Beauty for Ashes

 

many-roses-pic

             “God makes all everything beautiful in his time.”  ( Ecclesiastics 3:11)

The Bible tells us that God wants to take our struggles and make something beautiful from them. His plans are good for us even in the mist of a storm.  Jeremiah 29:11  tells us “For I know the thoughts that I think towards you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.”

If 2016 brought you disappointment, sorrow, or discouragement, this post is for you. None of us are immune to pain. It is part of His plan. But the beautiful part is that he:

Consoles those who mourn in Zion,

to give them beauty for ashes,

The oil of joy for mourning,

The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness;

That they may be called trees of righteousness,

The planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.

( Isaiah 61:3)

Have you made a New Year’s Resolution? I have and its based on this verse. May God bring beauty from the ashes in my life. I’m trusting this verse to bring me the joy, peace, and love that I desire in 2017.

Why do we go through the fire?

Psalm 84:6 tells us that As they pass through the Valley of Baca, They make it a spring; The rain also covers it with pools.”  

Those of us that go through times of mourning and weeping we make a well, so the next person has water to drink from. Their pain is not as hurtful. We are able to encourage, help ,and love on those that are mourning.

If you haven’t thought of a word or phrase to define your journey into 2017 join me in this phrase based on God’s promises!

beauty-for-ashes

 

Linking up with: Coffee for your heart 

The Waters so Still

still waters 33

I wrote this poem to describe how refreshing and healing the waters can be to ones soul.

When my Soul Needs Soothing

When my soul needs soothing, I play the guitar,

slow rhythmic songs that require repetition of chords

that counteract the rapid beating of my heart and the

shaking of my hands.

The strumming of the guitar comforts me, calms me,

soothes me,

as I begin to sing songs that I love,

and songs that I’ve heard a million times before.

My heart begins to lift,

the lump in my throat begins to loosen,

and my shaking from my hand steadies.

I sing a song inspired from Psalms 23

He leads me besides the water, so still. Let me

catch my breath. Let me drink my fill. Let me lie in fields of green

where only gentle breezes flow

and I’ll reach out my empty hand for the cup

that over flows. Restore my soul.”

When my soul needs soothing, I call my best friend,

older and wiser, she gives the best advice.

Gleaning from her own experiences, she gently listens

as I let the sorrow out of my soul and spirit.

I am then ready to let the healing process begin.

As my true friend, she is never afraid

to speak the truth in love.

Her words are comfort, as apples on a fine day.

When my soul needs soothing, I pray.

I ask God to give me guidance and help

throughout the day,

When my soul needs soothing, I hold something precious in my hand.

A stone I’ve kept for memories, a special gift, or a photo

that evokes a loving memory.

I wrap myself up in something warm,

my sister’s hand-me-down bedspread,

the quilt my grandmother made for me,

or the green and red precious-moments blanket,

my friend from grade school made me as a present.

When my soul needs soothing, I cry until there are no

tear drops left to fall on my pillow.

Exhausted from the emotional drain of energy,

my body sinks deep down into the bed covers.

I fall asleep. I wake up the next day

fresh and ready to start a new.

When my soul needs soothing, I go to the oceans, lakes or my backyard pool.

I dive into the cool rushing water

and feel my body temperature change from warm to cool.

The water refreshes and calms me

as I swim each stroke. The deeper I swim underwater

the further away I become

from the sorrow  in my soul. I step out of the water and lie beside it,

in a lounge chair,  relaxing

as I feel the sun’s rays dry my skin

and let the warmth touch deep down

past my skin

into the depths of my soul…

and I am restored.

Stones of Rememberance

Rocks

While shopping at Bed Bath and Beyond yesterday, I bought a stone. I usually find them and then paint them, but this stone was perfect, so I bought it! I loved the color, the texture, and the word inscribed. It looked similar to the rocks pictured above and the word written on the rock I chose was “hope.” Through this rock, I was praying and hoping for a season that is filled with good dreams, bright days, new friendships, and good health.

The movie, “The Long, Long Trailer,” which takes place in the  1950’s, depicts a newly wed couple and their travels across the country. The conflicts in this marriage begin sooner than one would suspect simply because they take on such big goals. It’s always good to have a plan but sometimes we need to be realistic and start out slow. Their first mistake–which so many of us make–was financial. They invested in a trailer. Their next mistake was communication. Literally, and figuratively, in every way, shape, and form, these two people could not communicate with one another. In the beginning, it was sweet, but then things started to get ugly.

Lucy and Ricky
The reason I am reminiscent about this short film is because of the scene were Lucy decides she wants to save rocks for memory sake. But Ricky, her husbands says–no way Jose–because it would make the trailer too heavy to go over the hills. The lighter the load the easier the drive. But Lucy just simply could not let go. So she took it upon herself to find a solution and she hid the rocks from Ricky. Problem solved. No…here’s what happens next:

The road began to get ever so bumpy, and then… scary! Ricky, nervously…cautiously drove this trailer up a upaved mountain road. The entire time unaware that Lucy had hid the rocks in the trailer because she could simply not let them go. They came tumbling out and Ricky did find them, and then he nearly blew his top, having been so mad. In the end, they made it through the dangerous mountain road. Although their mountain path was cleared, their relationship was now the one on the rocks.

I love stones. I like to remember the times when God has been good to me in my life. In the book of Joshua the Lord instructed him –after they were freed from the pharaoh in Egypt and passed the Red Sea– to collect stones of remembrance.
Joshua 4 New International Version (NIV)

1 When the whole nation had finished crossing the Jordan, the Lord said to Joshua, 2 “Choose twelve men from among the people, one from each tribe, 3 and tell them to take up twelve stones from the middle of the Jordan, from right where the priests are standing, and carry them over with you and put them down at the place where you stay tonight.”

4 So Joshua called together the twelve men he had appointed from the Israelites, one from each tribe, 5 and said to them, “Go over before the ark of the Lord your God into the middle of the Jordan. Each of you is to take up a stone on his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the Israelites, 6 to serve as a sign among you. In the future, when your children ask you, ‘What do these stones mean?’ 7 tell them that the flow of the Jordan was cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord. When it crossed the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. These stones are to be a memorial to the people of Israel forever.”

Seasons of trials, blessings, or storms, I like to remember special places. I too collect stones although not as many as Lucy–but I can relate to her sentiments.  Remembering the places we have been with stones is a great idea…but moderation is also important. This film is hilarious and truly a classic.

Below is the trailer for the film, “The Long, Long Trailer.”

 

Photo Credit (stones) : Kathy Fornal

Flowers Bloom with Love, Peace, and Joy

hope-quote-2

As my husband and I placed the finishing touches on our living room, I stepped backed and felt relieved. It was finally done. The remodeling project had taken more time than originally anticipated. So today, my plans were to do something creative with the outside of my house. And I decided to work in the flower garden.

1024px-Stockholm-lilac

Happy to be outside for a change–instead of smelling freshly primed paint–I breathed in the smell of Lilac flowers. After wandering through Lowes, I finally decided on Lilac, a lavender scented flower with purple and rose tinted petals. As I planted the Lilac flowers in my newly soiled planter, I began to smile as the beauty of the flowers brought a laughter to my heart. I suppose you could say this was joy. I know that my planter has been empty for at least one to two years now. And for this same time or season there has not been much joy in my heart or in my home. But things are changing for the better.

2006-08-19-native-lilac

I am happy that through the grief and through the struggles, I am know able to rest and truly have peace and love  in my heart, which has not always been the case.

Rejoicing in this new day…

inspirational-bible-verses-131