Beauty out of ashes 

Whenever God is at work, beauty will follow. 

On Wednesday we both woke up with a deep dread in our hearts, paralysed at the thought of meeting everyone. But as the  gospel was acted out, we were overwhelmed by God’s kindness to us. As we were hugged by our church family, my heart was impacted for good and 
the barrier has now been smashed and fears allayed. 
As barriers have come down we can now freely love those in our past without guilt or  fear, and for this we are thankful. 

But as this barrier has been removed, there is another barrier I now need to get over. I need to embrace my  new church family. I have held back, and found it so difficult to embrace another family.  My reticence is apparent and I pray that God helps me as I go forward.  I pray that I find  a niche,  a sense of home and rightness here. I pray that God enables me to find contentment in something that I’m quietly fighting against. 

Despite my reticence and difficulty going forward, beauty is emerging from the ashes. 

We are wretched sinners, but God’s love covers and restores. Where God is at work, beauty will shine. That’s the essence of his character.

What now? 
  We’ve both been called to love God with all our heart, mind, soul and strength and to love our neighbour as ourselves. My husband and I will continue to run this race. Our injuries are healing, and we are aware that we will have dark days in the future as sorrow will undoubtedly overwhelm us. As my husband reflected on  Titus 1 this morning, he was overwhelmed with sadness. As he read about the qualifications for eldership his heart is broken. He will always live with regret  as  he acknowledges how blinded he was by sin. He will always have to live with the consequences of his actions which will cause him ongoing pain and hurt. But he is forgiven, loved, and precious to God and to me. His penitent attitude is evident, and in this, beauty is seen. 
No matter what our sin is, when we completely own it, when we are willing to stand exposed and naked before God saying, “God be merciful to me a sinner! ” true beauty will shine as forgiveness is granted. 

Isaiah 61:2-3 
We pray that God will: 

” bestow on “us” 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 splendour.”


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