At age 37 I'm finally beginning to understand that my greatest ministries have not come out of my greatest strengths, gifts, or wisdom. Instead, they've come out of my greatest weaknesses: the things that humble me to my core, seem foolish to the world, are easily misunderstood by others, and push me past my limits.
When brokenness is offered up to God, He will take it and turn it into eternally valuable treasure.
Mysteriously enough, my Lord takes my brokenness and turns it into beautiful ways I can work for His kingdom to further His gospel.
These hidden places—on my knees, through tears—these are the places I find Him, know Him, love Him.
These drive me to Him and cause me to say . . .
I cannot . . . but He can.
I am not . . . but He is.
I have not . . . but He has.
Even my fight against the same besetting sins, day in, day out: He takes those too, those shameful ashes, and makes beautiful things out of them.
Remember the woman who "wasted" her flask of precious ointment on Jesus (Mark 14)? Culturally, it was a foolish thing to do, and those around her were quick to find fault with her actions. Jesus saw her heart and said to the self-righteous critics, "Leave her alone. Why do you trouble her? She has done a beautiful thing to me . . . She has done what she could . . . And wherever the gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will be told in memory of her."
Dear sister . . .
- Have you been pushed beyond what you feel you can handle?
- Are you experiencing life-altering illness or physical pain?
- Has your wait for a godly husband or precious child felt too long? Far, far too long?
- Do you feel insignificant and unskilled when you see the people in ministry around you?
- Is your heart weary and numb? Are you in a spiritually dry land?
- Have you failed miserably?
- Are you hurting deeply, unspeakably?
It has cost you dearly, hasn't it? Then "waste" it on Him, dear one. Imagine that you, too, have a flask, and in it lies your costly weakness or suffering. Break it at His feet. Pour out your broken heart to the Lord. Weep before Him. Stand on His promises, even when (especially when) you don't feel like it.
And keep pouring and weeping and standing until He takes your spilled heart and brokenness and ashes and makes the most breathtaking ministry overflow out of your life into the lives of others who are hurting.
"Trust in Him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us." Psalm 62:8
What seems like foolishness to us and to the world around us; what seems broken, wasted, and worthless—is "a beautiful thing to the Lord" when it is offered up to Him. He will take it and turn it into eternally valuable treasure.
Dear ones, today we don't need to prove anything. We simply get to offer up our ashes and watch our Abba turn them into beauty.