A Weekend with Grace, No More Labels

IMG_3058Sometimes life affords you the honor to stand before a group of broken girls who feel like they are just another statistic, labeled, left out, and scared to death that perhaps the numbers don’t lie and they will end up as just that…forever broken and a girl with no place to call home. The system failed them, even their families failed them, and then a woman comes alongside of them like Becky Shaffer and says, “Baby girl, let’s go defy the statistics and let God shine His light on the cracked places in you because I’ve been there too.”

Love takes you into a place like Saving Grace and there you find a home and deep hope that brings you past the victim label from a broken past and calls you “Sister and God’s Daughter” and for the first time you have a home and guidance to help you build a beautiful, unbroken life.

Last weekend Keri and I had the privilege of speaking and ministering to the Saving Grace girls, mentors, and staff. It was our second time to be with these girls in a camp setting and I can’t tell you how much we love being apart of something that is actually helping girls find lasting hope and life skills. God seems to always confirm our calling when we are with these girls and we can’t walk away from a weekend like this without shaking our heads in amazement at how much God can do in such a little time. A weekend really can change your life when God is in it.

When I’m with these girls it feels like home and this time I cried after everything was over because I didn’t want it to end. The beautiful thing about pouring your heart out is that it’s a love that stays with you forever. A moment of crazy laughter, a sweet embrace that is unhindered by fear, a mother who longs to “mother” you just as much as you long to be mothered, a sister by choice not by birth. It’s kingdom business and the heartbeat of God. It’s a love that kisses a wounded heart and holds your hand as you heal. A weekend really can change your life and one thing that I’ve heard Becky saying over and over again is “Be the one.” So, with tears streaming down my face in amazement at why on earth God chooses to use us to reach broken girls I say to you…whatever you have to give is not small when you love on the broken places in others. You can be the one. You can’t out-give God, when you pour out He pours back into you in such a way that lights your safe-little-world on fire.

More than anything I want my safe-little-world to be on fire, I want to be a light in a darkened world and when I see the transformation in these girls and watch joy unleashed in them…I know that the greatest thing that I could ever do is love fearlessly because I want to be the one. God is calling a bunch of orphan girls for such a time as this and He longs to adorn them with worth and value that the world can’t take away from them.  Life might have wrecked them up until this point, but because of places like Saving Grace, God is pulling them out of the wreckage and tending to the tattered places in these girls.

Saving Grace Girls,

When we are with you…it feels like home. It was a privilege to help you trash the victim label and replace it with the truth. We love you fiercely and feel so honored that you trusted us with your heart. 

All our love,

Jennifer & Keri~ your fearless speakers & former broken girls

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National Suicide Prevention Week

September 9th – 15th is National Suicide Prevention week. I am all too aware of the pain and hopelessness that comes from depression and suicide. I’m so thankful for the two women God sent to me when I was at my breaking point.

If you feel hopeless tonight, please know that there is hope! You are loved. Can I beg you to do something brave? Reach out and ask for help.

Perhaps you have a friend you’ve been worried about. Tonight will you pick up the phone and call them? Get in their business. Ask the hard questions. Walk with them through the valley. You won’t regret it.

There is hope! Praying for you!
Keri

If you’d like to read about my journey into The Great Sorrow links are below.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

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Unwelcome World of Comparison

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I used to live in this unwelcome world of comparison. I blame youthful ignorance and insecurities for the years I wasted trying to measure up to the immeasurable. We are never void of nearly perfect people, Pinterest ideas, and self-imposed unrealistic expectations from others or ourselves. It’s the image of the “ideal woman” who lurks in the closet of our minds who becomes our monster and measuring stick. And it’s the enemy of our souls who preys upon insecurities that seems so small, but often become boulder-size strongholds. We want to paint this as a uniquely feminine trait, but it’s not just women who wrestle with this. It’s everyone who listens to the nagging voice within instead of the voice of the Holy Spirit.

I found a passage of scripture in 2 Corinthians 10:7-12 that I began studying this summer that brought me such clarity and peace about the topic of comparison. Paul found himself being compared by his boldness in writing verses his weakness of speech. Sometimes “churchy” people are the worst at being quick to rip someone to shreds. In this case, Paul felt the sting from the words because after all he’s just a man redeemed from religiosity and baggage that met with Jesus and had his priorities rearranged by blindness, which allowed him to truly see the error of his ways. May we all have our moments of blindness that teach us how to see Jesus and tune our ears to hear His voice.

In verse 8 Paul is hesitant to boast in his apostolic authority, but he was called into question and criticized. And because of this, he had to defend himself.

“For his letters,” they say, “are weighty and powerful, but his bodily presence is weak, and his speech contemptible.” (Vs. 10)

These words made this deep thinker reflect, perhaps even hurt him in such a way that made him ask God why on earth He chose to use him in the first place. Even though Paul was criticized, this did not change the fact that he was called to change the world and be a voice for those who are better on paper with a dreadful past that needs redemption and grace. Sometimes it’s easier to be better on paper than we are in upfront moments when eager eyes are ready to pick apart our every move. But, it’s not about our fragile egos and that’s why we must keep going.

According to my study Bible, Paul’s “speaking ability was ridiculed by those who prided themselves on eloquence according to the standards of Greek rhetorical style.” So basically these were pompous, wordy people who were more concerned with rhetoric and “looking the part” rather than meaningful content and words that bring life and set the captives free. We are all chained and captive by comparison and already know what area we are found lacking and that is what makes us needy of a “demonstration of the Spirit and of power.” Not for our glory, but pointing eyes to the one who longs to use the tender places in us that we only deem as weak and unusable.

And I, brethren, when I came to you, did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom declaring to you the testimony of God. 2 For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. 3 I was with you in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling. 4 And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, 5 that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God. (1 Cor 2:1-5 NKJV)

We are all standing in shoes we don’t feel qualified to stand in and yet we still stand because for some crazy reason we just know that we must. We stand scared with passionate prayers to do what we know God is asking us to do in the big and in the small things of life. We try to parent our children and tend to our parents in times of need feeling so small and frail knowing God’s grace is sufficient, and if all else fails, God will not because He cannot.

12 For we dare not class ourselves or compare ourselves with those who commend themselves. But they, measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise. (2 Cor 10:12 NKJV)

Whenever we compare ourselves, we are operating from an unwise place. We either measure up or we fall short, it becomes a tug-of-war distraction weakening our effectiveness and that’s exactly what the enemy wants. But when we measure ourselves against ourselves, we invite status quo and complacency. We can always look around and think that we are doing better than someone else and settle into monotony.

What God has asked of you may not look like anyone else’s role and yet we weaken its allure by saying, “It’s not enough, surely we could have a more important role.” But every season serves a beautiful purpose in becoming and we can’t have one season without the others. We can’t have our gorgeous fall without our summertime with sunshine on our face dripping with sweat, splashing, and giggles. The leaves turn glorious shades and give way to a brittle winter sending us inside with our faces pressed against frosty glass watching the snowfall. And sure, we all have our favorite seasons. And yet, life is so much sweeter when we just accept each season and welcome whatever it brings saying, “What do you want me to learn from this one, Abba?” And later, with hot tears streaming down our face we say something like, “Help me not to compare this season with one that made me happier and teach me to love myself even when I feel the furthest thing from fruitful and desirable.”

Thinking of you on this Monday morning and praying that comparing yourself is no longer on your To-Do list today. You are fearfully and wonderfully made, so ask God to help you believe that and walk in the shoes that only you can fill.

You are loved,

Jennifer Renee

Lock Shields

“in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.” Ephesians 6:16

Lock shields.

If you’ve spent much time around Jennifer or I you’ve likely heard those words come out of our mouths on more than one occasion. We believe in locking shields around here at Broken Girl.

But what does locking shields mean? I’m glad you asked.

Locking shields started several years ago. I was going through a really rough season. I felt like I was being attacked constantly and from every angle. I’d do good for a while, but then I’d get weary from the battle and felt like the enemy had the upper hand and was going to do me in.

About that time a movie was released called Troy. There’s a scene in the movie that literally took my breath away. You can see it here. I’ll warn you, it’s bloody, gory, warrior stuff. But Brad Pitt’s in it so it’s not all bad. If you just want to see “the scene” watch from 1:20 to right at 2:00. Seriously, go watch it, I’ll wait…

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Locking shields is powerful stuff y’all.

 And as powerful as it is in a movie theatre with surround sound, buttered popcorn, and Brad Pitt with a bunch of sweaty warriors storming a beach, it’s even more powerful when played out in real life among warrior-sisters.

I have a circle of friends who are warriors. When you ask them to pray, they do. And they do so fiercely, with boldness and confidence, and sweat and tears. When any of us gets a text message with the words “lock shields” on it, we drop everything and go to battle.

We’ve learned throughout the years that going into battle alone is always a bad idea. Being by yourself while arrows fly past you is enough to send the strongest warrior packing. But when you look to your right and your left and above you and all you can see is the back of your sister’s shields… There’s a strength that comes from knowing you don’t fight alone.

Together my shield locking friends and I have faced death and divorce and cancer and prodigals and infertility and unplanned pregnancies and job loss and foreclosures and depression and anxiety and fear and anger and abuse and just flat out really bad days (sometimes really bad weeks and months).

The battle is real. We have a real enemy who is hell bent to steal, kill and destroy us. The flaming arrows coming our way are REAL! That’s why it’s so hard. It’s a fight. But God doesn’t leave us to battle alone. He covers us in His armor, gives us a shield of faith and warrior friends to fight alongside us. Calling for backup is not a sign of weakness. It’s a sign of military strategy. A soldier alone and isolated is easier to pick off than one who remains with his troop.

Girls, sometimes I see us with swords drawn and shields in hand turned towards one another and it breaks my heart. We have a common enemy, and it’s not each other. We don’t have time for gossip and petty jealousies and competition. We’re on the same side. And we’ll be a million times more effective if we can put aside our differences and do battle together. It’s time we start fighting for each other. It’s time to lock shields.

Photo credit: Debbie Thurmond

Photo credit: Debbie Thurmond

The battle is real. The arrows really pierce. But there is strength in numbers. Our prayers are mighty. And the God we cry out to is well able to deliver us from whatever the enemy throws our way. If you’re feeling overwhelmed in the battle then maybe it’s time to call for backup. Ask your prayer-warrior sisters to lock shields with you. Do the same for them.

Let’s fight the good fight together.

Locking shields with you my friend.

Love,

Keri & Jennifer

 

Friend, can we lock shields with you today? Let us know what fiery darts the enemy is hurling your way so we can pray specifically over you. 

Banner of Beautiful Brokenness by Miranda Jones

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Have you ever met someone and connected instantly? God is sweet like that to connect hearts quickly; I find it’s always for a greater purpose. When I met Miranda Jones at She Speaks this summer we just clicked. She is a gorgeous Southern Girl with a passion that stunningly beautiful because God has met with her in her brokenness and given this girl a voice that worth listening to! Our heart at Broken Girl Ministries is to join hands and lock shields with other women who are world changers. We invite you to share your testimony and watch God use it for His glory.

Much love to you,

Jennifer

I pray these words from my friend bless your heart today, may God bring beauty from your brokenness.

Banner of Beautiful Brokenness

I burst out in tears because Lord sometimes

I don’t know the words to express how I feel

All I know is the deep pain is real

The pain that cuts sharper than a knife

And drowns the wounds in sorrow

The pain that causes shame and sadness

Alongside the doubt that casts shadows over dreams

And drowns delight that I once knew

Delight that I found not only in you

But in my own soul

And now I wonder

Where has joy gone
Where has inspiration traveled

I search my heart in hopes of finding

A compass that might lead me back

I search my thoughts in hopes

In provoking an ounce of joy

I search but there is none to be found

Until I search first for you

Until I fall to the floor

Then I am lifted up

To your open door

And I realize

You are the sovereign source

Comforting calmness upon all anxiousness

You are the true father for the fatherless

The lover to the lonely

And the answer to destiny

My hope rests in you

When others fail me

Whom shall I look to

The I am

The father to the fatherless

The answer to my destiny

The creator of creation

And of all things

Then I realize

You are the creator of my dreams

And the source to my consolation

Where pain is powerfully used

For your perfect purpose

In gathering mysterious pieces

Of pottery like a puzzle

Filling in the cracks and crevices

With loyal love that heals

Sealing the pieces together

As a masterpiece

Creating something real

Something beautiful

Out of something

Broken

Then will you fill it

With the oil of gladness

Then your faithfulness

Is proven real

More so than the pain

More so than the past

More so than the doubt

That drowns dreams

And more so than

The overwhelming pangs that plague my soul

How beautiful is your banner of brokenness

© A Miranda Jones Publication

All rights reserved

Miranda Jones is passionate about helping the fatherless. Although she was abandoned biologically she has been adopted spiritually by her Heavenly Father.

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