This month we are going to focus on structures instead of a specific work of art because I’ve always had a love for old ruins, buildings, and historical sites. I believe it began with my parents taking me to Civil War and Revolutionary War battlefields, plantations, land markers all up along the East Coast. James carefully crafted the biggest shock of my life when he proposed at one of my favorite historical estates, Boone Hall Plantation.

Every time I visit a historical site of my excitement would stem from learning the story. I mean who doesn’t love a good story? As the guide would talk about the site in it’s day of glory, I would hang on every word learning how they dreamt up the idea, constructed it, or created an enterprise. These were people who were usually ahead of their time.

Year after year, people travel all over the world to see a building or place that once was. In college I had the opportunity to scale the Great Wall of China around Inner Mongolia and in Seminary I once stood at the bottom of the Colosseum. Two of the greatest wonders of the world. The Colosseum was used as an amphitheater for sports and theater and the Great Wall was used to protect China’s border and regulate trade control. In their day they established a currency all on their own but at some point their purpose ceased to exist due to natural causes, the reign of a ruler, and instability of their structure.

What once was…

That’s the part of the story that always stuck with me, what once was, will never be again. As a follower of Jesus, it fills me with despair thinking how so many of us walk around as ruins. Some of us have made the choice to follow Jesus and given Him parts of us, allowing Him to restore some things. But the really broken parts, we keep under construction and attach a permanent “KEEP OUT” sign. I know I have. I felt like those areas of brokenness were too far gone to restore.

Tragedy, ancient turmoil, generational debris all remain in us leaving us with ruins. Some of this debris we can recognize in us because we saw the same struggle in someone we love. Some lie beyond the surface and unless we search for them, they remain silent. These were passed down generationally and we can identify them as family traits when really they are strongholds keeping us in fear and captive. We then categorize ourselves as semi-broken and try to fulfill our purpose out of the parts we see as functioning.

The irony is, Jesus broke all of His body for us. He became broken for us so that we could be restored into eternity and receive FULL freedom. And He is the only one who can restore us. In the book of Isaiah it says, “They will rebuild the ancient ruins and restore the places long devastated; they will renew the ruined cities that have been devastated for generations (Isaiah 61:4).”

Isaiah is a beautiful book written about the promise of a Savior, the hope that will restore all the “places long devastated.” Who is the, “they” you might ask. God desires to use us. His people, His followers. It’s a wild concept to think that someone who is complete perfection would want to use someone like us. And the hesitation is so real because we don’t see ourselves as a good investment.

“Too often Christians have sought Jesus as a Savior but ignored Him as deliverer. “

Beth Moore. Breaking Free. Nashville: LifeWay, 2009, 80.

In true Beth Moore fashion, her words stung me to my core. I knew He could save me but too often I felt like I was unworthy to rebuild these ruins in my life. SO, I humbly took down my “KEEP OUT” sign and asked Him to D E L I V E R me. Daily, He is delivering me from:

  • Internal Attacks
  • Comparison
  • Valuing the approval of others over His
  • Feeling unworthy
  • Feeling unloved
  • Pride
  • Emotional Eating
  • Being insecure over not fitting in a mold
  • False security’s

Through prayer, through His word, with people who’ve come alongside of me—He has been faithful. He sent His Son in place of my brokenness to restore these ruins. DAILY I seek Him as my D E L I V E R E R because I know the enemy is just around the corner, hoping I stay in my ruins. The enemy wants me to camp out there, pouring out of my brokenness and staying captive, delighting in my constant bondage.

Friend, I hope to encourage you, that while this is a messy process, it’s worth it. He wants to rebuild, to take away the debris and the pain that one was and restore you to everlasting joy (Isaiah 61:7). He wants to free you from bondage and tell your story. Not the one of once was but what will be. And if you just don’t know what that conversation looks like, I’m happy to grab cup of coffee and chat.

XOXO, Jillian

Here’s some photos of my travels at the Colosseum and the Great Wall of China.