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Painting Beauty with the Ashes

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Often, people will approach me regarding the history of their lives, sharing the mistakes they have made and wondering how God can love them in spite of their brokenness. It’s a question I am sure many of us hear from friends or relatives.

When I visited the Jesuit Retreat House on Lake Winnebago, one of the most inspiring images for me was a tree located near the lake. Years ago it was struck by lightning and the power of the blast hollowed out the tree. The tree is virtually hollow. Just the bark holds the upper part of the tree. The Jesuits were going to remove the tree, until they noticed that it still had life, and every spring it blooms again with new life and foliage.

It’s the same with our lives. God allows difficult or challenging events and experiences in our lives and yet, God is ultimately the One who gives us the strength to grow in the midst of the mess of our lives—using our brokenness to transform the world.

Jesus transformed water into the choicest wine during the wedding at Cana. This is an act of love and communion with humanity. Scripture also tells us of God’s faithful covenant with us; that He breaks into our brokenness and claims us for Himself. It is in that weakness and brokenness that we find our God-given mission in this world. 

What is broken in your past? What are your hurts and wounds that need healing? Believe that God has a very special mission for you at this moment in your life… and know that you belong to Him as His beloved. God beckons us not to focus on our brokenness but on His love, His divine life within us, and being open to use our life to help others. Casting Crowns has a song that I listen to daily, called "Just be Held" ~ “I'm painting beauty with the ashes, your life is in My hands.”

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