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Life can be tough and unfair! We age and gather many scars along the course of its rugged paths. It leaves its mark and we all bear imperfections, even though it would be great to look like the photoshopped beauties in the media.

When my journey with the Lord began over thirty years ago, I had monumental dreams, unstoppable passion and unquenchable zeal! But life happened, and I really had to hang onto Jesus! He became my ‘strong refuge’ (Psalm 71), my ‘safe space’.

In John 10:10, the Lord has promised abundant life, but in that same verse He states that we have a real enemy with a real mission…

The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. John 10:10 (NKJV)

In the first part of John 10 Jesus talks about being a good shepherd, that He leads and lays down His life for His sheep. His sheep know His voice and follow Him. Life brings with it brokenness, but there are some core-truths that have helped me stand in valley-of-death times (Psalm 23), times when everything was hard and life was just plain tough. I want to share with you what kept me going:

The Truth that:

God is good all the time. His goodness, faithfulness and love cannot change, they are His character.

The Truth that:

• We have an evil enemy that’s out to steal, kill and destroy, BUT that Jesus died on the cross thereby defeating the enemy. Therefore if I am hidden in Jesus, I am safe and I have the authority to trample on my enemy.

The Truth that:

Life will never be perfect, but God heals. God restores my soul.

In Psalm 23:3 the psalmist writes:

He restores my soul;

He leads me in the paths of righteousness

For His name's sake.

The Truth that:

God will never, ever let me go!

For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you. Hebrews 13:5b(NKJV)

The Truth that:

God loves it when I trust Him- that is my simple definition of faith- trusting Him no matter what.

Those are my truths, the core things I hold onto.

He somehow has the supernatural ability to turn ashes to beauty, a limping man into a nation(Jacob), and valley of trouble (Achor means trouble- Hosea 2v15) into a door of hope.

Isaiah 61:3 (NKJV)

To console those who mourn in Zion,

To give them beauty for ashes,

The oil of joy for mourning,

The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness;

That they may be called trees of righteousness,

The planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified.

He uses the very storm that rages around us to show us how to walk on water.

Our mourning does get consoled, He is our comforter in the midst of pain (2 Corinthians 1, Matthew 5v4). He goes even further and gives us the oil of joy when we mourn and turns grey, useless ashes (the result of being burnt out or burnt by people) into beauty. If we are heavy-laden, He promises an easy yoke (Matthew11v30) if we are willing to exchange our yoke for His. He clothes us with a beautiful garment of praise.

God is good all the time. He turns ashes to beauty. He uses the imperfection to create a masterpiece- you! Being part of Jesus’ sheepfold, His beloved, grants us the honour of living to the praise of His glory.

Having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.

Ephesians 1:5, 6 (NKJV)

We are imperfectly beautiful, imperfectly perfect, created in His image to bring Him glory! Grasp the adventure to completely surrender and trust Him! He is truly the only one that can turn ashes into beauty.



Liesl Mare is a regular contributor at Women Of Reverence.

Please read the full bio here.

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