I received word today that my church that I attended in North Texas flooded this month. In the cold spell the pipes burst and flooded the building; ruining carpet, walls, and anything in it's path from the front of the church to the very rear.
This is a church that I love fondly for all the people in it. The building itself had some issues that you just learned to get used to - or learn not to look directly at them. It had other homey flaws that made the building seem familiar, just like knowing which stair creaks on the staircase or knowing how to hold the door just right so it will shut completely.
But now, thanks to insurance against just such "acts of God", walls will be replaced, platforms will be redone, paint will be applied, and carpet will be laid.
To me, this is the greatest story of hope that I know. Because without that day, with that sad moment when the pipe exploded and water flooded the place, without those discouraging hours ridding the building of water... without all that, restoration would never take place.
We spend our lives guarding against ruin, but when God is ready to restore you - truly restore you instead of just keeping up with the continual breakdowns, He will completely bring you to ruin.
For me, the first time I ever felt utterly ruined I went through emotional ruin. I couldn't find joy, I couldn't find peace, I was as broken as I could possibly be. I drove home from places crying only to park in my driveway and break some more. I'd go inside my house and sit in dark corners and cry and scream. I couldn't stand the religion that seemed to be for everyone else but me. I'd been used and hurt all by people that God loved. And yet God didn't even love me, maybe that's why I was the one chosen - a special misfit in Gods churches. That's when He began restoring the part of me that felt abandoned and irreparably broken. He restored in me the knowledge that I was who HE made me, not what others had made me. He restored in me the faith that this life with Him is REAL. And that I was welcome in it. It's not a religious service 3 times a week, it's a daily walk with an incredible Creator that actually speaks to you. And He would speak to ME. Amazingly enough.
To a degree, life shortly before and after San Antonio felt like ruin. Before the move fostering was breaking my heart, left me feeling inadequate to love and work for these kids every day like I should. I felt like a bad person, a suddenly dysfunctional person. I couldn't foster, but I couldn't not foster either. Then after the move, I abandon my parents with my mom desperately calling for help over and over again. I walked away from a job with the State with wonderful benefits only to spend 4 months searching without luck for work. My money ran out, and problem after problem seemed to come up each and every month. It felt like the biggest mistake of my life. I felt as though I had no one to turn to at all because everyone else in the house was busy mourning their own troubles.
So the only person left was God. And when I turned to Him, He began restoring the parts of me that needed someone elses' support in order to stand. He began restoring the parts of me that, without my realizing I was doing it, said that God was necessary but I was the one responsible for my success or failure. That's part of what made foster parenting so hard was trying to accomplish myself what God wanted accomplished. He began restoring the part of me that was too proud to acknowledge my failures, the flaws, the hard parts. (It was with that restoration that I was able to start acknowledging things like severe money problems on this blog. Just wait till you see what else gets released.)
Those two events are the ones that stand out to me as when I felt like I couldn't go on, couldn't be what I was, couldn't do whatever I should have been doing. But God brought so many things in me to ruin during those times that I would be an entirely different person today if He had not began the restoration once the ruin was complete. I contemplated suicide during that first event more times than I can tell you. Yet God used my failures to keep me from doing even that.
But MY GOD, has ruined me. MY GOD, has broken me. MY GOD, has so dramatically altered the course of my life with different touches of ruin that some days I can't believe I survived - either physically or financially.
And there isn't a single other person in the world that loves me enough to break me like that.
MY GOD, supplied my needs when I needed to be ruined. And MY GOD restored my soul when I needed restoration. MY GOD restored my faith. MY GOD, restored my love. MY GOD, restored my joy. MY GOD has restored me to action. He's restored the drive and passion for Him but restored it to such a deeper level that it leaves me speechless sometimes. I can't give enough to Him, but I've got today to give and dear Lord I wish it was so much more.
I wouldn't have willingly gone through some of the ruin He's allowed in my life. There's a "call it quits" moment when I would have screamed for Him to stop if I'd of thought it would work. And actually, I did beg for those hard times to end in twenty different ways. But He did what was necessary to bring me where I am today. He did what was necessary to ruin the supports I had planted in my life instead of Him.
Lord willing, I'll have many more years in this world to serve Him, and I don't for a moment doubt that He can bring me to ruin again in order to purge some more bad ideals, intentions, thoughts, dreams, habits.
But, right now, I trust the future me to Him as well. If He breaks me again it's for a purpose, and the end result - whenever it does come about - will be a beautiful restoration piece.
I trust Him, and I love Him, more than life itself.
Thank You Lord, for being a God who ruins me, restores me, and makes in me something beautiful.
Have you been ruined by God? If so, how wonderful was your restoration? I can only imagine how many stories there are out there.