Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Beautiful Ashes

I have been having lengthy conversations with a close friend over the past bit.  She is a lifelong friend.  Someone I have known my whole life.  We have been friends since I can remember friends.  It's fun when you have a friend that you can go a year without seeing and then suddenly see them and start a conversation like you never missed a beat.  She is that friend.  I am truly blessed.  I have to give this friend credit for today's blog post.  She didn't write the words but she inspired the thought because she brought the thought to my attention.  Thank you, Friend.

When have the ashes of your past been beautiful to someone else?  When have you been candid enough with someone who was struggling to give them tools from your own struggling that can help them as they experience hard times? We all have valleys in life that we wish we didn't have to navigate but when we get back out of the valley and file away the information we learned to get through the difficult time, it can be used to the greater good when shared with a friend.  Now, I am not at all saying we need to go around and lay all our problems out on a table for all to see and hear.  But what I AM saying is that when an opportunity comes to share a situation you have been through so that another of God's children can have strength for another day then we need to remove our veil, or mask for them to see that they are not alone.  The worst feeling in the world is alone.  To feel like you are the only one experiencing this pain, this loss, this agony, this problem.  We have such a unique opportunity with our circle of friends and family and coworkers to help each other feel like they are not alone.  What a gift.

Isaiah 61:1-5New International Version (NIV)

The Year of the Lord’s Favor

61 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,[a]
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor
    and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
    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.

In Isaiah 61:1-5 we are told to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim good news to the poor, to proclaim freedom to the captives and release darkness for the prisoners, to comfort all who mourn and bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes.  When have your ashes been a beautiful crown to someone else who was in need? This passage also says they will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.  Oak trees are very slow growing but the strongest trees when the winds blow.  They roots are very deep.  When we share struggles with friends who have lived a day in our shoes, we create this great oak.  Slowly, deeply, and strong enough to stand the winds of trouble.

Make your ashes beautiful for someone today. Have a great day!

Friday, January 16, 2015


Do you know how to check to see if spaghetti is done?  Well, when you think it is done, pull out a piece and throw it against the refrigerator.  If it sticks, it is done.  If it doesn't, it isn't done.  That simple.  Foolproof.
Picture of It's Ready!
Sometimes when I am cooking spaghetti, I am in a hurry and hope that it is done and will pull out a few pieces and throw them hoping they will stick.  Other times, I KNOW the spaghetti is done and pull out a piece and throw it knowing it will stick.  How many times in our lives are we in a situation where it is ok to just throw as much spaghetti as we can toward the refrigerator just hoping that some of it will stick?  For example, with our children, don't we try to teach them everything that we can think of before they leave home hoping that some of it will stick?  We throw all the wisdom we can think of at the refrigerator of their lives and hope that when it comes down to it, some of it sticks?  Still other times, we are down to the wire of a situation and before we can throw the spaghetti we have to have an educated guess, a certainty that the spaghetti will stick when we throw it.  In these times, we can't afford error.  We HAVE to make it stick.

What situations are you dealing with or have dealt with that you tried to just throw as much effort as you could toward it hoping some of it was successful?  Then what situations are you dealing with where you can't afford error and you have to know the effort will be successful before you invest in it?

Let me know what you think.