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Living with a broken heart

Our world tries to throw off the very thought of any brokenness being a part of us. We’d give our greatest effort to avoid any sort of contact with it's sharpest edges.

Freedom and beauty is found in its absence- or so we are told.

It’s like we’ve forgotten that we live in a twisted and confused world, that’s been clutched by an enemy that seeks to destroy.

It’s as if we’ve forgotten that there’s this awful epidemic of sin that’s out to destroy, and we think that somehow if we try hard enough we can somehow avoid any contact it could have with us.

But you see, when Jesus walked this world of dust He didn’t seem to avoid or try His best to be removed from the places that were rough. Instead He walked right straight into it.

He placed Himself in the center of all of our brokenness, in order to give our hearts the greatest form of healing.

So we can all make this choice to try to avoid the broken parts of life, but right here and now, I say that I’m choosing to live through this life with a broken heart.

The truth is, each person that has been covered in Christ’s blood and has been made whole again, is meant to live in the midst of this world’s brokenness in order to spread His healing to every sin-sick soul.

And every time you watch another’s pain, you’ll start to see how fast your heart can break again.

Not the sort of break that comes from separation from His perfect love, but rather a breaking up of you heart because you’ve begun to bear the holy weight of His perfect kind of love.

This love is something that’s outside of this world, and it will both break you and enable you to live the gospel call.

Your heart will break at the sight of another persons deepest pain.

Your heart will break when you open up your lives to be hurt by another persons mistakes.

Your heart will break when the cruelty of this world rips you to shreds, and you feel so incapable of fixing it all.

And yet, your willingness to live among the broken begins to break the gospel right into this world. Your willingness to be light within dark makes the world a different sort of place and it all begins to illuminate.

So from this day on I pray to stay within the tension of this holy, broken-hearted way of life for all my days.

It might come from opening up my home to a hurting desperate heart.

It might come from loving another who won’t ever give it back in return.

It could come in the form of a foster home, never knowing how long you have to show this tiny soul all of the love that you've got.

It could come from leaving behind a world of familiarity and accepting a life of absence from your very favorite things.

It might come in the form of being the sort of person that chooses to care when the rest of the world finds it easier to just go numb.

One thing is for sure, it's the pain-filled way. It's the others-focused way. It's the way that this world warns you not to walk.

And yet, it's the way that was paved for us by the greatest kind of Love, the way our Jesus walked.

To live in this tension is to live in the bravest way, and I ask you all today, will you not also claim a place among the broken-hearted, world-changers of this world?

To live broken and given is to live in a continual taste of heaven. So let yourself be fully given to the way of Jesus and you’ll find a purpose that runs deeper than any life that’s trying to escape all of this crazy world's pain.

What really happens when you follow your heart

So, what if you know your identity, but you still feel far away from feeling like it’s real?

What if the facts all add up to some pretty nice thoughts, but at the deepest parts of your heart you’re really feeling something else?

Because the truth of it is, we can know an awful lot of stuff without it ever becoming a real part of us. All of those facts and truths have to find some sort of way to sink down into our hearts.

We’ve all got to find the way to really believe what we know in our heads is really true, or else shame and guilt of it all will eat away at you.

Let me lay this idea out for you.

From the moment we are born our feelings are leading the way.

They tell us what is safe and remind us of what we’ve experienced in the past, as we reach forward to take another step in life.

But every one of us will come to a point in our life and ask ourselves if these feelings, these voices from our own past, if that’s really who ought to be leading us down our road in life?

Because friend, when we come to that point where what we feel to be true and what we know to be true don’t quite collide, we’ve got to make the choice between the two and somehow pick a side.

Our hearts knows all of the past, all of the fears.
Our hearts somehow filters it all through to tell us what seems best to do, basing it all off a rocky swirl of emotions. It’s been hurt deep and scared from a bit of a broken past, it’s been led astray a thousand times by a world that pulls it to go its own way. It’s seen good days and bad days, and loves the whirl of a rollercoaster ride, and friend that’s just what you and I will get when we let our hearts take the first step.

Our hearts were deceived from the day we were born. Adam incident in the garden sealed the deal of a real broken world of sin.

Praise Jesus, Christ restored this world and all of it’s awful mess, through His great death on the cross, but friend, you’ll never have this truth as your reality if you don’t find another leader to walk you through life.

When our heart leads us we go by what we feel is right, and that’s just no way to really be alive, no solid ground for us to walk in life.

But when we put those feelings behind and choose to follow the facts, that’s when life begins to make sense. 

You and I have to choose to believe what is actually true, even though the feelings that we’ve put behind us can make an awful lot of noise from all of our past experience. 

You and I have to choose to trust in the very Words of Life, rather than letting our hearts take the lead.

Our feelings were never meant to be our guide, but rather to come in behind and transform to the truths that we’ve gone and chosen to believe.

The Word of Christ will never lie. Put your faith in the only One who was meant to hold the weight of your entire belief. 

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If this concept of identity is something you can relate to, then friend, I'd really love to hear from you. Go ahead and send me a note at amanda@thesplendidordinary.com

What we all need to know the very most

There are a thousand things that are true and a thousand more that are not, and we'll spend every day of our life choosing which we will believe between the two. 

We have this sort of invitation waiting for us from the moment we open our eyes in the morning to the second our eyes close again that night. 

This invitation is to believe something, and there isn't a single moment in your day that you aren't believing something.

Our minds just don't work that way, there isn't any empty space, whether it be the truth or a lie, we've all chosen to believe something today. 

If we don't make the effort to filter through what we're choosing to believe today, our minds will go on a sort of auto-pilot and believe me, it won't be of any help to you and me.

See, our default in our beliefs is usually far from right. AS human beings with hearts that are prone to wander, we always wander when we're not making a conscious choice.

So choose today.

Don't let it slip on by. 

Choose today which side you will fall on and make it your hearts ambition to engage in this task of believing.

Because though you hear a thousand lies each day, lets remember what is true for us today.

- Your debt has been paid, finished and satisfied. You're no longer among those who still owe, but now moved over to the crowd of those who have received this beautiful gift of everlasting life, and these are the words that light a flame inside of our lives.

- Your life is brand new, a clean start every day, because there's a whole ocean of grace that's now been made open to the heart that believes in Christ's finished worked.

- You're set free from shame, no more to be cast down, your heart is wiped clean and that means that there's nothing that an enemy can hold against you anymore.

- Your life has a plan, you're not hear for some lost purpose. You were crafted and designed with the purpose of glorifying Christ. There's a will for your life that goes deeper than you can imagine.

-Your hope is secure, not changing with different seasons. His promise of an eternal home in heaven will forever remain unshaken. Your end is already planned and your destiny made sure, so no matter what you face here on this earth, you've still got all of heaven waiting for you.

So, this is what's true, what our soul really needs to know, in the midst of a world that will try and lie to us about a thousand things.

Let's make the choice today to believe in what is right.

What exactly brings you peace?

I stepped into this brand new year with a few little word written deep into my heart.

You know how it goes, there are just those times when you can't even try to hide away the fact that God's speaking deep and clear to your own beating heart.

He's got a message for you and He wants it to be heard, and you just know that you'd better sit and here His every word.

Yes, that's about how it all started. And what were these words, what lesson needs to be learned? It's the art of lingering, the art of living at peace.

It's this lesson of lingering when there's another heart in front of you, whether they're speaking of their hurts or their joys, you're ready to hear what they really need to say. It's the lesson of lingering in silence when other voices need to be heard clearer and louder than your own.

It's the lesson that discloses the beauty of a heart that lingers long and deep in the presence of the only One who's deserving of our every single second, rather than only keeping busy with doing things for God. For it's a grand and glorious combination when a heart learns the order of listening and then doing, and the grand partnership that the two we're always meant to have.

It's the lesson of a heart that rests fully on the grace and strength of a love-filled, faithful God.

Yes, this is what my rapidly-beating, hurried-living kind of heart needs to learn.

That real peace is found in the beauty of Christ, not in the beauty that appears to only exist in another season of life that's further ahead and somehow never present.

And what's at the very core of a heart that's found at peace? What's the root of this grand ability to linger and be still?

There's really just a one word answer that's to be found by us all, and it's the simple little word- trust. 

Trust in something greater than yourself.

Because friend, when your trust is anchored in something solid, then your heart is fixed no matter the waves that toss you. When your trust relies on the Perfect, Faithful One, then your heart is made a steady ground, a place of infinite peace. Because this Perfect Faithful One will remain just that way through all of our final days, and that means that our lives are fixed in a sacred solace each and every day that we give up our hold and learn to trust.

Trust brings about peace, and with peace comes the ability for you and I to linger long in the arms of our Savior.

Sure, your life might just be falling apart in every earthly, worldly sense. Your heart might very well have been smashed into an entire heap of pieces at different seasons of life. The road you now walk might just be going another direction than what you designed for yourself and your left here wondering why you can't have what you want for just once in your life.

But when your entire life is placed in the arms of Christ, when you've given up on your own way and trusted in the One who brought all things to be, then your life has a guaranteed source of never-ending peace, because Christ is incapable of ever failing you. The Perfect One isn't even able to ever make a mistake.

Peace comes from a daily choice to trust.

A heart that has peace will be ready to be His hands and feet.
A heart that has peace won't be ruffled when things don't go your way.
A heart that has peace will be ready to leave behind all that's ever brought earthly joy to their heart, when called to live a different way.

Peace comes from a deep well of trust, and trust lies among the essential rocks to each of our lives of faith.

What if you looked at what you really can do?

Hey, so you've got a heart for ministry, and that's a beautiful thing, but your looking around and wondering how? How on earth will you ever make it work? Your heart is wrapped up tight, just waiting for when you make it to another point in life.

You might be saying something along the lines of, "Well, one day when I have a home of my very own." Or, "One day when the kids have all gone and grown."

Maybe it's gotten to the point where, yeah, you know that God can really use you for His gloriously big plan, but your season of life just isn't quite right for it yet. You've got to reach a little further, or wait a little longer and then, then you'll be able to do something, anything, for the Kingdom of Heaven.

You're stuck here waiting for a someday, and then when that someday comes and turns into your today, then you'll be free to live out the ministry that you've been dreaming up inside your mind.

But did you know that one of the greatest ways that the advancement of His great Kingdom can be stopped is through the words of "I'll do that someday."

Because the truth of it is, perfect never really will come to you until the day you step onto Heavens shores. Perfect never will arrive for you as long as your home is an earthly floor.

Yeah, it’s true, you really were made to do something, and not some distant day in the future, but every day that you are here on earth for.

So what is it that I'm trying to say here? That you should forget the responsibilities that are closing in around you every long, and tiring day? That you should do your best to do it all, and while you're at it, be sure to do it now.

If that were to be true, then you and I would be set up for nothing else but a whole lot of failure.

There are limits we face and there's a real release when we come to terms with each and every one of those limits and give them to a limitless God. 

So what do we do with the tension in our soul, the longing to be a Kingdom builder-and the reality of where we're at in life?

Well, can I just encourage you to start asking God the question of, "what can I do?"

Because sure, there might just be a hundred different things that you really just can't do today, but I bet you right here and now, that there are at least just a few things that you surely can do.

Yeah, so it might not be what you had in mind. But ministry can come in a variety of shapes. Who’s to say you know just the right one, after all?

And friend, when you learn to just begin there's beauty unlimited that is about to explode right there within your mundane looking life.

We trap ourselves unnecessarily when we think in only our own little human terms. We limit our already limited beings to a much higher level when we sit and do nothing when really we could at least go and do something.

So you don't have a home of your own to invite another in, then find another little place that is "less than ideal", but will actually make things work out quite nice.

So you've got kids running crazy and a mess in every room, so bless another mom that's feeling run down and invite her to join you right there in that mess, because she's more than likely just as desperate for encouragement as you are today.

A whole world of opportunities begins to open wide when we ask ourselves what it is that we can do today instead of getting hung up on all that we can't do. When we take our eyes off of the no's and the restraints-when we're willing to lay down what is ideal and learn to do what works well right here and now, we begin to breath a little more free and live a beautiful reality.

This world is in need of changing, and there are countless hearts that need another's cheering, so don't leave it all for someday when our today's could work as well.

You have something worth giving

I know it just as well as you probably do-there's an overwhelming amount of need that covers every part of this world.

You probably want to do something about it just as badly as I do, and yet how often we try our best to shut it out of our heads. And why? Why do we try so hard to turn a blind eye to the needs that seem to be out to overwhelm us?

Well, I can really only answer this for myself, but maybe you can also relate. You see, when I think about the need I see my inadequacies all staring right back at me. I see my shortcomings and my lack of ability. I see my humanity and incapability, and it doesn't take all that long for it to completely paralyze me. 

But did anyone ever do any good by doing nothing instead?

If your life is redeemed and your heart is restored by the Love and Grace of a good God up above, then friend can I remind you, you have more than enough to give! 

You have life everlasting to share with the world. You have hope that's eternal, the kind that nothing can steal.

So why, do we fall for the lie that we don't have an amount that is worth it to give?

What if you and I did a switch and instead of seeing our lack of ability, we saw only our riches from eternity?

Dream a little with me- what would be the difference if every heart that believed in a Savior who redeems, took the tools that they have and turned them into a daily gift of love?

Sure, we might just be dirt poor at this very moment, but if we've been given the ability to speak, then why not go and use that to fill another person's desperate need for encouragement?

We might be trapped in by a family to care for, but don't we have a pen and paper and just a few  minutes to spare? Then why not turn it into the filler for another souls need, and write out a letter that speaks life into their broken world?

We might have the earthly resource and no time left in our day, except to right a check for the amount that's extra this month. Then send it off to someone who's coming up short and is in need of a little extra today.

And no matter what can't we always, always pray for another human being?

So, what's your greatest source of means today? Whatever it is go ahead and turn it into a tangible form of Christ's love.

Send an invite or make a gift. When you love much through word and deed, you'll find that love comes spilling right over you from the Source of Love Himself. 

Our live's are meant to be overflowing, but you and I have to start giving in order to open up those endless streams of heaven's grace.

If each of us gathered up our little amount of ability, and put it into a daily use, we might find that changing the world isn't so far out of our reach. If each of us lifted even our emptiest of hands up to a Father who loves to transform, can't we believe that He's going to enable us to give out His love?

Be a giver of life out of what you hold in your own hands right now-no matter how small. You hold the treasures of heaven inside of you and that gift of His life has the ability to take on a thousand different forms.

When we live a life that gives out His love in countless ways, we begin to see it running in deeper streams within us today. 

"My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth." 

{  1  J o h n  3 : 1 8  }

If you'd like to dig into this a little deeper, click the "Join Me" tab and enter your email.
 I've got lots of ideas that I'd love to talk about with you! 

Where do you belong?

There's one word that keeps coming to my mind, one theme of continuous learning right now, and it's the idea of really belonging. 

This word belong, I'm guessing that we all tend to like the sound of it. It's a concept that we all want for our own and would give up all we've got at times, just simply to say that we too belong.

It deals with our identity and who we're really meant to be. It deals with heart issues and sometimes even the scared parts of bent up lives.

It affects us at the very center of our being, this whole idea of belonging. So, let's go ahead and ask the question, what does it really mean to belong? Why does the word bring a stir of desire and an ache for possession?

The meaning of the word runs along two parallel tracks, two different ways of looking at this grand idea of belonging. It means to have a close or intimate relationship, and doesn't the whole world want more of a relationship, more of that love and attention that we are all longing for? 

And then there's the second view on what it means to really, truly belong. The second look will show us that it also means to be a possession- to simply be someone's. 

We might wonder at that, and ask ourselves if that's something good, and something worth wanting after all? We might ask ourselves if we really do want to be a possession? 

And yet, all along isn't there this craving in each of us to know just exactly where we fit? To know we have a place and a space that's made just for us?

This idea of belonging means to be just exactly where you are meant to be, and in a world that's often gone crazy, doesn't every single beating heart just want to know where they're meant to be? Doesn't every running, confused soul just want to know what they are really meant to do? Don't we all ache deep down to simply know where we belong?

And yet, in order to belong you've got to accept that you are owned. You've got to accept not only the belonging, but also the idea of being another's possession.

There's one fact in all of this that will make a world of difference to what our belonging really means. Perhaps you've already asked the question, but let's spell it out right here in case you haven't- 

Who do you belong to?

After all, there has to be an owner to every thing that is marked "owned". There has to be a possessor that goes along with every possession. 

So, who? Who is it that you and I belong to? 

There is a God who desires to have you. Yes, the same God who hung stars in the sky and formed each and every mountain peak. There's a God and He has a desire to have you and I.

He wants us to belong, not only amongst His acquaintances, but among those that are the very closest to Him.

Remember? To belong means a close and intimate relationship. That's what He's holding out to each and every one of us- this invitation for each and every weary heart to finally belong.

He gave everything that He could possibly give just to be able to offer the very greatest invitation. He spent and spilled His very own blood on a cross in order to reach you with His most important question, "Will you belong to me?"

How can any searching, human heart overlook the grandness of this offer? 
An offer from the Author of Life.
An offer from the only One who could ever redeem you, remake you, restore you and free you.
The only One who breaks every human chain and sets every prisoner free. 
The only one who loves you everlastingly.
The only One who never leaves.
The only one who is righteous, holy and perfect.
The only one who is deserving of worship wants you to be forever found in His closest presence.
And if that doesn't bring your heart low in a humble, holy adoration, then friend, I don't know what on earth ever will. 

And yet, there's this part of the belonging that you and I don't often take time to consider. It's like we're reaching up for all of the treasure without counting in the fact that there's a real cost. 

You see, you are truly His possession. A prized possession. And when a prized possession leaves it's rightful owner, there is a vast amount of trouble. When a a prized possession takes a look at the empty treasure of this world, it pains the One who paid such a high and costly price simply to call you His.

See, we like to make it light. We like to skip over what we're actually doing when we take a little break to fit in with the world. But how in heaven's name do we ever turn our eyes away from perfect, eternal love? And when we take our eyes off of His holy perfection, what are we really trading it all in for? A cheap and deadly counterfeit. A shadow of light in a world of dark, when Heaven's light has already been opened up to us. 

We're His. We're forever belonging to Him. We've got a place that's made especially just for us at the greatest table your eyes ever could dream up.

We've got more love flowing down and over us than any of us knows exactly what to do with. And don't let us kid ourselves on thinking one drop of it is deserved by us. Undeserved and Unreserved it all flows down on us.

Our hearts are fragile and our hearts are quick to turn away. But I ask you today, won't you look at the Master of your life and see once more the love in His eyes?

Don't go and trade in the only real reason for hope in your life, for a moment of the world's cheap and fleeting version of a treasure. 

You've got something eternal. You belong to a Forever King. Stay in your place of belonging.

"You are not your own, for you were  b o u g h t  with a price. 
So  g l o r i f y  God in your body."
- H E B R E W S  6 : 1 9 - 2 0 -