Feeling Trashed? Day 3: The gift of imperfection

a repurposed heart


I wish we could sit down and you could see my heart that has stopped longing for perfect plans …. I  am learning to embrace the gift of my  imperfect life. I don’t like this process anymore than you do but I am finding so much more joy in living in the truth of my human state. I desperately need God no matter how many years I have served him. I will never arrive at the “easy”part until the gates of heaven open for me. ( and honestly, on a bad day, I can’t wait!)

It is only when we feel trashed, when we realize we don’t have it all together, when we weep for our broken state that we find God’s power in a new way. It is such a relief to finally realize I don’t have to pretend.

You don’t have to act perfect or look like you are perfect or try to be perfect! ( whew)

My husband and I  helped run the Celebrate Recovery program of our church. Step one was to realize we are not God, to admit we are powerless and that our lives have become unmanageable. I know this sounds crazy, but the people who began to take this step were able to run with freedom in life! I was one of those people! Praise God! I was honored to be counted among the broken souls that cried out to God with their whole heart for help! Truly, these men and women are some of the most trustworthy and true saints, reaching out to others with the healing they have received.I learned a little secret about hitting the bottom of an emotional trash can –

When we hit the bottom, there are big hands to hold us and lift us up!

To fall before God on our face and admit we don’t have it all together is a gift. Scripture says ” Happy are those who know they are spiritually poor.” Even today, I am wrestling an area of my life that makes me feel trashed. It is not the intensive grief I had when my mother died, but every day it makes me feel like a failure. I sat in my living room tonight and began to admit- Oh God, I don’t have this all together! I totally admit that I am powerless to change if you do not help me! I woke up this am and finally feel the first wave of freedom as I know the Lord is coming to help me. I also confessed this area of weakness to my husband and asked for his help.

In this place, God will usher in the power of HIS spirit to do work in the deepest broken parts of our hearts.

Another gift is the opportunity to dare greatly in the fight for our faith. Will you trust and not give up ? Will you walk away from the struggles and let them consume your joy?

It is my deepest prayer you will put on your big girl panties with me and learn to fight back!

Take that! Pow! Bam! Biff! Let’s give it to those emotions that try to break us down !

I love this quote!

“It is not the critic who counts… The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; …who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”  Theodore Roosevelt


When fear yells, You will fail again! Tell fear that failure is a part of learning to have victory!

When anger rages, You are not enough! Tell your anger, God is enough, I will dare greatly to trust Him!

When sadness cries, You are powerless to be helped! Tell sadness God has all the power you need!

I pray like a  heroic women of the faith that you will dare greatly to yell back at your emotions with the truth.

We must get in the ring of the emotional fight and place our confidence in Christ who has already won our war.

And friend, if you need a girl who knows how to throw a big punch to your emotions, look no further. I have been known to do a little fighting back in my day. I am ready to remind you that God will give you the power to conquer the pain of failed plans !

You may “feel trashed ” with emotions but I assure you, you are most definitely God’s treasure –

Prayer list for Tanzania Orphanage

The inside walls of the Orphan's Heart Compassion Home

The inside walls of the Orphan’s Heart Compassion Home

Joy floods my heart as I envision the little faces of the children who will walk these halls. They no longer have to worry about finding someone to care for them. Warm beds will envelope little bodies, in contrast to nights spent sleeping under bushes in the dirt. The scent of hot meals cooking in the kitchen will  awaken hungry bellies as food is served . Laughter will echo through these hallways. Cries for help are silenced by the provisions in this home.

Strong love grows in my heart for these children who have been rescued and reached by our efforts on the other side of the world. Never will they fully understand how much the Lord has interceded on their behalf to raise up support through our family, a family almost disabled with grief.

Our joy seemed lost with the death of my 10 year old nephew, Phil and mother, Joyce.  Bedtime seemed to untuck emotions as hot tears melted from red eyes . Hearts were blistered with sadness. Painful memories echoed through empty hearts, instead of laughter. We desperately needed  new ways to find joy. I would pray the words of the Psalmist:

Restore to me the joy of my salvation….

Restore to my children the joy of their salvation…

Restore to us the joy of our salvation….

Have you ever hurt so badly, for so long, that your heart cried these same words?

Grief ‘s painful emotion does not  fade quickly. It oozes out slowly from the heart that has been broken with loss. If you have loved deeply, you will grieve even longer. Death can not hide love, it only exposes it’s power even greater. Love stays present in your heart even when the person you love passes away. Love tries to find a way to express it’s self even louder. This is grief at it’s finest.  Strong expressions of love beat hard against the walls of mortality as we pound our fists:

Restore to me the joy of my salvation…

Our God will not turn away from the heart that cries to be recycled from pain. He will listen. He will hear. He will heal.

Psalm 39:12 says “Hear my prayer, lord, listen to my cry for help. Do not be deaf to my weeping.”

God would answer our prayer in a most unusual way. After several years of healing, our hearts were open to live repurposed for others. Through my friend, Shannin Pickle, I was made aware of a need at the property she had purchased in Tanzania. She desired to build a home for orphaned children but was unable to find the funding. Inside, I felt a strange feeling when she mentioned this need. Was there something I could do to help?

Girls who will live at the home when it is completed!

Girls who will live at the home when it is completed!

In my husband’s heart, a dream was stirring too.


He came to me one day and proclaimed, “You are not going to believe this but I think God is going to use water sports in my life to save children!” His desire did not surprise me but confirmed my little nudging that God may indeed be at work in our lives to help build this orphanage. I cringed when he mentioned we should do a family kite surfing event…. I inwardly groaned and then blurted out, “Why can’t we do a walk-a-thon like everyone else?”

A kite surfing fundraiser was born that day in the Russell home and laughter began to ring out again. We had a new purpose, a goal to obtain far greater than anything we could pull off without God’s divine intervention. I could not have imagined on that day what joy God would restore to me through generosity to his kingdom. My purpose was no longer to resurrect the past but to give life to others who desperately needed to live. I was going to live repurposed to help others rejoice again.

My son training for kite surfing

My son training for kite surfing

A kite surfing fundraiser. A broken family from grief healing. A God sized dream. A reality!

Little did I  know all those times I wanted to quit fundraising that God already knew that this home would become a reality. I remember every time people would look at me funny and proclaim, “You’ll never raise any money with a kite surfing fundraiser!”God was going to send a divine wind to blow into the hearts of generous people everywhere to care about the importance of these walls that would protect orphans.

Home being constructed !

Home being constructed !

Can you say with me today:

Restore to me the joy of my salvation!


Printable Prayer List For Tanzania

A Thankful Heart – #8


#8 This is the man that makes my heart still beat after almost 20 years of marriage.


I look in his eyes and I see the cutest kid on the beach in Miami that stole my heart. ( wink) I am so grateful for a husband that makes my life complete. If you have a husband that makes your heart beat too, list his name for me to see!