Broken Lives in Search of Glue

She told me, “The man committed suicide.”

Just couldn’t live on this planet one more day.

I didn’t know him, but a knot forms in my gut while I wonder about the people in my life.

Is someone in despair? Would I recognize the signs?


I’ve talked with people who tried, without success, to help a loved one…

Change his behavior. Make her happy. Seek counseling. Point them to the Lord.

Forever haunted “If only I had done this, said that.

Haven’t we all been there?

Been the person with good intentions who knows what’s best for another person. Only the other person won’t listen!

We stand there with a tube of super glue in our hands. Looking at the mess of a person; fallen and broken. Realize that even Humpty Dumpty’s men couldn’t put him back together again.


So how do I help a human being who doesn’t care enough to—”help me help you.”

And why do I presume to have the answers for someone else when I can still see the jagged scars where I tried to super glue my own broken pieces back together?

Fact is, there’s only one answer that will help.

One Truth that endures  when we find even ourselves in quicksand because the enemy who “seeks to lie, steal, kill, and destroy” loves to…

Chip at our self-esteem. Break our spirit. Convince us.

  • “This is good as it gets!”
  • “Who cares?”
  • “What’s the point?”

Until we’re broken, and feel beyond repair………….

That one Truth—Jesus Christ—says, “Come to Me, all you who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)

Then true to His Word, Jesus lifts us from the pit of sin and self-defeat and does the IMPOSSIBLE.

Jesus picks up the broken pieces. Puts us back together again, and reassures us:

This isn’t as good as it gets.

 “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.” (2 Corinthians 5:17)

Someone cares.

In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” (1John 4:10)

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?” (Romans 8:35)

There is a point; an eternal purpose.

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son…” (Romans 8:28-29)

Even when we don’t feel God’s love, or comprehend His purposes,

Even in this….fallen world filled with broken promises, broken marriages, broken lives that break our hearts…and makes us weep.

Jesus tells us to “Come, and find rest.”

Are you broken?

Is your heart breaking for someone else?

Then Come!

What Kinds of People Do You See?

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I was in the Ladies Room at the San Francisco Airport when I heard someone ask, “Are you okay?”

A woman in her sixties was sprawled on the floor in a bathroom stall. She’d slipped on a puddle, twisted her knee, and smacked her cheek on the commode.

The person left who asked, “Are you okay?”

So I helped the woman stand up. She was dazed and held her bruised cheek.

Are you lightheaded? Are you traveling alone?

I’m alone,” she whimpered. “And I’m worried about my knee.”

I gave her a wet paper towel for her cheek, and held her arm as she limped to her nearby departure gate. When I told the gate attendant what happened and asked for ice to put on the woman’s cheek, she took immediate action. She filed a report, and sent for a paramedic to look at the woman’s knee.

I walked away, glad I had taken the time to assist her.

While I waited for my plane to depart, I smiled at strangers and exchanged pleasantries.

When I sat down in the plane, the woman next to me talked nonstop about her life including some painful memories. Even the flight attendant talked with us, telling us about her parents who had escaped Phnom Penh, Cambodia in the 1970’s.

As our plane landed in Texas, I thought about the people I’d met that day.

Why was I surprised?

When I’d driven to the airport that morning, I’d prayed for God to give me His eyes and ears. I wanted to be available to people rather than isolate myself in a book. Wasn’t it just like the Lord to answer my prayers beyond my expectations.

What and Who am I missing when I rush through my days in my self-absorbed world?

Who knew there were so many friendly people in the world?

Which made me think of this story:

      An old man sat outside the walls of a great city. When travelers approached, they would ask the old man, “What kinds of people live in this city?”

      The old man would answer, “What kind of people live in the place where you came from?”

      If the travelers answered, “Only bad people live in the place where we came from,” the old man would reply, “Continue on; you will find only bad people here.”

      But if the travelers answered, “Good people live in the place where we came from,” then the old man would say, “Enter, for here too, you will find only good people.” ~Author unknown

Scream for Help

“Get over here now!”

The young mom screamed at her two-year-old son who trailed behind as she marched into the women’s restroom.

Stopping at the entrance, the boy began to cry. The mom hollered from within, “Shut up and get in here!”

The toddler stood his ground, wailing. The mom emerged, grabbed him by the shirt collar and carried him into the bathroom.

My neck grew warm. I hurried into the bathroom, ready to intervene for the defenseless boy.

Just as I entered, the mom smacked his bottom and fussed at him, “hurry up and pee.”

Then her angry commands turned to pleas, “Stop crying!”

Heart pounding, I walked to the open stall and stood in front of them. The boy gazed up at me, whimpering, while the mom yanked up his pants; her face bent towards the floor.

“I know you’re exasperated.”

I spoke softly, hoping a gentle answer turns away wrath.

“Perhaps if you didn’t scream at him, he’d stop crying.”

She didn’t respond.

 “Is there anything I can do to help?”

Without looking up, she spoke succinctly, “I have this under control, Ma’am.”

Certain the situation was defused, I left them alone.

Minutes later, she came out of the restroom carrying the quiet child, his head on her shoulder. Was this the norm? Screaming fits between mother and child? He who screams loudest wins?

I shuddered to think how she handles conflict in the privacy of her home. I feared for the child. Even if she doesn’t beat him, no child should hear his mother’s berating tone.

But as much as her behavior repulsed me, I longed to reach out. Show her a better way.

Would she receive my words? Accept my help?

 Even now, my heart remains heavy.

Is Jesus’ heart any less grieved by what He sees?

A hand is reaching out in the sky for help Stock Photo - 11432611“MY Hand is not shortened and it is ‘stretched out still,’ longing and waiting to be allowed to bless and help and save.

Think how tenderly I respect the right of each individual soul. Never forcing upon it My Help, My Salvation.

 Perhaps in all My suffering for humanity that is the hardest, the restraint of the Divine Impatience and longing to help, until the call of the soul gives ME My right to act.

 Comfort My waiting, loving, longing Heart by claiming My Help, Guidance, and Miracle-working Power.”—God Calling

And so I pray even in this … for that mother to know the love of Christ.

Why a Mammogram?

House phone rings while I’m on the couch in my living room, sipping coffee, and reading my Bible. I allow the message machine to answer.

“Hello, Karen. This is Patty from the Women’s Imaging Center. Please call our office. We need to schedule another mammogram.”

My pulse quickens.

Another? What’s wrong with the mammogram I had two days ago?

I walk to the kitchen and replay the message.

It’s probably nothing, but then again…

There’s a reason October is Breast Cancer Awareness month.

Pink memorabilia such as t-shirts, water bottles, and bandannas are on sale in retail stores. And every grocery store transaction affords me the opportunity to donate dollars towards “Hope for a Cure.”

More than once this month, I gave money in memory of two friends who died from breast cancer, and one who survived.

Because I witnessed their battle for life, I refuse to gamble with my health. Each year, I have a mammogram. I’d rather give blood than have my breasts flattened like pancakes, but early detection increases survival.  

Last week, I went for my annual mammogram. I joked with the technologist; asked for an 8 x 10 copy while she placed my breast on a platform and lowered another platform from above, until there was enough compression to make my eyes bulge. As the digital image of my breast was taken, she told me, “Hold your breath.”

Part of me always fails to breathe again until my test results come back normal.

Even now, as I dial the Imaging Center, I have to remind myself to breathe deep. Ignore the warm tingling on the back of my neck.

Patty is just the messenger. There’s empathy in her voice, but no explanation as she schedules another mammogram.

“Have a nice weekend,” she says, before hanging up.

Sure thing.

I slump on the couch, swallow lukewarm coffee, hoping to drown the worst-case scenarios percolating in my head.

My Bible is open to Psalm 121, the place I paused when the phone rang. “I will lift up my eyes to the mountains; from whence shall my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth. He will not allow your foot to slip; He who keeps you will not slumber.”  

I lift up my eyes as I touch my right breast; the one in question.

And wait between today’s imaginary what ifs and the reality of next week’s test results.

Assured that even in this circumstance, God knows, He is my help ….

Even when “what ifs” happen.


My husband looked at me. “Do you have enough to carry?”

I stood in the kitchen laden with two plastic grocery bags weighing down my left arm. My purse strap hung like an anchor over my right shoulder. And my right hand clutched the car keys, mail, and dry cleaning.

He grabbed the hangers and mail while I plopped the bags on the counter. “Why didn’t you ask for help?”

Breathing hard, I rubbed the red marks on my arm where the bags had cut off circulation. “It never occurred to me.”

 Asking for help has never been my forte.  Even to my own detriment.

Twelve years ago, when we moved into our home, I refused offers of help. “No thanks, I can do this.”

And I did.

My husband was on a trip. And I had a week to unpack cartons, put my kitchen cabinets in order, and hang pictures before we traveled out of town for the kids’ spring vacation. I burned the candle at both ends, and guzzled caffeinated java to keep the candle burning. Then wondered why I ended up in the emergency room with heart palpitations.

Okay, so I learned to eat better. But give me a calendar and watch me fill in the empty squares. Ask for a volunteer, and see my hand go up.  One would think I’d never heard the word, “NO.”

YES, I’ve heard of it…..

Anyway, for the past month, I’ve been preparing for a writer’s conference. I’ve spent every free moment, writing and editing.

Then last week, I looked at my calendar and there were NO free moments. My sore wrists, stiff neck, and bloodshot eyes declared, “ENOUGH!”

Time with the Lord, and family responsibilities weren’t up for debate. I had to whittle down the volunteer duties and fun activities. I had to say NO.


It was difficult squeezing that four-letter word out of my mouth.  It seemed weak until I saw the POWER.

Not only did people agree to help, they encouraged me with prayers and notes. The jobs got done. I watched the evening news and the world did not fall apart because I was not there.

In fact, thankfully, my small world was there for me!  

“Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm. But how can one be warm alone? A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.” (Ecclesiastes 4:9–12 NLT)

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