Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Perfectly Imperfect

I love to collect seashells from any beach I am visiting and keep them to admire.  Some of them become jewelry, but most are in clear bowls or vases for all to enjoy the colors and shapes.

When I collected shells in the past, I always looked for whole shells or the perfect ones.  After reading a book “My Beautiful Broken Shell” by Carol Hamblet Adams, I realized that the broken shell is often more beautiful than the perfect one.  

The broken shell has been tumbled and tossed in the ocean until parts of it have broken off but each shell retains part of the original shell and is still lovely.  I often use these broken pieces to make beautiful jewelry to wear and enjoy.Though broken and in pieces, it is still beautiful and useful.

Our lives are much like the broken shells, for we are tossed about in the ”ocean of life”, broken and washed ashore but are still useful and beautiful.  God takes the broken “shells” of our lives, polishes them with love, smooths the rough edges with the sands of time and  uses us as reminders that the “broken” in this world are lovely and useful  as long as we let God use us for His purposes.  

In  2 Corinthians 12, Paul is explaining about “the thorn in his flesh” and how painful and weakening it was in his life. He felt broken, ugly and useless like the broken shells on the beaches. Three times he begged God to remove it  but finally says,  "The Lord has said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you. My power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore, he says, 'I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses so that Christ' power may rest on me. That is why for Christ's sake I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong."
The brokenness in Paul’s life produced strength and a beautiful testimony and he thanked God for the hardships and “the thorn in his flesh” when he realized that God was using his brokenness to reach others for for His own.
Though life may toss up on the beach of life, break us into pieces, polish us until smooth with sands of time,  God sees beauty and opportunity in our brokenness.  It’s in these times of brokenness and weaknesses within us that He can do His best work!
We are ALL broken shells!  None of us have arrived where we are today completely unscathed or untouched by life situations.  Each of us has experienced pain, fear, disappointment, loss, illness, injury, and the list goes on.  It’s been through those times that we’ve had the opportunities to grow, mature, and become even more beautiful!  … it’s been in those times that God has shown Himself most beautifully to me.  In fact, if you look closely at what appear to be perfect shells, you’ll see many scratches, marks, and imperfections.  …people are like that, too!  They might look all perfect and whole at a quick glance, but if you look closely you’ll see signs of imperfections – in EVERYONE!
Many people pass by the broken shells on the beach or even toss them back into the ocean.  They might do the same with us,  but not God.  He sees the beauty in us no matter what!  It’s when we wash up on the shores of life looking broken, damaged, and having signs of wear and tear that He most wants to be with us!  He wants to be the first to pick us up so He can add us to His collection of the “beautifully broken”, for it’s in those times that He truly can create beauty from the broken times of our lives.
   It’s because of the broken places on the outside of the shells that I can see the special hidden beauty on the inside of the shells.  Haven’t we always been told it’s what’s on the inside that counts?  God blesses us and makes us beautiful on the inside though we may bear the cracks of life on the outside.
   Are you ready to call yourself “Beautifully Broken?|  If not, please let God turn your brokenness into beauty as only He can. I hope we will all look anew at the “broken shells” of our lives and those around us and appreciate the beauty and usefulness that remains for we are all broken but beautiful.

Dear God, Thank You for making beauty out of the broken places of my heart and the broken times of my life.  Help me to always see the beauty in the brokenness of others, too.  And Lord, please help others in their brokenness, too.  In Jesus’ name I pray.  Amen.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Enter and Exit ?

 After much observation and scientific study, I have concluded that many, if not most people do not have the faintest idea what the definition is of 2 common words.  I am not sure if they can't read them or their reading comprehension is extremely low. After experiencing the results  of people not being able to read or comprehend the meaning of them every time I go shopping I decided to see if you have come to the same conclusion I have - most people can't read these 2 words - "enter" and "exit."

One of these words has 2 syllables and the other one has 1 syllable so I fail to see the difficulty in reading or understanding them. They are over the doors of every business with an enter and exit option and people use them every day but they still cannot read or understand what these 2 words are telling them they should do. I just can't understand it for they appear to be people of intelligence.

These people go in the exit and out the enter in droves and herds and don't seem to find anything strange in their actions. It's as if enter means exit and exit means enter. I want to throw up my hands and say, "Whatever", "Didn't you get past the 1st grade?" or did you fail reading completely. The adjectives such as stupid, dumb and dumber, totally clueless and what in the name of heavens are you doing walking around, come to my mind. It is just extremely distressing to me for these same people are driving cars out of the parking lots and I wonder if they can read Stop and Go.

As I came out of Hobby Lobby on Saturday, I was almost run over by a horde of women and children entering in the exit door. I had to move to the side, almost knock over a big lamp and hit a nice man, getting out of their way. It was like a stampede of people rushing in the store and I can't understand why for it was Hobby Lobby not Walmart. I expect it at Walmart but not Hobby Lobby unless you need a truck load of crafting supplies. The craft supplies are not flying off the shelves, so what was the hurry?

This was not my first experience with this behavior and I commented to the gentleman I almost knocked over, "Can these people not read or just don't care?" His answer was, "I think they just don't care and if you don't move, they will run over you." To which I answered loudly as the herd went by, "I think I will go home now and I AM GOING TO EXIT THROUGH THE EXIT, NOT THE ENTER."

One lady (?) turned around and looked at me like, what is your problem lady and I just smiled and walked away, shaking my head and muttering, "Bless her heart." If she heard me I doubt she understood the intent but if she did, "Bless her heart."

Now I don't have an answer to this problem which is spreading from store to store, town to town, city to city and on and on. It doesn't seem to help to shorten it to "in" and "out" for most of these people cannot read that either and arrows pointing toward the intended actions also don't work. So what do we do?

Well the obvious answer is to ignore these signs and go in and out willy nilly regardless of the posted signs. The other solution would be to switch the signs to opposite sides in case all of these people can't tell right from left and bless us if they drive. The last suggestion would be to take down all the signs and let people enter and exit as they please and pray you won't get run over.

If you have an answer to this problem, please let me know for I was taught by mama and daddy to obey all signs - enter, exit, in, out, don't walk on the grass, keep to the right and on and on and so not to anger them as they look down from heaven, I still obey signs. There is one I hope all these strange people will follow are the women and men, gents and ladies, bulls and heifers and other such gender related signs over restrooms for I don't think my heart can take a man walking in my public restroom as I "rest."

Nuff said for today and ya'll come back to see me.