In a set of tapes I listened to (about 4 years ago) by Neil Anderson, there was a great little story, which I could easily relate to. It wasn‘t until two weeks ago when I read over the notes that I could see such significance in that story.
Once I held in my tightly clenched fist ashes from a burn inflicted on my 10 year old body. Ashes I didn’t ask for, but that were forced on me. And for 17 years I kept my fist closed in secret, hating those ashes yet unwilling to release them, not sure if I should. Not convinced it was worth it, marring the things I touched leaving black marks everywhere, or so it seemed. I tried to undo it all, but the ashes were always there to remind me that I couldn’t. His sweet holy spirit spoke to my heart one night in tearful desperation. He whispered “I want to give you beauty for your ashes. The oil of joy for your mourning, and the garment of praise for your spirit of heaviness.”. I’ve never heard of such a trade as this, beauty for ashes. My sadly stained memory for the healing in his word. My soot like dreams for his songs in the night. My helpless and hurting emotions for his ever constant peace. How could I be so stubborn to refuse an offer like this. So willingly, yet slow in motion I opened my fingers and let the ashes drop to the ground. In silence I heard the wind blow then away from me forever. I’m now able to place my hand gently around the fist of another hurting soul and say with confidence “let then go.”. there really is beauty beyond your comprehension. Trust Him, His beauty for your ashes.
It almost brings tears to my eyes writing that out and realising that the ashes I hold in my hand are the eating disorder, and the lies I believe about myself. I always felt I left a mark somewhere. A mark of annoyance and hatred. In my fist was something I hated so much, that made me hate myself and I was utterly convinced others also disliked me. I am still anxious about trusting God to give me beauty for my “ashes”. I can only gradually feel my fingers loosening up letting bit of the ashes out. It’s like holding a fistful of sand, then loosening the tightness of your fingers and allowing the sand to sift through, ever so slowly though. There is so much to let go. To let it go in one lot I would never understand it, I would never see the small steps God is leading me through. It’s so important to be aware of the letting go in order to understand the areas in which I was so tightly in bondage, the things that were causing me to hold onto the disease. This way I can look back if I am ever regressing, and see my negative thoughts turned into positive ones.