By Stephanie Parker

I have a confession to make. Every time the song, “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus,” comes on the radio, I have to change the station. I LOVE that song but Michael Jackson’s sweet voice brings with it a tinge of sadness for me now. That innocent little boy singing that upbeat Christmas melody would lead a very broken life and die a tragic death. That song is a reminder that the world’s definition of an “abundant life” and God’s definition of an “abundant life” are two very different things. On the surface, Michael Jackson had it all. He was the king of pop, had more money and material possessions than he knew what to do with and the adoration of millions of people around the world. And yet, there is no denying that his life was anything but “abundant.” Clearly the Bible had it right when it says, “A man’s life is not in the abundance of his possessions”(Luke 12:15).

So, it begs the question…. What does this “abundant life” look like and how do you really obtain it?

I have discovered the abundant life that Jesus talked about and it’s nothing like what I expected and certainly nothing like what the world pegs it to be. Let me explain. Our world is full of broken people, myself included. I’ve come to realized that it’s how we choose to fill the broken pieces in our lives that determines how 'abundant' our lives really are.

There are two types of brokenness in this world. There is a brokenness that leads to wholeness and a brokenness that leads to more brokenness. When Michael Jackson attempted to fill the cracks in his life with material possessions and drugs, it sadly only led him to more brokenness and eventually death. But scripture says that brokenness isn’t always a bad thing. After all, Jesus’ body had to be broken to save the world from sin and death. If Jesus’ brokenness leads to eternal life for those who believe in him, could our brokenness in Christ, lead to the true abundant life that we all deeply long for?

I can sit here and say with confidence that God has used my brokenness much more than he has ever used my perceived wholeness. When I lost a baby, my heart broke. It devastated me. But when I decided to place my broken heart into the hands of God, he healed a much deeper brokenness that I didn’t know existed. I had placed all of my hope in MY plans, and MY way and MY baby that I hadn’t left any room for God. When I lost the baby, my heart was broken but so was my pride and my desire to be the god of my life. When my pride was broken, it led me to a deeper hope and trust in God that I never imagined possible. It took brokenness to do that.

When my marriage wasn’t what I had envisioned it should be and I found myself discontent and dissatisfied, my heart was broken. That broken heart and marriage led me to lay all of the broken pieces at the feet of Jesus. When I did that, God broke me in the best way possible. He broke my desire to be ‘worshipped’ and loved by my husband precisely how I desired to be ‘worshipped.’ He broke my tendency to place myself and my husband above the one true God. God broke my deep seeded selfishness and replaced it with an extravagant love and a willingness to give of myself regardless of what I get in return. In the end, it was my brokenness and Christ’s fullness that healed my marriage.

When I allowed Jesus to break me into a million pieces and be filled by him, I experienced the abundant life like I never thought possible. The abundant life came in the form of genuine peace, purpose, love and joy …things I never thought could be a reality this side of eternity.

You can’t have abundance without brokenness.

Jesus said, “I've come that they may have life, and have it abundantly” (John 10:10). Jesus broke his body on the cross so that we could live…TRULY LIVE. But in order for us to really experience that life in Christ, we have to be willing to be broken.

What’s more, abundance leads to a life poured out (2 Timothy 4:6). Jesus was broken and GIVEN to us. There’s this supernatural thing that occurs when God has filled your broken places. You want to do the same for others. You start to want to give and love without expectation of anything in return… because the joy and abundance comes IN the giving. It truly IS more blessed to give than receive (Acts 20:35). Abundant life can be found in the giving of ourselves just as Christ gave himself for us. Jesus was BROKEN and GIVEN to us on the cross when we deserved it the least. The abundant life comes in the breaking and the giving of our lives as well. “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap” (Luke 6:38).
Only God can take the broken, shattered pieces of our lives and piece them together in a masterpiece. Only Jesus can use brokenness and givenness as the key that unlocks abundant life.

***God, continue to break me until there is nothing left to be broken. Help me live a life that is poured out like a drink offering to you every day. Amen.

"Lord, if you heal me, I surely will be healed.
Save me, and I surely will be saved.
Lord, I praise you!" -Jeremiah 17:14

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Stephanie Parker has 3 main loves: God, her husband, Brett and her kids!  When Stephanie created the Zipadee-Zip in an effort to solve her daughter, Charlotte's, sleep issues, she never imagined that it would become a business.  She is incredibly grateful to God for how Sleepingbaby.com has grown and how it has enabled other families to get the restful sleep they need.   Stephanie's husband, Brett Parker assumed the role of CEO which has allowed Stephanie to focus on what she loves which is the creative side of the company, like product and print development.  After the Zipadee-Zip was featured on Shark Tank, Stephanie went on to create the book Shepherd's Treasure, a Christian alternative to Elf on the Shelf. In her free time, Stephanie loves to spend time with her family and friends.  Her hobbies include acting, singing, painting, learning and speaking foreign languages and going on adventures with her family!  You will find her all summer waterskiing, fishing and laughing with her family on the weekends.