Rebuilding on the ruins of our lives


How God can use the most devastating moments of our lives to change the world

As I write this post, my husband and I are climbing the shore of Lake Superior…climbing rather than strolling because we’re not walking on a smooth sandy beach. We’re hiking over huge boulders, driftwood and slabs of cement intertwined with rebar…echoes of the past mixed in with the realities of the present. The cement and rebar remind me of the storms of life that can crash in on a person, leaving what we have worked so hard to build lying in a heap of ruins. Those ruins can be hard to look at, because they remind us of the pain we felt in the midst of those storms.


Lake Superior holds some of our most treasured memories as a family; times when our children were small and we skipped stones on the beach and hiked with dear friends through the woods; but it also reminds us of times when we came here to grieve…grieve the loved one who walked away, leaving us with hopes that were dashed, much like the driftwood that was dashed upon this great shore,stripped of the protective bark that made us feel safe.

Isaiah 58:12 says, “Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins and will raise up the age-old foundations; you will be called Repairer of Broken walls, Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.”

Looking at the ruins makes me wonder… God, what do you want us to build on those ruins”? I don’t want the pain we experienced in those storms to be wasted. I want to call back to others whose storms happened more recently, who haven’t had as much time as we’ve had to heal…to say to them, “here’s how we got through it”, and “here’s how God used what was so painful to bring good to a lost and hurting world.

The staff at Canvas Church where we attend just finished an incredibly powerful sermon series entitled, “This I Know.” Each week for the past several weeks, someone from the staff at our church shared about a storm that they had been through… a cancer diagnosis, losing three dearly loved sisters in a car accident, a father dying at an early age, multiple miscarriages, starting a church in the midst of opposition, and being set free from anxiety and addiction …Each one having come through storms that could take your breath away. Each one intentionally choosing to allow God to use their story to encourage others to keep the faith in the midst of the pain.  Their testimonies reminded us that even when life doesn’t turn out the way we’d hoped, planned for and built our lives around, God still comforts. God still guides. God still saves. He is still constant…and they reminded us that if they can still trust God in the midst of all that they’ve been through, well then maybe the rest of us can too.

Looking at the ruins takes courage, and yes, it is painful; but if you are willing to let God use your story, you can change the world. You were born “for such a time as this.” Are you willing to take a look back and let God use you?

From the shores of Lake Superior,


2 thoughts on “Rebuilding on the ruins of our lives

  1. Connie June 18, 2017 / 2:39 am

    Arlene, I’m so glad I found your blog. God is speaking through you and I appreciate you sharing that part of your life.
    Looking forward to reading more of your posts!


    • Arlene October 27, 2017 / 10:37 am

      Thank you so much Connie! I appreciate your encouraging words! They were a blessing to me! Arlene


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