Sweetly Broken

May 5, 2014 at 8:59 pm


“STELLA…NO!”“Stop that! No…you CAN’T play ball in the house!” “DOWN, Stella!” “Off the bed, Stella!” “Get away from that screen door!” “STOP!…DROP!…SIT!…COME!” “WHEW! Where does it all stop?” Not until Stella learns to do what I say, when I say it. Until then, I just have to keep teaching her. Stella is my son’s girlfriend’s dog. We only have her for the weekend. She’s a two year old golden Labrador Retriever. Blonde and beautiful, she is also sassy and spontaneous in every way. Is there such a thing as the Terrible-Twos when it comes to dogs? In human-years, I realized she’s already a teenager. Perhaps that’s an even a worse scenario! In either case, obedience is a problem. My words go unheeded and she just plain forgets who’s boss.

Frustrated, I plopped down in my easy chair with a big sigh. That’s when I experienced my first Divine-canine moment. Though not audible, I could hear God’s Voice whispering in my spirit, “Come…Sit…Listen.”
Then He threw me a Heavenly Scrap to chew on. How often have I turned a deaf ear to God’s commands for my life? Ignored His Word and rushed headlong into something despite His warnings? I’m not so different from Stella after all. (That’s a sobering thought.) In both cases, obedience is still a problem. Sadly, sometimes I too, just plain forget who the Master is.

This excerpt is from one of my Journal entries way back on August 24, 2007. Since that time, my Son married his girlfriend, his girlfriend is now my Daughter-in-Law, and Stella became my Grand-dog! Even with all of these changes in effect today, one thing remains the same. Stella. Obedience is often still a problem. She is now 63 years old in human years! She’s the only one of my Grandkids who is older than I am! So much for the old adage, “With age comes wisdom.” What scares me about this thought is that I still see a lot of myself in Stella’s behavior concerning her natural bent toward disobedience. Whether you are a dog or a human being, all of life hinges on making good or bad choices. Even now, in my eagerness to please my Master, and Stella to please her master; we sometimes still prove to be only a disappointment when it comes to our actions or responses toward the circumstances pressing in on us. Both for a dog and for a human, obedience is always far more than just instilling a one-time change in behavior. True obedience is the result of a change that comes from deep within the heart. It doesn’t just affect outward behavior; the things we do. It is the result of sculpting our very character from the inside out; changing who we are. Though Stella’s disobedience may only change the climate of her master’s household for a few moments in any given day; my own disobedience in my Master’s House has the far reaching potential to affect the lives around me for Eternity! This is the point where Stella and I part ways. This is also the interval where I am reminded of the second time in my life when my Master unexpectedly threw me another Heavenly Scrap. A Scrap that I will be chewing on from now until Eternity!

This past year, I’ve been attending a BSF (Bible Study Fellowship) group every Monday night. We are studying the Gospel of Matthew. We meet as one large group for fellowship; then break down into smaller groups for discussion. Following this, there is time to share individual prayer requests. One of my main requests since September of 2013 has been to seek God’s wisdom and guidance in the matter of setting up a blog site for my writing. I am so media- challenged in this high-tech world; I knew I couldn’t begin to do it on my own. Yet…I still felt God nudging me to pursue the idea. After several months of praying, nothing seemed to change. Both my group and I continued to pray; asking…seeking…knocking, faithfully anticipating God’s provision in His time. By the time month number seven rolled around, I have to admit I struggled with thoughts defined by both doubt and fear in me. Every day, I tried not to listen to the little voices rising inside of me, silently pursuing me at intervals from daybreak to night fall. The enemy’s voice telling me things like, “Who are you on the social media scene anyway?” “Just a nobody…an unknown in the writing world.” “No one will read your writings.” “You will fail at this.”

Failure isn’t something any of us likes to experience in life, but I hadn’t even tasted success yet with a blog that hadn’t happened yet and here I was already fighting off fears of failure! Sensing a hole or two in my great wall of faith surrounding this blog idea, I stuffed both fear and doubt a little deeper down inside of me. After all, out of sight out of mind…right? Truthfully…this way of thinking is anything but a Biblical thought. It’s just choosing on my own to fly with my lights off. It is flying blind.

One Monday night recently, I headed off to Bible Study as usual. Everything seemed as it should be. Though still ‘flying blind’, my homework was done and my old prayer request was now written down in a brand new way. What I forgot was this. Faith and fear cannot occupy the same space in a Child of God’s heart for long without some serious consequences. Jesus calls His own to full commitment…not half-hearted devotion stained with doubt and fear. Little did I know it but, my heart was ripe and ready for receiving another of God’s Heavenly Scraps to chew on!
After our group discussion ended, a couple of ladies shared individual prayer requests. Then, taking a deep breath I added mine,

“Please continue praying for God’s will where my blog site is concerned. It’s funny…but, I almost feel as though God has gone completely silent on me.”

As our group leader closed our time together, she prayed for God’s will concerning my blog, ending her prayer with these words.

“…and God, Debbie’s blog is in Your Hands. We pray that You will make Your answer plain and clear to her beyond a shadow of a doubt. In Jesus name, Amen.”

At this point, I could hear the shuffling of over 200 women’s feet scurrying out of their small groups to re-assemble for a Bible lecture. It was into this less-than- five -minute snippet of time, between my Group Leader’s final “amen” and finding my seat for the lecture that God slipped me another of His Heavenly Scraps to chew on!
Bending over to retrieve my purse off the floor, I watched a pair of feet pull up and park directly in front of me. By the time I stood up straight there was a smile named Donna waiting at the opposite end of those feet to greet me. Before I could even smile back, she began to speak what she called, “the words God laid on her heart for me while our small group was praying moments earlier.”

With an attitude of genuine concern laced with a measure of kindness I can’t explain, Donna, shared these amazing words with me.

“While our group was praying for you,’ Donna elaborated, “God gave me a revelation concerning your writing. I believe it’s a problem of obedience. Maybe fear…or possibly even doubt… which keeps you from moving forward in the direction He’s been urging you to move.”

There were three words instantly highlighted by the rush of adrenaline inside of me triggered by Donnas’ heart-awakening conversation. Revelation, fear, and doubt. Another word for revelation is simply, eye-opener. This was certainly that for me! As for fear and doubt, I was well acquainted with both. Until this moment, I’d lost sight of the fact of them being equated with disobedience. The darkness that comes from flying with your lights off provides the perfect backdrop for the lingering shadows of doubt and fear to thrive in undetected. I stuffed them so-o-o deep down inside of me, Donna, a total stranger to me; couldn’t have known they existed there. No one in this world could’ve known they were hidden inside of me …except God. God, clothed in Donnas’ flesh. It was His Voice I was hearing when Donna spoke. Her words embedded deeply in my heart. I recognized them to be His instant message for me in response to my group’s earlier prayer to “… make His answer plain and clear to me beyond a shadow of a doubt.”

Living beyond the shadow of doubt and fear wasn’t going to be easy for me. I’d ignored this dynamic duo for so long they’d become a part of who I was and how I filtered my thinking. Now that the Light of Donnas’ words was shining brightly on them both…I needed to decide what I was going to do. My heart wasn’t made to share space with my Master and these unwelcome strangers, too. The thought of my disobedience wasn’t easy to swallow, but I also understood the unmeasured value that comes with heeding my Master’s Voice.

Climbing into my car after BSF, oh how I longed for this next step to be as easy as Donnas’ smile pulling up next to me again and handing me part II of “Heavenly Scraps for Dummies!” but, Donna was nowhere in sight. In a less-than-two-minute-time frame I spent with her tonight, she’d managed to become for me a lifetime snapshot of what complete trust, amazing courage, and willing obedience must look like in the Master’s eyes. Now it was my turn. I made it as far as the edge of the church parking lot before the rain drops began to fall; on the front seat of my car, not outside.
“Forgive me, Father…forgive me for my lack of obedience. Forgive me for my fear to write the words that I once had no doubt You layed on my heart for others to read. For doubting that You have equipped me well to speak of Your Glory revealed in the trappings of my heart! ” I whispered. With every tear of regret I cried, I prayed a double portion of fear and doubt left with them. In this instant my heart grew keenly aware of an ocean of His Grace pooling in their place. I couldn’t help but feel a little like the blind beggars we’d just studied.

Two blind beggars were sitting beside the road outside the city of Jericho; shouting for mercy when they heard Jesus was near. Though the crowds tried to silence their cries, they continued to yell out; somehow knowing without seeing (faith), that Jesus could help them. Matthew 20:32-33 goes on to say. “When Jesus came to the place where they were, He stopped in the road and called, “What do you want me to do for you?”

Jesus met these blind beggars right where they were…sitting in the midst of their own darkness. He already knew what they desired most in this world and yet…He posed an obvious question to them.

“What do you want Me to do for you?” I believe their desperate cries of, “We want to see!” rang in His ears as the beautiful melody of true faith. This is what ‘faith like a little child’ sounds like. It is belief beyond doubt! It is absolute trust beyond fear! This is the point in my tearful drive home that night that I heard Jesus whispering into my spirit the same question He asked those two blind beggars.

“What do you want Me to do for you?”

Jesus came to me ‘right where I was ‘…crying out in desperation consumed by my own ‘very real’ spiritual blindness. The road I was sitting on was the pathway paved with seven months-worth of prayers prayed for the birth of my blog site. Fear and Doubt were my crowds; attempting to silence me as I cried out to Him in desperation for relief from the darkness that comes from flying blind for so long.

“I want to see!” I cried out loud, like the blind men.

I wanted to see God bring the idea of my blog site into reality! I wanted to see His Glory shining through the words He’d given me to write.

My greatest desire in this moment was to trade my disobedience in for the blind trust I witnessed in the two beggars, and the unmistakable courage that defined Donna earlier. Thank you, Donna, for being Jesus to me in my blindness and for your willingness to serve as His Heavenly Scrap to me in a moment that will forever define my life. Though I can’t deny the level of pain that came when you spoke His words to me, my heart wouldn’t trade being so sweetly broken by the Master’s gentle touch. One week later, my son, Mike, built the blog site you are now reading! God’s Love truly is big enough to Light any darkness I have within me.

Concerning my Grand-pup, Stella…you weren’t barking up the wrong tree on that day you so blindly introduced me to my first taste of Heavenly Scraps and how difficult they can sometimes be to swallow! Even at 63 years old, Stella still loves just being in the presence of her master. At the sound of her master’s voice, her tail still wags in sync with her foot-long tongue. Her excitement is extreme and her love genuine, but her behavior still hinges on the bacon flavored “Beggin Strip dangling from her master’s finger tips. When it’s gone so is her desire for obedience.

This is not how our Master works in each of our lives. When He tosses a Heavenly Scrap in our direction, He aims it squarely at our heart. That is where true obedience takes place; changing not just what we do for the moment but, who we are for a lifetime. He doesn’t see us as anxious pups who, given enough time, will straighten up and fly right. He knows we’re more like little lambs. Utterly helpless on our own and prone to wander at any given moment only to end up lost in a darkness of our own choosing. It’s the very reason The Master calls Himself, The Good Shepherd. If the Good Shepherd were to toss you a Heavenly Scrap; one that you could chew on for the span of your lifetime, this would be it:

“With His gentle voice the Shepherd calls to His loved and straying lambs. “Come back, little ones, for you are not safe unless… you are where I Am.”

“My sheep respond as they hear My Voice. I know them intimately and they follow Me.” (John 10:27 The Voice)