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What Have You Learned?

As I was coming out of a deep sleep this morning, I heard this question “What have you learned?”   I had to completely wake up to really start processing what I heard, but the question was clear.  Well, I’ve had my morning coffee and I’m still processing how to answer the question I heard.  I’ve tried to capture part of my answer in this blog post.

In the past few months we have learned and/or heard so much about COVID-19, a pandemic, social distancing, and racial injustices, just to name a few.  In a time when we should become more unified, it appears we are becoming more divided.   As I start to put together my answer, I do know this, God is God and He knows how to get our attention. There have been past events that have impacted different parts of the world before, but these recent events of 2020 have captured the attention of the whole world and impacted all of us.

However, in all that has taken place, I don’t think God was necessarily telling me to look at the whole world, as much as He was telling me to look within. Then, He wakes me up this morning and I hear the Holy Spirit asking ” what have you learned?” The teacher is silent and the question is before me waiting on a response.  I read II Chronicles 7:14 -15 in the NIV Bible which says “if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.  Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place.”

This was one of the first scriptures I was drawn to read once everything started to spiral in late February and early March of this year.   If  I’ve learned anything, it is that as one of God’s people that I must look within first.   I must look within my own heart to remain humble. I must talk to God daily and I must seek Him in all parts of my life.  I thought I was doing this before, but it seems different now.  Perhaps this is why I heard the question. The scripture in II Chronicles then goes on to say turn from wicked ways, which means I have to get rid of what is unclean and unrighteous in me.  I have to seek God’s forgiveness.  It doesn’t say I should try to fix others in their uncleanliness first.  It says that as one of His people, I have to turn from my own wicked ways.  Psalm 139 is one of my favorite Psalms and I often pray verses 23 and 24, “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.  See if there is anything offensive in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”

I’ve learned to ask God more to keep me humble, to hear my prayers and to forgive me of my sins.   I believe we are in a season where we have to make our relationship with God even more personal than it was before; we have to seek His face.   II Chronicles 7:14 to some, can be a suggestion; to some, words of warning, and to some, words of instructions.  I’ve learned to use them as daily instructions for me because I want God to hear me from where He is in heaven.  I want Him to forgive me and I want Him to heal every part of me and to heal this land we all live in.  This land He created just as He created each one of us.

I will definitely continue to pray for others and ask God to help them just as He helps me. However, there has been such a shift in what is going on in the world today that I have to take time to really focus on who I am in Christ and what He wants me to do.    He wants me to humble myself, AND pray AND seek His face AND turn from my wicked ways.  He wants me to call myself one of His people so that when I speak, He will hear me.

So I ask you the question I heard this morning, “What have you learned?”

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Dear Lord, we need You more than ever before.  Somewhere along the way we’ve made a mess of things, we’ve missed the mark and we’ve fallen short of what is Your perfect will and perfect way.   We ask now that You will help us to stay in a posture of being humble.  We pray for You to hear our prayers as we seek to draw closer to You.  We pray You forgive us of our sins and You cleanse us from within.  We pray Your ears are attentive to our prayers; we pray You hear us, and we pray You heal our land.  Thank You, Lord, that Your word is a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path. Please have mercy on us and show us the way.  We pray this as people who are called by Your name, and we ask this in the mighty name of Jesus!

 

While You Wait On God

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When you don’t know what to expect in your personal circumstances or what to expect in what is going on in the world today, expect God.  The definition of expect means to regard something as likely to happen.  Today, I encourage you to  expect God to show up and to work everything out on your behalf.   Expect God to make a way out of no way.  Expect God to be your Healer, your Provider and your Protector. While you wait on the Lord, you should wait with an expectancy.  Expectancy means the state of thinking  or hoping that something pleasant will happen.  While you wait on God, expect Him to be your Strength, your Hope and your Peace.

Psalm 130:5-6 says ” I wait on the Lord, my whole being waits and in his word I put my hope.  I wait for the Lord more than the watchmen wait for morning, more than watchman wait for the morning.” NIV

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Dear Father, thank You for being everything we need.  While we wait for You to do great and mighty things, we wait with a joyful expectancy.  We know that as we wait on You, Lord, You will move in a mighty way.  Dear Lord, even in the midst of chaos,  we still wait with an expectancy knowing You already have the victory.  While we wait, Lord,  we wait with our whole beings and we stand firm on the promises of  Your word.  Lord, we thank You that we can walk by faith and not by sight, confidently expecting Your promises to be fulfilled in our lives. In Jesus’ mighty and precious name, amen and amen again!

 

Have You Remembered The Lord?

There is no doubt this posture of social/physical distancing and quarantine is impacting most of us in the world today.  Do you believe God is doing something in the land to get our attention? As I asked God to give me something to encourage myself and others, He turned my attention to the book of Jonah. You remember the story of Jonah and the whale, don’t you?

The Bible tells us that Jonah had been given an assignment from God to go to Nineveh to preach to people who were in desperate need of a life changing revival.   In the 1st chapter of Jonah, we learn the people in Nineveh were evil and that Jonah did not want to go preach to them.  Jonah made the decision not to go to Nineveh, and he boarded a ship to Tarshish in an attempt to flee God’s presence and to get far away from the people of Nineveh.

Jonah was on a ship with men who worshipped other gods. When a storm arose over the waters, they started praying to their gods. When the storm continued, they went to Jonah who was asleep.  They insisted Jonah call out to his god in hopes they would not perish.  They even cast lots to figure out who on board the ship may be the reason for the raging storm.

After casting lots that pointed to Jonah, the men knew Jonah was the one who had brought trouble upon the ship with the storm raging over the waters.  At this point, Jonah had to tell them he was a Hebrew and he worshipped the God of the heavens, the God who made the seas and the dry land.  The men realized Jonah was running from God’s presence and this brought great fear on them. When they questioned what needed to be done as the storm grew worse, Jonah told them to throw him overboard.  He knew he was to blame and this was the answer to calm the storm.  At first the men tried to throw cargo overboard and head back to shore. However, the storm continued and they threw Jonah overboard, as he had told them.  This was great for the men because the storm was calmed, but not so great for Jonah! Jonah knew he had to physically distance himself from the men and the ship in order for the men to survive.  Because their lives were spared, these same men who did not know the god Jonah worshipped, began to fear the Lord and make vows of sacrifice to Him.

The last verse in Chapter 1 of the book of Jonah tells us that a great fish swallowed Jonah and he was in the belly of this great fish for 3 days and 3 nights.  Jonah was running from God and from a god-given assignment, when he got quarantined in a belly of a fish for 3 days!  This was a quarantine orchestrated by God. God had Jonah’s attention and Jonah had to decide what he was going to do.

Chapter 2 of the book of Jonah tells us how Jonah started to pray while he was in the belly of this great fish.  He says he was distressed, and that he cried out to the Lord.  He was in the realm of the dead and waters swirled all around him.  Jonah said when he saw his life ebbing away that he remembered the Lord and his prayer rose to the Lord’s holy temple. Jonah knew God heard his prayers and God answered him.  Then Jonah began to praise God.  He said “Those who cling to worthless idols turn away from God’s love for them.  But, I with shouts of grateful praise, will sacrifice to you.  What I have vowed I will make good. I will say salvation comes from the Lord” (v.7-9).  Upon hearing Jonah’s prayers and praise, the Lord commanded the fish and it spit Jonah back onto dry land.

It would appear from Jonah’s story that he found himself in a situation where prayer was his best and only way to get God to answer him.  I truly believe this is where we are today.  We are in quarantined environments where the best thing we can do is remember God; remember who He is in our lives and pray so that He hears us in His holy temple.

During these past few weeks, have you remembered God?  Have you spent more time with Him? Have you opened up your Bible more and meditated on His Word? Have you remembered how He has provided and protected you over the years?  Have you remembered that He has never left you or forsaken you? Have you remembered He can speak to the wind and calm the storm? Have you remembered Who He is? Have you remembered He is Lord?

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Dear Lord, thank You for turning our attention back to You and reminding us of the love You have for us. Thank You for hearing our cries of distress and for answering our prayers.  Forgive us for clinging to worthless idols. Thank You, Lord, for giving us another chance to remember You.  Lord, we honor You with praise you so richly deserve.  In Jesus’ mighty name, amen!

Jonah 2:7 “When my life was ebbing away, I remembered you, Lord, and my prayer rose to you, to your holy temple.”

Thankful 2B Thankful

 

Be Thankful!     The other morning as I was saying my prayers, I said “Lord, I know I tend to be thankful for the same things over and over again. I thank You for waking me up. I thank You for my life and allowing me to see another day.  I thank You for keeping my children, siblings and friends safe. I thank You for the followers on Broken-2b-Restored. I thank You for a roof over my head and food on my table.” I said, “Lord, I know I sound like a broken record and that I am always thankful for the same things.” But then I said, “Lord, I am just thankful to be thankful!”

Thankful to be thankful! This made me realize that I have not always told Him Thank You. As a young person in college, I would just get up and take everything for granted.   As I became a full time employee, wife, and mother, I would wake up and maybe say a brief Thank You, but then I would just go on about my day.  Reflecting on this and how He has kept me over the years, made me realize even more how thankful I am.

Like most, I have been through my share of  ups and downs.  I have had some major disappointments and personal challenges that weighed heavy on my heart, my body, and my mind. I have wondered how the bills were going to get paid: how was I going to free myself from a verbally abusive and controlling spouse, or how I was going to be a good mother to my children.  And today, when I look back on where I was and where I am now, I am so very thankful.  I am thankful to be thankful, because of how God has kept me.  He has protected me from the seen and unseen dangers.   He has kept me and my children safe; He has clothed and fed us; and He has always provided us with a roof over our heads.

As I grew closer to God and I learned to ask Jesus to intercede on my behalf, my perspective on being thankful changed. I stopped taking it for granted that I just woke up each morning.  I know that God’s mercies towards me are new every morning, even when I tend to thank Him for the same people and things over and over again. I know I can repeat these words of thankfulness and also add onto it as each day passes, because He waits to hear from me. I know He has always provided for me and that He will continue to do so.  Yes, I have continued to experience the ups and downs that come with living this life here on Earth, but I’m thankful for every day, every blessing, and every lesson learned.   I am thankful to be thankful.

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Dear God, thank You for keeping me and my family covered under Your mighty protection.  Thank You for continuously blessing us and showing us how much You love us.  Thank You for my life, health and strength. Thank You for allowing me to see how good You have been to me, and for teaching me the lessons to be learned from heartbreaks and disappointments.  Thank You for Your grace and mercy towards me. Thank You for Jesus and Thank You for The Holy Spirit. Lord, I am just thankful 2b thankful! In Jesus’ name, Amen!

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Because of the Lord’s great love, we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.  They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22-23 NIV

And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Colossians 3:17 NIV

Every good and  perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of fristfruits of all he created. James 1:17-18 NIV

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16 NIV

Do not be anxious about anything, but  in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving present your requests to God. Philippians 4:6

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength. Philippians 4:12-13 NIV

 

 

What Will You Say To Your Mountain?

 

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Matthew 17:18-21(NIV) tells us ” Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of the boy, and he was healed at that moment.  Then the disciples came to Jesus in private and asked, “Why, couldn’t we drive it out? He replied “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move.  Nothing will be impossible for you.”

A mustard seed of faith against a mountain?  Can you visualize that picture?  Do you know how small a mustard seed is and how big mountains can be? And when you look at what Jesus said, that is exactly what he meant.   Yes, a mustard seed is very small.  Yes, mountains are huge.  However, if you trust and believe just a little bit, you will be surprised as to how things can move mightily in your circumstances!

When challenges and frustrations start to overwhelm you, speak to them just as Jesus said to speak to the mountain.  When you feel you are under attack, rebuke the schemes of the enemy just like Jesus did over the little boy.  So often, we see how God blesses and/or delivers others and we don’t understand why our prayers did not manifest into the blessings and actions we spoke.  Could it be we have focused too much on our mountain and not enough on our faith? Today, I encourage you to focus on your faith, no matter how small or weak your faith may be, speak to your mountain and believe it can be moved. Sometimes the mountain is not as close to you as you think it is, and when you keep trusting God the mountain starts to get smaller and eventually disappears from your circumstances.  All you have to do is have a mustard seed of faith and believe that nothing is impossible.  Can believe in your faith in God enough to move the mountain? What will you say to your mountain?

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Dear Heavenly Father, I come before you today with just a mustard seed of faith.  And, with this tiny seed of faith, I believe that my situation is already better.  I believe that mountain of frustration is moved; I believe the financial obstacle is no longer in my way; I believe that all manner of sickness and disease in my body is gone. I believe the enemy is under my feet and no longer in my way. I believe you are taking my mustard seed of faith and showing me that nothing is impossible, and that I can speak to the mountain in my life and it shall move. Right now I am telling the mountain with my mustard seed of faith  to move!  In Jesus’ mighty name, Amen and Thank You!

 

 

 

I Thought The Chair Was Empty

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As I write this blog, I am visiting a location near Cleveland, Ohio.   When I left South Carolina the other day the temperature was 81 degrees, and  when I arrived in Ohio the next day, it was 39 degrees.  Driving through the streets to get to this charming apartment in Ohio, I could see what was left of a light blanket of snow that had fallen the night before. It’s always fascinating for me to see snow blanket the ground and rooftops, especially before it gets too messy.

I share this with you because this morning, I find myself sitting alone at breakfast having a bagel and coffee. (It’s cold outside and right now I am not ready to venture out the front door.)  There are only two chairs at this table and the “empty” one is directly across from me.  As I looked at the “empty” chair, I began to think what if Jesus was sitting in this empty chair and what would I say to Him?

Immediately, I began to think I would tell Him about things in my life I did not get right.  I would tell Him about the wrong decisions I made and how my thoughts and actions often got me into some messy situations. I would let Him know that my heart had been broken a few times and how I had struggled with forgiveness.   I figured if I brought all of this up myself, He wouldn’t have to tell me about how I mishandled things.  As I looked across at what I thought was an  “empty” chair, I heard Him say to me “I love you”.  There was no bringing up the past.  There was no making me feel ashamed. It was just those three words, “I love you.”

As I sat across from this chair with tears and rejoicing in the revelation it was not really  an empty chair, I felt so blessed. It is such a great feeling to know you are loved unconditionally.  Others may bring up your past and remember all the bad stuff,  but not God.  The Bible tells us that He knew each one of us before we were formed in our mothers’ wombs. He knows all about us and He knows what we are going to say and do before we even utter a word or make a move.  He loves us in spite of the mistakes He knew we would make. He is such a loving and compassionate God.

As I took another look at this chair, I began to thank God for blessing me today with His presence, His love and His amazing grace.   The chair in front of me was filled with compassion, strength, joy, peace, hope and most importantly it was filled with the love of Christ.  Whenever Jesus is seated at the table with you, the chair is never empty.

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“Lord, You know everything there is to know about me.  You perceive every moment of my heart and soul, and You understand my every thought before it even enters my mind.   You are so intimately aware of me, Lord. You read my heart like an open book and You know all the words I’m about to speak before I even start a sentence!   You know every step I will take before my journey even begins. You’ve gone into my future and prepared the way, and in kindness You follow behind me to spare me from the harm of my past. With Your hand of love upon my life, You impart a blessing to me. This is just too wonderful, deep, and incomprehensible! Your understanding of me brings me wonder and strength.”

Psalm 139:1-7 The Passion Translation

 

 

I Was Broken 2b Restored

I am rejoicing today because the Lord blessed me to wake up on my 57th birthday, and because this is also the 7 year anniversary of Broken-2b-Restored.

I shared my first post on my 50th birthday on November 2, 2011.  When I prayed about starting this blog the Lord gave me the title Broken-2b-Restored.  I knew I wanted to write words to share some of my testimony in hopes my experiences would encourage and lift up others.  I also knew I wanted to share with others how to love God while also, learning to love yourself in spite of experiencing brokeness.

I must admit that in my younger years I was not sure how to love God and how to allow Him to love on me. I would feel that I was not worthy of His love.  I would wonder how could He love me when I didn’t spend time with Him like I should.  I kept thinking I have to get myself together in order for Him to love me and to bless me.  Also, I resisted feeling His love because of how others who said they loved me mistreated me.

I have since learned that no matter how broken or hurt I was, God has  always been there unconditionally loving on me.   When others have turned their backs on me, walked away and mistreated me, God was always there to lift me up and keep me going. When others did not tell the truth about me to justify their own bad behavior, God was always there to comfort me and to not allow me to wallow in self-pity or unforgiveness. When my own choices and decisions caused me hurt and pain, God has always  been there for me to lean and depend on.  God would not allow me to give up, give in or give out!

How could I not see His love for me and how could I not understand that in spite of my brokeness, He was going to love me anyway?  No matter how many times I experienced brokeness, God never left me.  I thank God for His revelation and  transformation in my life!

I was broken 2b restored and I was restored because of His love for me.

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Dear Lord,  thank You so much for another day in my life.  Thank You for all the grace and mercy You have shown me over the years.  Dear Lord, I know  I would not be who I am and where I am if it had not been for your precious love for me.  I thank You for the precious blood of Jesus that was shed for me.   I thank You for the comfort of the Holy Spirit Who abides in me.   I am so grateful that in my times of brokeness You have loved me and restored me.   I was broken 2b restored and I am forever grateful! In Jesus’ name, I say Amen!

“Your love, Lord, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies.  Your righteousness is like the highest mountains, your justice like the great deep.  You, Lord, preserve both people and animals. How priceless is your unfailing love, O God!  People take refuge in the shadow of your wings.  They feast on the abundance of your house; you give them drink from your river of delights.  For with you is the fountain of life, in your light we see light.”   Psalm 36:5-9 (NIV)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why? What has He done wrong?

In my quiet time the past few days, I have chosen to read chapters in the Bible that lead up to Resurrection Sunday. These are the final chapters that take us through revealing the plot to kill Jesus and then to The Resurrection.  This morning, I have been reading Matthew 27 which tells the story of when Jesus was handed over to Pilate.

As I was reading the part where the shouting crowd chose to release Barabbas over Jesus, Pilate’s 2 questions to them in verse 23 resonated from the page.   Pilate asked the crowd “Why?”  And then, He asked “What has He done wrong?”   These questions seemed to incite the crowd more and they shouted “Crucify Him!”, yet they never answered Pilate’s questions.

In Luke 23:34 after Jesus was on the Cross between the 2 criminals,  Jesus said “Father, forgive them, because they do not know what they are doing.”   When Jesus said to forgive them, He answered Pilate’s questions.  In my spiritual mind,  Jesus answered the questions in reverse order.

Pilate:  What has He done wrong?

Jesus:  I have done nothing wrong.

Pilate:  Why?

Jesus:  They have done wrong!  I am doing this for them.

Jesus’ dying on the Cross is the answer to what the people did wrong back then and to what we do wrong now.  On the day He was crucified, it was not about the wrongs that just occurred on that day.  Jesus’ death on the Cross was about our sins: the wrongs of our bad choices, the wrongs of our unclean thoughts, the wrongs of our sinful activities, the wrongs of our bad behavior and the wrongs of our bad attitudes.  Our sinful nature is the answer to the question Why?

Pilate’s questions were for that particular moment in time.  However, the reason the crowd did not respond with an answer was because Jesus had to get to the Cross for the answer to be revealed.   His answer was for all of eternity.   John 3:16-17 says “For God so loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.  For God did not send His Son into the world that He might condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.  (HCSB)

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Dear Heavenly Father,  thank You for Your Beloved Son, Jesus!  Thank You for the love You have shown us over and over again.  Jesus, we thank You for the precious blood You shed for each one of us.  I pray that as we prepare to celebrate Resurrection Sunday, that lives will be changed and souls will be saved as we give remembrance unto You.  I pray there will be a true understanding for many to the question as to Why You died on the Cross.  I pray more people will come to believe in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. Please forgive us of our sins!  It is in  His mighty and precious name, I say Amen!

I Am Worthy

I am worthy!  These  are the words I heard during my quiet time this beautiful Sunday morning and these are the words I choose to affirm over myself.  I am worthy!

I am worthy not because I have done anything so great or magnificent.   I am worthy because of God’s unconditional love for me.  I am worthy because of His grace and mercy towards me. I am worthy because He created me; He fearfully and wonderfully made me.

I am drawn to the scripture of the adulteress woman.  In the scriptures, her accusers forced her to stand before Jesus because of her part in adultery. She had to stand alone before Jesus accused of actions that required more than one person to commit.  Her accusers really wanted to see how Jesus would respond.  However, Jesus did not respond the way in which the accusers thought He would.  John 8:7-11 (NIV) says “When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.”  Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.   At this, those who heard began to go away one at a  time, the older ones first until only Jesus was  left with the woman still standing there.  Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they?  Has no one condemned you?” She replied “No one, sir.” Then neither do I condemn you, Jesus declared.  Go now and leave your life of sin.”

I can’t begin to imagine how she must have felt after Jesus said that to her.  Did she run away in a hurry or did she back away slowly?  Did she even say thank you?  I am thinking she might have been saying “what in the world just happened back there?” What happened was that Jesus spared her life in front of all her accusers and He showed her love and compassion.   I wonder how long it took for her to realize how much He loved her.  When did she realize that she was worthy? In spite of her actions and in spite of her accusers, when did she realize her worthiness?

Your poor decisions and failures have a way of making you feel as if you don’t deserve God’s love.  The way others treat and talk about you will also make you feel as if you don’t deserve His love.  You may pull away from God because of your shame.  Or on the flip side, as you try to draw closer to Him, you may continue to  feel as if you are not worthy.   James 4:8 (NIV) says in part, “come near to God and he will come near to you.”  Then verse 10 says “humble yourself before the Lord,  and he will lift you up.”  To me, in these scriptures, God is saying  no matter what you have done, no matter the shame and guilt you feel, draw closer to Me because I love you and  you are worthy.  You are worthy of My love and you are worthy of My forgiveness.

Will you join me in this affirmation of “I am worthy” ?  Say to yourself  “I am worthy!  I am worthy! I am worthy!”  I encourage you to speak these words over yourself.  I encourage you to believe  you are worthy.  You are worthy of God’s love and all the blessings He has already Continue reading

Restored!

It’s been 6 years since I started this blog. In the past couple of years I haven’t written as much as I did in the beginning, but as “life happens”, I do have plenty to write about in the near future. I am reblogging my very first post called “Restored”! Thank you for your continued prayers and support these past 6 years! I was broken2b-restored!

Broken-2b-Restored



Welcome to “Broken-2B-Restored”!

Have you been to that point of brokenness where you felt you were alone in the world and felt you had no one that could help you get through?  God is able and He is ready to restore you from your brokenness and to give you new hope, new joy, new peace and new strength.

Just say, God, I  trust you!  That’s always a good start.  He will hear you and He is already working it out for you.  Your restoration process may take some time, but just envision what the finished product will be! Sometimes life will just back us in a dark corner and we can’t see our way out. Things will happen that will just cause us to crumble and feel like we don’t have the strength to go on.  Bad relationships,  loss of a loved one, addictions, financial problems, depression, divorce, health issues…

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