How to Get Through Our Brokenness

Have you ever heard of kintsugi?

It is the Japanese art of repairing broken things with gold. When a piece of pottery is put back together after shattering, the cracks are highlighted, not hidden. Instead of gluing it back together as if it had never been broken, the artist uses the very brokenness to make the piece even more beautiful than it was before. In fact, people in this culture believe that brokenness is not something to be ashamed of or to hide, but rather to display proudly as a story of redemption and repair.

Wow! What a better physical representation of Jesus repairing us by redeeming our own brokenness?

I don’t know about you, but I feel pretty broken most days. In fact, sometimes the whole world feels like it’s about to fly off it’s axis, sling-shot into space and shatter to pieces. And, let’s be honest, this life is hard. People get sick and families break apart; we get disappointed and we disappoint others.

It doesn’t seem fair, but Jesus never promised this life would be easy. Never once. Actually, he warned us quite a few times that it would not be easy. But he didn’t just say, “Well, this will be hard, good luck! See you later!” He’s too good, too sweet for that. Instead, he promised us something so much greater and better than a carefree life: he promised us himself.

In Jesus is: redemption, repair, & restoration.

“For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” -Colossians 1:13-14

I have experienced plenty of brokenness in my life; that of others and my own. When I disobeyed a rule my parents had put in place to protect me, I got hurt. When my best friend said something hurtful in anger about me. When I was diagnosed with a disorder I will have my entire life. When a good friend from church died unnecessarily. I have so many stories of brokenness, and I would be willing to bet that you do too. After all, none of us are exempt from the hardship of life after the Garden of Eden.

Here are 3 things I have learned from God by living in and through brokenness:

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Resisting the Urge to Complain

It’s contagious, isn’t it? The need to complain about every single obstacle in our path, every single setback in our life; to lament every single time something doesn’t go the way we had hoped or planned.

I have discovered this truth again and again, even in my own life: Misery loves company. And if we are not careful, we will find ourselves swept up in the momentum, finding fault with everything and our hearts thankful for nothing.

I am no exception. (I suspect you aren’t either.)

I never meant to be miserable, thereby negatively affecting every other person with whom I came into contact. I never wanted to be that person everyone else tried to avoid because I didn’t have anything good to say. I never meant to become the very Thing I used to despise. But the world is loud and life moves quickly, and all of a sudden, I looked up and realized it had happened: I let the world rob me of my joy in Jesus.

It devastated me, and I knew something had to change as soon as possible. I didn’t know what; I only knew that did not want to live my one and only life without joy.

I began taking intentional steps out of misery toward joy, and it totally turned around my attitude (and my life!) .

Here are five practical steps I took in search of a more joy-filled life:

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5 Ways God’s Creation Can Connect Us Back to Him

God's creation connects us

“Nature is but a name for an effect, whose cause is God.” -William Cowper

I grew up on my family’s farm in rural Ohio, spending more time outdoors than indoors most days. I knew the land so well I could find my way around the hundreds of acres my family farmed even in the dark of midnight. My childhood was spent building forts out of saplings, swimming in the pond, and digging my toes into the warm, silky soil during Planting Season. I watched sunrises and sunsets and talked about how so very good God must be to create a world as beautiful as this.

It was as if the earth of Psalm 96 was coming alive right before my eyes:

. . . let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them. Then all the trees of the forest will sing for joy; they will sing before the LORD . . . [Psalm 96:12-13b, NIV]

I somehow instinctively knew it: God’s creation makes us happier.

Continue reading this article at Pursue Magazine here >>

 

How to Know the Truth About Our Spiritual Health: The Fruits of the Spirit

“Are you growing in your faith?” my pastor asked the congregation. “Are you actually moving forward in your walk with Christ?”

He paused, giving the crowd a chance to reflect on their own lives, and I frowned.

What does that even mean? I wondered. My mind spun and I found it impossible to refocus on what was being said from the pulpit. I know my pastor finished his sermon that Sunday morning, but truthfully I do not remember any of it. I was still stuck on his question. How was I supposed to know if I was growing in my faith? How could I measure that?

I found myself pondering these questions for months afterward, asking the same question one hundred different ways, but I was still unsatisfied with what I had found. I wanted a way to really measure my growth in my walk with Jesus and had found none.

Finally, during a Bible study on the Gospel of Matthew, I found my answer.

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3 Ways to Set Healthy New Year’s Resolutions

It seems to be the most popular New Year’s Resolution of all time: to lose weight.

We watch countless weight loss ads on television in between our favorite shows, and we see them in magazines. You know, the ones that shout at you: “Energize Your Weight Loss!”, “Lose Weight and Keep It Off!”, and “Reach Your Weight Loss Goals!”. Apparently, the right way to ring in the New Year is to join a gym or make an appointment for liposuction.

We cannot avoid those advertisements, but the danger ensues when we begin to believe that those ads are right. When we start believing we have to be smaller to be happier, we buy into a life-threatening lie.

Don’t fall for it.

Life does not begin when we reach that desired number on the bathroom scale. Life does not get better when we can slip into a Size 0. How much we weigh does not determine our happiness or our worth. Don’t let someone else mandate your goals for the New Year.

Here are 3 things to remember while creating your New Year’s Resolutions:

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How to Survive the Holidays with an Eating Disorder

Disclaimer: I am not a mental health professional and I strongly urge anyone who is struggling with an eating disorder to get help by confiding in a parent, trusted friend, pastor, doctor or counselor.

Can you believe it? Here we are, already in the midst of the holidays again. Having Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years all lined up in a row always feel like a one-two-three punch, each holiday following just a few weeks after the other.

And we all know what that means: food, food, and more food. American culture has fused holidays and food together. Between family gatherings and church potlucks and school parties, we end up stuffed by January 1st.

For those of us who struggle with an eating disorder (about 20 million women in America), this time can be especially uncomfortable and anxiety-inducing. It can seem like no matter where we go, we are assaulted by turkey, candy, and beautifully decorated Christmas cookies.

We cannot avoid food (and we shouldn’t!), but there are a few ways to reduce our food-related anxiety and minimize panic:

Continue reading this article at Pursue Magazine here >>