Before beauty, ashes…

Dearest Husband shares, and I am silent and stilled.

He speaks of blessings under cover.

Blessings in disguise.

Blessings overlooked.

He speaks gently and slowly of the blessings in the moments when our situation is less than lovely.

When perhaps our situation is unwelcome.


Or even downright ugly.

Can we give Him thanks for all things at all times?

Give thanks in everything, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
1 Thessalonians 5:18

And if we were to let thanksgiving roll from our lips in seasons of both plenty and lack, how might we be changed?

How might we change the world around us?

How might we make God smile through this simple act of obedience?

I keep coming back to this as November keeps moving forward, one day closer to Thanksgiving, that annual celebration which truly is to be celebrated moment by moment every 24 hours.

And I watch the man who keeps my heart purposing to live it out one day at a time. Not perfectly, but him always leading me due North. Him leading and teaching imperfect me.

But then we tripped.

We got caught up.

We forgot for one moment and then another, too busy to slow and really listen.

Fallen down hearts, scraped and hurting.

And it all happened when we stopped looking up at Him, and looked down on concrete feet of nothing less than an idol.

Security in self instead of the Spirit.

With whispered lies taunting the way an old window pane rattles in the blowing cold, middle of the night.


To the core.

But that is where Jesus lives.

And our core burns hot, even when we don’t feel the heat.

The Spirit knows our weaknesses, and pleads with the Father with groanings we cannot understand. But perhaps we do not need to understand it all, for His way, His word, His view is so much higher than our own.

And He knows what we need to learn, and when, and how. And every day the school bell rings and those with hearts throbbing come running to sit at the Master’s feet.

Interpreting  life through His Word.

And we as writers making sense of our lives through words written.

So we compose words to the One whose Word tells us of Love real. Word giving freedom when we keep it in our hearts. Word, Him, setting hearts right so we can love well. Love better.

Words and tears, mingle.


And the flame is lit that will burn away our dross, and we sit silent watching.

Flame consuming fear.

Flame searing sin.

Flame renewing.

Turning the ugly into beauty.

Ashes curling and unfurling like heirloom cabbage roses.

So we let humility, forgiveness and repentance fan the flame inside our hearts.

And by His Grace, we are renewed.


By the blood.

And His body broken.

His bruises a healing balm for our wounds.

And we sit in the late afternoon sun and let the mystery of the broken body and the poured out blood restore.

As we remember.

Whose we are…

Who we serve…

And Who loves us, no matter what.

Then grace flows down from on high, cascading over us like a mountain waterfall.


And our thanksgiving rises like the smoke.


And then quiet joy shouts glad in our hearts, embracing…



Linking up today with Imperfect Prose




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8 thoughts on “Before beauty, ashes…

  1. So powerful…so beautiful!

    I always enjoy the pics, they really pack a punch when mixed with such amazing words of redemption and grace!

    Out of the ashes we rise!

    • And all of it…amazing, powerful, beautiful…because HE is all those things…His creation reflecting His glory everywhere. In us, the words we write. In creation and all the beauty all around us! And his grace…well, there are practically no words for that…Unspeakable goodness! hanks for your kind words, TC!

  2. You captured relationship well with this post: not just our relationship with the Lord, but our relationships with one another. We weave in and out of fellowship, don’t we? We are oh-so-human.

  3. And the flame is lit that will burn away our dross, and we sit silent watching. wow, sheila, this is a beautiful write, and the photos really bring the piece to life… a powerful piece. and i love your blog header… such love, and admiration, wriitten all over your face… i`m so glad you linked up with imperfect prose. bless you.

    • Thanks much, Emily, for stopping by to share such kind words. Glad you enjoyed your visit to Longings End!!

      And I LOVED visiting your site, reading your words, listening to your playlist and viewing the photo of those sweet little boys of yours. As a mom who raised three boys now all big and living far away 🙁 I will enjoy your blog and the stories you will share!

      Thanks so much for all your “near perfect” words at Imperfect Prose, and thanks for the LIKE on our FB page. God bless you and yours! 🙂