Tag Archives: beauty from ashes

Beauty, Bluebonnets, Buttercups and Bulrushes

Beauty, Bluebonnets, Buttercups and Bulrushes

Have you ever witnessed the beauty of fields adorned with wildflowers and thought about how that compares to our walk with the Lord? In the following post I have tried to explain the message God laid on my heart to share with you.  Read on and see if you agree.

Have you ever driven down the Texas highways in Springtime and found a stream of wild flowers adorning the median or sides of the highway?  Well, if you have never done so, you need to schedule a trip to Texas during wild flower season.  It will bless your socks right off your feet!  Believe it or not, this topic really does apply to my spiritual journey.  Read on to find out more.

This year seems to have more wild flowers than I have ever seen.  At least in the Dallas/Fort Worth area.  AlthoWildflowers 2ugh, I have tried to find any article that says so, I know what I have seen before and I know what I see this year.  There are at least double the wild flowers than I have ever seen.  Every day seemed to be a new patch of color that wasn’t there the day before.  You see, I am an Uber driver and I see lots of miles a day.  Some are in the cement jungles but many of those miles are spent on the roads to and from cities.  Even the neighborhood fields, parks and some private residence’s lawns are overflowing with wild flowers.  I love the Texas wildflowers.  I can never get enough of them!  Especially the Bluebonnet, it is the state flower.

Wildflower Etiquette

As you drive along and see an ocean of wild flowers swaying in the wind, you may or may not want to stop to take pictures.  If you do stop there are usually some Texas Wildflower etiquette.

Here is an excerpt from the Texas Department of Transportation website that might interest you before you step out of that vehicle.

Texas FlagToday

Maintenance techniques used to encourage wildflower growth include safety, or strip mowing which allows the wildflowers to bloom and native grasses to emerge.

TxDOT buys and sows about 30,000 pounds of wildflower seed each year. The peak wildflower blooming season draws tourists from all across the nation to see the color unfold each spring.

Your Responsibility

The department is pleased with the attention wildflowers attract; however, we discourage picture-taking that damages the flowers. If too many wildflowers are trampled, they will die and not go to seed. Since many of these flowers are annuals, this means they have to go to seed to come back the next year. Naturally, we discourage picking the flowers for the same reason.

The wildflower program is part of good stewardship. Today, TxDOT not only plants and enhances wildflower areas, but more importantly protects and maintains the investment made in years past.

Trash?

Another thing you may notice when you step out to take a closer look at those pretty wild flowers is that there is another side to the beauty.  I experienced it first hand and was a bit shocked at first.

Indian BlanketWhen I got out to take some pictures along the side of the road, I stepped out ever so gently out of my truck.  Then looked down to find a new place to put my feet so I could get a better angle on the flowers.  I am not sure what I expected to see but it wasn’t trash.  I thought it was just a piece of trash right there at my feet but no.  As I gazed out over the beauty of the wild flowers and grasses swaying back and forth, I admired the serene beauty that God has adorned our highways and byways with, but I noticed the trash under some of the beauty.  But for now the beauty covers up most of the ugliness of the trash.  I have seen the road crews picking up trash also, especially when the wildflowers are gone and they are allowed to mow, it may uncover some ugliness.  So the road crews will be diligently picking up all of the trash that got blown all over the place when the mowers came through.

So … you ask how does this parallel our spiritual journey?  Well, here’s what I think God is wanting to share with me and then in turn with you.

Background

Let me begin with a little background first.  God has changed my life.  He has taken this gal, that lived for Leah, and transformed … or is transforming her into someone that loves God.  She is learning about Him as much as she can, considering this finite, human mind and is growing in my walk with Jesus.  I love spending time just talking with Jesus.  He understands me so well. Walk Alone

I had moments in my life when I was walking with the Lord.  I cannot tell you exactly what happened that would cause me to slip back into the “Leah” mode.  However, I do know that the enemy was very sly and quick.  When a vulnerable spot was uncovered, there was always the chance to fall back into whatever that “sin” was.  And unfortunately, I fell more than I care to remember.

God’s Word says that the devil prowls around looking for “someone to devour”.  Those vulnerable spots in folks like you and me are laid bare sometimes and then he pounces.  He will meet you in your weakest moment and He will devour you in the blink of an eye – if you allow it!  But it’s not with a roar, necessarily.  He can speak with the softest and most tender voice.  He is soft and gentle when he needs to be to convince you that you need to do that “forbidden” thing.  You give one slight look or hesitation towards his way and he will pounce!  He has you!  Then before you know it, you are doing the “thing” that led you to your demise before you met the Lord.  The “thing” could be anything.  Smoking, drinking, pornography, adultery, stealing, cheating, lying, or anything else that is against the good morals and ethics that Christianity is built on. That your faith is built on.

1 Peter 5:8

Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.

But you know what?  I know Someone else who also knows our weakest spots in our lives.  He created each of us, so He even knows us down to the number of hairs on our head.

Choices

We have a choice.  A choice to either listen to the lies and inviting voice of the enemy or we can choose to turn to Jesus and say… “I need You, Lord.  I need You now!”  Jesus is always there.  He will never leave you, but He will not force you to love Him either.  It’s your choice.  He is a gentleman.  Forced love has never been true love.I need You

I know that I have done things that definitely have been detrimental to my well-being, however, there are also things that others have littered my life with. I am sure you know what I mean.  Hurts from others that have caused you pain or problems along your life journey.

Some things are just on the periphery of your life.  Some are just below the surface.  Others are buried deep.  So, no matter what, they are still there.  The things that keep you from seeming to go forward in your life.  Things that you believe have affected you or your life in such a way that you will never be able to live a normal life in this world.

Well, I am here to tell you that there is HOPE!  Hope in a “normal” life.  Hope in happiness and fulfillment in life.  I have found it or better yet… I have found Him!  NO!  He has found me!  He never was lost.  I was!  He is the Creator of everything!  He is my Friend, Savior and King!  His name is Jesus!  And I love to share Him with others!

Comparison

The way I have compared this information to the beautiful fields of Texas Wild Flowers is this.  I look at a big beautiful field of flowers and think of my life.  Before Jesus came into my life, it was so cluttered with “stuff”.  It was very unappealing at times.  Downright disgusting, at times.  I look back and ask myself… “How did you tolerate this?”  I am not real certain of the answer to that question, all I know is that I kept putting one foot in front of the other one to get here today.  Of course, there is much more to it than just one foot in front of the other, but in a nutshell that’s it.

FieldSo, let’s look at the field that is cluttered with “stuff”.  Whether the “stuff” is there by your own mistakes and bad decisions or someone else’s carelessness that was allowed into your life – which would be under the “bad decisions” category.

That field has lots of “stuff” all throughout.  On the edges, deep in the middle or just scattered around.  You continue to go through life not really living the way you know is “right”.  Then one day, through a series of events, you meet Someone that changes your life.  He takes your hand and walks around with you.  He walks with you through that cluttered field that is and has been your life.  You begin to tell Him about things that you have done that you are sorry for.  Things that you don’t want to do any longer.  Things that you are so ashamed of that you don’t even want to tell Him.  Walking and talking with Him seems to be easy.  No condemnation from Him.  He listens and is very sympathetic to your struggles.  He seems to understand each struggle as you explain it, as though He has been there also.  He continues to listen as you begin to have tears well up in your eyes and then they make their way over your cheeks and stream down your face as you tell of things that have been so very hurtful to you. You are so ashamed of some of the things you are sharing with Him and you are now sobbing uncontrollably.  Your knees buckle under the weight of the moment.  You hit the ground, yet He picks you up gently.   Somehow, though, you feel comforted and realize He has embraced you.  It seems so foreign yet so peaceful.

You notice that you begin to relax, every cell of your body absorbs the love and comfort that He is showing you.  You have never felt this comfort and peace.  Is this the peace that you have heard people talk about when you meet Jesus?  A peace that goes beyond our understanding?  It must be.

As you regain a little composure, He helps you stand on your own.  He encourages you to look back over your “field”.  As you turn to look, all you see is beautiful wild flowers everywhere.  Color that bursts out of the ground in so many places that the colors run together.  There are some flowers and colors that you have never seen.  The landscape is resplendent with color!  It is so beautiful it makes you smile.  Even giggle a little to see the beauty.  He has given you beauty where once there was ugliness.  A sweet-smelling aroma where there was nothing but stench.  There is such beauty that only He could create.  Such peace and comfort that only He could give.

Field with trees

This is but one scenario that God has laid on my heart for the wildflower theme.  Maybe I will be able to write another soon but for now I just want to say this… If you allow Jesus into your life, He can bring you such joy and peace and that resplendent color in your fields of life.  If you have questions about how to do this, click here and it will take you to a website that explains what it means to be a follower of Jesus.

The Beauty of Christ

If you are already a follower of Jesus Christ and have experienced the “cluttered” field in the past or maybe you are experiencing it right now, Jesus can still help.  You just have to cry out to Him and He will walk around with you and clean up the mess that has been left.  He will guide you and direct you wheBelovedn you give your life fully to Him.  He will help keep the beautiful wildflowers in your field and help you weed the field as needed.  He loves you so much, after all, He calls you His beloved.

 

Excellent song and video.  The message is for all of us “Broken Things”.

Matthew West
Video– Broken Things

 

 

 

BEAUTY FOR ASHES

Do you believe that when God takes something away from your life that He replaces it with something better?   In other words, as a song sings… “Beauty for Ashes”?   Well, I never really thought about it very much until lately. And, let me say “better” is a relative term. Better to some may not be better to others. Let me explain a little.

When I was traveling – in my last job – I used to have a backpack that I had all kinds of “stuff” in.  On my next to last trip, part of that “stuff”  was my $35 pair of sunglasses that I had had for three years. I purchased them when I got my new glasses. I loved them and they fit over my glasses and they didn’t have a scratch on them. I kept them perfect for three years, and that is saying A LOT! Not one scratch! I remember where I had them. I had put them (in their case) in one of the pockets on the side of my backpack. They must have worked their way out of the pocket. So… I didn’t have sunglasses. I was VERY sad! Not to mention I HATE throwing away money. I have always worn sunglasses too! My eyes have always been very sensitive to light.

Anyway, on my last trip, I was in Chino Hills, California with a pair of sunglasses that I had purchased at Walmart. Nice but not quite like my other ones. Not as expensive either. Nonetheless, as I was about to leave a parking lot where I had been shopping for food for the week I was there, I looked in the middle of the road and there was something laying there. As I got closer I could see it was a glasses case. I was so afraid the car coming was going to run over it before I could get to it. You see… I always find things to pick up along the way. My mom and dad have even called me a “trash picker” because I find things all the time along the side of the road to bring home. Very nice things that people just toss out for whatever reason.   I guess it’s better than finding another dog and bringing it home… although that almost happened a couple of times… ok, back to my story. I parked quickly and ran to the street where the glasses case was laying. I picked them up and found a pretty nice glasses case and the corner had been chewed by some sharp little puppy teeth – awwww… the person that lost this had a puppy…then I opened it up and neatly wrapped in a glasses cleaner cloth was a VERY NICE pair of Ray Bans. They were prescription sunglasses and WAY TO STRONG for my eyes. However, the frames are very nice. I took them to my eye doctor when I had my appointment and asked the lady at the glasses counter about them. She said they were fairly new and cost around $250. So… when I get new glasses I just may use them for my new frames … I am not sure…selly

Then, if you want to hear another story about having something taken away (or losing it) and something better provided it will be about my job situation. You know I had the last job only 64 days… I loved it. However, it was beginning to wear on my neck and back with all the traveling. I was doing OK though. Then after 64 days they let me go for a stupid reason… I have NEVER been let go from a job in all my life… and I am not a young whipper snapper… lol. Anyway, they let me go and I was totally devastated and depressed for several days!  I could not understand why God took this job away from me… or better phrased… why He allowed it to happen.  I don’t believe He “took it away” … Anyway, If you know me you know that I don’t get depressed. I am a very positive person and usually always upbeat and think the best of most situations. This was different. I just knew this had been the right job for me. I guess they thought different.  Bygones…

I survived and after a few days began to carry on. I began to put more resumes out and I mean more! I applied for unemployment and got it. So I was on my way. In a month and two days I received an email from a Training Manager for a computer learning center here in the area. We made a time for an interview. My phone interview was on a Friday evening at 5:45 pm and lasted an hour and forty five minutes. I have never had an interview of any kind that lasted that long. When we first started though, our conversation was about dogs, so I knew it was going to go well. LOL…

During the interview she asked if I would be interested in doing a “Test Teach” for them next week sometime. This is where I would be giving a presentation for them so they could see my style of training, etc. So we agreed and she made a statement in closing but I wasn’t sure what she said … so I said… “I apologize, you broke up, could you repeat?” I was shocked with her statement and very pleased at the same time. She repeated it and she said… “I think you would be a great fit for our team.” I was just about to soar through the ceiling… but I graciously thanked her for her time and told her I looked forward to next week and the Test Teach. Then… I hung up the phone and felt elated …Beauty_for_Ashes_Graphic I was so excited. I haven’t felt that excited in a LONG time. To shorten the story, I did my test teach on the following Wednesday and by Friday at 6 pm I heard back from the Training Manager. She said she wanted to call me before the weekend and offer me the job if I wanted it. OH MAN OH MAN!!! I of course said “YES!!” You see, this is a Training job … only Training. Training software which is what I am good at. Microsoft Suite software. They pay for my Microsoft Certifications and that is A BIG DEAL to me. Very little travel and mostly around the Metroplex area. Very little overnight travel. Oh my goodness… I start on June 1st.

So… yes, I believe God sometimes allows “things” to be removed from your life for various reasons but He knows what is best for each and every one of us. He sees the BIG picture. We only see a little right now. The Word of God says this about what God gives…

Isaiah 61:3 New International Version (NIV)

  “…and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
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.”

Beauty for ashes, strength for fear, gladness for mourning and peace for despair. This Video below is an old song sung by Crystal Lewis and Ron Kenoly but it is such a good song for this scripture. The words are a bit different but the meaning is the same. God gives us what we need … all we have to do is to have faith and trust His heart. He will never lead us wrong. We may not understand the circumstances sometimes, but He always has our best in His heart.

The Video – Beauty For Ashes – Crystal Lewis and Ron Kenoly

Now did God place those sunglasses there… well, I doubt He made the other person lose them so I could find them… but all things happen for a reason. If you love the Lord… all things work together for good. His Word tells us so.

Romans 8:28

28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.

The job… yes, I believe God planned for this new job to be mine. I heard in my heart last year, while I was sitting in the call center… wondering when … OH WHEN… I could get out of the call center and into a job that suited me and my abilities better. I was praying and just pouring my heart out to God that day. I remember it like it was yesterday. I heard in my spirit… “Leah, you will be out of here and in a new job by June of next year.” Folks, that “next year” is 2015! This year! I start my new job on June 1st! So… I believe He planned it for me. I don’t understand all of the particulars but I know it’s for me and from Him. The other job was just a “passing thing” I guess. Also, it might have been meant for someone other than me – I mean my time at my last job may have been for someone else to gain something from that instead of me. I believe those things can happen. I believe my time at the call center was for mostly someone else or more than one someone else. I grew a lot there too, and I believe God worked through me to touch others there. So… just because you are in a particular place doesn’t mean you are there only for you. It might be, and more than likely, is for someone else also.  And, more than likely, it is not forever.

So, with all that said, I will close for now and pray that you find your “place” that He has for you as well. I know many are searching and hurting out there. I know some are in bad situations whether it be a job or relationship or geographical location. I get it! I have been right where you are, more than likely. Keep trusting that the Lord will provide a way for you.

I just thought of this and have to share it… When I was at a church down in South East Texas, we had a concert that was fantastic. A particular narration during the concert was done by the Worship Pastor. His voice was so compelling and spoke volumes to me and to many others at the time. I want to share those words with you now. I just feel led to share his words. They will touch your heart, I am certain of it.

“Holy is the Lord our God. Almighty, Omnipotent Majesty. The Most High God. This same God that fashioned the universe and called the world into being, knows you by name. He has ordained this time in your life. This very minute. This exact second. The Father is concerned with all that concerns you. He knows your heart. He knows your struggles. He has seen you in the times of incredible victory and He has been there in the times when you have been overwhelmingly defeated. Calling you by name… crying out to you to cast your cares upon Him. He calls out to you now with a still small voice. Come to me… all who are tired and weary with cares. Find rest in my arms. Come home.”

Wherever you are… He has you there for a reason. He loves you so very much! After all, He calls you His beloved!

The Song – He Knows My Name – Paul Baloche

The Video – He Knows My Name – Paul Baloche

https://youtu.be/uu9K5kzKPcQ

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