Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Nothing is wasted

"What is it you want to say through my fingers, Lord?"

I whispered the question to the computer screen just now, and I sat...waiting for Him...

Four years ago, for many, many hours, I would ask that same question, and I would sit and wait...sometimes the peace and the words would come quickly. Sometimes they didn't come at all. Sometimes I waited for long, silent moments.

For an entire year, from start to finish, I asked the Lord what story He wanted to tell, and offered Him my hands to tell it.

And He used me, in spite of me.

And the story of the life, and death, and legacy of one little girl, who I loved desperately and lost too soon, became more than just words on a computer screen. They became a book.

"His Life For Mine."

My book. My sister's life. God's story.

I can't even begin to describe the agony of writing; the camaraderie I felt with Joy while I was walking, mentally, in her shoes, the heartbreak when I knew I was nearing the end of the story...

She was in heaven almost 3 years when the book was published, and its been just over 3 years since then.

And I miss her still.

And even though I would give back my childhood dream of becoming an author if it meant I could hear her laugh and see her smile and hug her bony little shoulders...it is still, frequently, an overwhelming blessing to hear that people read her story and were...

touched...changed...shaken...inspired...moved...amazed...humbled...

Every time someone approaches me with their thoughts, I always smile, and I always thank them, and after every conversation, a phrase rings inside me...

"Nothing is wasted."

It started in my heart as a whisper, and it grew slowly, over time, until its a sentence so meaningful that I am not sure I can really share it well enough.

My sister died, young and unexpectedly.
My heart was broken. My family was shattered. I felt as if every single day I was beaten up, bleeding and dying, even though it was only on the inside.

SO many tears. Carpet, pillows, walls, towels, my hands, were soaked with them.

Have you ever been there? Sobbing, gut wrenching cries in the silence? Trapped in what seemed an endless pit of pain?

You're never, ever the same once you've had your heart, your world, destroyed in an instant. It doesn't have to be the death of a loved one. You know what your pain is.

And scars eventually form. Angry, bruised, bloody wounds become angry, bruised, puckered evidence of healing.

The scars become less visible over time. And, if you'll let me be totally vulnerable for a moment...I HATED when my face stopped bearing the signs of my grief. I felt like I would always be a broken person, and so my face should always reflect that.

And I was angry. All my life I have known God, and I know He is good, and loving.

But my sister died.

And people lose children. And parents. And friends.

And innocence is stolen.

And we are betrayed. Abandoned. Forgotten.

HOW CAN IT BE THAT GOD IS STILL GOOD? How can He love me...and still have this in His plan?

And how can we ever accept the life we must now try to live? A life with pain, with scars as forever reminders of our broken hearts...How. Can. We. Bear. It?

Sometimes we can't. Sometimes its too much, and we sit down and sob into our hands again.

And sometimes we get to stand beside someone else who is sobbing...and we get to say "I know. I know."

And can I tell you, from personal experience, that nothing ministered to me more than someone who had felt my pain...sitting with me...just BEING there. It was like my wounds were soothed by the recognition of their scars. I don't know how else to explain it.

And so, for 6 years now, I have struggled with all that is inside me. And for the 3 years since the release of my book, I have wrestled with all the emotions.

God used, and is still using, the story of the life and death of my sister, to change people's lives.

"Nothing is wasted."

God allows me to walk beside people through great pain, and for my scars to soothe their angry, bleeding wounds.

"Nothing is wasted."

He accepts that I will always be mad at Him for choosing to do it this way. But He still uses me.

"Nothing is wasted."

And so today, I sat down at the computer, I asked the Lord what story He wanted to tell. Not Joy's story this time. Mine. My journey. My new place, years in the making, of understanding.

He is loving. And wise. And He revives me, every day. And He doesn't mind that "WHY?" will be part of our dialogue from time to time.

And the scars are still, always, there on the inside, but now...





Now I have the scars that are also words of hope on the outside too. Pain, etched into my skin, so I will always remember that God didn't forget me in my great sorrow.

Instead, in His wisdom that is too much for me to understand, He used my pain as part of my story.

And so...

Nothing. Is. Wasted.