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HOW HAS HE TURNED YOUR ASHES INTO BEAUTY?

beautyforashesWhen we don’t back away from the Lord, the enemy cannot win, for the Lord uses even the hardest things in our lives for good, turning ashes into beauty.

One of the hardest things for me was regret. Regret that I had not stopped speaking, that I ever left Steve during his illness. What could God do with that? It was too late.

But the enemy is a liar. I could walk in repentance. Though I couldn’t be with Steve, there were people I could be with. God gave me an opportunity the year after Steve died with my mother. She was failing, at 93, and I determined to seize days with her. My mother was confined to a wheelchair and had dementia. She couldn’t remember what happened the day before. Each day when I went to see her, she whooped in joy, as if she hadn’t seen me in six months.Mother loved to sing the hymns. We’d sing and sing and sing. But though she knew the hymns, I did not have confidence that she really knew Jesus.

That Easter, shortly after her 93rd birthday, my son J. R. visited her and read her the story of the resurrection. He said, “Do you believe this, Grandma?”

She said, “I don’t know, J. R.”

J.R. was so burdened he went back to our cottage and prayed and prayed, then returned, and shared his simple testimony with his grandmother. He asked, “Have you ever trusted Christ, Grandma?”

She said, “I don’t think I have. Would you help me?”

And J. R. led his grandmother, his grandmother with dementia, to the Lord.

I visited her shortly after that. Because of her dementia, she often forgot Steve had died. One day she asked, “Is Steve coming today?”

“I’m sorry, Mom. Remember? Steve died.”

“Oh!” She said, biting her lip. “Oh!”

Then, after a moment she said, “Dee Dee, I’m going to find you a husband.”

I smiled, wondering about her resources. “Mother, I don’t want another husband,” I paused. “I don’t think I even want a dog.”

She wrinkled her brow, pondering this. She nodded. “I don’t think I do either.”

“Oh Mom, ” I laughed, trying to picture her with either.

Then I squeezed her hand and said, “We have Jesus.”

“Yes,” she smiled, “We do.”

A few months later, Mother’s life was ebbing away. I pleaded with God to let me be with her when she died. The whole amazing story is in The God of All Comfort, but I will tell you He allowed me to be with her.I will never forget the moment when she looked up with a radiant face and the nurse in the room said to me, “Dee — look, the King is coming.” And He came and took her.

When Jesus came, He opened the scroll of Isaiah and read:

“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 heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives,
And the opening of the prison to those who are bound;
2 To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD,
And the day of vengeance of our God;
To comfort all who mourn,
3 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.”

1. Meditate on the above, going slowly, reading as a lover reads, contemplating the images. What are some of the ways Jesus can turn our ashes into beauty? What do you see in this passage?

2. Do you have regrets? Though you cannot undo the past, how can you walk in repentance now?

3. Give an example of how Jesus is turning your ashes into beauty.

Happy Mother’s Day to every physical and spiritual mother. And Happy Mother’s Day, Mother! It gives me enormous joy to know you are with Jesus, and filled with all that is beautiful.

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47 comments

  1. Dee, This is SUCH a wonderful story. Every time I hear it it brings tears to my eyes. Beauty from ashes as only the Lord can bring.

  2. As I read the above scriptures I want to pray them back to the Lord for my oldest son Al. May this be the acceptable day for his return to the Lord. Would you also pray with me my sisters. Today we are planning to go out for lunch. I think it is time for some open conversation about the Lord. He will pull away as he has in the past but I am praying for boldness and the leading of the Spirit. I must be so careful. I pray the Lord will bring beauty from these ashes, today if possible.

    1. Praying with your for your son, Anne. I, too, am praying for my oldest son.

  3. Jesus is turning my “ashes into beauty” by “anointing me” with his spirit & blessing me with “good tiding”. He’s healing my “broken heart” & setting my spirit free. My heart is “opened to proclaim the Lord”. He comfort me when I “mourn & consoles those who mourn” with me. I wear the “garment of praise” & when my “spirit is heavy” I “glorify the Lord”. Thank you, Dee so much & Happy mother’s day to you!

  4. Jesus can open our eyes to see growth or positive adjustments to our character that are a direct result of our suffering. Often when we learn to see things from different perspectives, we are able to comfort others with genuine compassion that comes only from being able to honestly relate. He can guide our hearts into levels of worship and praise that we can’t completely experience without a tangible sense of desperation for something of value beyond the pain that feels impossible to set aside

    I see a promise that the Spirit of God is upon me, and has anointed me. It doesn’t say the Spirit comes when I’m completely through the healing process. It doesn’t indicate that God only anoints the most qualified individuals. Very clearly, this passage says He has come to allow ME the chance to touch the lives of others in positive ways.

    Yes, I have very deep regrets. I can go back to the individuals that I’ve participated in hurting along the way and offer a heartfelt humble apology. This doesn’t undo those things, but it gives a chance for complete closure and acknowledgement to the suffering I’ve caused others even if it was unintentionally. I suppose it offers a chance to bind the broken hearts I’ve left scattered along my own learning/healing process.

    He has used my suffering to help me grow and to see things from another perspective. I don’t know about the beauty, because I just haven’t quite gotten to where I can see this part yet.

    1. Amber, I appreciate what you say here. Jesus does open our eyes. Thankfully He only reveals one thing at a time or I think I would just implode. The thing I find odd is that this world is full of people who will hurt others and not care. I am not one of those people and yet I have hurt so many along the way and been completely blind. Maybe I have been manipulated and used by the enemy. But, when I see it, ask for and receive forgiveness…that is beauty from ashes. That is grace more beautiful than anything I know. That is the beauty of Christ.

      When we ask another for forgiveness we give that person the opportunity to be like Christ. I don’t think forgiveness is only our blessing. Trying hard to make sense.

      1. How did it go with your son yesterday, Anne?

        1. We had a nice lunch but he was not very open to talking. I think I just had my hopes too high. Thank you for praying.

      2. I think that I’m following your line of thought.

        I’d never considered that opening the door to asking forgiveness might be a gift to the other person. I like that thought and will have to consider it deeper. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts, I LOVE them!

  5. Dee,

    Missing you already, friend. Thank you for this today! I was wistful this morning as I wish I could share in a way that my mom could fully understand how sweet and dear to my heart she is. Dementia has kept that from happening. Did I know that your mom had it too? (I must be getting it! ) Anyhow, it reminded me that she won’t always be so limited and in eternity we will have the BEST relationship ever!!
    Happy Mother’s Day to you!

  6. “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 heal the brokenhearted,
    To proclaim liberty to the captives,
    And the opening of the prison to those who are bound;
    2 To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD,
    And the day of vengeance of our God;
    To comfort all who mourn,
    3 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.”

    1. Meditate on the above, going slowly, reading as a lover reads, contemplating the images. What are some of the ways Jesus can turn our ashes into beauty? What do you see in this passage?

    What really stands out to me in this passage is how intimately Jesus knows my heart. He knows what breaks my heart, what makes me sad, what causes mourning, what makes me feel the heaviness of captivity and moreover, He gently gives me the healing to these things. He brings me good tidings, freedom, healing from heartbreak, comfort and consolation. This certainly feels like a love letter, a list of promises both present and future from the Lover of my soul.

    2. Do you have regrets? Though you cannot undo the past, how can you walk in repentance now?

    I regret every time I doubt Jesus’ ability to turn my ashes into beauty. I regret each time I try to go it alone, using my weak human futile attempts to make right what only He can rectify. I walk in repentance by deliberately looking at Him and asking Him to take over where I run out. I ask Him to allow me to give it all to Him because only He can turn my intention into completion.

    3. Give an example of how Jesus is turning your ashes into beauty.

    He is gently telling me that He is always here, and I am to follow Him even when it doesn’t make sense. Lately He’s been opening my heart to his tenderness and how it is totally necessary to give it all to Him, knowing He will take care of me. It’s more in impressions than tangibles, but I also know that those little things He puts into my heart will collect and lead to tangible changes.

  7. Luke 4:
    16 And he (Jesus)came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up. And as was his custom, he went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and he stood up to read.
    17 And the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written,
    18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed,
    19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
    20 And he rolled up the scroll and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him.
    21 And he began to say to them, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”
    Isaiah 53 describes Jesus as a Man or sorrows and “acquainted with deep grief.” This is a Saviour I can cling to! He knows what it means to grieve deeply! It feels like a balm to my soul today.

  8. I woke up with this song running through my head. I’m sure God put it there as a reminder to me because I’ve been in the valley.
    The Title is “In the Valley He Restoreth My Soul” originally by the Rambos
    When I’m low in spirit I cry Lord lift me up
    I want to go higher with Thee
    But the Lord knows I can’t live on the mountain
    So He picked out a valley for me

    He leads my beside still waters
    Somewhere in the valley below
    He draws my aside to be tested and tried
    But in the valley He restoreth my soul

    It’s dark as a dungeon and the sun seldom shines
    And I question Lord why must this be
    But He tells me there’s strength in my sorrow
    And there’s victory in trials for me

    1. I really appreciate this right now.

  9. I have missed you guys these past couple of weeks. The pace of my life is picking up but the real problem has been spiritual. I have learned so much about myself this last year. Whenever I hear deeper life-transfromation truth I have a spiritual wrestling match with God. I never win and I know everything is working for my good. I know this may sound crazy but do you think God likes it when we struggle? When we wrestle with our faith? Anyway that’s enough of my pondering.

    1. When I read this passage this morning the first word I thought of was freedom. Freedom from dominion of sin. Freedom in forgiveness. I am also awed by the fact that God has chosen me to be a tree of righteousness. He has planted me right where He wants me to grow.
    The gifts of comfort, consolation, joy, and the ability to praise God instead of dwelling on painful circumstances are gifts no amount of money can buy. They are the beauty Jesus can bring from the ashes.

    I saw in Sunday’s paper before and after photos of Mt. St. Helens. It has taken 30 years for the vegetation to grow back. It is once again a beautiful place with wildlife in residence. As I viewed the photos it was as if God was telling me “Tammy, your time of beauty is coming. Keep waiting.”

    2. My biggest regret is that I ignored the gut feeling not to marry my now ex-husband. I walk in repentance when I heed the wise counsel of those who have walked the road of DivorceRecovery.

    3. I’ve been pondering this question all day. I believe Jesus is turning my ashes into beauty as I walk day by day a different woman than I was just 2 years ago. When I wake each morning in His mercy I am grateful to still be alive. But what blows me away the most is how He is giving me time to spend with my family. They see a difference in my attitude. Their quirks no longer get under my skin. We are communicating better.

    1. Tammy-
      In one of your questions where you were just pondering about if God likes it when we wrestle…. that caused me to stop and consider what I think the answer to that question might be.

      Here are some of my thoughts:

      When I tell my children something really important, nothing delights me more than to hear them ask honest questions and really wrestle with the reasons behind my recommendations to them. It is only with questions from them, that I know they have not only heard me but that they are taking that hearing me one step further and actually reasoning their own way through what is true and what isn’t.

      I’d rather they never questioned anything that is right, but I also think they can’t really live something fully until they embrace it deeply enough that they have sorted through the hard to answer questions in their own hearts.

      God may not like the wrestle, but my thoughts are that He is quite comfortable with our wrestle only because He knows the end of that process gives us something way more valuable…. a truth from His heart that we can use for our own hearts and actually live out of.

  10. Tammy, I love the Mt. St Helen’s word from the Lord.
    I can relate to your regrets and it occurs to me that perhaps your beauty will be all the greater as a result of just that thing that you regret the most.

    1.Jesus was sent to the poor, brokenhearted captives. He brought healing, liberty and freedom. Consolation for the mourners. Praise for sadness and beauty for ashes. As Jesus told us in the beatitudes, we are blessed because of these things that the world sees as curses. It is good that I realize the poverty of my life on this earth, but can I realize the riches He has brought to me? In Him I am a tree of righteousness, the planting of the Lord. I love how praise is called a garment.

  11. Thank you Anne and Amber for your encouraging words. The tears are streaming as I write. After I posted yesterday I remembered one more area Jesus has brought great healing to. I use to live in anger and bitterness and I did not even know it. It was a by-product of living in an abusive situation. I realized the beauty is the unrighteous anger has been replaced with righteous anger. The unhealthy is now healthy. I’m still learning to let go of anger. I’m still angry about what occurred but I’m not taking my anger out on anyone else. I’m learning that letting go is indeed hard but worth the inward peace.

    Amber I like that you stated you would rather your children not question you. That was my line of thinking. Why can’t I just flat out obey without questioning? I know it goes back to my wanting to have things go my way. I know God’s way is best and I’m coming to grips with the fact it’s me who is holding me back from what is best.

    I read this a while back in a devotional book on the Psalms. The author is unknown.

    Within my earthly temple there’s a crowd:
    There’s one of us that’s humble, one that’s proud,
    There’s one that’s brokenhearted for her sins,
    And the one that’s unrepentant sits and grins.
    There’s one that loves her neighbor as herself,
    And one that cares for naught but fame and self.
    From such perplexing care I would be free,
    If I could once determine which is me.

    1. This is profound. Thanks for sharing it Tammy.

    1. This is something wonderful to ponder!

  12. 2. Do you have regrets? Though you cannot undo the past, how can you walk in repentance now?

    My greatest regret is for turning away from the Lord when I was 18. I know that He has forgiven me and that He loves me just as much now either way. I am sad for myself and what life could have been in full ministry, but the deepest regret is for the lives that were not touched because I was not there. I was not doing what God had prepared for me.

    I think the way for me to walk in repentance now is to let it go. I have repented of the sin and try so hard to walk in full surrender every day, giving up my will to Him in every way that I am conscious of. I wonder if the regret remains because I will not let it go. I like what you shared Dee from the philosophy professor teaching Sunday School. That helps me to understand this somewhat.

  13. 3. Give an example of how Jesus is turning your ashes into beauty?

    If the ashes are the things that were not done then I guess the beauty is in the things that have been done instead. They are still in progress and so I cling to Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

    Once when I was so very low, I was riding home from Georgia, sick with a terrible cold, the kind that just hurts to open your eyes, but open them I did just as we went by a sign with that verse on it! It has been mine ever since and I frequently unpack it.

  14. 2. Do you have any regrets?
    I have tons of regrets, but the common denominator to all of them is denial. I regret not accepting the courage to face the truth of circumstances in my life. John 8:32 has become so precious to me because that is how I walk in repentence. One of my strongest fleshly temptations is to deny what is really going on! I have a tendency to paint a rosey picture of things by saying, “Oh, it’s not so bad.” I’m learning that God is sovereign in all things, and He expects me to see things through His eyes and stand on His promises when things are bleak. His word is TRUTH, He is TRUTH.

    It’s so hard! However, I know His grace is sufficient for me.

  15. I think for me the difficulty is responding to things as they are. My tendency is to be fearful and hopeless. How does the Lord want me to respond? Prayer, I have thought but even that would seem to fail in the present, as things are right now. So what must I do that I am not doing? I’m thinking that after I have prayed, I should leave it with Him and put on the garment of praise. I MUST begin to do this consistently. I hope that one day it will come easily but right now…

    1. Anne-
      I don’t want to come across as a “know it all” because I’m don’t know much at all. I simply read some comments that I can relate to and have instant thoughts that are kind of different perspectives. I share them only with the hope that maybe they can help…. my only concern is that I don’t want to hurt anyone by sharing these ideas either. Just know that I offer these things as nothing more than ideas to consider.

      One thought I had when reading your comment about prayer failing (or so it seems) and your question about what am I not doing that I should be doing.

      I am currently walking through a season that I find myself asking exactly those kinds of questions. For me personally I have begun to notice that the MOMENT I decide my prayers are not really being answered…. is the same point in time that I need to check my prayers and what I expect to see come from them. For me I have to write this process down and often just doing that much makes it clear that my expectations are the only things not being met.

      When (often IF) I get through that part, I then need to ask God to help me see the answers to those prayers through HIS EYES. Not once, but EVERY TIME I’ve done this little exercise (honestly done it). I start to see hints of my prayers being answered…. that I was missing.

      My problem seems to be not that I’m not doing things right. It is just that I often am too focused on what I expected to see and how that was to take place, that I miss the answers to the prayer all together. VERY often I’ve discovered that I was kind of expecting an “AH HA” kind of answer to something that took time to shift, move and flow into the full answer. When that happens, this exercise helps me see the smaller steps that are evidence of my full answer coming and really does set my heart at ease.

      When the prayers are big ones, with answers that really matter…. a little peace in the waiting is always a good thing.

    2. I know what you mean, it is so easy to feel fearful and hopeless. I’ve been going through that quite a bit lately, but Jesus is so good, always gently reminding me that He is there. And that all He says and is will forever be TRUTH.

  16. Amber, Thank you so much for sharing this with me. This is just what I need. Some one a few steps ahead of me to share what you have learned. Please don’t ever worry about hurting my feelings. I want to KNOW things. I want to hear from those who have gone before me. The thing I love about my pastor is that he pulls no punches. He tells us what he sees in the Word and God speaks through him.

    What you say rings true to me. God has been giving me peace along the way. I just have to stop listening to my fear and expectations. God’s ways are so much higher than mine. I will do your exercise.

    1. Please don’t feel that I’m ahead of you, that was kind of what I was worried about. I do tend to see things from a different perspective than most people but that doesn’t mean the way I see it is better than any other way.

      I’ve been on my face a million times, and wanted nothing more than someone to share what they were seeing about my situation. When I’m on my face about the only thing I see is dirt! On the outside of being on the floor things look very different. Often, someone that doesn’t have the emotional attachment we do in situations can see things we just miss in the emotional onslaught.

      We are on the same team, and I promise your words have touched my heart and caused me to think about approaching something differently more times than I can count. Along with seeing things differently brings missing the absolute most obvious route something I do NOT see. You have a piece of understanding that I need and greatly value, I’m simply asking that you not feel as though your piece has some kind of less value because it doesn’t!!

      1. I see what you are saying and I think that I did not express my thoughts quite right. In what I am struggling with, you have experience.

        I too, look at things a little differently. Sometimes that is good and a refreshing perspective, sometimes, it gets me in trouble.

        Thanks for sharing your heart and your experience. I hope that you will stay with the study as we move on.

        1. Thank you for sharing yours.

          I’ve been reading in the background for a while, only recently I felt a strong desire to say something for myself.

  17. #1. The passage from Isaiah 61:1-3 (NIV) Contemplating the images…

    What do you see in this passage?

    The spiritual condition of the lost, is one image, as well as a picture of the one who is stricken with grief, sorrow, and despair…

    …the poor…the brokenhearted…the captives…the prisoners…all who mourn…those who grieve…ashes…mourning….a spirit of despair.

    Jesus said He will “preach good news to the poor”…”bind up the brokenhearted”…”proclaim freedom for the captives”…”release from darkness for the prisoners”…”proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor”…”comfort all who mourn and provide for those who grieve”…
    Jesus will “bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes” and “the oil of gladness instead of mourning” and “a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair”.

    Then, these prisoners, captives, and mourners will be “a planting of the Lord for the display of His splendor”.

    So I’m thinking that one way Jesus can turn our ashes into beauty, is that when He meets us in our sorrow and despair and helps us through it, and others see how we came through with His help, we display to others God’s splendor.

    I’m having a hard time today identifying with the positive things in this passage, I have felt the last few days more of “a spirit of despair”.
    Does anyone else struggle with being able to sense God’s presence, just on a day to day level? I don’t mean a “mountain-top experience”, just the quiet assurance that He is with me as I go about my daily tasks, whether it’s cleaning, running an errand, cooking dinner, etc…
    I feel so discouraged lately. I can’t see the Lord working in much of anything in my life or the lives of my family.

  18. #2. Do you have any regrets?

    Many; the ones I am dealing with now all relating to my nephew’s death.
    I thought last year that after we got my oldest son settled in at college, and my other two children started school, that I would have much more time to spend with Thomas and I was going to get up the courage to confront him that I knew about how he had used heroin, and I wanted to try and reach out to him. But he died before I had a chance. I would have prayed WITH him if I had the chance to go back, not just pray for him. I would have asked him if he wanted to come to church with me. The worst thing, however, is that I wish I had told my parents.
    Almost a year before he died, my niece had found needles in their trash. She told her mom, and he finally admitted to his mom that they were his. But she was adamant that not I nor my other sister say anything to him, she was going to handle it. She felt she would lose his trust if he knew she had told his two aunts. I guess at the time, we all felt that it would hurt my mom and dad to know what he was doing. I thought, too, that my nephew had straightened around. He was back in college and doing well, working-out and had a job. He seemed to be okay. But then he dropped out of school just a couple of weeks before the semester ended, and then he quit his job. I wondered if he just was immature; we knew he was still dealing with his dad’s death and was often depressed about that, I didn’t know he was back to using the heroin; in fact, it wasn’t until after he died that I learned of all the different drugs he had tried and all that he had been involved in. I wonder now if my dad would have been able to do something to help him, if he would’ve listened to my dad. I know my dad would literally have died for him if he could have, he would have done anything for his grandson. So now when I see how my mom and dad are hurting, I feel like it is partly my fault. How could I have thought that not telling them was protecting them from being hurt, when nothing has hurt them worse than their grandon dying?
    When Thomas died, someone, who I would rather not say who, but very close to me, said to me, when I was crying and mourning my nephew, “You just feel guilty because you all stood by and did nothing.”
    That takes me back to Dee’s comment on what the Sunday school teacher said, …”not believing that because of grace it’s all forgotten and you are so loved.” I can’t forget how badly I messed up, and I can’t go back and change it, and a person is dead and it has forever altered the lives of those in my family.

    1. Dear Susan,
      My heart goes out to you! I wish I could just give you a hug! On the one hand, I know it’s a part of the grieving process to think about the “if onlys.” But, on the other had, it’s frustrating because there are no concrete answers to the “if onlys,” are there? You can’t be sure things would have turned out differently “if only” you had told your parents. Nor can you be sure your parents would be hurting less “if only” you hadn’t kept this from them.
      And as far as you’re “standing by and doing nothing?” You prayed! That is the ultimate in “doing SOMETHNG!”
      Susan, 17 years ago someone died because of my son’s drug use…not my son, but someone he killed. I’ve learned that I can only survive by falling into the arms of my loving heavenly Father. He alone has the answers to the “if onlys.”
      “The Christian’s Secret of a Happy Life” by Hanna Whitall Smith has helped me so very much. I found a link to the entire book online:
      http://www.ccel.org/s/smith_hw/secret/secret03.htm

      I would suggest you start by reading “God’s Side and Man’s Side,” since it sums up the rest of the book.

      I hope I don’t sound to harsh! I’m praying for you so very much. I’m so sorry you lost your beloved nephew!

  19. Lord, I pray that You would help Susan to sense just how close You are to her right now. I think of the Footprints poem that is so familiar now that I tend to lose sight of the truth of it. I admit Lord that it is hard to see what good can come from this so I look to You Lord in faith. We know that You are good Lord. Your mercy endures forever.

  20. I came across a notecard with some thoughts I had jotted concerning what I saw in Is 61:1-3.
    Security in the midst of painful circumstances. I see the ‘good tidings’ as the promises of God.
    I was reading 1 Peter in The Message this morning and the phrase ‘you have new life’ jumped out at me. My past has been eradicated. I don’t have to dwell there. Finally getting that truth in my heart via the statement Dee shared.

    Susan thank you for trusting us enough to share your heart with us. I know what it’s like to see events happen beyond my control and wonder if something I could have done would have caused a different outcome. sometimes the hardest truth for me to accept is the fact that I cannot live someone else’s life for them.

  21. Susan, am I correct in the sense that much of the pain associated with Thomas’ death is in the question of his salvation? I ask this because I think that we have so little understanding of God’s ability to speak to people particularly in the comatose state. I am not saying that I am sure about this but I would not give up all hope for Thomas’ salvation. I think you can reasonably leave that part with the Lord.

    I think that when we get to heaven we are in for some surprises and I hope that Thomas is one of the good ones. People with drug addictions are just not able to get free of the power of their sin. I don’t think that necessarily means they could not be saved.

    I am open to correction if I am out in left field again.

  22. My mother called tonight and simply said she had a msg to deliver to me from God. She said, “Ashes to beauty”. I am on this site not sure that anyone even monitors it. I am a lost soul. In February 2010 my “high profile” attorney boyfriend murdered my ex-husband and had me find the body. I had loved my ex-husband my entire life. I was taken into protective custody and not allowed to tell my 14 year old daughter her dad was dead. I was the last person to speak with my boyfriend in person as after I dialed 911 I drove 2 miles to his home to keep him from leaving. He could have killed but he let me live. The following day as I was in protective custody our entire town of 200,000 people was locked down as hundreds of law enforcement, snipers, dogs, helicopters hunted him. At 3:45 that day he emerged from the woods and blew his head off with a shotgun. I lost two people I cared deeply for but one more than the other. The father of my daughter could never be replaced. The attorney? Well there are hundreds more in a 60 mile radius. I lost all of my ex-husbands family as they blamed me for the jealousy they believe caused the act. I cannot live with myself. I had no clue he was going to kill him and I wonder every day of my life why he did not kill me. I wonder this because life is hard to live in this unforgiving town that tried me in the media. The police came to the correct conclusion that I had no involvement. I am somewhat reclusive and spend most of my days in bed after the children go to school. I see no where that these ashes can turn to beauty and I have no clue why she said God told her to deliver this msg to me. Anyone who can help me please reply. Thank you for reading my post.

    1. Rebecca Hardy, if you are reading this, God can and does indeed take ashes and make beauty. Those words are from the Bible. Look for Isaiah 61. (I have written it out below for you.) It is a prophecy by the prophet Isaiah that Jesus fulfilled when he came to earth.

      Isaiah 61

      The Year of the LORD’s Favor

      1 The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me,
      because the LORD has anointed me
      to proclaim good news to the poor.
      He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
      to proclaim freedom for the captives
      and release from darkness for the prisoners,
      2 to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor
      and the day of vengeance of our God,
      to comfort all who mourn,
      3 and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
      to bestow on them a crown of beauty
      instead of ashes,
      the oil of joy
      instead of mourning,
      and a garment of praise
      instead of a spirit of despair.
      They will be called oaks of righteousness,
      a planting of the LORD
      for the display of his splendor.

      As many of the women on this blog can attest, in crying out to God and turning their lives over to Him, Jesus has taken the wrecks of our lives and has begun to change them into something so beautiful on the inside. If you want to know more, come be a follower of Jesus with us here on this blog. We are currently studying with Dee about the mystery of who Jesus really is during Lent. The study is called Mysterium Tremendium. We would love to have you with us.

    2. Rebekah, thank you so much for coming and giving us a chance to help carry your burden, I understand the isolation, But please try to resist it. Satan wants you all by yourself in the dark.

      This is a safe place to come, I encourage you to begin to let these sisters here on this blog mister to you. I believe I can speak for them in saying it would be a privilege. We are all on a path, we need to cling to learn from and encourage one another.

      I too had a tragedy in 2010. My son was assaulted, he was found breathing but unconscious with a devastating head wound in the middle of the road. We spent 3 weeks in the hospital in an unending nightmare. He contracted a high fever, leading to multiple system organ failure, seizures, death.
      We still have no answers as to who, or why.

      I won’t try to put band-aids on your grief & questions, I can offer to weep with you. I already am!

      Father God, I ask for you to shine a ray of hope, your healing light, into Rebekahs heart. Let her feel your presence, use us, her sisters here on the blog to bind up her wounds, let us be your hands and feet to Rebekah. In Jesus precious name Amen

    3. Praying for you Rebekah. The Lord wants to heal your wounds and draw you close into His arms. There is no condemnation in Jesus. Romans 8:1. Psalm 30:3 says “O LORD, You brought my soul up from the grave; You have kept me alive, that I should not go down to the pit.” The Lord has kept you alive Rebekah.

      I can’t imagine what you’ve been through, but I have known misery and depression that makes you want to stay in bed all day. Psalm 31:3 says “Lord bow down your ear to me, deliver me speedily; be my rock of refuge. A fortress of defense to save me.” He has heard your cry for help. He loves you Rebekah.

    4. My dear Rebekah, I am so very sorry for you and your situation. I can’t imagine being in your shoes; however I do know what it is like to be shunned. So did Jesus. He understands your pain and suffering. He took the ultimate punishment for us. I thank God most days for Dee and this website. I am loved here and have been blessed by the discussions here.

      Thank you Lord Jesus for Rebecca’s mother and the beautiful message your sent for her.

      Dee taught us about sitting “shiva.” I don’t know if I am explaining it well, but basically it is where I will “sit” by you and experience your pain with you. I don’t always know the right words to say, but I am your friend in Christ and will be here for you on this earth. Please know I am praying for you.

  23. This is a very old post but i will comment anyway. Sunday i will give a eulogy for my father. God placed this scripture on my hear months ago. He was mostly absent and i knew all the responsibilities he neglected. Nevertheless i adored him. He lived with someone for years and helped raise her 3 kids. I loved them like my own siblings. When our parents split up i was broken hearted. I lived a long way away and easily lost touch with them. Later dad married a lovely lady with a large family. They were young and my father raised them. I chose early to be glad for them. That rather than produce children repeatedly and not raise them, he chose to be a good parent to the children knew. They love him like their own father. Many years after the death of my mom i divorced. I leaned on my dad emotionally, even though he had really not been dependable for me. He helped me immensely. I came to know his family, now grown, and learned that the 3 others had remained in touch and were friends with all the newer step siblings. Now the 10 of us are in touch. We will gather Sunday to memorialize dad. I love every one of them and their children that i know. This huge family bestowed upon this lonely girl seems to me the manifestation of this scripture. We are all products of painful divorces, estrangements, and loss. We wouldn’t even know each other without these hardships. Yet here we are, a loving and connected family lacking only common biology.