Beauty for Ashes

       I’m just thinking today about how faithful God is to take our trash and turn it into something beautiful.  It’s like the analogy I heard over the weekend.  Have you ever seen a crack in a barn wall?  Light comes shining through that crack every day at the same time.  Light shimmers through hitting the same spot on the ground everyday.  There’s a perfect green, vibrant plant that’s rooted and happily growing there.  Without that daily sunlight, it couldn’t have life.  Without the crack, there couldn’t be light shining through.  It’s the same with us.  Without our cracks and imperfections, we couldn’t let God’s light filter through us onto others, bringing them healing and life that can only come from the Son.  Sometimes our cracks are a result of injuries to us that were completely out of our control.  Sometimes they are a result of our own decisions and sin in our lives.  Either way, we have a choice to remain empty and broken or to fill up with the light, life and healing that can only come from Jesus. 

      As I thought about this, I thought about how proud I am of my brother, Keith, and his wife Joann.   They’ve allowed God to take some difficult times in their relationship and turn it into something beautiful for Him.   I’m so proud of them for not giving up on each other and the vows they made to one another.  It’s a reminder of God’s redeeming love and forgiveness.  So now through their difficulties and imperfections, they are reaching out to a married couple to try to help them through a difficult time.  Beauty for ashes…..I love it.  It follows along with the sermon from the weekend a little too.  We have to humble ourselves and lay down our pride to be transparent enough with people for God to use us in this way.  I read this in the Beth Moore blog today and thought it was worth sharing.

“I prepared a Bible lesson that I prayed would reach across our cultural barriers. The twenty-or-so women sat on the floor and listened carefully and respectfully as I shared through an interpreter but I could tell we were not connecting. I mean, why should we? What on earth did I really have to say to them? We had almost nothing in common. I was nearly shamed. I kept delivering the lesson but, in my spirit, I was imploring God for a breakthrough. Then the oddest thing happened to me.

It was like God reached all the way down into the recesses of my memory and emotions and pulled up to the surface the part of me that had experienced abuse and oppression and helplessness. He touched off a whole part of myself I do everything possible to avoid. It was as if all of it had happened the day before. I went straight to my knees and began crawling from woman to woman, laying hands on them and praying things over them only God could have told me to pray. I bawled and they bawled. I wish you could picture the interpreter crawling right behind me. The Holy Spirit fell on us that day and I knew right then one of the reasons God allowed me to have those horrible experiences. How could we even begin to know what others are enduring if no suffering has come to us? We can say the words but nothing is quite like feeling the feelings. No, I still couldn’t enter into their world or their insurmountable challenges and, yes, I’d been free of that oppression for years and they probably never would be this side of Heaven. Still, it was the closest I could come to sharing some small measure of their pain. That evening in northern India was one of the first times it occurred to me that other people could become worth what you’ve been through if Christ could touch them through you. I’ve thought it many times since then. God alone is worthy.”

       God took her imperfections and used them for His glory, when she willingly humbled herself and just followed His leading.  Good stuff.   What cracks and imperfectons do you have in your life?   Are you choosing to stay empty and broken, or are you allowing Jesus to fill you through and through with His life giving, healing  Son light?  Are you willing to lay down your pride to be transparent enough for His light in your life to bring healing and life to others?    “and provide for those who grieve in Zion— to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.”   Isaiah 61:3

6 thoughts on “Beauty for Ashes

  1. Betty McKay says:

    What a blessing! As I read your blog it was like a daily devotion
    and touched me so much. Don’t stop writing and thank you for being obedient to God. You are a jewel and God is using you in
    mighty ways. I am so thankful He has placed YOU in my life.

  2. riveradouthit says:

    Love YOU Jo. YES we all certainly have ashes. I love the heart you and Keith have to openly allow God to use your ashes for HIS glory.

    Jen, thank you. I really enjoyed looking at your blog as well. You have a beautiful family:) What are the scripture memory verses from? I know Beth Moore does that on her blog as well. Love to you and yours.

  3. JoAnn says:

    It has been my prayer that God would use my ashes for beauty and boy do I have them…we all do! The restoration of our marriage is a true testimony to God’s power in our lives if we seek Him! Keith and I desire to see with our eyes in this lifetime how he can use even our time of separation for His glory! Thanks for all your support. Much love-

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