Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Beauty For Ashes

This morning on the way to school, a woman called to me from her porch, Do you have cigarette?  From the looks of her, nicotine wouldn't have even made a dent in what she needed.  I said, no, I'm sorry and quickly tried to walk the kids past before their inevitable barrage of questions and comments.  Avery and Amanda think that smoking is the greatest "sin" there could possibly be and Amanda was astounded that the lady had asked me.

After I got Amanda to school, I began to wish I'd offered to pray with her in place of the cigarette I couldn't provide her.  Or maybe I should go buy a pack, bring her one and then ask to pray with her.  When I went back (cigarette-less) she was gone.

An hour later I was sitting in a training class, all about the effects of trauma.  Children everywhere, people everywhere, experience so much trauma, and it can permeate every fiber of who they are.  It changes even the simple things, like eating habits and affectionate hugs.  It affects everyone they come in contact with.

Later in the evening I was talking to my dad and he (a pastor) has been helping a woman in his church whose son is about to lose his battle with his 30's, with a wife and four children.

We talked about my brother (a chaplain) who is trying to address the alarming suicide rate among soldiers who have returned from war.

Z comes home from football practice and I warm up dinner for him and chat.  We read a devotion that happens to be about being "born again", which gets us talking about heaven and eventually he asks why doesn't Jesus just come now and give the devil his due.

Why.  Why is there so much suffering?  There is so much I don't understand, especially in this world of foster care that I now reside in.

Tonight, I surrender my heavy and questioning heart and take comfort in these words from Isaiah 61:

1 The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is upon me, because the LORD has appointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted and to announce that captives will be released and prisoners will be freed.
2 He has sent me to tell those who mourn that the time of the LORD’s favor has come, and with it, the day of God’s anger against their enemies.
3 To all who mourn in Israel, he will give beauty for ashes, joy instead of mourning, praise instead of despair. For the LORD has planted them like strong and graceful oaks for his own glory.
4 They will rebuild the ancient ruins, repairing cities long ago destroyed. They will revive them, though they have been empty for many generations.
5 Foreigners will be your servants. They will feed your flocks and plow your fields and tend your vineyards.
6 You will be called priests of the LORD, ministers of our God. You will be fed with the treasures of the nations and will boast in their riches.
7 Instead of shame and dishonor, you will inherit a double portion of prosperity and everlasting joy.
8 “For I, the LORD, love justice. I hate robbery and wrongdoing. I will faithfully reward my people for their suffering and make an everlasting covenant with them.
9 Their descendants will be known and honored among the nations. Everyone will realize that they are a people the LORD has blessed.”  


LuAnn said...


Melody said...

This really spoke to me, Lisa. I'm doing a research project on the effects of trauma, and it's just so heartbreaking.
Have you heard Shane and Shane's song "Beauty for Ashes"? It's wonderful - sometimes I just sit and listen to it over and over again.

Love you!

sara said...

I completely understand where your heart is. I just got off the phone with my homeless cousin, who I can only really help by just being there to talk when he needs to, and feel over whelmed by what I have and where he is. And as I start into this foster care world, I have asked God to keep me close and provide all I need to deal with the brokenness I will come in contact with. Thanks for all these verses! Praying for you today!!

Amy said...

Just. Beautiful. -- So proud to call your sister. Friend.