Musings From A Musical Mind

Posts tagged ‘brokeness’

Are You Alone?

I am at a Starbucks out of town, while on a road trip with Greg. I noticed when walking in this place that it was unusually crowded. I peered around for a vacant table – and then I saw it. The only empty table in the place. A lonely LARGE table. This table holds eight people. It is empty. There are many smaller tables around it – all full. It is awkward. Little old me at such a large table. By myself. Alone.

Throughout the years I have witnessed people alone at a table for two in restaurants. I'm sure they are uncomfortable. They avoid eye contact, are often reading a book or a magazine and trying to “appear” busy. At the few times I have found myself alone out in public having to eat alone at a table for two – it is very awkward. I try not to feel that way – but the society in which we live – dictates that to be alone means something dreadful and sad. You feel people watching you – you want to scream, “I'm only alone because I am choosing it” but it is no use. Alone is alone. No matter how you slice it.

Many people find themselves alone at different seasons in life. Usually it is not planned, can happen suddenly and takes them by surprise. Being alone is an unpleasant prospect. Being alone out in public – even scarier. Especially for women.

I have often marveled at how people, once in a long-term relationship and suddenly alone, can begin again. They takes the necessary steps to go out in public again – and even after time *gasp* – begin the thought process of dating again. *Double gasp* The first time around is scary enough for anyone – why oh WHY would anyone choose to do it again? – I've always thought. But at the same time – I am amazed and warmed by those who have not only taken steps to not be alone – but actually find someone else. The chances for 'love the second time around' are really great!! And I have witnessed this marvel – many times over the years. Usually it is a long time friend, who also finds them-self alone or in this technically advanced society – through online dating sites.

The holidays can be wonderful – but also very lonely. Especially for those who have lost a mate, child or friend. There are so many sad songs surrounding the holidays. Some of the best lyrics involve sadness and loss. You would have to be intensely naive – to think that this season is automatically joyful for all.

If you are alone this season, the best thing you can do is get out and be with people. Attend a church service, holiday concert or an invite to a Christmas party. You may find that the warmth of friendship is your anchor and will bring you additional courage in the months to come. And because you are alone – your relationship with others in your life will become much more precious and you will now have time to renew old ties. If you have The Lord in your life – you know how much of a comfort it is to have a friend that “sticks closer than a brother” and who knows it all. He will become more dear to you during this time.

If you know someone who is alone for the first time this season – invite them over. Be a friend. Look around. Notice the ones who are alone in your church services. Get involved. Show gentleness and compassion. Spread love around. Sprinkle kindness. Stir in humor. Fold in understanding. Bring true meaning to the season this year. Make someone's Christmas truly special. You may be the only person who can.

God Bless

 

What Are Your Chains?

The following is an excerpt from my daily devotional:

It has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ (Philippians 1:13).

Joni Erickson Tada is, in a sense, in chains for Christ. One day she was a carefree teenager, the next she was imprisoned in a quadriplegic body due to a diving accident. Yet her chains not only encouraged others but also increased her faith as she grew into more and more reliance upon Christ. Because Joni took her tragedy and gave it to God, He has used her in a mighty way.

Confined to a wheelchair, Joni creatively adapted her lifestyle and learned to paint by holding a brush in her teeth. Soon God began calling her to help others with limited abilities.

What would her life have been like if she hadn’t taken that dive? Would she still have a worldwide ministry? Would she have developed the strong character and courage to move into such a ministry?

From great tragedy can come great character. Reflecting on the ministries of both Joni and the apostle Paul, I ask myself, “What are my chains? What adversity or physical infirmity can I give to Christ for His glory?

Author Unknown

As I was reading this devotional thought this morning – I was aware of the fact that all of us have ‘chains’.  They are not always physical – as in the case of Joni – sometimes they are invisible and are harder for us to define and recognize.  Anything emotional can be dicey and complicated for us and because we cannot see it – we also cannot see the damage it has done or the scars that it has left behind.   But like anything that holds us down – visible or not – it can be a very difficult thing to ‘rise above’ it and simply move on.  Especially if those ‘chains’ leave us with feelings of regret and desperation.  But the real strength of character comes when we are at our weakest – lost and hurting.   It’s when we allow those ‘chains’ to change our course that the real miracle comes about – in our own hearts.  And sometimes a change in our hearts begins a new journey – a change in our course that God will use to bless someone else.

In my own life my ‘chains’ are invisible.  They are not something you can detect.  They are emotional. There was a hurt and a tearing apart of something that I thought was unmovable and strong.  It caused me to rethink everything in my life.  It caused me to ‘pull in’ and protect.  It took time to heal – I think I am still healing from it in some ways.  But I realized something after this happened.  I realized I had a choice.  I either trusted God or I didn’t.  I had to trust that He saw the bigger picture and that I didn’t need to.  That had to be good enough.  And then – I had to decide whether or not I would go on – or stay still and struggle in my own pain – alone.  I chose to go on.

I began a journey of healing through writing.  I wrote because I felt compelled.  I felt I had something to say.  I felt God speaking through me.  And though ‘handicapped’ now because of my ‘chains’ – I continued to write.  It was the only thing I could do – and I did it.  Along the way I met people in my life that had a powerful influence in my life – and their words of love and encouragement was like God speaking directly to me.  And that encouragement gave me courage over time – and soon I was able to help and encourage people – even when I myself was still hurting.

Those were my ‘chains’ used to glorify God.  Would I have had this tremendous opportunity without them?  Would I have had anything to write about?  Would God have been able to use me?  I don’t know.  But I do know – that He took my brokenness and my willingness to move forward and bless others.  And in blessing others – He has blessed me.

And so like Joni – I can truly say that I cannot regret this path and the journey I’ve been on.  The very ‘chains’ that I thought would break me and destroy me and my witness – have made me stronger and my witness more powerful than before.

What are your chains?  Is it something that you need to experience in order to better serve others?  Are you finding your life journey changing course because of those ‘chains’?  It may not be just a ‘coincidence’  or something that you’d like to think of as a ‘mistake’.  It may be something that God is going to use to make you stronger and increase your influence with others.  And like those ‘chains’ of mine that will always be with me – even though I have survived and am moving forward – those ‘chains’ will always be a reminder to me that He is stronger than any chains that would threaten to bind me or destroy me.

God Bless

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