Have you ever had a moment or season in life that you wished would never end? Or maybe it was the opposite; a time or season in your life that you wished would quickly go away. I imagine you have, because I have, many times. Yet, like it always is with time, within a few short weeks, the season we long to hold so tightly to or quickly release slowly fades bringing with it something new. Another page turns or even maybe a new chapter begins. Seasons are an important part of our lives because they remind us that change is always occurring and we all know that change is inevitable. More often than not, we fear letting go of what we have for fear of the unknown. In spite of how “good” things seem, there will come darker times too. It is part of life's process.
The four seasons that foreseeably come each year are marked by changes in weather, ecology, and hours of daylight change. They emanate in order for us to survive the weathers in our system. Life seasons arise in order to help us grow so that we can fulfill the destiny we were created for. God has incorporated these life seasons as part of His plan for our spiritual growth. However, if we are not careful, we will withhold the tides of change from turning never realizing that we are stunting our very growth. Many times, we believe we are holding fast to something we simply cannot live without. We convince ourselves that the value of these possessions far outweigh what lies ahead, only to find out later that we are sitting on a pile of ashes. Ashes in some instances created by our hands and in other times by the hands of someone else. We all know there is nothing beautiful about ashes, but still, we remain in the midst of the pile.
In the book One Thousand Gifts, Ann Voskamp shares about a time where she suffered a great loss in one single moment. Ann was only 4 years old when she watched as her baby sister was crushed by a truck. At that very moment, Ann entered a season that would last into her adulthood. This tragedy took her spiraling into a very large pile of ashes, robbing her of joy, laughter, trust, and faith. Ann’s life would never be the same. Not only would she witness the physical death of her sibling, but she would have to endure witnessing the spiritual death of her family. This season in her life catapulted her family into self-destruction as they closed their fists and hearts to God. Ann spent years in darkness and lifeless to those closest to her. Her days were surrounded with fear, anxiety, and the hope of drifting into a deep sleep where she would never have to wake up. She had no idea that there was One greater than her despair, who promised her beauty for ashes. (Isaiah 61:3) Until one night, a very terrifying nightmare in which Ann dreams she is dying of cancer becomes a catalyst that helps her realize how much she really wants to live. Suddenly, she is awakened to the debris that covered her heart. Slowly, Ann makes the decision to trust as she opens her fist and heart to God once again. Stay tuned….her story does not end here.
You may be asking yourself as Ann did, how long have I been asleep? What happened to me that led me to this pile of ashes I find myself in? When did I close my fist and heart to God? Is there any hope for me? Whether or not this is your story today, it may be one day as the seasons in your life change. Still, if this is your story, I want you to rest assured of one thing; God has a crown of beauty for your ashes waiting for YOU. Open your fist today, open your heart today, and let this be the start of a new chapter in your life. Choose life and speak to the dead things that lay hold of your heart. Wake up Beloved, it’s a new day!