Beauty from Ashes
A wise friend and mentor of mine told me that she had the word “ashes” heavy on her heart for a while. During this time she was awakened to the fact of the desolateness and finality of ashes. She is very familiar with the mission at The Little Tree Project and like myself, one of her favorite quotes is that of Elizabeth Elliot’s,
“God’s story never ends in ashes.”
My friend refused to believe that ashes are the end, so she decided to look up uses for ashes. She found and shared with me three…
They can be used to polish precious metals
They can be used as a garden fertilizer
They can be used to make soap
Upon further research, I found some other uses for them as well….
non-toxic bug repellant
cleanser for cloudy headlights on a vehicle
assists in wound healing process
Throughout history ashes have also been used in food preservation, the making of breads, cheeses, and much more!
I’ll spare you a science lesson as to why, but do you see a theme here? If put to use, ashes can clean, beautify, repel things that intend to harm, nourish for growth and fruitfulness, clarify for sight, heal, and create new and beautiful things pleasing to the body, soul, and spirit if put to use. Ashes don’t have to be the end!
Isaiah 61 is our mission verse here at Little Tree because we have been given the undeniable perspective that God can use our most difficult hardships to display His beauty and promised restoration. We not only relate this truth to our own pains and life challenges, but also to an issue we are extremely passionate about fighting -- modern day slavery.
Similar to the character “The Little Tree,” the victims and survivors of human trafficking have been through unimaginable abuse, having their dreams stripped away with seemingly nothing left but ashes.
Ashes of their childhood. Ashes of a family. Ashes of who they once were and who they long to be. Ashes of a hope for a future.
Whether you’re imprisoned by pain, depression, anxiety, trauma, loss, anger, physical illness, and/or literal, physical imprisonment, you can still be a trophy of His grace.
You can still be a display of His glory. You can still experience complete healing and restoration. You can still break generational curses.
It breaks my heart to know that you’ve been through something that’s reduced you to ashes, but believe me and just let go. Healing can happen. You can still see God’s goodness on this side of heaven.
Jesus came to comfort all who mourn, all those who grieve, and repay them a double portion of what their trauma stole from them.
He can use your ashes. Even if they’re all strewn about, He can scoop them up and put them to use if you’re willing to surrender them - however messy that transaction may be.
God doesn’t care about gift wrap.
We hope all of the survivors of this atrocity and any stronghold can overcome the trauma of their past by knowing that they do have a purpose and a greater future set before them.
Don’t be ashamed of the darkness. It just makes the beauty of light even brighter.
The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
because the Lord has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor
and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
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.
They will rebuild the ancient ruins
and restore the places long devastated;
they will renew the ruined cities
that have been devastated for generations.
Strangers will shepherd your flocks;
foreigners will work your fields and vineyards.
And you will be called priests of the Lord,
you will be named ministers of our God.
You will feed on the wealth of nations,
and in their riches you will boast.
Instead of your shame
you will receive a double portion,
and instead of disgrace
you will rejoice in your inheritance.
And so you will inherit a double portion in your land,
and everlasting joy will be yours.
“For I, the Lord, love justice;
I hate robbery and wrongdoing.
In my faithfulness I will reward my people
and make an everlasting covenant with them.
Their descendants will be known among the nations
and their offspring among the peoples.
All who see them will acknowledge
that they are a people the Lord has blessed.”
I delight greatly in the Lord;
my soul rejoices in my God.
For he has clothed me with garments of salvation
and arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness,
as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest,
and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
For as the soil makes the sprout come up
and a garden causes seeds to grow,
so the Sovereign Lord will make righteousness
and praise spring up before all nations.
Welcome to our journey,