Sunday, August 14, 2016

Beauty Instead of Ashes




I don't know which of these three events pictured above gave me more joy yesterday. In picture one, I am kayaking for the first time in seven weeks since my cancer surgery. I cried when I pulled up to my kayaking launch site. It felt like I was seeing an old friend for the first time in years, a friend I wasn't certain I would ever see again. I paddled very slowly but spent an hour on my beloved lake, communing with herons and singing "When peace like a river attendeth my way..."

When I first pulled up to the lake, and unloaded my kayak, I started sobbing. I hadn't realized that part of me feared I would never kayak again until I pulled my kayak into the lake, and dipped my feet in the warm water. Tears gushed with joy that I was not only alive, but about to do one of my favorite activities on earth again.

The second picture is me holding a baby that I almost got arrested trying to save. This story is one I cannot tell because the mama is a minor, but after one of the most difficult and drama-filled rescues from abortion I have yet experienced as a sidewalk counselor, this little baby girl nestled in my arms yesterday. The lavish baby shower for the brave young mama was hosted by Truth and Mercy Prolife Ministries.

The third picture was a shock. My new book, Unlikely Friends, was the #1 best-seller in horse books on Amazon and the #1 Hot New Release. I checked its rank by accident and could not believe it when I saw the ranking. #1!!! Man that feels good!!! It had sold so slowly upon release that I was very concerned. If my books don't sell, how can I afford to keep writing? I feel certain God has called me to write...but we have a LOT of bills with my cancer diagnosis.

In all three of these events, God took ashes and swirled them into something unexpected, something more beautiful than I could have ever imagined. When we are trudging through deep, grey, suffocating ashes, it is impossible to hope that we will ever breathe clean air again or see a clear sky unsmudged with death, desperation, and decay.

BUT THEN GOD.

Isaiah 61:1-3 

The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn; to grant to those who mourn in Zion— to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit; that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified.




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