A Creative Word

Practical, occasionally funny, faith-focused thoughts.

Category: applying scripture

Use the Manufacturer’s Warranty

Once, a close friend and I had a discussion on a subject very close to our hearts: how men we loved, and who loved us, had hurt us. We didn’t bash them, but we did recognize that they weren’t able to heal those hurts.

Not long after this discussion, the Holy Spirit showed me something I hope I never forget. It was a picture of a young boy, maybe three or four years old. He was holding a yellow toy truck.Boy with Truck

The truck was one of his favorite toys, and he loved it best of all. But he had broken it. The boy certainly didn’t mean to break it, and he wants to fix it.

But, as he turns it this way and that, looking it over and tinkering with it, he isn’t able to repair it. Now, you and I know that this young boy doesn’t have the capacity, the tools– or the knowledge of how to use the tools– to fix the truck.

And the hard fact of the matter is that all his love & efforts won’t repair the damage.

But of course, that isn’t obvious to the young boy. He thinks, “It’s MY truck. I broke it. I should be able to fix it!” But as he fumbles with it, he is only making the damage worse.

You and I can easily predict what will happen next. Soon, he will become frustrated with himself and the truck. Then, he will become angry with the situation, although he’ll most likely direct his anger at the truck. Finally, he’ll give up, cease trying to fix the truck and find something else to occupy his time.

Now, it’s obvious to you and me that all the young boy has to do is take the truck to his Father and ask Him for help. His Father knows just what to do to fix the truck. And after He lovingly repairs the truck, it will be BETTER than new!

The same is true with us. Although our husbands, our parents, our friends, our children—even our pastors and church families– may “break” us, they can’t fix us. They really can’t. No matter how much they want to.

They simply are not equipped to repair us. But— and like the Sir Mix-a-Lot song, it’s a big but– we have a 100%  guaranteed warranty from our Manufacturer! Our Father is willing to repair all parts of us, and when He restores us, we are actually better than before.

I’m not exaggerating.

Take a look in Deuteronomy—whenever something was damaged, or stolen or ruined, God’s restoration resulted in an increase! You can trust that when you become broken, you can allow God to heal you, and you WILL be better than before!

This is exciting news. But it also dispels something some of us having been subconsciously believing. Sometimes we are waiting for the person who hurt us to apologize, to say they didn’t mean what they said or did, or at the very least that they didn’t intend to hurt us. Sometimes, there are very specific things we want them to say do to “repair” the damage they did to us.

And not only are we (based on sheer odds alone) not likely to get those actions/words or even similar ones, EVEN IF WE DID, those words (or actions) would NOT heal our hurts. These would not REPAIR the damage done to us.

However, just like the broken truck, our Heavenly Father DOES know exactly what will heal us! He does have the capacity and capability to repair, renew and restore us.

Yes, of everything. Broken hearts from broken families, aching wounds from crimes committed against us, even the horrific pain of lives ended too early.

How do we receive that? Spend time alone with Him—pour your heart out to Him. (Psalm 62:8) You can trust Him! Rest quietly with Him. Listen to Him. Do what His Word and His voice direct you to do.

Then as you live your life, understand that while you won’t be protected from all hurts, you can trust that God will never let anything happen to you that He can’t repair, renew and restore. Never.

So, LOVE EXTRAVAGANTLY! Go ahead and put your heart into relationships—if (ok, when) they hurt you, God will be able to heal you.

Finally, here’s a wise idea: Keep in close contact with friends who—like you– are living their whole lives in the direction of God, and wisely, reserve the sharing of your most intimate thoughts, desires and emotions—your soul– with these people. While it’s great to enjoy time with other friends, and appreciate how wonderful they are, you’ll find that you’ll naturally discuss and focus on what those you are closest to focus on.

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I’d love to come speak to your group or church. You can check out my ‘casts here, and my speaking topics here.

Peace When You’re in Pieces

Almost every day I run into someone who is in the middle of a problem: her child is using drugs, or her mother is facing health challenges; perhaps her husband has filed for divorce, or maybe she is out of work and behind on the bills.

Whatever the situation, it’s big, it’s bad and she is almost overwhelmed, even though she keeps telling herself that it will all be ok. After all, she’s a Christian, and these things will work out for the best, right?

I get it. Believe me, I get it. And while it is absolutely true that God will use everything for His daughters’ good, there are some very real things you can do to make things better and less painful. Which means, unfortunately, that there are some very real things you can do that will make your situation worse and more painful.

(Screeeeeeeech!)

Did you hear that? It was the sound of some very nervous Christians slamming on the brakes. Look, I know actually acknowledging that a well-intentioned Christian can do things to make a bad situation worse is not a popular thing to say. Especially OUT LOUD. It’s too “negative.” But there, I said it, and I believe if you’ll think about it, you’ll agree.

You and I have both seen Believers face seemingly insurmountable situations and thrive, growing in their faith and having an extraordinary amount of peace throughout incredibly tough situations. By peace I don’t mean that they aren’t sad or grieving or having a difficult time; I mean that they have a “wholeness” even while they are in the middle of their grief. And most likely we’ve said. “Girl! You’re totally rocking it! You’re amazing! Your faith inspires me!” (And in response, she probably gives God all the credit.)

And we’ve also seen Believers face situations that sent them into tailspins that shook their faith—they ended up leaning away from God and isolating themselves from other Believers. Their lives spiral down and down– sometimes for years. And often we react toward them with grief, or even frustration and anger. (Sorry. The “screeeeech” earlier should have clued you in that I pretty much try to tell it like it is, rather than make everything look pretty… I tried pretty-fying everything, and it didn’t work out too well in my life.)

Unfortunately, that downward spiral I mentioned isn’t an exaggeration. I know because I’ve watched it happen—but more importantly, I know from scripture that it’s true. (Remember how David tried to “fix” his downward spiral into adultery?)

When you’re in those kinds of situations, you need HELP. That is, you need Hope, Encouragement, Love and Peace.

Peace… have you been longing for peace? It’s more than just “calmness.”

Jesus said, “My peace I give to you—not the kind of peace the world gives, but the kind only I can give.” The Hebrew word for “peace” is “shalom.” Shalom actually means “nothing missing, nothing broken, whole, complete.”

Now, THAT will bring you calmness!

And there’s good news! There are several other things that can bring you Hope, Encouragement, Love and help you hold on to the Peace He gives you. Over the next six weeks I’ll be sharing some actions that will give you HELP.

In the meantime, think about that definition of Shalom-style peace. And go spend 10 minutes, just you and Him—get some of that Peace you’re longing for!

“I will fight your battles, and you will hold onto your peace…” Exodus 14:14

I’d love to speak to your women’s group! Click here for more information.

>Do You Need Strength?

>Definitely, one way to get it is to be in His Presence. Because “in His presence is fullness of Joy” (Ps 16:11) and “the Joy of the Lord is your strength!” (Neh 8:10b)

But there’s also another way to get strength, to become strong.

They that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength… (Isa 40:31)

Now, waiting isn’t something I “love” to do.

But looking back over the past 6 months, while WAITING has been one of the key themes, I can tell you some things that happened during the wait… some things that changed about me. Now, more than ever before:

  1. I know God, His Love, His Faithfulness, His Attentiveness, His Goodness and His thoughts toward me THE WAY I NEVER HAVE BEFORE. Sure, I believed He was good and faithful and loving… but I didn’t know the EXTENT to which He is all those things. And I have been astonished!!
  2. I know that in His strength, I can be forgiving in a way that I never knew possible.
  3. I recognize that, in years gone by, I dismissed things the Lord was saying to me, because I didn’t SEE that I needed to know them.
  4. I know that “head knowledge” of scripture, and even believing it, understanding it and applying it to life IS NOT THE SAME EXPERIENCE AS LIVING ITS TRUTHS DAY BY DAY when it seems impossible to do so.
  5. I know that I was truly one of the most self-centered people I know. But I also know that He has forgiven me. And I know that He is giving me grace to now live being others-centered, and that He is teaching me how to do it.
  6. I know that there’s more to giving love and forgiveness out than simply doing it because we’ve matured and now we’re loving and forgiving. Truly, we have to go regularly to Him, and get those things to give out to others.
  7. I know that He loves me beyond reason.
  8. I know that He answers me generously and takes time to heal me and minister to me.
  9. I know He will speak to me as often as I ask Him to. Umm, He may not say exactly what I WANT Him to, but He WILL speak to me!
  10. I know that He doesn’t dole out His presence like a miser– but that He rejoices to spend time with me!!!!

There’s probably more. But I can clearly see that this wait SO FAR has already taught me AMAZING things– most importantly, it has strengthened me… Just like He said it would.

Oh.

11. I know that He keeps His promises.

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