BlogOf the Week
Beauty for Ashes
Friends love through all kinds of weather,
and families stick together in all kinds of trouble.
I was raised as the only girl wedged in between three brothers. We lived just far enough away that they were my primary playmates. Oh, how I longed for a sister to be a girl with!
By the time I got to college, I was a mess. I didn't know how to love or how to be a friend. Yet, there she was in her blonde and brilliant glory! She was the first girl to truly know me, even better than I did myself. I loved her as well as I knew how, but being so broken, our friendship was far from healthy.
As these stories too often go, I got married, moved, and we lost touch.
I finally met Jesus fifteen years later. As he held my hand and walked me through the process of dismantling everything I knew and rebuilding me from the ground up, he showed me what true love and friendship look like. The stories I could write about His friendship would fill novels! But this story doesn't end there.
I’m about to rebuild you with stones of turquoise,
Lay your foundations with sapphires,
construct your towers with rubies,
Your gates with jewels,
and all your walls with precious stones.
As the walls of my life were being rebuilt and healthy relationships were being established all around me, my heart grew heavy to think of the precious gift of friendship I had so casually tossed out, of the beautiful girl who I never quite felt secure enough to know as well as she knew me. I became more aware of His desire for forgiveness between us. Even (gasp!) for reconciliation.
So I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten,
The crawling locust,
The consuming locust,
And the chewing locust...
One of the hardest things I've ever had to do was reach out to this woman of God. See, we had allowed just about every kind of locust to destroy us. She knew me at my worst, and it was truly awful. That was who she knew, but I was coming to her as a new person, redeemed and free. Navigating those first few months was painfully difficult. We finally agreed to pretend like we had just met, while remembering where I came from. That is what makes our story so amazing.
What a beautiful friendship He has birthed in us! It is now founded and grounded on a miracle. He restored to us the friendship He intended from the beginning, replaced our ashes with beauty. She is my treasured friend, my mentor, and now, praise God, my sister.
God sent me to announce the year of his grace—
To care for the needs of all who mourn in Zion,
give them bouquets of roses instead of ashes.
They’ll rebuild the old ruins,
take the rubble left behind and make it new.
Isaiah 61:1-4 (excerpts)