We collectively gasp at yet another news blast of what we thought was a success story ending in tragic pain.
And…. where one well-known story ends, thousands more slip quietly into the dark night of despair.
All the while…. we smile for another selfie while masking our own pain.
As one who has literally been talked off the ledge of life more than once, I now stand on that same ledge and shout, “This has to end now!”
I’m not talking about ending in yet another tragedy. Rather, let’s write a different story by shining the light of transparency and authenticity on our pain so true healing has a fighting chance.
Let’s say “goodbye” to building a life of lies through social media fronts or pious religious displays of fake faith and strength.
Let’s be real even if it means letting others know we’re really hurting. And let’s be present for each other beyond a few “likes” on social media.
Let’s stop play-acting and heal together.
Every shift of a cloud brings a change in the view, but what doesn’t change in life is that the touch of our Maker is lovingly woven through…. If only we take time to notice.
Connection with my Maker is a greater treasure than requests checked off my prayer list.
While I busily tell God how He should fix things, He patiently whispers to my soul, “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10).
Whose kingdom am I trying the build anyway? Mine or His? Maybe it’s not always such a bad thing when our card houses crumble so we have to move into the dwelling place of our King.
In the end, perhaps it’s simply about surrender.
“But now, O Lord, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand.” – Isaiah 64:8 ESV
“What sorrow awaits those who argue with their Creator. Does a clay pot argue with its maker? Does the clay dispute with the one who shapes it, saying, ‘Stop, you’re doing it wrong!’ Does the pot exclaim, ‘How clumsy can you be?’” – Isaiah 45:9 NLT
“One day when large groups of people were walking along with him, Jesus turned and told them, “Anyone who comes to me but refuses to let go of father, mother, spouse, children, brothers, sisters—yes, even one’s own self!—can’t be my disciple. Anyone who won’t shoulder his own cross and follow behind me can’t be my disciple.” – Luke 14:25-27 MSG
“Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” – Matthew 16:24-25 ESV
No new drama or crisis hit. It was one of those weeks where I lost sight of the bigger picture – or, actually, of my good good Father who lovingly crafts the bigger picture. So I stopped trusting and pulled some “stuff” that has been coming on strong against me for a while out of God’s hands placing it squarely and only on my own shoulders – and it began to crush me.
And I allowed it all to almost push me to the edge…. Quite literally to the edge – actually. I’ve been open with my story and history of depression and thoughts of suicide. Let me just be real transparent and say there are moments in my life I need to stay away from large metro areas with really tall building. No worries. You don’t have to call 911 and put me on a watch or anything. When I crawled out of bed long enough to drive into the city earlier this week, my Good Father made certain that both buildings I had in mind had more secure access to their balconies than I had recalled. And I am well past the crisis point now. But – wow – was I ever a broken human! And trying to not to look broken in front of everyone I’m trying to be strong for shattered me even further.
But now…. even though I’m past the most broken point of the week – I was still struggling this morning with quite a bit of shame and remorse about how I acted within that moment – even lashing out at those trying to help.
And I felt that my broken moment somehow diminished God’s glory in my life and His ability to use me. But then, as I was walking through the master bathroom this morning, I knocked the beautiful little bottle of fragrant oil you see in the picture off the side of the tub. The neck of the pretty antique bottle broke and it’s “head” rolled to the floor. (Thankfully, I am rather skilled at Super Glue repairs so I think I can fix it).
But even if I can’t repair the bottle – the lesson is priceless. I heard Holy Spirit whisper to my heart, “Tracy, does the brokenness of the bottle change the fragrance of what’s inside it?”
I thought, “No, I actually can smell the fragrance now.”
The brokenness of the vessel doesn’t change or lessen the power of the fragrance inside. The brokenness releases the fragrance to anyone who is near the broken vessel.
This timely little object lesson was a much needed reminder that:
Our brokenness does not diminish God’s ability to use us. Once we release our brokenness to Him, it deepens His ability to use us and further spreads His healing presence to the other broken ones.
It’s really not about us anyway. It’s about WHO we carry.
“Everywhere we go, people breathe in the exquisite fragrance. Because of Christ, we give off a sweet scent rising to God, which is recognized by those on the way of salvation—an aroma redolent with life.” -2 Corinthians 2:15-16a MSG (The Message Paraphrase)
Transparently yours so brokenness can grow us,
The thoughts below from Names of God (a 14 Day Devotional Reading from Rose Publishing) on the YouVersion Bible App was a much needed perspective reset for me! May your soul also be uplifted today as you wrap yourself up in the “foreverness” of your Maker!
Alpha and Omega
The First and the Last
The Hebrew prophet Isaiah wrote that God was there in the beginning—“with the first”—and He will be here “with the last” (41:4). In other words, God serves as bookends for history. What a comforting thought in a world where nothing lasts and everything constantly changes! The One supervising when the world began will be the superintendent at the consummation of all things.
The Bible emphatically states that nothing happens outside the purview of God’s sovereignty and power. Nothing happens without His permission or without His authorization. Nothing can thwart His eternal plan to restore all things to perfection. Saying the Lord is the Alpha and Omega is essentially saying this: If human existence were a movie, and we got to watch the credits, God would be listed as creator, writer, producer, director, and star. As the author, He’s the ultimate authority.
In the final book of the Bible, at the conclusion of history, Jesus says, “I am the Alpha and the Omega . . . who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty” (Revelation 1:8). Alpha and omega are the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet. With that phrase, Jesus is essentially saying, “I am the whole story. I am the God of creation, the God of the Old Testament, the God that Isaiah wrote about, the God who has been here since the beginning and will be here evermore.”
Whatever is going on in your life today, here’s a fact you can cling to: The One who is the Alpha and Omega controls the outcome of this world as well as the details of your life. He knows where your story and His story are going, and nothing can alter His good intentions or perfect will.
The Alpha and Omega isn’t bothered by the past or worried about the future.
How does the idea of God having “the whole world in His hands” affect your mood and actions today?
God, You are before all things and You are the end of all things. You are found in the person of Jesus Christ, from the first verses of Genesis to the very last verse of Revelation. I praise You, for You are uncreated, infinite, and eternal! Amen.
“And He said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment.” – Revelation 21:6
“Thus says the Lord, the King of Israel and his Redeemer, the Lord of hosts: “I am the first and I am the last; besides me there is no god.” -Isaiah 44:6
“Listen to me, O Jacob, and Israel, whom I called! I am He; I am the first, and I am the last.” –Isaiah 48:12
“I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.”” -Revelation 22:13
Worship Soundtrack for this Reading
“God is so passionately committed to having a people for his own possession who live forever for the praise of His glory that He is not about to let our eternal destiny depend on our native powers of willing or doing.” – John Piper
“In Him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in Him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of His glory.” – Ephesians 1:13-14
What God is telling us through these verses: “I have sealed you by My Spirit. Your inheritance is sure, because I am passionately committed to magnify the glory of My grace in your salvation.” (From the @YouVersion Bible App plan ‘Live By The Spirit: Devotions With John Piper’)
“I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.” –Revelation 22:13
“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” –Ephesians 2:10
“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose.” -Romans 8:28