Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Life-giving ruins

I was talking to my sister today.

Not the one who lives an hour away.

Not the one who lives in Hawaii.

I was talking to my sister who lives in heaven.

Confession: Before we lost her, I thought it was supremely strange when I heard about people talking to their deceased loved ones. I shook my head and blinked, and wondered how that helped, and why people thought it worked.

But now...now I talk to my sister...a lot.

I tell her I miss her.
I tell her I love her.
I tell her I wish I could hear her voice.
I tell her I wish she could see how fast her nieces and nephews are growing up.

But most of the time, I tell her about the miracles that God is working in my life, the miracles that started when she died.

I say "Do you know what you've started?" "Do you know how many people have been impacted by your life and death, you skinny little thing?" "We're still spreading His story, Joy, because you would want us to, and because you challenged us all to do it because HE wants us to." "See what the Lord has done, Joy? All because you were brave enough to live His life for you, and recklessly follow Him wherever He wanted to take you..."

Today I had a moment of overwhelming sadness, choking me and taking my breath away. It was only a moment, so much less than the hours and days that used to be filled with that pain, but as I sat and let the feeling subside, I was struck with a thought that was depressing.

What will happen when her story gets old? When everyone has heard it, and enough years have passed that the impact has lessened? When we aren't all walking around WEARING our sadness and living with it...people won't remember anymore, and the miraculous stories of lives being changed will stop...and the statement "Nothing is wasted" won't be true anymore.

I spent a couple good hours in that funk. Wondering, grieving, mulling over the impending loss of blessings and mercies soothing our heartache and making the hole in our family almost...almost...bearable.

But something happened an hour ago. Something that took my breath away all over again, and filled me with overwhelming emotions.

Someone told me that God is speaking to them through MY life...and my parents lives, and the way we are living with our loss and still serving the Lord.

What?

Are you kidding me?

I'm a wreck.

I still have moments where I have to sit down and let panicking pain pierce my insides.

I'm not a person who inspires people.

I'm a regular, sometimes sub-par, person.

I'm a country girl who has a weakness for four-letter words and shocking behavior. I let my kids watch WAAAAY too much TV.

I'm not brave. I'm not a world changer. I'm not Joy.

I'm just trying to survive losing her.

How in the world does that speak to anyone?

And then God spoke to me.

"Your life is ruins. And I bring ruins to life. And My name is glorified best, and My story is furthered most, and My will is walked out clearest, when you are in ruins."

And I laughed.

Because the God of the universe told me I am a disaster.

And that is exactly where He wants me.

And somehow, because He is just that way, He is miraculously touching people's lives through my messy ruins and sloppy survival.

And so my ruins are a miracle that won't stop being a miracle, because they won't stop being ruins.

And yet...they are alive.

He breathes His life into my ruins, and that life flows out to people.

I don't know how He does it. But it's not my job to know. Its my job to embrace the ruins, and let Him bring them to life for His glory.

He will do it with your ruins too. Your mess, your pain, your sloppy situation.

Embrace the ruins. They are His speciality.

They are where He brings life.