Shannon Dittemore



Once again, I have the honor of presenting a guest blogger. Please welcome Marni Arnold. When I read that her blog, Relevant Brokenness, exists to tell others that “brokenness isn’t a weakness, it’s an opportunity to allow God to put the pieces of your broken heart, mind, and life back together,” I knew she’d have something worthwhile to add to our discussion here on brokenness.

Looking back upon my life, I see a trail of moments where I’m utterly disappointed in myself over.

o Moments where I could’ve done things differently.

o Moments where I could’ve thought about things, or people, differently.

o Moments where I could’ve been more grateful for the moments I’ve had in a period of my life

A life lived deep in regret, I’ve learned, keeps you far from the fulfilled life; and gets you nowhere fast.

Upon speaking with my mother recently, I noticed a re-occurring theme in her life that is has mirrored my own life for far too long – unThankfulness. A life buried deep in regret of what hasn’t been accomplished, and still desires to be fulfilled.

I’m not going to get into gory detail of what my mother has done, or hasn’t done, but I can tell you this much – she is despaired over where her life is at. Disabled and prone to illness as easily as one breathes; and I can tell she is utterly dissatisfied with her life in how it has turned out.

Anger toward God exudes through her very pores, and seeps through the very utterings of her tongue in bitterness and harshness. It ails my heart for my mother, and for myself; for I have recently realized I’ve mirrored this very behavior many times over in my own life.

Recently engrossing myself in Ann Voskamp’s, “One Thousand Gifts”, I’ve begun to see the error of my own ways in duplicating a life of unThankfulness.

A thankless life to the gift-giver Himself, God, creates embitterment that leads to a despondent life that decays the core of who one was created to truly be.

Being prone to depression myself, and deeply experienced it after the birth of my own son, it’s easy to live a thankless life. It’s a dark world that is lived in past regrets, bringing them to the forefront of your mind where it lies to you that you’ll never amount to much more than you already have in pain. That your life is worth nothing more than pain itself – so there is no use in trying.

I’ve lived in the dank, stagnant, wretched area for so long – and a breath of fresh air has recently entered my soul reminding me that small moments of my life matter.

From the speck of light that peeks in through the curtains to wake me up out of my slumber, to the crumbs left on our son’s chair after enjoying a graham cracker in a chipmunk-like fashion, to watching my husband relax on the couch after a hard day’s work – always open armed to embrace myself or our son; or to show endearment for a feline companion.

These are all gifts, beautiful gifts, that are easily over-looked (especially in moments of depression). Darkness can hide the beauty of God in your life; therefore, the gifts He has to offer must intentionally be sought out with passionate fervor.

I’ve lived the thankless life, as I’ve been so easily taught how to do through an example from someone I never expected to learn this from. Yet, because He is such the redeemer that He is…I am finding freedom in the smallest of moments (even washing the dishes by hand now), because I’m intentionally seeking the gifts He gives to me on a moment by moment basis.

It’s bittersweet to look upon the ones you love, and know they’ve not been the best example to you. From this, it’s easy to become embittered with them – yet, even in the moments of recognizing the poor examples of others through their lived out lives, these too are gifts. These are blessings that should be counted, for without them – we’d never know the very things we need to change in our own lives.

I thank God for my mother. She may not completely understand that, especially at times when we have space between us – but I do thank God for her. Even in all the hurt I have experienced with her, and through her example in my life – I count her as a gift. For I would’ve never known to…

o …love the way I love, without her .
o …embrace the best out of the worst, without her.
o …thank God for my life, and every moment of it, even when in moments it can seem to be so lonely, without her.

Life is but a strung together series of moments that is shorter than we realize.

Our breaths are numbered, our days counted…and we have but one choice concerning enjoying it to it’s fullest. Give thanks in all things…even the despairing moments.

Thankfully…to God…I’ve chosen to start giving thanks, and choose to continue to give thanks even when it gets dark.

Twitter: @marniarnold



  • Comment by Karen Cook — June 29, 2011 @ 9:02 am

    Marni ~ Dear friend you speak truth and wisdom. Thank you for sharing your heart with us. The darkness shrouds us in deceit and bitterness – but Jesus IS the light and Hope for those who wander in the dark. Thankfulness in the little things allows us to fully appreciate the majesty and splendor of all that God has done for us.
    Much love to you my friend!

  • Comment by Shan — June 29, 2011 @ 12:53 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing today, Marni. I love that you’re using your experience with your mother in a positive way. I know that’s a difficult thing to do, but it’s a great example and a lesson we must all learn. I’m blessed to have run into you on the web and look forward to all that God continues to do in your ministry. God bless.

  • Comment by Marni Arnold — June 29, 2011 @ 6:16 pm

    Thank you, Shannon, for the opportunity to share here today. It was a difficult posting to write up, but what healing is ever easy to really go through period (lest sharing it with others)? I’m honored to have been able to share in this space here today, and to also have connected! Thank you!

    Karen…thank you for such encouraging words. God has truly connected us in an amazing way, and you are always a flood of encouragement in my life. Thank you!

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