Today, for the first time in months, I opened up the nursery door and left it open a little while.
I’ve lost count of how many days I’ve walked down the hallway, passing that door, only to feel warm tears well up in my eyes and feel the same, familiar ache resurface in my heart. I’ve laid curled up on the nursery floor, weeping until my whole body became physically exhausted. Many nights, I’ve sat in the rocking chair in the dark, pouring my heart out to the Lord, asking Him to give me the strength to keep trusting Him when I don’t know how. I’ve mourned over a room that should have been filled with life, cries, and baby giggles, but instead has remained silent and empty for over a year. I’ve left the door closed, and sometimes locked, because for so many reasons it’s just been too hard.
But not today. Coming through the window there is a beam of light shining after the rain has stopped, and instead of feeling sadness, there’s something new stirring. Hope. Joy. New life beginning to form again in a once dead place.
Our adoption journey to bring a baby girl home has begun! God is once again doing a new thing in our family, and in just a matter of time this once dead place in our home will burst baby cries again. The sound of baby giggles again. New life, again. To God alone be all the glory!
When I first started this blog, I immediately new what I wanted to name it. The title “Beauty for Ashes” comes from a verse in Isaiah that I have clung to with my life since July 25, 2017–the day we lost Collier. It says:
“To comfort all who mourn and provide for those who grieve in Zion- to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair (Isaiah 61:3).”
This verse has given me hope on the hardest days. It’s comforted my heart and reminded me that God will not leave His children in despair. It’s spoken truth to my mind when the Enemy has tried to fill it with lies. It’s God’s promise to me that He will bring beauty from ashes. He will restore life to dead places. It’s what He does.
Have you ever wondered why the islands of Hawaii are so beautiful? It’s because they are surrounded by volcanoes. That sounds a little backwards, I know. When a volcano initially erupts, it destroys life. The heat from the ash and lava will kill any plants, animals or people that are in it’s deadly path. However, over time what results is the most rich, fertile soil for life to grow. Once the ash cools, some of the largest, most luscious plants can flourish, yielding some of the most beautiful landscape you’ve ever seen. The beauty of the Hawaiian islands is the result of deadly, volcanic ash. Beauty came from the ashes.
I cannot recount all the beautiful things that God has done in my life amidst all the ash. He has restored dead places of my heart. He has taught me to trust Him more fully. He has drawn me to the beauty of His character and how wonderful of a Savior He is. He has strengthened my faith and given me the power to endure the most trying year of my life. He has given me opportunities to share with others of His goodness. He has strengthened our family and shown my children He’s able to be trusted and worthy of worship. He has made me fall in love with who He is more than I ever have. When I think of all the beauty He’s grown from the ashes, I can’t help but be emotional. He is such a good, good God!!
I want you to know that God can do the same in your life. He truly does love you with an everlasting love, and He wants to restore the broken places of your life. He wants to bring beauty from the ash heap you’re sitting among, wondering what He could possibly do with your mess. Friend, if you’re sitting in the middle of ash, you’re in the perfect place for God to do something beautiful, for Him to restore life to dead places.
Today, I pray you’ll open any doors that have been too painful to unlock. I pray you’ll let the light shine in and allow Him to grow beauty from your ashes.