Tuesday, March 25, 2008

.beauty for ashes.

i'll take an unfair exchange. i'd like to trade my ashes in for some beauty.

in Isaiah 61, which grad school prompted me to write a 13 page paper on recently, the writer speaks about trading in ashes for beauty - basically wiping out the things in our lives that resemble ashes (the symbol of mourning & sadness) and trading them for beauty - how gracious is our God!

i love this picture - enough to think i maybe even wanted something remotely symbolizing it in a tattoo and then physically freaked in the tattoo parlor (clearly not a good decision for me), but i do love the metaphor.

here are a few examples of my ashes and the beauty i'd like them to be transformed into...
- confident expectation for uncertainty
- joy for fear
- strength for weariness
- grace for guilt
- security for uncertainty
- purpose for aimlessness
- peace for restlessness

and this just scratches the surface. but the last week or so i've really been faced with the reality of what this means in my life and how i can begin to allow God to make those changes in me.

my prayer this week is that i'll be enabled to start that journey from beauty to ashes , that He will walk with me down this new path of hope and promise, and as i take baby steps and often fall, that He'll pick me up.

in my mind, my new path looks much like the path pictured above - a path that mere months ago was dry and barren, covered with rocks and dirt, now is lined with fully grown yellow flowers and green grass that lead to the most unimaginable destination. oh that i will have the capability to change those things in my life and to grow through them to the vastness the new horizon!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

.where the wildflowers grow.

.the whole being.

my day today was one of not much productivity (well of the business/school sort), but i think it was necessary for my own growth. let me explain...

i left the house around 1pm to go to the gym, knocked out my 5.35 miles and then went straight to the high school to pick up one of my young life kids and hang out with her. she wanted to go to starbucks, so we did. we got there and got swept up in conversation - a deeper conversation than is normal with her. we talked about her boyfriend who now loves Jesus, her own walk with God, her relationship with her parents, her friendships, how we convey God to others, etc. it was really a solid conversation and in the midst of it, the man next to us came over and asked if we were christians.

all of a sudden, i remembered something - i had FORGOTTEN to put on makeup. i normally don't go anywhere after the gym, but today i did and i had no makeup on. but talking with my high school girl, talking about Jesus and real life, i had forgotten who i was on the outside for about an hour and then the man from the next table snapped me back into reality.

the funny thing was that yesterday, adorned with much makeup i was SOOOO self-conscious about everything i am and today, this random man in starbucks is complementing me because i look way younger than 27 and i'm a beautiful girl. God is good and never ceases to awe me. i literally switched from spiritual being to carnal being in 2 seconds - and then God so quickly reminded me that i am a "whole being" and i need to see myself as whole, complete, beloved and beautiful.

with that i leave a few pictures from a photo shoot i did yesterday for a few of my high school friends - both of them beautiful inside & out - their whole being, just as splendid as they appear.

thank God for that sweet reminder of belonging in Christ and allowing the soul to matter more than this earthly shell.