"Looking into the mirror, I was face to face, eye to eye, with a woman whom I could not recognize, but the familiarity of her grief saddened me. 'Who are you? I don't even recognize you anymore,' I said to my reflection. She stared back at me with empty eyes. ‘Why do you act this way? Why are you so angry with everyone? What did you do with the girl used to know? You took her. You stole her away. You robbed me of so much goodness. All I am left with is you.’ The scowl lines in her forehead deepened. ‘What makes you think you have the right to change me?’ Overwhelmed by her harsh stare, I walked away from the mirror.’”
This quote is an excerpt from my book, Ascent to Hope: The Rugged Climb from Fear to Faith. This scene sets the stage for a desperate time. This moment of desperation was my rock bottom. I walked away from the mirror and I entered the only safe place I could think of, my closet. I sat there among the clothes and shoe weeping with uncontrollable sobs. I found the courage to pray.
“God, I can’t do this anymore. I don’t want to do this life my way. I want what you want for me. Nothing more and nothing less. Please help me Father. I can’t leave here without you.”
I walked out of the closet that day with the appearance of a mangy, rabid animal, no doubt, from the hours spent on my knees in tears. But despite my outward appearance, my inner woman was reset and being healed. The presence of God was with me. I walked out wearing newness of life because I laid my heart and my will on the altar of sacrifice.
There is beauty in desperation.
Desperation leads to sacrifice. Desperation establishes a need for God.
A life renewed, restored, healed, submitted and committed brings God glory, and that is beautiful. Beauty springs forth the moment we recognize our deepest need and longing is for God. It is beautiful when we align our priorities to God’s. It is beautiful when His name and renown is our passion.
“For whoever hears the Word but doesn’t do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror, who looks at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But if a person looks closely into the perfect ‘law’, which gives freedom, and continues, becoming not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work it requires, then he will be blessed in what he does.” James 1: 23-25 (CJB)
I will never forget the face of woman I saw staring back at me on my transformation day. And I will never forget the feeling of the woman I was when I walked out of my closet. I had been made new. In that closet I applied the truth that I had heard from years in the church pew. And I found freedom that day from the woman I had become.
Desperate times catalyze new life. Desperate times bring beauty from ashes.
Maybe you are reading today, and you feel desperate for answers, longing for a solution, or hopelessly seeking respite. I encourage you to press in. God has the answers you seek. God has the solution you need. God will provide rest. Do you trust him?
Will you look at yourself in the mirror today, whether physically or figuratively and ask two simple questions, “Who am I? And Who has the reigns of my life?”
If you looked in the mirror and walked away forgetting who you are, like James describes, and you have forgotten what God has called you to, would you take one step to implement that call? Would you respond not in word, but in action today? Will you reflect and remember who you are?
I trust that God is speaking to your heart at this very moment. If you feel led to share your ashes to beauty story with me, I would be honored to hear it and pray with you. Remember, hope seeker, beauty comes from desperation. Don’t be afraid of desperation, embrace it and embrace the freedom God has for you when He changes you from the inside out.
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