Beauty for Ashes

shutterstock_148849742Numb.  I stared into space trying to comprehend what had taken place just a few days before.  The excruciating pain that reverberated throughout my heart had subsided to leave an aching numbness.  Betrayal.  I felt betrayed by hope. Betrayed really…by myself.  How could I have even held on to a sliver of hope in an obviously hopeless situation?  And yet there I was, a processor by nature it took several hours for my mind to catch up with what my heart already knew.  And the tears flowed.  Huge tears that came from a reservoir deep within that had yet to be fully emptied.  Pain that had been trapped and stuffed down by loyalty wrongfully given, wrongfully placed.  In the aftermath of the waves of sorrow, a very dim light came forth.  Something that felt like freedom and smelled like new.  I rose, reaching deep within to find some semblance of the woman God had called me to be.  And I found her there.  Dusty from the ashes of the pain of heartbreak, yet a crown of beauty on her head.

To all who mourn in Israel, he will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair.  In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the Lord has planted for his own glory. Isaiah 61:3

In the days that followed, God gently worked on my heart.  Reminding me that He was there.  Lovingly pursuing me, captivating me again.  I had always struggled with allowing Him to heal certain areas of my life because I was either blaming someone else for my pain or choosing not to deal with my pain at all – telling myself it wouldn’t matter anyway.  This time though, He opened the eyes of my heart to something different.

When Jesus died on the cross, He took our sins, our shame onto Himself and gave us His righteousness.  There was an exchange that took place.  When we accept Jesus as Lord of our lives, and ask Him into our hearts, He takes the old and fills it with the new, His Holy Spirit – an exchange takes place.  In just the same way, when we feel betrayed, hurt, or wronged – if we will come to Him with all of those feelings, He will willingly take them and exchange them for His grace, His peace, His love.

As I drove home from a long day and the familiar pangs tried to come back again, I made a conscious decision to take them to the Lord.  “Abba I feel so betrayed, so hurt, so angry, even jealous…but I don’t want to feel this way.  I choose to give these feelings over to You.  Please give me Your peace.  Please heal my heart and fill me with Your joy.”

Although my heart is still tender, I know that I am on my way to full healing and restoration of what was broken inside.  I know that there is beauty for ashes and joy for pain stored up for all those who choose to include Him in every little detail, trusting Him to be Jehovah Rapha – the God That Heals.

Written by Jamie Stapleton

3 thoughts on “Beauty for Ashes

  1. Thank you, Jamie, this is beautifully written, and a “two-fer” for me today. You’ve put into words the fears and pain that are so familiar, and reminded me of HIS plans for us, that even “dusty hope” can be made bright by the Lord. Thank you!!!

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