“For you are dust and to dust you shall return” these are the words uttered to each person of the congregation as they receive their ashes upon their fore heads. A visible sign that we are broken humans who rely on God’s grace to make us whole.
Over the last month I read Lysa Terkeurst book “It’s Not Supposed to be the this Way”. After facing circumstances that felt unfair, painful, devastating, Lysa realized that her experience is best used to remind us all that life is like that for everyone. There are moments we all face… sometimes moments that turn into seasons or years ….that make us look to the heaven’s and beg God for a why? Why is this happening? Why does this hurt? Why now? Why hasn’t He answered yet? WHY?
The struggle can be answers that don’t always come. In fact you can still be broken, even when praying and trying to be faithful. For us humans who only have the ability to see the here and now and recall the past, we struggle immensely with not knowing how or when something will end and what we will even be like when we get there. Sometimes we search for even more control and can become obsessive with aspects of our life just to have a sense of power. In reading this book I have learned this is not only natural thanks to our humanity, but it is normal, in fact it could be quite necessary to help us get to where we need to go in this life.
It is while reading this story, pouring over the bible verses mentioned and taking in the lessons Lysa so beautiful shares I learned an incredible thing about these seasons of life that break us down. The things – big and small – that shatter our hearts or maybe even our whole soul and spirit into a million pieces can be the thing that changes our life. If we are just broken a little, sure this can encourage us to turn to God and make a change or hope to find a new path for healing. And of course those experiences are important. But it’s the ones that don’t just break us, but shatter us into complete dust that make it possible for God to restore us. God is able to take the dust and make us completely new…. better design us for the life he has set out for us. When you are so broken, you are unrecognizable, you are too done to worry about acting ok – it is in those moments that you are reduced to dust and all you can do is wait for God to restore you. It feels like you are powerless, but really you are being filled with His power – the greatest force for navigating this life.
Following my reading of this book I was actually really grateful for the seasons that have turned me to dust. There is no doubt they led me closer to God and created a deeper bond than I thought possible. And now I can honestly say, while I was busy just surviving these seasons by pouring into my faith – God was busy pulling together delicate details and perfecting timelines. I was being recreated into the version of myself that was better equipped to walk this journey….. and more deeply committed to walking it with Him. Those trials brought me to Him…. to a stronger and more faithful version of myself…. and I am grateful.
If you are looking for a bible study this lent, I would invite you to consider Lysa’s book. With incredibly powerful messages and bible readings to give you a rock in the seasons of storms it is a perfect Lenten season read. Use these 40 days to be open to shattering to dust and letting God remake you. If even Jesus had to retreat to find his father and be restored through 40 days, then all of us humans can benefit from taking that time and finding Him…. or letting him find you.
Thank you so much for reading and remember to make it a great day!