when you are the owner of a broken heart

Friend, today I am going to share from the heart one of the biggest lessons I have ever learned about brokenness.  My prayer is that the same God who is rebuilding the broken pieces with me will give you a glimpse of hope where you are feeling broken.

Maybe you and I, we’re never meant to be complete. Could we just be broken together? If you can bring your shattered dreams and I’ll bring mine. Could healing still be spoken and save us? The only way we’ll last forever is broken together. – Broken Together- Casting Crowns

Relationships are hard.

Especially the ones with the people you interact with every day.

Because in our own way, deep down within each of us, we are broken.

Some more than others, but no one walks this earth unscathed in some way.

Not even Jesus did.

I have found that when I am feeling broken, I have a tendency to hide away, lick my wounds and brood. Occasionally, a full blown cry fest erupts, leaving me exhausted on top of the broken pieces I am trying so hard to hold together.

But we were designed for community. With our best friends and families, but especially in marriage, if we have been blessed with that gift.

These past 25 years together, my hubby and I have had a lot of mileage into the realm of brokenness. It has been harder than I imagined at times, more painful than I ever thought, and gone deeper than I ever dreamed possible.

Yet together we are stronger because of it, for we can see God moving better in each other at times than we can sense Him moving within ourselves.

Building one another up when the other is feeling low. Being the shoulder to cry on when we need to let it out.

Because the secret to being broken in a marriage and still staying married?

The three stranded cord.

By yourself you’re unprotected. With a friend you can face the worst. Can you round up a third? A three-stranded rope isn’t easily snapped.  Ecclesiastes 4:12 (MSG)

When even one of you invite God into your marriage, He intertwines Himself into it. He becomes the stabilizer, the marriage counselor. He gives you the love to express when you feel empty, yet your hubby needs to know you care. He gives your hubby the strength to just listen & tell you he loves you.

Without God, our marriage would not have made it this far.

Because in our own strength we would have run on empty long ago.

It’s not about having made a bad pick, or being a mismatched pair.

It’s making the one you are with your mate, supported by the Love that never fails, never gives up and never runs out on either of you, or your marriage.

If you know you are broken and need help, pray and ask God to bring you to the right resources, or bring the best help to you.

Your spouse’s brokenness isn’t for you to heal, that is His job. They need your support and love as they face their own brokenness and support you in yours.

God knew when He designed marriage that we would need one another:

In better, in worse.
In sickness, in health.
With wealth, without much.
Whether whole or broken.

The amazing thing I have found? My hubby and I have not been so broken in the same ways that we couldn’t be there for one another. Often not perfectly, but present none the less.

In His mercy, He makes us the mate our spouse needs. Whether we have broken bits or not.

Only God can take what is broken, and shape it to make something beautiful.

  • He is with us, every step of the journey.
  • His Presence draws closer with every request for Him to come and be nearer.
  • His love, strength, grace and mercy are more than enough for what you and your spouse may face today.

He longs to restore and repair where we are broken, and can do amazing things when we place ourselves in His hands.

Broken together with the Potter makes for a beautiful finish beyond belief.

When we give Him all the pieces, He can make us whole again, one piece at a time.

broken together

#broken #hopefortheharddays #hopeinHisPresence

finding your sweet spot

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Getting to know yourself is the key to finding out what revs your motor.

When a car is finely tuned with care by its mechanic, and is running on the right fuel, the ride is sweet.

Not taking care of your engine will cause damage to your car, not to mention the wrong fuel can cause it not to start, majorly mucking things up.

To find your sweet spot, you need to know your passions. How God has hardwired you.

Do you love to create?

Are you a teacher?

Can’t stop singing?

Love to organize?

Live to scribble?

Delight in helping?

Pray for healings?

Have a deep unshakeable faith?

Unswerving hope?

Interpret words?

Speak truth & encouragement?

These are just a few clues that can lead you to discover why you are here. God’s various gifts are handed out everywhere; but they all originate in God’s Spirit. God’s various ministries are carried out everywhere; but they all originate in God’s Spirit. God’s various expressions of power are in action everywhere; but God himself is behind it all. Each person is given something to do that shows who God is: Everyone gets in on it, everyone benefits. All kinds of things are handed out by the Spirit, and to all kinds of people! The variety is wonderful:
wise counsel
clear understanding
simple trust
healing the sick
miraculous acts
proclamation
distinguishing between spirits
tongues
interpretation of tongues.

All these gifts have a common origin, but are handed out one by one by the one Spirit of God. He decides who gets what, and when.
1 Corinthians 12:4-11

For each of us, beyond being made to worship Him, were designed to express Him through our passions. Exactly as He hardwired us to.

You are Christ’s body—that’s who you are! You must never forget this. Only as you accept your part of that body does your “part” mean anything. You’re familiar with some of the parts that God has formed in his church, which is his “body”:
apostles
prophets
teachers
miracle workers
healers
helpers
organizers
those who pray in tongues.
But it’s obvious by now, isn’t it, that Christ’s church is a complete Body and not a gigantic, unidimensional Part? It’s not all Apostle, not all Prophet, not all Miracle Worker, not all Healer, not all Prayer in Tongues, not all Interpreter of Tongues. And yet some of you keep competing for so-called “important” parts.
1 Corinthians 4: 27-31

Our purpose is to reveal Him through us.

How you do so will be very different from how I do, for no two of us are alike. We are all unique and have a unique part in the body.

When we all live in the sweet spot, where what we were meant to do lines up with who He has made us to be?

Our lives reveal Him just as they were designed.

When everything falls in to place, a sense of home wells up within.

We find our purpose.

For the sweet spot cannot be achieved on our own. It has to align with His heart & plan for us, or it is only an empty shell of the fullness He has planned.

In His hands, life is the sweetest.

With Him is the sweet spot.

If you aren’t sure of your purpose, spend some time seeking Him. Ask Him to help you discover what may be lying dormant or unknown within you. There are great resources to take stock of your spiritual giftings, which may bring to light things you are already doing in the natural!

Be the you God designed.

 

Ruth Soukup be you HJ

running on empty? time to fuel up on self care again

Feeling more than a wee bit fragile lately.

I have been so busy, I haven’t taken the best care of myself… like I have been using regular versus the best quality gas.

You can have a great car, and cause it to break down over time by giving it an inferior type of gas. The car will run for a while, then as it has a harder time ‘digesting’ the lesser quality fuel, it will begin to show wear and tear.

Eventually it will stop going.

We too need to have the best fuel we can to help keep our bodies healthy and our minds fit.

Most of the time when we don’t take care of ourselves, we are struggling with an emotional issue. And that is so with me.

It has been a hard winter/spring for me with several injuries, too much work, not enough rest time and I haven’t been giving myself the best fuel to do so.

Part of the fuel process involves not letting our engine become overheated.

Not eating the healthiest, not keeping up with my water intake and not being able to regularly exercise has led me to be very down in the dumps lately.

But there is another layer I need to make sure I am adding for my success, beside eating healthily, drinking enough water and staying fit.

My spiritual self is designed to be provided and cared for, when I invite His Presence to minister to me, guide me and keep me safe from all harm.

You can do all the necessary ground preparations; but without the right air support you will not win the battle.

If God is for us, we need to take that seriously & make sure we are drawing close to Him daily, and staying under His protective wings.

  • Eat well.
  • Stay hydrated.
  • Sleep enough.
  • Get active.
  • Read His Word.
  • Worship.
  • Pray about what’s on your heart.
  • Forgive often.
  • Love more.
  • Do something you love just because.
  • Live your life without regrets.

Let God love up on you, and show you how to properly care for yourself.

If its in His word, its on His heart. He is and will be more than enough for all our needs!

HJ relaxing

 

 

find rest…

We are all looking for that soft place to land upon when we fall.

We tend to keep ourselves busy to distract ourselves from the fact something isn’t right.

We all need rest.

And some of us need to stop running so we can find it again.

Saying yes to some priorities means saying no to some things we may love, but aren’t important in the big picture of life.

Rest- both physical and spiritual- is near the top of my list.

We are called, actually reminded in the Word, that to rest.

Psalm 62:5 tells us we can find our rest in Him.

Time spent in His Presence brings an inner rest and peace in the quiet place where we meet together….and that connectiveness helps keep me calm when the storms of life hit.

Because we all know storms come and go, as do the sunny days.

My soul needs to be supercharged with rest to help keep me seeking Him despite what is ahead, just around the bend.

Relationship problems?
Work problems?
Health concerns?
Financial stresses?
Relocations?
Death of a loved one?
Unprovoked aggression?

All of these can be seen throughout the Bible….and none more clearly than in the life of Jesus.

Jesus took Himself away from the crowds, even his best friends & family, and sought God in the quiet place.

To seek His face,
to be reminded of His love,
to remember who He really was,
to find rest despite the hard road ahead.

Unsure of things going on in your life?

Press in to the One who is ever present and never changing.

Press in to Him for the rest you need, which only He can deliver.

Respond to His invitation to come and be with Him.  For the rest you are looking for is found on His Presence.

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bloom in the chill

To help fight the seasonal blahs which usually hit me in the sunless midwinter, I love to bring a bunch of fresh cut tulips home to brighten my kitchen table.  

Last week, as i bought some lovely pink tulips, the florist passed on a wise tip which has stuck with me. She suggested adding an ice cube to the water in my vase each day, to keep the tulips at their best. When I gave her the, “Really?!” look, she smiled and nodded, then mentioned how this only works for tulips.

A good florist knows the quirks of each type of flower they work with. And as God so nudgingly pointed out to me a few moments later, the same applies with people.

When we live or work with other people, we need to know enough about them to know how we can best relate or compliment each other’s skills/talents/gifts.

A good spouse, parent, child, coworker, co-minister gets to know those with whom they are spending their time, because each of us has a quirk just like the tulips do.

We are all made one of a kind, and as a result, what might work with one family member, friend or coworker won’t with another because of their differences, even if they have many commonalities.

The hardest part becomes when someone you work with or love throws an ice cube your way.

And you aren’t a tulip…

  • If that ice cube comes in a harsh word, those who feel most appreciated through kind words will curl their blooms tightly, pulling away.
  • Should the ice come in refusing to block out time together, the one who connects the most through quality time will feel unloved, and begin to wither the longer they are apart.
  • If the ice cube is the only touch felt by those who need caring touch to know they are loved, they feel that chill right down to their roots.
  • When the ice cube is the sole thing you have received from them, and gifts make you spread your bloom towards the sun, you bend over from the weight of disappointment.
  • Should that ice cube be the only gesture they have made, and loving actions is your chlorophyll, the lack of kindness will leave you dry and thirsty.

I have been learning that God is more than enough to help us cope with the icy chills which come our way whether in action or an unkind word, whether unplanned or deliberately tossed towards us.

There is nothing new under the sun, as God knows. As He knows each and every one of us intimately as our Creator, He is the best one to turn to to ask how to deal with the situation, sort our emotions out as we may need to, turn our hurts and anger over to Him, and then to respond as He leads us to.

Last week, I had a doozy of ice cubes tossed my way.  Most unintentionally, a few intentionally.  The resulting chill was intense, and painful.

Yet God knew they were coming my way, and prepared me with wise counsel ahead of time, so I could discern what was actually happening.

Because He did so, most people around me didn’t know there was a heaviness below the surface as I was inviting Him to warm up the chilly places within, and replace them with the warmth of His love.

Beloved, God has made a way for you too to bloom in the chill.

Draw close to the light of the Son. (John 8:12)

Let His Word feed you as you let Him lead you in the growth awaiting in this season. (Matthew 4)

Listen for His love song being sung over you. (Zephaniah 3:17)

Allow His love to ignite into such a fire in your heart that no matter what icy darts the enemy tries to sling your way, they will melt as you come near to Him.  (Psalm 39:3, James 4:8)PicsArt_02-23-07.43.49

Hello from the other side

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Over the past calendar week, I have experienced more highs and lows than any other time I can recall.  Relationship tensions, tears and sudden bad news amidst a new freedom to be more the me God desires me to be.  All in one.

And not knowing how things are going to look when the blitz of the now hits with gale force power is an uncomfortable place to be, isn’t it?

Yesterday, God reminded me of a truth I had forgotten.  He is the God who was, who is and is to come.

God has always been with us even though we may not have noticed Him or know Him yet.

God is always with us, in the breath we are taking right now.

These two are not the mind blowing news I needed to hear, because I know those to be true, for they have been my constant companions since officially becoming His Beloved.

The Adele song which is all the rage right now has a line that aligned itself into perfect sync this morning  – and the flash of understanding which has followed can only be Holy Spirit highlighting His truth within me.

The future is not yet here. It’s up ahead, but just outside of our reach.  We can’t tangibly see or touch it but we all know that we know time continues to pass.

What I had forgotten was on that other side of now, God is already there…as I heard Him sing to me, “Hello from the other side!”

I can trust He will be there in the not yet future I can’t see.

I can rest in the knowledge He is already there when I get there.

He sees me as I arrive there and desires to guide me there. 

And because He already knows what is to come, He best knows how to help me get there.

God is all three, the God who was, the God who is, and the God was is to come.  All the time, beyond time!

If you need a particular glimpse of God who was, the Bible contains thousands of snapshots of how He has moved on His Beloved’ behalf, over and over.

We can hear His voice speak about how He is with us, right where we are at through His Word.

And the book of Revelation reminds us He is coming again, has a place just waiting for us, and the future is set. Good will win.

This God, who sees the other side of every situation we have ever been in, are currently facing or will ever encounter?

He is deserving  of our thanks, and more than worthy of our trust.

cover lover or lover of the Word?

I love getting a new version of the Bible. There is something holy and fresh to me about holding a brand new Bible. Opening the cover for the first time, and taking a peek at the insides.

As a book lover and word crafter, I can appreciate a pretty cover, fantastic graphics or eye catching images.  Yet if I never open the book, I  will miss the point.

If you don’t move past the cover, you miss the meat of the words inside which you are meant to meet.  To read.  To chew on. To ponder. To be challenged, entertained by.

Without reading the words inside the covers, a book becomes just an ornament on a shelf.

Which isn’t the point of a book.

Nor the point of the Bible.

The Bible, or the Word as I prefer to refer to it as, is designed to help us along our journey.

It not only instructs us, but gives us insight into situations we might experience, and the God we hope to encounter we meet inside.

If you remain a cover lover, the Word will not come alive for you.  For the Holy Spirit speaks to us as we read it, whispers the words He has for us in the moment, and reminds us that the Word is an invitation for a fresh encounter with the Living Word, Jesus.

The Bible is meant to be read, digested, interacted with. We are to allow it to shape our mindsets, fix our values, guide our emotions and be a foundation we can turn to in the hard times.

The Word reminds us…

  • We are not alone.
  • God is with us.
  • God is for us.
  • God is in us.
  • God lives through us.
  • God knows us.
  • God guides us.
  • We are loved.

Crack open the cover of your Bible, and allow His words to seep into you.  Ponder the mysteries.  Savor the love.  Delight in the truth. Align your path to the one He has for you.

Move beyond the covers into the best part of the Word, for He is just waiting you there!

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what a Word

Words have the power to bless, uproot, encourage, surgically impact or curse.

Sometimes all in the same day.

And when words are both your primary love language and part of your job, words can pierce far beyond the speaker’s intention.

There is One, however, who knows the power of words.

He not only inspired the writing of His written Word, He is continously speaking life, instruction and hope in the here and now.

For He is the living Word.

God also knows the power of a hurtful, deliberate word, for He spends many resources helping us to see how forgiveness can restore us from their negative impact.

There is one Psalm I turn to when I need a reminder of how much words matter to God.

Psalm 119.

The longest Psalm, it encompasses us from conception and beyond, from pain and hurt to life, from walking a wayward path to one of purpose.

Nor only is His Word is to be our guide, which the psalmist refer to,  but He Himself is to be our guide.

The Living Word as contained within the Word.

For the Word is just a bunch of words if you refuse the Living Word access to you, to change you through His words as He speaks life into you. All the weary, wounded, wary or wandering.

Without the Author pointing out the words He has for you to change your circumstances, meet you in the moment, restore your footing on the Rock…. the Word becomes just beautifully, skillfully written poetry or history.

The Word doesn’t want His Words to return without blessing.

He wants us to hear and see Him in the Word. For it is a reflection of who He is,  what he can do, where He wants to take you, what He has its store for you, and why.

The Living Word poured Himself into His Word….

●So we would know we are not alone when we feel disconnected.
●So we would see His heart when ours has been ravaged.
●So we would hear His direction when we are at a crossroads.
●So we would sense His Presence despite our loneliness.
●So we can taste His goodness when all we see appears to be dark.
●So we can experience Him more deeply as we get to know who He is.

His Word is relevant regardless of your age, stage, looks, quirks, status or race.

As He has made us all, His Word is designed for us all.

Take a hold of the gift He has given us and invite Him to make His Words come alive to you in a such a way you know you have connected with him.

If you need to chew on one or two verse, do so.  Create a graphic, doodle the words, print them out and post them to memorize them.

Allow His Words to come alive within you and bring you back to life.

The living Word is waiting for you within every page of His Word.

The situations may have a historical place in time, but the God revealed and contained within them is beyond time and place, for He is alive!

Invite Him to speak, and wait expectantly for His Words.  God has never stopped speaking His love to us since Eden, and will never stop until each of us are home with Him where we belong.

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What kind of crackpot are you?

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Years ago, a well known prophetic teacher spoke a word to me which has stuck with me through the hard times.

Basically, it is sometimes hard being me because I don’t fit normal.

And for years I struggled with that very feeling.

Why am I not normal?

Why do people look at me like I am a crackpot for that suggestion?

It has taken several conversations with my Abba to comprehend the reality.

Normal is just a setting on a dryer or a number made up by skewing averages to fit your intended target.

Normal is in reality different for each and every one of us, because we are each different. On purpose.

It’s fine with God that I am nutso for words and music, sisterhood and family, creativity and sensitivity, the prophetic and healing.

Because that is my normal when I step into being who He has made me to be.

Yours may be patterns or numbers, works of your hands, the ability to strike up a conversation wherever you do, cooking like a chef, making baked goods to drool over tinkering with technology, teaching with skill, or organizing the best events…

However we best express His handiwork is to be our normal.

Without His guidance and empowering, our potential, our normal may fizzle into stagnant flatlines.

Today, come to the throne.
Press close to His Presence.
Invite His whispers of love.
Seek His wisdom and direction.
Rest in His embrace.

Then step out into the normal He has waiting for you.

When we take the leap of faith, He catches us. EVERY TIME.

Normal for us is to be the supernatural of Him with us, in us, and through us, Beloved.

It’s time to tune out the world’s loud suggestions of what normal should look like for us, and heed His Words.

Chosen.

Crated by hand.
His.
One of a kind.
Set apart for His purposes.
Empowered.
Necessary to His heart.

Be yourself, Beloved.
Normally living life in His hands 😉

what family looks like

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Today is Family day here in Ontario, falling the day after Valentine’s.

Which got me thinking about love and family.

To me, there are three different types of family, which ideally represent the three main types of love:

The family we are born into is meant to be our Agape love foundation. Agape love is meant for each person, whether they know God or not. It was meant to be a love we offer regardless of how we like one another or not, by choosing to love. You may or may not have experienced this type of love in your family, which may make it hard for you to accept God’s choice to love you no matter what.

The family we choose is designed to meet our need for Philos love. Philos love is sisterhood/brotherhood love, the kind of companion or best friend love we all need. And it’s the one we choose for ourselves, based on our likes/dislikes. This kind of love can also not be what we hoped for or expect, as its based upon others.

The family which chooses us represents the best love, God’s love. Eros love is the deep passionate desire and longing kind of love, which initially draws hearts together to long for more besides agape (security) and philos (friendship) love.

All of human love is a pale reflection of the Love which was and is the source of them.

For we are fallible, and will let each other down, even those we love.

God’s love isn’t like ours. It’s puree without flaw. Deliberately chosen and eternally held dear.

His Agape love?
It is for always.
(John 15:12-13, Romans 5:8)

His Philos love?
It is for everyone.
(John 5:20)

His Eros love?
It is forever.
(Song of Song 1:1-4)

For His heart? His heart is:

●To place the lonely into families.
(Psalm 68:6)
●To restore the brokenhearted.
(Psalm 147:3, Psalm 34:18)
●To comfort the hurting and mourners. (Job 5:11)
●To hear your cries. (Isaiah 41:10)
●To fill you with His love. (Ephesians 3:19)
●To never leave you. (Romans 8:37-39)

If your family isn’t quite what you hoped for, wounded you or abandoned you…

If your best friend hurts you or your spouse breaks it off with you…

There is still hope to be found in love.

God’s love is the purest love there is. It is yours to receive, and He longs for you to be one of His.

For He not only made you, He loves you. No matter what. And He wants you part of His family.

Family here on earth may let you down. God never will.

Take a few moments to ponder His love for you.

Allow His love to bypass your wounds and walls, and fill you up beyond your imagination.

For if you invite His love in, He will come. His love cannot help but do so!

Family is about love.
Love which chooses one another even though there may be failures or wounding.

Family is at the heart of God.
For He is family all in One.
Father, Son, Holy Spirit.
Ever loving one another, ever reminding us all we are wanted and loved.

As family.
As friends.
As the Beloved.