Gracefully Truthful

Broken,Forgiven,God,Good,Lord,Love

Read His Words Before Ours!

2 Corinthians 4:7-18
Psalm 37:27-40
Hebrews 12:7-13

If you’ve surrendered yourself to Jesus, reached out and accepted His offer to forgive every single sin in your past, present, and future, then you have a wholeness story!

All of us have a past, whether it was mired in obvious sins everyone could see, or we struggled inside with performance, trying to win our way to God, or something else altogether. All of us are guilty of missing the mark of perfect holiness. All of us need a Savior to make us Whole. All of our broken places, shattered dreams, deep wounds, aching losses, and entangling sins are heavy burdens, but Jesus came to pay the price for all of it, and then free us to dance in His Wholeness!  

These ladies are bravely sharing part of their broken-turned-whole stories because the Lord invites us to tell of His goodness. (Psalm 105:1-2) Be encouraged by their transparency, ask the Lord to make you whole, then share with another of the goodness of our God!

Rachel Jones
When my first pregnancy ended in miscarriage, I decided to take the full 9 months to grieve and process, spending the time getting healthier and learning more about pregnancy. During this time, I came to know God as my Comforter. (2 Corinthians 1:3-4) Expressing my pain was difficult, so I just sought God’s presence and cried out for rescue like the psalmist. (Psalm 91:15) God used the comforting words and embrace of women in my life to make me feel protected and understood; it was as if God Himself was holding me in His arms. (Isaiah 40:11) Sometimes, while worshipping at church, I would suddenly find myself sobbing, releasing the grief I didn’t know how to surrender on my own. God met me when I was vulnerable and open during worship, healing me and making me whole as I allowed Him to bind up my broken heart. (Psalm 147:3)

Leslie Umstattd
During my time at seminary, I found myself in a dark season. I was full of anxiety and wasn’t sleeping well. I would wake up numerous times during the night with racing thoughts and a mind that would not be still. I was one year into my studies and I wasn’t particularly stressed during the day, but at night I would toss and turn longing for sleep. Each night, I would struggle to fall asleep and once asleep, struggle to stay asleep. It was as if a film reel of the past would play like an old movie projector in my head. This went on for months and I was physically exhausted as well as emotionally and spiritually wearied. One night, I woke up and decided to read my Bible. It seemed the only distraction that would focus my thoughts. I looked up verses speaking directly to finding peace and rest as well as those that spoke truth to anxiety. I wrote these in my journal and began memorizing them. Each night as my mind would race, I would repeat the verses I memorized over and over again as my mantra, working to replace my anxious thoughts with the truth of God’s Word. Slowly, the dark season began fading. His word became a lamp and light for me to find rest. When I woke up, I could speak truth directly to my worries and my mind learned to be still. One of my truth verses was Philippians 4:7, “And the peace of God that transcends all understanding will protect your heart and mind in Christ Jesus.” Another verse that shed light in my dark season was Proverbs 3:23-24, “Then you will walk in your way securely, And your foot will not stumble. When you lie down, you will not be afraid; When you lie down, your sleep will be sweet.” In my desperate need, the Lord made me whole by teaching my heart to anchor in unshakeable truth!

Natalie Smith
The Lord has been teaching me much on the importance of self-control and patience. Though I have benefitted from seeing these fruits in others, especially my husband, much of my hands-on learning of Jesus’ patience has been taught through parenting. I have often felt I was placed in an extreme sport in raising my mystery child on the Autism Spectrum. Every battle tends to be extreme: extreme in the intensity, frequency, and time needed to out-grow certain behaviors. Most challenging for me are fits of anger. I remember being locked in the bathroom and sitting on the floor with my hysteric child. The hysteria had been going on for quite some time and I was exhausted mentally and emotionally. No one was home to help. I wanted to run, punch a hole in the wall, or start screaming myself, but suddenly the Lord gave clarity, teaching me of Himself. I realized that Jesus chose to die to Himself and remain self-controlled in order to bring us peace. Jesus chose patience while being led away by the soldiers and He has been patient when my own confused soul has raged against Him. He has shown me that to reach my children (neighbors and friends) with His love requires great patience and death to myself. How sweetly the Lord is making me more wholly like Him, even in my mundane!

Shannon Vicker
As an educator and parent, recent school shootings have made the world seem very dark, and I admit to feeling trapped within it. Being forced to face the grim reality of pervasive darkness and what it could mean for me and my family is hard. If I am honest, those harsh scenarios are never far from my mind, but recent events seem to increase the likelihood of their reality impacting those I love. These are scary thoughts, however, God has not left me alone. On the contrary, He is present to shed the light of truth and hope into the darkness. This week, that light was evidenced through a student. As he processed the events, he chose to hand-deliver a flower to everyone on staff. (*flower shown on today’s graphic) He gifted me a beautiful creation with a smile on his face, and God used this kind generosity to remind me of Matthew 6:25-34. I can empathize, and mourn with those who mourn, but it is not my job to borrow worry and anxiety. I cannot control the events of tomorrow, but I can trust that God, in all His divine wisdom, knows each of my days and will never leave me. I can trust His plans are greater than mine and that He will “work all things for good” (Romans 8:28) even if His plans don’t match mine. Day by day, He is making me Whole! 

Lisa Marcelina
I enjoy working for the Lord! I gave my life to Jesus at the age of seventeen, and while life has been challenging, at the age of fifty-three, I can say God has been with me and blessed me as I surrendered myself to Him. I serve the Lord through my writing. I’m not an eloquent speaker and I fear speaking in public, so getting up on a platform to teach is not my cup of tea. When I write, I express myself more clearly and the Lord uses my surrender for His glory. Is writing hard? Yes, it is. It takes a lot of research to prepare a devotional or Bible study; putting it together can be tedious. In between, I have a full-time job and family responsibilities. I enjoy it all because working for the Lord and serving others gives me purpose, redeeming the curse over work. Living for Jesus and serving Him is what makes life abundant. (John 10:10) At the end of my physical life and when Jesus exchanges the corruptible for incorruptible, all believers will become truly Whole.

Melodye Reeves
“But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.” (Lamentations 3:21-23) I have come to realize my gospel witness is only as effective as my belief that Christ does indeed hold an assuredly true hope-drenched future. It is this belief that gives me perpetual hope. Being devoted to good and surrendered to God’s purpose for me has produced within me a hope that outlasts the trials I experience. God’s mercy is the source of my devotion and surrender to Him. Because He has steadfastly loved me and faithfully held me, I’m able to remember and be filled with all hope. (Romans 15:13) This is my answer for all who wonder and might ask me how I can possibly walk through the hard seasons of life. Because of the Hope of Jesus, I can surrender to being made Whole by the Savior!

Oppression is everywhere in this dark world.
BUT as Christ’s ambassadors,
we carry the Hope of Jesus around within us. (2 Corinthians 4:10)

Sisters, let us each fervently take up the mission before us to put on the full armor of God and engage the world around us with the ministry of reconciliation that Christ Himself has given to us that we may all be made WHOLE.

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June 20 - July 8, 2022 - Journey Theme #109

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