"As Lord over life and Lord over death, God can take our pain and our brokenness and transform it into something beautiful." -Craig Greenfield, Subversive Jesus.
At the end of Greenfield's book, he talks about the famous dry bones story found in Ezekiel 37. "Out of the place of death and destruction, God works a miracle, raising up a mighty army from among the dead and discarded."
Andrew and I have been back in North Carolina for over two years since our time as missionaries in Mexico. I may be repeating myself, but again I say that one of the most consistently difficult things for us has been not having vision. We didn't have a vision when we first went to Mexico, except to go. Then after seven months of what felt like an eternity of whiny middleschoolers and Speedy Gonzalez Spanish speakers that drained us mentally and emotionally, we got the vision for our purpose there. That was February 2010. By November, we had opened our coffee shop ministry, El Buho.
For a long time I've been thinking we haven't had "the" vision since we returned from Mexico. But this past week as I was weeping out to God one morning, I realized that we do have vision, we just need to see past our circumstances to trust that God will merge our vision(s) with the resources needed to live them out on his watch. For a long time I've been staring at our economic circumstances and thinking, "We're never going to get out of this." For a long time I've been speeding down the road where dreams die and visions disappear. For a long time I've been dying. Because if we aren't intentional about living, the earth will intentionally and eventually help us die.
There have been thunderclouds above for a long time. Eventually the skies will break, but even if they don't, my attitude must. So I've decided to stop looking at my circumstantial doom. And I've decided to be one of the violent ones that take the kingdom by force. Yes I have a vision for better economic circumstances, but not for the sole purpose of gaining a dishwasher and a nicer kitchen. It is because there is a desire, even so, a calling within my family to foster, and then adopt, and we cannot do that when we are dependent on the U.S. government. And yes we have a vision for better economic circumstances, but not for the sole purpose of getting off welfare ... but rather for the purpose of opening another coffee shop ministry here where we live. There is nothing new under my thunderclouds, but there is much beyond them; and in order to see beyond, I must stop looking at the fact that I feel like a bent-up, rusty nail with no life left in me. Because if I believe that God can make beautiful things out of the dust, then I must believe that He is an artist who is able to reclaim old, dried up, rusty, dirty things and breathe life into them. The seed must die before it can bring forth life. It's highly likely that my metamorphosis from missionary status to stay-at-home-mom status is exactly the type of transformation I needed to be reminded that my accomplishments amount to rubble, and my death amounts to greatness.
"For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain."