Tag Archives: beauty for ashes

Healing Scars

  
If you’ve followed my site for a while, you know September 25th holds a special place in my heart. It’s the day I reached rock bottom in my life and decided to make changes necessary to move forward. After dealing with months of perpetual loss, I decided I couldn’t take it anymore. I cried out to God that day and said, “I quit!” I couldn’t bear the pain anymore. I couldn’t live with the disappointment either. I was embarrassed at what had happened to me and I lacked the strength to fight anymore.

After deciding I would no longer accept moving backwards, I chose to forget that part of my life ever existed. I thought if I changed jobs, changed friends, and never spoke of it again, I could convince myself it was just a dream. A really bad dream. So I spent years never speaking of it and letting people know it was off limits. I became defensive when anyone asked about it. Instead of dealing with the pain, I covered it up.

Around ten years later, Dave Roever spoke at our church. In Vietnam, he survived a phosphorous grenade blowing up by his head. He told the story of how he was in the hospital waiting for his wife to arrive. He was afraid she would leave him because of how bad he looked. He shared the struggles he has had with the way people look at him now. When God called him to preach, he argued that no one would listen to someone who looked like him. He thought of covering up the scars, but God said, “Don’t hide your scars, for in them, others will find their healing.”

When he said those words, it was as if God was speaking directly to me. I had spent a decade hiding my scars, pretending that they weren’t there. My emotional inside looked like his physical outside. I was riddled with the scars of a divorce, a failed business, a life running from God, and sins too many to count. I knew that day that I had to pull back the layers I had placed on top of my scars so that I could find healing myself. I had to expose them to God and to others and allow them to scab over and eventually heal, leaving the scars.

The things I most wanted hidden in my life are now what God uses to speak to others. If He did that in my life, He wants to do it in yours. Your failures and pain have not disqualified you from being used by God. He can use your scars to bring healing to others, but you’re going to have to find healing for yourself first. I found mine by opening up about them and talking with others. I wrote out everything I went through so that it could be exposed. Once it was out in the open, God brought healing. 

God wants to heal your emotional scars too. He wants to forgive your failures and shortcomings. He wants to put the pieces of your broken life back together. It won’t look like it did before. It will be a beautiful mosaic that points to the only Artist who can make beauty from ashes. Isaiah 61:3 best sums up what God wants to do for you. He wants “To grant [consolation and joy] to those who mourn in Zion–to give them an ornament (a garland or diadem) of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, the garment [expressive] of praise instead of a heavy, burdened, and failing spirit–that they may be called oaks of righteousness [lofty, strong, and magnificent, distinguished for uprightness, justice, and right standing with God], the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified” (AMP).

If you would like to read more of my story, I recommend reading these posts:

Free From Walls Of Hurt

Dead Ends

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Mr. Irrelevant

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Does the name Lonnie Ballentine mean anything to you? If not, don’t worry. Most people don’t know him and odds are they won’t. He was the last person picked this year in the NFL draft and is given the title “Mr. Irrelevant”. They name the last person drafted Mr. Irrelevant because odds are that they won’t make the team they were drafted to. While they get the honor of being drafted, they may never step foot onto a professional football field. The last person picked is just a formality. It’s a pick that means nothing. There are hundreds more that didn’t get drafted that feel irrelevant too.

It reminds me of school yard basketball, dodgeball or anything team related. Two people pick teams. Little by little the crowd is whittled down until one remains. The one team captain says, “You can have them.” The other one sees them as a disadvantage too and says, “No. You take them.” Neither one wants to take the last one there and care very little for their feelings. It’s tough feeling irrelevant. It hurts when that label has been applied to you. Sooner or later, you start to believe it and start acting that way.

What you may not know is that through the years, there are a number of people that were drafted as “Mr. Irrelevant” that made the team. There were several that had great careers and even one who went with his team to the Super Bowl. These men chose not to let the label define them. They didn’t look at the odds, the circumstances or history and decide to fall in line. They chose to be relevant. They chose to work harder, do more and make the team. They didn’t let a label placed on them choose their destiny.

You may be reading this today with the mindset that you’re irrelevant. Maybe you weren’t picked for the job. Maybe no one remembered it was your birthday. Maybe no one appreciates all you do to make ends meet. The enemy wants to come in and tell you that your life is irrelevant. He wants nothing more than to kill, steal and destroy you. Don’t listen to the lies that say you are irrelevant. That your life is worthless. That no one wants you. That your life has no meaning. You mean more to God than you can ever comprehend. Your dark times are the very thing that will make you relevant.

There are so many people who are and will go through something similar to your circumstances. God needs someone who’s been there, walked in those shoes and dealt with the pain of feeling irrelevant in order to help them. He needs you to draw on your experiences to give hope to those who have none. Being picked last is a blessing. It means that God can use you to reach others who will be picked last. He makes beauty from ashes. He has to let your life be torn down sometimes in order to build it back up. He can take a life that seems irrelevant and make it relevant. It’s up to us to not give up during those times so He can make what you’re going through relevant.

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