Heartbreak to Strength Blog

Turn Your Worry Into Worship

She gave this name to the LORD who spoke to her: “You are the God who sees me,” for she said, “I have now seen the One who sees me.”  Gen 16:13

I woke up in the middle of the night; the worries of the week were dancing in my head. Feeling overwhelmed, I began writing my thoughts out on paper.

Journaling has become an act of surrender. I start with my stresses and frustrations, but somewhere on the pages, I exchange these worries for worship.

Our church pastor likes to remind us that you cannot worry and worship at the same time. Worry is focusing on your problems. However, worship is focusing on the God who is bigger than your problems.

In Genesis, we find a woman named Hagar who is distressed by her life circumstances. She is the servant of Sarai, who instead of waiting on God’s perfect timing for a baby, decided to take matters into her own hands by urging her husband, Abram, to sleep with Hagar. As the conflict between these two women increases, Hagar runs away.  Alone in the wilderness, Hagar is pregnant and full of worry. 

If I was Hagar, I would be worried too. But I love that an encounter and conversation with an angel shifts Hagar’s focus. She turns her eyes from her problems to the God who sees her and the God who hears her.

She moves from worry to worship.

After this encounter with the angel, Hagar’s circumstances did not change. She was still pregnant with Abram’s son, and she would still have conflict with Sarai when she returned. Even though her circumstances did not change, her focus did. 

What are you focusing on?

Are your eyes fixed on the coronavirus crisis or concerns about your child? Are you focused on your finances or your overwhelming emotions?

We have a choice. Are we going to focus on God or our problems?

In the middle of the night, God reminded me of Hagar’s words in Gen 16:13: “You are the God who sees me.” Just like Hagar, the circumstances in my life did not change, but my heart and soul were now fully relying on God for guidance and wisdom in the middle of these hard circumstances.

Friends, God wants to do the same for you too. He sees you and cares deeply for you. He has not forgotten you. Today, I pray you can shift your focus from your problems to the God who sees you and wants to walk with you through these hard circumstances.

Dear God, Thank You that You are in control even when life seems to spin out of control. Help us to remember to focus on You and trust Your timing and Your plan. We love you. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Suffer Strong

Sometimes life does not go as we planned.

Perhaps you have lost a loved one, or your family member has just received a cancer diagnosis.  Maybe you are walking through a heartbreaking divorce and now are raising your kids as a single parent.

In their new book, Suffer Strong, Jay and Katherine Wolf define suffering as “the space between what we thought would be and what is.”  Maybe you find yourself in that place.  If so, I want to encourage you today.

What if “the breaking of our hearts becomes the making of our hearts?”

What if the brokenness you are experiencing right now is the very thing that God will use to grow your faith in ways you never knew possible?  Friends, I believe this is true.

In their book, Jay and Katherine share about a special gift, a unique vase made by kintsugi, a Japanese art.  “Instead of throwing away the broken beloved pottery, they fix it in a way that doesn’t pretend it hasn’t been broken, but honors the breaking—and more so, the surviving, by highlighting those repaired seems with gold lacquer.” 

Isn’t it beautiful?  Each crack and broken place has been filled with gold. All the holes have been redeemed and made more valuable as the broken pieces fit together.

I want you to imagine God doing the same for you.  He takes your broken heart and pieces it back together.  He takes your broken story and turns it into a redemption story.

Friends, your brokenness does not have to define you.  In God’s hands, it can refine you into something stronger and more beautiful than before.

I don’t know about you, but this brings me hope.  Hope that God can use these difficult circumstances in my life.  Hope that my broken story can help another hurting heart.  Hope that God never wastes one tear.

I know this is not easy.  I pray you feel God’s comfort and love each day as you lean on Him.  He wants to walk with you through your suffering and bring purpose to your pain.

I want to end with a favorite quote from Suffer Strong: “Life defines us, but suffering redefines us. Ultimately, hope refines us, transforming us from within in ways we never could have imagined.”

I believe God specializes in redeeming broken stories!  Hope this encourages you today.

Love, Jodi