Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Beauty For Ashes -- Rising Up Thankful from the Devastation of Abuse

I saw today a picture of little bright flowers that had somehow pushed their way up from the solid rock debris of a destructive volcano. 
Lovely delicate strong beauty.
I am thankful for those flowers. They speak to me of God's faithfulness.

Life hurts us. People hurt us. Circumstances hurt us. Most pain we move on from fairly easily.
Some pain we carry with us a very long time, burying it deep, covering it over with hard-rock fear and shame.

Faithful Love overpowers the fear, reaches through the shame, pushes aside the debris, softens the hard, breathes life into dark places…and beauty grows.

“The most beautiful people that we know are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.”
~ Elizabeth Kubler-Ross

One of the most beautiful people I know is my daughter. Severely burned as a child in a gasoline fire, and having undergone multiple reconstructive surgeries, her face reminds me of the hearts of so many reading this today. Altered by horrifying circumstances from the original state God intended, her face is a patchwork of scars and scar tissue that tell a story of unspeakable pain and sadness; and that tell a story of God’s amazing grace.

The majority of her face was charred, the lower half melted and adhered to her neck, her ears were burned off; but miraculously her hairline was barely singed and her gorgeous green eyes with ultra-long eyelashes were left unharmed.

After the burn she was ostracized, beaten, spit on, teased, suicidal, even those who loved her didn't know how to help her. Her mother died, her father could not care for her, her grandmother who was her primary life-line, developed cancer. She left the country of her birth, her siblings, and came to a strange land to live with strangers and to undergo many years of surgery.

And God took all of it, and turned it around for good and for beautiful, and He continues to do so.

She is grown up now, talented, funny, smart, determined; she moves with grace and gentleness; her laughter is contagious. Her smile, which we did not see for a very long time, is now not just on her lips, but also in her extraordinary green-eyes. 

God’s Love changed her life; and changed us, changed me because of her; and is continuing to bring “a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.”
~ Isaiah 61:3 NIV

No matter how devasting the abusive situation, circumstances, physical, sexual, abandonment, hateful words; God is bigger! His Love is powerful; faithful to create something lovely out of the most ugly. 

“The wrongs done to us do not define us!
Victimized but not fatalities, we are stronger for having survived.
We are more than survivors; we are more than conquerors!
Altered from an innocent state, we cultivate compassion and understanding that may have not grown otherwise.
We are not a result of what life took from us;
We are who Love claims us to be!
Battered and bruised we are more beautiful for our scars.”
~Connie Ruth Christiansen

“We are more than conquerors through Him who loves us”
~ Romans 8:37

Talk to you again soon
You are beautiful, scars and all!

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1 comment:

  1. Beautiful! This speaks a deep truth many of us need to learn and internalize. Thank you, Connie.