Monday, February 1, 2016

Words of Encouragement


I hope you had a good weekend! A lot of our weekend looked like this:

Poor baby didn't feel well, and she made sure we all knew it!   

On Sunday I stayed home with her while Mr. SA and Rufflebum went to church. In between fits of crying Burrow found a pair of princess slippers and carefully practiced putting them on and taking them off. Girl was covered in snot, was coughing, congested... a total mess. But every time she got the shoes on she would shuffle over to me - her eyes sparkling, her face squished up into a huge grin, a hearty yet raspy laugh coming from her belly, and say, "wook mom, wook!" 

In the midst of her mess, she was transformed into something radiant. 

A few days ago I came upon some verses in the book of Isaiah that pierced my heart. I've been meditating on them, and had been reading them again when Burrow was playing with her princess slippers. 

In the passage, God is speaking through the prophet Isaiah, foretelling of Christ and what Jesus would do when he came:

" grant to those who mourn in Zion - to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit; that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified." (Isaiah 61:3)

From ashes to splendor; from mourning to gladness; from a weary and broken spirit to one who sings praises. And why? That we may be oaks of righteousness. Planted by the Lord - with deep impenetrable roots, a trunk that can not be bent by the wind, branches that stretch wide blessing those in its reach. All so that the Lord may be glorified.

This is a promise to us. This is what Jesus did and is doing and will one day complete.

I could list 100 personal "ashes" - sins, burdens, disappointments...

I could list just as many things, people, hopes, dreams, and circumstances that I mourn...

I could retell of all the times my spirit has felt faint...

And I know you can too. 

But those ashes have been wiped away and replaced with righteousness.

The sorrows are replaced by gladness.

And the faint spirit can sing praises because God is the great I Am. He conquered death. He never changes. He is the beginning and end. The strong tower. Holy and Loving and Merciful and Kind.

Jesus came, lived a perfect life, died on the cross - taking on all our sins, was buried, and then was raised to everlasting life. All that to make us into oaks of righteousness - that we may bring glory and honor and praise to Him.

In a very broken and imperfect way, those princess slippers were Burrow's headdress yesterday - her beauty in the midst of the ashes of sickness.

How much more beautiful is the headdress of joy that the Lord gives.

I've been praying these verses for myself and for several friends who are walking through valleys. And today I'm praying them for you too.

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God." -2 Corinthians 1:3-4

May you be encouraged today!
The Pampered Bird


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