Give them Beauty for Ashes


Isaiah 61:1-3 The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me, Because the Lord has anointed Me To preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to help the broken hearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; To comfort all who mourn, to console 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.”

The holidays are officially upon us. Good wishes are being given, lights are brighter, meals and memories are being shared. Everything should be merry and bright.

Last night, my daughter was looking thru her Christmas books not being satisfied with what she saw. “Mommy, where is the book that reads to me? She asked. “The Christmas book that Nana and Grandpa recorded, the one that reads to me?” My heart sank. My merry and bright gone. This will be my third Christmas without my Dad. My third Christmas not hearing him playing carols on his guitar, my third year not bringing him eggnog, my third year not painstakingly trying to figure out what to buy for a 70+ year old man who has everything he wanted or needed. And still by this third year, I am not ready to hear his recording of “The Night before Christmas” that he and my mother took time to record so my kiddos could always hear their voices. Darn, thoughtful, amazing grandparents. Darn you!

The reality is merry and bright is not always how I feel, and the truth is that for some people November and December is hard. For those who have family that are living but not in your lives. For those who have lost a loved one. For those who had a break up, or divorce. For those who thought they would be married by now or have a baby by now. For those who feel grief, exhaustion, or loneliness. The very thing that makes the holidays so meaningful for some is the very thing that makes the holidays hard for others. But this very moment you are living in is the very moment that God will fill you with His strength. Fall at His feet my friend and He will pick you up.

The truth is up until my 30’s my life was like walking thru daisies. I had not truly experienced life’s pains and even though I had a relationship with God, my Savior, and had leaned on him many times, I never found myself at his feet. My 30’s were different. Life experiences were had, and I found myself at the feet of Jesus many times begging for strength. Losing my father being one of those times. I cling to those moments. They make life real for me and they give me understanding and love for others. Not that I ever wish all the “life pain’s” that were lived in my 30’s to happen again I do “Consider it Joy”…that I might be “complete in Christ” (James 1:2-4) that I have gone thru these experiences with my God who created me, who loves me and who will never leave my side.

On the hard days, friend, let it be hard and cry with a God who will take care of you (Psalm 27:10). On the hard days don’t do it alone, find a friend, find a church, find someone to give you beauty for your ashes, to pour you oil of joy for your mourning, to hand you a garment of praise for your spirit of heaviness and give all the glory to God!