When I was first exposed to the Faith Process, it was life changing. Finally, I had a framework for applying Scripture to the broken pieces of my life. I loved it; the basic principles I’d been living by were all neatly laid out on a page. It was the greatest thing since sliced bread!!
Of course, that was in theory. Actually walking through the steps of the Faith Process, in the midst of heartache and grief, was an entirely different experience altogether. Life is so much easier to live when filtered through the lens of other people’s experiences.
When, on the other hand, you are forced to apply such lessons, it is much more difficult than it seems. Such was the case when I was first introduced to the Faith Process; days later, I found out the baby I was carrying was dead. Suddenly choosing to live as though God’s Word was true, regardless of circumstances, emotions, or cultural trends became much more than an academic exercise. And it was so much more difficult than I anticipated it would be.
Now, almost ten years later, I’ve had much more practice choosing to live as though God’s Word is true. It has, in many situations, become almost second nature; not easy, necessarily, but a path well worn, you might say. Which is incredibly helpful as I type this.
Today is probably one of the most painful of my entire life. I’ve experienced the death, not of a person, but of a relationship. Someone I’ve been very close to tore down the facade that characterized our relationship, revealing the shriveled, empty shell of what once was beautiful and vibrant.
Because I know that God’s Word is true, regardless of my emotions, I know that God has not (nor will He) reject me. I know that He puts the lonely in families, and He binds up the brokenhearted. He brings beauty out of ashes, and redeems the years the locusts have eaten. I know these things are true. But they don’t feel true. The culture doesn’t prove they are true. And my circumstances demonstrate them untrue. But I know God’s Word is true.
So, I am making a choice. I am choosing to forgive this one who has rejected me, though I don’t know what that will look like in “real life.” And I’m choosing to reject the lies that I’m to blame for the situation (though I definitely share the fault), that the person who has rejected me is my enemy (we battle not against flesh and blood – people are not the enemy), or that I should respond in kind (vengeance is God’s, not mine). And I’m choosing to ask myself the question; if I’m going to live as though God’s Word is true, how am I going to live? If I’m going to live as though it’s true that God puts the lonely in families (Psalm 68:6), how am I going to live? If God promises to bring beauty out of ashes (Is 61:3), how am I going to live? If God promises never to leave me or forsake me (Heb 13:5), how am I going to live? If God asks me to praise Him in all circumstances (1 Thess 5:18), how am I going to live?
God does put lonely in families – He’s given me a big one. And He will bring beauty out of these ashes – I’ve seen Him do it…so I’ll trust Him with these ashes. And I will bring a sacrifice of praise…life doesn’t feel good; tears have coursed down my cheeks at different times this evening. But God is still good. His character is not affected by my circumstances. I can, and will, praise Him, because He is worthy of praise, even if what I’m feeling is not. And I will walk through tomorrow with confidence – I do not have to be defined by this rejection. If the Creator of the Universe doesn’t turn His back on me, regardless of what I do (or don’t do), then it doesn’t matter if someone else does – it hurts, I’m grieving, I don’t like it. But I don’t have to be defined by it.
The Japanese have an art called “kinsugi“. It is the repair of broken pottery using gold, or using gold dust. It is beautiful, because of the brokenness. Some lovers of the art have been known to break pottery intentionally, for the sole purpose of having it repaired.
God doesn’t make beautiful things only to break them and make them more beautiful. We do a good job of breaking things all by ourselves. But, He does bring beauty out of ashes, and He heals broken things. 2 Corinthians 4:7 says that we have the treasure of Jesus in earthen vessels, so that we can glorify God and not ourselves. God uses clay pots…even cracked pots, so that His glory can shine through. If I’m going to live as though that is true, I may just praise God for this storm, even in the midst of it.
2 thoughts on “Beauty out of Ashes”
That Japanese art form is intriguing and a picture of how our brokenness looks better after He deals with it. Your words are well spoken. The pain is obvious. But the victory is even more obvious.
Thanks, Dayle. That means so much, especially coming from you. God is good, even when life doesn’t feel good…a lesson God used you to help teach me. Thank you for helping me walk the journey as God keeps His promise to bring beauty out of ashes.