An Awakening from Brokenness, Grace, Grief, Words of Endurance

Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away.
Each time he said, “My grace is all you need.
My power works best in weakness.”
2 CORINTHIANS 12:9 (NLT)



During my season of brokenness, I can’t tell you the number of times that I begged for God to remove my weakness. I remember crying out in my prayers to Him – “How can I possibly serve you and minister to others in my weakness? What good can come from this?”



I remember how embarrassed I was for my weakened state – I apologized to everyone. I was so ashamed that I had failed and had become so useless for the kingdom of God. I felt worthless.



But I was so wrong. First of all, my worth is not found in what I do for God. My worth is in that I am His beloved child – priceless – that will never change! But to my surprise God showed me that my value – my usefulness for the kingdom – my ministry to others – was not born out of my strengths and successes but out of my failures and weaknesses. Wow!



I was encouraged when I read what Francios Fenelon, the Archbishop of Cambrai, France, wrote to the court of King Louis the Fourteenth almost five hundred years ago …



It is amazing how strong we can become
when we begin to realize what weaklings we are.
It is in weakness that we can admit our mistakes
and correct ourselves by confessing them.
It is in weakness that our minds are open
to enlightenment from others.
It is in weakness
that we are authoritative in nothing
and say the most clear-cut things
with simplicity and consideration for others.
In weakness, we do not object to being criticized
and we easily submit to censor.
At the same time we criticize
no one without absolute necessity.
We give advice only to those who desire it
and even then we speak with love
and without being dogmatic.
We speak from a desire to help,
rather than a desire to create
a reputation for wisdom.
FRANCOIS FENELON, LET GO



I accepted my weakness and I was humbled by my powerlessness yet I rejoiced in that the power of Christ could now work through me in a much more powerful way through my brokenness rather than my own personal strength.



The late Michael Yaconelli, the co-founder of Youth Specialties, validated my experience when a fter a retreat at the L’Arche community, Michael shared …



Finally I accepted my brokenness …
I knew I was a sinner.
I knew I continually disappointed God,
But I could never accept that part of me.
It was a part of me that embarrassed me.
I continually felt the need to apologize,
To run from my weakness,
To deny who I was and
Concentrate on what I should be …


I came to see that it was in my brokenness,
in my powerlessness,
in my weakness that Jesus was made strong.
It was in the acceptance of my lack of faith
that God could give me faith.
It was in the embracing of my brokenness
that I could identify with others’ brokenness.
It was my role to identify with others’ pain,
not relieve it.
Ministry was sharing, not dominating;
understanding, not theologizing;
caring, not fixing.
MICHAEL YACONELLI (Excerpt from ABBA’S CHILD)



There is true freedom for me knowing that I don’t have to relieve, dominate, theologize or fix anyone else’s pain in order to minister and encourage them. But it is validating one’s pain by identifying, sharing, understanding and caring where true ministry and encouragement through the power of the Holy Spirit takes place.



So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses,
so that the power of Christ can work through me.
That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses,
and in the insults, hardships, persecutions,
and troubles that I suffer for Christ.
For when I am weak, then I am strong.
2 CORINTHIANS 12:9-10 (NLT)



On the Journey with You,
Jan Dravecky

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An Awakening from Brokenness, Grief, Healing, Hope, Words of Endurance

What marvelous love the Father has extended to us!
Just look at it—we’re called children of God!
That’s who we really are.
1 JOHN 3:1 (THE MESSAGE)



So I asked God – after the imposter had been identified and my masks were removed – who am I? And I learned that I am a child of God – not just any child – but Abba’s child!



And because we are his children,
God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts,
prompting us to call out, “Abba, Father.”
Now you are no longer a slave but God’s own child.
And since you are his child, God has made you his heir.
GALATIANS 4:4-7 (NLT)



And I learned that I am loved regardless of my imperfections! This was so important for me to know because I have so many imperfections and every time one of them is exposed I feel shame and want to hide for fear that I will lose His love but what is even more exciting to me is that as children of God we are assured …



“… that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love.”
ROMANS 8:38 (NLT)



And nothing can change who we truly are – we are Abba’s children! Brennan Manning shares in Abba’s Child …



“My dignity as Abba’s child is my most
coherent sense of self. When I seek to
fashion a self-image from the adulation
of others and the inner voice whispers,
‘You’ve arrived; you’re a player in the
Kingdom Enterprise,’ there is no truth
in that self-concept. When I sink into
despondency and the inner voice whispers,
‘You are no good, a fraud, a hypocrite, and
a dilettante,’ there is no truth in any image
shaped from that message. As Gerald May
has noted, “It is important to recognize
these self-commentaries for the mind tricks
they are. They have nothing to do with our
real dignity. How we view ourselves at any
given moment may have very little to do
with who we really are.”



So because of whom we really are we can experience an intimate, trusting and loving relationship with our Abba Father freeing us to live the resurrection life that has been given to us from Him. We need not live our lives fearfully but fearlessly on the expectant adventure that our Papa will love and lead us through till we receive our eternal inheritance!



This resurrection life you received from God
is not a timid, grave-tending life.
It’s adventurously expectant,
greeting God with a childlike
“What’s next, Papa?”
God’s Spirit touches our spirits
and confirms who we really are.
We know who he is,
and we know who we are:
Father and children.
And we know we are going
to get what’s coming to us—
an unbelievable inheritance!
ROMANS 8:15-17 (THE MESSAGE)



On the Journey with You,
Jan Dravecky

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An Awakening from Brokenness, Grief, Healing, Hope, Words of Endurance

Come quickly, Lord, and answer me,
for my depression deepens.
Don’t turn away from me,
or I will die.
Let me hear of your unfailing love each morning,
for I am trusting you.
Show me where to walk,
for I give myself to you.
Rescue me from my enemies, Lord;
I run to you to hide me.
Teach me to do your will,
for you are my God.
May your gracious Spirit lead me forward
on a firm footing.
PSALM 143:7-10 (NLT)



I asked God to show me. Show me the masks I have worn. Show me why I began to wear them in the first place. Show me the evolution of my imposter. I asked God – as King David did …



Investigate my life, O God,
find out everything about me;
Cross-examine and test me,
get a clear picture of what I’m about;
See for yourself whether I’ve done anything wrong—
then guide me on the road to eternal life.
PSALM 139:23-24 (THE MESSAGE)



Almost immediately the Holy Spirit began to show me. He showed me that I was the first born of two parents who were also first born. I was born a very strong-willed child – it was in my genes. Because of my self-determined, self-sufficient will I was not easy for my parents to raise. To make matters worse my younger brother was quite the opposite – a very compliant child – much easier to raise than me. So when I displayed my strong will I was often compared to him and then I was told that I was more like the least liked members of our family and I knew even at my young age that was not good!



God also showed me that I was blessed – often times it has felt like a curse – with an extremely sensitive spirit. I always have felt and sensed much more than the average person. I not only experience my own emotional pain but I also feel and experience all the pain that others are experiencing. (Often times I think I experience way more pain than they actually feel.) So I was labeled as “overly sensitive” and a “drama queen” because my face always expressed what I was feeling. I knew, too, that was not good!



So early on I learned that it was not good for me to be me and I needed to change if I wanted to please others. I hid who I truly was and I became whatever others needed me to be. I became a chameleon so I would be liked and accepted by all. I was also a good actress so it was easy for me to portray myself as someone else – someone totally different from me. The problem was that after a whole lifetime of acting to please others – even God – I lost – even forgot – who I truly was. I lost myself in the process.



But as sad as this scenario seems what is awesome is that God answered my cries and showed me who He created me to be. He exposed my imposter – removed my masks – lifted my shame and showed me how marvelously He made me. It was finally OK for me to be me because I was His creation!



You also are His marvelous creation. Do you know who you truly are? Are you like me – actually ashamed of who you are? If your answer is yes then my prayer for you is that you too experience the freedom to be who He created you to be. I pray that you – along with King David and me – will be able to proclaim to our Father …



Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out;
you formed me in my mother’s womb.
I thank you, High God—you’re breathtaking!
Body and soul, I am marvelously made!
I worship in adoration—what a creation!
PSALM 139:13-14 (THE MESSAGE)



On the Journey with You,
Jan Dravecky

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An Awakening from Brokenness, Prayer, Words of Endurance

If you need wisdom, ask our generous God,
and he will give it to you.
He will not rebuke you for asking.
JAMES 1:5 (NLT)



And so I asked God to reveal the truth about myself – I asked God to give me the wisdom and insight into the reason why the history of my life kept repeating itself. He answered my prayer by revealing my imposter.



You may ask what is an imposter? Well I learned about my imposter – my false self –the masks I wore – when I read Abba’s Child by Brennan Manning. His words explained …



Impostors are preoccupied with acceptance and approval. Because of their suffocating need to please others, they cannot say no with the same confidence with which they say yes. And so they overextend themselves in people, projects and causes, motivated not by personal commitment but by the fear of not living up to others’ expectations.



The impostor is the classic codependent. To gain acceptance and approval, the false self suppresses or camouflages feelings, making emotional honesty impossible.



The imposter prompts us to attach importance to what has no importance, clothing with a false glitter what is least substantial and turning us away from what is real. The false self causes us to live in a world of delusion.



The imposter is a liar.
ABBA’S CHILD BY BRENNAN MANNING



I had always known that I was a classic codependent. I knew and claimed to all that I could be the poster child for Codependents Anonymous! But what I did not know was that my codependent lifestyle – my people pleasing that I so believed to be a “spiritual” attribute – was nothing more than a lie that I was portraying for others so that I might receive their acceptance and approval.



The lie that I lived was the mask that I wore to hide the true me from others – even from God. But oh how elated I was that it was not my human viewpoint by which I was seen and judged because when I trusted Jesus as my Savior I was given a gift from God. I became a new person – a Saint – His child – and His approval and acceptance was not based upon my performance!



What Good News for the Child of God!!! Oh how freeing was that for me!!!! How freeing is that for you too!!!!



So we have stopped evaluating others
from a human point of view.
At one time we thought of Christ merely
from a human point of view.
How differently we know him now!
This means that anyone who belongs to Christ
has become a new person.
The old life is gone; a new life has begun!
And all of this is a gift from God,
who brought us back to himself through Christ.
2 CORINTHIANS 5:16-18 (NLT)



On the Journey with You,
Jan Dravecky

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An Awakening from Brokenness, Healing, Words of Endurance

You’re the One I’ve violated,
and you’ve seen it all,
seen the full extent of my evil.
You have all the facts before you;
whatever you decide about me is fair.
I’ve been out of step with you for a long time,
in the wrong since before I was born.
What you’re after is truth from the inside out.
Enter me, then; conceive a new, true life.
PSALM 51:4-6 (THE MESSAGE)



Truth from the inside out – that is what I wanted desperately. I knew from past experiences –past monumental moments of my life – I needed to once again get to the root of my weakness – my sin. I needed God through His Holy Spirit who had seen it all to expose those lies that I believed – the lies that motivated me to continually end up burnt out and broken. I knew that unless those lies were exposed and pulled out by the root and then replaced with His Truth that I would be destined to repeat the history of my life – burnout and then breakdown.



I had always told my kids to face the truth head on. I remember saying to them “if it is not the truth then what good is it?” It was time for me to practice what I preached – face the truth head on and not be afraid because as Abba’s Child, God has promised to lead us to truth – His Truth and the truth about ourselves.



“When the Spirit of truth comes,
he will guide you into all truth.”
JOHN 16:13 (NLT)



God had shown me the Truth before – I knew He would show me again. So unafraid I, too, cried out, as did King David, enter me, then; conceive a new, true life because I knew nothing but the Truth would satisfy my thirsty soul. I knew that He knew me inside out and my Abba Father would gently expose what I could not see myself because …



How can I know all the sins lurking in my heart?
Cleanse me from these hidden faults.
PSALM 19:12 (NLT)



And this is exactly what God did for me – He showed me my hidden faults – faults that I had no idea existed within me – lies that I believed to be true. The revelation of these truths about myself helped to set me free.



“… And you will know the truth,
and the truth will set you free.”
JOHN 832 (NLT)



My prayer for you is that when you don’t understand why you do what you do and why history keeps repeating itself in your life that you not be afraid and allow God to show you the truth about yourself and you too will experience the freedom that only He can give.



So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free.
JOHN 8:36 (NLT)



On the Journey with You,
Jan Dravecky

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An Awakening from Brokenness, Peace, Words of Endurance

She had a sister, Mary,
who sat before the Master,
hanging on every word he said.
But Martha was pulled away by all
she had to do in the kitchen.
Later, she stepped in, interrupting them.
“Master, don’t you care that
my sister has abandoned the kitchen to me?
Tell her to lend me a hand.”
The Master said, “Martha, dear Martha,
you’re fussing far too much
and getting yourself worked up over nothing.
One thing only is essential, and Mary has chosen it—
it’s the main course, and won’t be taken from her.”
LUKE 10:39-42 (THE MESSAGE)



I have always empathized with Martha because I am so much like her – I understand her. In fact I have often shared that I could be the poster child for Martha’s Anonymous!!! The reason? I did not know how to be still because if something needed to be done – if there were items still unchecked on my to do list – I could not just simply leave it undone and take time to be still.



It has always been difficult for me to be still and receive like Martha’s sister Mary. I am ashamed to admit that the “Mary’s” in the world really irritated me because in my mind there was always so much to be done! But looking back I think that deep down I was jealous of those “Mary’s” who could block out all the “to dos” and choose the “one thing only that is essential … the main course.”



I actually had to force myself to have a quiet time. And whenever I would take time to be still before God I would struggle to keep my mind from wandering and thinking about all that needed to be done that day. I believe I had never known how to take time to be still, rest and restore my soul. I had never learned to …



“Step out of the traffic!
Take a long, loving look at me,
your High God,
above politics, above everything.”
PSALM 46:10 (THE MESSAGE)



So when I found myself burned out – broken and weak once again – I knew that I needed to – I was desperate to – change the course of my life and I knew that I certainly did not know how to do it myself. That would require help from someone other than me – once again I sought the counsel of a wise Christian Counselor.



Form your purpose by asking for counsel,
then carry it out using all the help you can get.
PROVERBS 20:18 (THE MESSAGE)



And oh how God spoke through the wisdom of my Christian Counselor. She showed me that my first step was to go back to the basics and learn to quiet my soul before God. She taught me the benefit of contemplative prayer and learning to listen to God. And through her guidance and the Holy Spirit I learned to “Be still and know that (He) is God.”



When I was beleaguered and bitter,
totally consumed by envy,
I was totally ignorant, a dumb ox
in your very presence.
I’m still in your presence,
but you’ve taken my hand.
You wisely and tenderly lead me,
and then you bless me.
PSALM 73:21-24 (THE MESSAGE)



On the Journey with You,
Jan Dravecky

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An Awakening from Brokenness, Grief, Guilt, Hope, Prayer, Words of Endurance

Going through the motions doesn’t please you,
a flawless performance is nothing to you.
I learned God-worship
when my pride was shattered.
Heart-shattered lives ready for love
don’t for a moment escape God’s notice.
PSALM 51:16-17 (THE MESSAGE)



Each time I have hit bottom – I am left feeling broken and weak. What is even more painful for me is that I have no one to blame but myself for my present condition so I feel nothing but shame and guilt. But I have learned that whenever I find myself in this place of brokenness what I need to do is to remember. Remember how in times before – when my pride was shattered – none of it was unnoticed by God. I need to remember …



Since God assured us,
“I’ll never let you down, never walk off and leave you,”
we can boldly quote,
God is there, ready to help;
I’m fearless no matter what.
Who or what can get to me?
HEBREWS 13:5-6 (THE MESSAGE)



I also need recall that it has been my past experience that …



“Often breakdowns lead to breakthroughs.”
MICHAEL O’SHANNESEY



And then I can reassure myself that …



Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting,
God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along.
If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter.
He does our praying in and for us,
making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves,
He knows our pregnant condition,
and keeps us present before God.
That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives
of love for God is worked into something good.
ROMANS 8:26-28 (THE MESSAGE)



When I remember this promise from God – this Eternal Truth gives me the courage to not lose heart –to not give up – to keep on enduring the journey. May His Word provide you the endurance for your journey when you remember …



So we’re not giving up. How could we!
Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us,
on the inside, where God is making new life,
not a day goes by without his unfolding grace.
These hard times are small potatoes
compared to the coming good times,
the lavish celebration prepared for us.
There’s far more here than meets the eye.
The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow.
But the things we can’t see now will last forever.
2 CORINTHIANS 4:16-18 (THE MESSAGE)



On the Journey with You,
Jan Dravecky

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