Better 

  

Define

Better can be defined as superior quality, improved in health/healthier, and/or to increase the good qualities of.

 

Affirm

Ecclesiastes 7:8 “Better is the end of a thing than its beginning, and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit.”

 

Recall

Growing up, people would often ask me…do you think you are better? At the time I did not understand exactly what that meant; but I remember always answering that question with “no, I don’t think I am better!” Honestly, I would get offended when people would ask me that. Some of you may have heard the same question growing up and like me felt extremely uncomfortable with the question and answering the question. Many of you may have answered the question the same way I did-some of you may have simply brushed the question off-some of you may have stopped becoming a better you and remain stagnant or remained average or what was considered norm at the time- and the rest of you may have replied with a serious, yes I am. I am not sure what your response was at the time; but I can tell you that my response to that same question has changed over the years.  

 

About one month ago, someone asked me the same question… Do you think you are better? In the context of the conversation I again answered the question by saying, “no, I don’t think I am better!” This time however, I pondered on the question differently. I thought to myself, why would someone ask me that? What did I do to make them feel like I am being better? What exactly does being better mean?

 

Here’s what I discovered. In life, many of us are striving to become better people. As our expectations of change, our desire for a superior quality of life changes as well. Many of us desire to have:

• A better relationship with GOD

• Healthier relationships with others

• Physical, emotional, and spiritual health

• A better relationship with our children

• A better relationship with our spouses

• Increased finances

 

When you have a desire to become a better you, and align yourself with GOD, he will begin stripping away your past armor and re-coat you with your new armor. Many people will not understand why you are wearing a new armor and will ridicule what you have on because they don’t understand or they haven’t accepted the new you. When you are stripped away from past encounters, do not discredit your past or pass judgement on others, simply allow GOD to continue to do his work. Be sure to always express his love. So here’s the new response to being asked “do you think you are better?”. Yes, I am better and I am working on becoming a better me! Instead of dimming your light; be thankful of GOD’s grace, mercy, and favor on your life. There’s no need to be boastful or prideful; but you should be unapologetically bold about letting people know that your vision for your life aligns with GOD’s vision for your life and that GOD wants you to be the best you- you can be! The scripture tells us that the end of a thing is better than its beginning. Thank GOD for a strong ending…

 

Exercise:

Dear God,

Thank you so much for helping me become a better me. Thank you for helping me see myself the way you see me. I might have had rough beginnings, but I am so grateful that my story ends with a better ending. I love you.

 

Commit to the challenge. 

 I DARE you. ~Lereca Monik 
#mydearestsister #Idareyou #restoredministries #itstimeforachange #anewyou #LiveRestored 

Father Knows Best 

  
Do the wounds that no one else has seen hurt too much to show? 

Does each day feel like endless striving? 

In the natural you don’t know how it will work out…How could God possibly turn it all around?

Are you just paying lip service with your words-when you say “I trust You Lord” ? 

Are you really just standing in between belief and doubt? ….like a ping pong tossed about? 

Do you barely have the strength to pray? 


We may faint and we may sink

Feel the pain and near the brink

But the dark begins to shrink

When you find the one who knows


Let your burdens come undone

Lift your eyes up to the One

When you do the chains of doubt that held you will begin to break free! 

Every time you feel forsaken

Every time that you feel alone

He is near to the brokenhearted

Every tear

He knows

He knows




When we don’t know-there is always someone who does…. 
          Our Heavenly Father Knows Best! 

                ~XXOO Michelle Bollom 

He Knows – Jeremy Camp 

Lyrics:

All the bitter weary ways

Endless striving day by day

You barely have the strength to pray

In the valley low
And how hard your fight has been

How deep the pain within

Wounds that no one else has seen

Hurts too much to show
All the doubt you’re standing in between

And all the weight that brings you to your knees
[Chorus:]

He knows

He knows

Every hurt and every sting

He has walked the suffering

He knows

He knows

Let your burdens come undone

Lift your eyes up to the one

Who knows

He knows

He knows
We may faint and we may sink

Feel the pain and near the brink

But the dark begins to shrink

When you find the one who knows
The chains of doubt that held you in between

one by one are starting to break free
[Chorus]
Every time you feel forsaken

Every time that you feel alone

He is near to the brokenhearted

Every tear

He knows

He knows
[Chorus]

Visiting My Losses

  

Loss can keep

You on Hold

Unable to breathe 

Unable to move

Always looking 

Back

Like a heart attack

I visit my losses

And then I leave

As fast as I can

Running towards

The warm, welcome

Loving arms of my

Savior and Friend

If I made a list

It would be unbearable 

Going on and on

You’re not supposed 

To bear that burden

Look forward

Look ahead

Looking Good

Like God

Like Him

Amen
❤️~ Krystal Lynne 

If Tears Left Scars 

  
Crying sometimes hurts the heart to remember pain

Forgotten within remains pushed underneath ashes

Once buried, now dug up while reminiscing the past

Dealt never with the emotion to let go and move on

From the effects of sinister plot’s removing life found

Deep within the ocean containing happiness in life

There, left to die, beyond the surface trapped in a wound

No one can see, for it has left the presence of conformity

Given to at birth, somewhere lost in the experiment and burnt 

Further than winds might carry the soul still hurting, now dying 

Are the remains left as time consumes the right to carry-on

Thrusting once again, the shame and pain, back into the corpse

Attempting life once again, but feeling drained of itself

As if the ocean carries a different tune to break silence of use

Returning upon the final chapter of pain instilled for tonight

Life must endure more for a cause greater than words could burn 

Into the skin to display ignorance and hatred, breathing out

One last request -to remain here, upon the war grounds

Spilled out, the contents, upon the desolate face to taste

And devour the past, allowing oneself to continue falling

Still standing on top of the remains, the lies, the threats

And becoming something more than believed before the future

Thought came to be more than a memory fought back

To forget what happened for the pain was too great a chore

Words bouncing off ignorance’s walls, wrapped inside the instrument

Playing words into music, ringing inside the mind to demonstrate

Melancholy notes into phrases written upon the heart felt

With a fragrance more powerful than clothing the heart to rest

To reminisce inside outer lies, believing them not as truth

But as they are, and trying to erase the smudges never left

Even thoughts mirrored are the lies and half-truths formed

Within the mind to reuse the type of light shattering the life

First breathed, now finally seeking fire to release the emotion 

As if to be is never enough, to breathe is not a talent given

To society’s myth built upon waters moving 

that life is a gift.

                   -Bethany Anne

Get All Excited 

  

Have you ever noticed that christians seem to go through cycles or periods of excitement? Recently during a time of open worship I was thinking about how I seemed to have let my level of excitement slip. I wondered, “Why does that happen? Is it possible to maintain that zeal for God? I am pouring my heart out, why do I not feel as excited as I was a few months ago?”

Then God spoke to me and said “Because it’s not about you and how you feel. Simply being able to know me should be enough for you. It is all about Me. You need to feel excitement? Remember who it is that you are worshiping.”

That was such a wake-up call for me that even if I don’t “feel” like it, He is always worthy of my praise. It’s not about how I feel when I am with Him. It is a privilege for me to be able to even know Him. I can’t allow myself to become accustomed to His presence. That doesn’t mean limiting the amount of time I spend with Him in order to make it “more special.” It means I need to pursue Him even harder, spend as much time with Him as I can, but have the discipline to never lose sight of the fact that He is God. He is good and perfect. Being able to even speak His name is an honor and privilege. 

 I am not worthy of His presence. He is more than worthy of mine.

                              ~ Dana Smith 

 

Rock-Firm And Faithful 

  
“You’re all I want in heaven! You’re all I want on earth! 

When my skin sags and my bones get brittle, 

GOD is rock-firm and faithful. 

Look! Those who left you are falling apart! 

Deserters, they’ll never be heard from again. 

But I’m in the very presence of GOD — oh, how refreshing it is!

 I’ve made Lord GOD my home. 
GOD, I’m telling the world what you do!”

‭‭ ~Psalm‬ ‭73:25-28‬ ‭MSG‬‬
  
When I was not walking with God, I really was falling apart. When we stick with God and learn to stay in His presence, it is refreshing to know He is always Rock-Firm and faithful. He is the Great Restorer! We will want to tell the world what He can do. 

 We believe that with Real People, sharing Real Stories, it can bring Real Healing to others. 

  
We would love to feature how God has Restored you with others. 

 Ready to share your Restoration Story? 

If so, Email us at contact@restoredministries.org

  

                 ~ XXOO Michelle Bollom 

A State Of Neutral 

  
Warm concrete to snuggle up to

Pavement pillows for the down and out

Human beings treated like trash! 

These are humble people

Hungry more for eye contact than …

A Happy Meal

A glimpse of kindness for the homeless

Can we look them in the eye and smile as we walk by? 

Our day is busy and we have no time to stop and listen

I judge them too

When I’m in a hurry and don’t want to feel or 

Deal with their pain!!! 

I make excuses to why they are there…..

We all do 

It is the very grace of God that we are not

They were children with hope for a wonderful life….like the rest of us

But Addictions….alcohol, drugs, sex, gambling, pornography, adultery, 

stealing, lying, embezzlement…. 

hopelessness, poor up bringing, low self esteem, 

mental illness, disease, time in jail, lack of education, poor choices, teenage pregnancy, incest, rape, stupidity…..

A combination of many mentioned contributed to their demise

We pray for them

We listen to them

Feed them

Laugh with them

Love them

But we can’t bring them home like a dog or cat….

We leave them in their state of neutral

We drive off and they are transported in our hearts with a name and a prayer 

And a seed of faith planted for their future

These people have names, stories,

Beauty and beasts within….just like us 

Jesus had no place to lay his head

WOW….He gets it!!!!! 

We really don’t 

but that’s ok

He doesn’t expect us to relate 

He expects us to extend Him to them
                         ❤️Krystal Lynne 
  

Appearance 

  
Define

Appearance can be defined as an impression given by someone or something, although this may be misleading.

 

Affirm:  

1 Samuel 16:7 “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”

Recall:  

Growing up do you remember…

• Getting your church outfit together the day before?

• Going shopping for your Christmas and Easter Outfit?

• Seeing more people at church for Father’s Day and Mother’s Day?

 

I do! The other day I was thinking to myself. There was a time in which I was told that you have to give the Lord your best. While the ideology behind this seemed normal- I believe there is another view point. So I started my research on appearance and the church.  

 

Appearance is an impression that can be misleading. I realized that so many of us are going to church portraying our best, some of us feel that we can’t go because we feel that our sins are keeping us from the closeness of GOD, and honestly many of us who are Christians project an attitude that seems like GOD’s best. 

 

Church for some of us has become a routine fashion show. At a fashion show, you have people coordinating the event (the church administration), the fashion models embracing the stage (our speakers), and the event attendees (the congregation).    

 

We are focused on how we look on our shoes, our suit, our hair style, the size of our bible, etc. Sometimes we only want to be part of the show. You guys, church is not a fashion event. GOD wants all of you, even when the show doesn’t look its best, even when you don’t feel your best; he wants a relationship with you year-round.  

 

So often we are WORRIED about our looks, our past and the WOUNDS of others that we lose sight of our WORSHIP. If we take our WOUNDs to GOD and WORSHIP him for WHOSE we are- our WORRY about unnecessary things will soon fade away. 

 

GOD looks at your heart and not the outside. I encourage you to ask GOD to reveal the matters of your heart, ask him about how you appear to him, and ask him how to be more Christ-like. Be ready for his answer and be prepared to make those adjustments. Today is your day to see yourself and others how GOD sees you.  

 

Exercise:

Dear God,

Thank you so much for seeing my heart. I want an intimate relationship with you and I want to project a Christ like attitude for others. Help me to display my best for you.

 

Commit to the change- I DARE You. 

                    ~ Lereca Monik 

 

#lerecamonik #restoredministries #itstimeforachange #anewyou #mydearestsister #Idareyou #LiveRestored 

True Believers 

  

We are one heartbeat in the darkness

We are one lasting answered prayer

We are one unbroken promise

And we are two, true believers


We are one before our God in Heaven

Oh, we are one road when the going gets rough

We are one now and forever

We are one name, one life, one flame

What beautiful lyrics!  

Such a true testament for love.  
As I reflect on it being 20 years I have been with my husband and soon we will be celebrating 19 years married, I can appreciate these sentiments.  

I have been listening to some older secular music lately  and this is one that I love. I am a huge Hootie fan! Oh how I loved Hootie & The Blowfish. Their album “cracked rear view” was one I could play over and over. I remember it being one of our favorites.   

Fast forward many years and lead singer, aka Hootie, Darius Rucker ventured out to do a solo country album and he did not disappoint his fans. His rendition of Wagon Wheel that the popular show Duck Dynasty and their cast made a huge hit was great, but this is my favorite.  

So for this weeks #SongSunday we are going country. We are remembering love, life, memories, perseverance and commitment.  
Be a True Believer! 

                       

   ~ XXOO Michelle Bollom 

“True Believers” Darius Rucker 

Lyrics:

Church bells ringing on our wedding day

Climbed in that limo and rode away

Guess you’ll always hear some people say,

Man, they’re never gonna make it.
We settled in and we settled down

In this quiet little seaside town

You are the rock I built my world around

And life will never break it
We are one heartbeat in the darkness

We are one lasting answered prayer

We are one unbroken promise

And we are two, true believers
It wasn’t easy getting here today

Sometimes you stumbled or I lost my way

But every roadblock was a chance to say;

Take my hand I’m here beside you.
We worked and made it through the toughest parts

Now every day is another chance to start

To look around and see where we are

It’s where we were trying to get to
We are one heartbeat in the darkness

We are one lasting answered prayer

We are one unbroken promise

And we are two, true believers
We are one before our God in Heaven

Oh, we are one road when the going gets rough

We are one now and forever

We are one name, one life, one flame
We are one heartbeat in the darkness

We are one lasting answered prayer

We are one unbroken promise

And we are two, true believers

We are two, true believers

Restoration Stories 

  

Today we kick off our new Blog Series Restoration Stories. I decided to share my story as the kick off even though many may have seen it before when it was featured on the Broken Girl Blog last year. 

 I look forward to bringing you many more amazing Restoration Stories that will inspire and encourage you in the coming months. 

Here’s my story……

  

Sometimes I don’t even know where to begin to share my story. God has brought so much restoration into my life and He continues to Restore me daily. Like many mom’s and wives we can lose ourselves and pour everything into our families that we rarely leave any room for ourselves. We put our health on the back burner and burn the candle at both ends. We buy the lies of the enemy and grieve our losses without the Hope that Christ offers us. We are wounded and broken and don’t know where to turn. 

To fully understand my story, you have to know my history. 

I was a broken girl from as far back as I can remember. My first fracturing came when my parents divorced when I was too young to even remember my parents ever together. My dad got custody of my two sisters and me while my two brothers went to live with my mom. Little did I know, we would not see our mother again for several years. My dad was broken. My mom was broken. My whole family was broken.

All the years of fighting and the tug of war of divorce left a vulnerable child without adequate protection who became an easy target for others. The next fracturing came from sexual abuse from not just one, but numerous people who were in my life from the age of seven to around twelve. From that abuse I became good at self-blame and began my search for love in all the wrong places. As I grew up I attracted broken people myself. I lived most of my life trying to pretend I was not broken. I was out of balance in almost all areas of my life. I was a person that carried those secrets for far too many years. I learned to operate in a false self, burying my secrets deep. Smiling on the outside to cope with those feelings of guilt and shame from my buried secrets, I tried to medicate with alcohol, drugs, shopping, and sex. There is no balance in brokenness.

I married a wonderful man in 1996 that did not know of my brokenness. When I became a mother three years later to twins, I was fractured by post-partum depression and then medically-induced menopause after a total hysterectomy. With my emotions now out of control I became a workaholic to try and escape the despair I felt as a broken mother. I ran my family into credit card debt three different times from buying things to compensate for my guilt of being an absent mother. I also bought things to fill all the aching voids I felt inside.

My next fracturing was the one that almost shattered me. In the spring of 2006, my brother died suddenly. He had lost his battle with addiction. By this time I had learned to hide my brokenness in the church pews practicing religious rituals. However, because of his death, I became very angry at God. I wanted nothing to do with Him. That summer, I found The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren. It was a life-changing book for me. I made a barter with God that if He was all that people claimed He was, I would follow Him…if He would deliver me from my smoking addiction. He was faithful and took that addiction away from me in 2007. I began finding comfort for my brokenness in God and His word, but still I did not fully trust God enough to surrender all my secrets to Him. In 2008, at age 38, I was fractured by a stroke that later uncovered diabetes. Right after came another fracture from my Dad’s sudden death later that same year. The months following my stroke led to an overload of doctors and diagnoses. Looking back now, I realize that all my health issues were a manifestation of trying to keep my secrets buried and turning to everything for comfort except God, The Greatest Comforter. I had revealed my secrets to my husband and a few others over the years, but it wasn’t until I released my secrets to God and became obedient to Him to let Him use them, as He wanted to, that He could finally do some of His best restorative and transforming work in my life. It is true, “We are only as sick as our secrets.”

My secrets of abuse, addiction, and debt were bad, but my biggest brokenness was from a secret I had buried for over 20 years. Abortion. Abortion affects 1.3 million women each year. It is the one topic that gets people really fired up. I have been in churches where pastors went on and on about the Sanctity of Life and many so-called Christians get so riled up over the subject that they come across as condemning. 

Condemnation from our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ only tends to make the isolation and shame worse for many wounded women. I saw no one offering to help restore lives after the effects of abortion or reaching out to these women to offer them Hope.

When I saw all my brokenness that was weighing me down by the shame and guilt I was carrying from my secrets, I cried out to God. He knew all my brokenness all along. He was waiting for me to release all of it to Him so that He could use it for His Glory. I wrestled with God for two years before I let go of the fear and let God strengthen me to the point of sharing my secrets with the world.

I clung to this verse in some of my darkest moments:  

And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace [Who imparts all blessing and favor], Who has called you to His [own] eternal glory in Christ Jesus, will Himself complete and make you what you ought to be, establish and ground you securely, and strengthen, and settle you. (1 Peter 5:10 AMP).

God did strengthen and settle me, but I was desperate to overcome my brokenness. 

Then one day I saw: “And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb, and because of the words of their testimony;” (Revelations 12:11)

That was it! God was confirming to me that we only overcome by sharing our stories. Sharing how God has restored us. 
There are far too many people not operating in the best that God has for them. Whether that secret be abortion, abuse, unplanned pregnancy, not finishing school or college, yelling at your kids, anger at your spouse, vanity, a critical or judgmental spirit, cursing like a sailor, having an affair, getting a divorce, self-hate, turning to pills, alcohol, drugs, sex, shopping, work, volunteering, or food for escape or comfort.    


It doesn’t matter what it is, God can use it all to create something beautiful out of our brokenness. Vulnerability is not weakness; it is courage! 

We can’t repair our stories until we share our stories. The broken, the ugly, and the messy. 

Real Wholeness from our brokenness begins when we release ALL the broken pieces, all our (secrets, sins, struggles) to God. Only when we release it are we able to obtain real emotional deliverance.
My hope is that everyone will begin to Live R.E.S.T.O.R.E.D.

~XXOO Michelle Bollom                             

  

 Michelle Bollom is Founder of Restored Ministries, http://www.restoredministries.org

Happily married to Joe for almost 19 years and mom to twins Connor and Curran. Michelle resides in the North West Suburbs of Houston, TX. She is a Lover of Jesus, people, words, and enjoys encouraging others. 

If you have a Restoration Story- contact us, we would love to feature you in our blog series.