Beauty From Ashes

For quite some time I've had this picture in my head that, to me, depicts my relationship with Jesus...or rather His relationship with me. It is of Jesus standing on a huge, soaking wet rock in the middle of a very dark and stormy sea. I am nearly drowning in the crashing waves. I can't get my footing. Then Jesus reaches down and lifts me up into His embrace, thus saving me. He holds me promising to never let go.

There have been a few times in my life where I have physically felt Jesus' embrace. These were times where I could no longer carry the weight of the world by myself. My first experience is the most memorable. I was alone in my bedroom with a very sick baby in the next room. My son's cancer treatments and suffering were taking what little reserve I had left in the way of physical, emotional and spiritual strength. I lost a lot of friends because of my impending divorce. I had nothing left to give. Up until this point I was on autopilot doing what had to be done. I thought I had lost nearly everything. I don't remember ever feeling so alone. I can't recollect if or what I prayed, but in that moment I felt God physically wrap His arms around me. For the first time in my life I just let go and sobbed into my heavenly father's loving embrace. The flood gates opened and the tears I had held in for months were finally shed along with everything I hadn't let go of...all of my fears, my anger, my doubts, my broken heart. God healed me from the inside out.

I would feel His physical presence twice more. Once during a church service and the last time (I've written about in previous posts)when I was contemplating suicide. God doesn't always manifest Himself in this way. I usually feel His presence around me however. Sometimes He speaks in scriptures. Sometimes it's through a song. But in all honestly, He is always around...even when we don't feel it.

When I heard the song 'Just Be Held' by Casting Crowns for the first time it was as if I were hearing Jesus' and my relationship put into a beautiful melody and lyrics. It is such an incredible reminder that we never have to face our trials alone. That it's not only ok to let go, God wants us to give our past, fears, grief, loss, sorrow, anger, worries, joy, thankfulness, our present and future to Him.

Just Be Held

"Hold it all together
Everybody needs you strong
But life hits you out of nowhere
And barely leaves you holding on

And when you're tired of fighting
Chained by your control
There's freedom in surrender
Lay it down and let it go

So when you're on your knees and answers seem so far away
You're not alone, stop holding on and just be held
Your world's not falling apart, it's falling into place
I'm on the throne, stop holding on and just be held
Just be held, just be held

If your eyes are on the storm
You'll wonder if I love you still
But if your eyes are on the cross
You'll know I always have and I always will

And not a tear is wasted
In time, you'll understand
I'm painting beauty with the ashes
Your life is in My hands

So when you're on your knees and answers seem so far away
You're not alone, stop holding on and just be held
Your worlds not falling apart, its falling into place
I'm on the throne, stop holding on and just be held
Just be held, just be held
Lift your hands, lift your eyes
In the storm is where you'll find Me
And where you are, I'll hold your heart
I'll hold your heart
Come to Me, find your rest
In the arms of the God who won't let go

So when you're on your knees and answers seem so far away
You're not alone, stop holding on and just be held
Your worlds not falling apart, its falling into place
I'm on the throne, stop holding on and just be held (stop holding on and just be held)
Just be held, just be held, just be held, just be held."

My favorite part of the song is when it says, "Not a tear is wasted. In time you'll understand. I'm painting beauty with the ashes. Your life is in my hands." How many is us have tears and ashes? I know I've had more than I could possibly count in my lifetime. There truly is freedom when we surrender to everything to God.

"Lay it down and let it go. Just be held." 😊