Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Beautiful Ashes

Have you ever used a wood burning fireplace?

There is nothing quite like curling up in front of a fire on a cool evening watching the flames dance around and feeling the warmth caress your face.

As beautiful as the fire is when it is lit, the pile of ashes that are left behind are very dirty.

Long after the flame has gone out, they remain only as a reminder of the glistening glow that once illumined them.

There are times when this is an accurate analogy for life.

Have you ever felt like everything has disintegrated into a pile of soot and ashes?

Maybe the flame has relinquished long ago and you feel like there just isn't much of you left to catch fire.

If that sounds familiar, you are not alone!

There have been several times in my life when I felt the same way.

Thankfully, God looks at those ashes of our fears and failures, mistakes and misfortunes, trials and tribulations, and He sees something entirely different.

He sees Beauty!

Romans 8:28 says, "ALL things work together for Good for them who love God..." (KJV)

We serve a God who turns our broken, used up, dirty ashes into our new, refreshed, beautiful testimony!

What might seem useless and ugly to you appears as a beautiful life full of promise and possibilities to God.

He looks into the dried up ashes and sees a flame that is ready to ignite and burn brightly once again!

There have been so many times in my life when my future looked dim.

It seemed like the destiny I had envisioned was over.

It is in those darkest times that I found myself genuinely vulnerable before God.

Being vulnerable is not comfortable.

It doesn't come naturally in human nature to put yourself out there.

We go through pain staking lengths just to raise walls around our heart on a daily basis.
That is our defense mechanism.

I have learned that in those times when I feel raw emotionally that God does His greatest work!

After my mom passed away with Lung Cancer I was at this place of brokenness.

It was a time of crushing sadness and heartache.
I felt utterly destroyed.
Some times I was numb with pain and other times I was raging with anger.

Through her death I lost my mom, my best friend, and my spiritual mentor all at once. 

Like a child who cries for his mommy I reached my hands up toward Heaven in surrender and cried for mine.

I laid my life simply and honestly before God and said,
"Please help me. Only you can!"

And.....He did.

The God who created all of the universe reached down His hands to meet mine.
He came to where I was hurting and held me like a loving father comforting his troubled son.

Over time, when I grew stronger, He picked me up.
As my strength grew He walked with me, carrying me when I could not take a step on my own.

In the months that followed, the presence of God became tangible in my life.

I learned that He was not a judge sitting on high waiting to punish me for my misdeeds.

God became my loving Papa who was gently healing and strengthening me.

My entire vision of God was changing as I stayed vulnerable and allowed Him to work in my life.

I began to speak with Him in conversation throughout my day and night, not just in prayer or at church.

I traded my weakness for His strength day after day.

It was during this period of healing that I started this blog.

The seeds for what has become Radical Hope Ministries were planted at a time when I could not see hope for myself, much less for others.

But, God Saw Hope.
God Gave Me Hope.
God Sees Hope in YOU!

When my walls were down, when I was vulnerable before God, He gave me His Strength.

I had nothing to offer Him but He offered me Hope, Peace, Joy, and Healing!

1 Corinthians 12:9 says it best, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my Strength is made Perfect in Weakness."

If you are at this place in your life now or ever find yourself here, remember:

When you are weak, He is strong!

I challenge you to pray to God in your own words, as humbly and honestly as you can.
Tell Him how you feel.

Be genuinely vulnerable with Him.
Let down your walls and allow God to be your papa, not your judge.

God is Love.

He longs to have this loving relationship with you!

Trust Him to reach down and hold you.
Trust Him to pick you up.
Trust Him to carry you and walk with you.

You have no idea how beautiful your ashes are.
What you see as a life in ruins may be a ministry to others of Radical Hope!

As always remember,

God Loves You!
God Created You!
God Accepts You!

Until Next Time,


Beautiful Things - Gungor