Look With Mercy on the Broken Heart

If we can keep the vision of how much mercy has been poured out on our own hearts and in our own lives, it is so much easier to pour it out on others.  We don’t have to manufacture it-we only have to be a willing conduit of the mercy already overflowing from God’s heart to our own.

When the deputy delivered the news that Dominic was gone, my heart broke wide open, its contents spilled on the floor.

But  I knew it would not remain empty for long.

It would be filled with something.  

And I begged God to fill it so full of love, grace and mercy that bitterness, unforgiveness and anger would be squeezed out with no room to stay.

Read the rest here: Mercy

Lenten Reflections: Letting Go of Expectations, Making Room for Contentment

I promise I didn’t sneak a peek at today’s devotion before I wrote yesterday’s thoughts.

But maybe it’s because I have a very, very close relationship with the potential for comparison and discontent that I linked the two even before reading Chole’s reflection.

See, it’s really, really easy to look at others whose lives are bigger, better and more beautiful and become bitter that mine isn’t.

And even when I am successful at taking material or spiritual blessings off the table of comparison, I’m left with rating suffering others are spared against the suffering I’ve been called to carry.

But like Judas-who was one of the Twelve, trusted disciple and invited guest to the Last Supper-if I allow discontent to gain a foothold I’m an easy target for the enemy.

“He doesn’t love you.” “He doesn’t care what happens to you.” He doesn’t even SEE you.” can lead my heart down a dark trail of despair where I’m not only acting against my own best interest but defaming the Name of my Shepherd King.

I work very hard at not letting the devil rent space in my head.

Sometimes it takes a practical turn and means walking away from social media or media in general. Sometimes it means wrestling “what ifs” and “whys” to the ground.

It ALWAYS means active effort on my part.

One of the fiercest allies of not-enough-ness is our imaginations. Today, fast daydreaming of “more”. Refuse to allow discontentment brain space. Each time you are tempted to picture your life with something else or something new or something different, stop. (Yes, I just said STOP.) And redirect your mental energy to thank God for anything in your current reality for which you can be grateful.

Alicia Britt Chole

**As promised, I am sharing thoughts on 40 DAYS OF DECREASE (a Lenten journal/devotional). If you choose to get and use the book yourself, I’ll be a day behind in sharing so as not to influence anyone else’s experience**

Lenten Reflections: Letting Go of Bitterness, Embracing Servanthood

I’ll be honest-it’s not that often that after three plus decades of in-depth Bible study that I hear or read a unique insight into familiar passages.

But today’s devotion and reflection helped me think of Jesus’ service to His disciples in a new way.

Jesus washed the feet of a betrayer, a denier, and ten deserters….Think of someone who has betrayed you, denied your love, or run away in your time of need. What would it take, what would it mean, for you to wash their feet?

Alicia Britt Chole

Chole’s words made me think back to moments where I’ve made an intentional choice to serve someone who had wounded or disappointed me.

Inevitably, loving action led to loving feelings.

One of the things that has become abundantly evident to me in the years since Dominic ran ahead to Heaven is this: carrying unforgiveness and bitterness is simply too hard a task.

If Jesus could (and did!) forgive His betrayer, His disciples for abandoning Him and even those who ultimately crucified Him, then I can (and should!) forgive those who have disappointed, abandoned or somehow been “less than” I needed them to be.

So for today, let’s fast “Armchair Jesus”-the Jesus who is all God and not very human. Jesus felt it all.

He experienced it all.

And He is more than capable and willing to strengthen me to stand up under any temptation, assault of the evil one or tendency of my flesh.

**As promised, I am sharing thoughts on 40 DAYS OF DECREASE (a Lenten journal/devotional). If you choose to get and use the book yourself, I’ll be a day behind in sharing so as not to influence anyone else’s experience.**

Bitterness: A Terrible Legacy

Oh, how easy it would be to become bitter!  

If I’m honest, part of me just wants to tell the world to “Get lost!”. 

But the wiser part of me knows that’s neither a helpful nor healthy response to even this most awful burden of child loss.  

Lament is how we bring our sorrow to God. Without lament, we won’t know how to process pain. Silence, bitterness, and even anger can dominate our spiritual lives instead.

~Mark Vroegop – Dark Clouds Deep Mercy

Because my bitter spirit wouldn’t stop with me.

Read the rest here: Bitterness Is A Terrible Legacy

It’s A Daily Struggle


I despise the platitude plastered across social media memes:  “Hard times either make you bitter or better”.

It makes it sound so simple.

As if all I have to do is make a single choice between two equally available paths.

Enduring deep pain and unchangeable circumstances requires continued commitment to face the fork in the road over and over, and to choose well each time.

Read the rest here: A Daily Struggle

One Day I Will Be A Memory- I Want To Be A Good One.

I used to tell my children that they would not wake up one day and be a certain kind of person on their eighteenth or twenty-first birthday if they were not working to be that person right now.

And I remind myself that I won’t suddenly be a better version of me just because I cross the threshold of senior citizenship.

Age doesn’t magically transform anyone into a better self than that which they have been practicing to become.

If I am kind and gracious and loving today, then I will most likely be so tomorrow.

If I am bitter and spiteful and petty right now, my heart won’t open wide just because of a birthday that ushers in a new decade of life.

I am crafting a legacy every. single. day.

People will remember me for who I am, not who I wish I had been.

I Won’t Let Bitterness Be My Legacy

Oh, how easy it would be to become bitter!  

If I’m honest, part of me just wants to tell the world to “Get lost!”. 

But the wiser part of me knows that’s neither a helpful nor healthy response to even this most awful burden of child loss.  

Lament is how we bring our sorrow to God. Without lament, we won’t know how to process pain. Silence, bitterness, and even anger can dominate our spiritual lives instead.

~Mark Vroegop – Dark Clouds Deep Mercy

Because my bitter spirit wouldn’t stop with me.  It would spread like kudzu on an Alabama roadside.  

Read the rest here: https://thelifeididntchoose.com/2019/04/14/bitterness-is-a-terrible-legacy/

Bitterness Is A Terrible Legacy

Oh, how easy it would be to become bitter!  

If I’m honest, part of me just wants to tell the world to “Get lost!”. 

But the wiser part of me knows that’s neither a helpful nor healthy response to even this most awful burden of child loss.  

Lament is how we bring our sorrow to God. Without lament, we won’t know how to process pain. Silence, bitterness, and even anger can dominate our spiritual lives instead.

~Mark Vroegop – Dark Clouds Deep Mercy

Because my bitter spirit wouldn’t stop with me.  It would spread like kudzu on an Alabama roadside.  

kudzu field huff post

The writer of Hebrews warns against this very thing:  

Be careful that none of you fails to respond to the grace which God gives, for if he does there can very easily spring up in him a bitter spirit which is not only bad in itself but can also poison the lives of many others.

Hebrews 12:15 PHILLIPS

There is sufficient grace for even this. 

But I can refuse it.  

It’s a choice every single day. 

Do I embrace the grace God freely offers or do I turn my back and embrace bitterness?  Do I lean in to every promise of God in Christ or do I listen to the enemy of my soul who whispers, “Did God REALLY say….?” 

Woman hands praying with a bible in a dark over wooden table

Bitterness never ends with one person.  It spreads.  It grows. 

It ruins lives and relationships and generations.  

We all know families where it has taken root.  We all know old folks whose faces are frozen in frowns and who rarely speak except to pass along their spiteful comments.

I may not get many things right.  I’m pretty sure I get quite a few things wrong.  

But I don’t want to mess this one up.  

Bitterness is a terrible legacy.  

I refuse to pass it on.  

lifetime of unexplored resentments brene brown
%d bloggers like this: