More for Those With Broken Hearts

I have something I’ve learned about having my heart broken a few times that I want to pass along to you. First of all, I want to say that okay to grieve when your love or interest in someone goes unrequited. It’s okay to hurt. I think it requires as much of a grieving process as losing a loved one, because you’re seeing the death of a dream that was very dear to your heart.

I think it’s okay to be brutally open and honest with God about the pain. He can take it. Besides, he already knows those feelings that you pretend aren’t there when you tell yourself that you’re fine.

That said, I think one good thing out of having your heart broken is that it is never again the same shape as it was, pre-break. It’s larger. And if you choose the path of healing versus the path of grudges and bitterness, good things can come out of the pain, such as these:

You have more room to love others and you have an increased sensitivity to those in pain around you who need your love.

You give more grace toward those who act out of their own hurt toward you because you remember when you did the same out of the great pain you were once in.

You have more compassion and tenderness in general because you know what it’s like to need it and find it so you want others to experience the same joy you did.

Finally, you become a little more like Jesus because you’ve shared in his sufferings. Jesus above all knows the pain of a broken heart, both physically and metaphorically. He’s the one who wept over Jerusalem because they wouldn’t come to him and find life and freedom. His heart was just as broken that day as when the spear pierced his side into his heart.

So remember that there is nothing broken that God can’t take and make beautiful. No, not just beautiful like it was before. It won’t ever be the same. It will be much, much better.




Things I Love 8: Greg’s Sanity Has Left the Building

island hammock

FYI: these blogs will continue until I get to 1,000 things I love. It’s from the book, One Thousand Gifts, so I’m trying to list out– wait for it– 1,000 little things that I believe are God’s gifts to me and daily reminders that stir me to gratitude and thanksgiving as a lifestyle. Plus, I don’t have to worry about what I will be blogging on until at least July of 2014. Just kidding. Sort of.

Ok. Here goes the list, starting at #168. Drum roll, please.

168) Looking through old photo albums and reliving those old memories and remembering people who’ve been gone from my life for a while (and thinking they’re looking down from heaven and smiling at those photos, too).

169) My extremely loud Hawaiian shirt, which one random teenager called “sick.” I guess that’s a compliment. I’m not really sure.

170) Everything related to either Narnia and Wardrobes or Middle Earth and Hobbits.

171) Surprise birthday parties (hint, hint, subtle subliminal suggestion. . . cough).

172) Celebrating Easter and remembering that the Resurrection changed EVERYTHING. Including me.

173) That Jesus would have chosen the nails and the cross and the agony if only for me alone.

174) By Jesus loving me unconditionally and prodigally, he made me loveable.

175) Silent movies.

176) Box hockey (and the fact that I know what box hockey is).

177) All my high school reunions where I see old friends and get to catch up after 10 (or 20) years apart.

178) That I get to be a small part of Kairos, a worship gathering for young adults, every week and I see God at work there every single week.

179) Being content in my relationships and not obsessively wondering where they might or might not be headed,

180) Knowing that if the absolute worst case scenario should happen, I would still be loved by Jesus and God would still work even that out for my good and his glory.

181) How randomly my brain works these days.

182) The vast array of autumn colors from the leaves changing and falling.

183) Doing small random acts of kindness for people when they least expect it.

184) Any positive news stories (because they are sadly the exception and not the rule).

185) That I’m down to 715 more things to be thankful for.

186) Now it’s only 714.

187) That I’m not what everyone else thinks I am or even what I think of myself, but only what Jesus says I am– Chosen, Redeemed, Beloved, Child of God, Forgiven, Free, etc.

188) That Jesus won’t ever stop reminding me of my true identity and sending friends who will help me remember the song in my heart when I forget the words.

189) Lightning bugs at night in an open field.

190) Cheese grits made just right.

191) That I probably have at least 32 more of these blogs a-comin’ your way. But not in a row.

Patty Griffin, Swing Dancing, Sweet CeCe’s, and a Good Night to All

I’ve fallen in love. There. It’s out there and I’ve admitted it. I am head over heels in love.

With the new Patty Griffin album, American Kid. It’s been playing in my car since I got it last Thursday and I love every single track on it. If you love Americana-style music (or just good music in general), then you MUST go buy a physical or downloadable copy of this album. Not this week, not tomorrow. Now.

I also love swing dancing, because there’s grace in it. I figured out that if you end up where you started with all your limbs intact, you’re doing pretty good. You can fake the in-between stuff if you act like you know what you’re doing and step boldly and confidently. I know all you swing dance instructors are wailing and gnashing your teeth at me right now. No, I will probably never be a professional dancer, but I have lots of fun with it, and that’s the point of it anyway. To have fun.

Sweet CeCe’s, as it turns out, is a fairly good alternative when Starbucks is closed, as I found out tonight. The fact that they stay open until 11 pm on Saturdays is a plus. I had Cheerful Chocolate, which was both cheerful and non-fat, which in my book equals win-win. I certainly felt more cheerful after eating it.

I’m going to bed in a little while feeling very blessed. I’m in a very good place and I can’t take any credit for it. It’s all of grace and it’s only God’s doing. I don’t deserve to be this happy, to borrow a phrase from Scrooge, but lately I just can’t help it. I have joy running out my ears.

So I’m praying God meets you where you are tonight and you know how much he loves you just as you are. May you feel his arms around you and hear him singing songs of joy and peace over you in the night. May you find all the healing and wholeness and restoration that a loving God can bring.

Sleep well, my friends.

Raise Your Hand: A Blog About Relationships

Ok. Informal survey. See if any of these scenarios fit you. Here goes.

Raise your hand if you’ve ever been interested in someone and gone to the place where he or she works or hangs out in the hopes of “accidentally” running into him or her? And technically, that’s not stalking. It’s only stalking when you know for sure that person will be there.

Raise your hand if you’ve ever posted something on facebook in hopes that a certain someone would read it. Because that always works. Not. Of course, I’ve NEVER done anything REMOTELY like that. I’ve NEVER found out the hard way how completely futile that is.

Raise your hand if you’ve ever judged the health of a relationship based on how many times the other person likes or comments on your statuses and posts on facebook. Yeah, I seem kinda hung up on the whole facebook thing, but play along with me. Maybe you see the absence of response to your posts and texts as a lack of interest on the other’s part, or even an indicator that that person is upset with you or doesn’t like you. Again, I can say that I’ve never . . . . ok, I’ve been there, done that, thrown the pity party. Now I take pills and I do much better.

Raise your hand if you’ve ever obsessed over the next time you might see that certain someone and rehearsed in your mind what you would say to them. You even got the script down perfect. The only problem is that real life never follows those rehearsed scenarios and real people tend not to want to stick to your script.

What little I know about relationships is this: there are no perfect relationships because there are no perfect people. You can’t make any one person your life or build your future on the hopes of a relationship. To put another person on that kind of pedestal is to put that person in the place of God and put a burden on them that they were never meant to bear.

So I’ve learned to trust God. And pray a lot. And take deep breaths. And not freak out. The other person most likely is just as scared and intimidated and nervous and self-conscious as you are. They just have different ways of showing (or hiding) those things.

By the way, I bet you feel pretty silly sitting in front of your computer all by yourself with your hand raised in the air. You can put it down now.

Just Another Sleepy Sunday

I have been sleepy all day today. Maybe it’s because it’s been grey and overcast just about the entire day. Maybe because it’s Sunday. Maybe it’s because I didn’t take my customary Sunday afternoon, choosing instead to watch an old movie on TCM.

Regardless, I have a feeling I’ll sleep really good tonight.

I’ve never been more aware of my dire need for God than lately. I need him desperately every hour of every day, every minute of every hour, and every second of every minute. He’s the one who holds me together.

I’ve also never been more aware of the abiding peace of knowing that God is in control of my life. I don’t know what the days and weeks and months ahead hold for me, but I know God knows.

So instead of seeing problems and obstacles, I’m choosing to see blessings. Like the blessings of family and friends, good health, freedom of worship, and life. I hope I never get over the joy of celebrating each and every day as a gift and every person in my life as a blessing that I don’t deserve but I get anyway.

So many will go to bed hungry. So many will end the day alone. So many will have to wake up tomorrow without purpose or meaning or God in their lives.

I need to remember that I’m not blessed so I can grow fat and happy. I’m blessed so that I can in turn be a blessing to someone else who needs it.

So my questions to you are the same ones I’m asking myself. Who are you going to be a blessing to today? Who will you pray for? Who will you encourage? Whose lives will you speak into, whether through a phone call or a text or a facebook post?

If you woke up at all today, you’re blessed. If you had at least one meal today, you’re blessed. If you had shelter from the rain and a car to drive, you’re blessed. If you had family and friends to cheer you up, you’re blessed.

So, how will you pay it forward?

A Prayer For All My Friends Who Run

I may have mentioned this a time or two before, but I’ve gotten back into running. At least before I tweaked my knee. I’m probably the slowest runner ever and would probably get easily passed by power walkers, but I try. I can see how running could easily become an idolatrous obsession. At least for me, anyway. So here’s my prayer for all my friends who run, with the Country Music Marathon in mind.

Lord, I pray for my friends who will be running in the race this coming Saturday.

Give them a beautiful day to run in and may they feel Your pleasure over them as they run, knowing that the ability to run came solely for You. May they run only for Your glory.

Keep them from injuries and accidents and may their feet be swift and their hearts be overflowing and their joy be boundless.

May they be reminded every time they run about the Great Race that we’re all in, following in the footsteps of Jesus, who ran His race perfectly. May they keep their eyes on the Ultimate Prize, which is Jesus Himself.

Regardless of whether they have a chance of winning or not, may they finish well.

May we all run our race, not give up, and finish well.

In Jesus’ name,


Finding the Silver Lining


After seeing Silver Linings Playbook, I’m 4 down and 5 to go in my quest to see all the best picture nominees for 2013. Hopefully, I can accomplish this quest in 2013. So far, it’s looking good.

But that movie resonated with me at a deep level. It’s about mental illness and broken people trying to fit the pieces back together again. The reason I could relate to it so very well is because I recognize the brokenness inside of me. In fact, I believe that everybody is fundamentally broken at some level. Some are just better at hiding the cracks and appearing normal. But face it, we’re messed up in one way or another.

So many times, we approach relationships with the mentality of “fix me” and “save me.” Maybe instead, we should have the attitude of “how can I make you better?” or “how can I bring out the best in you?’

Too many romantic relationships fail because one person tries to make another their world. No one person can be another’s world. It’s simply too much pressure and expectation. But that person can make the other’s world better. That person can make the other’s world a little brighter.

I still love how God has a heart for broken people like you and me. I love how gently he can bring together all the scattered pieces and put them back together to where you can’t see the cracks anymore. I don’t know how that all works, but I know that it does.

There’s no one better at loving broken people than someone who has embraced their brokenness and the healing that comes with it. There’s no one better at helping to pick up someone else’s broken pieces than someone who’s had their broken pieces fitted back together.

My goal shouldn’t be for you to complete me or fix me, but to see you become a whole person in Jesus, to see the image of God restored in you. So I look for the best in you and you look for the best in me and we help each other see not who we are but what we could be and– by God’s grace– will be one day.


Your Normally Scheduled Blogs Will Resume Tomorrow (Hopefully)

This is not your normal blog. If it were, there would be something witty or profound. But seeing as I have a migraine headache (or just a really nasty sinus headache), I’m taking the night off. So yeah, I just wrote a blog about how I’m not going to write a blog tonight. Go figure.

Hopefully, I will see you again tomorrow pain-free (both you and me) and with something interesting to say. If not, I’ll just steal someone else’s brilliant ideas and pass them off as my own.

Until then, keep living the dream.

Taking Your Medicine

My niece was not having a good day. She’s teething and has a cold, among other things. My sister was trying to get her to take the medicine that would make her feel better and not be in as much pain, but she wanted no part of it.

It would be easy for me to scoff at a 17-month old who is refusing what is obviously good for her. But then I have to ask myself how many  times I’ve done the same thing.

I don’t mean when I was growing up and adamantly refused to take my cough medicine (namely, because it tasted like cherry-flavored death in a bottle). I mean now when I don’t want the disciplines from God that will make me more like Jesus and less like that selfish sinner I used to be.

I want every day to be sunny, but without constant sunshine without the occasional rainy days leads to a desert. If I never have bad days or days that don’t make sense, then I don’t appreciate the really good days.

I’m sure God looks at me like I looked at my niece today, smiling and shaking his head. He knows what’s best for me. I only think I do. I only see a limited part of the picture. He sees it all.

I think the lesson for me is to be thankful when things don’t go the way I wanted them to. I can’t count the times I look back at my life, grateful that I didn’t get some of the things I asked for and desperately wanted at the time, because I didn’t know what I wanted or how to ask for it. And most of the time I still don’t.

The story has a happy ending. Once my niece settled down and took her medicine, she felt a lot better. Once I stop fighting God and demanding my own way and finally agree to his way, I often feel a lot better. I have a peace that only comes with acceptance and surrender.

Now if I could figure a way to get my cat to take her medicine.