God’s blessings help ‘mend what is broken inside’

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My niece, Jennifer, has three daughters, Leah, Emma and Lily.

Last year I bought them a book, “Thoughts to Make Your Heart Sing,” by Sally Lloyd-Jones. It’s a children’s devotional book that simplifies Bible stories and concepts -- I highly recommend it for all my adult friends.

Theology sometimes makes grown up people a bit crazy because we tend to take the simple and straightforward and make it ridiculous and complicated.

God made the world. It was perfect. We humans messed it up. God sent his son to fix it so it will one day be perfect again. Believe it.

(There’s more to it, but that’s the gist.)

So, anyway, when I bought my great-nieces this book, I got one for myself. I needed -- still need -- thoughts to make my heart sing.

This morning I read about God’s blessings.

Lloyd-Jones writes that when people sneeze, other people say, “God bless you” or just “Bless you.”

Fun fact side note: Years ago, a friend in California took her kids out to breakfast and one of her little ones was standing on the booth seat watching people at another table.

Someone at that table sneezed a messy sneeze and my friend’s daughter said (loudly), “Mom! That lady got bless you all over herself!”

Lloyd-Jones says, “Bless has turned into a feeble word. But in the Bible it’s much stronger -- and has nothing to do with sneezing.”

She writes, “When God promises to bless you, he is saying, ‘I’m going to make you into everything I ever meant for you to be.’

“It means God is taking every day and every single thing that happens in it -- good or bad -- to make you stronger, to mend whatever is broken inside, to change you into the person you were always meant to be...God is transforming everything -- his broken world -- and you,” she writes.

I tell people all the time: “God never says, ‘Oops.’ He never slaps his forehead and says, ‘Oh no! How did that happen?’ He’s never surprised at our situation and never out of control, and neither are his people out of his control.”

I believe that, too.

The other day, my friend, who is quite a bit younger than I am, told me that I am wise.

I told her that experience brings wisdom. I’ve tried to run the universe and have finally learned that I can’t.

I’ve also learned that some of the worst times in life have turned out to be blessings because they have forged in me strength and endurance and compassion. I’ve learned I can do hard things.

When I’ve been at my weakest, God has been my strength -- and he is mighty strong.

I’ve discovered joy and peace in the midst of sorrow and chaos.

As I look back on the worst times, I can see how God has used and is using them to “mend whatever is broken inside” and to change me into the person I was “always meant to be.”

Jesus famously said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit...those who mourn...those who hunger and thirst for righteousness…” for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

That’s the greatest blessing of all.

Friends, I hope that thought makes your heart sing as it does mine.

Nancy Kennedy is the author of “Move Over, Victoria - I Know the Real Secret,” “Girl on a Swing,” and her latest book, “Lipstick Grace.” She can be reached at 352-564-2927 or via email at nkennedy@chronicleonline.com.