Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies, those transparent moments of awe that change forever how we experience life and the world. ~ Sara Ban Breathnach

Friday, October 7, 2011

Blessing of Brokenness

Be careful no matter what; pray all the time; thank God no matter what happens. This is the way God wants you, who belong to Jesus Christ, to live. ~ 1 Thessalonians 6:16-18

A great way to begin my day! There's no God like Jehovah! Praise God!

The gift of being able to spend two nights/three days at Pokagon State Park was a gift that will prayerfully give me strength in the crazy days to come!

I heard so many first hand accounts of brothers and sisters in far corners of the world...and I was humbled by my abundance and by my tendency to "whine" when my schedule is too busy, my body hurts to much, people don't seem to appreciate my efforts.....

: ) This would be me on those days.

Maybe I need to print this picture off and put it in strategic places around my home as a reminder that instead of whining, complaining, feeling sorry for myself..... Instead of going "there" I  can make the choice to "Be cheerful, no matter what; pray all the time: AND THANK GOD no matter what happens.

Ummmmm I can choose to receive God's blessing in my brokenness.

I didn't go to any of the workshops during the Wee Kirk Retreat at Pokagon.  During the workshops I found a place to sit and watch the lake while I worked on "stuff" for the church's Homecoming Celebration this coming Sunday. (When I'm healthy....I can admit it was all STUFF that God could most likely care less that if was produced!)

Yesterday morning, because I had everything ready for Sunday except my sermon, I went to a workshop entitled "The Blessing of Brokenness."

The workshop leader was very nice.  The people who participated in the workshop were sincere. And I sat there wishing I had taken my laptop to my favorite spot and begun working on my sermon.

"I didn't hear anything new." I told my friend.

"Of course you didn't hear anything new, Sandi! You have been working your way through this reality for nearly 14 years!"

I want wisdom and insight.  I want to discover joy.  I want to practice gratitude! I want the freedom in Christ people talk of. I want...

And I can only embrace these "wants" by walking the path of my own life journey. I'm not going to magically absorb and be made whole by sitting in a workshop. I have to participate in the healing...I have to participate in my freedom... by being present and doing my own work.

Ann Voskamp entitles her first chapter, "An Emptier, Fuller Life."

Many times, I have journaled about "emptiness" and the "knee jerk" reaction it can some times produce in my heart. Ann takes the thought of emptiness and shares with simple, yet deep words, the emptiness that occurred when her little sister was killed in an accident when Ann was only four years old.

She shares the memories of grieving parents and how on that day, "when blood pooled and my sister died and I, all of us, snapped shut to grace." (Ann Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts, p 10)

She continues, "They lay her gravestone flat into the earth, a black granite slab engraved with no dates, only the five letters of her name. Aimee. It means 'loved one.' How she was. We had loved her. And with the laying of her gravestone, the closing up of her deathbed, so closed our lives. Closed to any notion of grace." (Voskamp, p 11)

My body hurts. I listened to the stories of people at this retreat. I listened to the stories of the missionary. I watch the images on my TV and, like Ann writes, it is sometimes all to easy to question, "Where is God, really?"

When I have been knocked down again and again, why would I put my trust in a God who allows, not only my pain, but allows such great suffering all around the world! Why and how am I to be continue praising such a God?

Ann writes, "...But these aren't things you need to say anyways. Like all beliefs, you simply live them." (Ibid)

I "live" my beliefs.

Such a simple statement, yet it is profound and provocative as well.

What "I" believe shapes how I see everything around me!

One of the stories of the missionary: A church in Cuba...when it was dangerous to even gather in that church....One woman attended every Sunday worship service.  This woman attended, never knowing if anyone else would be there. Some Sundays, others did filter in.  Some Sundays they even had the Word proclaimed by a traveling pastor.  MANY Sundays the woman sat by herself; praying and singing hymns.  Many Sundays she did this, not to "keep the doors opened"....she did this so others would see God's presence among them...God's presence within and among them as they faced poverty and great danger....

Smiling, the missionary shared that today that little congregation consistently has 40 people in worship and they are doing a new church start in an area that knows even greater poverty and danger than they face!

Because this woman lived her belief in a loving, caring, and all powerful such a place...the Light of the world began to shine brighter and brighter.... A light from this woman's small candle.

Although the word was not used in sharing her story, I can imagine that this woman lived her life in "Gratitude" to God.

Last Sunday, using Colossians 3:1-4 I suggested that we (I) have my "life".  My life with all its schedules, relationships, demands, bils to pay, physical challenges....I have this life and within that life I also have God.  AND, I all to often take all my "stuff" and ask God to bless this and bless that....

I admitted that I make God a component of my life and according to Colossians 3, GOD IS MY LIFE!

God is not a component...God is my life!

I have journaled so many times....each time reminding myself that it is only in my brokenness that I truly come to God.  When I am feeling good and full of "myself".... those things that are so very IMPORTANT get pushed off my shelf.

God, I praise you and I thank you that you never give up on me!!!  I have offered praises before that I am loved by a God of Second Chances.  Help me to rest in your love and your acceptance as I step into this new day. Open my heart to receive all the blessings you offer me within the ordinariness of life.  Open my heart to gratitude so that I might truly sense the blessing of you within and beside me.  Oh, dear God....forgive me when I make you a component of my life! Help me to live my life in gratitude, asking what I am to do with your life that is within me. AMEN.

Open the Eyes of My Heart.....

Many Blessings ~ Sandi


  1. I often think that gratitude is an art, it requires discipline and practice in order to really allow it to take hold of our lives...which is basically what younare saying here...

  2. Praise be that we serve and worship the One who we can sing about with the words "There is no God like Jehovah"