The Write Word

Beauty from Ashes

Had big 'ol plans for this past week.  They included fininshing up the not-a-chance-you'll-get-it-all-at-one-place school supply list and enjoying the LAST week of sumeer vacation with my kiddos.  We were going to frolic about in sprinklers, have a picnic at the park, visit the library.  We were going to be busy, we were going to have fun.  As it turned out, we did neither.

A nasty virus (they do seem to love us so) attacked my 7 year old and just about sucked the life right out of him.  Three days sick at home, then 3 days sick in the hospital.  We had planned to be at the park, but here we were, stuck in a hospital.  Instead of swigging sweet lemon-aid, we were coaxing bitter tasting contrast fluid down an acid burnt throat.  Our plans were toast.  Up in smoke.  We were left with a handful of ashes in place of our beautifully mapped out plan.

So what's a mother to do during the hours that the wee one sleeps?  Make prayer flowers of course.  Let me explain.  I'm no stranger to 'down time'.  I spend my fair share of my time in waiting rooms so I have a waiting room bag with hand-work in the closet near the door. On the way out the door to the hospital I grabbed my trusty ziplock bag that contained my next 'down time' project.  It was comprised of a shirt, scissors, thread and needle.  The shirt, a stained silk one, had been stained by a careless encounter with tomato sauce.  It was no longer able to be used for it's intended purpose.  It was still around because the 100% silk fabric was too beautiful to be thrown out.

I am a scatter brain kind of girl, jumping from one thing to another, a frantic buzz of brain activity most of the time.  I find that doing 'busy' work with my hands helps me to focus my thoughts.  The motion of my fingers help to bring my emotions up to the surface and be dealt with by my mind.  It is physically therapeutic, also spiritually therapeutic.  I find that my heavenly Father can take the threads of my feelings and use the tools of memorized scripture and prayer to turn them from a jumbled heap of tangled fibers, into something useful.  Sometimes even beautiful.

So from my 3 days hospital stay, about 3 hours of my time were spent turning this shirt

into these flowers.

I'm not sure where they will go.  Maybe on a hat, sweater or a jacket.  Maybe on a pillow for my bed or chaise.  But where ever they go, when I see them, I will remember.

I will remember that even though I make my plans, life may interrupt them.  That I maybe do some of the important things now, because tomorrow is not promised.  I will remember that God is faithful during the unexpected crises's of my life and that seemingly ruined things can be repurposed to use to make something beautiful.   Even when I've ruined them with my carelessness. I will remember Isaiah 36:1, that God can give beauty, even from ashes.

Where are you today?  Do you have a handful of ashes where your plans used to be?   Has some ailment, or age, come along and stollen your health, or physical abilities?  Are you stuck in a situation not of your making?  Do you drink from a bitter cup?

Make some prayer flowers.  Maybe not with fabric or thread.  Maybe you should go ahead and take that vacation, send that apology, mend that fence.  Maybe you should unroll a disappointment and salvage it.   It might be a friendship, or a marriage, or your spiritual life.  What ever it is, don't throw it out.  Yes, it may be stained, but that does not mean it cannot be beautiful again, in a different way.  Don't let the time, or the pain, or the situation be wasted.  No, it may not ever be like it WAS, but it can still be beautiful.  Pray over it, work at it.  Make beauty from your mess, from your ashes.