There was a foreboding “sign” that occurred right after my family moved into a new townhome in August. A large framed photograph with ‘Beauty for Ashes’ across the bottom of photograph was stepped on before we could get it hung up in our bedroom.
The photograph was printed to remind our family that when things go wrong, or life is a struggle, or we face challenges, that out of our brokenness God makes something beautiful. The glass on the frame literally breaking, shattering into hundreds of tiny shards, was a portent of things to come.
Within a few months, my wife and I separated, and less than a month after that I was served papers notifying me that she was filing for divorce. It was a gut-wrenching experience. I wouldn’t say I was blindsided by it, but it did send me reeling and into somewhat of an emotional tailspin. Anger, pain, hurt, betrayal, grief, sadness, depression, and many more emotions and feelings flooded over me.
As a man, I feel like an oddity. I am not stoic by any stretch. I actually feel very deeply, which I hope, shines through in my prolific poetry that I share so frequently here on my blog. I am very passionate, I am not passive, and I am usually an open book to “read” how I am doing from day to day. If something is amiss, you will know it.
As I reflect on where I am, where I am going and what’s next in my life, I turned to God. I meditate in prayer and ask Him to “speak” to me regarding my future. Then I quiet my thoughts and expect him to answer.
As I waited, God spoke to me in my thoughts:
I am doing a healing work in you that will bring health (wholeness, abundance) and healing to you. It will be a transformative work in your life. “Beauty from ashes.”
This phrase or a derivation of it comes from the book of Isaiah, chapter 61, verse 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.
-Isaiah 61:3 (NIV)
Most of you, who follow me regularly, read some of inspirational quotes, or enjoy my poetry, know that I am never “preachy” with my blog. This isn’t my intent in sharing this. I believe in God and Jesus of the Bible and all of the major tenets of Christianity. To follow my blog I don’t expect you to agree with me or have the same opinions. I love writing because it is an expression of my deep feelings and it helps me process and think about things in a new light. I hope that in sharing my poetry I might help others to see things in their own unique circumstances that might overlap with my own and what I’ve shared about my journey might assist them.
I know through comments and discussions this has been the case for many of those I’ve connected with on this platform and that has been very gratifying. If just one person followed me or was impacted by what I write, I would continue to publish my work here.
A fellow blogger “friend” encouraged me about a poem I posted recently that what I was going through was like a Phoenix that dies and regenerates, being born again.
Here’s Wikipedia’s definition:
Ancient Greek: φοῖνιξ, (phoînix) is a long-lived bird that cyclically regenerates or is otherwise born again.
Associated with the Sun, a phoenix obtains new life by arising from the ashes of its predecessor. According to some sources, the phoenix dies in a show of flames and combustion, although there are other sources that claim that the legendary bird dies and simply decomposes before being born again.
To me, the Phoenix reminds me of the words of Jesus speaking to His disciples about laying down their lives for his sake. In my case, I feel like I am laying down my marriage and my dream of what my marriage was or could become. There were many real challenges and as things currently stand to continue in it was unhealthy for me and my wife.
The verse is from John chapter 12, verse 24:
Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.
– John 12:24 (ESV)
In order to be healthy and whole, I need to let my marriage die. As with any death, I expect the dissolution of my marriage to continue to be painful as I grieve the loss. I want to be fully engaged in the process so that I can heal completely, not partially.
Thank you “friends” for following, listening and commenting here. I am looking forward to an amazing new year and new start in 2019. God bless!