- Karen Michaelle
- Thanks for stopping by. I am a simple, sensitive, conservative girl. My faith in God is the most important thing in my life - everything I am flows from there. I consider it a sincere privilege that anyone would consider spending time reading what I write, which I do when I feel inspired by something I have seen or learned. I share what I write with the sincere hope that it will be used by God to inspire others. I welcome your comments.
Sunday, February 20, 2011
Brokenness...one word, so powerful. When I even just consider it, I hold my breath. Does it have that affect on you? My guess is, when considered by most people that word does not even come close to conjuring up positive thoughts or memories. It certainly doesn't for me...at least initially.
That is until I really consider the journey with brokenness in my own life. From a solely human perspective, brokenness is simply that; a moment, a season or even a lifetime of pain with no tangible purpose or visible benefit. And it usually stays just that...unless held up and yielded to the One who can do something remarkable with it.
Brokenness has littered the highway of my life. Whether caused by someone or something out of my control, or by my own decisions, there are many things in life that have caused me to hold my breath, to feel hopeless, to feel shame, to suffer in despair. That was before.
The Bible speaks so perfectly to how Christ was specifically sent by God, to those who know Him, for this very purpose.
Isaiah 61: The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted...
Now because I do know Christ, pursue Him daily, study and know His word personally, and therefore receive the benefit of understanding the scriptures, I'm able to see brokenness in a very different light. Where I was inclined to just leave the litter behind, not look back, most certainly not reveal it, God has used the litter to heal and change me.
I know there are many who, when considering the litter of their own lives, hesitate to reveal it. It's too painful and one risks being judged today for the sins of the past. It's true that so often, we are. I'm especially sorry to admit that this can even happen in the Christian community; I've experienced this first-hand.
It grieves me to think of how many brokenhearted people, not knowing where else to turn, have sought out this faith, this healer Christ that others speak of, only to be completed turned off by such assessments and lack of acceptance. It's also unfortunate that there are even those who have already experienced the healing touch of Christ who are careful to open up to some, not wanting to risk such judgment.
While sadly true that this can be experienced, it is vitally important to remember that the "me" spoken of in the Isaiah scripture is not a mere human, one you will meet in physical form. If the pursuit for purpose despite pain stops there, the most significant person to meet is altogether missed. It is precisely for the brokenhearted that Christ was sent; to heal, to stand in the gap for, regardless of the sins that have occurred in the past. Even for those things we think are impossible to forgive. Yes...even those.
While judgment may be experienced, the complete opposite is also true. There are many more who truly understand what it is to know Christ. They share a relationship with Him in their daily lives, not just a label of Him they wear as a self-righteous shroud. These dear ones know firsthand that He is highly skilled at using littered lives to heal and mature. They also know that in doing so, He often bestows a special appreciation and compassion for those who have also experienced such brokenness.
I feel so blessed He has done this for me; I hope you have let Him do this for you. He waits for you to do just that. I'm honored to know so many others who have, and am always humbled when they trust me with their real truths. I know they would say they have experienced the same healing. My prayer is that it's these very ones which brokenhearted seekers will encounter, so they too can can be lovingly pointed to the One who makes all things better for our good.
Saturday, February 12, 2011
It's very early and I'm awake. My heart and spirit feel heavy...it only takes a moment before I know why. It all started with a simple question my friend recently asked others to comment on. "Is the Bible entirely true, relevant and the very words of God Himself?" It's not the question that troubles me, quite the opposite. It's the answers, one of which was "The Bible = Fairy tales."
When questions like this are posed, I'm always struck by how quick people are to write the possibility of God off, or to blame God for all the things in life that are viewed as bad, yet remain so ready to deny He can even exist to begin with. I totally respect that every individual has a right to form their own opinion, and they should.
Yet in challenging something this significant, I often find that most have never even done any study or research, or really checked Christianity out, before casually discounting or even disrespecting it. Instead of educating themselves and coming to their own conclusion so they can share legitimate reasons for their position, as Christians are expected to do, they choose instead to just adopt a common stance like "fairy tales." Seems like a contradiction, doesn't it? That's because it is.
I was raised in an organized religion that taught me the foundational principals of what would later support my faith...much later. Until that time came about, I was in full control of my life. I did not truly believe in God and wanted to do it my way, and I did. And it was not good.
As I look back on all those years, something was always missing. I felt this even while I was living them. I could deny this to anyone else, but I knew that deep in my heart and soul, there was unquestionably a void, an emptiness, that nothing else could fill. Nothing. Trust me, I tried.
So it is from considering this contrast that the heavy-heart for the dismissiveness of other's comes. It comes because I am a life that has been completely changed by God. The years I lived without Him took a devastating toll on me and my child. I made really bad choices, in many different ways, all the while trying to find a way to fill the deep longing of my soul. Food, substances, people, the power of self, therapy...I tried it all...and yet the void remained. I was depressed, lonely, scared, hopeless...in the pit of despair. And yet I kept running, looking for love in all the wrong places...I did not find it.
That was until I finally came to the end of myself, and in the most broken state of my life, accepted Christ, started attending a non-denominational Christian church, and began to learn who this God was and what He was all about.. That was over 15 years ago and my life's story has changed dramatically ever since. I began my true life of faith as a very broken, hurting, worthless girl. I could not imagine what this God would even want to do with me. After all, I had denied Him for so long, and had made a ridiculous mess of my life.
But I met the ultimate physician...the healer...the expert. The very One who had created me, and knew who He intended me to be. The very One who immediately accepted me as I was, and set to work, lovingly, gently, healing my heart and washing away the dirty damage to reveal a new me, the real me, that had been buried with the painful remnants and scars of all those years of running. And His loving work continues on me still.
It's interesting that the one who posed this question had a similar experience, and could tell a tale very similar to mine. This childhood friend I've only recently reconnected with, and learned that he too, despite an upbringing in faith, ran the course of his life for years. A life, he would say, that left a similar wake of destruction. But he lives a blessed new life now; because he too has met the Healer, he too has given over the reigns.
There are many things about God that I don't understand. There are things in the Bible that do not make sense to me. I see things happen in my life and in the lives of others that break my heart, make me angry, and cause me to question why He would allow them. And yet I believe.
I believe for two main reasons. The first and most significant is the Crucifixion. When learning about what Christ endured on the way to the cross, and on the cross itself, one must really consider how it was possible for a mere human to endure what He did. That how, even if as some believe, he was just some crazy man, He could physically endure such severe torture, and yet unwaveringly claim who He was, to the very moment of His death? Why would anyone do that if what they claimed was not true? He never wavered.
The other is because despite these things I don't understand, there is absolutely no way to deny the work He has done in my life, and how He has now equipped me, through my healing and growth, to work in the lives of others. There is no way to deny that power of the Holy Spirit that I literally feel moving in my life...the very gift we receive when we accept Christ. And it is this gift that helps me understand the Bible, and allows me to feel the presence of God in my life, gives me peace and hope, despite the challenges and ugliness that life can bring. There is nothing on earth that can ever compare, will ever compare...nothing.
So back to fairy tales and disbelief. It's not for me to convince anyone of anything. What is for me to do is lead a life of honesty, to demonstrate and share how undeniably much God has done in my life. My prayer is that before people just write God off as fairy tales, brainwashing, or any other such thing, that they have done themselves the favor to really be sure before being so dismissive.
What's at stake in the balance is significant. I know firsthand there is much to gain in learning the truth, not only in this life, but most importantly in the life to come.
Saturday, February 5, 2011
The word warrior instantly brings images to mind...soldiers, law enforcement, firemen...exceptionally courageous individuals who push themselves forward to challenge situations that would cause most of us to shy back. Aside from the first examples one might think of, the warriors of which I speak are a bit different.
These warriors are women fighting serious illnesses. At this very moment, I personally know two who are in stage 4 cancer. Both of them are mothers, both have young teenage children still in the home. I know one of them is on her fourth battle with this wicked disease and I believe the other has experienced multiple bouts also. I'll be back to them in a minute.
The first woman warrior I knew was my very own Mom. Diagnosed with breast cancer, my mom faced her battle with incredible courage, perseverance and hope. We all stood by her, although pretty helplessly, as she made bold, decisive choices to endure radical surgical procedures and accept the poison into her body that would take her to the brink of death but ultimately help save her life.
This on it's own shows considerable strength. Even more remarkable was that despite the personal hell she must have been enduring, emotionally and physically, this isn't what those watching my mom in battle witnessed. Where there was no doubt physically that she was ill, beyond her baldness and highly unusual pallor, what shone through above all was her strength. I'm certain that one of her greatest concerns was what her disease meant to the others in her life. While my mom could not control this illness coming to her, she refused to let it define her. In that, she held onto her power; and with that, she won!
So back to the dear women I know who are currently in the battle...I see many similarities. Neither of these dear ones let their diseases define them. As mentioned, one of them is on her fourth "tour of duty"...her fourth! And yet what is seen in both of them is optimism and a determination to hold onto their power. Like my mom, I know they are worried about their families, the fear in their significant others, the sadness and worry in the eyes and hearts of their children. I believe it is primarily because of that that they press on...despite days I suspect that giving in may seem the more desirable option for them personally.
Ephesians 6:11-20 speaks of how God, calling each of to take up our crosses daily, equips us to do this:
"Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the power of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
Despite what carrying their crosses has required of each of them, these beautiful, powerful women each remain steadfast in their belief that even from this, God will bring something good; and He does. Through their examples, we who stand by are inspired and afforded a fresh perspective on our crosses; most of which are much easier to bear in comparison.
I believe women of this caliber don't need a reminder to put on the full armor of God daily...no, indeed; they sleep with their armor on! Fight on beautiful friends, you're a privilege to know and a glorious inspiration to many!