Turning Ashes into Beauty

Our Pastor is doing a sermon series in February about the gods of marriage. The first one, yesterday, focused on a “controlling” relationship. For me, this was a trigger bringing back PTSD flashes from my first marriage. Out of the 25 things listed as being in a controlling relationship, my marriage met 21 of them (we didn’t have mobile phones at that time).

However, one thing stood out to me. We can only be controlled to the extent that we “allow” this to happen. I was a woman who lived with low self worth. I wanted to be loved. I dreamed of a fairy tale marriage. The dream didn’t come true, though I don’t think any one of us ever has a fairy tale relationship. We don’t see in fairy tales what happens after the happily ever after scene.

I say I tried to get out of the situation I was in, but I was weak and kept going back. It took therapy to help me see what I had to do. But God never left me during this time. I often turned my back on Him! So what did I learn during those 16 years? I learned God brought something beautiful from those years of suffering: Four children – the greatest blessings of my life. When I finally gained the courage to say no more and we divorced, God brought a new man into my life. And that’s when I learned what love was and what love wasn’t.

Why am I writing this? I’ve spoken out publicly before about being a survivor. Unfortunately it was about me instead of about God. I would not have survived those years without Him. I would not have seen the true destruction of family without Him. I would not have walked away from the security of money without Him. No matter how many times I let go of his hand, He followed me. I was the one sheep He left the 99 to save.

Perhaps yesterday’s sermon was to help me shine light on that time of my life and appreciate the good parts, the blessings, and to see how God was present the entire time. I was simply wearing blinders. I am living in the Light now, and I write stories about people who are dealing with life trials. My books show how letting go and letting God will change hearts and lives. They are books of hope and inspiration. Because God has brought me through many trials in my life, I can tell my stories through fictional characters and situations. All glory to Him! He has turned my ashes into beauty.

Isaiah 61:1-3 NLT “The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon me, for the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted and to proclaim that captives will be released and prisoners will be freed. He has sent me to tell those who mourn that the time of the LORD’s favor has come, and with it, the day of God’s anger against their enemies. 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.”