If you a writer you may cringe at the title of this post. No need to pray for God to revive my journals. The burning of my journals was inspired by God. Trust me; else I would have NEVER!. With all honesty, I would have probably kept those journals forever. At first, I didn’t understand what God could teach me. But as the fire started I quickly understood.
Those journals held real childhood trauma and allowed me to pour out my hurt. As the fire covered over pages, I heard God tell me I wouldn’t need old journals because he wanted me to share things from a new angle. God showed me where he’s taking me the journals can’t come along. The Lord reminded me of the verse Isiah 61:1-3. The exchange of Beauty for Ashes. I’ve heard this verse over and over before but looking at those flames gave me a real revelation.
As I tossed journal pages in the fire I understood the process of exchange. Pages of my past were turning into ashes and God was restoring things in me. When we think of beauty for ashes we don’t think of the work we have to do. Having a willing heart to disconnect with our past is required. Many of us including myself have built our identity around our pain we don’t know who we are outside of the pain. Unfortunately, our behaviors of surviving have become embedded in us.
In our 20’s, 30’s, the 40’s,50’s60’s,70s,80’s 90’s we are fighting like we are still being violated. We’ve become overly strong and ready for war in the calm and peaceful environments. Our grown-up self is trying to protect the little version of us. We must be willing to do the exchange with God. God will not force you to do anything. And if you don’t want the healing I encourage you to pray for the desire to want to heal. We can’t have both beauty and ashes we must make a decision. When you exchange something at a store you have to give the old to get the new. This is the same for the things of God. Yet spiritually we fail at this. God wants to heal our pain; every part. I’m all perfect and healed. I’m going through the process too. There so many things I had to hand over for exchange; like how abused shaped my perspective on men, how I speak to people defensively, and the hardest one of all how I look at myself.
When understanding exchange we can have the things listed in Isaiah 61 1-3. God promises he will teach us, he will heal our broken hearts, Free Us, Comfort us, put praise in our hearts, and fill us with joy. These are promises for us. A question you must ask yourself is are you holding ashes still. Are you still hoping the person who molested dies? Or are you still angry with your birth mother for not be able to care for you? Just being transparent these are some of my challenges. God wants to work on my heart.
Exchanging Your Ashes Requires:
Acknowledging Your Behaviors: You cant exchange what you don’t know needs exchanging. You may have toxic behaviors and you are unaware or you think because you have done this for years its okay. We must be truthful. An example when people don’t respond to me right away I feel a sense of rejection but God is working on me.
Relearning: Growing up in a dysfunctional environment you tend to learn things incorrectly. As God exchanges our ashes for beauty we must have a teachable spirit to learn the right ways.. Growing up I wasn’t allowed to have friends so when I became older I struggled with friendship. I had to learn how to maintain relationships and I’m still learning.
Honesty: You gotta be real with God. A lot of times we put God in the same category as people we cant do that. Anything we tell God he can handle and he won’t judge us. Tell him the truth about your inner thoughts. As a kid who endured sexual abuse, everything was over-sexualized for many years and I would fantasize about some really explicit things but I told God I needed his help
Laying it all down: Let go you don’t have to have everything in control. Allow God to guide you. I use to want to be in charge of everything. And sometimes I still do but God plans are greater. Matthew 11:28-30
Casting it down: When we give over our ashes oh boy is the enemy going to remind us of everything. Like those drunken nights, hook up’s or worse memories of your abuse. Take all those memories captive and cast them down. How do you do that repeat ” I bind and rebuke __________ in the name of Jesus cleanse me lord and be my shield. 2 Cor 10:5
Studying: You can’t really walk in God’s beauty until you study the word of God. The more you study the word the more you will be able to keep those ashes of the past where they belong. 2 Tim2:15
Separating yourself: When you exchange your past for what God has for you he gives you a white dress. Would you play in the dirt in a white dress no? And we can’t play in with things that keep you falling. We must stay clear of familiar things which place us in the past. Like when I was in the world one of my biggest downfalls was men. Now, I separate myself I don’t place myself in awkward situations.
Address Pain Head On: If you feel pain from your past address it. If you need to cry then cry. If you need to talk about it find someone you trust. Talk about the root meaning do deep. Don’t just say I feel sad. That’s not enough.
Write lessons: You are learning so much stuff from God write it down so you can always look back.
I love you treasures but God loves you more.
If you haven’t accepted Jesus in your heart and you would like to, here’s a prayer you can pray and get connected to a local church.
Lord Jesus, for too long I’ve kept you out of my life. I know that I am a sinner and that I cannot save myself. No longer will I close the door when I hear you knocking. By faith, I gratefully receive your gift of salvation. I am ready to trust you as my Lord and Savior. Thank you, Lord Jesus, for coming to earth. I believe you are the Son of God who died on the cross for my sins and rose from the dead on the third day. Thank you for bearing my sins and giving me the gift of eternal life. I believe your words are true. Come into my heart, Lord Jesus, and be my Savior. Amen. This prayer is from Dr.Ray Pritchard found