I walked into the sanctuary with such an expectancy in my heart, not really knowing all that was in store for me. Worship began and my heart was flooding with emotions. During a Kari Jobe song Forever Yours I heard a whisper … beauty for ashes. I had heard these 3 words many times before in songs, had read them in the bible, and even shared about this during ministry times at Embrace Grace. But this time it felt different. Somehow. I knew that something was happening inside of me and I was waiting to find out what that something was.
During a Kairos2 Freedom session, my heart began to receive healing in spots that I did not even know were hurting and broken. My heart was fully engaged and open to receive the words that were being shared. During one session, we were encouraged to be surrounded by a grace bubble and allow anything that was hurting inside of us to surface. I had suppressed so many things so far deep inside of me that it was even crunched down in my tippie toes… I felt Jesus’ healing hands reaching down and taking all of that anger, abuse, abandonment and more away from the depths within me. He drew all of these things out of me and took them completely away. It was during this moment that I was crying out to God that I felt such a release and knew that He was taking all that I had suppressed and compacted down inside. Similar to a trash compactor, I kept filling it up, then pushing the button and it would compact and scrunch down the hurts and disappointments, and I would just forget about it. Not really realizing that all of that was buried deep down inside of me from hurts as a child and growing up. I experienced such a sweet release when I fully let go. I let Jesus take out the “trash” from my compactor for good!
At the end of the ministry session, a pastor stepped up and said God wanted to restore honor to His children. He began to read Isaiah 61 over us. He asked for us to stand up when a passage touched our hearts. I held my message bible in hand and was reading along as he read from a different version. The moment that he said beauty for ashes… my heart said now its time to stand up! The words that I read with my own eyes from the message bible said something a little different and it wasn’t until that moment when I stood up that I had ever noticed it before. The words beauty for ashes instead read …a bouquet of roses. I then heard a gentle whisper you will receive a bouquet of roses tomorrow.
I smiled and excitedly pictured roses in my mind. I knew that the very next day my hubby and I would be celebrating our 17 year wedding anniversary and he loves to surprise me with roses! Roses are so gorgeous! I was getting ready for our special date when he walked in our room with the most beautiful arrangement- a bouquet of roses just like God had promised. They were a creamy-white color with pink tips. Simply Beautiful! The roses had such a sweet fragrance that my heart melted. I gave my man a sweet kiss and said “Ahhh, I love my roses!!”
I woke up early one morning ready to take a plunge into our pool that we had heated up for my son’s birthday. To my delight as I stood at the edge of the ledge, I saw a single rose blossom on the rose bush in our backyard. I was so excited that I jumped extra high, and then came down a little too close to the shallow end of the pool and broke my 4 toes. I could not even wiggle my toes… This was my rose and thorn all wrapped up in one … seeing the rose, but then breaking my toes… sigh…
A few days later we were in East Texas visiting family. A desire of mine has always been to visit the Rose Garden in Tyler. I was born in Tyler, the rose capital of the world, and had never even been to see the Rose Garden. That’s just sad… Before I left the log cabin, I felt an impression to write out the ashes of my life…past hurts, such as abuse, abandonment, attacks, anger and more that I had suppressed inside of me for so long, to fully express it on paper. Once my list was complete, I handed to my hubby and asked him to burn it for me. He placed the list in a candle votive and lit the paper on fire and together we watched it burn. There is something so powerful that occurs when you watch the ashes of your life melt away and turn into black pieces of ash. I collected the ashes in the votive and wrapped with tissues and took along with me to the Rose Garden. It was early March and the roses are not in full bloom until April, but such a beautiful display of thousands of rose bushes and tiny buds surrounded me. An occasional rose bloom was spotted here and there and I captured these beauties on camera. My heart was excited with the smells and colors all around me. I felt like a little girl walking around in amazement.
I walked over to a white gazebo in the far corner of the rose garden and saw a sign “a place of remembrance”… I whispered a prayer and then pulled out the votive with all the ashes and sprinkled them out on the rose bushes. A final release of the ashes from my life… as God gave me a bouquet of roses in a beautiful display.
Are there ashes in your life that you would like to release? God loves to take the ashes of our lives and turn them into something beautiful. Take a moment to write out a list of your own. You may want to rip it up, shred it, burn it or whatever you feel led to do. Just know that God brings beauty for your ashes. He heals the brokenhearted.
Roses are a symbol of love and beauty. During the Middle Ages, roses were thought to have significant religious meaning. The red rose symbolized the blood of Christ. Roses with thorns have long been a symbol of adversity, as well as sacrifice. Abraham Lincoln once said “We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.”
At Embrace Grace we have a time of sharing our roses and thorns with each other. Rose being the good thing that happened in your week, and the thorn being the not so good thing… Embrace the roses and thorns in your life knowing that it is making you stronger and building your perseverance.
We would love for you to share your rose or thorn with us. We can rejoice and pray with you.
The Spirit of God, the Master, is on me because God anointed me. He sent me to preach good news to the poor, heal the heartbroken, announce freedom to all captives, pardon all prisoners. God sent me to announce the year of His grace- a celebration of God’s destruction of our enemies- and to comfort all who mourn, to care for the needs of all who mourn in Zion, give them bouquets of roses instead of ashes, messages of joy instead of news of doom, a praising heart instead of a languid spirit. Isaiah 61:1-3 MSG
Written by Salina Duffy