Broken and Beautiful

Broken-Beautiful-Piano-blurI cannot remember not regularly attending church.  Not only did my parents take me to church, I enjoyed my mom telling my twin sister and me Bible stories while we worked in the fields.  My mom is a gifted teacher and as a result, she made those Bible stories come alive to us.  We would say, “Tell us another one!”  Then she would start singing, Tell me the story of Jesus. Write on my heart every word.  We would get so frustrated because she would keep singing that song just to irritate us and make us beg for more stories. She had a good singing voice, but her stories were better.

Then I went to college at Bob Jones University.  I took a Bible Doctrine’s class where it seemed like we had at least a thousand Bible verses to memorize!  Although I could get around in my Bible fairly well, I had not memorized much of it.  My elementary and high school years were in public schools, but many of the students there had been educated in Christian schools.  They could recite verses in their sleep, while I struggled.  You could find me flipping through those verses attached to a ring while waiting in the lunch and dinner lines. There were quizzes every class period and points were taken off for every missed word.  I passed the class, but barely.  What a self-esteem killer to struggle in a Bible class in a Christian university!

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KNOWLEDGE in the Head

For many years the Bible knowledge was lodged in my brain, but I didn’t have many life experiences to test it.  I’ve found when life knocks you off your feet, you are suddenly faced with what to do with all those facts and promises from God’s Word. You can either claim it as truth and be comforted by it, dismiss it as heresy and become angry and bitter, or try to figure out life on your own.  This is when the knowledge in the mind moves south to experience in the heart.

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 EXPERIENCE in the Heart

When that knowledge becomes experience and we respond in the right way by putting our faith and trust in God, a powerful testimony ensues! This is what causes the tears to form when we’re ministering to others who are hurting.  This is what transforms sympathy to empathy. (Sympathy is relating to another’s feelings.  Empathy is feeling what they are feeling.) This is why we feel compassion more deeply. This is what makes us shine in the darkness. This is what makes God smile.


Although we would never volunteer for the hard stuff God might deem necessary to send our way, when we see Him carrying us through that trial and the work He begins to do in us, it becomes an exciting way to live!  To experience Him bring beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for  mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness: that we might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified is amazing!

This passage is lengthy, but please read these beautiful words from Romans 5:1-5 in The Message (a commentary). It  reads…

By entering through faith into what God has always wanted to do for us– set us right with him, make us fit for him– we have it all together with God because of our Master Jesus.  And that’s not all: We throw open our doors to God and discover at the same moment that he has already thrown open his door to us.  We find ourselves standing where we always hoped we might stand– out in the wide open spaces of God’s grace and glory, standing tall and shouting our praise. 


There’s more to come:  We continue to shout our praise even when we’re hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next.  In alert expectancy such as this, we’re never left feeling shortchanged.  Quite the contrary– we can’t round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit!  Amen!

 I think Peter might be alluding to this in 2 Peter 1: 4-7 when he said,

Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith

  • virtue; and to virtue
  • knowledge; And to knowledge
  • self-control; and to self-control
  • patience; and to patience
  • godliness; And to godliness
  • brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness
  • love

For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.


PRAISE on the lips

Hopefully, after our knowledge has traveled south from our heads to experience in our hearts, our experience will turn north into praise coming from our lips.

The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise him. (Ps. 28:7)

If we aren’t praising God for his goodness to us, then there must be a blockage occurring somewhere because He daily loads us with benefits. (Ps. 68:19) It could be because…

  • We aren’t even recognizing our blessings
  • We feel entitled
  • We have sin in our lives
  • We are apathetic to spiritual things
  • We care more about what others think of us than what God thinks

Let’s keep the channels open for God to do HIS thing in our lives. He knows what is best for us, what we need, and where He wants to take us. Let’s be willing to take HIS route.

Keep looking up,

Gaye Hughes


P.S. I am so humbled by you, my readers, who take your precious time to read my blogs.  Thank you for your comments and encouragement. I love hearing from you! Have a blessed day!




What Are You Afraid of?


If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall move mountains. (Matthew 17:20)

What worries you? What comes to mind when you wake up in the middle of the night? I know I’m worrying when I realize I’m biting my fingernails. Yeah, it’s a nasty habit…one I’ve struggled with all my life.  I’ll have pretty nails for awhile, then a problem arises and by default my nails are destroyed.

Another thing I realize when I see my nails in a pile is that I’m not trusting God.  Worry and fear are diametrically opposed to faith and trust in God.  There are lots of things that can make us fearful. We may be worry….

  • if we’re providing our children with the proper tools to succeed in life
  • if our money is going to outlive us
  • if our job is secure
  • if our relationships are strong enough to endure the trials life throws at us
  • if our health is good
  • if we are fulfilling God’s purposes in our life

And on and on it goes. But one thing is for sure…God does not want us to worry. He tells us in 1 Peter 5:7 to cast all our cares upon Him because He cares for us. That “cares” not only means He loves us supremely, but He is capable of taking “care” of our problems! “But my God shall supply all you need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19) That’s a promise!

In II Chronicles 17-20, King Jehoshaphat gives us a beautiful example of what to do when the worry warts start surfacing.  This king of Judah was in the habit of seeking God and keeping His commandments. But King Jehoshaphat became fearful because a great multitude was coming against him.

This reminds me of the many foreboding days that my husband and I faced with his  cancer battle.  We were always wondering if the chemo was still keeping the cancer at bay.  All those times we entered the doctor’s office to get the test results, I wondered if this would be the day our world would fall apart… again.  When would the chemo stop working?  After all, the doctor was confident that day would eventually come.  I often felt like Eeyore in the Winnie the Pooh cartoon walking around with a cloud over our heads wondering when the bottom was going to drop out.


David Hughes May 12, 2014

I still have some of those days. There has been no sign of cancer in my body for almost a year and a half. The doctor says the more time that passes without the cancer returning, increases the chances that it won’t. My check ups roll around every three months and I wonder. I know worrying will not help nor will it prevent recurrence, but it takes discipline to not worry and trust God.

King Jehoshaphat’s life and his kingdom was at stake here.  We can understand his fear.  What was his response?

He fasted and prayed, “O LORD God of our father, art not thou God in heaven? and rulest not thou over all kingdoms of the heathen? and in thine hand is there not power and might, so that none is able to withstand thee?  Art not thou our God…? (II Chron. 20:6, 7)

Jehoshaphat told God, “…neither know we what to do: but our eyes are upon thee.” Isn’t that a wonderful confession and declaration? I love this! And evidently, God did too.  Listen to God’s response to this.

“Be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God’s. (vs. 15) Ye shall not need to fight in this battle:  set (position) yourselves, stand ye still, and see the salvation of the LORD with you, O Judah and Jerusalem:  fear not, nor be dismayed; tomorrow go out against them:  for the LORD will be with you.” (vs. 17)

Then Jehoshaphat and all of Judah bowed their heads with their face to the ground and fell before the LORD and worshipped Him. Others stood and loudly praised God. (vs. 18) Then….. night came.  Do you ever pray at the end of a long day, sleep peacefully for a few hours, and then wake up and start worrying again?  Time has a way of making us doubt even the surest of promises.

As the people rose early in the morning and entered the wilderness, a place that could have been lonely and scary, Jehoshaphat encourages them by saying, “Hear me, O Judah, …Believe in the LORD your God, so shall ye be established; believe his prophets, so shall ye prosper.” (vs. 20)

Then King Jehoshaphat did something quite amazing.  Instead of sneaking up on the enemy, he appointed singers that they should sing unto the Lord and praise the beauty of holiness as they marched toward the enemy! (vs. 21).

“When they began to sing and to praise… the LORD set ambushments” against their enemies and they died. (vs. 22) God fought the battle for them!  I believe He wants to do the same for us today.

There are some important lessons we can learn from this godly king.

  1. He knew where to go for help.

Though godly friends can often give good advice and help us, it is ONLY God who can really help us.  He should always be the first place we look for answers and to make us feel better….not friends, food, shopping, or a bottle.

2.  He knew how to go for help.

Jehoshaphat was serious about his faith and obedience to God. He had already taken away the pagan idol worshipping. He walked with God and kept His commandments.  So when his trouble came, he already had a good relationship with God. Thankfully, God will take us anytime and in any sorry condition we find ourselves.  He is waiting with open arms to forgive us and help us when we ask, but I hope we don’t wait until we’re desperate to have a relationship with Him and ask for His help. We need Him everyday.

3. He knew how to respond to help.

Jehoshaphat acted on God’s promise in spite of his feelings. He trusted that God would keep His word and fight his battle for him when he saw no physical evidence of it.  Now that’s faith!  He appointed singers to go before the army and praise God as if the battle was already won. Then when God defeated the army, he did not fail to give God thanks.  Later, everyone assembled together and blessed the LORD. (vs. 26)

As a result, the fear of God was on all the kingdoms of the surrounding countries. (vs. 29)  God was glorified through the victory and praise. So many times God sent angels or He spoke to people Himself and told them to not be afraid.  He says the same thing to us today. “There is no panic in heaven, only plans,” Corrie Ten Boom once said.  May our faith overcome our fears.

Keep looking up,

Gaye Hughes


Abigail and Gaye Hughes