Friday, March 20, 2009

Beauty for Ashes...

"To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified."
—Isaiah 61:3
Sweet beauty for ashes. A thought I hold dear to my very soul. To think...when I think everything in my life is being destroyed, God takes this very thing, the bi-product of something being burned, and makes something beautiful with it.
Lately, I have been intrigued with the concept of beauty for ashes. I remember sitting months ago in the coffee shop at church, talking with my friend Kaleb about how I felt like people thought I was "moving too fast" and not "healing" and he stopped me and said that people cannot judge me for how God was making "beauty from ashes". I have heard Kaleb talk about this subject many times since then, each time making the subject grow deeper in my heart.
I really sit and think about the different forms of fires and ashes and how they can be applied to my life.
Life's Fires:
1. God burning away the chaff, the waste
2. Our living sacrifice on the altar
3. The passion of God burning through us
When we begin to see His face and to want to do His will, He will slowly begin to burn away the chaff in our lives. To remove the waste. At the point where we willingly submit our lives to Him, we lay ourselves down at the altar as a living sacrifice, pure and holy from his burning fire. Once we lay ourselves our the altar, He burns us with a passion for Him.
So after this three part burning process, what is left is simply a pile of ashes. I thought to myself, what are some real life uses for ashes. What I found made me take a step back and say "aha"...
~ Enrich Fertilizer
~ Block Garden Pests
~ Melt Ice
~ Control Pond Algae
~ Make Soap
~ Shine Silver
Think abstract. Very abstract.
After we lay ourselves down on the altar, if all we have left are ashes, how can we allow these ashes to be used? We can get the ground ready for a seed , we can keep away the pests in life, we can melt hearts of ice, we can control unhealthy growth, we can use what we are to help clean people, we can take something very dull and dark and make it shine again.
Something as seemingly useless as a pile of ashes, can be used to make an impact on so many. He can use these ashes that seem so useless and make something beautiful with them.
I want so bad for God to take this pile of ashes that I consider my life and make it something beautiful. I never asked to be a widow. When I was a little girl, I didn't say to myself "When I grow up, I want to be a princess or a widow"... God does not want us to say "where do you want me to go and I'll go", He wants us to say "I'll go, now tell me where". I grew up with thoughts and plans for my future. I wanted to be a wife and have lots of children. Even as I transitioned into adulthood I found these things to be intense desires of mine. Especially to be a mom. So many times I held my friends newborn babies and just cried out to God to be able to hold my own child. At the beginning of 2008, I told God I wanted to be content no matter what. I never once imagined life would take me down the road it did and leave me stranded...a barren widow. But from these ashes...from God removing the waste in my life, to me willingly laying down my life to do His purpose, He is bringing forth something beautiful, something indescribable.
I think...its beauty.
I have so many sweet, wonderful widow friends who read my blog. So many of you touch my heart in such deep ways. And I'm watching God making something beautiful with your life and your sacrifice. I think of E and how I have sat and prayed for her, consumed with compassion for her, and surely enough I am watching God make something so incredibley beautiful with her story that it ministers to my spirit. And many of you wonder, why me?
I cannot answer why you or why me for that matter. But I can say that such sacrifice is producing a beauty so intense and so powerful, I can only sit in quiet anticipation as I watch God's power and light resonate from each and every life.
So remember... He is making BEAUTY from ASHES.
And to keep having HOPE for your future....He has a plan. Otherwise, He wouldn't have specifically chosen you for this task. And if my God, who made the heavens and earth, armadillos and candy canes, Canada and a baby's sweet first God who made all of this and more chose ME to specifically be the one He uses...If He CHOSE me, then I know I don't have to worry for a moment about where this road is taking me.
Oh such beauty.


Anonymous said...

That was lovely. I am not going through the same things but needed to be reminded of God making beauty from ashes and also of hope. The last few weeks have put me in a position I wanted to just not think about things. That way I wouldn't need to come to terms, hope, or be disappointed if life/situations didn't turn out as I hoped. I had let go of hope. Thanks for sharing where you are.

Brittany said...

Thank you for the reminder that God has chosen me for this task. I can forget so easily, even after much healing and 3 years.

Kara said...

God has given you such a gift! Thank you for sharing how God is working and transforming you in different areas of your life. When you write things like this it opens up the door for God to work in everyone’s soul who reads it. Because of your willingness to be used God is working in others. Thanks Sarah! I love you!