Beauty for my Ashes.. ♥



“God’s plans for us are found when we surrender ours and seek His each day. God’s plans unfold each time we come to Him, talk to Him, and really believe He’s listening.” Renee Swope in A Confident Heart (p.81)

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.
~Isaiah 61:3

We all have a past. We all have experienced some sort of pain that has left us broken on the inside filled with doubts, fears, and shame. We all have have battled our own demons and lived in darkness. We have worn masks and hidden away from the world and kept our story a secret. We all have our own pain, our own insecurities and our own broken pieces, but we also have an almighty God. An all powerful, redeeming, savior named Jesus to help put those broken pieces back into something beautiful. He gives us beauty for our ashes and garments of praise. We are His beloved daughters, beautifully broken, We are children of God.

“God wanted to heal my hurts and that eventually He could use my pain to comfort others with the same hope He wanted to give me.” -Renee Swope in A Confident Heart (p. 67)

In my post last week I shared my story which dealt with abuse, bullying, self harm, suicidal thoughts, and depression. I opened my past and exposed it. I shared some of my deepest secrets that left me with shame and guilt. It was hard for me to write and to be honest I was scared to post, but I felt the Lord telling me and encouraging me to post my story for the world to read. To get it out there so that maybe someone who was dealing with the same demons or living in the same darkness could see the hope that He offers.

“We can trust God’s plans as we realize that His story is being written in ours. His power is perfected in the broken places we consider to be our greatest weaknesses-our most vulnerable emotions we don’t want anyone to know about. in those hiding places, God calls us out of captivity. When we’re willing to let Him, He brings hope to our future despite the pain of our past.” Renee Swope in A Confident Heart (p.76)

We as children of God are called to live in the light of God. We are to show others the light that He offers and to guide others to Him. We are to be models of salvation and show how His grace can truly change someones life. We are suppose to be models of redemption and show others that it is possible to move on and move forward; that it is possible to have hope for a better future and through Christ we can embrace that future that He invites us to live in.

“Hope comes when we allow Jesus to search our hearts and bring truth into our wounded places.” -Renee Swope in A Confident Heart (p.73)

Hope. It is defined as:

  • the feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best
  • a person or thing in which expectations are centered

God is hope. He offers it to all who will just believe in Him. He wants to help you move on and move forward. He doesn’t want you to live in the pain of your past forever. He loves you and is calling you to step out of the shadow of doubts and into the hope in Him. He is there, all the time. He is your source of strength, wisdom, peace, and courage. He can help heal all your wounded places and He can give you a purpose for the pain.

“Hope never goes away no matter the circumstances!” -Natalie Grant

My story consists of hurts, heartache, and so much pain, but it also speaks of redemption, purpose and hope. I am making the choice to ask Jesus to heal my wounded places and I am letting Him use my mess and turn it into His message. A message of hope. A message of faith. A message of His saving grace. Don’t let your past define who you are, instead let Him define you. Let His hope, mercy, love, grace, and faith replace your past. I am #MovingForward, I am not going to live in my past any longer. I have my heart focused on Christ. I have been saved, I have been forgiven, and I have been redeemed. I no longer live in darkness, instead I walk in light with Jesus holding my hand; spreading His hope to the world.

“God’s love is not only perfect and unfailing, it redeems and restores. His truth cuts to the core of our struggles, bringing purpose to our pain, redemption from our past, and hope for our future!” -Renee Swope in A Confident Heart (p81-82)

Dear Father, today I pray that You help lead us into Your hopeful future and help us to leave the past in the past. Please give us the strength and courage to move forward with faith. Thank you Father for all Your wonderful, beautiful blessing. In Your name I pray. Amen.

Much love and blessings to you all,
♥ ♥ ♥

**Click here to read my post from last week if you’d like to read my story.


14 thoughts on “Beauty for my Ashes.. ♥

  1. It’s so awesome how God using Renee’s book to change our hearts and be able to open to our shame and guilt. I have found there are so many things I’m guilty about that I am still praying on opening up. This study has been so amazing for me. I hope it continues to help each of us in the way it needs too!!

  2. Raelene – So much of your blog post I feel I could have written too. Your paragraph about God using your mess as a message of hope, faith and His saving grace is perfect. You are so right. Thank you for sharing your story with us and letting Him use you so richly. Love you.

  3. Renee’s book has been pealing some layers away! I’m glad you are #movingforward!! Its a beautiful thing to trust the Father! Thanks for sharing your post and your story!

  4. Thank you for allowing the Lord to work through you, that you might open up about your past, so that you can continue #movingforward. I pray that you will continue to be blessed by this study and find peace in Him.

  5. Raelene,
    Thank you for being so brave and sharing your story. I love what you wrote here and how you not only shared your hurt but offered God as hope. You have chosen not to stay stuck in that place but to allow God to bring you to a place of healing and hope and restoration. You have chosen well, sweet sister! Keep seeking Him, even when it’s hard. He is faithful and He never leaves us! He is making something beautiful out of our broken! So happy you’re a part of our OBS community!!

  6. I love it!! I have been inspired by your blog, blessed and encouraged. May you always feel the hope of God’s promises for your life. Blessings.

  7. Thank you for sharing! I am encouraged to leave my past behind me and move into the blessings God has for me #movingforward

  8. Raelene, I love what you’ve written and love how you’ve chosen to move forward rather than continue looking back. You are brave to share your story to help inspire others–I know you are an inspiration to me!! Love and hugs!!

    Kris Danko (OBS Small Group Leader)

  9. Thank you for sharing your story Raelene, you are an inspiration to so many. I know how hard it is to move forward, and how brave you are in trusting God to be able to do just that. ❤

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