Strength to Strength - Day 2
Imagine you are in the midst of battle...
There are enemy soldiers all around you. From afar, they seem to be so much larger than you, their weapons and armor glistening in the midday sun. Their faces are stern and fierce, ready to charge at any moment's notice. They look unbeatable.
You glance at your fellow soldiers, the look of concern painted all over their faces. They seem to be staring at you, hoping they could draw from you the strength and courage they need for this battle. You wonder to yourself: "I am no different from you friends. Like you, I feel the same concern. Like you, I want to conquer this formidable enemy. But we cannot conquer this enemy by ourselves. We need to draw our strength from an Almighty Source."
This is probably what David had in mind when he wrote Psalm 27.
1 Lord, you are my Light and my Savior,
so why should I be afraid of anyone?
The Lord is where my life is safe,
so I will be afraid of no one!
2 Evil people might attack me.
They might try to destroy my body.
Yes, my enemies might attack me and
try to destroy me,
but they will stumble and fall.
3 Even if an army surrounds me, I will not be afraid.
Even if people attack me in war, I will
trust in the Lord.
Trust in the Lord Almighty. He gives you the strength to face your battles victoriously!
Wonderfully Made - Music and Lyrics by Paolo Tirol
I've seen ev'ry tear that you've cried.
The fears and the failures your struggle to hide.
The worthiness doubted beneath all that pride.
The visions and dreams left behind.
I know your remorse and regret.
The secrets and stories you ache to forget.
So many people you'd die to be yet.
I choose you, I choose you.
Do you know I choose you?
I choose you.
If only you could see yourself the way that I do,
And know yourself the way I know you
Then you'd love yourself
As somebody who is wonderfully made.
How faultless you are in my eyes.
So gentle and guiltless, so perfect and prized.
There's so much to love that you don't realize,
My child, My beloved, My pride.
A future with so much in store,
A gift those around you are so grateful for.
Nothing can alter that forevermore.
I'd choose you, I'd choose you.
Do you know why I'd choose you?
I'd choose you.
Forever and ever I'd choose you.
Just as you are, I'd choose you.
Again and again, I would choose you.
Wonderfully made are you.
Slaying The Giants
Today, let us put our swords down for a moment, and remove our shield and defenses. Let us draw near to our Lord, our victorious King. Hebrews 4:16 says, Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
Reflections by Menchit Wong
Relator. Empathy. Responsibility. Connectedness. Belief.
11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. (Jeremiah 29:11-13)
Embracing Our Brokenness
Center yourself by listening to this song - Broken Vessels by Hillsong
You take our failure
You take our weakness
You set Your treasure
In jars of clay
So, take this heart Lord
I'll be Your vessel
The world to see
Your life in me
Read and reflect on these verses. Which one is speaking to you today?
Romans 3:10, 23
"As it is written: There is no one righteous, not even one; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God."
"For He knows how we are formed, He remembers that we are dust."
"I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us."
"Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance."
1 Peter 5:10
"And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will Himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast."
"For we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do."
Here are 2 interesting words. How do these relate to embracing our brokenness?
Poiema. This, is used in the bible to mean workmanship. We are God's work of art, His masterpiece. We have been crafted with talents and skills for a purpose, by God, for His purposes, specifically as stated in Ephesians 2, we are "created in Christ Jesus to do good works."
Kintsugi. This is a centuries-old Japanese art of repairing broken pottery and transforming it into a new work of art with gold. The name of the technique is derived from the words "Kin" (golden) and "tsugi" (joinery), which translate to "golden joinery" or "golden repair". The scars and cracks of the broken ceramic become the focus and turn the object into something unique and exquisite.
Listen to Coach Monette's STORY or read the transcript below.
Suicide and Death
My Lord and my god
Lift me up from all this misery
Take my life, Take my soul
Fill me with the Holy Spirit.
No longer have self control
Badly in need of your Enlightenment
Desperate and scared
Move with no cares
Give me a change of heart
Cleanse my mind and my soul
Bring me to true happiness
Or just let me close my eyes and die.
Transcript of MY STORY by Monette Santos-Fider
Responsibility. Achiever. Connectedness. Relator. Individualization.
I wrote this poem in the mid 90s. I had no control over my life, and I didn't care what happened to myself either. I let myself go numb. The only reason I did not jump overboard the ship to take my life was because of the thought of my kiddos. So, I asked God for help. What I didn't realize then was that I did not surrender completely. I did not give Him all my broken pieces. So life continued as I learned to compartmentalize all the roles I played. My CONNECTEDNESS was probably telling me that all will be well, but perhaps I was not in touch with reality. My ACHIEVER made sure I continued to give 100% at work, regardless of my family situation.
It wasn't until 4 years later that I finally got the strength and courage to fight back. As he (ex-husband) held me by the collar of my shirt, lifting me up and banging me against the wall, something just came through me, and I swung at him with a mean right punch on his face. All 220 pounds of him flew back, hit the other wall, and slid down to the floor. Both of us were in shock. But, enough is enough. My numbness had to stop. The emotional and physical abuse had to stop. Flying furniture had to stop. Children witnessing this had to stop.
A year later, or 5 years after writing the poem, things got worse because he could not deal with an empowered woman. Things got from bad to worse, and he asked our eldest daughter, who was 12 at the time, if she wanted us to separate or not. She answered with these words: Minsan oo, minsan hindi...because you are always fighting. Then he went to the bathroom, took the insecticide, came out to us, sprayed it in his mouth, and collapsed with froth coming out of his mouth. One can only imagine what havoc was happening here. With the help of neighbors, we carried him to our vehicle, and I drove him to the Emergency Room.
He lived, of course, but we went our separate ways. That was the beginning of my journey as a single mom to 5 children 3 to 12 years old. And, eventually, a single mom of a single mom. And then, I continued on to have an irresponsible relationship with someone who had recently come out of a life sentence in bilibid (national prison).
We have all these scars in our lives so that we can be broken and repent - not to be proud, but to be humble. The Lord wants the obedience of the heart. When you are completely broken and you pray from your broken heart, God heals you. Yes, God heals us. I cannot brag about raising my kiddos single-handedly. It is only by mercy and by His grace that God chooses to forgive me and save me. Not by my deeds, but by His grace.
And so I give Jesus all my broken pieces because He continues to work on the masterpiece that I am. He has already planned what He wants to do with our lives. He has a unique plan for each of us to serve Him in this world. I am turning my mess into a message of love, joy, peace, compassion and hope.
Oh, remember the irresponsible relationship I had with someone? I married him! God works in mysterious ways! His is another story of embracing our brokenness! See you at our Live Zoom Community!
Our Strengths are gifts from our Creator. Barrier Labels are negative terms used when an innate talent (strength) is devalued or dismissed as a weakness. Look at the barrier labels of your Top 5 Strengths/talent themes.
Guide Questions for Reflection
How does embracing your brokenness change the way you view your strengths/talent themes?*
Read the barrier labels of your Top 5 Strengths. How have you seen them play out in your own life?*
Meditate on Ephesians 2:10. Spend your time in prayer, bringing to God your brokenness, past pains, and disappointments. Surrender all to Him, trusting that He will eventually restore you to your original intended purpose.
*If you are not yet aware of your strengths/talent themes, use this as your reflection guide:
How does embracing your brokenness change the way you view what you are here on earth for?
Where do you need God's help in restoring your authentic self, so you work towards His will & purpose for you?
It is a wonder what God can do with a broken heart, if He gets all the pieces.
- Samuel Chadwick