The Sisterhood of Messy Hearts #Grace

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She was the funniest girl in school with the coolest clothes. Everyone wanted to sit by her at lunch, but she decided who did. She formed a club and chosen members met on Friday nights at the skating rink.

Then her parents got a divorce. She told fewer jokes. The trips to the skating rink stopped.

I found her crying one day, and my sixth grade heart hurt because her world was falling apart. I could have been a good friend. Not like the one’s talking behind her back … but she wouldn’t let me.

Just like the popular girl in sixth grade, big girls have holes in their hearts too. We all have secrets, heartaches, betrayals and shameful details.

Wary of trust, a wall goes up blocking sweet connection on a Jesus level.

That’s exactly what the Devil wants when it comes to sisters in Christ.

When he separates us … he causes unity to fade.

With the fading of unity … the kingdom’s work is stalled.

So what is the solution?  What can we do?

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If we really want change … we have to be willing to change.

The scriptures say …

“Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than themselves.” Philippians 2:3

The Greek interpretation for the word esteem means to lead … or go before. This made me think about not only putting others before myself … but taking the lead in loving my sisters first … before they love me.

I ache for this holy sisterhood to bond through the beautiful redemption process … to be real on a come to Jesus level … to find sincere connection and genuine grace.

What could happen if we all take the lead to love first?

What would that look like?

Perhaps a good starting place is putting our sister’s feelings before our own, letting selfishness fall to the wayside.

What if we put away all unfavorable perceptions and think only the best about our sister … instead of judging her in specific measures?

What if we forget previous clashes and renew our thoughts?

What affirmation for her if we’d speak truth in kindness, encouraging and praying for her.

What if we keep secrets in perfect trust and serve her in ways glorifying to our Father?

And because we are terribly flawed and we will fail her … we humbly ask for forgiveness … as we forgive.

You see in order for this sisterhood of messy hearts to flourish in Christ … grace must go both ways.

Oh what beauty is found in grace.

What hope is exchanged in love.

What redemption is mined from humility.

The meekness of a messy sisterhood can be a beautiful tapestry of merciful grace … if only we’ll take the lead to love first.

So tell me sister … will you take the lead?

When Life Turns Upside Down ~ An Honest View Of An Undone Life

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How can a girl ardently seek Jesus every day and still worry? How I’ve wrestled with this question so many times.

“Those who have faith, deep abiding faith in an artist who has all things under his control, have no need to rehash the past or predict the future.”                                                                               Michele Cushatt

Such wise insight from Michele’s new book, Undone.

Bottom line, if we don’t choose faith….we won’t have faith.

Michele’s story is probably similar to the rollercoaster story we all find ourselves riding, yet somewhere between the hurts, the heartaches, the losses, the failures and even the cancer….

Michele finds the beautiful artist, lovingly at work……one brushstroke at a time…..in a life that is undone.

“Faith isn’t rooted in the past or the future. It’s birthed in how we approach and handle today.”    Michele Cushatt

This resolute heart for Jesus has met him in the tender, swollen and irritated moments of weakness…and found….his presence is enough for each moment.

She reminds us that even life with the most imaginable hurts is in the here and now.

You see….when life becomes undone…..in just one phone call or one indiscretion or one bad decision…..we are forced to stop in the middle of the road.

We can catapult to the pits of worry and despair.…

Or we can breathe in the presence of the great artist and choose faith.

Jesus asked…..

“Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life?” 

What has worry ever done for you? Nothing friend…nothing.

“Worry like cancer consumes life, eating away at a person from the inside out. It exaggerates the unknown and clouds the known until the worried person sees only the horror of what might be, rather than the beauty of what already is.”                                                                                                   Michele Cushatt

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Worry seeks to take what good there is in life and condemn it with the hurt, the pain, the cancer and the loss.

This beautiful memoir met me in a recent battle that had turned into a stronghold of worry. A blessing from God that I thought was secure in my life….all of a sudden became unsure because of greedy man.

Two days ago I hit my knees at 1:36 a.m. and …..I chose faith.

Life is going to come at us with both fists wielding. It may knock us down, but we can look up before we get up….and remember who is in control…trusting him to help us in each unknown moment.

This is a beautiful book, one that you must read. It is a book for the divorced, single parent, the perfectionist mother or wife, the blended or new foster family, the career professional, the struggling faith walker and yes even the cancer patient.

Michele relays the poignant details of her struggles refreshingly real….. yet agonizingly raw. She can take a simple bible story and retell it in a way that makes you forget you have heard it before.

Filled with gospel truth yet soaked in intimate honesty, I feel like I have known Michele for years.

I can’t wait to meet her face to face one day soon and put my arms around her neck, and give her a holy kiss. This brave woman gives me hope…and a new perspective.

Reading this book will be a wise investment to your spiritual bank…..it will greatly strengthen and prepare you for the undone moments of life.

I just want to share one more nugget of wisdom from Michele, plucking at my heart strings for this undone life I too am living….

“Only a marred life gives birth to the most beautiful redemption.”

It seems we don’t see the richness of the struggle and how we mess it up at times….until after we have experienced the mercy.

What a beautiful work the great artist can do when we trust him in the unexpected and unknown.

Oh thank you, thank you Jesus.

If you find yourself at a place in life that is undone…..take heart my friend….God’s presence is here and now….so choose faith. He promises to never leave you nor forsake you….even when life is undone.

It is an unspeakable honor to be a part of Michele’s launch team for this beautiful book. You will be able to find it in stores on March10th or go to the Undone website and preorder it now. You can also read a sample chapter and find out more about this awesome lady. 

“When They Don’t Say I’m Sorry”

love covers a multitude of sins

Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins.  1 Peter 4:8

I was blindsided by my friend’s verbal assault. Her words stung, piercing my heart in disbelief and grief. The disagreement was silly. She was observing my whining and interjected with her opinion. I learned what she really thought of me in a spray of less than truthful and unfair words.

Later I asked her forgiveness for sounding as though I was frustrated at her. My complaint had nothing to do with my friend, yet she reacted as though it did. A simple yes was the reply to my apology.

An apology I truly did not feel as though I owed her; however, I extended the olive branch and received no apology in return.

Friendship is sticky at times. We go through the valleys and peaks of day to day comradery, but what do we do when the other party is not sorry for their offenses?

My friend’s lack of remorse was as hurtful as her words. My reaction was to cool it with our friendship.  I fretted to the point of sleeplessness the entire night.

I felt the righteous indignation rising in my spirit like a roaring fire. As the sun came up the next morning, I found myself crying out to Jesus.

I did not want to be her friend any longer. I wanted to walk away from the friendship.

As I prayed while fighting the distractions of raw feelings, I heard the Spirit whisper…..

“What if Jesus had walked away?”

Somewhere between my broken heart and the Holy Spirit’s conviction, I realized walking away from our friendship was not an option.

Turning the other cheek was hard to swallow.

I found myself wanting to clue her in on a few details she didn’t know about the situation. I wanted to chide her for not apologizing in return. I yearned to offend and taunt her with guilt, noting she didn’t value our friendship as much as I did.

Over and over the Lord told me to leave it alone and ignore my rights to defense.

In the grand scheme of eternity, it’s not going to matter if I get the last word or not.

It’s not going to matter if I never receive an apology either; however, it will matter if my pride gets the best of me.

Choosing to let conflict go without a defense doesn’t make us weak…..it makes us obedient, but more importantly, it pleases our Lord.

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Friendship is humbling at times, yet we are called to serve and love one another, overlooking each other’s faults….after all……

Jesus overlooked ours.