big you are terrified?  Yet, no matter how scared you are or intimidating it seems… you just can’t shake it.  How do we know when these desires are what God wants for us versus our fleshly desires?

What does God’s word say about it?

If you were to search the scriptures would you find any verses where the Lord clearly speaks against whatever this desire is?  Or, would any of the steps along the way require you to compromise His clear directions?

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. Colossians 3:16

Do you need to justify your choices not only to others but to yourself?

Does your spirit seem unsettled about the decisions you are making or the steps you are taking?  Are you having to convince yourself that you are doing the right thing, over and over again?  Are you feeling any conviction over your actions, guilt or shame?  Are you unwilling to listen to others or God’s Word, because you know it will speak against your choices?

But they, our fathers, acted arrogantly; They became stubborn and would not listen to Your commandments.  Nehemiah 9:16

Have you spoken about your desires with trusted, godly, men and women in your life?

Are you afraid to talk to those who are closest to you about your dreams and your actions steps to get there?  Are you hiding any part of the process from them because you know they will disapprove?  Have you invited your prayer warriors to intercede on your behalf?

The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, But a wise man is he who listens to counsel. Proverbs 12:15

Have you laid your desires at the throne?

Have you taken your dreams and placed them at the foot of the cross, surrendering them to the Lord?  Do you pray for clarity and direction?  Have you invited the Holy Spirit to guide your dreams?   Do your prayers include requests for affirmation to assure you are in His will?

Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to make your calling and election sure, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall.  2 Peter 1:10

Do you trust the Lord with your dreams?

Are the reservations you are having about your dreams due to a lack of confidence in the Lord to be faithful to His promises?  When we trust in God, that means that we believe in His plans for us… even when they don’t make sense or seem too big.  It means that we are going to lean into Him during each and every step of the way.  A decision made daily to do what He asks of us for that day, and not to worry about tomorrow.  Commitment to walking with Him in prayer and through His word, clinging to our Shepherd to lead the way.

And they that know your name will put their trust in you: for you, LORD, have not forsaken them that seek you.  Psalm 9:10

The scriptures reveal many stories of people who the Lord cast big dreams for their lives.  In each story, we see individuals who called out for His guiding hand and provision.  A dependency on His protection, and the expectation of His miracles.

When your dreams are big, remember your God is bigger.

To Be Seen, To Be Known

ToBeSeen

Have you ever felt invisible, as if no one can see you?  A few weeks ago, I sat with a woman who was lamenting about being overlooked.  Her heart wanted desperately to be seen as valuable, worthy, capable, and a blessing.  As we dug deeper through our conversation, she shared that she had been overlooked her whole life.  Then she said these words.

I think this is why I am fat.  I am making myself seen.  You can’t help but see me.

At first, I was stunned to hear this woman speak these words.  I have known her for years, and I would hardly consider her a woman who was invisible.  She was one of the first women I was drawn to at our church, because of her beautiful heart for God. Her infectious sense of humor and her wisdom.  I sought her out, and yet she feels invisible.

Then I began to reflect on women in my circle. Including myself.  There is the woman who incredibly loud, The woman who dresses over the top for all occasions.  There is the woman who is always up for anything, the life of the part.  The woman who posts a million photos on Facebook and Instagram.  The woman who always has something to say in every conversation.  The woman who is quick to raise her hand, volunteering on every committee and project.

I wondered, how many of these women were just trying to be seen, to be known.

I thought about all of the times when I have cried out to God, and it seemed like He didn’t hear me.  I thought about the number of occasions I was waving my arms at God saying “pick me, use me” and felt He had passed me by.

Have you ever felt invisible to God?

But whoever loves God is known by God.

1 Corinthians 8:3

His word tells us that He knew us as we were being stitched together in our mother’s womb, that he knows our voice, He knows those who belong to Him, he calls us by name.

Last week, I stood in line at the Deli section of the grocery store waiting for my number to cue.  I watched the people working behind the counter rushing to serve each customer efficiently but quickly.  When it was my turn, I used all the manners I had been raised with.  Please.  May I have…?  Then, as she handed me my last package, I glanced down at her name tag.  “Thank you, Linda.  Have a great weekend.”

I was no different than the customers before me, with one exception.  I called her by name.  I saw her.  She was known.  I watched the stress lift from her face, her eyes light up, and the corners of her lips turn up into a smile.  I made eye contact with her, smiled back, and went about my day.

She gave this name to the LORD who spoke to her: “You are the God who sees me,” for she said, “I have now seen the One who sees me.”

Genesis 16:13

The Lord knows you, by name.  You are His, and the Lord is the Good Shepherd, who tends to the needs of His flock.  We may not always understand where our Shepherd is leading us, or why He asked us to wait.  But, he has not forgotten us.  He is the Shepherd, who seeks the one lost sheep.  The Creator who provides for the sparrows of the field.  The Lamb, who was slain for my sins, … your sins.  He gave His life for you that you would be covered by the blood and saved FOR eternity with Him.

When the road is weary, the wait is tiring, and your strength seems to fade, remember His promises.  Wait on Him.

Isaiah 40:28-31

 28Do you not know? Have you not heard?
The Everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth
Does not become weary or tired.
His understanding is inscrutable.

      29He gives strength to the weary,
And to him who lacks might He increases power.

      30Though youths grow weary and tired,
And vigorous young men stumble badly,

      31Yet those who wait for the LORD
Will gain new strength;
They will mount up with wings like eagles,
They will run and not get tired,
They will walk and not become weary.

Taming The Tongue

taming-the-tounge

Set a guard, O LORD, over my mouth; Keep watch over the door of my lips. ~

Psalm 141:3

Several years ago, I was serving with a team of women in the church.  I was the person in charge of the task, although I had a leader over me that I reported to.  Every month I met with my team, and we would come up with plans for accomplishing our assigned task.  Every month I would present it for approval, and every month we were shot down.  We felt like we were just treading water and honestly questioned if they really wanted this task completed.  We could never make headway.

That is when it started, the frustration building.

“Why are we even bothering to meet?”

“You should just tell the church to do whatever it wants, and stop wasting our time.”

“Maybe we should just do it on our own; they don’t even care.”

The excitement that once motivated us toward volunteering for this project had faded.  As the appointed leader, I heard their complaints.  I must confess, I was frustrated too.  The complaints about the project, however, began to shift to complaints about the church, and then to specific people.

“If more people from the team would speak up, they might listen.”

“It’s all Pastor’s fault; he’s never supported projects like this anyway.”

“I’m not surprised; Pastor has always been dismissive of ideas.  Sometimes I think he just gives enough permission so that you’ll leave him alone.”

The more talking was going on, the more frustration grew.  Thoughts were beginning to influence how we all viewed the church, the people overseeing us, and even our place in the body.  This ultimately led to a confrontation with another member.

What I had not realized was that I was working with a very unhealthy team.  I didn’t catch on to their complaints shifting into gossip.  What I saw as a legitimate conversation about our frustration had turned into a gossip and complaining session, and I was just as guilty.  I wasn’t just guilty the moment I began to share my opinions, I was guilty the very moment I allowed their feedback to turn into gossip.  I had let their voices influence me.

Then when the fellow leader and I ended up in a confrontation, those voices were unsurprisingly silent.  I am very grateful that the Lord put someone in my life who could help me see what was happening, and that I was able to apologize and reconcile with my fellow leader.  Gossip is a sneaky, sneaky thing.

Gossip is a like a spider web. Have you ever walked down a sidewalk and into a web?  You couldn’t see it coming, and you may not have immediately realized you walked into it.  But, as your senses catch up you realize what you have done if you are like me, panic follows.

When we think of gossip, we often think of the intentional spreading of lies about someone.  However, gossip can also be spreading truths… truths that were not ours to share.  In church, gossip can often be disguised as “prayer requests” or “venting”.  When serving on a committee or ministry, it can often come in the appearance of complaints.

We can often get caught up in gossip and not sense it until it is too late, just like the spider web.  And, like a spider web, once it is on us… gossip clings to us, and it’s hard to shake off.  We may even panic as we realize what we have done.

Once someone knows you are receptive to gossip, they will return to tickle your ears again.  When something is so sneaky and pervasive, how do we know the difference between someone who really needs to just talk something through or someone who is spreading gossip?

Some cues I watch out for:

  • Is she speaking about herself & her own problems?  If not, ask her if she has permission to share this with you.
  • Would she say these words to the person(s) involved?  If not, she shouldn’t be speaking them to you.
  • Is she trying to involve you in a situation that doesn’t concern you?  If so, point her back to those involved and encourage her to take the issue up with them.
  • Is she trying to get you to handle or solve the problem for her?  If so, suggest ways in which she can resolve the issue herself.  Take yourself out of the equation.
  • Is she speaking lies or truths just to make conversation or make herself feel better?  If so, don’t hesitate to point out that she is gossiping, and it is inappropriate.

When you begin to put boundaries in place on how you handle gossip tossed in your direction, you will change everything.  True gossipers who are just out to run their mouths will avoid you.  Those who may not realize what they are doing will learn to tame their tongues.  An added benefit is the more you put up boundaries against gossiping, the less often you will find yourself getting caught up in them.

Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.

Ephesians 4:29

And He said GO, to the ends of the Earth.

and he said go

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.

Joshua 1:9

Do not be afraid.  Such simple words, strong words, peppered throughout the scriptures.  Do you know, sweet sister, that the Lord was speaking to YOU?  His Word assures us in no uncertain terms that we need not be afraid, because where ever the Lord sends us He goes before us and comes behind us.  He has commanded us to GO.

As a woman who married young, had her children young, it has been harder for me to get up and go.  We have finances to consider, but I also have to consider my husband’s schedule and make arrangements for my children’s schedules as well.  When I am gone, there is still a family that needs to eat at home.  When I leave for a period of time, I have a family who is begging me to come home.  There are so many opportunities that come up that I would love to be a part of, yet He has placed me in a family, and I am to be a good steward with that blessing.  My mission field begins with the children the Lord has entrusted into my care, that I bring them up in the way of the Lord so that when they are old they will not turn from it.

For our single women, however, the world is before you to go and serve your fellow man.  You are in a season of life where the Lord has gifted you a freedom to GO.  Whether you choose to go to your local community center and volunteer your time with the people who share the same neighborhood as you, or you decide to board a plane and fly across the globe to serve the “least of these.”  What stops you from taking on those adventures?

Are you afraid?    He says, fear not.

Are you imperfect?  You are made perfect in Him.

Are you unqualified?  He qualifies and equips those He calls.

Are you called?  If you are a believer, then the answer is yes.  Now, just pray for the Lord to reveal where that calling will lead you.

. 18 Then Jesus came near and said to them, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, am with you always, to the end of the age.”   Matthew 28:18-20

The Holy Spirit grants us gifts, talents, and skills that we are to use for the Glory of God wherever we go.  Each day, as we walk out our front door, we are encountering the “least of these”.  Each day, we become keenly more aware of the hurt, pain, and suffering in this world.  Each day, we are presented with new opportunities to share the Healer, Comforter, and Rock with those who are pressed down by the weight of this fallen world.

Your mission field starts right where you are.

When the Lord asks, “Who will go?”

Will you say “Here I am Lord, send me.”?

Because you, sweet sister, are ready to go and make disciples of all the nations starting with the ones in your neighborhood and to the ends of the earth.  For you do not walk alone, but with the One, who redeems.

Healer, Redeemer. Lord, I need you.

Healer, Redeemer. Lord, I need you.

I remember once, as a child, I was goofing around in the house, and I broke a figurine that belonged to my mother.  I knew that I was going to be in ALOT of trouble.  She was at work, and I used the time to my advantage.  I carefully matched up the pieces, applied some fast drying glue, and held the pieces in place.  Crisis averted.  You couldn’t even see the crack; as if the piece was never broken.  Within a matter of months, I had knocked the figurine over a second time.  Unfortunately on this occasion repair was impossible.

There are some instances from my past that have left me broken, and I thought I was beyond repair.  In fact, I believed that there was no saving me.  Surely these mistakes and poor choices collectively were too much for God to see me as worthy.  In my brokenness, I had lost all hope and continued making mistakes.  Finally, someone was able to bring me to that place where I understood God’s mercy and grace.  I understood forgiveness; I learned that Christ died on the cross for not only the sins I knowingly committed… but even the ones I didn’t know were on the horizon.  He died for them all.

I was so desperate to walk forward in that freedom. Freedom from the mantle of grief and shame.  I had forgiven those whom others would deem as unforgivable.  I even forgave myself, which is sometimes harder than forgiving others.  I was trying to walk in victory. I stumbled often.  There was this one thing that kept haunting me, this one moment in a sea of others that I couldn’t seem to shake.  This one event that had such a hold of me that I would find myself crouched in a corner crying out:

LORD, take this from me!

I wanted so much to be like the figurine that I broke.  I wanted God to fix me to the point where the trauma was invisible.  However, the Lord didn’t heal me.

A few years ago, at a Women’s Retreat, a speaker shared that sometimes we hold onto a trauma as if it is too big for God to redeem.  She stated that by holding on to it we were in sin, and God couldn’t bless us until we stopped hanging on to it.  In retrospection after the retreat, I believed this must be my situation.  I confessed to the Lord about holding onto this trauma; I wanted to heal from my brokenness; and I prayed that He would give me the strength, courage, and peace to let it go.

It continued to haunt me. I cried out:

LORD, take this from me!

The Lord didn’t take it; I was becoming discouraged.  I convinced myself that it was Satan trying to hurt and distract me.  He was whispering memories of this in my ear.  It was his attempt to make me doubt myself, disqualify myself as worthy, and hold me back from the good work the Lord would have for me.  I rebuked Satan’s hold on me and waited for the freedom of healing.

The Lord didn’t heal me.  I cried out:

LORD, take this from me!

I just couldn’t take it anymore.  I felt defeated.  Terrified that this trauma was going to hold on to me for the rest of my life.  I wasn’t the entirely pieced together figurine, held together by God’s strength.  I was in pieces all over the ground, shattered.  Or, so I thought.

Last week, I attended a Women’s Event hosted by Authentic Intimacy.  It was at this event Dr. Juli Slattery shared a revelation that would rock me to the core. She shared that some women are healed of their past trauma.  These women are fully recovered and restored, living out their lives as if the trauma was wiped from history and their memory.  These healings are MIRACLES and miracles are RARE.  For the majority of us, God instead chooses to REDEEM our trauma. The process takes time, and for some of us we will not see full victory this side of Heaven.  Victory, however, is still ours because as the Lord redeems us, He will make beauty from ashes.  Our redemption becomes His story of hope to others just like us.

The Lord uses our redemption from our trauma and past to say to others who are broken…

Look to me, the Lord your God, for I can heal and redeem you.  I will make you a new creation, marking you as my own, and your testimony is the seal of my covenant with you.  I am the Lord who hears, sees, heals, restores, and redeems those who seek me with all of their mind, heart, and soul.  This child is not who she once was, and the same is the gift I gave to you on the Cross. 

An enormous weight was lifted off my shoulders that day.  I was no longer carrying a mantle of shame or guilt but instead burdened with a purpose, unlike anything I had ever experienced.  Instead of weight that pushed me down, this difficulty pushes me forward on the path He has set before me.  Each step I take, He walks ahead of me. A Good Shepherd leading the way to green pastures.

The Lord heard my cries, and he answered them by gifting me a purpose from my pain.

The Japanese have an art form known as Kintsugi. In Kintsugi, an artist takes a broken object and repairs the pieces with a lacquer mixed with gold, silver, and even platinum.  The point behind this art form is that the repairs are visible, indicating that the object had a past or history.  It honors the trauma that happened to the piece, honoring the brokenness as part of the object’s history instead of trying to hide it.  The piece is considered more beautiful because of these veins of precious metal that run throughout it, holding it together.

There are times the Lord chooses to heal completely and restore our brokenness, however for most of us the Lord instead pieces us back together with Himself.  We do have a past or history. However when others look upon us, they will see the blood of Christ holding us together.  He binds my broken pieces with the blood He shed for me.  Blood that is more valuable than gold or silver.  We are more beautiful because of Christ in us, on display for all to see.

For you know that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ.

1 Peter 1:18-19