The theme of a new portion of my heart, found through the searching and receiving something different than I thought I needed (God tends to do such a maneuver)… I found that the ruins are not fully destroyed. Yes, when you hear “ruined” there is an immediate reaction to fully do away with. Ruined pants: toss them and get new ones. Tear in the couch cushion: I need a new livingroom suit. Challenged relationships: walk away as calmly as possible and forgive, forget. We don’t often respond as much as we react when pants could be turned into dust rags, that cushion – a giggle to your child trying to be superman, and that relationship where seasons changed because the Lord carved a little bit deeper into your buried places. Our hearts run from the ruins because our view of something ruined seems gross and dirty and not good enough anymore.
However, when given vision through a light whose source is not founded by human hands but by holy mending, the ruins become the Master’s most chosen and cherished tools.
I can name very distinct seasons where I tiptoed in the ruins. Much to my dismay and forever groaning, the ruins became an unbearable path I tried, with all cost, to avoid. It wasn’t so much that they may have been gross or dirty, but they were never good enough. My ruins almost always seemed to be layered with disappointment and sharp rocks at the bottom. So I walked ever so carefully as to not slip: as to follow the rules and walk upright morally and be a view to society that beamed “got it together and good…”
That process could sound really good. Really together and wise, but it did not at all fool proof the most given fact over all creation – that I was going to slip. It never guaranteed a bridge over the ruins. If anything… It tampered my weakness further. You know that feeling when you try so hard and for so long, but then you slip? That feeling that immediately triggers an insecurity that makes you feel lower than the sharp rocks at the bottom? Did you know that is exactly where the enemy claims you as his prey?
Let me say this again: when given vision through a light whose source is not founded by human hands but by holy mending, the ruins become the Master’s most chosen and cherished tools.
Mom had her first chemo treatment yesterday. I had been reading about her medication and the side effects not only to know what to look for, but to prepare my heart. Prepare it in a way that would hopefully not get fully disgusted and frustrated and angry at the whole process. Prepare it in a way that could have vision through that holy mending light.
Receiving the news at the beginning of this was hard beyond any words could justify. And even then, preparing my heart became somewhat of an even harder process. Preparing it for the sake of joy. However, knowing the statement “it may have to get worse before it gets better” made me want to punch chemo in the throat. Knowing that to fight sickness with another measure of sickness seemed fully slippery and sharp-rocked-ruined. This is where I wanted to piggy back my mother unto me and walk ever so carefully as to not slip. Here I would have easily defined sickness as ruins.
…but had it not been for how the Master uses his tools.
In loving Jesus… There is a deep sigh of relief that he is forever a promise keeper. And in knowing he is forever a promise keeper… Loving Jesus is a glory to glory story. His glory made perfect though a sacrifice to redeem us back to himself. I’m convinced that when believing his word is life, there is a trusting obedience established and the obedience comes through disciplining the ruins. Letting him sure-footedly take you through them to be holy mended.
The next six months of treatments, I claim to be joy-filled… Even if my mother’s body at some point doesn’t seem to be her body. I can recall uncountable moments in my life where I learned to love mama more. Even just hours after her diagnosis came into light… She could see my face and take me back to one of those moments and without an echo of her voice, I would recite what she faithfully instilled into this heart that ached to trust Jesus beyond the biggest disappointment…
“As the Lord leads…” She’s impressed it hard and deep within. Followed by a “joy, joy unspeakable joy – the Lord has lifted me.”
It’s what I love most about it all… the use of ruins. The use of sickness. The dancing on disappointment. We want him to forever revamp our ruins and make them not gross or dirty or good enough. But y’all… We have a God that makes our ruins useful to heal our hearts.
So when seeking joy in the most unpleasant places, oh let these eyes be straining in the shadows to see a light that reveals more of his presence. Knowing all the details will not all be revealed at once… I do not want to mistake what I can’t see for a lesser version of Him!
I can speak for mama here too. We never ever imagined this to be ruins used. And sometimes it may feel that we’ve been asked the impossible of us. I pray constantly that none of us on this road would tiptoe or plead to avoid the ruins. How selfish to ask God to not consume you with how he intends to restore you!
He says it remarkably clear… “I have loved you with an everlasting love. I have drawn you with lovingkindness…” (Jeremiah 31:3) Oh Oh Oh. how the ashes are for righteousness and peace.
Let these ruins come to life in the beauty of YOUR name. Let the brokenness be holy mended. Let our hearts be pressed hard into Yours, Lord. And let us know you’re capable.
…and my spirit revived in YOUR story.