If you’ve ever been broken: Kintsugi

suffering, Uncategorized

Are you broken? Suffering, hurting? Going through a trial and wondering how it could all work out okay? If you feel that your situation may be beyond repair, then consider kintsugi, the ancient Japanese art of mending broken pottery:

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The 400+ year old Japanese art of kintsugi (golden repair) or kintsukuroi (golden joinery) is a pottery repair method that honors the artifact’s unique history by emphasizing, not hiding, the break.

An art form born from mottainai – the feeling of regret when something is wasted – the cracks are seamed with lacquer resin and powdered gold, silver, or platinum, and often reference natural forms like waterfalls, rivers, or landscapes.

This method transforms the artifact into something new, making it more rare, beautiful, and storied than the original. source

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Wood-fired broken bowl

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Wood-fired bowl restored with gold

source

I am broken. Yet God has put me back together and mended the broken spots.

If someone were to look at my life before I surrendered my life to Jesus, they would have simply seen broken shards, like pottery in the picture above.

You would assume that these broken pieces were useless, and not fit for repair. You would throw them out, without further thought, and even be responsible in doing so.

Some pieces of my life were thoughtlessly or maliciously broken by others. There was rejection, abuse, and degradation.

Some of the fractures were caused by my own doing. Self-harm, bad choices, self-loathing, and destruction.

No matter how many tiny pieces of shattered fragments were scattered along my life’s path, God has filled in the missing places with His healing resin, His presence and peace.

Even now, there are hurting places that don’t make sense to me. I am sure, because of the kintsugi type of work that God has done before, that it will result in something more precious, even though I cannot yet see it.

You may feel beyond repair, but you have a Great Potter, God, who says that you are surely not, and your pain will not be wasted.

If you and I submit our hearts to God, He will restore and mend our broken places. He will ensure that our suffering has a purpose and our lives will be a beautiful display.

Will you allow God to come in to those broken places? Like kintsugi, your life and story is even more beautiful and has more value when it has been restored.

Kintsugi is a process. At first, it simply looks like what it is, broken pieces glued back together. It must be refilled with resin and sanded several times before it’s ready for the gold dust to illuminate and beautify the scars.

When we allow Jesus’ presence and peace to come into our broken places, He will redeem them and our lives will gleam with the gold of His healing touch. Our pain need not be wasted.

Just ask Him to come in, and He will.

 

Christine

 

 

 

But if from there you seek the Lord your God, you will find him if you seek him with all your heart and with all your soul. Deuteronomy 4:29

Isaiah 64 says:

Yet you, Lord, are our Father.
We are the clay, you are the potter;
we are all the work of your hand.

Read all of Isaiah 64 here

 

 

3 things running has taught me about discipline

truth

3 things running has taught me about discipline

If you ask me, running 13.1 or 26.2 miles is a little crazy. I’m not a total weirdo…the only reason that I started running 14 years ago was that I was bored with cardio machines. But training for these runs has taught me some great truths about discipline that applies to all of life!

If you’re not a runner, you can still glean insights from this, but without the sweat and pain! 🙂

Here are my top three:

1.To accomplish hard stuff (like running a half marathon), you have to do some hard stuff. This is for real. There’s a reason that only about 1.9% of the population has run a half-marathon this year. (source)  And only .05% have run a full marathon. (source)  The reason is that it’s hard. 

Long runs in sweltering summer months are brutal. Sweat pours down your forehead and into your eyes; it stings.You swallow gnats while running. When there’s no bathroom in sight, and you’ve gotta go, you (ahem) improvise. Sometimes it’s just hard.

2. Running a marathon or half marathon requires sacrifice. Training runs often start long before dawn breaks. It’s not always easy to go to bed early on Friday nights to get up for a 6:00am ten or longer mile run on a Saturday morning.

3. The sacrifices made now will pay large dividends later. Here’s an example: Last Sunday was the race day for the Houston Half-Marathon. I knew that I’d be running 13.1 miles. However, on my regular shorter training day, my running partner couldn’t join me.

Words can’t express how much I didn’t feel like going on my own. In fact, a slow and heavy sense of dread covered me. Here’s what got me out there to do it…I knew that the race on Sunday would be affected if I didn’t do my regular training run. In other words, I wasn’t running for Thursday as much as I was running for Sunday’s results.

THIS is my very favorite thing about running and the most important truth about discipline that running has taught me. I decided to push through the dread and the not-wanting-to and did it anyway!

Plus, there’s nothing quite as satisfying as completing a long run when you just didn’t feel like it. This is true for all disciplines. You don’t have to WANT to do it, or FEEL like doing it. However, if you do it ANYWAY, you’ll reap the benefits!

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Long runs have their benefits! Quiet and beautiful sunrises like this one.

 

 

 

 

Women of the wailing wall

God, Uncategorized

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We are all different, from several generations.We are the women of the wailing wall.

We are rich and we are poor. Worn hand-me-downs and crisp new trends. Some young and vibrant, some with weathered skin and silver hair, like me.

Although we are diverse in every way, we come in solidarity for one purpose.

To seek answers from G-d.

Purposefully I stride, in my trousers, with large handbag in tow. I pause to grab Torah, the very words of G-d, and slow down as I approach the wall.

Old and feeble, but strong in prayer, beseeching for my granddaughter.

She breaks my daughter’s heart as she is lost and tries to find herself.

I weep, sobbing softly for my daughter’s pain, and cry out for my granddaughter to change her course

To come back to the place that she knows is true.

My heart bows low in reverence though my posture remains standing.

My hands shake as they always do. I gently roll up the message that I’ve scrawled out with my request, tenderly and firmly sticking it into a crevice in the wall.

My lips move as I pray and silent tears fall. My cares and anxious thoughts of the day seem to fall to the ground with each tear.

I look up in thanks. Thankful to the One who hears. The One who sees. The One who cares. I bow my head and smile, then gently walk out backwards.

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Post Script: I wrote this in July when visiting Israel and going to the Western Wall. I was struck by the variety of women that I saw.

Eastern and Western worldviews, from every socioeconomic group and age. Yet many seemed so earnest in their pursuit of an answer from God.

I was struck by the thought of each woman as an individual; each woman had a story, a prayer that they earnestly prayed and wrote, putting the prayer requests into the wall’s nooks and crannies.

I saw many women crying. Some quietly and reverently, some alone, and some with friends or loved ones. I imagined a woman, weeping with expectant hope that God would answer her fervent prayers for her granddaughter.

She is the woman I wrote about.

Christine

Healing prayers

God

Have you ever prayed for healing? Maybe you asked God to heal you, or a loved one.

Whether it was a silent plea to what felt like the air, or universe, or whether it was a prayer read aloud from the scripture, you can know that God hears and he cares.

Maybe you, like me, have battled disappointment with God.

If you have prayed earnestly and he didn’t answer your heartfelt requests, it can feel as if God has forgotten or forsaken you.

I know, as I’ve felt that way many times over the past several years.

Four years ago I began having a severe tremor that I’d never had before, and an increasing amount of terrible migraines. If I’m honest, I had never empathized with migraine sufferers before that. The searing pain along with sound and light sensitivity can be maddening and is debilitating.

Soon there were more symptoms. Electric type shocks in my hands and legs. Double vision that made it dangerous to drive, so my friends and kids began to drive me to do errands. My balance was off and I could be quite clumsy and have difficulty standing at times.

My family doctor and neurologist were terrific, although along the way I did see other doctors who implied that the symptoms may be psychological. Eventually, my husband went with me to the Mayo Clinic.

They prescribed a life-altering pair of glasses with a prism that helped correct the double vision. I couldn’t believe the difference and much of the time I could see clearly with the new prism glasses.

During all of this I did the fundamental things that I knew to do as a follower of Jesus. I had laid out my heart with God all of my unconfessed sin, and asked him to show me any sin I was unaware of.

I went to the elders of our church and asked them to anoint me with oil and pray for my healing as the Bible instructs us to do in James.

[James on prayer and healing]

Nonetheless, my healing didn’t come. For these years I wrestled with my beliefs of God. I had come to know God over a decade ago. I had begun to see his character through the scriptures and debunked many of the false ideas I’d had about who he really was.

I rightly began to believe that he is a good father and is always there, even when I don’t feel him or see him at work in my life. This reality stared right in the face of the reality that I wasn’t healed.

I knew and believed that God was able to miraculously heal me. Yet he hadn’t.

Enter disappointment with God. Self doubt and condemnation. Along with well-meant comments from others, this was a recipe for turmoil on my worst days. Did God forget about me? I know I deserve punishment for my sin. Is this as chastisement for something I’ve done?

A month ago I asked God again for healing. I felt a sensation, sort of a wave through my whole body. I shot up the question, “God, are you healing me?” and felt nothing else; heard nothing; sensed nothing.

Later that evening, I flipped my glasses up, then down. Up, then down. I was checking to see if my vision was healed. I wanted so badly for this to be the time. Yet I didn’t want the disappointment again. Nothing, no change.

I woke up the next morning blurry-eyed as usual. Although my vision wasn’t crystal clear, it was better without the glasses than with them! It’s been 5 weeks since then and my vision is still better! I’ve had a day when my vision was very blurry and doubled, yet it was still better without glasses.

Although I’ve still had an occasional migraine in the past five weeks, it is clear that healing is taking place in me. I stand on the truth of what Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego said in essence when they were commanded to bow down to a statue of God or be thrown into a fiery blaze:

God is able to deliver us from any fiery trial. Even if he does not, he is still worthy of our praise and he is good.

[The king spoke to the three] “But if you do not worship it, you will be thrown immediately into a blazing furnace. Then what god will be able to rescue you from my hand?”

16 Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to him, “King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. 17 If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us[c] from Your Majesty’s hand. 18 But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”

(Daniel 3:15 and following, emphasis mine.)

This is a call to persevere in your prayers. God loves you and is concerned with what concerns you.

God is good. Whether he answers our prayers the way we desire or not, his character and heart for us is good and loving. We can’t see everything and understand God’s ways, but we can trust the ancient and relevant words he has given us in the Bible when we don’t get it.

God is listening. God loves you and wants you to turn from self-reliance to relying on him when you are weak.

He is able to deliver and heal, and if not, he is still good.

 

To read more of this story in context, click here: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Daniel%203&version=NIV

Living Out The Journey of Your Calling

Christianity, mission, Uncategorized

Do you feel like your life’s calling is a mystical thing?

Maybe it’s a very simple, practical thing that we can all do, every day, no matter where we are on the globe.

God calls us to Himself. The rest is geography.

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Keeping it simple and practical.

Be with Jesus.

Know him.

Love him.

Allow yourself to BE loved by him.

When those things happen, we will be compelled to evangelism, and to service.

But first we must BE with Christ. Geography will be less of an issue.

I’m convinced that there’s not a wrong answer of geography when we’re truly abiding in Christ.

This watercolor was inspired by this video on Calling by Propel Women.

Living Out The Journey of My Calling

Whole Rai

Uncategorized

Recently I served dinner and just before I sat down, as usual, I grabbed my phone to snap a quick picture. There were a couple of groans letting me know that my husband and daughter weren’t exactly thrilled that I was holding them up from chowing down because I thought that the food “looked so beautiful”. Herschel told me I need to start a blog for all of my food pictures, so I did! It’s about much more than food. It’s about Whole Life, or whole living. Our body, mind, and spirit. Come check it out at wholerai.com

Whole Rai

Do you need a miracle in your life?

Uncategorized

DON’T GIVE UP.

Does your marriage look hopeless? Does your wayward child or addict relative seem like they won’t come back? Are you depressed or anxious and have battled it for years? Keep on praying and persevere. Joey and Lauren are living proof that God is still at work doing miracles. Just last year I posted this video from our friend Brian Haynes’ church. It encouraged me in a dark time when I was feeling very down about my own circumstances.

Over the last couple of weeks, I went with my husband and two kids to Israel. Guess who was on the trip, too? That’s right, Joey and Lauren. It took me a day or two of trying to figure out where I knew them from, and it was this video! If you are contemplating divorce, take heart, God can work in the hardest of hearts. Just ask Joey and Lauren.

Joey and Lauren seated together on the right

Joey and Lauren seated together on the right

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If you need a miracle, I hope that you’ll be encouraged like I am by Joey and Lauren’s story. It’s not just a story, it’s a reality that I had the joy of seeing lived out in front of me for two weeks as I hiked with them and twenty-something others in Israel. They are real, authentic people who are in the process of loving God and loving each other. It is beautiful and a joy to see!

This is the repost:

Today’s text from our friend Brian Haynes will speak for itself: God moments happen all around us all of the time. I love that God is constantly at work in people, in marriages, and in churches. If you need hope for your life, your family, your marriage or your church, take 6 minutes to watch this short documentary. It is a God story.

Mentoring

Uncategorized

You don’t have to be a mom to mentor. You don’t have to be a wise old sage. You can mentor in any phase of life. In fact, I believe it’s crucial to be in mentoring relationships of some sort at all times. These relationships can be give and take, and they can ebb and flow. They can be casual, or intentional. You can ask someone to mentor you and meet with you once a month, or every couple of weeks. May I suggest you don’t do this:

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A casual mentoring relationship can be ongoing, or one-time. A mentor can simply be someone who is further along or more knowledgable than you in an area of expertise. This can be in spiritual matters, work/professionally, parenting, marriage, or a hobby. The sky’s the limit! The point is, it doesn’t have to be weird. Here’s an example of how a casual mentoring relationship could begin:

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Or you call and ask your friend to teach you to apply makeup because she is so good at it, and you’ve always been a granola kind of girl and you have no idea what you’re doing. She’s delighted that you asked, and you make a day of it, including lunch and coffee. Girl time, she shares her expertise, and you look and feel great. Win/win/win!

One of the great things about mentoring is that it is really a two-way street. Although as a mentee, your goal is to learn and glean wisdom from your mentor, they are also learning from you. I meet with a younger friend periodically in a mentoring relationship. Recently as we visited, I was telling her about a struggle. She posed a question as a possible solution that pierced my heart as soon as it left her mouth. Her words ended up being the very thing that catapulted me into freedom from that struggle. You may find, like I did, that if you are in a mentoring relationship, you learn as much (and more) from your “mentee” than you thought you would. Life’s kind of funny like that.

Some of my best mentoring relationships have been covert ones, kind of undercover. Let me explain. My kids are pretty much grown now, but when they were little, I would watch and observe my friends parent their young ones. Many of my friends mentored me in parenting even though they didn’t know it! I learned so much about how to discipline my children, parent them, and creative ways to teach them things I hadn’t thought of- just by observing other families in action.

The same goes for marriage. We have several good friends with thriving and enviable marriages that are fun to watch. I glean so much from watching them do life together. That’s casual mentoring. They probably have no idea that they are mentoring me (unless they are one of my 50 readers, Ha!)  but I have learned more from them than any marriage seminar could ever teach. Why? Because it’s real life. Practical. I learn from that.

What about you? Who is on your Mount Rushmore of mentors?

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Then I saw the clouds

God

If you read the last post, you know that I was struck by the gravity of eternity recently as my dad and I walked through the cemetery visiting my grandparent’s plots. Each headstone that I saw touched me deeply, reminding me of how short our fleeting lives on earth really are. How inconsequential material things are. The little annoyances and things that felt important earlier that morning suddenly faded into insignificance as I weighed them against the backdrop of time and eternity.

Yeah, I think like that a lot. We got into the car, and I leaned back and exhaled deeply, relaxing. I looked up and saw a perfect blue sky, with just the right amount of white, puffy clouds.

Then I thought: Eternity isn’t the only thing that matters. Knowing God and enjoying Him right now matters, too.

Thank you, God, for this moment. It is so beautiful. I love you and I love this moment. 

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I breathed in again, enjoying the perfect temperature and sunny, blue sky.

My dad and I drove away, content with the ebb and flow of our conversation. It was a very good day.

What really matters

Uncategorized

My dad and I did a little excursion this week to visit graves of his parents. As we walked through the cemetery, I was captured by the oldest headstones.

One day, inevitably, 60 or 70 years from now, my name will be on a headstone. It may say something nice, like “Loving Wife, Mother and Sister” (only because they don’t put stuff like “This Mama was cranky before coffee or time with Jesus” on headstones). It may be next to Herschel or in a family plot. But one day, after I die, what really matters and the only thing that matters is what I have done that is of eternal value.

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Sixty-five years from now, when someone walks by and looks at my headstone and sees “Christine Rothchild, Loving Wife and Mother”, they’ll never know that I was creative, and disorganized, and that I love coffee. They won’t care. All that will matter are the generations below me that have been affected by my life and what I have done to pour into them that lasts. That thing that lasts is a relationship with Jesus Christ through salvation and giving your life to Him. There is no other thing that matters.