BENT but not BROKEN

by Tammy Whitehurst

When people are broken it doesn’t always show on the outside. Maybe they feel alone. Forgotten. Throwing their hands up in uncertain times. Wanting to give up and give in. They don’t know what else to do. Or who to turn to in time of need. In uncertain times it’s often easy to forget that someone cares.

(Let’s do something a little different here.) I am going to turn toward you. Yes, you. I may be looking through a computer screen, but let’s look straight at each other. (Pulling in now.)

I am saying this to YOU today. “You may feel broken. Tired. Weak and worn. Everything might seem dark.  Life might seem as if it is falling apart. No light in sight. Nothing you do seems right. Your chin is down and you feel overwhelmed.

Let me remind you of these things. You may be bent, but you are not broken. You may feel alone, but you are not forgotten. Light is in sight.

Don’t give up.

In Jesus there is help for today and hope for tomorrow. Wherever you are—He is near. He holds YOU in the shelter of the palm of His hands. Don’t let your faith flat-line. Today is not the day to give up. It is the day to dig those heels in and give it all you have got. You are loved more than you can imagine.

I leave you with a quote by Eleanor Roosevelt: “You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience where you really stop and look fear in the face.”

Stare it down, my friends. Don’t blink.

Isaiah 41:10 ( NLT) Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.

This article brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).

About the author: As an author, blogger, and full time speaker, Tammy encourages and challenges audiences to live life kicked up a notch. She is the co-owner of the Christian Communicators Conference. She struggles like the rest of us with dust, dog hair, cellulite, junk drawers, and wrinkles. Find out more at TammyWhitehurst.com, or on Facebook and YouTube.

Join the Conversation. Have you been tempted to give up?

Not My Nature

by Terri Gillespie

Blessed is the one who trusts in Adonai [the LORD], whose confidence is in Adonai. Jeremiah 17:7 TLV

There are those folks who are so confident in the LORD that no matter what happens, they know they will be alright. I have met a few of these souls and I’m both awed and convicted by their testimonies.

Why? Because I am not one of those blessed souls. At least, not by nature. When I’m caught off-guard by a trial or tribulation or testing, my nature is to fear. That default reaction of fear is caused from experiences in my past—scary things that happened to me and others.

If a problem arises, my nature is to seek ways to solve it myself rather than go to the LORD first. That first inclination stems from being so long accustomed to fending for myself.

When God asks me to do something, my nature is to either say that I can’t, or sadly, that I won’t. Or I attempt the request on my own without His guidance. That is my nature.

But that is not the truth of who I am as a child of the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. And it is not where I am confined to remain.

“Now what do you think? “A man had two sons, and he went to the first and said, ‘Son, go work in the vineyard today.’

The son answered, ‘I won’t,’ but afterward he had a change of heart and went.

The man went to the second son and said the same thing. But he answered, ‘I will, sir,’ And didn’t go.

Which of the two did the will of the father?”

“The first,” they [the ruling priests and elders] said.

Matthew 21:28-31 TLV

In this parable, Jesus recognizes our nature. Especially those of us with a past—sinful and broken. The first son’s response when asked to work in the vineyard, was, “No way.” But then later, he rethinks that default response and does what his father asks of him.

So, I have a choice. I can follow my nature, or I can stop, turn around and follow the truth. The truth that The Creator of the Universe, who went out of His way to make me His child by sacrificing His Son, loves me.

And when He asks me to trust Him that no matter what comes my way, I am still loved. That means, I must still act like His kid—not some wild person who follows their fears and emotions.

It’s a no brainer, right? Yet still I struggle.

That’s why I read and meditate and post passages of faith and truth that remind me each day, to be confident in this mighty, loving God who knows me. So that I can discern the difference between my nature’s lie and His truth. I know that even a mustard seed of faith and trust can move that mountain of fear or anger or anything that seeks to separate me from His love through Messiah Yeshua.

If my journey helps others, then I am doubly blessed.

Heavenly Father, May nature may say, “no,” but my nature lies. I chose to follow Your truth. Even if it takes me a while to get there. In Jesus’ Name, amen.

This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).

About the author: Award-winning author and beloved speaker Terri Gillespie writes stories of faith and redemption to nurture souls. Her novels, devotionals, and blogs have drawn readers to hunger for a deeper relationship with their Heavenly Father, and His Son Jesus. Her newest novel, Sweet Rivalry, releases later this year. 

Join the conversation: What’s your nature?

When Your Name Means Broken

by Cherrilynn Bisbano

But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed. Isaiah 53:5 (ESV)

“CHINGALING!” Laura and Zoila shouted as a vase crashed to the floor. They saw me standing in the doorway of their white stucco home. Saturdays were high dusting days for this mother and daughter team, and I had startled them.

I’d come to say goodbye.  It was time for me to leave Honduras and return to Rhode Island.

I worked in Guinope for three months assisting at the local medical clinic. When I first arrived, many people could not pronounce my name, Cherrilynn (Sherry Lynn). As hard as they tried, they could not pronounce the “SH”;  it always sounded like “CHI”.   

So my name became Chingaling. I grew to love it.

Unbeknownst to everyone in Guinope when I arrived, my heart was broken and my body ached.  I could not leave my emotional baggage at the airport. So I dragged it down dirt roads, through the hospital at Tegucigalpa, and rested it by my bed at night. My wounds from childhood abuse screamed to be healed, and they would not stop just because I was in a foreign land.

 I was good at hiding fear, and depression. However, the Lord was at work in this quiet mountainside village. There was no escape. His loving hand desired to touch my wounds and mend them, but I needed to let go of my broken identity and accept God’s healing. I had many long talks with God as I walked through the dusty streets of Guinope (emotional baggage in tow).  As I responded to His love, the weight of despair dissipated and I loosened my grip on the handle of my emotional baggage.

As my friends turned to stare at the glass shattered on the floor, they repeated: Chingaling!” 

“Are you that happy to see me?” I said.

 “No, I mean yes.” Laura and Zoila looked at each other with delight. “Chingaling!” they shouted and began to laugh a full belly laugh.

“What’s so funny?” I began to laugh with them.

They stepped off the chairs, avoiding the glass.

“Chingaling,” Laura said as she pointed to the broken glass on the floor. Laura spoke fluent English. “The Spanish word for the sound of glass as it crashes to the floor is chingaling.”

I hugged them both, and we laughed as we cleaned up the glass.

As I swept the broken glass into the dustpan, the Holy Spirit impressed these words upon my heart: Chingaling, I am sweeping up the broken pieces of your heart.  I will mend them together for my joy and purpose. Trust me.

I left Guinope with a renewed hope, knowing God would use the story of healing from my brokenness to lead others to Him.

Jesus endured excruciating physical and emotional pain as he hung on the cross.  He understands brokenness. He knew the outcome of his crucifixion—reconciliation with the Father. He became broken, so that He could empathize with His followers who were in the same condition (Hebrews 4:15-16).

But He was also broken that we might be healed and made whole. “He bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed” (1 Peter 2:24 ESV).

Do you feel shattered, like there are too many broken pieces to repair? Trust God to heal you.

This resurrection season, will you join me and thank Jesus for identifying with our brokenness?  Let’s praise Him for His ultimate sacrifice that brings reconciliation and healing.

About the author: Cherrilynn Bisbano is an award-winning writer and speaker. As a certified Christian Life Coach Minister, and Ordained Minister, she aims to share the love of Christ wherever God leads. Cherrilynn is a speaker with Women Speakers. She contributes to the Blue Ridge Writers blog, is published in four compilations books, and her book Shine Don’t Whine released in 2020. Cherrilynn served in the military for twenty years, earning the John Levitow Military leadership award. She lives with her 19-year-old son Michael, Jr., and her husband of 22 years, Michael. She fondly calls them her M&M’s.

Join the conversation: Has God healed you from brokenness?

Swallowed Up by Life

by Patti Richter

For while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened… that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life.  2 Corinthians 5:4 ESV

After weeks of floating in the Pacific in a deteriorating raft, the well-known Olympic runner turned World War II Airman tasted a heavenly peace as death approached. While gazing at the vast ocean and starry skies, he’d made a promise to God. If the Creator of so much beauty could save him from the dangers he suffered—starvation, thirst, the heat of day and cold of night, Japanese planes overhead and sharks beneath—he would serve him forever.

The sea did not swallow Louis Zamperini. Readers of his survival story, Unbroken, by Laura Hillenbrand, hope his suffering will end as a boat comes into view. Instead, Japanese sailors hauled up his skeletal but yet-alive body. He would spend two long years enduring the wretched holes and brutal conditions of prisoner-of-war camps.

The late evangelist Billy Graham once answered a question about suffering by drawing a horizontal line to represent eternity and then placing a dot on that line to mark an earthly lifetime. The Apostle Paul provided a similar perspective: “So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison” (2 Corinthians 4:16-17 ESV).

The best outlook on suffering typically comes from those who have been through it. In the process, they discovered wisdom, strength, or some other gain they deem a worthy result of past travail. Giving birth is one such example.

In our human perspective, Zamperini’s afflictions do not seem to us as light nor momentary. But Paul had plenty of experience to qualify him to speak of hardship: he had survived beatings and imprisonments; he was shipwrecked, adrift and in danger at sea; he endured hunger, thirst, and exposure to cold (2 Corinthians 6:5; 11:25-27).

In the post-World War II years, Louis Zamperini descended into bitterness, anger, and alcoholism. His wife begged him to go with her to hear Billy Graham present a gospel message under a circus tent in Los Angeles. In the crowd on that evening, the nearly broken man heard the young preacher speak about earthly suffering and a loving God who knows the number of hairs on our head.

Through faith in Jesus Christ, Zamperini found redemption. With God’s help, he overcame his crippling hatred of former captors, and he finally fulfilled the promise to serve God he’d made while tossing in the ocean. This man who’d suffered so much lived in peace until his death at age 97.

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Swallowed Up by Life – Encouragement from Patti Richter on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

Patti Richter headshot 2017-1nAbout the author: Patti Richter lives in north Georgia with her husband, Jim. She writes and edits global mission stories for The Gospel Coalition and her faith essays appears at BlueRibbonNews.com.

Patti is the co-author of Signs of His Presence—Experiencing God’s Comfort in Times of SufferingIt is the story of Luann Mire, whose godly husband was blindsided by an indictment due to a former employer’s tax fraud. The resulting prison sentence and restitution took the once joyful couple into a long season of suffering as they fought judicial tyranny. Helpless to change her situation, Luann endured a painful examination of her life and found God faithful to His promises.

Join the conversation: How did trusting in Jesus Christ change your life?