Christ has Given "Beauty for Ashes" in My Life

I was recently thinking about what I was doing a year ago at this time. The kids were all in school. I was trying my hand at some home canning and thinking about Halloween decorations. Fast forward a year and canning is about the only thing that is familiar. We’re now a good six months or so into a once in a hundred year pandemic and it has put its mark on just about everything- church, work, school, and social lives. Meanwhile, our country is in an extremely divided time politically. There is civil unrest and protests around the nation as we try to work out our issues with race. There are wildfires that are consuming large swaths of the West. Even locally, there are contentions about school schedules, and wearing masks, etc. IT CAN BE A LOT.

When it is A LOT, I have learned to turn to my Heavenly Father in prayer and to turn to my Savior for comfort, counsel and example. I “CHOOSE to believe” in them because I have tested Christ’s gospel in my life and it works. I have trust in Jesus Christ because when I have put his counsel to the test, it has born out to be true. He has helped me through the darkness. He has helped me to grow and become stronger.

You see, as rough as this year has been it is not my hardest. My most difficult year was a few years back. I faced some challenges that absolutely shattered me. Every part of me and my life. It was so difficult that it even made me question my idea of who God must be. I couldn’t see how God could be a “loving Father” and have this happen. Why would He allow it?

There is a painting called “Hope” by George Fredric Watts (see photos) When I saw this painting, I could identify immediately with the woman in this painting. I felt blinded and struggling. I was down to my last string straining to hear any sound that might still be there to get me through.

That string was Jesus Christ. It was his life, his example and his teachings that saw me through. I held on and listened to that string for dear life and he did not let me down. Little by little he helped me to find my way. He was sure and unchanging. His teachings were true.

In Japan, there is an art form called Kintsugi, (see photos) where an artist will take a broken piece of pottery and glue it back together. Next they will take gold and place it in the repaired seams highlighting them and making it into something new. When this is done well, it can make them worth more than they were before. This is what Christ did for that shattered me. He put me back together and used my scars to make me into something new. Something better than I was before.

This is what Christ always does. No matter what hard thing you face, He can get you through. No matter what garbage you are given in life, He can make it into something of value and beauty. This is Christ. This is what He does. He gives us “beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness.” (Isaiah 61:3). All we have to do is turn to Him. As that old young women’s song says, “Learn of [Him] and listen to [His] words. Walk in the meekness of [His] light and [He] will give you peace.”
So, when you find yourself down to your last string, listen closely to Christ. He will not fail you. Let Him work in your life. And then, when you find your song again, follow His example by making beauty out of the ugliness around you. Each of us will do this differently but we all can all do it. Ask yourself: What can I do? Can I build? Can I repair? Can I strengthen? Can I teach? Can I care for? Can I forgive? Can I protect? Can I create? It is within each of us to do something like Christ to make our current situations better and more lovely. I hope we can all follow His example. I send my love to you all. ❤️

~ Jamie

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