Ashes, Ashes, Ashes!
That's what I have been reminding myself ladies. Why ashes?
After my post on "Prayers and Friends Are Welcome Here," several of you helped me to realize all the stress we are under. Sometimes in the midst of things you can't see the whole picture, especially when it seems like each new stress comes after you turn from another one. Much like a big ole house of mirrors, where they all make you look fat! (Big shiver and groan here)
As I begin to look at things from your eyes, I too saw the stress. Then ladies I started to laugh. My first thought was, "Stress? This ain't stress. I know stress!"
I was taken back to 2004. My husband was a youth minister then. I was writing for LifeWay and being a stay at home mom. We had been at this church for 4 years and had made good friends in the community. Within 4 months everything in our lives changed.
Mike had major surgery
He was asked to resign from the church (A bad situation had been brewing under the surface. The pastor resigned on his own because he did not like what the church was doing to us. More on this at another time.)
Now we were without steady income. (Mike right away started doing any kind of work he could find. This finally lead to a temp type job at Billy Graham.)
Now, Mike was driving over an hour to work when he was needed, which wasn't everyday.
We had a SUV we were paying on, that now we couldn't afford and it was eating us up in gas with Mike's commute.
I was having health problems.
My dad had just recovered from a heart attack.
My mom was also having health issues.
I had a four year old we were trying to keep out of the stress and the church stuff.
Mike's dad had a heart cath and found that he had four blockages! He was rushed to Birmingham Al. Which is the closest major heart hospital from where they live. They kept him stable for two weeks, trying to get his heart strong enough for surgery. He had a double bypass and is doing pretty good today.
Because of the commute to Charlotte, we needed to move closer. We began house hunting.
As I lay in bed one morning, praying about all these things it hit me. Worry hit hard! I could not stop. I prayed. I squalled. I tried thinking on other things. Nothing was helping. I sat up in bed and cried out loud, "Father, I know worry is a sin. I know you are taking care of us. But I'm scared and I can't stop. Please give me something to help me stop!" These are the best moments with God!
A question came and seemed to hang there in my mind. It was soft and gentle.
"Is it going to burn?"
"Pamela, why are worried and drowning in ashes, when you should be up walking on water?"
Everything I was worried about, was one day going to burn. The house, the SUV, our jobs, even these bodies we now reside in, would not be with us for eternity. We will get new ones!
A song I had learned while on the mission field came to my head and I started singing it. It is taken from Isaiah 61:3.
He gives me beauty for ashes,
oil of joy for mourning
A garment of praise,
for the spirit of heaviness
I am a tree of righteousness,
planted by the Lord
that He might be glorified.
This song has been my worry song for years. Reminding me that I almost everything I worry about is really just stinking ashes, and He will turn those into beauty.
I wish I could sing it for you now. Well, let me take that back. I wish I could get Zoie to sing it for you now. I can't sing...she can!
I have an idea. I will video tape her singing it and have my husband put it on the computer tonight when he gets home from work. Then you can hear it tomorrow.
So until then, remember when you worry to ask yourself..."Is it going to burn?"
He gives me beauty for ashes......