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Beauty from Ashes

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.  Isaiah 61:3 NIV

(Photo courtesy of office.microsoft.com.)My 15th birthday was fast approaching when devastating news reached me. The school I attended from first grade had burned the night before. Nothing was left but the charred walls. When I heard the heartbreaking news, I cried, afraid I’d be sent to a different school than my classmates because I lived in another town and rode a bus. I was a shy teen and the thought of attending a new school with strangers filled me with fear. 

Imagine my joy when I learned only a day before my birthday that my high school would be combined with another small school eleven miles from my home. I would eventually graduate with my classmates. 

Those first days in my new school were filled with anxious anticipation, wondering how we would be accepted by the other students. Would they resent our coming, causing confusion and crowding in their school? 

My worries were needless because the students and teachers not only accepted us, they went out of their way to help us adjust to the new surroundings. Out of the ashes of sorrow and anxiety grew a beauty of unity, helpfulness, and encouragement between our two schools. 

Now when I think about that stressful time, I am reminded that God has been faithful in my past and He will be faithful in my present and in my future. He will work in and through whatever heartache, sorrow, or pain I encounter. 

Isaiah reminds us there will be beauty in the hardship. Good things will come. And he is right. God continues to work to bring beauty from the ashes of my life. He will do the same for each person who allows Him to guide their lives. 

Don’t mourn over things you cannot change. Put on the garment of praise and God will raise you from the ashes. 

(Photo courtesy of office.microsoft.com.)

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Norma Mezoe

Norma C. Mezoe strives to be a Barnabas in her writing and in her living. Norma has been a published writer for thirty years and has written for magazines, devotionals, and S.S. literature. She is active in her small church as clerk, teacher, and bulletin maker. Norma may be contacted at normacm@tds.net.