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From Ashes to Beauty

Isaiah 61:3 NIV 3 and provide for those who grieve in Zion— to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.

So, in my phone, a picture popped up from 8 years ago. Ben and I were on vacation to get away from it all, because we had just had another miscarriage. I purposely took the picture of only the scenery, because I did not want to capture my sadness. I remember feeling numb, and not really present to enjoy the trip. One day in particular, while still on the trip, I was reading something (I don’t remember where it came from) but I fell across an individual testimony of someone who had lost a baby, that said, “God is already in the future watching over our children…" and I remember wondering how someone could be that strong, going through that type of pain. To be able to take yourself out of the current, and place "you" in the future, was something I longed to do, and they made it seem so simple. So, I decided to try it. I found a secluded spot on the beach and began to push my mind into the future. I began to imagine a beautiful sunny day, and a house with a big front porch. I then began to imagine children running, laughing and playing outside. I then felt the presence of God as I took my mind there, and even imagined God himself, there, enjoying their laughter, basking in their joy. I started to feel the sun hitting my face as if I too, was there, and as my eyes were closed, for that moment, I smiled, and began to get excited for what my future could possibly hold. That mental exercise gave me so much comfort, and I would often use it later to pull me out of pits of depression. I could never imagine fully their little faces, but I remember feeling that every time my mind went there, I had a reassurance that it was possible.

That was 8 years ago TODAY. Seeing that picture pop up in my phone that I took of the beach reminded me of where I was then, and where I am now.

TODAY, April 30th, 2021, We are celebrating our 2ND baby's 1st Birthday. I look at both of our children and remember how I used to imagine them before they were even born. I would imagine them while I was depressed and suffering. I would imagine their laughter and their giggles before I even knew what that sound was in reality. But what is astounding to me, is that GOD KNEW! He knew all along!! He was there with me on that beach 8 years ago KNOWING that 8 years later we would be HERE, where we are today. He was there THEN and HE IS HERE NOW. In Fact, HE WAS HERE EVEN THEN! Family, this is a reminder of the POWER that God possesses! He is Bigger than TIME, we are the ones who are limited and cannot be everywhere at once! but not GOD!

Let me leave you with this. Today may possibly look uncertain for some, HOWEVER, GOD IS ALREADY IN YOUR FUTURE, RIGHT THERE WITH YOUR BLESSING. I didn’t know 8 years ago that we’d be here celebrating our son’s 1st Birthday but HE KNEW and was ALREADY THERE. If you learn nothing else from me, at least hold on to this: GOD HAS A PLAN AT WORK IN YOUR LIFE even when it looks crazy currently. It’s ok to cry right now, but TRUST that HE’S WORKING IT OUT. Soon enough, you’ll be celebrating those Blessings and the tears you sowed previously are traded in for JOY! The Depression you felt before is traded in for Praise! and the DEMONSTRATION of His Power in your life, will be a blessing for others as well! Continue to trust in a process that is used to strengthen you. Continue to trust in a God that will never leave you nor forsake you. Continue to hope in better days ahead. My prayer is that you obtain EVERY BLESSING that God has for you on this side. I challenge you to even look back at some photos you took years ago and you'll see how far God has brought you!! Even better, some of you probably won't even remember those photos! That's just how good God is! Be encouraged, family, and continue to expect your greater!!!

💋Denia Shanelle

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