Beauty for Ashes
I recently corresponded with a covenant keeper who wrote: “I receive your newsletter/website postings each week. I was greatly touched by your testimony in Craig Hill’s book, Help My Spouse Wants Out, but never expected to be one of those standing for my marriage. The last two years have been difficult but I knew in my heart that standing for the covenant I made was the only way. God is changing my husband’s heart and he is opening up. I just wanted to thank you because these articles have spoken to my heart and ministered to very specific things that God was showing me. Thank you for your faithfulness to stand and encourage those who are. I just wanted to write and thank you, as so many times we think it and do not say it! Many blessings to you and the ministry.” Her letter confirmed the importance of our newsletter/website emails. Your support makes it possible for us to develop and send them out so we extend her “thank you” to you also.
In addition, she also shared how her self esteem has been affected by the rejection she has experienced from her spouse and others. I know many of you are experiencing the same emotions, feeling you are somehow devalued and no longer worthy as a person. You feel rejected. A complete failure. Not good enough. Not pretty enough. Not smart enough. Not sexy enough.
I remember how confused I was when my husband first left me. My self esteem was at ground zero. For twenty-seven years I had been “Foy’s wife, Marilyn” and now I had to discover who I was in God’s sight. This realization did not come over night, but was a process which turned the ashes of my destroyed life into beauty. Isaiah 61:3 says, To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified. (KJV)
I recently heard the story of three trees in a vast forest. The olive tree dreamed of being carved into a treasure chest to hold precious jewels. However, this did not happen. He was made into a manger where the baby Jesus was born. The tall oak tree envisioned being made into a huge ship one day. Instead, he was made into a small fishing boat and carried the King of Kings across the Sea of Galilee. The pine tree was the tallest tree in the forest and was struck by a bolt of lightening. He was stacked into a pile and one day soldiers made him into a cross. He held God’s Son, the King of Glory, as He died for the sins of all mankind. As trees of righteousness we have the privilege of relinquishing our plans in exchange for God’s will for our lives.
I discovered God had a wonderful plan for my life and wanted to use me in the midst of all I was going through, while I was standing for the healing of my marriage. As a dear friend of a sister ministry, Marilyn Phillipps, says, “God always wants us to reach out from where we are, not from where we are going. If we wait until we get there, we begin to focus only on ourselves.”
Please remember that we are valuable to God. He created us and although others may reject us, our value has not diminished. Fear of rejection has no place in our life because we are God’s creation! For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7 (KJV)
We can choose to use this time to grow and change, not because other people determine our self worth, but because we are precious and valuable in God’s sight. He will give us beauty for ashes, but we must give Him the ashes and receive the beauty.
We are like a crisp, new $100 bill. If we wad the bill up into a ball, the value has not changed. If we put in on the ground and step on it, the value does not change because it is soiled and dirty. It’s still a $100 bill! God has a great plan for our life and marriage and our value has not decreased or changed because of the rejection we have experienced.
People (spouse, children, family, church) may reject us but God accepts us. Even though life is not fair, God is! He gives us back double for our former shame.
For your shame ye shall have double; and for confusion they shall rejoice in their portion: therefore in their land they shall possess the double: everlasting joy shall be unto them. Isaiah 61:7 (KJV)
During this season of your life sow seeds of faith, love, and forgiveness and expect God’s miracle in your situation. Expect beauty for ashes!