Beauty for ashes

Lately, I’ve been overwhelmed by this sensation of carrying a weight on my shoulders. I’ve had a weary heart. I’ve been walking around with heavy, labored breathing. As though getting through every day is a struggle.

 

I’m aware that this darkness scares some people, but not me.

 

Because I feel things very deeply, I am affected by the burden of pain a little more than most. I am blessed to be aware of so much love, beauty and delight in my surroundings but this comes with the struggle of feeling equal measures of despair at the suffering I see.

 

I’ve got my hands in fists on each side. In my right hand I hold the darkness, in the left I hold the light. And each day I battle to keep this balance. Exploring the light without being lost in the darkness.

 

How can I hold all this suffering within? How can I live in this world which is so broken? How can I cope with the pain I will inevitably suffer?


 

I’m thankful that God is gracious in his approach to us. That we are free to wrestle with these fears and doubts. That we are allowed to feel angry and sad and come at Him with a billion questions.

 

What matters most I’ve found is that in the search for truth, it always comes back to Jesus. We’ll always end up at the foot of the cross staring into the face of the one whose love protects all things, forgives all things and perseveres through all things.

 

I’ve been searching for answers.

I’ve been angry with God.

I’ve questioned my faith and coddled my doubts.

 

What I found wasn’t a clear answer or divine revelation but rather a gentle whisper, a heart nudging, a deeper appreciation for the beautiful, mysterious way that God works.  

 

I had to look outside of myself. I had to move beyond the cynicism clouding my vision. And in nature I found an answer which satisfied my crumpled heart.


 

Have you ever considered the life cycle of a humble flower. Seeds drop into soil, dig down and find their place. Awakened, they send up shoots, gather light and fight their way through the earth. Buds turn to blossoms which are admired by all and then they droop, wilt and fall back down to the ground.

 

Which is where we tend to believe the story ends.

 

But as the flower, leaves and stem decay, the nutrients return back to the soil and provide sustenance for the next flower to grow.

The death and decay feeds the new life.

 

It seems that nature always moves towards harmony, peace, rest. Shalom.

 

And we see that in our own bodies too.

On New Years Eve I hosted a party at my house and during the evening I retreated to my bedroom to grab something and in my haste to get back to the fun, I accidentally slammed into a door and cut the back of my hand.

Over the past few months I’ve watched with fascination as the wound has slowly healed itself.

The cut was gradually coloured in with flesh and blood and the scar has eventually blended into my skin.

 

Our body always moves towards balance. Our homeostasis is healing.

 

Right now, what I see all around me is suffering. Around every corner I am faced with brokenness. Our world is a mess and if we dwell on that for too long it’s easy to fall into depression.

 

Families are breaking down and leaving shattered pieces. Countries are being torn apart and are spilling their inhabitants in all directions. Diseases are choking out the life from our very veins.

 

If ever there were a time for a mighty flood of destruction, I would say this is it.

What good can possibly come from a wretched place like this?


 

I feel that darkness beginning to close in.

 

But then there is a stirring in my heart which is calling me to say, hope is here.

 

God is making all things new. He is trading beauty for ashes. He is binding up wounds, drying up tears and pushing up flowers from the dry, barren ground.

 

His intention has always been redemption. His promise has always been restoration.

All creation beats to this rhythm. It’s humming in the bees and rustling through the trees.

 

Some of you may be in a situation that feels hopeless, but know that new life is just around the corner. The seeds are dormant and still but they are there underground.

 

beauty for ashes, finding God, faith, redemption, healing, encouragement, God's promise of healing,

 

I have this hope that none of the pain or loss is wasted. The death and decay filter down and provide the foundation for new life to flourish.  

Our bitter losses and tragedies are not worth comparing to the glory that will be revealed in us.

 

I take comfort in knowing that my God is BIG.

My hands are easily weighed down because this burden is too great for me to bear. My humanness is insufficient for such a task, but God can hold it all. He can hold both darkness and light without strain. He can be all consuming love and righteous judgement. He can dance with us in our joy and weep with us in our sadness.

 

Over everything, He is our redemption.

In all seasons, He is our hope.

In the longing, searching and seeking for truth…He is our answer.

 

I waited and waited and waited for God.

   At last he looked; finally he listened.

He lifted me out of the ditch,

   pulled me from deep mud.

He stood me up on a solid rock

   to make sure I wouldn’t slip.

He taught me how to sing the latest God-song,

   a praise-song to our God.

More and more people are seeing this:

   they enter the mystery,

   abandoning themselves to God.”

-Psalm 40 : 3-5 (MSG)

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9 Comments

  • Claire

    This is so beautiful, and so true. In my own life, I feel like the past several months have been such a struggle and for the longest time I was really angry–I just couldn’t see a point to it. Why did I have to go through so much struggle? Now our lives are changing for the better, but those changes are only possible because of the struggles we endured. Lately I’ve been meditating on this verse a lot: ” ‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’ ” ~ Jeremiah 29:11

    March 23, 2018 at 5:33 am Reply
    • Megan Hallier

      Anger and sadness are always discouraged nowadays but actually being allowed to feel those things is so freeing. It’s wonderful to see all the happy changes you are facing! I hope you are surviving all that driving back home!

      March 29, 2018 at 4:33 pm Reply
  • Ro

    YES, YES, YES. You’re speaking a lot of what I’ve been feeling, lately. It seems like we’re both going through a season where we’re struggling and wondering why certain things have happened, but you are so right. I’ve also found myself really saddened by the horrors going on in this world. I’m thankful that as you said we are allowed to wrestle with these things with God and we can be honest with Him about things like this. I often feel guilty questioning such a holy God, so it’s amazing that God welcomes that. Beautifully written post and very well said! <3

    March 23, 2018 at 3:13 pm Reply
    • Megan Hallier

      It’s the most freeing thing knowing that we can question our beliefs and God is big enough and gracious enough to love us through it. I highly recommend you check out a book called ‘Out of sorts’ by Sarah Bessey. I know you will be so encouraged by it. I hope you find some peace and joy even if things aren’t going as you planned.

      March 29, 2018 at 4:30 pm Reply
  • Emily Swanson

    This. Wow.

    ‘I take comfort in knowing that my God is BIG.

    My hands are easily weighed down because this burden is too great for me to bear. My humanness is insufficient for such a task, but God can hold it all. He can hold both darkness and light without strain. He can be all consuming love and righteous judgement. He can dance with us in our joy and weep with us in our sadness.

    Over everything, He is our redemption.

    In all seasons, He is our hope.

    In the longing, searching and seeking for truth…He is our answer.’

    I’m so so so comforted by this, because right now life feels big and heavy and hard and challenging. I don’t know what’s next, and I can’t say I’m so excited about life, but this gives me SOOO much incredible hope in God, incredible hope in God because He is BIG! He is SOOO much bigger than we are. He knows. It’s amazing that God shows us over and over when we are in despair that He is faithful. He knows our infirmities. He sees all our doubts and our longings.

    Let’s Skype soon friend if the Lord wills! <3

    March 24, 2018 at 5:41 am Reply
    • Megan Hallier

      It sucks that life is feeling heavy and hard right now, I know exactly what you mean. I’ve got no idea what’s next for me either, so I’m excited for both of us! I’ll be praying for you <3

      March 29, 2018 at 4:28 pm Reply
  • Week In Review: Being a Closet Perfectionist - Beauty In Christ - The Book

    […] I am so very grateful for Megan posting this blog post, ‘Beauty for Ashes’ because it seems to dovetail so well with what God is teaching me right now. […]

    March 24, 2018 at 10:35 am Reply
  • C

    These words are just beautiful, and speak to my soul. I’m in a long stretching season of struggle on many fronts, and these words bring me comfort and encourage me to keep moving through this heavy and tough season one step at a time.

    March 25, 2018 at 1:37 pm Reply
    • Megan Hallier

      I’m sorry you are in a season of struggle and even more so that it’s seems to be dragging on. It brings me such joy that my words could be an encouragement for you. Keep going friend <3

      March 29, 2018 at 4:23 pm Reply

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