Friday, June 13, 2008

Beauty from Ashes

I live in the city. On a busy street. And sometimes there things going on around our house that are not always the most wholesome. I usually call my husband when I'm almost home if it's at night, and have him meet me at the car. And once inside, I feel safe.

When I was a little girl, I lived in the country. Like wayyyy out, in the middle of nowhere. Down a 1/2 mile dirt road. We had a very small farm, with dogs, cats, horses, and sometimes geese. At night, it was mine and my sisters job to feed the animals. So we would walk up to the barn, which was probably about 1/4 of a mile walk, maybe not even (you know how when you're a kid, everything seems so much bigger), and feed the animals, and then head back to the house. Well, I would not walk back. I almost always ran. And sometimes I would pretend that there were wild dogs chasing me, and I had to run as fast as I could, and as soon as I reached our back door, I would grab it and yank it open, like the dogs were about to get my feet, and slam it shut behind me. But once I was inside, I was safe. And the dogs couldn't get me.

I can't imagine living in a house where I didn't feel safe. Or having to stay in a place where the people around me made me afraid, and at any moment I might fall victim to whatever malicious thought or deed they had in store.

I think that's why I so easily love "Beauty" again. I'll call her "Beauty" because she truly is beautiful. And you would instantly agree upon seeing her, but after a minute of being with her, you would see the knives come out. And they are sharp. Beauty doesn't know peace. Beauty doesn't know safety. Beauty does not know love. And because of that, she hates. And she pushes you away with her hurtful words and her sharp eyes.

But last night I saw her smile. Her big beautiful smile that I never get to see. And that she seldom cracks for anyone. No matter how much you encourage her. And no matter how much you try to show you care. She won't trust you enough to show you her smile. Not only did I get to see her smile, but I got to see her dance. She danced with others for the Lord, about healing, and about racial reconciliation, about forgiveness, and about trusting the Lord. But the beauty of her smile was all I needed to remember that He can bring "beauty from ashes" and that He longs to restore. Her broken places, He can fix. And maybe, just maybe, one day she'll let Him. For He is the only one who truly can.


Suzanne said...

Thank you for coming out last Thursday Melissa. You are so right about "beauty". Dance is one of the things that keeps me going sometimes with these girls. I am blessed to see them smile, cry, be angry, and at the end of the day to really know them.

It meant so much to them that "Mrs. Melissa" was there. :) Never underestimate how encouraging your presence is in their inconsistent lives.

love ya

Matt Hannam said...

hallelujah! 'beauty' and most of the others did at some point crack a smile...such a refreshing reminder that God is a work, that there is some softness left in all of their hearts, and that there is tangible hope for each of them. i think that will be a regular prayer of mine for them (and myself)...Lord, allow them to embrace your beauty for ashes.
Jenny (i'm sitting for ollie :) )