Category Archives: Broken

More Than Just A Number

By Kristen Entwistle

I am a Christian.  And I am a scientist.  And sometimes, I get caught up in the numbers, the data, and the predictions.  Particularly when it comes to CF. 

Because my life, for many years, revolved around a number.  37.5.  It was my expiration date.  What medical science said my life would be.  And the scientist in me held onto that.  Through the fault of no one else, I somehow had it through my head that my life had an end point and that I knew at least a general idea of when that would be.  I used to count up the years that I would spend in school, through a PhD program – when I finish I will be in my late 20s.  How many years did that leave me to make an impact?  To do something worthwhile with my life?

I’ve known forever that we can’t know the day or the time or how we’ll go home to the Lord.  It’s been engrained in my head for over two decades.  But somehow, the science and the medicine and the numbers had impeded my faith.

Because it’s not true.  I’m more than just a number.  More than just a disease.  More than just another n in a paper.    I’m more than just my life expectancy. 

number 1

My life already does mean something: because Christ has saved me and set me free from the bondage of sin.  I don’t need to worry about making an impact in this world, because all I can really do is lay down my life at the foot of the cross and ask God to use my life for His glory.

I am living for more than just a number.  I am living for the King of Kings, the Savior of the World.  I have been freely given salvation, grace, and mercy, and the promise of a better life in heaven, where there will be no more pain, no more sickness, and no more death.  I can’t wait for that. 

number 2

But as much as I am looking forward to that, I am going to, to borrow a phrase from La Vida, be here now.  I’ve got to live in the here and now, a vessel for God to use, no matter what.  I’ve got to choose to give the numbers to God, and trust Him to see me through, and to call me home in His timing.

Loaves And Fishes

By Kristen Entwistle

On the first Sunday of every month, you’ll find me at a local physical rehabilitation center in the early afternoon.  Along with other talented musicians and speakers, we lead a short worship service for the residents.  Last month, our normal speaker was out of town, and our back-up speaker was ill.  It looked like our entire worship team was going to be our lead guitarist and myself, and that the speaker…well, it was going to be me.

I should probably tell you at this point that I had lost my voice due to the cold I had, and so I couldn’t sing, let alone be heard by the residents.

Yeah, I thought.  This is going to work out well. 

We had many, many people praying for us during this service.  We had faith that God would provide, and that He would be glorified, no matter what.  But God provided more than I could have ever imagined.

loaves and fishes 1

Not only did He provide a pianist, and two other vocalists, He also gave me enough of a voice to be heard for just 15 minutes. 

God bulldozed barriers last month.  He steamrolled my expectations.  He made a way when I thought there wasn’t one, parting the Red Sea right in front of me.

loaves and fishes 2

And true to His sense of humor, you know what the message I gave was on?  Faith. 

Having faith in a God who is able to move mountains, and to use the ordinary for His extraordinary purposes.  Faith in a God who took the sins of the world upon His shoulders, and paid the ultimate price for our sins.  Faith in a God who has conquered death and is now seated at the right hand of the Father.

God reminded me through this short service that even faith as small as a mustard seed can move mountains.  I took what I had – a barely-audible voice, an imperfect message, all my doubts that I wasn’t the one who should be speaking, but a willing heart – and He made it so much more.

The mere loaves and fishes that our team brought were multiplied a hundred fold, all for His glory. 

So I’m going to keep laying down my loaves and fishes at His feet, asking Him in faith to take what I have and use it for His glory.  No matter how useless I may think my loaves and fishes are, He has a purpose for them, and I can’t wait to see what He does with my humble offering.

He Is Faithful

By Kristen Entwistle

I don’t really celebrate my birthday anymore.  It’s really just like any other day.

Twenty-five years ago, my parents were told that, because of my disease, I wouldn’t live to see my twenties.  Since my birth, medicine and science have provided some new treatments that have increased the life expectancy to 37.

And here I am, at the age of 25, still living, breathing, and praising God for every day. 

It’s pretty amazing that God could take this broken body and use it for His glory.

It’s almost unbelievable that He can take my story, my brokenness, my disease, my sickness, and use it to draw myself and others closer to Him. 

He’s given me a voice to sing His praises, and a platform to share Him with those around me.

And so today, I’m going to celebrate His faithfulness.

I’m going to celebrate what He has done, and what He has brought me through.  The fires that He has brought me through have refined me.  The trials that He has walked with me through have strengthened me.  Through the valleys and the mountains, He has been faithful, and He will continue to be faithful to the end of time.

That’s something to be thankful for.  That’s something to celebrate.

Phil 1 6

***Also published at brokenbeautifulBOLD.com ***

Messy Canvas Of Life

By Kristen Entwistle

I’m not a super-crafty person.  For example, when I try to paint something, it usually ends up looking like a 2-year-old’s art project that you hang on the fridge – which is cute from a 2-year-old, but not from a 24-year old.  Needless to say, my ‘art’ is usually recycled with the cardboard boxes.

Think of your life as a canvas.  Everything shows up on it – the good, the bad, and the ugly.   You try to cover up the things that you don’t want others to see – which usually ends up just making it look messy.  You try to paint over the mistakes – sometimes it works, but then the paint starts peeling.  Maybe there’s a corner of your canvas that you’ve tried to keep white.  And now it’s got smudges.  Maybe your canvas, like mine, ends up looking more like a mess than a beautiful picture.  Maybe your life, like mine, ends up looking a little messy.  You begin to wonder if God wants your mess, your brokenness.  Your messy canvas of life. But, my friend,

It’s those messes that God uses in His glorious masterpiece.  

Up close, the giant canvas of God’s plan looks a little splotchy, a little messy, a little disjointed.  Up close, it looks like it doesn’t all fit together.  But as you step further away, you begin to see it.

All of the broken pieces fit together perfectly.

All of the smudges look like they were meant to be.

All of the colors blend seamlessly together.

But it’s all made up of messy pieces.  Messy canvases.  My life.  Your life.

The great grace of God brings together all of our broken, scratched, smudged, messy pieces and puts them together in just the right way to bring about His plan, His masterpiece.

He wipes our canvas clean when we accept Him as Savior. 

And then He starts painting. 

Our canvas may still look like a mess to us.  But when God is done, when we see ourselves in the bigger picture, our messy life fits perfectly into exactly what He wanted us to be: His children.

messy canvas

When Your Walls Fall Down

By Kristen Entwistle

When you were a kid, did you build towers with the big cardboard blocks?  Maybe you built the highest tower possible, or maybe you were the kid that ran around knocking down everyone else’s towers.

When I was a kid, I liked to build walls around myself.  Enclose myself in so that the walls were all around me.

And I’ve done the same thing with my life.

Maybe, like me, you’ve built walls around your life.  You convince yourself that they keep your heart safe.  You convince yourself that the higher your walls, the safer you are.  You convince yourself that the thicker your walls, the less people can see of the real you, and that’s a good thing.  Because if they were really to see your sin, your hurt, your brokenness, your pain – they wouldn’t want to know you.  They’d run in the other direction.

I used to think that my walls were my security, my protection from the world, from the hurt. 

That if I had higher, thicker walls, no one could see the real me: the ugly, torn, and worn girl who does not see herself as beautiful; the girl who struggles with feelings of worth and inadequacy; the girl with the life-shortening illness; the girl who is alone; the hurt, broken, sinner in desperate need of a Savior.

When we build up our walls, we end up pretending.  Pretending to be someone we’re not.  Pretending that those words didn’t hurt; that being rejected…again…wasn’t painful.  Pretending that it’s all okay on the outside but falling hopelessly apart on the inside.  Pretending that we don’t struggle with things, too.  Pretending that our past isn’t as checkered as the flag at the end of the race.  Pretending that we don’t have secrets we’d rather keep hidden.

Take a few minutes and listen to this song, from Tenth Avenue North, Healing begins:

So let ‘em fall down,

There’s freedom waiting in the sound,

When you let your walls fall to the ground.

We’re here now.

This is where the healing begins,

This is where the healing starts. 

When you come to where you’re broken within,

The light meets the dark.

So you’re telling me that if I let my walls down, let down my guard, let people see the real me, the messed up, broken me – that it will bring freedom?  Oh, more than that, dear friend.  It will bring healing.  Healing from the heartache, the guilt, and the pain.  As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed your sins from you (Psalm 103:12).  All of your scars, all of your sins – they are forgotten to Him.

The walls you and I hide behind aren’t doing us any favors.  They aren’t helping us or anyone else.  In fact, when people see the real you – the struggles, the brokenness, the weakness, the imperfection – they see the grace of our Savior.  They see a God whose power is made perfect in our weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9).  They see that they are not alone in their struggles.  They are reminded that He is faithful.

And letting your walls down reminds you that you are not alone.

Your Testimony

 

By Kristen EntwistleYour-testimony-300x150Sharing your testimony is a phrase that we throw around a lot in Christian circles.  For a long time, I didn’t think that I had a testimony.  When people shared their testimonies at summer camp, retreats, or from the pulpit, they were always testimonies that were so heart-breaking yet so powerful and moving that they spoke of a great God.  I didn’t think there was any way that I could measure up to that.

It was at a Christian summer camp in middle school that started to change my mind. Our group traveled into the city to a park, where we were asked to share our testimony with some inner city kids.

The guy before me pulled out one of those perfect testimonies
that left my heart in pieces on the floor
and my hands raised to our eternal God. 

His story: being misdiagnosed at birth with the very disease that I have.

Well, that put my “testimony” in the trash.  I took the paper out of my pocket and ripped it up.  I don’t remember what I said.  The one thing I remember is that I told them that I had Cystic Fibrosis (CF).  I’m pretty sure I started crying at that point and sat down.

But I still was convinced that other people’s testimonies
were better than my nonexistent one. 

It wasn’t until my senior year in college that God showed me how very wrong I was.  My pastor at the time asked if I would be willing to share my testimony during the service one Sunday.

I said no.

He kept asking, and eventually I said yes, just so that he would quit asking.  Having no clue what to say, I prayed and then sat down and started to write.  And as I wrote, I found myself being honest and vulnerable and I saw God’s hand in my life, leading me from before I was conceived until now.

I thought that I was just a person with an early expiration date that couldn’t do anything for the Kingdom.

I thought that my struggles were my own and that no one else struggled with them too.

I thought that God could never use a person so broken as me.

I thought that that I didn’t have a testimony to share.

I thought that my testimony was about me. 

But here’s the thing:

Your testimony is not about what you have overcome in life, though that is part of it.

Your testimony is not about what you have suffered in life, though that is part of it.

Your testimony is not about you, though you are the vessel through which it is brought to others.

Your testimony is about a God who has known you from before you were born.

Your testimony is about a God who has brought you through the fire so that you can be refined.  Your testimony is about a God who has been by your side and who has loved you even when you have walked away from Him.  Your testimony is about a God who sent His one and only Son to redeem the world.  Your testimony is about a God who chose you: a broken, beautiful, bold child of God.

So no matter how broken you think you are, no matter how far you have strayed, no matter how boring you may think your life is, God has done something in you.  He has redeemed you, and He is working out your testimony in His time.  You may not be able to see it right now.  God’s not done with you yet.  But that doesn’t mean that you don’t have a testimony right now.

So share your life with people, share with them the God that has redeemed you.  Share with them the power of our great God.

Share with them the God who knows you and loves you no matter what. 

Because you are a testament to God’s great love, and that is a powerful testimony.  It’s your testimony.  

*This post first appeared at brokenbeautifulbold.com*