Preface: I’m sorry that it has been a month since my last blog post. The plan was to write one every week and it was easy to do so when I first started this journey. They were flowing because God was revealing so many things to me about this process. I don’t like to write for the sake of writing. I need to be inspired or have direction from God to do so. He hasn’t given me anything to write until today, so I hope this ministers to you as it did to me. Love you all, my dearest E4M tribe!
The fall season is my absolute favorite time of the year. I love the crisp air, the sound of crunchy leaves and fires on a cold night. I mean, who doesn’t love roasted hot dogs and s’mores? Ok, so maybe those aren’t the best food options to be talking about, so don’t tell Julie I brought up s’mores. That’ll be our little secret. Oh, and tell her I said to eat turkey dogs. *wink*
Thinking about a fire on a cold night brought back lyrics I recently heard someone sing.
You make beauty from these ashes, You make beauty, it’s what You do
To our human mind, the lyrics make no sense. Ashes are dirty, dusty and useless. They are remnants of something that used to be. If you’ve suffered loss caused by a fire, you more than anyone know how devastating it is. There is no repairing what was burnt. All that you are left with is a smoky, powdery pile of what used to be and what could have been. The slightest wind would remove the ashes and leave you with nothing but heartbreak.
God speaks to us in His word about ashes. Read verse three from Isaiah 61 below.
‘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.’
Throughout the Bible, we see God’s people using ashes as a mark of grief, humiliation or penitence. This pain would be expressed by sprinkling ashes over oneself or by sitting in them. Tamar put ashes on her head after being raped by her brother Amnon. The people of Nineveh expressed their repentance with them. Job, covered in boils, sat in ashes to express his suffering and repentance. The level of pain, mental distress and grief was obvious.
Although we don’t outwardly express ourselves this way today, we still communicate these feelings, just in different ways. Throughout most of my life, my ashes were expressed in eating. If I was sad, I ate. If I was humiliated, I ate. This only brought more of the same feelings of sadness and humiliation. As I shared in my very first blog, being sexually abused as a child changed my life and my struggle with food addiction began. Maybe your ‘ashes’ aren’t caused by what I experienced, but we all have our ashes. Regardless of what brought this expression, the experience is universal.
This health and wellness journey has revealed many piles of ashes. They are reminders of what once was and what no longer will be. They represent pain, heartache and loss. But know my dear brothers and sisters, God has kept His promise and has given me beauty for those ashes! He tenderly wiped them from my face and gave me peace in its place! He pulled me up out of the pile of ashes I sat in for the majority of my life, dusted me off and gave me deliverance in its stead! Those lyrics that I heard came alive in me as I saw what He had done through E4M. This blog is just another example of Him giving me beauty for my ashes. I am able to testify of God’s faithfulness, goodness and love through my weight loss journey and hopefully inspire someone else to start their own.
Today, I feel like God wants someone to know, whether your ashes are food related or not, that He WILL give you beauty for your ashes. All that is required is surrender – surrender to His will, surrender to His love and surrender of your defenses. If you’ve been saved for 50 years but are still sitting in a pile of ashes, God wants to give you beauty for them. If you haven’t been saved long but are continually covering yourself in ashes, He is waiting to replace them with beauty. If you’ve never given your life to Jesus and your life is nothing but an ash heap, know that what He has prepared for you is more beautiful than you can possibly imagine. It’s time to surrender those ashes and find the beauty promised to you.