Beauty For Ashes…

Pain.  Never-ceasing.  Never-ending.  Unrelenting.  Unyielding.  At times, it’s as if a giant fist smacks you in the gut, blasting the breath right out of you.  It doubles you over, and you curl up in the fetal position (ironic considering the source of the pain).  You become completely incapacitated.  Then an amazing thing happens.  Your almost-three (June 15th)-year-old gets out her prayer-book that’s in the shape of a purse.  She opens it up to a page with a huge cross right in the middle of it.  She’s sitting on the floor next to you, and she says, “God’s carrying mommy and daddy.”

That’s exactly what happened at my house last night.  I’ve wanted to write another post for awhile now, but to be honest, I haven’t really felt like it.  Simply getting up out of bed is a challenge these days.  However, I told myself a long time ago that this blog was about quality and not quantity.  Whenever God wanted me to write something, as He has been my guide in this since it’s inception, He would let me know.  What Emma did last night was the first of two encounters that just lifted my spirits enough so that I got His message loud and clear.

The second was absolutely stunning.  As I was on Facebook last night around 11pm, my doorbell rang.  Usually, the first thing you think of when that happens at such a late hour, is that either something’s wrong or there’s someone at your door that really shouldn’t be there.  When I got up and looked through the frosted glass panes to either side of the front door, I could see that it was my neighbor, Jessica.  Lena and I immediately thought the former and opened the door asking if everything was okay.  She said that they were fine, but she and her husband, Carl, wanted us to come outside for a minute.

We followed her next door to stand in their front yard.  Carl said that he had been outside talking to his mother for the last ten or fifteen minutes, and that’s when he noticed it.  He first directed us to look up, which we did.  It was almost a full moon (I think it was beginning its waning stage), and the sky was lit with a soft glow, as though the moon were a softly glowing candle.  There were pinpoints of light circling the aura around the moon…stars.  Not a cloud in the sky, or so we thought.

Carl then pointed to a star directly over our house.  I can’t tell you what direction we were facing.  What I can tell you is that it was brighter than all the rest.  It also had a kind of flicker to it.  That’s when I noticed the cloud formation.  It was almost centered on our roof, and Carl and Jessica saw an angel floating in the night sky.  I saw something entirely different.  There, as though waiting patiently for us, was the profile of a butterfly.  I could make out the long tubular body with wings swept back as if in mid-flight.  After looking at it through eyes clouded with tears, it simply dissipated.  It’s purpose fulfilled.  It’s meaning unmistakable.  We thanked our wonderful neighbors and went back inside.  I told Lena that was awesome, and, though it still hurt a great deal, I felt oppression’s hand lighten just a little bit more.

Last week, a brother-in-Christ and fellow blogger, Sebastian, at faith1stministry told me that he felt led to share with me the phrase “beauty from ashes”.  He explained that was one of God’s promises to us as it’s written in the bible.  I googled it, and it came back to Isaiah 61:3…

“…to all who mourn in Israel, He will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, a festive praise instead of despair.  In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the Lord has planted for his own glory.”

There wasn’t an explanation in the study guide, but there was a cross-reference.  It led me to Jeremiah 17:7, 8.  It seems as though Jeremiah and I are destined to become close friends…

“But blessed are those who trust in the Lord and have made the Lord their hope and confidence.  They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water.  Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought.  Their leaves stay green, and they never stop producing fruit.”

The next day, I was talking to our pastor’s wife (our co-pastor) about what Sebastian had given me.  She told me that she was meditating on the very same scripture (Isaiah 61:3) the previous night.  I knew then what God was trying to show me.  The study guide had this to say about Jeremiah 17:7, 8…

“Two kinds of people are contrasted here:  those that trust in human beings and those who trust in the Lord.  The people of Judah were trusting in false Gods and military alliances instead of God, and thus they were barren and unfruitful.  In contrast, those who trust in the Lord flourish like trees planted along a riverbank.  In times of trouble, those who trust in human beings will be impoverished and spiritually weak, so they will have no strength to draw on.  But those who trust in the Lord will have abundant strength, not only for their own needs, but even for the needs of others.  Are you satisfied with being unfruitful, or do you, like a well-watered tree, have strength for times of crisis and even some to share as you bear fruit for the Lord?”

I’ve had so many people come to me and say what an inspiration I and my family are to them…how they look up to us and admire our strength and faith.  Truth be told, I would trade all of this in for one more hug and kiss from my Baby Butterfly.  I know that may be selfish, but I’m her earthly father and a human being.  What I tell those that share these thoughts with me is this:  It’s not me, it’s God.  He’s the one giving me the supernatural strength to put one foot in front of the other.  He’s the one carrying me now as He did when I carried Mia out of the chapel.  He’s the one that is helping me to see beauty all around me in spite of the ashes that are in my heart.  And if someone out there reading this story, and the story of how God is touching our family in the midst of this crisis, is blessed and strengthened themselves, then to God be ALL the glory and ALL the praise.

Though the pain is constant and at most times unbearable, I will continue to be the well-watered tree planted along a riverbank.  For that’s when I’m the most at peace…when I’m sharing what God is doing for me and my family and what He can do for you if you’ll allow Him to.

I couldn’t find a good video for this song, but I do have the audio track.  Please give a listen.  Shane and Shane give an amazingly touching rendition.  I pray you’ll be blessed and find strength in your time of need.

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16 responses to “Beauty For Ashes…

  1. Beautiful post and testimony. Reminds me of the Book of Esther…the Jews were suffering and were almost killed off but God intervened with placing Esther at the right place at the right time. We do not hear God mentioned in this book but we most definitely see God at work and all working for His glory.

    Have a wonderful weekend!
    Easter Blessings
    April

  2. Guy, that is just how me and Darrell feel. We have God carrying us thru every single day. I can tell you this that when they came to get me to go into the chapel for Beths service I could not move. My legs felt just like rubber and I tried to make myself move but just could not because I knew in my heart that it would be the final goodbye. God picked me up that day and carried me in there and held me thur the whole service. When a friend went up to say goodbye her mom was with her and she could not hold her up I told my son Jonathan go help her with Jeannie. Even in our most grief God was there giving us comfort and we felt the need to reach out and help others. We like you some days are so hard but time does help. People would tell me that and I thought you are crazy thats my child laying there that I can never hear her laugh, cry, raise her daughter and so on. You never forget but as time goes on it gets better with having to go thru the loss. Darrell and I knew Beth was saved and we know where Beth is right now, and one day we will join her. But for now we have to continue this journey without her and do what it is that God wants us to do. My heart truly hurts for the pain that you both are going thru because I truly know and understand. I pray for comfort and for the day that you can laugh again when talking about Mia without breaking down. Thank you for your blogs even tho you may not know but they are blessings to me and God is useing you to bless us all. God Bless You Today and Always!

    • We love you guys, Nadine. I’m glad that He blesses you through this blog, and we will continue to keep you guys in our prayers. May He bless you and keep you as well.

  3. Guy I thank you and Lena for sharing the deepest parts of your life and allowing God to be seen and get all the glory through this tragedy. Know that you both and the girls are in my prayers often throughout the day. I am honored to have gotten to know y’all and to call you my friend. I love y’all.

    • We love you, Becky. You have become family to us. Between helping us with Lena’s difficulties during her pregnancy and making sure Mia was okay after she was born, we’ve come to consider you a very dear friend. Thank you for your support and continued prayers.

  4. Wow. After hearing what happened and reading your blog something hit me the other night. Mia: M.I.A.: My Innocent Angel: something God told me to share with you about your beautiful butterfly baby!!

    God Bless!!!

  5. It is okay to mourn and just release the hurt and pain so the butterflies may carry it to heaven and release a comfort to you. We are human and one cannot judge you because we have not walked in your shoes. God is a comforter and I believe He is true to His word. He is carrying you for sure. May you carry your little one in your heart ♥ as long as you stay part of God you will never be apart from your baby butterfly who blossoms in Heaven with our Creator.

    Blessings to you and thank you for sharing.

    Now you must look at what God’s purpose is for you. Don’t allow the enemy to twist things. Every works of God is good. Amen.

    A Woman After God’s Heart ♥

    • Very timely…thanks so much for the comment. Unfortunately, I don’t always feel like I’m walking as closely to God now as I did before. The sorrow that’s in our hearts tends to temper that. I know He’s there and he is carrying me and my family. Blessings to you and yours…

  6. Blessings Guy, the loss of a loved one is a devastating event for anyone but when the loss is unexpected the pain is beyond words. I can’t begin to understand your pain because I have not lost a child, or imagine your pain level right now. I will say crying and crying some more is good for you. Don’t hold it in. I am praying for your family. If I may give you some scriptures that may ease the pain some by giving you comfort or just to hold onto.
    “Those who have been ransomed by the Lord will return. They will enter Jerusalem singing, crowned with everlasting joy. Sorrow and mourning will disappear, and they will be filled with joy and gladness.” Isaiah 51:11

    “So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you have to endure many trials for a little while. These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold — though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.” 1 Peter 1:6-7
    Guy, if I may ask what is her name? I would like to share something I wrote: Dedicated to you and Baby Butterfly and family.

    Baby Butterfly We Look For You

    Baby Butterfly
    we look for you all around, time has taken you from us for you cannot be found. As we look up in the sky, we see the brightest of all stars, one in the shape of a butterfly angel so you can’t be far. We wonder if you are looking for us as we look for you. Every day just seems so lifeless without you! We want to reach up to that star and bring you near, but it is just to far. So we all reach with hope, and we find ourselves touching our hearts, and there you are living inside our beating hearts ♥. Every beat is you,our butterfly angel living inside us. Wherever,we go you go as the sun rises there is still some Hope and Love to live on and be strong. With me living inside all of you, nothing can go wrong because my heartbeat ♥ lives on forever so strong. ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥ God’s carrying you and mommy the best parents ever.

    Blessings from my heart to yours.
    A Woman After God’s Own Heart ♥

  7. Shenine,

    This brought tears to my eyes, yet it lifted my heart at the same time. Thank you for the beautiful dedication and the scripture. My family and I are so very blessed by your thoughtfulness. Blessings to you and your family.

    Guy

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