Heart Choices: Brokenness Can Lead to Blessing -->

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Brokenness Can Lead to Blessing

Broken can be the best place to be.  I would never have written those words several years ago. But after going through incredible life changing experiences, I'm at a point in my life when I can acknowledge this fact.

I don't want to stay broken. But it's the place where I got out of the way and allowed God to work in me and through me to ...impact others.

I'm fairly competent in myself. After all, I am blessed with good health, a good mind and a desire to work hard.  I prided myself on the fact that I took care of my health through regular exercise and I choose what I ate wisely. I kept my weight steady. I love to read and can sit for hours devouring great books.  I worked as a cardiovascular nurse specialist for 25 years.  I love people.  I love children but was unable to have my own.  I loved creating a nurturing home environment.

I lived in the house of my dreams for 12 years. I spent months with a designer as we picked out every fabric and piece of furniture. I volunteered two days a week teaching little children in a national Bible study organization. I served on the Leadership team for my church as we planned and organized a yearly women's conference bringing in speakers like Lysa TerKeurst, Beth Moore, Liz Curtis Higgs and Jennifer Rothschild. I enjoyed my friends and going to lunch. I loved frequent visits back east to visit my family. I loved taking vacations in Europe. 

But life happens and not always as I planned.  My circumstances changed drastically in 2010.  Suddenly, I had to return to work.  We had to move.  It was survival and no longer self actualization.  I began to indulge a bit more in sweets. I didn't have easy access to a treadmill.  I became depressed and felt shock and denial.  What was I doing wrong? Why was this happening?  I had appreciated all I had and not taken it for granted. So why was it all gone?  What was I to do now?

I had reached the end of myself. I felt broken. Living far from familiar surroundings with little hope of recovery, I turned to the One I always told others to turn.  To Jesus.  He is my hope and source of love and encouragement. But I continued to try to understand the why of it all. I prayed and asked the Lord to show me. Was I doing something wrong?  I prayed that He would reveal that to me but no answer ...

I realized we can't always choose our circumstances but we can choose our response to those circumstances.

Fast forward to today; 2014.  I'm not living in my dream home but I am living several miles from my former neighborhood. I'm creating a nurturing environment in a much smaller place. I have a job working with preschool children. I realize that the Lord answered my heart's desire for children in a way I wouldn't have anticipated. I get to love them and teach them and then send them home to mommy and daddy.

I'm exercising once again on my treadmill each morning and starting to lose the extra pounds I gained during this difficult time. My husband discovered the main cause of our upheaval and now he's starting another company.  Such is life with an entrepreneur!

These Scriptures have become so real to me through my journey.

Philippians 4:12-13 (NIV):
I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty.  I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.  I can do all this through Him who gives me strength.

God is so good.  God is so faithful. He's taught me that material possessions can be easily taken away. I'm learning to be content in all circumstances. Counting my every day blessings has been so helpful for me to focus on what's good and right in my life. My eyes have been opened to life in a new way and ...I have joy in my heart. He's showing me the plans He has for my life and they are good.

I'm linking up with Bonnie of Faith Faith Barista for this Faith Jam Thursday as we lead up to Easter.

Blessings and love,

Debbie Petras
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  1. I remember so well how I came to know you during the changing chapters you describe here. I remember your hopeful, faithful response to it. And I remember how much we cried & laughed & prayed. Whenever I consider your many losses, I must also consider your many gains. I love the way you've shared them here.

    You're the real deal, sweet friend; and on so many levels God is glorified because of it. I love that about you. I thank God He delivered you to my life.


  2. Yours is a beautiful story of God's faithfulness, Debbie. I am so sorry for all your pain, but your reliance on Jesus was so powerful to me as you journeyed through this. You're a graceful woman and a blessing to all of us.

  3. Yes Debbie the Lord has given you a powerful testimony to His faithfulness and gracious mercy and grace. I love how willing you are to share it and therefore encourage others with His goodness to us. It is always in those darkest hours that He can show us just what we need most to best glorify Him. Hope you have a good day! Blessings to you! Deb

  4. When I met you in 2010, I had just gone through losing my own home...and so related so much to what you were writing then (and now!). It is amazing how God brings us through such difficult times and shows us blessings all along the way! I love your positive attitude and how you continually look to God through all circumstances! Thank you for your continued encouragement through your writing!

    Blessings, Joan

  5. Oh, Debbie, what a precious testimony to God's faithfulness! I have gone through some difficult times when I didn't know if I would make it. And, it was during those times that the Lord taught me so, so much and used them for His glory and my good. But, it was tough! I'm sure the Lord has more great and mighty things in store for you and your husband. Blessings galore sweet gal!!!

  6. Debbie,
    I hopped over from the link-up. I love how God has redeemed your dreams with children and your home! Thank you for sharing your heart with this post!

  7. May the grace of our Lord, and love He has shown you, be with you always - love and prayers

  8. I so appreciate your vulnerability in this post, Debbie. It's a good reminder to all of us that we are only stewards of the good things we have at the moment, and to hold those things lightly. They can all disappear in a flash. Trying to be content in all things is a difficult and lifelong lesson that I'm still trying to learn, too. I'm thankful to have you as a friend and sister on this journey!

  9. Your story reminds me of Job, who lost everything and questioned why, yet still worshipped the Lord. You do, indeed, have a strong testimony to the goodness of God. I'm rejoicing with you that He answered your heart's desires!

  10. Great reminder that we can't control our circumstances but we can control our response.

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  12. I have always admired your honesty, Debbie, and today I do so again, for you have shared a difficult and humbling time in your life. The Lord alone knows how many people this will encourage today, and I rejoice in His works in your life. I love seeing your posts here and on Facebook of you with all of the children He has blessed you with. What a dear sister in Christ you are!

  13. Wow, Debbie. Wonderful testimony of how God can bring good from bad situations. You are an inspiration to so many people. I am happy to be one of them. I'm so glad our paths crossed, first by blogging and then by actually getting acquainted in person. God bless you as you continue to live for him and bless the lives of those you come in contact with.

  14. You are a special lady and an inspiration to me. Thank you.

  15. Debbie, this is so transparent, beautiful and God-honoring. I too live with the truth that we can't necessarily create or change our circumstances but we can choose how we respond to them. You're a woman of great strength in courage in the LORD and by His grace. Your life is a reflection of faith-in-action. The end will be better than the beginning as the Word says. Look ahead and see what God has planned, still, and yet to come. Love you.

  16. What a powerful testimony of God's great faithfulness, Debbie; not solely in your circumstances, but greater still in your heart. You are beautiful. God's grace wears well on you.


  17. "I don't want to stay broken. But it's the place where I got out of the way and allowed God to work in me and through me to ...impact others." So insightful, Debbie. It's amazing how God worked all things for good and still gave you children to love. I'm sure your love will bear fruit in their hearts for years to come.

  18. Thanks for sharing your story with us. You are an inspiration to me!

  19. I think this is my very favorite post of all Debbie. What a beautiful tstimony you have shared, and how faithful God has been, even when the circumstances are not what we would choose. Your life is an example to all who come here, and I'm one of those who are so blessed to know you.

    Love you sister!

  20. I see the younger women around me, competent, seemingly with life going according as planned. That used to me. Then I told God I wanted to become transformed into His image and my perfect world fell apart, I've had several 'new normals' happen since then that I have resisted until I could understand His loving sovereignty.
    This is a wonderful post of hope, Debbie. I've been trying to remember where I first 'met' you. It was not at Faith Barista. Do you remember?

  21. That is beautiful, sweet friend. Thank so much for sharing it and for the encouragement. Hugs

  22. Hi Debbie! I had no idea that you went through so much upheaval in your life. I can't imagine your sorrow and pain. And yet, you heard the call of Christ in the middle of all the changes. What a witness to his call!

    Thank you for sharing your story with everyone today. That couldn't be very easy. But you help me see that there is purpose even in the darker times. Your work and faith and treadmill are all a shining example of purpose.
    Blessings to you!

  23. Debbie:
    You inspire me....your courage and transparency to continue to use your life to help others. I am blessed God brought our lives together through the blog world so many years ago.
    I am confident God is going to use this article in ways beyond anything you could ask or imagine.

    Blessings, hugs, and prayers,

  24. I too have had something happen and have been trying to make sense of it all. I've only recently begun to come out of it, but find myself slipping back every once in awhile. It is a battle. My faith in a lot of my closest family has been shaken, and I do not know if I will ever get that back, but I strive to be a better person every single day. Your cousin, Jen :-)

  25. Such a blessing to read your story. What a witness of God's provision during ups and downs of your life. Inspiring

  26. Dear Debbie. What a great testimony. I have known you from when you had plenty and been allowed to follow your journey. There are so many things I admire about you. That you never became bitter, never blamed neither God, nor the politicians or your husband. You remained faithful and stood firm because your house was built on a cliff and not on the changing sand. I've been allowed to share thoughts and prayer and your victory has made me rich.My Gunnar read the other day that if one has a house and two cars, one is about the 2 % richest of the world. Not a mansion, like you once had, but a simple house, a home. In that way we are all so very rich. I am happy for your husband that he's found a new way to earn a living. I think maybe the blow was even harder on him. I hope he also has built his house upon a cliff. I know he's found a treasure in you, and that living with you must have made him rich too. I feel proud that you have achieved to say true to your relationship with God through the changing winds. I pray that you will find that all "his roads are faithfulness to those who love him." I have met adversities on my way through life too, and I dare say - in retrospect- I have struck gold deep in the pit holes, and till this day I have never been forsaken. That is grace upon grace. May you keep on doing the good work, like Paul says, and fulfill the race. Much love from Elise

  27. You inspire me! Thank you for this beautiful post!!

  28. You know I am reading this through tears of total understanding. I laugh at the fact that I now am the decorator for a house like that...we have been working on it since December and half way finish...then I get back in my car to put on tennis shoes to clean someone's home. I don't know that I can put it all in words..yet..and the hills and valleys still come, but I can say, like you have said, God's ways are higher than ours!
    Debbie...thanks for sharing, I am blessed and I get it!

  29. I do believe God uses our brokenness to draw us closer to Him. When we come to the end of ourselves, where else can we turn? Yours is a beautiful story! Blessings!

  30. I'm so thankful you are able to love my little preschoolers every day. It was a rough decision to come back to work myself, but knowing that the girls get a piece of Jesus every day through you makes me not worry. God takes care of us when we are available to Him! Thank you for being available on this journey for the sake of my precious little ones. There is no greater blessing that I can receive than to know that my kids are being loved and invested in by someone like YOU!


I love to read your comments! I know you have something to share so join in the conversation. And thank you for taking the time.

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