Category Archives: broken

Gracefully Broken

Sometimes a song speaks directly to me.  Today I heard Matt Redman’s “Gracefully Broken” at North Point.  And these two words vibrated life, truth, and grace throughout me.


Because that is what we all are – broken.

We lose our wholeness, our identity, our security, and our freedom to sin.

By our reckless choices.  By our selfish whims.  By our careless words.


Yet God loves a broken heart, a broken life, and a broken mind.

Because that is the place God starts to lavishly pour out His extravagant grace.


And His grace takes our selfishness, our sinfulness, and our self-righteousness and breaks them completely.


But He never leaves us where we are or how we are.


He has every intention of recreating us – with more integrity, more compassion, more selflessness, more mercy, more forgiveness, more generosity, and more understanding.


Then I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was, making something at the wheel. And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter; so he made it again into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to make” (Jeremiah 18:3-4).


You are the clay vessel, waiting to be shaped and directed into a more beautiful form.


You are cracked and scarred by your experiences and (unmet) expectations.  Your outer form has been weakened by disappointment, disagreement, and disillusionment.  You have picked yourself up from every trial, every temptation, and every turbulent circumstance – but you feel your value and worth have been diminished and so you feel unworthy and insignificant.


But today hear God say He knows you, every crack and every scratch.  And He still loves you unconditionally.  He loves you so much He wants to help you unleash the potential He placed inside you and become the new vessel He created you to be.

Gracefully Broken

And when you are ready and come to Him, He will gently pick you up – making sure to collect every broken piece – and begin to recreate you into something more beautiful.  And He will smile, because your new self “seemed good to the potter to make”.


So allow yourself to be His stained glass window of grace.  Bring all your seemingly ugly and useless pieces to Him – and watch Him bring life, purpose, and glory to them.


For the Father will do miracles with whatever you give Him.  So give Him your ALL.  Then step back and watch grace recreate and repurpose every broken piece into a healthy and glorious whole.


Marie Fremin.  1/21/18, 1/27/18, 2/18/18



Am I the only one this week who feels the loving elbow of God nudging itself somewhat forcefully into her ribs?


It’s OK if I’m the only one.  Because I am in a season – or I guess more specifically a valley – where God and I are wrestling out another piece of my broken human spirit.


And as of today, this piece now has a name.  Resentment.

resentment 1

Getting to work this morning, the first thing I encountered was a message that exemplifies the spirit of my office – “that’s not my job … that’s your job”.


And upon reading that, the dark cloud hanging over my head for a few days (OK, maybe weeks), gloomy yet unnamed, suddenly had a name.  And that name is resentment.


What is weighing me down is resentment.  That darkness that creeps a few steps deeper into my consciousness is resentment.  And it is an overall ugliness of mind, tongue, and attitude that wants to consume me like the cloud that covers Pigpen in Peanuts cartoons.

resentment 2

So I never see clearly.

So I never think rationally.

So I never speak grace-fully.


And there resentment hangs a black cloud over my head, slowly blowing its breeze of depression and oppression over me.


And since I accept the breeze and breathe it in, I am slowly becoming a walking epitome of resentment.


I am angry.

I am mad.

I am furious.

I am upset.

I am anxious.

I am frustrated.

I am sad.

I am honestly a little disgusted.


I am all kinds of levels of crazy and messed up.  Because I have fed into the spirit of resentment.  I have given it a place.  I have allowed it space.  And therefore it is hindering my race.  I am off-track of God’s purpose and off-course of God’s grace.


Because I am letting “it is not my job” and “that is not my problem” attitudes affect me.  I am allowing resentment to come in, sit down, and participate in the day.


And this is the boom God dropped on me in just in a few minutes this morning.  God and I had a serious moment when I started seeing all of this clearly and when my angst was given a name.


And there was actually a moment of celebration.  Yes, really.  No joke.  Why?


Because now I can tame what has been named.  Because now I can claim God’s grace over what has been named.


I can now tame – and completely stop – the influence of resentment in my life.

I can now tame – and completely still – my agitated thoughts and careless tongue.

I can now tame – and completely silence – my bad/ugly/hostile attitudes.


Because my angst has a name.  And because it does, it is subject to God’s authority.  Philippians 2:9-11 – “Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, 11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”  Everything on earth is subject to His glorious name.


Including resentment.


So now the challenge becomes how do I deal with it.


What’s the battlefield?  Every minute of every day of human life.

More narrowly?  The hours spent at work.


What’s the victory?

Not letting resentment consume me.

Not letting resentment define my emotional state.

Not letting resentment guide/influence my choices.


Because resentment is a valley.


And we aren’t supposed to live or stay in the valleys.  We aren’t supposed to bunk down or camp out in the valley.  Because the valley is only a testing ground.  It is the place of decision where we have to decide to put our faith into action.  It is the passageway from one victory to the next.  It is the place where we are strengthened by truth and encouraged by progress to continue our journey.  The valley is where we decide – and then declare – God is faithful and true.


So why am I stuck, mired down in resentment?  Because I have forgotten that we have to do what God says and to move in His direction when we are in the valley.  We have to keep moving toward the given way out instead of standing still.  We have to be like David and run in faith with the great hope of grace (1 Samuel 17:48).


But I have not been trying to get out of the valley of resentment.  Instead, I have been building walls and stacking them as high as they can go.  I have not been walking through.  Instead, I have planted my feet firmly and refused to move.  I have not tired to be or do better, in any way.  Instead, I have chosen to embrace resentment and wallow in her ways.


So what’s the hard truth this time?  Resentment is NOT God’s best for me.  It never will be.  Because resentment keeps me stuck, unmoving and unchanging, in its deadly quicksand-like vise.  Because resentment keeps me from letting go of what does not promote God’s goodness or propel God’s plans.


Hebrews 12:1 – “Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.”


I am not running toward God.  I am clinging to resentment.  I am weighing myself down with foolishness and trapping myself in resentment’s sinful web.


And I own this.  Fully and completely.  Therefore, God’s grace can begin its healing and restorative work.


Because resentment cannot hide in the shadows or stay cloaked in darkness once it is named.  It has a name now.  It is known now.  Its effects are seen now.


Romans 5:3-5 – “And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”


Now hope can invade all resentment’s spaces and fill me up with grace.

Now hope can begin a new work.


Yes, I am still in the valley.

Yes, I am still finding resentment in spaces within my heart.


But God is with me.

God is for me.

God loves me.


So one day very soon I will be able to triumphantly declare my victory over resentment!


Marie Fremin.  5/18 and 5/21/17

Why Bad Things?

Why does God allow bad things to happen to good people?

Why Bad Things.jpg

What a big question. How does one answer it?


I think the truth starts at the fact that we live in a world broken by sin. That means we are filled with sinful and selfish desires and surrounded by people who sometimes only care about themselves. We live in a broken world where we think it is OK to do what we want when we want without regard for ourselves and others.


That’s the penalty for Adam and Eve’s choice to choose pleasure over God. That’s the result of sin infesting and infecting God’s goodness in the world.


For we live in a broken world. We have to deal with other people’s bad choices. We have to go through the consequences of our bad choices. But we don’t have to be defined by them. We don’t have to be weighed down by them. We don’t have to be held back by them.


Because there is grace. By God’s infinite grace, He allowed Jesus to be the recipient of all the world’s sin, bad choices, and selfishness. With every stripe (lash) He took, He showed how much He loves us as He absorbed all our “badness”. And not only did He absorb our brokenness, He gave us a new way to live.


Because Jesus already took all the crap of life and will exchange it for His goodness, His peace, and His joy. When we surrender to him. Meaning He wants a daily, ongoing, familiar relationship with us. Not a hit or miss, only pray or know Him in the bad times. But every day. Constant trust. Growing faith. Burgeoning belief.


And when we get to that daily place of knowing Him, we become able to endure through the bad times. We become empowered to forgive people – and ourselves – for selfishness. We become able to live above the lies of our emotions, which are fickle and lead us away from God. We become confident in making the better choice, even if it goes against the broken standards of the world. We willing choose God’s best, even if it is not the easy or acceptable (worldly) way.


We realize that God want to get our attention and draw us near to Him. It is those bad things that drive us toward Him. It is those hard things that draw us closer to Him. It is those impossible things that make us realize how dependent we should be.


And ultimately we realize that God is in control. He never promises a smooth path or an easy way. What He does promise is that (1) He will redeem every experience for our good and His glory by allowing us to help others and (2) He will bring good out of every experience when we trust Him.


His part is to redeem every bad moment. Our part is to trust Him and hang onto Him through it all. And to continue to pray. For in the process of praying. God changes us. God enables us. God softens our heart. To react differently. To respond lovingly. To forgive fully. To stand firmly.


Remember that the only person you can control through it all is yourself. You decide how you will think, feel, act, react, and process. No one can do that for you. And you are the only one accountable for these things to God. So decide who you want to be and allow your behavior and your mindset to follow. Don’t let people and their opinions or behavior influence or effect you or your progress. It only hurts you when you do.


No matter what you go through and no matter what happens to you, remember that God is bigger. God is bigger than every emotion and every outrage. God is bigger than every situation and every circumstance. God is bigger than every hurt and every pain. God is bigger than every offense and every defense. God is bigger than every excuse and every evasion.  God is bigger than every disappointment and every diversion.


So we may not fully understand why we face the challenges and circumstances we do. But we need to remember that our loving God has every challenge and every circumstance in His loving hands and will enable us to get through them.


Marie Fremin.  1/13, 1/16, and 1/19/16.

What’s Your Broken?

People are broken.  Emotionally.  Everyone has a story, and everyone has pain in their past. For some people it’s an obvious broken that they share. For others it’s a great mystery.

What's Your Broken

Today I’m sitting here at work wondering what my coworker’s broken is.  And that’s a major victory for me.

See, I could be sitting here getting all upset about the fact that all my job end times were changed last night.  All my jobs from end time 5:40 to 6:05 were changed to 6:00pm when I came in this morning.  5 jobs total.  And there was only person who would have bothered to take the time to “fix” them to her (rigid) standards.

So I’m sitting here this morning deciding how I want to react.  I’m not mad.  I’m not sad.  I’m not even put out.  And as I ponder, I realize God has placed in me this unusual reaction – I am curious.

I am curious what makes a grown adult act so overly compulsive. About yesterday, a day that is done and has no effect on her day today.  I am curious why it is so important that something that is not even hers to decide in the end is worth her time and energy.

And I feel like God keeps pointing me to brokenness. That we’re all broken. So I become curious about why she is broken the way she is. How does a person become broken to the point of being overly controlling?  What is happening in that person’s life to be concerned about manipulating a minor detail in her favor?

And then God continues to perform a miracle as I start to pray – for her. It saddens me to say I do not often pray through my day, but today I felt compelled to pray. As I typed. As I worked. As I was curious.  Who else but God could help me understand the brokenness surrounding me in the office?

So I prayed. “God, help me to understand the brokenness.  God, help me to see beyond the brokenness to Your creation. God, help me to react differently to the control.”

Why is she so broken?  I think it’s a question I’ll never get answered.  Because she won’t admit she’s broken.  She won’t admit there’s any issues.  She won’t acknowledge she’s part of the problem.

And so she’s stuck.  Which means my office is stuck, subject to the erratic winds of her mood.  Winds brought about by brokenness.

And I think how sweet would it be if we were easily fixed liked broken toys.  Oh, your dad left when you were little?  Here’s a healthy dose of “God is a Father to the fatherless” to fill the voids.  Oh, your classmates made fun of you?  Here’s a healthy dose of “God says you’re His poetry” to overwrite those memories.  Oh, your mother never told you she loved you?  Here’s a healthy dose of “God loves you unconditionally” to soothe the heartaches.

God’s Word gives us all these “fixes”.  His Word truly is a balm to our pains and disappointments, but it won’t work unless we apply it.  How will the aspirin relieve my headache if I never take it out the bottle?  It won’t.  God’s ready and waiting to heal you – to fill all your voids, to overwrite all those bad memories, to soothe all the hurts. Psalm 147:3 says “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” Psalm 51:17 says “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, A broken and a contrite heart— These, O God, You will not despise.”

There’s a catch – we have to receive the promises and apply them.  He’s waiting for you to come to Him with all of these things and trust Him to give you His grace in their place.

Do you realize what the beauty of mosaic work and stained glass windows is?  It’s the broken pieces assembled into something new and whole.  It’s a new creation that has come from the pieces of other things.

And that’s what we are.  We are a new creation, arisen from the broken pieces of our life.  Our past, our mistakes, our tragedies, our triumphs, our joys, our sorrows, our regrets, our hurts, our voids, our pain.  God has put us upon His potter’s wheel (Jeremiah 18:1-6) and crafted all the broken pieces into His masterpiece, His poetry for the world to see (Ephesians 2:10).  He has taken our pieces and given them the purpose of ministry to others (2 Corinthians 1:3-4).

God isn’t far away. We feel like He is, but He isn’t. We think, as Psalm 31:12 says, that “I am forgotten like a dead man, out of mind; I am like a broken vessel.” But God is patiently waiting for you and wanting to comfort you. Psalm 34:18 says “The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart, And saves such as have a contrite spirit.”

So what’s your broken?  Are you willing to give it to God?

God wants it so He can exchange it for His goodness. We can only go in our own strength and ability for so long before we run out of energy and options. He wants us to let it go of our brokenness to exchange it for His guidance, His strength, His patience, and His love. 1 Samuel 2:4 says “The bows of the mighty men are broken, And those who stumbled are girded with strength.”

God lets us get to the end of ourselves, hoping we’ll realize sooner rather than later where our brokenness is (Jeremiah 2:13). And when we recognize it for what it is and are willing to deal with it, He steps in to walk with us toward change. Isaiah 40:28-31 promises “28 Have you not known? Have you not heard? The everlasting God, the Lord, The Creator of the ends of the earth, Neither faints nor is weary. His understanding is unsearchable. 29 He gives power to the weak, And to those who have no might He increases strength. 30 Even the youths shall faint and be weary, And the young men shall utterly fall, 31 But those who wait on the Lord Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.” Matthew 11:28-30 promises “28 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

And when you are willing to see your brokenness, God’s ultimate promise is Isaiah 43:18-1918 “Do not remember the former things, Nor consider the things of old. 19 Behold, I will do a new thing, Now it shall spring forth; Shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness And rivers in the desert.”

God’s new thing in Luke 9 was a miracle. The crowds had followed Jesus into Bethsaida, a crowd of at least 5000 people. The day became late, and the crowds were hungry. But instead of sending them away, Jesus tells the disciples to feed them. What did they have? Just a few simple provisions and a lot of disciple doubt. But Jesus was bigger than their doubt and already had a plan. Luke 9:16-17 says “16 Then He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, He blessed and broke them, and gave them to the disciples to set before the multitude. 17 They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over.”

The miracle was 12 leftover baskets of broken fragments. 12 baskets for 12 disciples. 12 baskets of doubt-removing proof that God cares and God provides. The disciples didn’t recognize their brokenness or the significance of that moment, but they did later upon seeing their beloved Savior resurrected. And they probably remembered this moment.

So I’ll ask you again. What’s your broken? Are you willing to give it to God? He’s waiting to do a miracle for you.

Marie Fremin, 5/19/15