Brokenness


This morning this klutso inadvertently bumped into a painted bracket fungus with a pastoral scene hanging on the wall. It fell to the floor, breaking into three pieces . . . Arrrrrgh!

Bought four decades ago, the painting of an actual Central Square, NY barn built in 1830 evokes fond memories of an earlier era in my life . . . Gorilla Glue to the rescue . . . bracket fungus patched 😊. Unfortunately, there’s no Gorilla Glue to patch life’s brokenness.

Pouring a fresh cup of streaming java to help sooth my fungus frustration, I settled into the Lazy Boy. Evidently, Abba wanted me to continue focusing on brokenness this morning.

Reading Fil Anderson’s book Breaking the Rules, a passage nostalgically reminded me how few struggles are more defeating than the brokenness of pretending to hide an isolating, guilty ‘secret’.

Fil shares about a talented artist friend’s discouraging rejection by a pastor of his unashamedly honest self-portrait A Broken Mask. The artist’s portrait revealed his conviction that there’s no room for pretending in a Christian’s life in an effort to change their appearance among other Christians to fit in and appear ‘holy’. Disheartened, the artist emailed Fil these poignant words:

We are told that Jesus loves us as we are, sin and all, ugly bits and worthless bits. We are quoted cliches like “Come as you are.” We are offered relief from the burden of hiding in our guilt and shame. We are offered ultimate acceptance.”

The problem begins when we step through the doors of many churches. Suddenly we’re confronted with an endless stream of things that are wrong in our lives, things to repent of, things that need changing. Meanwhile, the Bible instructs us,

“Make this your common practice: Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so you can live together whole and healed.” – James 5:16

Yet nobody does it, because that would mean taking off our mask of holiness. Therefore, we live our lives jumping through imaginary hoops in order to be accepted by the very people who invited us to “Come as you are.”

Fil’s artist friend concluded his email with this bold pledge:

I refuse to wear a mask any longer! I will not pretend, not even for Christians. Wearing a mask will destroy you, even if it’s a socially acceptable Christian mask.”

Many years ago, broken and mired in the midst of yet another self-imposed failure, I repentantly cried out to God to forgive and rescue me. Ever faithful to His, “I will never leave you or forsake you” promise (Hebrews 13:5), His Spirit embraced me, giving me these words of assurance to write in the leaf of my Bible:

Well may the devil roar of sins that I have done. I know them all and thousands more. Jehovah knoweth none.”

Truth be known, we’re all broken with failures. My comfort rests in the assurance that the One who knows my every ‘secret’ failure . . . past, present and future . . . unwavering still chooses to love me “Just As I Am”. I continue to pray for His strength and courage to ‘unmask’ before others and heal together, sharing ‘secret’ struggles our enemy so delights in discouraging us with.

Keep Looking Up . . . His Best is Yet to Come!

The Huddle


Gratefully Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin is now beginning to show “promising signs” of recovery since his chilling near death experience suffered during last Monday evening’s Cincinnati Bengals/Buffalo Bills NFL game.

The unhindered unity displayed among the players on both teams blessed me as tears replaced tackles; compassion eliminated competition; and prayer prevailed. May God continue to heal this young man.

A Ragamuffin’s Regretful ‘If Only”s


‘Woulda’…’coulda’ …’shoulda’ … Life’s ‘if only’s that can block out the bright sunshine with dark stratocumulus clouds of regret. Intriguing that “if” resides smack dab in the middle of LIFE.

Regret is “If Only’s” synonym. The dictionary defines regret as, “To feel sorry, disappointed, distressed, or remorseful about. To remember with a feeling of loss or sorrow; mourn.

Ever been there? . . . total bummer! . . . not where any of us wants to spend a lot of time. The good news . . . we don’t have to!

All regrets are all past tense. They may be useful to learn from, but not to focus and dwell on. One thing I’ve learned in struggling with regrets over the past eight decades is . . .

Regrets are a place of reference, not a place of residence

Without fail, choosing to focus on my blessings always scatters regret’s ‘if only’ ominous clouds, and life’s sunshine soon comes back out to bask in.

Sure wish I’d learned this a long time ago. My German grandmother was spot on whenever she observed me about to hatch yet another regret (regretfully a frequent occurrence 😊), and would sternly, but lovingly reprimand . . . “Freddy, you’re too soon old and too late smart!” . . . I’m still working on the latter 😊

In her book The Top Five Regrets of The Dying palliative nurse Bonnie Ware poignantly lists the five most common regrets of ole duffers (some actually older than me😊) facing the imminent reality we all like to bury in the background, but will ultimately unearth and come face-to-face with one day . . . I’m actually gonna’ die!!!

Here’s the five terminal regrets Bonnie discovered folks at eternity’s threshold wrestle with:

  • I Wish I’d Lived a Life True to Myself, Not the Life Others Expected of Me
  • I Wish I Hadn’t Worked so Hard
  • I Wish I’d Had the Courage to Express My Feelings
  • I Wish I Had Stayed in Touch With My Friends
  • I Wish I Had Allowed Myself to Be Happier

In this New Year may we all turn these wishes into actions while we’re still blessed with the time to do so.

This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it .”

Psalm 118:24

Keep Looking Up . . . His Best is Yet to come!