Friday, March 10, 2017

Beauty for Ashes

Next week Beauty and the Beast will be out in theaters.  When I first found out that Disney was going to remake this particular film with live action, I was hesitant but hopeful.  I was in high school when the first one came out.  Like so many other girls my age at the time, I saw it with a boy.  While I liked him a lot, he was not at that particular point in time, my boyfriend.  Oh, I wanted him to be, but at that moment, he was not.  During one point in the movie, when Belle and Beast were dancing, he leaned over to me and whispered, "Isn't this incredible?"  My heart leaped and began pounding louder than I thought possible.  And then he answered his own question with, "These graphics are amazing." And with that, my heart stopped.

While the relationship did eventually happen, ran a 5 year course, and ended, that particular moment of complete defeat has remained with me for 26 years.  It was a moment of rejection that I have moved passed but has always remained a brick in the wall I built up around my heart.  The same wall I am slowly but surely working with God to dismantle.  Sometimes I feel like I should change my name to Joshua and my mailing address to Jericho.

During Bible study this morning, we read Romans 8:28, a verse most of us can probably quote.  It's the one that says God works all things together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.  Every time I hear or read that verse, I think about the Old Testament promises that God made to restore what the locusts have eaten.  To give back what was taken away, to restore what was destroyed, to repair what was broken, to give beauty for ashes.  And then I realized, after 26 years, that particular moment from my past can be replaced with a new memory, a better memory, the one that had been intended all along.

When I see the movie this time, I'll be seeing it with my husband.  The man I married sixteen and a half years ago.  The man that has loved me through all kinds of health issues, all kinds of crazy, every size and shape imaginable, five moves, two kids, one cat, three deaths, and so much more.  The man that loves me well, believes in me, and has held my hand, kissed me goodnight, and said I love you even when I was being a complete jerk.  The man who is perfect for me in every way possible.

Through the years there have been many times that God has found a way to creatively give me something back that I thought was broken beyond repair or lost forever.  But never has He been so creative or personal in that I get to see this movie again, for the first time.

I realize that this might sound trivial, but please know this.  God wants to restore more of your life than you can possibly imagine.  Even the things that you think are beyond mentioning or unimportant enough to ask for.  I can't say I prayed for this to happen, but I have no intention of missing God going out of His way to heal a part of my past that's been lingering longer than it should.  He knows I am doing the hard work of letting Him into the places I've marked off as abandoned or condemned and I will gladly acknowledge this because it brings Him glory.

I don't know what your Beauty and the Beast memory is, but I can promise you on the authority of His word, that He is willing to give you beauty for your ashes as well.  You just need to be alert to the creative way He might bring it about.  If He is willing to restore a memory 26 years old for me, I am certain He wants to do it for you.

Father, the fact that You do things in such a personal way, tailor made, so that there is no room to doubt Your love, is beyond comprehension.  Thank you for not only meeting me where I am, but giving me back a piece of my heart.  Nothing truly is impossible for you.  Amen.

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