Friday, April 29, 2016

Beauty From Ashes By Dawn V. Cahill

My friend, Dawn V. Cahill, is our guest blogger today and I'm thrilled (and honored) to have her. When I attended my first writing conference last year, she was the first person to greet me. She turned around in the lunch line, noticed my name tag, and said, "Wow. I read your blog." I was utterly amazed and we became instant friends. She gave me the tremendous gift of validation as a writer and I will never forget that moment. You'll enjoy this sweet devotion. Even if you aren't a single mom, you've experienced hurt and barrenness in your life. This will be an encouragement. Be sure to share some love with Dawn and check out her author links below.
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Beauty From Ashes - A Devotion for Single Moms


Isaiah is one of my favorite Bible books. It may seem stuffy and archaic to some, but to me, it magnifies the glory of God. Certain sections in the last third of the book get delightfully apocalyptic in a Back to the Future sort of way. It reminds me of Daniel. Or Revelation.

Tucked inside all this rich, end-times prose, you'll find this jewel:

"The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me,
Because the Lord has anointed Me
To preach good tidings to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives,
And the opening of the prison to those who are bound;
To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord,
And the day of vengeance of our God;
To comfort all who mourn,
To console those who mourn in Zion,
To give them beauty for ashes,
The oil of joy for mourning,
The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness;
That they may be called trees of righteousness,
The planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified."
(Isaiah 61:1-3 NKJV)

If you're a solo mama, you probably know a lot more about ashes than you do about beauty, and mourning than joy, heaviness than praise. But how comforting to know the Lord promises to console those who mourn. Like those of us who mourn the loss of a marriage.

Stability. 

Companionship.

Do you see anything missing in the passage? What about God's promise to take away my troubles and give me everything I ask Him for? You mean it's not there?

So much for health, wealth, and prosperity.

I keep having to come back to this verse every time I start thinking I don't deserve my lot in life. Railing at God for the trials he's forcing me to endure.


But, if I didn't mourn, how would I ever know His sweet comfort?
If I didn't know ashes, how could I know His beauty?

Comfort is much sweeter in the valley than on the mountaintop.

You may be skeptical that God could make anything beautiful from your trials, but I have a real-life, visual example of God's handiwork for you. Check out these two photos:

Before:



After:
Most people aren't familiar with the name Mt. Mazama. But if you say Crater Lake, most folks recognize the name of Oregon's National Park, tucked into the Cascade Range in Oregon. Six thousand years ago, Mt. Mazama blew its top (above) and, over the years, transformed into the beautiful jewel you see below. Don't you think Mt. Mazama is even more beautiful as a crater than she must have been 6,000 years ago as a mountain?
Isn't it amazing how God can take a barren wreck and turn it into a work of art?

#DawnVCahill #beautyfromashes #hope