Beauty for Ashes



“The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives, and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion - to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor." Is. 61:1-3

This has always been one of my favorite Scripture passages. The first part talks about the call I heard from God when setting out on the path of social ministry and justice. I believed that with all my heart, and I felt like a failure when the doors started closing. The first door was having to take time off from my studying because of depression. When I became able to return, my graduate program was shuttered due to unresolved spiritual value conflicts.

I transferred to a secular school and was able to complete a degree in a different program, but after graduation, found myself looking for a job in vain. I finally took a full-time call center job that was only tangentially related to what I wanted to do. The work and a two-hour commute each way soon burned me out, and I gave up, applied for disability, and moved back in with my parents for two years.

A move to another country, a failed marriage, and jobs that just never really fit that God-ordained call brought me to the mountains of North Carolina, a place I had always dreamed of living. I open my front door and see what God created, and thank Him every day for this place. I'm trying to figure out now how to live out that call I know is still mine.

My world is now touching words every day most of the day. I read and write and cherish my mountains. God has truly given me beauty for ashes, and I am so very thankful.



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