Beauty for Ashes


It’s been a long winter. I’ve wanted to blog a lot, but between the spotty internet service and the bummerific circumstances… I haven’t. We’ve had our share of illness, sadness, frustration, and delays. So far, our land and house plans are completely on hold as we wait for Spring, or a new chainsaw, or just the energy to persevere. Not much has gone our way in the last few months. Downton Abbey didn’t even end on a happy note.

A bright spot of the winter has been our church. We’ve been refreshed and strengthened every time we go thru the doors. I went this weekend to Pure Joy, a ladies’ outing (which was incidentally held in the Sight and Sound Theatre in Branson, which gave me not so much Theatre Envy as Theatre Ohmygoodness!). It was a lovely, refreshing evening out where I got to know some ladies from church, join in great praise, and have a good laugh. The theme verse was Isaiah 61:3- specifically “a crown of beauty instead of ashes.”

I found this particularly encouraging. The entire chapter is an uplifting promise of restoration and redemption. But Beauty for Ashes is special to me right now because all I have out on my land is a pile of ashes. There was once a house there, but now there is just a garage and a big, ash-filled hole in the ground. There’s also a lot of broken glass and rusted metal and blackened bricks.

(And at some point before the house burned down, someone took the entire contents of the house, dragged it to the back of the acreage and dumped it. There’s a huge trash heap there, which is partly cool, because we are finding “treasures” in it and recycling scrap metal for cash, but it’s also partly a pain in the butt because, eventually, we will want it all to be cleaned up, and we have no idea how they got it all the way back there, up the hill and thru the woods, or how to get it out again.)

In November I cleaned up some of the ash pile. And the promise was there, even as I sorted glass and nails into piles. DSCN4367

I am reminded that God has a good plan for us. I am sure and certain that we are where He wants us to be. That means that he is going to turn the ashes of this disappointing Winter into a beautiful Spring. He will help us to turn this neglected acreage into a beautiful home where we can share hospitality and rest from our labors. He is going to enable my plans for raised beds and a chicken coop. He wants to change my ashes for beauty.

Today I have the oil of gladness instead of mourning. Today I claim my garment of praise, instead of despair. And I think I’m going to name my beautiful big tree that will someday shade the house the “Oak of Righteousness.”


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