Ashy. I feel ashy and not beautiful. In Isaiah 61, which is what my Bible falls open to (in case you were wondering) He promises to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes. (Isaiah 61:3 To grant to those who mourn in Zion— to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit; that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified.)
In ye olden days, ashes represented sorrow. When individuals were mourning, they would pour ashes on their heads. There were ashes left over from all the critters they gave as sacrifice. Ashes were everywhere. People sat amidst ashes, crying out to God, wondering what to do. I don’t see anyone these days sitting in a pile of aforementioned ashes. Maybe because we, even as believers, don’t like to use the words “repent” or “kingdom” with some people, scared to death of looking like or sounding like the “crazy*” man with the sign on the corner. If we’re afraid to use certain words, why would we be willing to let everyone know we are repentant before our God. We whine, we bait people, we hope to have others ask how we are so that we can pour out our Sad Sackcloth Saga (SSS) for sympathy, but we don’t get down and dirty before our Creator. We like to whine, even if it’s in our own heads. I’m not one to whine to anyone other than my mom and husband. They’re the ones who get to hear it.
*who am I to judge?
This marks the beginning of my 30 days with God, desperately seeking Him for answers regarding my health and the health of other believers. It sounds so heroic, doesn’t it? Well, it’s not. I’m not more righteous than you or anyone else. But I have gotten to a place in my life where I’m tired of believing God can do it and waking up to the symptoms of yesterday and yesteryear. Yes, some might say, “You woke up, that’s something.” And to that I would say, “Yup.”
Disclaimer: I feel the need to let everyone know that I’m not writing this to please or satisfy anyone else. I have an audience of One Who’s told me to write, so here I am, both out of obedience and cheap therapy. This blog grew out of a desperate need in my life for an outlet, a vent (a dryer vent at times…See “Cryin’ by the Dryin’) Since then it’s gained some readers and I’m not sure of backgrounds, but that’s the beauty of it. I don’t care. If I offend you, stop reading. If I don’t, I’m not sure that’s a good thing either. Maybe I should and that gets you to thinking more…eh, there’s beauty in that too as that’s not my job either.
I don’t really have a plan for this, but I do know that certain things have to go…like Facebook and Twitter and possibly TV. (eek. TV??) I need to stop the voices. Yes, there are voices in my head. If there aren’t in yours, you’ve never had a grandma or father like mine. But these days I hear and see too many opinions about things…some that matter and some that don’t. I want to hear God’s opinion, not Bob’s down the road or Brittney’s view on things, as poignant as it may be. These voices are both audible and in text form and they aren’t coming from the One Who made me. I’m taking some time to reflect on the fact that I’ve never gotten sick of hearing God’s voice.
I’m not pledging anything and I’m not making any deals with God, but I am relying on His promise that if I seek Him, I will find Him. The rationalization is pretty simple: If I need a healing, and He is my Healer, I believe it makes total sense.
I feel as though I need to repent of not spending time with Him and letting the distractions of this world settle in like they own me. Because the distractions have become more than distractions. They’ve become life. People don’t talk to each other anymore, they don’t even look at each other. Instead of taking someone flowers when a loved one dies and being there for them, we “Like” their post on Facebook. I think that’s sick. I think it’s disgustingly convenient and lazy. Why would God want to redeem and heal a life like that? A life that doesn’t sow or reap anything worthwhile for the kingdom? I’m over it. And I’m here to prove something, although I’m not sure what.
So I sit, in a torn robe, amidst the ashes, searching again for a God that found me in the same place years ago. Desperate. Ugly. Apathetic. Sad. Distraught. Weathered. Jaded. Snarky. You know, just like the Proverbs 31 woman. (Please do yourself a favor and look this up if you think this is what the woman in Proverbs 31 is like.)
Job 42:6 Therefore I despise myself, and repent in dust and ashes.”
2 Samuel 13:19 And Tamar put ashes on her head and tore the long robe that she wore. And she laid her hand on her head and went away, crying aloud as she went.
Job 2:8 And he took a piece of broken pottery with which to scrape himself while he sat in the ashes.
Daniel 9:3 Then I turned my face to the Lord God, seeking him by prayer and pleas for mercy with fasting and sackcloth and ashes.
Esther 4:3 And in every province, wherever the king’s command and his decree reached, there was great mourning among the Jews, with fasting and weeping and lamenting, and many of them lay in sackcloth and ashes.
Numbers 19:10 And the one who gathers the ashes of the heifer shall wash his clothes and be unclean until evening. And this shall be a perpetual statute for the people of Israel, and for the stranger who sojourns among them.
Jonah 3:6 The word reached the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne, removed his robe, covered himself with sackcloth, and sat in ashes.
Hebrews 9:13 For if the blood of goats and bulls, and the sprinkling of defiled persons with the ashes of a heifer, sanctify for the purification of the flesh,
Matthew 11:21 “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes.
Esther 4:1 When Mordecai learned all that had been done, Mordecai tore his clothes and put on sackcloth and ashes, and went out into the midst of the city, and he cried out with a loud and bitter cry.
Luke 10:13 “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes.
Malachi 4:3 And you shall tread down the wicked, for they will be ashes under the soles of your feet, on the day when I act, says the Lord of hosts.
1 Peter 5:1-14 So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed: shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory. Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” …