When You’re Broken Beyond Repair

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     Football practice wouldn’t be the same today. With the snap of his arm bones, my grandsons’ hope for a winning season was broken before it began. Silence and chaos broke out all at once; covering the field quickly as realization of the accident spread. In the midst of the shouting and ambulance ride comes a calming voice from a trusted friend, “It’ll be alright, it’s a clean break – it will heal.” Surgery waits, not once but twice to repair this double bone compound fracture but in the hands of a skilled orthopedic surgeon it will heal, he will play again – life and his arm will be “good as new”.

     There are times in your life when you feel that you have been broken beyond repair. The tragic loss of a loved one looms over your heart. The betrayal of a trusted friend crushes your spirit. The angry vicious words spoken against you grip your mind. But through the pain there is a calming voice that can be heard – He is speaking in the midst of that pain – “It’ll be alright – you will heal – life will be good again.”

     Your brokenness can heal – It’s not quick, it’s not painless, it’s not easy – but the skilled hand of a surgeon can repair it. And you have a skilled surgeon waiting for you – one who knows intimately the pain and hurt you are walking through. Jesus is waiting; His surgery heals, restores and gives new life. He is there wiping every tear, whispering His love back into your broken heart, pouring restored trust into your broken spirit, eradicating lies from your mind – whispering “Life will be good again.”

     When you feel you have been broken beyond repair – remember – in the hands of a skilled surgeon you will heal, you will play again and life will be good. Trust your brokenness into the hands of your surgeon – He is waiting for you.

Psalm 34:18 The Lord is near to the broken-hearted and saves the crushed in spirit. (ESV)

Psalm 147:3 He heals the broken-hearted and binds up their wounds.(ESV)

Fluff & Stuff

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     The perfectly un-scarred teddy bear is unceremoniously opened from the center as stuffing is revealed. Then to my horror the insides are pulled out as if a search is on – looking for the unknown, down inside that fluff. Piles of “fluff and stuff” begin to accumulate – down into the hard packed head, arms and legs the search continues as the pile grows. Then I hear it – “thump, thump, thump”! I can see a small pulsing red light that corresponds to the sound and realize it is a small-computerized heart that had been placed inside long ago but had stopped being heard. Over time its sound had disappeared in the midst of the all the “fluff and stuff”.

     This was just a dream the other night but as my morning and day progressed it soon became a very real analogy that God was speaking into my own heart. All our “fluff and stuff” builds up, packs down tightly, stifling the beating of our heart – the love inside has a hard time being heard, felt or extended anymore.

       We need our own un-stuffing process. How do we get there? It sounds like a big project but it’s the easiest surgery you will every have – just look up, see His face and say YES.

       Our Heavenly Father is faithful to hear. He will reach down and open us up as the Holy Spirit begins un-stuffing all that we have packed in around our hearts. All the hurts, worries, and distractions; along with past regrets and future anxieties – physical and financial burdens – unproductive activities, ministries and relationships – wow and the list goes on. That unpacking can look overwhelming but the process is rather simple. Once His unpacking is complete, the renewal and restoration of Jesus will instantly flood back in – His love saturates and you begin to hear “thump, thump, thump” as the small pulsing red light comes back to life.

     All our “fluff and stuff” – stifles and wears out the pulsing movement of His love in our lives. We have made this journey complex – the reality is as simple as just loving God and loving those in front of us – everything else really is only more “fluff and stuff”.

   Look up, ask and in an instant you will be able to see those you encounter, with renewed love – all the “fluff and stuff” gone as you hear the beat of His heart – His love for each one of them as it begins to pulsate again within you.

John 13:34-35 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another. (ESV)

Face to Face – Heart to Heart

No hurried “hello, have a great day” quick kiss on your way out the door will work.

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I go to sleep and wake up to a handsome face that has been next to me for over 40 years. I know his eyes, his mouth, his smile, his hands, his voice and even his growing wrinkles; the interesting part is that this man looks the same to me now as he did in his 20’s. I know him face to face; heart to heart, for we have become one.

Jesus knows us the same and he calls us to that type of relationship and communication. He knows every hair, every wrinkle, even every thought – he knows us intimately and asks us -desires for us – to come close and know him face to face, heart to heart.

Intimacy comes from knowing, and knowing takes time; time at His feet, time in quiet stillness, in a face to face; heart to heart connection and we call this prayer. No hurried “hello, have a great day” quick kiss on your way out the door will work.  No relationship is built on fast pace connection, it is all about spending time.

“Be still, and know that I am God” Psalm 46:10 (ESV)

This type of face to face, heart to heart adoration changes you at your very core. All the worries of the day, fears of the night – life’s craziness, falls away and peace rushes in.

As my husband’s presence brings me overwhelming love and joy just because he is who he is; so does a face to face, heart to heart walk with Jesus bring an abundant life filled with joy – deep down joy.

What does it take? How do you get there?

Desire it! Ask for it!

Take TIME! SLOW down!

Wait silently! Sit and LISTEN!

And extravagantly ENJOY it!

The best part of your day will be waking up to HIM; for you will walk face to face, heart to heart, with your savior.

Artwork courtesy of: Dennis L. Sanchez

Faith Like Honey

Faith is like honey! It is a substance that is thick, it changes anything it touches, it draws things to it, it only requires a small amount to achieve its effect and it is addictive in its flavor.

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I recently pulled out a bottle of honey and noticed it had begun to crystallize. I dipped my spoon in anyways and it quickly adhered. However, it was so thick the spoon wouldn’t lift out, but as I placed the jar in a pan of warm water it soon softened back to it’s normal yummy consistency.   As this little morning event transpired I was drawn to a spiritual parallel.

Faith is like honey! It is a substance that is thick, it changes anything it touches, it draws things to it, it only requires a small amount to achieve its effect and it is addictive in its flavor.

Faith requires only one thing – that we believe. With honey we must believe it is sweet before we reach out to taste it; so it is with Faith.

Once we believe, faith is ignited and begins its transforming effect.

As we have looked at honey’s qualities so should our faith qualities parallel. Our faith in Christ should also be deep and thick – a relationship that has substance. A substance that transforms who we are and everything we touch. Our faith should be contagious – drawing others to us. Our faith should be sincere not pushy or overly sweet in its presentation, but full of love. Our faith should be addictive both to us as well as those around us.

This transforming effect isn’t something we can “work at” but just is – as we walk by faith not by our sight. Our love of Christ and desire for his presence will ignite our mustard seed faith and produce a tree of faith that will draw into our lives all that the Kingdom of Heaven has for us, just like the honey sucked in my spoon.

How is your faith consistency? Is it rich and thick? Is it crystallizing?

If it is rich and thick then keep it flowing and watch the transformation around you. As you dig deeper into His presence it will keep flowing, it will draw others and its addictively sweet flavor will fuel your desire and love for His presence more and more.

However, sometimes we carry our faith through years of life without using it. Like the honey, it becomes crystallized, thick and unusable. But, just like my honey; it only takes a little warming to adjust its consistency. Our faith can be re-warmed by simply stepping back to the place our faith began – the feet of Jesus.

II Cor. 5:7 (ESV) for we walk by faith, not by sight.

I John 5:4-5. (ESV) For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world – our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.

An Eagle’s Life Lesson

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     The majestic eagle depends on his physical design; strength, speed and and sharp vision, for his survival.  Just as the eagle does, so do we often depend on the “I” of our own abilities.    

     There comes a time to the eagle where a molting process must be faced. This process brings this majestic strong bird to a weakened position. His feathers, strength, vision and ability to fly or hunt are eliminated during this time of preparation for renewal.

     We too, come to this place; where all of what “I” can do and what “I” have done are no longer of value. We then face a choice, a choice of the heart. A choice that requires a willingness to give up all of what “I” can do and trust in what “He” did for us at the cross.

     The eagles too must make a similar choice. Many roll over and die choosing the memory of the “I” of their former majesty. Those who are renewed are those who turn to the sun, rest and wait. They then are restored not to the former majesty but to a stronger and greater one.

     We too can only reach new heights with renewed vision and strength when our eyes are on the “Son” not the “I”. Only then can His plans, purposes and design for our life be renewed.

     Trust that His plans for you are far greater then your “I” plans. So chose today to learn from the renewed eagle. Join me and look to the Son – Rest and Wait! This hard time of “molting” will bring forth the fruit that changes lives; you will come out better then you ever were before.


Isaiah 40:31 but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint. (ESV)

Revised excerpt from Winters Rest – J.K. Sanchez “The Choice – To Mount Up With Wings Like Eagles” 2014

Love – The Medicine that Matters

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     We are made up of billions of microscopic cells. These cells make us who we are but sometimes they get infiltrated, mutate and change. Those changes forever change lives.

     For the last several months I have been writing an article on breast cancer; I have researched, studied and cried profusely over stories of women who have battled this insidious disease. The stories are different, the procedures are different, and the outcomes are different, but three small words seem to jump out of every story – faith, hope and love; and the greatest of these inevitably is love.

     In all of our lives we face life-impacting monsters that threaten to pull us under. During those times these same three words surface and are ultimately what allow us to stand through the storm – and the greatest of these words is love.

     The greatest love ever given was the love poured out on the cross of Jesus Christ – that love was for us and now lives inside our cells. What we do with that love makes everything change. Just like infiltrating mutating cancer cells change lives forever – so much more does the love of Christ infiltrate and mutate our cells into ones that infuse our lives and the very atmosphere around us. Those changes are then transferred to others and bring strength, life and change.

     Every story of struggle and pain is peppered with the only medicine that matters – Love. The simple out-pouring of everyday needs, given out of love is what makes the difference in the midst of the chaos. Those who step up – stand beside, lie beside, cry, laugh and walk through the fire are the ones that bring the medicine that matters. A love that saturates, strengthens, supports and brings relief; coming as unconditional love, surrounding the struggling warrior. Often it is only a hand-full of “love” carriers that stand beside and weather the storm – but that is all that is needed.

     Not many “friends” make it.  Unfortunately those who find themselves in the battle also find that those we thought would always be there for us are often times the first to go. Leaving us alone, hurting, broken and needy, but then just as surprising the unexpected people of love step in.

     Our society has become one of “fixers” – we always have the answer, an opinion, direction and judgments for the one who is struggling. Often because we are uncomfortable – we give out those “fixes” instead of just being there and allowing the love within us to become the salve, which brings strength to rise up.

     Within each of us is housed a quiet simple place where love resides. The noise and craziness of society often drowns it out. It is not hidden there for us but for the broken, hurting and needy. Step out of your comfort zone into a place where you become a dispenser of the greatest medicine ever; allow His love to bring healing, restoration and release into lives that are living in chaos. No opinions, No directions, No judgments – No fixes of any kind – simply love.

     No matter what the outcome – Love truly is the only medicine that matters. It is the only eternal medicine. Allow the cellular level change of His infused love to permeate you and those around you by simply being His love to those your life touches every day.

I Corinthians 13:13 So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.   (ESV)
Photo Courtesy of : taoty@freedigitalphotos.net

A Sanctuary Within

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Walking through my yard this morning with birds and butterflies swooping and fluttering by, an unexpected peace settled over me as the word “Sanctuary” dropped into my heart. Thankfulness grew within as I looked at our little paradise – a not so big home and a way to big yard that has matured over our 18 years of care giving.

     Our home has been filled often to the bursting point at family gatherings. Family has been added and grown to include so many who have truly become “family” though not by any reason other then our love for each other.  As well as the times when we have opened our home to house those in need of a place of refuge. We have often questioned – why us? But we too, have matured as the house and yard have. Now, realizing it has been His love that has drawn the broken, needy and just those who needed a little TLC into our home – this sanctuary. We have simply said yes to His request and invited them in and watched as in some small way we have helped to heal, restore and release people onto the next steps in the journey that God has begun for them.

     Our yard with it’s enormity overwhelmed us many times over these years but my vision of what it was to be has slowly evolved as many hours of work have created our little oasis. I researched and chose many plants and flowers that would draw hummingbirds and butterflies – planting and often re-planting. Every year has brought more work; more plants, more flowers and more ways to creatively landscape. By creating less grass to maintain yet producing our slowly materializing park the vision has slowly come to pass. Today, I look out and see a plethora of birds of all species as well as my hummingbird friends who fill the skies throughout the day. And now joining them butterflies swoop in and out to nibble on my flowers. What began 18 years ago has become an amazing sanctuary for birds, butterflies and me! The peace of God surrounds every area we have lovingly created.

     Paralleling this long-term creation in the natural to my spiritual walk I realized that to truly see and experience the sanctuary that God has created within me and around my life requires TIME. As we continually turn construction over to Him – He digs, plants, moves things in and out – and suddenly His peace is reigning and we begin to SEE the fruit and are blessed to enjoy it. It is always after much has been done and all of the hard work and mess has been cleaned up that the beauty presents itself and fruit is flourishing.

    As we allow the loving hand of Christ to create His sanctuary within us we are allowed the great joy of being part of the same process of creation in others. In love we pour out His healing, His restoration and encourage the release of His children into who He created them to be.

   Our lives then become a place that is filled with love, peace, and refuge, which draws those in to this “God” place of sanctuary.

A Place of Pause

Some mornings are just made for sleeping in.  Some are made to jump up and get going for they are pre-planned and full of expectation. Then there are mornings where you get that early morning wake-up call in your spirit.

This morning was one of those – but to wake up and wait? Garden *JKSG001 (His Perfect Timing)

As we learn to hear and move as the Spirit leads there often comes a place of pause. This place requires discipline and peace to wait and rest in the midst of great anticipation. This place of pause is much harder then to be called to “move out” because our tendency is to take it into our own hands and just get it done – but that’s not how it works in the Kingdom of Heaven.

To run ahead or lag behind is loss – but to wait and only move in synchronized perfect timing with the Spirits call is of great gain however, it comes with a great cost. That cost is to wait –prayerfully wait in readiness with lamps full of oil and ready for His call to move is much harder then it sounds.

Perfect timing, moving on time and waiting are all throughout the Bible. The children of Israel only moved when the cloud by day or pillar by night moved, the 10 virgins had lamps full of oil and waited for the bridegroom, Jesus went where and when the Father directed bringing life exactly where the Father was moving and the apostles directed by the Spirit carried the gospel to all parts of the world. But what does that look like to us? Exactly the same – simply wait, wait, wait – not anxiously but walking in peace and rest, totally at a readiness of spirit.

So, my call this morning was one of waiting, listening and being ready for the call and direction of my bridegroom – with lamps filled with oil I wait in His presence for His stirring and movement before me when my heart that is ready to  receive and quickly move will sing YES, LORD.

 

“Touchdown” Worship

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As you see the stands explode with jumping and screaming fans you too erupt with cries of joy as the quarterback plows through the waiting wall of defense- making the final winning touchdown.

My recent enjoyment of football has my family grinning at me as I jump, shout and scream throughout – a newbie to the game. We all find ourselves expressing these same extravagant behaviors at many events in our daily lives – births, weddings, and birthdays, to name a few. These celebrations are in fact a type of worship.

Comparing these celebrations with our worship of the King of Kings brought a smile to my face; I remembered David’s extravagant – all out there – worship in the streets. Shouldn’t we have that same exuberance and freedom as we express our love and adoration in the presence of the Lord?

Our love for Jesus and our wholehearted worship of him both at church and home can be just as energetic, powerful and life giving.

The psalms are filled with life’s rough times – betrayals, persecutions and trials of every sort but the psalmist voice always comes back to a place of worship and awe for the goodness and steadfast love of the Lord.

As we look up – the very air we breathe crackles with His life. We see His glory and power in all of creation, from the towering mountains, thundering waterfalls and crashing waves to the tiny ants diligence, the bees’ productivity and the ever re-producing seeds around us. His glorious creativity blooms – the awe of who He is stirs a depth of worship beyond a song, a shout or a dance.

It’s this depth of worship that gets you through times of trial! As deep calls to deep within your spirit you can suddenly see that this type of worship is far bigger then you! It’s a response crying from within, it’s a response that brings life and freedom, and it’s a response toward your Lord whose steadfast love continually carries you. When that awe begins to grow inside of you suddenly it is just like that “touchdown”; the exuberance erupts with joyous shouts, songs and dancing.

It’s this place – this place of unabashed expression of how good God is that brings freedom, life abundant and power to overcome the “stuff” of this life.

Reach up, dig deep, go long with all that is within you – rejoice and worship at the feet of Jesus. Leave the rest behind and dive for the touchdown!

Psalm 150:1-6  Praise the Lord!  Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens!  Praise him for his mighty deeds; praise him according to his excellent greatness!  Praise him with trumpet sound; praise him with lute and harp!  Praise him with tambourine and dance; praise him with strings and pipe!  Praise him with sounding cymbals; praise him with loud clashing cymbals!

Let everything that has breath praise the Lord!  Praise the Lord. (ESV)

“Higher – Daddy, Higher!”

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Children love to go higher and higher, to be lifted, to swing, to climb – always asking and desiring “Higher – daddy, higher”.

As a young child I would swing for hours pushing higher and higher until I could hear the “ker-thunk” of the swing set legs lifting slightly up and then back into their sleeves, enjoying every minute of free-flight freedom. I would also find the same release of joyous freedom when I would twirl round and round with arms stretched out and head staring straight up at the clouds; spinning like a top until I was so dizzy I couldn’t stand upright anymore – landing in a heap in the grass. And another childhood memory – my love of encountering a grassy hill! Without words the race to the top would begin, no thought given to the inevitable grass stains and no concern to the possible nauseous feeling at the end. The only desire was the exuberant release of joy and freedom that was to come as I rolled all the way to the bottom.

Do you remember those times of untethered freedom expressed in childhood?  Most of us have some or have loved watching our children or grandchildren experience them.

But then the time comes where these types of behaviors are no longer appropriate; we grow up. However, we still search to find that same release of joyous freedom. As adults we shift our search to downhill skiing, bungie jumping, skydiving, zip-lining and a myriad of similar extreme sports, finding the release of joyous freedom that explodes us out of our care, worries and craziness of life. All of these examples speak of our desire for the exhilarating joy that freedom brings.

These experiences of “letting go of everything” require a faith! It stirs a belief that we will be ok, that this is worth the risk, that this is really a safe activity.This is an ultimate trust in our God who is good and has our lives in His hands.  

We believe, desire and declare, “Higher – Daddy, higher”.

However, when life throws you an unexpected curve ball, life begins to spin out of control, life pulls you into the pit; suddenly the free fall fun is no longer joyful or freeing. Your trust is shaken, you pull back, you hang on and fear takes over! This overwhelming grief, this unexpected medical diagnosis, this heart-stopping loss or this unrelenting pain begins to run your life!

The spinning and out of control feeling has changed, what previously brought joyous freedom now is overwhelming, why?

Your eyes have become focused on the mountain not on the creator of that mountain; you have forgotten who is pushing the swing.

Looking back to the face of Jesus, His promises and His love for you is the key. As you lean into His presence – it will bring you back to that child like trust, allowing you to “let it go”; stirring joy and releasing freedom in the very center of the chaos. On this zip-line life journey, the fears that claw and grasp at your heart will soon begin to dissolve. The balm of Gilead with healing will soothe your heart and life will begin again.

 Return as a child to swing higher and higher with your daddy – He’s got you – trust in His love for you, then the exhilarating release of joy and freedom will return and lift you from the pit.

Let go of the fear, grief, pain and loss; turn and declare, “Higher -daddy, higher” as you find that place of peace and trust that only exist in the presence of the arms of Jesus.

 

Psalm 40:2 He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet up on a rock, making my steps secure. (ESV)
Psalm 103:2-5 Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.(ESV)
Photo courtesy of worradmu@freedigitalphotos.net