Right in the middle of a very stable, happy and productive life, a great big thing happened. The morning of the day it happened was like any other—the sun had risen in its same happy manner, the birds chirped in their usual fashion and I remember, like every other morning, rebuking the alarm clock as the devil and the liar that it is. Nothing was new, nothing seemed different. So when, in the middle of my very predictable day, this great, big thing happened, it surprised me. It shocked me. It broke me. It tore me to pieces. It was evil, it was powerful. It pulled from beneath me the very foundation on which I had stood, with confidence, for so many years.
My spirit was crushed when I was informed that life as I knew it, would come to an end. My marriage would not survive. On that very sunny, ordinary day, my faith and my heart were devoured by people I trusted, people I loved. My knees were shattered by blistering blows of betrayal…I landed in the ashes.
Everywhere in our world today, easy-going and ordinary days are being interrupted by great big things. People are being tormented, family bonds are being broken, relationships are being pummeled and structures that hold our lives together are imploding into piles of ashes. Everywhere in our world this is happening resulting in pain and fear and despair—resulting in spirits that are crushed.
Had it not been for the grace of God, I would never have been able to stand again. So great was the fear, so devastating the humiliation of being in the ashes, that I contemplated just giving up—just accepting defeat and just wandering in the soiled reality of my life. You see, I lived and breathed despair. I was persecuted, pelted with words of stone, ridiculed, mocked openly, judged unfairly. In my best capacity of reasoning I concluded that the matter was over with. I was done. But what I did not know is that God, in His infinite mercy, was just beginning to speak life into my situation.
God began to work in me, my self-esteem, my understanding of things that once were too great for me to fathom. He began to reveal to me visions of hope, of restoration. Day by day, right there in the ashes, He provided instructions of an exit strategy. I began to feel more and more of His presence until one day, I looked around me and realized I had taken one major step out of my misery, out of the mouth of the grave. I had made it out alive and in my hand I held a testament of God’s grace, proof of time well spent in training camp, a copy of my book: FROM THE ASHES, LESSONS WE LEARN.
In this book I encourage readers to transform the great big things that disrupt our lives into powerful tools for the Kingdom of God. I write: “Some of the best work we perform for God and many of the wonderful ministries we benefit from are children of adversity—children born in the ashes. They spring up from beds of despair, helplessness and worry.” While in the ashes, in training camp, God inspired and strengthened me to write. Every time I felt the pain, I wrote, hoping that one day the lessons I learned would help someone else navigate their way out of the ashes.
Great big things are happening all around us but our God is, by all means, greater and bigger than any of them. Trust in Him, He will see you through. Take heart and wait on the Lord.
FROM THE ASHES is also available in french as RENAITRE DE SES CENDRES.