Brokenness to Beauty

Transforming Your Brokenness into a Beautiful Life


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Fighting Everyday Lions and Bears

Fighting lions and bears. That’s what David said.

“When a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock, I went after it, struck it and rescued the sheep from its mouth.” He went on to declare, “When it turned on me, I seized it by its hair, struck it and killed it.”[1]

Now, I’ve seen a bear close up. Sure, it was at night and all I could see was a big round, furry looking thing lumbering swiftly away from me, but I knew it was a bear. We saw its tracks in the snowy yard the next morning and followed the trail of garbage up the hill into our neighbor’s yard. No sheep, just garbage. Hungry bears apparently are not fussy about their meals. From the size of that behind and the paw tracks it left, I’m glad it wasn’t running toward me!

Bear! by sgarton

A lion and a bear. Running after it. Grabbing the sheep from its jaws and then grabbing the beast by the hair and killing it. That is an amazing feat. Done not once but twice. All in the line of duty. Just part of the ordinary life of a shepherd.

David was responsible and dependable. He could be trusted to take care of business, in this case, sheep keeping: guarding and guiding.

David was faithful to guide and guard and fight, doing what he had to do; he did the right thing, even at great risk to himself. He may have had the scars to prove it. He used the weapons of his profession—the sling and stones and staff—becoming adept in their use. In the process of fighting the lion and bear he grew skilled and strong.

His faith in God grew as well, for David knew he didn’t do his fighting alone. “The LORD who delivered me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear ….”

David was faithful in his everyday, ordinary life. He trusted in God.

We all live ordinary lives. We all face our lions and bears, those trials and difficulties that come into our everyday, ordinary lives, perhaps threatening our livelihood or even our life. These are the enemies that come to snatch away our lives, enemies that threaten to destroy us. Are we being faithful to fight them with the weapons given us—prayer and praise and the Word of God? Are we becoming adept in their use and growing in strength, growing in our trust in God? Can we say as David did, “the LORD who delivered me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear …”

It is only in our ordinary, everyday lives, faithfully facing the enemies that would destroy us—our lions and bears—that we learn to fight, becoming skilled and strong in spirit.

Ordinary life is where we learn to trust the LORD and become adept at wielding the weapons he has given us—prayer, praise and the Word of God.

What bears or lions are you facing today? Health issues, fearful job or financial challenges, death or disease of a loved one, divorce, addiction? So many beasts that would tear us apart and destroy us. Only by wielding the weapons of prayer, praise (yes, praise) and the Word of God, in the power of God’s Spirit, can we successfully defeat such enemies.

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. 14 Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God18 With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints. (Ephesians 6:10-18)

15 Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name. (Hebrews 13:15)

But that’s not the end of the story. Fighting lions and bears has another vastly important function in our everyday, ordinary lives. For only as we learn to rely on God and fight those enemies successfully will we, like David, recognize and be fit to face the giant, Goliath, who defies the armies of the Living God.

More on that in my next blog post.

 

[1] 1 Samuel 17:34-37

 

Adapted from original blog post of October 27, 2015

 

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Surprise!

God is always surprising me.

When I was asked a few weeks ago to present a workshop on prayer at a women’s retreat, I silently gulped and said, “Yes, Lord.” Then I responded (audibly) in the affirmative to the lady asking me if I would do the workshop.

It is humbling to have someone ask me if I’d do a presentation on the subject of prayer. I’m still a learner in that field. I always will be, of course. And to consider speaking publicly, well, that is nothing short of miraculous.

That I can say “yes” to speaking in front of people, and on the subject of prayer, is a wonder to me on two fronts:

1) I can physically do it and

2) I have material already compiled from which to draw to put together such a presentation.

A few years ago I never could have agreed to talk in front of people for an hour. I have MG (myasthenia gravis, a severe muscle weakness) and have been extremely weak for most of my life. The miracle is that I have been stronger for the past eight-plus years than I have been since I was thirteen years old, and I now can do public speaking!

Even though I planned this workshop to be an interactive Bible study time, not an hour-long lecture, I still had to do a lot of talking. My ability to speak this much is the gracious and miraculous work of God. It is the answer to many prayers prayed over the span of more than forty years.

I also had what I needed to present in the prayer workshop. A few years ago I had finally said “yes” to God about writing the book Brokenness to Beauty (and I’m now writing the Bible study guide to go with it; a work in progress), and I had already thought through and written much of the material I used for this workshop on prayer.

Though I wasn’t at a loss for what to say, I did earnestly pray for direction from the Lord to narrow it down. Volumes could be said about prayer (and volumes have been written on prayer), but it certainly wouldn’t fit within that one hour time frame. I needed to speak to what these ladies needed to hear. Only God has that information. He again answered prayer.

Most important to me when I speak or teach is to direct women into the Word of God. If they forget what I say but hear what God says in his Word, I will have been successful.

I initially thought I was going to the women’s retreat (hosted by our former church) in order to take it all in for myself, enjoy the beautiful mountains around the retreat center, and especially to see many dear friends I hadn’t seen since moving from Bakersfield to Colton last fall.

As it turned out, not only did I get to do those things, I ended up with the privilege of serving God by serving the women who came to the prayer workshop. What a great weekend we had!

 

Did I mention God is always surprising me?

I was mighty tired after driving the three hours it took to get to the retreat center, the busy weekend and the three hour drive home, but I give thanks to our great God for giving me the strength to do it. He truly “is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen” (Ephesians 3:20-21 NIV).

Photos of women’s retreat by Alayna Condon and Lindsay Long.

Scripture taken from Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. https://www.biblegateway.com.

 


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The 4 Essentials needed to Thrive in Life

The 4 Essentials needed to Survive Thrive in Life

Survival skills are important for everyone to know in case of emergencies. I need to nail down some myself. But beyond that there are four essential things we need to put into place to be able to thrive, not just survive, in every area of life.

I’m talking about four essentials we need to know, practice and develop to successfully get through the dark valley of struggles and suffering, because we all go through trials at some point in life.

I’d never given thought to how I navigate the tough times in life until I knew I needed to write about my own journey through trials. Trials like cancer. When I blogged during cancer treatment I wrote about my responses to what I encountered, tears and fears and all, and what I did with those tears and fears.

I prayed, through tears. I dumped my fears on God and he traded them for his peace. I found strength and hope to keep on for one more day as I read God’s Word. I was comforted and helped in every way imaginable by the people around me, family and friends both near and far away.

And when I felt like giving up, on those dark days when I didn’t feel like getting up, I remembered my reason for being. And I got up. And kept going. For one more day.

When I analyzed these realities of my life, how I navigated the storms that came my way, I found names for them, and a way to share these powerful truths so that others could be strengthened. For one more day.

And I wrote Brokenness to Beauty.  I found a way to share how to transform your brokenness into a beautiful life. How to thrive through the trials of life.

Now, not only can you buy Brokenness to Beauty online at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, WestBow Press Bookstore and other outlets,

books to sell

you can buy direct from me.

Yes! Now you can order Brokenness to Beauty from me and save on the cost per book.  And I will personally sign your copy of Brokenness to Beauty!

To order Brokenness to Beauty directly from me, click here to go to my facebook Author page, and message me to open the conversation. Or leave a comment and we’ll talk. Help me get word out about how to thrive in life, not just survive.

 


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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!