Blessing and Brokenness

Written by Jodi Davis Lybrand

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This Mothers Day marked the day of my mom’s death twenty-one years ago. Fond memories filled the void of not having her on this special day. Then sorrow came with the thoughts that her great grandchildren would never know her sweet smile and hugs.

Did you catch the paradox? The blessing of memories, then the pain of loss, blessing and brokenness.

How often this mystery presents itself in life!

Remember 9/11? The horror of the attacks and the heroics of the first responders. Anger at the attackers and pride at the unity of our nation.

Consider childbirth. The pangs of labor then the joy of a new life.

Blessings in brokenness.

Wayne Flint puts it like this, “tragedy and triumph often occupy the same space”.

Surely the cross that Jesus bore presents the ultimate illustration of this. Our sins paid for by the sinless; injustice heaped on the innocent. From seemingly defeat came superlative victory!
Life from death! Blessings from brokenness.

Why? How can it be?

Well, my friend, I can’t adequately explain it but I know this. It should give us hope and courage. Hope that whatever situation we find ourselves in, whatever problem we’re facing believe good can and will come from it. We gain courage to confront life at its worse knowing God is with us. He will use your brokenness, even the barest flicker of faith, that you may not even recognize is there and bring life, blessing, purpose and meaning into it.

Yes, it is hard to look for a blessing when the pain is too great to bear any longer and suffering seems unending. Take courage, my friend, even in the midst of your battle. See, the victory is not at the end of your trial. Victory is right where you are!

Victory is when you call out to Jesus. Victory is choosing to trust. Victory is when you overcome the obstacles that are seeking to obstruct the view of your loving heavenly Father. Victory is when you push through one more day. Victory is when you stare down fear and it flees. You’re only defeated when you refuse to fight.

Asaph says this, in Psalm 50:15, “Trust in me in your times of trouble and I will rescue you, and you will give me glory.”
A promise in our troubles, blessing and brokenness.

The brokenness will be healed and the blessing revealed. Don’t give up! Ask the Lord for help to see your blessing right where you are. He loves you with an “everlasting love“ and promises “you will be happy again and dance merrily”. (Jeremiah 31:3,4 NLT) “God blesses those who weep now,  the time will come when you will laugh with joy.” (Luke 6:21b NLT)

May the Lord show you His love in wonderful ways and answer your prayers with awesome deeds!

Jodi Davis Lybrand is a lifelong resident of Shelby County. She is married and has raised two wonderful sons, has a beautiful daughter-in-law and 4 of the most adorable grandchildren ever!
Her favorites include playing with those awesome grand sweeties, enjoying long walks and sunsets, visiting with friends, old and new, painting and working on her bucket list!
A Bible teacher for 30 years, teaching preschool to senior adults (before she was one!) Jodi jests that she can teach you a Bible lesson in sixty seconds or sixty minutes! Most of all she loves to encourage people through the truths found in God’s holy word.

The Power to Change The Hardest Day

Written by Jackie Tinkler

It had been a long day at the home office and I decided to take a break. Facing deadlines, fixing problems and relational conflicts have taken their toll and I just didn’t want to fight it anymore. I’ll pick it back up in a minute.

Most of us in truth fight battles everyday. Oh, my battles may look a little different than yours, but the underlying theme is the same. Feel bad, worry, condemnation, press on my reserves, live in fear, diminish my faith, steal my joy and my personal favorite, overwhelm my soul.

So, what do I do when after I “Raise a Halleluiah”, bind the enemy, cast my care and claim scripture verses?

I recently traveled for business to Nashville, Tennessee. It was really the first time I had ever stayed away alone. Completely alone. When I tell you that hotel room was a lonely box, I mean it was awful. I prayed all the way over, and I even had others pray for me, and yet my eyes couldn’t help but see the sterile orange and gray walls before me. “Oh Lord, get me through these three days.”

I knew I had to face this and I couldn’t leave. There would be times of isolation when not attending my training, so something amazing came to my mind. Jackie, change the atmosphere of the room. I know it sounds crazy but I took out my most favorite clothing pieces and hung them on the outside of the door, I displayed my costume jewelry like it was on display at an outdoor French market. (put away of course when I had to leave the room) I opened the pages of my favorite magazines to inspiring photographs and piled my books, notebooks and bible on the bedside table as if they were being displayed on the most opulent bookcase. Praise music and Christian teaching filled the air 24/7 through the day and night. I changed the atmosphere and was able to do what was hard to do…stay.

You might say “Who would go to that kind of trouble” This girl! Why? Because God gives us the grace to do what is hard.

Jesus changed the atmosphere from storms to peace with one word. He changed the atmosphere at a wedding when it looked like everyone might go home. He changed the atmosphere on the darkest day of his life and came back resurrected in power.

You know what? God’s love will always intersect our hardest days. His sustaining power, his amazing grace gives us what we need to face those not so fun days and no matter what it looks like, we always have the power to change it.

Jackie Tinkler is the Co-Founder and Ministry Development Director of Something More and lives in Birmingham, Alabama. She has been ministering to women for 20 years as a Women’s Ministry Director, Counselor and Producer. She is co-writing a Women’s Small Group Study “Something Beautiful” and when not leading women to freedom can be found worshipping at Church of the Highlands, decorating her friends homes, enjoying time with her family and chocolate lab Nelson or sitting in the balcony at the Alabama Theatre.

Sorry, I Can’t Today, I’m Binge Watching and Eating Popcorn

Written by Jackie Tinkler

Recently, a friend of mine and I were talking over a delicious Shrimp Po Boy and Fried Green Tomatoes. As we enjoyed our lunch, we found ourselves commenting about how some days we just don’t feel very “up”. After we shared all of the vitamins, supplements, lotions and potions we were taking to feel good, it hit me. I said ” You know, I bet you will feel much better when you pick up that paint brush again”

It made me think of endless days of energy as a kid when I pretty much had no responsibility and had hours to color. I loved to color! Why don’t I color anymore? ( The Notebook anyone?) Remember when there was less to do? Now we have bills to pay, errands to run, meetings, dinners, obligations, climb the ladder of success, pray for and check on everyone, expectations….yada yada yada. I’m sure you can add to the list.

The problem is we don’t take the time, and I mean, it’s there and will require TAKING SOME THINGS OFF OF THE CALENDAR. It’s called “down time.” You may have heard of it or you may be thinking “but my kids need me to run them everywhere lady!” I get that, why not grab an adult coloring book, your favorite book, bible and journal and get lost in someone else’s story while you wait?

I remember Joyce Meyer telling a story where she was complaining about being overwhelmed and God reminded her that she was the one in charge of her calendar!

In this season of empty nest for me, I’ve decided if it includes fellowship, God’s call, smiling, getting lost in the moment, growing spiritually, adds enjoyment and pleases God, then I’m in. If it overwhelms, vexes my spirit, makes me unhappy or feel pressured to be there or has no fruit….then it goes! Nothing more gets added to my calendar of ministry, family time, sacrifices and responsibilities unless these apply. I’ve also learned to schedule in rest. Say this with me “Sorry, I can’t today, I’m binge watching and eating popcorn” Sorry, I’m creating a masterpiece” “Sorry, I’m dancing in my living room”, or “Sorry, I’m spending extra time with God today”.

The truth is we are no good to anyone stressed out, overwhelmed, unhappy, and sick.

Paul knew the value of wholeness when he said “We’re the best of friends, and I pray for good fortune in everything you do, and for your good health and that your everyday affairs prosper as well as your soul” 3 John 1:2 The Message

Take a moment to comment with those things you used to do and loved! What will it take for you to enjoy those things again? I challenge you to go to your calendar and take one thing off and add in something you have been meaning to do!

Time is too precious and believe it or not, God does want us to enjoy life!

Jackie Tinkler is the Co-Founder and Ministry Development Director of Something More and lives in Birmingham, Alabama. She has been ministering to women for 20 years as a Women’s Ministry Director, Counselor and Producer. She is co-writing a Women’s Small Group Study “Something Beautiful” and when not leading women to freedom can be found worshipping at Church of the Highlands, decorating her friends homes, enjoying time with her family and chocolate lab Nelson or sitting in the balcony at the Alabama Theatre.

Seriously, It’s the Little Things

Today, my sweet husband of 24 years woke up with a sore throat and cough. I knew something was up when I got up to a very dark house and no movement. He is usually up very early singing with the birds (yes, morning person!) I found him in the guest bedroom under a pile of pillows and one very large dog. I hate to see him sick, but selfishly I thought, I don’t want to catch this! After I got over myself, I got dressed, threw a ball cap on and drove to the corner drugstore to pick up some Airborne and M&M’s to help him feel better.

When I returned, I removed the top from the Airborne and put the M&M’s in a little glass cup and carried it in to him. By now, he had decided to work from home and he looked so cute sitting at his desk in his plaid shirt and L. L. Bean slippers. I joyfully placed his “meds” on the desk and commented that no one at work would do this for him, of which a GIANT smile came across his face and I mean GIANT SMILE!

You see, its in the little things we do that mean the most. In this world of doing everything large, where we feel we have to one up, go over the top, and strive to impress, none of that compares to Jesus’ words where he said “It’s best to start small. Give a cool cup of water to someone who is thirsty, for instance. The smallest act of giving or receiving makes you a true apprentice. You won’t lose out on a thing.” Matthew 10:42 The Message

I learned a sweet lesson in all of this! Just be sweet, just be kind, keep it simple and just eat M&M’s… they make everything better.

Jackie Tinkler is the Co-Founder and Ministry Development Director of Something More and lives in Birmingham, Alabama. She has been ministering to women for 20 years as a Women’s Ministry Director, Counselor and Producer. She is co-writing a Women’s Small Group Study “Something Beautiful” and when not leading women to freedom can be found worshipping at Church of the Highlands, decorating her friends homes, enjoying time with her family and chocolate lab Nelson or sitting in the balcony at the Alabama Theatre.

When It’s Hard to Forgive

Written by Jackie Tinkler

The anger that arose every time this person’s name was mentioned was huge. I mean, they have caused me pain and unnecessary loss and I am right to feel this way. There is absolutely no way I can move forward in a relationship with this person and there is no way I’m going to like them anytime soon.

Every chance it came up in conversation, I said something to bring them low, not in a malicious way, but as way to continue to keep my guard up. After all, everyone would agree with me. The hilarious part of this is that I thought God agreed with me too. He saw what was going on and I’m sure God feels the same. This person has hurt me and they deserve it. WRONG!

Are you feeling it too? Someone has hurt you in a BIG way and you can’t let it go because you deserve justice. So, we harden our hearts and tell all they did every chance we have. The walls of bitterness keep us protected and keep the “bad” people away from us because we are not going to give them an inch.

While sitting at my kitchen table one day and talking with a friend, I let it all out. I told her everything I was feeling and I heard myself say these words” I am justified!” The very second I said the words, I realized where my heart had been; I had been walking the road of anger and unforgiveness. I could not believe it! I can’t tell you how justified I felt in my anger. I was blinded to how much I had let it in and how miserable I felt. And even though, what they did or continue to do is not right, I did not have the right to not forgive. In the same second I said I was justified, I said these words too “I guess, I need to give them a break” as my voice broke.

I realized how ugly my thoughts were and how sad it made me to think I was hurting them and God. How can I not forgive, when my Savior Jesus forgave me. How can I not extend grace when he gives me grace every day? Jesus was betrayed too. Jesus was slandered, rejected, overlooked, and at times, not even his family believed in him. So, I say again, How can I not forgive, when he forgave much worse.

I asked God to forgive me at that very second! I was truly broken by the words “I am justified.”

I was set free that day, really free. Now, when this persons name is mentioned I’m filled with a compassion I hadn’t had before. I let my Jesus heal me and take the pain to fill me with his love. I now pray for this person regularly and find ways to bless them. I’m not required to be their best friend, but I am called to love them.

All I can say is Jesus, thank you for giving us a break. You paid it all and loved us extravagantly when we didn’t deserve it.

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Jackie Tinkler is the Co-Founder and Ministry Development Director of Something More and lives in Birmingham, Alabama. She has been ministering to women for 20 years as a Women’s Ministry Director, Counselor and Producer. She is co-writing a Women’s Small Group Study “Something Beautiful” and when not leading women to freedom can be found worshipping at Church of the Highlands, decorating her friends homes, enjoying time with her family and chocolate lab Nelson or sitting in the balcony at the Alabama Theatre.

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