Beauty for Ashes

There was a time when my heart felt broken within me. A time when I felt sick with sadness every single day. A dark weight burdened my mind and spirit. A burden that would only cause others grief if I were to share it. So it stayed there, eating away at me. Days turned to weeks, weeks to months, and months to years.

Where was the the joy I should have been feeling as a newly wed woman, as a mother experiencing those first few years with precious little ones? Where was my faith, my joy in the Lord? Everything felt dull in comparison to the grief inside me.

How do you mourn the loss of innocence? How do you grieve and lay to rest your brokenness? How do you make sense of senselessness and apply a balm to wounds that are years old? When your whole being feels overwhelmed with loss, how do you get up each morning, put on a smile, and go on living? What do you do when you are so weary from sadness that your physical body longs for rest? How do you pray when it seems as though your prayers evaporate into the air long before they ever reach a caring God?

Can you imagine that one sitting with you in church could be hurting like this? Once I was.

But, of course, God did hear those prayers and our God is always good. His word promises that He will comfort all those that mourn in Zion and that He is close to those that are of a broken heart.

One day, quite unexpectedly, a lifeline was thrown to me. It was announced that there was a support group meeting for those who had suffered sexual abuse. I was very nervous to attend that first meeting. Who would be there? What would they think of me? My family? And most importantly, could I trust them?

What I found was a small group of women, some hurting like me and hardly able to talk without crying, others older and calm and further along on the journey. All there to pray for, love, and support one another. So, it wasn’t just me. It wasn’t just my family having to deal with such ugly things. I was no longer alone. And here began my journey of healing.

Years have passed, so many things have changed. I have buried and mourned my brokenness. I have laid aside the weight that beset me. The warm, beautiful light of healing and forgiveness has shined into the deepest recesses of my soul and spirit. God has given me some wonderful exchanges, beauty for ashes, oil of joy for mourning, and garments of praise for the spirit of heaviness.

My family has grown. Love no longer hurts. Loving my husband and children is easy and light. I am no longer the hurting young woman I once was. There’s soundness and strength in every fiber. I have been healed.

I met with a Christian counselor back then and I like the way she described being healed. She said it would be like having all the abuse and pain that came with it written in a book. I wouldn’t have to always be carrying it around with me, I could put it away on a shelf and take it down to look at when I chose to.

Months go by without me even thinking about it and when I do, it’s not scary or upsetting. It will always be sad and unjust and, oh, how I look forward to the day when Christ calls me home and “this robe of flesh I’ll drop, and rise to seize the everlasting prize!” to be in heaven with God, never to remember what is ugly or wrong!

I have been reminded lately, in numerous ways, that there are undoubtedly others now where I once was. I have been praying for the hurting ones.

Dear one who is hurting, call out to God. He surely will hear you. Ask Him to place people in your life to walk through this time alongside you. Remember, this too shall pass. Our God is the great physician and the God of comfort and grace. No matter how dark the darkness, God’s light is many times more powerful. He truly is able to “restore to you the years that the locusts have eaten” and “repair the breach” in your soul and spirit.

– a daughter of Judah and a messenger of hope

“Zion heard, and was glad; and the daughters of Judah rejoiced because of thy judgments, O Lord.” (Psalm 97:8)

Blog Image – © 2016 Kayla McCormick

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