"Ruin Is The Road To Transformation"
Have you ever met a real life hero? I have a lot of heroes in my life. I know there are many definitions of a ‘hero’, but this is my definition—“Someone who has walked through hell, yet is still standing. They are fully engaged in their life and journey and have found the Grace to accept all of their story, and make the most of it.” Someone living life fully engaged is beautiful.
Brennan Manning says:
“To live by grace means to acknowledge my whole life story, the light side and the dark.”
Hebrews Chapter 11 talks about the ‘Faith Heroes’ of the Bible. Abraham, Noah, Joseph, King David, the list goes on. All of them shared one thing in common—the faith to keep going even when tragedy hit. Tragedy they caused, or tragedy that was brought upon them.
A friend sent me this quote earlier this week:
“Ruin is a gift. Ruin is the road to transformation.”--it is from the book/movie "Eat, Pray, Love"
Have you ever been ‘ruined’?
I mean have you ever been pillaged, destroyed and your heart broken in to 1000 pieces, the very bottom of destruction? I have a friend named Laura with the thickest blonde hair, and the most tender soft blue eyes that are so warm and accepting. You wouldn’t know her story by looking at her. I won't get in to all the gory details, and they are gory. But she was pillaged, destroyed and her heart was in 1000 pieces. And her perpetrator will never be brought to justice. Again, I won’t go in to details but he won’t be experiencing his consequences this side of eternity. I sat with her last week and she shared her heart. She gave me permission to share her story otherwise I would NEVER repeat it.
She shared with me that it just ‘didn’t make sense’ why she had to endure such a senseless tragedy. The unanswered questions haunted her. This tragedy is a part of Laura’s life now. It was a defining moment in so many ways for her. And as I have been reflecting on Laura’s journey, it has caused me to reflect on my own. We all have a story. We all have things in life we have to wrestle with to accept. None of us get to ‘squeeze’ through life without having to walk through hard things. And I have found that in some way these hard things define some part of us. I once heard that “hard things either make you bitter or better”. We all have stories, and I believe the most beautiful people in this world are those that embrace their stories and find a way to radically accept and live at peace in their lives. There is no ‘refund policy’ on any part of our lives. Trust me, at times I have looked high and low for a refund! FYI—there is no exchange policy either.
As Laura was sharing her heart I was overwhelmed with the fact that there is no way to ‘make sense’ out of the ‘senseless’ things we walk through at times. We can seek God for the answers to the ‘whys’ in life. Why cancer? Why death? Why divorce? Why betrayal? Why? Why? Why? But we may never get the answer this side of Eternity. And I have learned I don’t need to be God’s defense attorney when someone is asking, why? God is a big God and doesn’t need my feeble attempts to defend Him for why He allows tragedy to hit at times…
The question I have been wrestling with is ‘how do we come to peace when tragedy hits?’ Betrayal, rape, cancer, death of a child, the list goes on and on…
So much of the time we want to make sense of it all. We long to find the purpose or meaning in it all. And there is purpose and meaning in all of it. All of it. Yet the road to finding that purpose or meaning can some times be a hard road to travel. That is probably why so many don’t travel that road, we just sit in our pain. That road can also be referred to as the ‘road less traveled’. So many are afflicted by a tragedy and continue to relive that tragedy every day of their life. It happened once yet we live it every day. Finding no peace in their story or their lives, and that is such a hard place to live each day.
I have been ruined. I remember being at my ‘bottom’. I was on the top floor of a Hotel in the town I grew up in. I had a choice that night to choose my bottom. Sometimes we are graced with the chance to choose our bottoms and sometimes our bottoms are handed to us (literally). Either way it’s painful. It’s painful to realize hope when you are at such depths. But there is hope. Big hope. For me, the depths have been the doorway to true peace and joy. It’s like a hidden treasure I would have never fathomed.
So, on to HOPE… My friend Laura sent me an email a few days ago and I wanted to share it with all of you. Again, she gave me permission to share it or you wouldn’t be reading it. She shared her radical acceptance moment that occurred while she was watching the Movie “Eat, Pray, Love”—Ironic, I wrote a post a few weeks ago about this movie that I still have yet to see. Someday.
“Anyway, There was this scene, which I have provided a link below for you to watch, where the main character is communicating with her ex-boyfriend about their break up. It is a very insightful scene that spoke to me at some point. In her reflection she says, "Then I looked around at this place, at the chaos it has endured – the way it has been adapted, burned, pillaged and found a way to build itself back up again. And I was reassured, maybe my life hasn’t been so chaotic, it’s just the world that is, and the real trap is getting attached to any of it. Ruin is a gift. Ruin is the road to transformation."
That was it! That is the answer! I always focus on the fact that Paul ruined my life and that I lack an answer as to the reason for it. And, God wanted me to hear those words. Being ruined was a gift that eventually led to my amazing transformation. It was shocking how these words hit me. It was like God said it Himself. I felt like God used the movie to physically answer me in a way that I could not mistake what was said and what He wanted me to understand about feeling ruined. I felt answered...finally. I will not ever get to hear Paul explain his actions and perhaps God spared me from the potential excuses and lies that would come with those details. He instead gave me rest in knowing that I was immensely gifted in the midst of ruin. That I was hurt, not conquered.”
Amen Laura, Amen.
Do you see it? Do you see the hope. This women lived through hell, and is still standing to share about it and allow God to heal her deeply through it all.
So much of the time we (I) get stuck on the event, the injustice, the heartache, the loss, forgetting all the while that the destruction that was caused is NOT the end of the story. It’s not a ‘period’ in the sentence of Laura’s life, nor is it the ‘period’ in my or YOUR life either.
Destruction is not the end. Ruin is not the end. Your bottom is not the end while you still have breath in your lungs. In fact, if you are at your bottom, I am standing up right now to applaud you. You are on the road to transformation. Bottoms are the starting point of transformation. If we don’t hit our bottoms we can never truly be transformed. Sure some bottoms are uglier than others, some are more tragic than others, but bottoms don’t need to be the end. In fact, in my life, my bottom was just the beginning. Learning to let go of all the failures, pain, loss and destruction was the beginning of accepting all God had in store.
Psalm 119:50 says “my comfort in my suffering is this: Your promise preserves my life.”
What does God promise? He promises that when we seek Him—He will be found.
Jeremiah 29:13 “you will seek me and find me when you seek me with all of your heart.”
He promises to not waste our affliction—Romans 8:28a says “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him.”
A friend once told me “God doesn’t give us misery, He gives us ministry.”
I know sometimes all we want are answers. But sometimes it’s better if we don’t have the answers. The reality is sometimes the answers just make us hurt more. The questions around the senseless tragedy Laura endured can’t be answered. But embracing that we don’t need all the answers is a step in healing. And embracing that God is in the midst of the ruins rebuilding your life has to count for something! Actually it should count for everything!
I keep thinking how Jesus was ‘ruined’ as He hung on the cross. He was abused, battered and tortured hanging half naked for all to see. Yet, that ruin was the road to transformation for Him. And for all of humanity. His transformation took 3 days. I have found ours can take a little longer— so hang in there if you aren’t healed by Sunday.
Some of my favorite people on this planet have lived through hell at one point or another and lived to tell about it. But haven’t we all lived through our own version of hell at one point or another? We have all lived through some ‘pillaging’ in our lives. We are all on one road or another. The road of destruction or the road of transformation. We are either destructing or being transformed. And the choice is ours. Every day.
Laura is in the process of being transformed. And it’s the most beautiful process to watch as God reshapes her heart. Her story is still hers. She still lived through all she lived through. She didn’t find that refund policy either. But as she tries to make sense of her life every day it is less and less about trying to make sense of the senseless tragedy, and more and more about embracing the gifts of her transformation through the ruins.
I think if the book of Hebrews was edited today and they added more names to the “Faith Heroes”— Laura’s name would be in there, because she too has the faith to keep going even through her tragedy.
Her words are up on my wall— “I was immensely gifted in the midst of ruin. That I was hurt, not conquered.”
Amen Laura, Amen.
If you have been ruined, my heart breaks for your heartache… but more importantly, so does His. He will see you through it. It’s His joy to comfort you and walk you through it. And He will. I promise. But more importantly, He promises…
God Bless you all as we walk through our ruins and embrace the transformation these ruins bring. I believe some day the very thing we cursed can be the very thing that blessed us the most with the gifts we receive when walking through it. At least that is what I am finding, one day at a time.
I attached the video clip Laura sent me and I also attached an inspiring song below.
Daily Grace to you.
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