“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.” – Isaiah 61: 1-3
Ashes… A word perfectly describing my life prior to starting Heroic Inspirations. A life definitely full of ashes. You may be thinking, ‘What-in-the-world are ashes?’ They’re the wounds marking our pain, hurt, disappointment, grief, fear, insecurity, and so much more. Penetrating into the deepest layers of our souls.
My life wasn’t horrible. My bills were paid. My child was happy and healthy. Everything appeared to be together from the outside looking in. But when I took inventory of my emotions, I realized I was emotionally broken. Existing and not living. Exhausted. Overwhelmed. Simply put, I was tired. Tired of placing bandages on my wounds because the adhesive was no longer holding anything together. I was tired of fighting. Well, at least fighting my way since it was getting me nowhere.
With no more fight in me, I finally waved the white flag of surrender. It was time to let God do what He does best, turn my ashes into beauty. For so long I had been holding onto my ashes, wondering why my life wasn’t changing. Questioning whether God was even listening to me. But just like with anything else, you have to give in order to receive. So I gave them to God in order to receive His beauty.
Beauty... After handing over my ashes, there were new types of strength and courage. Things I had never experienced before. A strength to no longer hide from what once hindered me, and courage to get back in the fight of life. It was finally time to open up my heart and receive healing and restoration in my wounded places.
But of course, God took it a step further and challenged me. It felt like He placed the heavy burdens of both people I knew and didn’t know on my heart. I wasn’t the only one broken and in-need of repair, so I began to share my journey, birthing Heroic Inspirations. Not only would it keep me accountable in the process, but also help others see God’s works in action.
By being obedient and putting in the work, I can definitely say I’ve received beauty for ashes. It hasn’t been easy but being able to hand over my ashes – consisting of pain, hurt, disappointment, grief, fear, and insecurity – has been well worth it.
The last twelve months have truly been a year of God’s favor on my life. Behind me are the days of struggling with my identity and purpose in Christ. Now I confidently walk in who God has called me to be. Important relationships that were once damaged are being restored day-by-day. And let me tell you, the joy and outlook I have on life is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. God is simply amazing and continues to blow my mind.
Today, I’m excited to celebrate God’s faithfulness and His demonstration of how He really has turned ashes into beauty. He’s allowed me to share this journey with you through Heroic Inspirations for a year! I pray you all continue to look to Heroic Inspirations as a part of your community. A place where you know you’re never alone in what you’re going through.