Tag Archives: failure

Shattered and Scattered

John 16:32

The disciples had witnessed many miraculous things and received powerful teaching from The Supreme Teacher. They believed He was the Son of God, the Redeemer and the promised Messiah.  If anyone asked them they were quick to tell who He was, but now He was telling them He was going away – going back to The Father.  Jesus was telling them that in a short while, they would scatter and leave Him alone.  They didn’t believe Him.

How could they leave Him?  How could He leave them? The thought of it sounded crazy but it happened.

Don’t we do the same thing?

We have preconceived notions of God and how He’s going to bless us and work things out in our lives.  That’s as real as our faith is to that point.  That’s what we’re taught and we believe God (and Jesus) are who they say they are and we live based on our faith as we know it.

What if the unthinkable happens, though, do we still believe?  What if your child gets sick, you lose your job, you lose everything you have, your spouse dies.  When God allows you to be shattered, will you still choose to love God and trust Him or will you “scatter”?

Although I have been blessed with my heart’s desire and am physically living in it, it hasn’t been easy or even pleasant at times.  My perception of “trust”…of even who I thought God was and certainly how He would see to me have totally disintegrated.  Shattered, I became scattered and my God – I thought – had failed me.

I think God allows extremes to take us to the “next level” – if we choose to go.  We don’t have to.  Many have abandoned their faith in God when He allows extremes.  When we’re smashed with something we don’t see coming, we’re rattled, and perhaps for a moment, knocked off our foundation.

Many times, all we can do is believe in Him and choose NOT to believe what we feel and see.  I’ve said that many times.  In brokenness and despair when everything around is distorted and we’re shattered to our core, ready to cut and run (or lay down and die) – we’re at a crossroad of giving in or going on.  Will we choose to still trust Him?  Will we muster the strength to take one more step with Him?

The disciples did scatter when Jesus was arrested but something made them remain in the distance to see what happened.  They saw Him tortured, watched Him die and His body be buried. They gathered together in their grief only to see Him return to them more alive than He had ever been.  The first thing He said to them was “PEACE”.

During the shattered times, if we choose to hang on through what we go through He will do the same for us.  He’ll bring us back together, repair our shattered hearts and seal in us a much stronger faith…if we only believe.  He’s done that for me in ways I can’t begin to tell you.  He’ll do the same for you if you’ll hold on just a bit longer.


I’m Positive: I Don’t Know.


Good job: gone.  Money:  nonexistent.  Friends:  nowhere.  Money:  none. Refrigerator:  empty.  Eviction notice:  served.  Diagnosis:  terminal.

Lying awake night after night, praying, crying, begging God to help.  Nothing.  The next day is like the last day, spent in the grasp of fear and anxiety.

What do you do when you’re clinging to God with every breath, and He’s silent?  He has certainly not responded like you thought He would…like you think He should. Getting out of bed to do it all again seems unappealing.  Why? Just another day of failure, fear and discouragement.  Why even try, you ask yourself. Isn’t there a story in the Bible where Job’s wife told him, “curse God and die…”?  Maybe that’s the answer.  You tried everything else and it appears that you’ve failed.

There’s some fierce battling going on here.  On days, in situations like that the only thing to do is go on His say-so.  You must muster up enough faith in the Lord to try to convince yourself…despite whatever circumstance…that He is true to His word.  This is a battle for your faith.  The enemy knows what’s inside you and he’s (I believe) concerned that you’ll have an impact in the future so he must defeat you now – he’s aiming for you and this time his aim was very good.  You’re down and your faith is almost nonexistent.  Thus the decision.

Believe that God hasn’t left you.  Believe He’s faithful and His promises are applicable to you, personally.  Believe He will see you through.  How will He do it?  I have no idea.  What will He do to help you?  I don’t know.  I just know He will.  “Lord, because You say you’re with me, You’ll provide for me and will never leave me, I’m getting up out of bed.”  Sometimes we have no other reason other than that to start a new day.  This is faith.

Countless, the times in the past two years I’ve done just that.  I couldn’t see how I would live through the day (wasn’t real sure I wanted to), but I did…by His grace alone.  I could tell you story after story of how He has provided – it hasn’t been pretty and lots of it I didn’t like but He did. Through that, I have seen Him as never before…and I know Him better than I ever have.

How will he help you?  I’m positive of one thing:  I have no idea.  But.  I know He will.

~Philippians 4:19~

The Painful Question

“Do you love Me?”

How that question must’ve cut Peter to the bone.  I wonder if his mind went back to the words spoken just before the events began to unfold:  “you will deny me three times…” (Mark 14:30).

I wonder if Peter relived that moment at the predicted third betrayal when Jesus looked at him (Luke 22:61).  The words must’ve cut like a knife.  Why would He even give Peter the chance to respond?  Didn’t his actions say he didn’t?  He had failed Jesus miserably.  How could he answer?  I imagine just attempting to answer was excruciating.

Wasn’t it enough that Peter had failed his Lord at the most critical time?  I mean by actions, by what Peter had done and said (denied Christ) you would think his fate was sealed.  Game over – all that teaching, healing, following; all those miracles he was witness to – that life – was finished because he had let Jesus down.  He committed the unpardonable sin – he denied Christ…and he did it believing he wouldn’t!

Yet after Peter had gone back to his familiar life “BC” Jesus waited for him and the other disciples on the shoreline.  He knew His Peter; Jesus knew where to find him.  He asked him three times if he loved Him – I believe – to allow Peter to get what was between them (in Peter’s mind and heart) taken care of so he could know he was forgiven.

I love this story.  It’s a beautiful example of the forgiveness and personal affection Jesus had for Peter…and has for us. How many times have we failed?  We may not have denied Christ as obviously as Peter did – we may not have shouted the words “I don’t know Him” – but at some time or another we’ve all fallen short of loving Him.  We’ve treated people badly, we’ve willingly done something we know is wrong; we’ve essentially said, “Lord I know this doesn’t please You.  You say this is wrong but right now I love me more than You and I want this more (than I want to please you) so I’m doing it” which is the same thing.

Then after the choice is made and regret and/or remorse sets in you’re feeling the sting of knowing you messed up. But look.  There He is, waiting for you to come to Him and settle it. Do you love Him?  Say it.  Are you sorry?  Say it. Let His words cut you deep so that you have to go to Him and settle it. He’s waiting.

Sacred Socks

While walking Sampson one morning, I was walking and praying, head down, looking at my shoes and socks.  My shoes were worn, I brought them from Alabama and since being here, my job changed and the bottom fell out and couldn’t afford to buy any more so they were looking pretty bad.  They still had good soles and no holes but they were sure ugly.  I had a pair of my son’s socks on because I didn’t have any of my own…couldn’t afford them either.  You know things are pretty dire when you can’t afford socks.  I looked like an orphan and worse, I felt like one too.

Somehow looking at my shoes and socks the desperation of our situation became very real to me. Fear and sadness rushed me and with it God recalled to my mind His words: “Pray without ceasing…” (1st Thessalonians 5:17) and “but my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19) so in tears I prayed for socks.  “I’m thankful for my son’s socks Lord, thankful my feet aren’t cold but honestly, I would like to have my own socks.  Maybe someday soon, when things are better, You will see fit to let me have my own socks so I won’t have to wear his anymore…I believe it won’t always be this way but if it is thank You that we have what we need…” and kept walking.

Anyone else would think me silly; I kind of thought how petty I was being even thinking about socks when faced with so many challenges…so many mountains that I just couldn’t see my way over.  At that moment, it seemed like I was doomed.  I could barely buy groceries and faced with the threat of eviction on top of losing 75% of my income, I was feeling pretty hopeless and I was full of self-pity.

A couple of days later my next door neighbor stopped me and told me they had been given some clothes and after she went through them if I wanted them I could go through them to see if there was anything we needed. I walked over and got the bags and began going through them.  In one of the big bags at the bottom was a white, smaller bag.  When I opened the bag I couldn’t believe my eyes.  Socks, pairs and pairs of brand new women’s socks.  While going through them crying so hard I couldn’t see I remembered just two days before my heartfelt prayer and I was reminded, yet again, my Father knows every need, He hears every prayer and He provides.

A couple of things came to me while I rejoiced over my provision:  1) answered prayers may not look like we think they ought to.  See, I thought when I had the money I would buy my own socks.  I never considered hand-me-down clothes would contain my answer and 2) God answers prayer in many ways but one thing is for sure…He can’t answer if we don’t ask.  I wonder had I not prayed if my neighbor would have been prompted to even give me what she didn’t want!

I learned a valuable lesson that day.  Pray about EVERYTHING.  At a time when I felt absolutely worthless and that life as I knew it was over I still believed in God, His ability to provide our needs and He hadn’t abandoned me – He was there.  When I didn’t see how things were ever going to get better, He showed me with socks that He is intricately involved in EVERY detail of our lives.

The answers to our prayers may not come like we think they should which I have come to believe is exciting!  Sacred socks infused a new faith in me because now when there’s a need I have a renewed expectation of Him knowing He will provide…I just don’t know how which makes like more of an excellent adventure.  The important thing is, I truly believe He will answer.  Do you?

Those socks at that time in my life were like manna from heaven.  From then on, I gave Him permission to provide any way He wants to and I have a new gratefulness in my heart.  Every time I get dressed and put them on I remember He hears, He provides and I know if He will give me socks, everything else we need is covered.


Finally after a long, long life journey, I find myself in the physical place where I most want to be. This is where I belong but I must say since I moved back, all kinds of things have happened I’ve never been through before. I started to doubt whether I have made the right decision and began to wonder if God wasn’t punishing me for moving. For a moment, I believed – I mean REALLY believed I had messed up and was out of the will of God. I was basing my truth on my circumstances and I got totally consumed by my feelings of failure, believing if I was truly “in God’s will” the ride would be smooth – I mean I had to have really messed up otherwise things wouldn’t be so testy. Right? Isn’t that the way it goes? You control your own universe; if things are good it’s because of what YOU do; things are bad because of what YOU do or don’t do. I’m laughing out loud right now. YES I have always believed that no one else but me is responsible for the bad decisions I’ve made and the consequences that followed. But controlling the universe and controlling my destiny sorry. I just don’t believe that.

For a moment though I got lost in all of this and frankly I was ready to just stop and let the chips fall where they may and basically just surrender. I could go into all the stuff that’s happened but I won’t. It has been just crazy. Suffice it to say, I’ve had it. Where’s that white flag. I’m ready to give in and either go back or not move. BUT…

While at church last night a familiar verse was spoke by our Pastor: “…the joy of the Lord is my strength.” (Nehemiah 8:10). All of a sudden, the Light came on. I had forgotten where my strength comes from. I had gotten wrapped up in my fears and frustrations and the fatigue that accompanies them. I got stuck in me and it was getting ugly. From those words until the end of the Bible study, everything said was relevant to our lives. It was one of the moments you live for.

I came home, got in the Word and got on my face. He showed me some things I thought I had learned but I was forced to confess I hadn’t put to use in quite a while. I didn’t realize how caught up I had gotten in trying to live through all this stuff until last night. Lord, forgive me.

The whole process has shown me AGAIN (how many times must I have to relearn this lesson!?!?!) how intense the battle is and how good the enemy is at deception. I KNOW what I believe; I KNOW what God said to me personally and yet, I was in a mess. If you’ve not been led back into fear and anxiety in a while, good for you! BUT don’t think it can’t happen to you. There are all kinds of battles and snares within the battles for all of us. The way you fall to the enemy may be different from how I fall…but we all are capable of falling.

During those times when things are a mess and very frightening there’s a decision to be made. Will you believe? Will you trust? Will you be thankful and love God there in the midst of the mess? I chose last night to love Him and believe Him right here. The scary hasn’t changed yet. The provision has not come – yet. BUT I believe it IS coming. I believe He will see me through this trial. I remember my joy, my faith, my willingness, my ability, my comfort and reassurance are found in Jesus alone. He’s the stability and the strength I so long for in all this uncertainty. I have Him and I believe Him. I choose to love Him here.