Archive for the ‘Broken’ Category

Beautifully Broken

At the end of the sermon Sunday, a video was played showing several people engrossed in their electronic devices while life was going on around them. One of the images was a proposal taking place in front of a sunset.


For some reason the image reminded me of vacation.


Typically our family takes a beach vacation. I sit under an umbrella and read book after book for a week or more while the rest of the family scavenges for shells, shark’s teeth, sea glass, sand dollars, and various other treasures. Every so often I will join them in the water to cool down a bit, but I never stay too long for fear of burning.

Vacation is my chance to catch up on recreational reading that I don’t get to do much of during the rest of the year. Some years I have read as many as twenty novels while lying on the beach under an umbrella.


This year my teenagers started making comments about me reading months before we packed for our dream trip to Sanibel Island. They weren’t being mean, simply dreaming out loud what vacation would look like for all of us.


However, it kind of hurt my feelings that they were counting me out of their plans. They had already decided that I would sit in one spot, babysit our belongings, and read by myself while they did all the things we had been talking and dreaming about since they had been in elementary.


Not this year. I thought. This year I’m going to do everything everyone else does. I’m not going to be holder of the stuff. I’m not going to be the responsible one, the good behavior example. We only have a couple summer vacations left before they leave for college. Who knows if we’ll ever travel as a family again after that. I’m going to participate. Not watch.


When it came time to pack, I didn’t include any physical books. I didn’t download any e-books onto my Kindle. I didn’t even grab a magazine for the road. And I didn’t say a word about what I wasn’t doing to anyone else.


When we headed to the beach on day two, no one even packed chairs down the path. If mom wasn’t sitting in them, no one else would feel a need to go keep her company every so often.


All three members of my family had found extremely unique, amazing shells within a day or two of combing the beach. I spent pretty much the entire time on the beach searching for my something special, and hadn’t found anything worth showing off.


After being excited for one of their umpteenth awesome finds, I found myself sitting in the sand digging through an enormous pile of shells, frustrated, discouraged, disappointed, and just a wee bit jealous.


God, out of everything out here, I just want to find ONE special thing. I don’t need to find tons, but I’d like to take ONE thing home that I can say I found. One special shell that is whole. No missing pieces. No brokenness. One perfect, special shell just for me.


And when I looked back down at the pile of shells in front of me, all I saw was the same pile of shells that was there before I prayed.


It wasn’t long after that when I rose to take the daily sunset picture. Sunset on Bowman’s Beach was the daily highlight. We made sure we were present for God’s nightly light show. Every night was something different.


As I struggled to frame my shots of the sun melting into the ocean around all of the other attendees, I again became frustrated.

Just one perfect shot! If only those people would move! They are intruding on my view of your show, God.


It was in that moment I finally heard what God had been trying to say and my eyes filled with tears as I realized what I had been doing.


I wasn’t looking for special; I was looking for perfection. I was totally missing the special in my search for something that doesn’t exist outside of God.


Carrie, I created each of those people and each of those shells. They are all absolutely special and perfect. You’re looking at the wrong things. Of course they’re missing pieces, cracked, broken, and discolored. They’ve weathered the storms of life. Been battered by an uneven, rocky ground. They’ve been out their depths and totally washed up. And they are beautiful. Stop looking for perfection and see the beauty that is within each one.

Immediately I was humbled and had an entire new outlook on the images before me. Handcrafted by God. And He knew not only every individual chip, crack, broken piece, and hole, but He also knew the events that caused each imperfection to exist.


I wonder how often we get caught up in perfection that we miss the beauty God has placed right in front of our faces. See, I put down my electronic devices and books, and I still almost missed it. I spent most of my time searching for something that wasn’t even what God had prepared for me.


Has God placed any beautiful broken things in front of you this week? Are you trying to fix them or are you simple loving them as God’s creation?

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”Creative

”Nanna’s


The Deliberate Mom

Stop Shushing and Start Serving

Two blind men were sitting beside the road. When they heard that Jesus was coming that way, they began shouting, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy one us!”


“Be quiet!” the crowd yelled at them. 

But they only shouted louder, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!” Matthew 20:30-31 NLT

Two men society saw as broken.

According to my Google dictionary, here are the first two basic definitions of broken:

1. having been fractured or damaged and no longer in one piece or in working order.
“a broken arm”
2.(of a person) having given up all hope; despairing. “he went to his grave a broken man”

The crowd following Jesus probably viewed these two men as exactly that. Their loss of vision made them broken physically and the fact that they were on the roadside should have compounded that to also make them mentally broken.

Broken men, crying out to Jesus from the side of the road, and probably creating a scene.

How embarrassing.

Isn’t it bad enough that they had fallen on bad times, but now they had to go and draw attention to themselves. Someone that low, that bad off, trying to get Jesus’ attention.

How shameful.

So, the crowd did what any respectful follower of Jesus would do.

“Shhh. Don’t bother him now. This is Jesus. He’s too big a deal to be bothering with this…with you. Hush now and be respectful.”

Two men crying out to Jesus and the Christ followers, Christians, shushed them.

This wasn’t a one time occurrence in scripture. Do you think it still happens today?

I wonder how many times people walk into our services and they don’t look like us, or dress right, or use acceptable language, and we shush them because they’re making in scene in God’s house.

I wonder how many times someone comes in our doors with a need we could meet, immediately, but our bulletin dictates a schedule. So, we shush a need for now and make intentions to get back to it after we worship. I’ve fallen into that trap myself, and guess what I usually forget about after service?

I wonder. What would Jesus do in these situations?

Jesus stopped and called them. “What do you want me to do for you?” he asked.

“Lord,” they answered, “we want our sight.”

Jesus had compassion on them and touched their eyes. Immediately they received their sight and followed Him. Matthew 20:32-34

Jesus was on His way to Jerusalem to fulfill prophecy. Nothing could stop Him from becoming our sacrifice. Yet even when His religious followers tried to shush the broken men, Jesus Himself stopped and asked what they wanted Him to do for them.

I ask students that question a lot. When someone comes and tells me something, I respond with, “Ok, and what would you like me to do?”

Let me tell you, it’s obvious that kids haven’t been asked this before. The look of confusion on their face is almost comical. And it happens every time I ask the question. I always have to explain what I mean.

“Here’s what you told me (and I repeat what they said). Now, I need to know. What exactly are you asking me to do in response? How are you expecting me to meet your need?”

I have an idea that if no one has asked my students this type of question before, then the same is probably true for their parents.

When is the last time you truly looked at the broken person right in your path and asked, “What do you want me to do for you?”

Let me be transparent here. I never intended for this post on shushing the broken men to go this direction. I really intended to focus on the broken men, but apparently something else needed to said to someone today. Maybe just me.

However, I’ve been one of those broken men.

No, I’m not blind. Physically, or even more importantly, spiritually. My salvation is secure.

But while crying out for Jesus I’ve been shushed by some of the most religious people in the crowd. 

Shushed.

Folks, Jesus didn’t come to heal the healthy. He didn’t come, and won’t return expecting, to find a church full of perfect people, putting on a perfect service, without the need for a Savior. 

I think He expects to find us out on street ministering to the very ones our flesh wants to shush. 

Stop shushing and start serving. 

“And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!” Matthew 25:40 NLT

Until then, I’m going to keep crying out. Lord, here’s my Broken Hallelujah.





photo credit: uochi. via photopin cc