One of the most beautiful promises in Scripture can be found in Isaiah 61:3:
[to] 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.
I find myself thinking of the beauty that God may want to bring out of the ashes of infertility in my life. For so many years, I just couldn't see it. What could possibly be beautiful about unfulfilled desire? What gladness could be found in the midst of mourning? And how can I possibly praise, when my spirit feels such despair?
But the longer I walk this path that God has placed me on, the more I catch glimpses of what He may be doing through it. I am so very grateful for the precious miracle that He has blessed me with. And while I know I would be grateful for Nathan if I weren't infertile, knowing first-hand what a miracle children are makes even the toughest days of parenting a joy.
I've also seen the beauty that comes from honesty and vulnerability... which encourages others to be honest and vulnerable too. Because we all have our ashes in our lives. But God has promised beauty to us all. And sometimes it's easier to see the beauty when we share our ashes with someone else and let them encourage us.
The beauty is all around me, but so often I am too busy smearing ashes on my forehead that I completely ignore the beautiful jewel-encrusted crown laying at my feet. And sometimes, I can't see the ashes of others through my own. We all have our stuff, and I don't want to be so focused on mine that I can't see the needs of those around me.
We have no trouble seeing our own ashes, do we? But the beauty may be harder to find.
I pray that God opens my eyes to the beauty He is bringing out of the ashes in my life. And I pray that He will give me the honor and privilege of caring for you through your ashes... and pointing you to the beauty trying desperately to shine through.