Christian Mentors, College age women, Moms, Parents, Public Speaking, Stay at Home Moms, Teachers, Uncategorized, women, Women in Ministry, Women's Ministries, Writers

Filling broken places…..

When you feel broken, what do you fill yourself up with?

There are so many ways that we can feel broken…

  • A friendship goes away
  • The family we desire to have isn’t coming to fruition
  • The job we are anticipating doesn’t happen
  • Our life is hit by addiction; from ourself or from others
  • The marriage you have isn’t like the ones you see on social media
  • It seems like the life you have will never include financial freedom of any kind

And the list goes on and on…

What happens when those broken places happen? How do we fill that void?

Have you ever heard of the Japanese method called Kintsugi? It’s super cool!

“Translated to “golden joinery,” Kintsugi (or Kintsukuroi, which means “golden repair”) is the centuries-old Japanese art of fixing broken pottery with a special lacquer dusted with powdered gold, silver, or platinum. Beautiful seams of gold glint in the cracks of ceramic ware, giving a unique appearance to the piece.

This repair method celebrates each artifact’s unique history by emphasizing its fractures and breaks instead of hiding or disguising them. Kintsugi often makes the repaired piece even more beautiful than the original, revitalizing it with new life.

There are 3 predominant styles of Kintsugi: crack, piece method, and joint-call. While, in each case, gold-dusted epoxy is used to fix the broken pottery, the methods themselves vary. Objects mended using the crack approach are touched up with minimal lacquer, while works restored with the piece method feature replacement fragments made entirely of epoxy. Finally, pieces fixed using the joint-call technique employ similarly-shaped pieces from other broken wares, combining 2 aesthetically different works into 1 uniquely unified product.”

{https://mymodernmet.com/kintsugi-kintsukuroi/}

I just love this concept. And to me, it translates perfectly as to how God repairs the broken places of our life. We are so precious to Him ~ when we break, His heart breaks for us too. He doesn’t simply open a bottle of super glue, squirt some onto the broken pieces and shove them together hoping that the glue will do the trick. He cares too much for us to be so cavalier with His precious creation.

Since God is the one who put us together, He’s the best one to turn to, to be put back together after a season of brokenness. But there is much patience involved on our part. The Lord uses those moments in our life to refine us; to bring out the shine in our life. The rough parts are softened and the pieces that don’t necessarily fit back into place are removed. That’s when our patient heart needs to be on high alert!

While the Lord is working on the “golden repair”, we must wait.

The. waiting. is. so. hard.

We don’t want to hurt. We don’t want to feel broken. We don’t want to look busted-up in the world’s eyes. We want to give the appearance that we are okay…that we’re “fixed.”

In that impatient effort of so desperately wanting to look “normal” and unbroken, we look to quick fixes. We seek a relationship that we think will fill our aching soul. We turn to food, or sex, or pornography, or drugs, or alchohol…so many things…and we allow the lies of the devil to invade our mind. We begin to believe his lies that those earthly things will fill the void left by brokenness.

All that we’ve done is attempt to fix our own brokenness with something that won’t last…like wax. Wax was created to melt…not to be an agent of repair. Wax is temporary. When our brokenness comes to the surface again, and the heat of life is turned up to full blast, the wax will melt and all that comes out of our heart is hot anger and all the sadness that we’ve been trying to keep hidden.

What was meant to be a lesson in our life, ends up burning the people around us.

When we take a step back and truly wait for God to handle our life-repair the right way, then our brokenness is filled with the goodness and the shining glory of His love and connection. He brings the broken pieces back together and we become an even stronger version of our self. We become a force to be reckoned with {if you will} who had entered a battle and came out victorious!

Ephesians 2: 8-10 For it is by grace [God’s remarkable compassion and favor drawing you to Christ] that you have been saved [actually delivered from judgment and given eternal life] through faith. And this [salvation] is not of yourselves [not through your own effort], but it is the [undeserved, gracious] gift of God; not as a result of [your] works [nor your attempts to keep the Law], so that no one will [be able to] boast or take credit in any way [for his salvation]. For we are His workmanship [His own master work, a work of art], created in Christ Jesus [reborn from above—spiritually transformed, renewed, ready to be used] for good works, which God prepared [for us] beforehand [taking paths which He set], so that we would walk in them [living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for us].”

Don’t be afraid of the broken or cracked places in your life ~ God is getting ready to fill it with the refined gold and silver of His great and mighty love! And for heaven’s sake, if God fills you with silver and someone else with gold and someone else with a whole new piece ~ don’t compare your gift with someone else’s!  God will absolutely repair you the way that YOU need to be repaired! Your “work order” won’t ever get mixed up with another person’s. You are in great hands with God doing the repair work!!

Blessings,

René

 

 

 

Christian Mentors, Moms, Parents, Public Speaking, Stay at Home Moms, Teachers, Uncategorized, Women's Ministries, Writers

Hearing the Shepherd’s Voice…

I recently had the joyful privilege of traveling with my wonderful husband on two business trips back to back…first stop, Singapore!  Then on to Snells Beach, New Zealand (about 90 minutes north of Auckland).  It was absolutely amazing to be able to travel to these two locations.  And they couldn’t have been more different!  We actually took advantage of being able to check two bags for free ~ one was packed for the 90 degree humid weather of Singapore and the other for the 60 degree rainy weather of NZ!  I was so grateful for the two companies that made the allowance for me to attend these trips with my man!

What I want to focus on in today’s blog is the lesson the Lord taught me in New Zealand.

I don’t know about you, but honestly, the first thing I think about when I envision the land of NZ is…wait for it…The Lord of the Rings & Hobbit movies!  Yes!  I admit that I love these movies!  And Air New Zealand loves these movies too ~ they have a channel within their onboard “movie channel” dedicated to just those six movies ~ awesome!  Of course, the other thing I think of is sheep….lots and lots of sheep!

Staying in Snells Beach was a blessed retreat away from the hustle and bustle of the city.  And honestly…away from the hustle of “regular life.” Rolling green hills, the bay on either side of the little town.  To one side you could see the Mahurangi Harbour and on the other, Kawau Bay.  I felt a little bad that Tony was working more on this part of the trip, but I was delighted with the gift of some time alone to see what the Lord has for me next.

We arrived quite late in the evening, so it was very dark upon our arrival to our little apartment on the campus where the animation studio is where Tony would be working for the next few days.  The next morning, he was off to work after breakfast in our room and I joined him a few hours later for lunch at the studio.  He happened to be walking over to the apartment when I was on my way over to meet him, and I couldn’t help but grin and say, “I’m walking around in New Zealand today!  How cool is that!!”

But soon, I would be driving around the area ~ and on the “wrong side” of the road and the car!  If I may brag…I did quite well!  And it was so much fun!  But I digress to my point….

The sheep!  Seriously ~ they were everywhere!  And I loved it!  So many different breeds and color combinations, but still the same.  Either lounging in the sunny spots in the pasture, or head down munching on the luscious green grass of the farms where they lived.  And I desperately wanted to cuddle one of those little lambs ~ you see it’s Spring time over in NZ (September) so there were little lambs prancing around all over the place!

One of the men that Tony is working with on this project, also runs a small farm filled with cows, a bull, pigs, piglets, and SHEEP!  He indulged my wish and ran after a little lamb so I could hold him.  Oh.My.Word!  The cutest thing ever!  And he was only about 10 days old.  The eyes of his sheep-mama and the eyes of the ram were on me constantly…what was I going to do with their little lamb?  Oh man…I wanted to take that cute black and white lamb home with me!  I know…I know…not practical!  And they grow up!  HA!

The next day, a new friend there, took me to a magical place…Sheep World!  Yes…this is a real place!  I was able to help sheer a sheep and feed a milk bottle to a one month old fluffy whjohn-10-verse-4ite lamb.  This was seriousness cuteness folks!

But the whole time, I could not get out of my mind the fact that Jesus is referred to so many times as the Lamb of God.  And we, as His followers, are often called His sheep. (yes…I took this pic…there’s more!)

In this passage, we read that sheep follow their shepherd because they recognize his voice.  But how do they know which voice to follow?  They are trained and they learn what to listen for.  A tone of voice…a familiar call or command…a unique whistle ~ they know their shepherd’s voice!

We are called to do the same with our relationship with Jesus!psalm-95-verse-7

But we have to spend time with the Lord in order to KNOW His voice and to discern His commands and callings.

Do you see what it says here in the last part of Psalms 95 verse 7?  “If only you would listen…”

If only we would take the time to listen to the voice of our Savior.  To spend time deep in His Word so that we recognize His voice.

 We spend so much time on so many other things that we think we fill us up.  Yet, I know that when my focus is on expecting outward things to complete me, I end up feeling totally empty.  Christ is the only One who is able to fill up all the empty spaces and seal up all the cracks in my heart.

There were a few other key moments of those two “sheep days,” that God revealed to me.

As I was holding the little lamb that was almost 2 weeks old, was noticing how the huge horned ram was standing at attention in the field.  He did not allow his gaze to be interrupted.  I felt in that moment that this is how God the Father intently looked upon Jesus the Son, as He entered the world as a defenseless baby ~ as the Lamb of God.  The Father’s eyes are never off His children.

When we let the little lamb go and put him down onto the grass, he bleated his little heart out!  All the other mama sheep out there started bleating back…with the exception of his actual mama.  That was confounding to me!  What was happening here.  Then I looked back at the lamb and he was pacing back and forth, unwilling to step further.  He just stood there and bleated like crazy.  In that moment, I felt God showing me that when I stand in one place and act like a crazy person yelling out to God, without actually focusing on Him peacefully, even if He was calling out to me I wouldn’t be able to truly hear Him.  Once the lamb stopped calling out for his mama, started scampering toward the herd, all the other sheep began to quiet down.  His mama never took her eyes off her baby, and she began to baa for her little lamb. He immediately heard her voice ~ and ran straight to her.

That little lamb took the time to HEAR the voice of his mother so he could easily identify where to run!

The last moment to share was how the sheerer/shepherd (at Sheep World) was telling us how the sheep get from the hidden tops of the hills down to the corral.  With just a few verbal commands, he sends one of his trusty sheep dogs out to round them up.  That dog took off, jumped the corral fence, tore up the hill and began bringing those sheep down the hill in about 2 minutes.  This dog never barked…he only LOOKED at the sheep to get them where he wanted them to go.  And his goal was to bring the sheep as close to the shepherd as possible.

Now, this may be a stretch, but hang in there with me for a minute.

Jesus is referred to as our Shepherd* mulitple times in the Bible. The Holy Spirit is referred to as our Helper**/Comforter*** in God’s Word.

The Holy Spirit doesn’t bark at us ~ He uses the truths of who our Shepherd, Jesus, is and whispers those truths to our hearts.  His goal is to bring us back around as close to Jesus as possible.  Once we are close to our Shepherd, we can be cared for as needed.  We may need to be sheered ~ ridding our self of the excess in our life.  We may need to be fed ~ filling up our soul with the Bread of Life.  We may need to be washed ~ being cleansed from the filth of sin that creeps in.

Take the time my friend to get to know His voice.

Listen and run to Him.

Allow the Holy Spirit to lead you back to Jesus.

Blessings,

René

p.s. ~ Just because I love the joyful freedom of the picture…here’s one more from the trip!

rene-holding-a-little-lamb

* mentioned 34 times in the ESV: https://www.biblegateway.com/quicksearch/?quicksearch=shepherd+Lord&qs_version=ESV

** John 14:26 (ESV)

*** John 14:26 (ASV)

Christian Mentors, Moms, Parents, Stay at Home Moms, Women's Ministries

A Story of Six Fathers….

This past weekend, we celebrated Father’s Day.  One of the songs we sang was “Good Good Father” and man….it gets me every time!  I have a good good Father and He loves me so much!  The service also made me think about the father’s that are in my life, and how I believe that the Lord ~ my Heavenly Father ~ has used all of them to shape my own life and about the life that God has for me.

The catch is, I’m not going to tell you how these fathers are related to me until the end of this blog, so you’ve gotta dive in and come along this journey with me.

The first man is someone of whom I know very little of. I’ve only met him in person once, chatted on the phone a few times, received a few letters from, and have sent Christmas cards to him for over a decade. His life is different now, but the stories of an earlier time in life are not what I would call a “good father.”  He had addictions to drugs and alcohol, physically harmed his wife, and emotionally harmed his children. At one of the births, he was so drunk that the flowers he brought into his wife’s hospital room had been plucked fresh from the gardens outside the hospital…with roots and dirt still attached.  I know this man feels remorse, and has said as such, about his “life before being sober,” but it has still held him back from having a healthy relationship with his children.

The second man is the picture of a husband and father deeply devoted to his family.  Even to children not borne of him, he warmly welcomed them into his family and called them his own. There is always a funny joke (okay…corny is more the word for it), a smile and a hug upon entering his home, sweet notes of encouragement for no reason at all, and all of this is done with such a generous spirit.  He truly serves his family with love and grace.

The third man is someone that I would not want to meet in a dark alley. He is gruff and selfish. He is frightening and commanding. He is cunning and sharp. He is full of smiles and pats on the back. He appears generous but there are always strings attached. He is two-sided ~ depending on which side you are on, determines how you are treated. Nothing was ever good enough…his wife and children could never truly do anything that pleased him.  It often made me wonder why on earth this man even got married in the first place. His fits of anger were terrifying…even more so because many times he would have a smile on his face. He lied to gain approval from others.  He told stories that weren’t true. He embellished true stories, in an effort to somehow make himself seem more important that he really was. When his son received the Lord, he emotionally disowned him. His son was 45 years old before he ever hugged him…and then only because they were seated next to each other at a Father’s Day service at church.  That was about the last time this man entered a church building.

The fourth man is strong and gentle.  He is kind and generous.  He can be intimidating because he’s so tall.  His piercing eyes are at the same time full of love and expectation. He is a man of few words, but when he does speak, it is always worth listening to. He too welcomed children into his life that were not his own. The child who was his was lost at a very young age and I do not think he quite recovered. This man is very wise and knows so much about safety, boating, the weather, and he can build just about anything and everything…which you can see in the home he built for his retirement. He loved the Lord but felt that he couldn’t truly receive the Lord as His Savior (even though he always believed) until he stopped drinking beer. That broke my heart to hear this, but I’m so grateful he did!

The fifth man is complex and simple at the same time. He is so smart and knows the answer to just about any question thrown his way.  He loves cars and loves to drive.  In fact, I think if you were lost anywhere in the United States and called him for directions, he would be able to get you where you needed to go! He would do anything for his family. His job of over 30 years was one where he put himself in harms way everyday to make sure that people were safe. He is kind and beyond gracious to his wife and children. Sometimes his kindness has been seen as weakness by others, but I know that it is a gift the Lord has given to him. He loves the Lord with all of his heart and soul. There is a calmness about him, and a sense of trust that everyone can tell when they are around him. He hardly ever does anything just for himself, because quite honestly, I don’t know if he truly believes that he deserves good things. His upbringing and losing a child of his own may have some connection to that, but oh how I wish that someday he would know how truly incredible he is to his family and friends.

The sixth man is someone whom I have come to admire more and more everyday.  I’ve known him for more than half of my life and I wouldn’t know what to do without him. He gives everyone the benefit of the doubt (a little too often if you ask me) and his gut instinct is to trust everyone. He is honest and doesn’t lie to anyone. His wife and children and of the utmost importance to him and he does all he can to provide well for them.  His extended family is very important to him too, and I’m pretty sure they all know it! From his life today, you wouldn’t necessarily know that he came from a broken family. By God’s grace, he never got mixed up into trouble while growing up. He is the definition of a strong, kind, gracious, and merciful husband and father. He is funny and loving.  Sometimes he lacks that all important “filter” but usually comes out smelling like a rose…and those moments have honestly been a source of amusement for his family. This man wants to life the best life he can.  This man wants to honor the Lord in all he does.

Whew…that was a bit of an emotional roller-coaster for me there.  I’m sure that there are qualities in each of these men that I described that you can identify with.  Maybe someone who is not in your life anymore, or someone who still is.

The best news I have for you ~ whether you have a difficult father or a kind father ~ is that there is the ultimate Father who loves you no matter what!  Our Father God is the one from whom we can receive unconditional love, immense grace, undeserved mercy, and everlasting life. The sacrifice He made, in the death of His Son Jesus Christ, was not the end of the story.  The resurrection of Jesus made it possible for us to find out way back to our amazing Father in heaven. Jesus filled that gap.  There is no one else who can do that for you.

So who are all these father’s I wrote about today…I won’t hold you in suspense any longer…

The first man ~ he is my husband’s birth father. He was never there to show my husband what it meant to be a good father. The facts of his addictions and abuses were shared with my husband by his mom, and through seeing her heartache, my husband determined himself at a very young age that he would not grow up like that. I also strongly believe in the power of prayer and know that my husband was spared many temptations because of prayer.  One of the people that prayed for him, just about every day since I was born, was my parents. He has been sober for a very long time and has wonderful second family.  They do not know him as my husband knew him, so it’s difficult for them to understand. However I’m so grateful that he was given a second chance. What I pray for this man, is that someday he can truly rest in the power of God’s grace and forgiveness.

The second man ~ he is the man my husband calls “Dad.” He came into my husband’s life when he was a teenager.  This man loves my husband as his own son.  He was strict and loving at a time when I know my husband needed it.  He is the one who showed my husband what it meant to be a kind and loving father. We are blessed that he is still here on this earth to share his life, hear his stories, and learn from him how to love & serve the Lord with all your heart.

The third man ~ he is my father’s father. He was a hard man on all levels. To see what kind of person he was, and see what kind of man my father is, it is amazing to me that they are related.  Sadly, at least as much as I know, he did not believe in God.  He thought that he was “too good for all the Christian stuff.” He believed that following Jesus was for the weak. He fooled some, but to those who knew him, we didn’t buy it. When he passed away, my heart ached because he was now truly lost.

The fourth man ~ he is my mother’s step-father. He always seemed unapproachable, but I always knew that he loved me. It wasn’t until I had children of my own that I literally saw the emotional walls come down. The walls he had so carefully built to protect his heart. Seeing him hold my daughter’s when they were infants, that man just melted. I think the final bricks came down when one of my girls, at the age of 2 (and without warning) grabbed a book and jumped into his lap and said, “Papa, I want you to read me this book.”  He looked over at me with tears in his eyes (which made me cry then, and is making me cry now) and began reading.   This went on for years every time we visited my grandparents.  It is such a comfort to know that I will see him again someday in heaven.

The fifth man ~ he is my father. Again, I believe the power of prayer was at work because I know my mother’s mother prayed for him.  Not by name, but the Lord knew who my mother would marry. I have learned so much from my father.  He has a heart of true forgiveness towards his father, which is miraculous to me. He could have turned out just like his father, but he chose to follow God the Father instead. I’m eternally grateful for that choice, and I am so blessed to have had a father who I knew then, and know now, loves me unconditionally. I know he will always be there for me and my family.

The sixth man ~ this man…he is my favorite…he is my husband. Just as my parents prayed for me to marry a godly man, I know they still pray for him all the time.  My husband has taught me so much about being kind and having patience.  I don’t always listen, but I’m getting better. I am humbled by his daily commitment to me and our daughters; and how he strives to follow the Lord and honor Him in all the decisions he makes in his personal and professional life.  I am blessed too with how he has shown love and support for our three girls.  They have all seen in him what to look for in their own future husband someday.  They know what it means to be taken care of, prayed for, and loved unconditionally.  And they know he isn’t perfect and makes mistakes, but they know they can always trust him. I love that my husband still tries to woo me everyday…those moments make me so incredibly cherished. My husband believes in me. My husband has never lied or cheated on me. I do not hold those truths lightly.

I know that this post has gone very long, and if you are still reading ~ Thank you! My prayer for you is that if you have been hurt by your earthly father, that you are able to ask the Lord to help you forgive so that you can move forward.  You don’t have to go physically to that man to tell him you forgive him, the Lord can stand in that gap for you. And as difficult as it may be, turn to your Heavenly Father and allow Him to heal those hurts and fill those voids that are in your heart and soul.

He is the only one who can do that.  

He is trustworthy.

He is kind.

He is gracious and merciful.

He calls you by name.  

You are His child and He is your Father.

2 Thessalonians 2 verses 16-17

Blessings,

René

{to listen to “Good Good Father”…check it out here… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=djrY_eFDOwE }