(Anna Amonoo)

No matter what your past has been God can restore your life and give you a better future. He definitely has a purpose in every pain he allows in our lives. Beauty is sometimes born of pain. The pain we go through often is all part of the refinery process; just like gold. It goes through a whole lot of processes at the ore stage. The crashing…… milling….. and the heat before we the beauty of it. Quite often when we are faced with these challenges; we either sit on the ashes and complain of all that went wrong and apportion blames or we eat these ashes and choke on remorse and bitterness or  we even find it difficult moving beyond these ashes to find God’s plan and purpose leading to victory. But then know that whoever you are, wherever you are, whatever you’ve been through, it is never too late to begin again. Never give up. Do not throw in the towel, it is so not an option.

    Isn’t it so awesome that God says he can give us beauty for ashes? Normally as human as we are, we mostly concentrate on the beauty but until we go through these ashes and learn to let go and hand over these ashes to God we will never get the beauty out of it. Come to think of it…what are these ashes? These are the wounded parts of our lives. We all have ashes of all kinds.

   Biblically, it was customary for people to sit in ashes or cover themselves with ashes to express mourning or loss, such as grief over a distressing situations (2 Samuel 13:19). Ashes were therefore associated with pain, loss and suffering. Let’s take a few lessons from the story of Ruth in the Bible.

    It looked as if her entire life crashed down around her. Her husband of ten years died. Naomi her mother in-law was moving away to another country, Ruth virtually had nowhere to go. Sometimes it is the unforeseen circumstances that do the most harm; it shatters the dreams we once had. This is exactly what happened to Ruth. She was waking up to a new reality; a harsh one for that matter. It would have been very easy for Ruth to just give up and stay stuck and no one would have blamed her. She faced a pain she never asked for, a pain so deep and tragic such that it threatened to ruin her life but hey, Ruth made a choice! A choice to break free. In Ruth 16:1, she told Naomi “…Entreat me not to leave you or to return from following you; for where you go, I will go and where you lodge, I will lodge. Your people will be my people and your God, my God”. Ruth set out on a journey with Naomi and God. She chose a new family, a new place and a new future. She realized it wasn’t too late to start over.

      Her story from the beginning began on a sad note but it all ended in Great joy. She now meets a man named Boaz, a kind man of great wealth who eventually fell in love with Ruth and paid a great price to build a new life for her. A life she hadn’t imagined.

Your struggle may be so real, it may not have been easy at all and you wouldn’t be blamed if you get stuck right where you are. Yours might have been an unexpected loss or a sudden life-change or even a broken relationship that has you questioning everything you once believed to be true. But just like Ruth, you have a choice to make today. You can decide to stay stuck living in pain and regrets, dwelling on negative thoughts and living a life full of worries and fears or you can decide to believe that everything is working together for your good and that God is cooking up something much greater for you. If you are not dead, then you are not done! What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger! Why not find strength in your situation and brace yourself up and see today as a day of new beginnings, a fresh start.

   Beware, lies from the enemy will keep you stuck in your past. Yes it may be painful, you may be broken, you may be disappointed, you may be down, and you may be shattered but count it all joy when you go through all these. Trust me, when you think it’s over, that’s when He steps in. Just hold on a little while longer for He makes all things so beautiful in His time