Beauty for ashes

My story is a very common and normal one. It’s no longer just a sad story, instead, by sharing my story it becomes a story of hope for many others.

I want people to not be bound up by shame and defeat. Stop looking backwards and instead begin to hope in Him and to look forwards… to healing and restoration and beyond to an ABUNDANT life.

I prefer to be brave and be open about the problems I have had… because we all have pasts. I’m trying to say… it’s ok to have a past, God is bigger than any past.

He sees you and loves you. He sees your past and longs only to heal it and put you on a path to victory.

If God can heal me, then He can heal you too.

Paul called himself the chief of sinners. Why? Was he proud of being a sinner? No. He spoke about his past NOT because he was proud of the things he had done, but because he wanted to assure people that God *can* choose, change, clean up, restore and use anyone.

Sexual abuse of children is rampant in our world, but very few people talk about it. I remember once talking to two unsaved women about God and I mentioned abuse. Both responded by saying they had been raped. *Both* of them had been, I was genuinely shocked and sad for them.

I was able to share about God with them very easily after that, because I don’t carry the usual scars and issues. I’ve been (mostly) been healed of these things.

What tremendously excites me about my healing is that I’m able to write about how it has happened, that Jesus can and does heal – and I’m able to point people to a better future.

What the enemy intended for bad, God uses for good. My ashes have become the beauty of healing, recovery and they are the seeds of life in me and others.

To *not* be open and honest is to hide the good things He has done for me. How would that help the 346 visitors to this blog on Weds during this week?

Just like a seed that has to die in order to grow, I don’t see how we can be of value (as Christians) if we won’t share our story – the sad bits as well as the recovery healing.

To hide our past as Christian bloggers is to deny readers the chance to feel normal. To have their story normalize because they see the same events in another person’s life… and they realize they do not need to feel shame and hide away.

To hide my story is to deny some readers the opportunity of feeling normal and accepted. Part of the gang of ex-sinners, now righteous, holy and pure (and useful!) in our Father’s eyes… thanks to what Jesus did on the cross.

So I’m going to keep sharing my story. What happened to me will not bind me in shame. What happened to you (a different story I am sure) is not who you are. It’s not your identity.

I OFTEN feel embarrassed in front of the 300± people each day, but I reassure myself that I’ve maybe helped 10 or 20 people to believe that Jesus can heal them. I believe that makes it worth it for me.

Ashes for beauty. For the longest time I hoped for that but didn’t know what it meant. Before I had an identity of ashes, now He is healing me, I’m gaining an identity of how He sees me and you – beautiful.

Sharing your story of ashes (in an honest way) is a selfless act of generosity.

What value is there in hiding your ashes? Instead let’s *tell* the ashes story so that it points the way to Christ as the one who is able to take a life of lemons and turn it into lemonade!

One response to “Beauty for ashes

  1. That’s where the strength is in these blogs. If we’re honest with them, we reveal our vulnerability and others see that they’re not alone and not unlike other Christians. We’re just a bunch of fragile human beings who were rescued from the pit of sin. We all have baggage and the Lord is growing us all up in Him.
    Great stuff, mark.

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