Saturday, October 18, 2008

Ashes, Ashes, Ashes!

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?"

I understood.

"Yes, Lord"

"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......


Chatty Kelly said...

Pamela - what a great post to remind us to store up our treasures in heaven. Nothing on this earth will remain, but we will be dancing for Jesus one day.

Thanks for the encouraging post!

Beverly said...

Thanks for the reminder to give all our stresses to the Lord and he will bring us through each one after all that is what He does for us everyday huh? and then he gives us rest when we surrender them all to Him. Thanks for helping remind us to give them away after all we can't do anything about them. Love ya

Julie said...

I've had years like you feels like one hurricane after another is hitting the shores of your life. Yet, He held strong in me in the midst of winds that I thought would literally blow me away. He truly is the solid rock!

I found you at Lysa's blog.

It's nice to meet you.

Kay Martin said...

Wow...your bad year was a really bad year. I journal my prayers and oh, how I am blessed to see how God has moved in tough times in my life, my family's, my friends'and He is in control I have lately said that aloud often" God Reigns, He's in Control...I'm His.

Thanks for the wake up call I needed it today.

Julie said...

Thanks for visiting and your sweet words. Thanks also for your prayers.

Bless your day,

My ADHD Me said...

Hi. I needed this today. Going through some troubles here too. Yesterday my 17 year old son totaled the car we gave him 2-3 weeks ago. Just about 2 months after he totaled his other car. No one was injured either time (praise God) but he is feeling awful. Both were his fault. Neither was due to recklessness, excessive speed or drinking or anything like that. Mostly just inexperience and bad judgement.
My biggest fear is how down he is. Of course anyone would be down now but he is feeling so bad. He's has a hard time lately. Not to mention he is doubting God. Someone suggested a book "The Case For Christ". I got it and he is reading it....for me. Please pray that he sees the truth. We have a great relationship and talk about everything. He is very very smart and has done alot of research on religion. We talk about God alot, he seems to have an answer for everything....scientific answers. The wrong answers.
Burning is what terrifies me....for him.

Elizabethd said...

What a time you had that year. If we can only trust our heavenly Father enough, all will be revealed. Sometimes it is so hard not to let the 'human' get in the way.

Tiffany Stuart said...

Ashes. Yes, there is truth here. We do focus on what will burn. Great reminder.

And thanks for sharing about what your family did recently to laugh. I loved reading about your savenger hunt. Sorry to know the stress is high for you right now. Sounds like you are choosing to do what matters most. For that, I applaud you. You won't regret it.

Have a great weekend,


Leebird said...

Wow, Pamela....I am going to take your advice...I love that simple question.."Is it going to burn?"

So many of my struggles have to do with things that are already smokin!

I can't wait to hear Zoie sing! :)

Joyfulsister said...

Hi Pam..

The Lord does give beauty for ashes. The storms of life can hit us from every angle and at times comes one after another. Just when we think it's over here comes something else. My husband used to sing a song called. "My Soul Is Anchored In The Lord." and even when it seems the storm won't cease, my soul is anchored in the Lord.
I remember seeing that word Stressed spelled backwards is desserts, which is what came to mind when I did get stress.. I wanted started eating lol.. but today I go straight to the word and prayer, no calories there.

Hugz Lorie

Kristen Myers said...

Pamela, Thanks so much for this post today. I so needed it. Things have started happening here again and this reminder is just what God had in His special storehouse for me.

I can't wait to hear Zoie sing. However I have to admit, I heard you sing this song for me at She Speaks. I still remember it, not because of your voice, but because of the heartfelt way in which you sang it. Zoie's rendition will be beautiful, too.

Multiple blessings on you this weekend.

Love ya girlfriend!

Edie said...

"Why are worried and drowning in ashes, when you should be up walking on water?"
Thank you Pamela for being His voice.

Looking forward to hearing Zoie sing!