Monday, May 14, 2007

Beauty for Ashes

Pain - it’s such a pain

I have many artist friends who have pain in their lives. Some of them are in physical pain from acute injury and some are in physical pain from chronic illness.
I relate.
Some of these dear ones have emotional pain from circumstance and the everyday trials and insults of life.
I relate.
We have had long and inspiring discussions about working through pain…creating “beauty from ashes”. I desire to learn how to work in and through pain, but the truth is, I tend to close up and lose all my creative hope when I hurt. Physical pain doesn’t stop me, but emotional pain sometimes freezes my heart…and my art comes from my heart. I am working on getting through the occasional roadblock.

A song comes to mind (by Crystal Lewis)

He gives beauty for ashes
Strength for fear
Gladness for mourning
Peace for despair
When sorrow seems to surround you. When suffering hangs heavy o’er your head. Know that tomorrow brings wholeness and healing. God knows your need. Just believe what He said.
He gives beauty for ashes
Strength for fear
Gladness for mourning

Peace for despair
When what you’ve done keeps you from moving on. When fear wants to make itself at home in your heart. Know that forgiveness brings wholeness and healing. God knows your need. Just believe what He said.
He gives beauty for ashes
Strength for fear
Gladness for mourning

Peace for despair
I once was lost but God has found me. Though I was bound I’ve been set free. I’ve been made righteous in His sight. A display of His splendor all can see.
He gives beauty for ashes
Strength for fear
Gladness for mourning

Peace for despair

So here is the deal…

Forgiveness is at the root of emotional pain - or so it seems. I figured out that forgiveness is like a white ember - don’t even try to hold onto it - it is something to be hurled away! It is so hot and so holy it has to be dealt with.
Even when the offending party is unaware of the offense… or even if the offending party is dead… or even if the offending party does not want forgiveness, think they need it, or doesn’t give a flying fig - hurl it anyway!
It is about your own heart attitude (my heart attitude) -- only they can deal with their heart.

My peeve is injustice. I struggle to forgive injustice. I struggle when I am misrepresented or misquoted or misjudged. I struggle when an entire group is misrepresented or misquoted or misjudged. I struggle with liars and their lies (or half-truths or so-called untruths … it’s all lies no matter how prettified)…lies really, really annoy me. Manipulation - false numbers… all that ... It’s filth.
And it hurts... so, now I'm back on the subject of pain again...

STiLL - the white ember of forgiveness must be launched away in all sincerity…

if I hold it… I burn.

I have just realized a new thing about this song that was going through my head…
“He gives beauty for ashes” - ashes come after fire don’t they? Perhaps when we hurl away the white hot ember of forgiveness it burns up the offense - lovely ashes… lovely beauty for ashes…

The fire of forgiveness...
Hold onto to it and the pain grows.
Release it ~
give it away...
and it burns up the pain.

The act of forgiveness is one that needs rehearsed & remembered -- when we remember the pain, we need to remember we have already forgiven the offense… Rehearse again the act of tossing the ember … letting it go.
I have been forgiven much. I must rehearse forgiveness always.

joy in the journey,


psalm 103

Romans 4:7-8 "Blessed are they whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will never count against him."

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Laurie Jones said...

Katey, are you sure your name isn't Laurie Jones. I ditto pretty much your entire post. Thank you for reminding me about forgiveness and from where it comes.

My friend sang "Beauty for Ashes" a few weeks ago in church. That song is powerful. I am so thankful that my salvation isn't about me and how perfect I live my life. I am thankful that it is all about how perfect my Savior is. I am thankful that when God looks at me, He doesn't see the mess I make, but the perfection of my Jesus who took my place.

You say it all so well. Thank you!!

Bettina Makley, aka Fairywebmother. said...

A wonderful blog! I can relate to your pain. I have such a strong sense of justice and fair play. I have to keep reminding myself that forgiveness is not a reward we give to others. It is a gift to ourselves. I have also found the the person who is the hardest to me. My song, "Help Me Bloom" was written as an act of forgiveness. "Fire cleanses, as it burns..."

I loved this blog! Great job!

Francesca said...

my dear friend, you are so wise. Beautiful words from a steadfast soul, thank you for expressing so many things which are often on my mind too.

zJayne said...

Wow, wonderfully worded and inspiring...amazingly hits home at appropriate timing..yet, is there timing for forgiveness...I think not. Thank you for your sharing.