Today is a beautiful day, no matter what you see outside; no matter which date “today” falls on; today is a beautiful day because you are in it! As I am called deeper into the ministry of the Lord’s Good News, I remember myself looking for the light at the end of the tunnel. This light that seemed so tiny and far off, if I could in fact, see it at all. Most of my days, rain or clear blue skies, were still gloomy. That previous statement in and of itself is evident of my having been looking to the outside for a worthiness to live the life I felt I desired and deserved. But now, despite what’s happening on the outer perimeter of this casing, which is now the Lord’s temple, comes an illumination that warms my heart and my spirit with the knowledge that He that lives within has deemed me worthy! Though He knows all my foibles, past and present, our Father God takes them and says, “My child, I love you and accept you just as you are. ‘…I know the plans I have for you… They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope’ (Jeremiah 29:11 NLT) But, I want you to make an exchange with Me. I ‘…will give [you] a crown of beauty for ashes…’ (Isaiah 61:3 NLT) ” This excellent offer is available to you too. And, it costs you nothing but the aftermath of your pain.
It is in the quiet times, those moments when sitting alone, as the rest of the world buzzes about on the outer skirts of the place in which contemplation of current experiences, and recollection of those of the past, occur. It is in these times we evaluate our findings and kick around our inner worth, feeling we’ve come up short of where or who we’d like to be. The wide smiles displayed to others quickly fade away during these times of solitude wherein regrets of what we would like to be different arises; having not accepted that what we experience shapes us but cannot define us. So, we walk with our heads held down due to, or with our heads held so far above the covering up of: The not so fashion forward badge of our mistakes. Those that loom over our heads making us reiterate, “if only I hadn’t been so naïve or gullible.” Or, the thought that others wouldn’t ridicule you if they don’t find out about your current circumstances; the pre-marital pregnancy you’re facing; the sociably unacceptable financial difficulty you’re in. Possibly, that ostracized illness you wrestle with within yourself that you’re afraid everyone will find out about.
It’s time to reallocate the use of that alone time to commune with The Father and begin the process of turning the debris of your past or present situations into a piece of unique and ingenious work of His hands. Believe that it is possible to be in the presence of self, and the ever present God, and be joyful and content in the authenticity of who we are. The key is knowing and believing that, under all the pressures, we are precious gems in the sight of God!
“Then you will be a beautiful crown in the hand of the LORD, a royal crown in the hand of your God.” (Isaiah 62:3 GWT)
In this verse, God was speaking to His chosen people. You are one of His chosen people! There’s a setting prepared and waiting just for you in His crown. The ashes and soot that resulted from the flames, pressing, and friction of the frightfully familiar, will be used to deliver you out of that cave. It may not be new knowledge to you that diamonds results from the high pressures placed upon them in the midst of dark caves. Newly excavated diamonds are not in their final shapes, such as the emerald, marquise, or radiant shapes. There’s a cutting, a refinement, stage in the process. Its characteristics, including the flaws from its experiences of becoming, play in the determination of what shape the finished diamond will be. No matter the shape, you are still valuable! As much as you may resemble some others, you are unique, and will be a perfect fit for where you’re headed. There will never be a need to compare yourself to the jewel next to you, because you each have an assigned allotted space in The Father’s crown! Will you accept The Lord’s proposal and get engaged in the diamond exchange, allowing Him to extract the purpose within your pain, turn it inside out, transforming your pain into purpose? If yes, you can begin, by keeping a few things in mind…
Trail Blaze in Your Truth
You are free to walk in your truth. Your truth comprises of both your authentic strengths and frailties as defined and supported by God’s Word which is truth. For the most part, you probably have no trouble expressing your perceived strengths unless you’re are bound by the uncertainty of what they are. Then there are those things mentioned earlier, mistakes and embarrassing struggles from which you may be attempting to salvage some element of your dignity by keeping them in the shadows. In order to allow Him to use it, take an ignoble stance in the fact that… you are human. You are human, just as other brothers and sisters in Christ have experienced similar trials. You are not alone. You are not weird. Though it’s not a pass to do whatever you want without consideration of God’s approval… you are human. As you enter into the delicate and loving dance between you and God, humbly handing over your humanness, knowing He knows and understands all you go through, there is no need to hang your head low.
This is an invitation to explore more about yourself; to open your vulnerabilities to God, not simply asking Him to remove or change things you don’t like or want, but to ask for and learn His wisdom about the struggle. That, beloved child of God, is part of the process of giving Him the ashes to receive your beauty. As you begin to receive this much sought after virtue, you are set on the path to trail blaze in your truth infilled with His love, peace, and comfort. You must stay focused though, and don’t be too concerned about what everyone else thinks. For fighting every ungodly opinion will wear and tear you down. Therefore, learn to…
Oust the Non-Omnipotent Opinions
Guiding your life and actions by the Word of God is the most freeing practice you can ever add into your life. Before I re-committed my life to Christ, I used to be one who heavily leaned on others’ opinions. It became one of my downfalls, as I tried everything I could to please everyone around me. I remember one of my darkest moments several years back, I cried out aloud alone in my apartment that if there were only two choices, A and B, and I made choice A, I’d get ridiculed. But, if instead I made choice B, I’d still get mocked. My life came to a halting point where I was too afraid to make another decision. So… I “decided” to not make any at all, not realizing that was a decision in and of itself, which left me stuck!
1 John 4:18 CEV, says “… The thought of being punished is what makes us afraid…” Over concern of the opinions of others is evidence of fear of the negative response you may receive from them. It is a fear of punishment; a punishment not by God, but by people’s responses. This fear begins to dissipate as you measure your thoughts and actions by the Will and thoughts of God, because once you are secure in knowing you are sincerely striving to live according to how our Omnipotent God would want you to live, people’s opinions begin to carry very little weight. “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” (Romans 8:1 KJV) It releases you to begin to take additional steps forward towards the rich rewards God has waiting for you! And, now you can…
Contend for the Crown
“Athletes work hard to win a crown that cannot last, but we do it for a crown that will last forever.” (1 Corinthians 9:25 CEV)
Claiming your spot in the crown is the reward you receive simply for using what our Creator placed within you, when He equipped you for purpose. Don’t miss your goal being too focused on being the largest center diamond to soak up the bling, because purpose is always connected to the bringing forth benefit for others. Diamonds are not solely used to be worn and displayed as jewelry, but also to contribute to the process of other wonderfully and fearfully made works of art.
Diamonds have the strength to cut through glass and rock: The strength The Lord places in you becomes a part of you, enabling you to break through boundaries according to His Will. It enables you to cut through glass ceilings and rock walls on each and every level both inwardly and outwardly!
Diamonds are used to shape other gemstones, including other diamonds: You are The Lord’s hands and feet here on earth, and therefore He will be looking to you to polish others and/or form beneficial societal constructs with the gifts talents and wisdom He’s given to you.
Diamonds are used as shields to cover x-rays: There is a subset of people who can be covered, not only by your prayers, but also by the protection and wisdom you’ve gained from your experiences by not being afraid to walk in your truth.
Diamonds are used as a channel of heat: You are a channel of warmth that allows others to feel the love of God as it flows through you.
Diamonds are used as a conduit of electricity: As a vessel of God, you contain His power that can be used to shine light upon others, empowering them during their dark times with encouragement and compassion. This same light is what lights your path even when you’re in a dark tunnel, helping you to keep going even when you can’t see the light at the end.
You are valuable to God’s Kingdom! Which one or more of these areas can you see yourself trail blazing your truth in? If you are not sure yet, it’s okay. I believe with the Lord’s guidance, you will find out. So get ready! You will be at head level and never under anyone’s feet! Claim it! Own it! Live it! It’s yours to choose to shine, not only when you’re with other people, but when you are alone as well. Because the lack of a spotlight does not reduce your sparkle. For, when a diamond is placed in its home for the night by itself, nothing and no one can devalue its worth!
We are all in this process of becoming. Some of us are still in the cave under pressures. Others of us have been excavated and are in waiting mode. Many of us are in the cutting stage in which we are being made and molded into our Divinely designed shapes. And a few of us are in the buffing and polishing step of the process, in which we are further gaining our shine. Whichever segment you’re in now, hand God your ashes.
Think about what it would feel like to be used by God as an empowering tool, using the restored voice that was once stolen from you, to speak life and strength into that little girl who reminds you so much of you at her age. Imagine walking confidently in your truth, being open and sharing, as you cover that young man who seems to be struggling to fit in or to stay out of the same trouble you once found yourself in. Picture keeping, on your face, the wide smile you display to everyone else when you’re home alone. Consider the changes you’d make in your community as you use the strength given to you to cut red tape, break glass ceilings, and drill holes through barriers, enabling people to walk through them. You can shine brightly! Simply accept God’s proposal to get engaged in the diamond exchange!
Prayer to Exchange Your Ashes for a Crown of Beauty
Magnificent and All-Knowing God, thank You for being ever present even when I think I’m alone. Thank You, Father for helping me to know that I am valuable to You even when I think I am done. I know I can talk to You at any time and any place. And, so I accept Your offer for You to take my cares, my worries, my hurts, and my pain, and give me beauty for all which you deem as no longer useful in my life and in Your Kingdom. Throughout my process, I ask you to quicken me to place any ashes into your hands, Father, and look to You to teach me Your ways that allow me to walk in God-confidence; to align my heart with Yours; and to understand and humbly live out all the ways you have designed me to journey towards Your crown. Thank You for loving me so endlessly, and creating me so wonderfully!
In Jesus’ Name, Amen!