Be Vulnerable

On the Depth Podcast, we talk about Vulnerability this week.

I share at the end of the episode about a time God was asking me to be completely vulnerable back in October 2014.  I am sharing this with you today because I want to remind you that God can use your broken story. When I wrote this, I had no idea what God has planned for me.

Below is the email I sent to everyone in my inbox. It was titled, “Vulnerability.”

I have heard the word vulnerable multiple times in the last day. To me, this word means being completely authentic and open; sharing the real you! However, being vulnerable can have 2 results:  you can receiv.e judgment from others when you show the real you or the real you can offer encouragement to others. Sadly, both results happen when you are vulnerable; one of the risks to being vulnerable.  In this day in age, with Facebook and social media- we only see the good times in people’s lives, however, not many people share what happens behind the closed doors of their home.  I love what Steven Furtick in his book, “Crash the Chatterbox” says, “We are comparing our behind the scenes with everybody else’s highlight reel. This is one of the main reasons we struggle with insecurity.”  Well, what if more people shared their behind the scenes footage.  What if more people were vulnerable showing the authentic side of them: the good, the bad and the ugly.

So, here is me being completely vulnerable- I hope this brings you encouragement and not judgment.

2014 has been the hardest year of my life.  At the end of January, I received heartbreaking news that crushed me.  My marriage of 15 1/2 years was ending.  Honestly, I will never forget that day!  For months, I was in a deep grief; I had all the emotions: shock, anger, sadness…. Lots of tears and lots of journaling!  Ladies, I am here to say that God is faithful in the hard times, more than you can ever understand.  There is a verse in Psalms that says that God is close to the broken hearted and I am living proof of that. You are never alone!! God is always there with you!!  This last year, I have experienced God in a way that I have never experienced before.  I have learned that God cares about you so much, even the littlest details that we sometimes think don’t matter.  God wants to use us, even in our brokenness!!  One common theme that I am learning is that God uses our pain; I am not sure why we have to go through some of these hard times that we do encounter but I am confident to say that he never wastes that hurt.  You may have a broken heart but you are not a broken vessel.  Honestly, I say this to myself all the time; I may have a broken heart but I am not a broken vessel.   God please still use me.

Ladies, no matter what you have experienced.  It could be going through a divorce like me or it could be losing a loved one or another hard time, God can use that pain!  He wants to take you from a place of heartbreak to a place of strength.  You can only get there by completely relying on Him!!  I don’t know if you read the Jesus Callings but they were so helpful to me during those first few months.  Each day, I felt like that message had been written just for me.  It was exactly what I needed to hear that morning on that day.  Some of the messages were: you are not alone, I am here with you during even your hardest times, trust me, I am your Strength, Keep your focus on me…  I remember one day it said, “I am with you and for you.  You face nothing alone- nothing.”   Ladies, this is truth!!  I don’t know what hard time you are in now or that you will be facing in the future but I do know from first hand experience, God can be trusted and He is faithful even when life circumstances go completely differently than you planned. 

This past year has been a growing year for me and I truly feel closest to God than ever before.  My new passion is reading books that encourage me and challenge me and God has been asking me to share what I am learning with others.  So I have decided to start a blog called Heartbreak to Strength: sharing what God is teaching me in the midst of my pain.”

Please feel free to forward this to anyone going through a hard time; I truly want my vulnerability to encourage others.

Wow- my very first blog post!

This is where my writing journey began. Little did I know that an entire ministry would be birthed from my broken story. A blog, a podcast, and a book that is hopefully coming soon.

Friend, God specializes in taking our pain and turning into His purpose! He wants to use your broken story to help another hurting heart. Are you ready to be vulnerable? I promise you will not regret it.

Love, Jodi

Note: Today (Wednesday morning), I will be sharing more of my story on the 41 Strong Podcast for my first ever LIVE interview. It will be on at 8 am (PT)/ 10 am (CT). You can listen to it live on the Peoria Area Church Facebook Page. If you miss the live interview, check out my new page on my website: Featured On. (I will upload the podcast interview later today).

Depth Podcast Link

Lessons from the Good Samaritan

Her words are powerful.

So thankful for Grace’s wisdom in my podcast this week. She vulnerably shares her story of being an African American growing up in the United Stated.  I was deeply saddened by how our fellow Americans treated her and her family. Racism is horrible.

Even in the middle of the terrible circumstances, Grace’s parents taught her an important lesson to love whomever her path crossed.  She was shown to love her neighbor.

In the Bible, Jesus is asked, “Who is our neighbor?” He answers with the parable of the Good Samaritan.  I love how Grace shares 4 important lessons from this parable in my podcast this week.  I pray these truths help us move toward unity.

First, we need to see. In the story, the Samaritan opened his eyes and saw the man lying hurt in the road.  The priest and Levite did not stop and look; they purposely avoided him.

Second, the Samarian had compassion on the man.  Just picture how our world would look if we had more compassion for one another.

Third, he leaned in. He got on his knees and began to treat his wounds. He began to have a relationship with this hurt man.

Fourth, the Good Samaritan took action!  He loaded the man on his horse, took him to a nearby inn and paid for his care. 

Friend, which one of these 4 action steps can you do today to help us move toward racial unity.  Maybe you just need to have your eyes opened to the truth that racism is still happening. Perhaps you need to have compassion on our fellow Americans who are being treated differently.  Maybe you need to lean in and begin to have a relationship with those who look different than you.  Perhaps you need to take action!

I love these practical steps that Grace shared this week on the podcast. I love that her parents modeled having a Christ-like love and attitude toward others even in the midst of the persecution.  There is so much we can learn, and I pray today we are open to understanding more and truly leaning in to help!  

Below is a link to my conversation with Grace on the podcast this week. I promise you do not want to miss her wisdom.

Depth Podcast Link

Love, Jodi