Brokenness to Beauty

Transforming Your Brokenness into a Beautiful Life


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God’s Delights, Our Delights

I feel good when I’m creating something with my hands. There is an interesting phenomenon I became aware of one day several years ago while working on a project. I don’t remember what I was working on or even when or where this realization first came to me. But it was an actual physical sensation of pleasure radiating from inside me. An “inner smile” is the best way I can describe it. It comes unexpectedly when I stop to take a break from working on the item or when I finish a project. And when I sense that inner smile, it makes me smile on the outside too.

It has come at times when I’ve written a piece that has come together through struggle (as most of my writing comes). But when I found the words that were “right,” that resonated in my soul, there was that smile coming from the inside.

More often, though, I’ve sensed that inner smile of pleasure when I’ve been caught up in the creative process using my hands. It has come while creating a mosaic, adhering pieces of broken or cut glass into designs on a substrate. Or like the other day, when I was gluing a paper dust cover onto the back of an old 30″X 40″ frame I had refinished. This frame now holds a large filet crochet piece I crocheted over the course of several years, and a couple of moves across the country (from California to Georgia to West Virginia, a long time ago).

This inner smile I experience, this pleasure at doing something creative, not only causes me to smile outwardly but makes me think of the pleasure of God, that is, the pleasure God takes in his children when we are being and doing what is right and good, in love, reverence, and trust in him.

I started looking for just a few Scriptures that speak to what brings God pleasure and found these (this is not an exhaustive list, of course):

I know, my God, that you test the heart and have pleasure in uprightness. In the uprightness of my heart I have freely offered all these things, and now I have seen your people, who are present here, offering freely and joyously to you. (1 Chronicles 29:17 ESV, emphasis added)

Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. (2 Corinthians 9:7 NASB, emphasis added)

His delight is not in the strength of the horse,

nor his pleasure in the legs of a man,

11 but the Lord takes pleasure in those who fear him,

    in those who hope in his steadfast love. (Psalm 147:10-11 ESV, emphasis added)

Thus says the Lord: “Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, 24 but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the Lord.” (Jeremiah 9:23-24 ESV, emphasis added)

At that very time (Jesus) rejoiced greatly in the Holy Spirit, and said, “I praise You, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and intelligent and have revealed them to infants. Yes, Father, for this way was well-pleasing in Your sight.” (Luke 10:21 NASB, emphasis added)

Doesn’t it make you smile inside, and out, to read some of the things that bring joy, delight, and pleasure to our God? Think of it, we don’t have to be superheroes or wildly gorgeous or do some great feat of strength or daring to please him (sounds like what the world goes after, doesn’t it?). We don’t even have to be “wise and intelligent” in this world to bring joy to our Father. Maybe a sigh of relief is more accurate as a response to what God values and seeks in his children. Because I’m sure not any of those things.

To bring joy to our heavenly Father we only need be like little children in our simplicity and humility, loving God with all our heart, soul, and mind. And loving and treating others the way we want to be treated (Matthew 22:37–39; 7:12). “On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets,” Jesus said (Matthew 22:40). In other words, these two commands of God are the Bible in a nutshell (Romans 13:8–10).

And since God has given us everything we need to live a godly life in Christ Jesus (2 Peter 1:3), we can do this, we can make God smile. He’s given us his Spirit to live in us; “Christ in [us] the hope of glory.”

I’m working on cooperating with God. And learning. It’s my life goal to bring a smile to my Father’s face.

We don’t have to be rich, or good-looking, or famous, or smart, or … anything except actively loving God by “abiding in him,” which is obeying his word, and loving one another (John 14:15; 15:10, 12).

So our response to our gracious and merciful God should include these elements (again, this is not an exhaustive list):

Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven. (Jesus, in Luke 10:20 ESV, emphasis added)

Your words were found and I ate them,

And Your words became for me a joy and the delight of my heart;

For I have been called by Your name,

O Lord God of hosts. (Jeremiah 15:16 NASB, emphasis added)

In the uprightness of my heart I have freely offered all these things, and now I have seen your people, who are present here, offering freely and joyously to you. (1 Chronicles 29:17 ESV, emphasis added)

Therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, I urge you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God; this is your spiritual worship. 2 Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God. (Romans 12:1-2 HCSB, emphasis added)

Trust in the Lord and do what is good …

4 Take delight in the Lord,

and He will give you your heart’s desires.

5 Commit your way to the Lord;

trust in Him, and He will act,

6 making your righteousness shine like the dawn,

your justice like the noonday. (Psalm 37:3-6 HCSB)

As I said, this is not an exhaustive list. You can add to it Scriptures that come to mind about what God values and delights in. Consider setting a goal for your Scripture reading in 2018 to look for these sorts of verses that clearly state what gives God joy and pleasure. And make being and doing those things your life goal. I guarantee that will give you an “inner smile” of pleasure.

May your New Year be filled with God’s delight in you!

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Published!

My book, Brokenness to Beauty: Transforming Your Brokenness into a Beautiful Life, is now live on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, West Bow Press Bookstore and other outlets!

 

My book is live!

My book is live!

 

This book was written because I believe I have a message of encouragement for others going through difficult times in life. And we all go through them at some point. No one escapes.

Trials in life can be the building blocks of character development, the Scriptures say as much in Romans 5:1-5 (NIV). “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.”

Knowing how to make that happen in our dark times is another story. Brokenness to Beauty shines a light on the pathway through the valley of suffering. It will encourage, strengthen and empower you on the way to wholeness, joy and peace in the midst of trials.

To make it easy for you to find my book, click on the Amazon site or the publisher’s, WestBow Press Bookstore (then click on the search button), and order the book, either soft or hard cover! It is also available on Barnes & Noble . On the B&N site, click on the book for more versions.

Yes, there is an ebook version! See the Kindle at Amazon Kindle Store.

By all means, please buy and read Brokenness to Beauty, pass the word to others and leave a review!

Have questions or comments? I’d love to hear from you!


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Are We There Yet? Almost!

How do you handle traumatic news? How do you move through each day when it feels like your old familiar world is crumbling around you? Is it possible, and if so how, to live joyfully and confidently while assailed by pain, fear, or devastating loss?

As I contemplated and prayed about what I would say in a book about going through suffering—and getting through it whole and better than when one started the journey—it became clear to me that several principles are of vital importance, both for those who are going through trials and for those who walk alongside them. These principles became the framework upon which I sculpted the body of this book.

So begins the Introduction to Brokenness to Beauty: Transforming Your Brokenness into a Beautiful Life. The book that came out of the blog Jacque’s Journey (www.jacquesjourney.blogspot.com), is now only weeks away from going public. I feel I should type an exclamation mark behind that sentence!

Whereas, I once was beginning this journey of writing–

Photo by Sgarton

Photo by Sgarton

 

Now I am in the “Almost” there phase. I can see the Finish line–

Photo from SIS 5K run 2015

Photo from Bakersfield SIS Advocacy Group 5K Run 2015

My book going public: This is exciting and scary news all at the same time! For me anyway. Are you ready for this book? Am I ready for this book?

For years I heard and read comments from my blog readers that I needed to write a book, that I should tell my story. Maybe this is the book you expected, maybe not. But this is the book that grew out of writing it, praying as I wrote.

Brokenness to Beauty is a five Part, twenty-three chapter book designed with you in mind because, as the end of the Introduction states: Most of our days are filled with activities that pull us in many directions at once; therefore, this book is structured so that it may be read in short sections, easily adapted to a busy lifestyle. It is my hope that I have written these few chapters simply and clearly enough so that those who read it may, as with the vision given to Habakkuk, “read it fluently,” or with understanding, so that they may go on in their life journey stronger for it and in turn share it with others (Habakkuk 2:2). 

 

Photo by Gaborfromhungary

Photo by Gaborfromhungary

Are we there yet? Almost! Stay tuned—or keep following this blog—to be among the first to know when Brokenness to Beauty hits the stores!

(And yes, there will be an e-book version as well!)