and provide for those who grieve in Zion— to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor.
Do you believe God wants to deliver you from the sins of your past and present that have resulted in feelings of failure, shame, regret, sadness or broken relationships? Do you believe God wants to deliver you from harmful or abusive treatment that someone has done to you?
When you are ready to believe Isaiah 61:3 with all your heart and soul and mind, then you are ready to heal and to let go and let God do his work in your heart and life.
I am ready to heal and let go. I’m ready to give God my ashes for a crown of beauty.
On Saturday, June 9th, I attended a Codependency Recovery class lead by my dear friend Jeanne Hahne. Jeanne has been leading chemical recovery and codependency groups with her husband, Bruce, for over 20 years. Jeanne began by reminding us that this class was for our recovery. We were not there to learn how to fix someone else. In fact, helping others more than they are willing to do for themselves is the core problem with the codependent – we try to take control of someone else’s life. Codependents are enablers.
Now that I am divorced, I look back and realize I was a classic codependent with my husband. My faithlessness in my marriage was the breeding ground for all kinds of sins to fester and grow in my heart to the point I was completely out of touch in how I was sinning against God and Kevin. I had become numb and oblivious to many of the sins in my heart because I was too busy covering up the truth about my marriage and trying to fix and control everything. Outwardly I looked like a rock star Christian (well at least I thought I did), but inwardly I was drowning in resentment, anger and deep discouragement.
In the beginning of June of 2017, Kevin, Lian and I were living in Bend, Oregon, and my marriage was falling apart. My future with Kevin was looking bleak. But on June 12th when we reached our 24th wedding anniversary, I posted a collage of my wedding pictures on Facebook with words that praised our wonderful life together. At the time I did not think anything strange that my Facebook post was the opposite of reality and what was really going on in our lives. A week ago, I came across this Facebook post, and I was so shocked to read what I wrote. Though I had already come to understand how much I had been covering up the truth and living in denial, it was still quite jarring to come face to face with my codependent behavior.
It honestly took me sitting in the ashes, mourning my past behavior and decisions and experiencing moments of despair to finally accept what God longs to give me – a crown of beauty for my ashes.
The first step to allowing God to exchange a crown of beauty for your ashes is to hear the truth, speak the truth and live the truth.
Codependency recovery helps women to find freedom in truth.
Truth about ourselves.
Truth about our relationships.
And most of all the truth about the sovereignty of God and how He is worthy of our surrender.
I know that Satan, the father of lies, does not want me to rise from the ashes of a divorce and become a whole and happy person again. Satan wants me to wallow in the shame of failure and the regrets of “what ifs” so that my past keeps me in its unforgiving grip.
But God has plans for me, and I’m ready to believe it. No longer am I going to be afraid to be happy or to dream. I refuse to give into the kind of fear where I keep looking for the rug to be pulled out from underneath me and hear God say, “Just kidding. I really wasn’t going to give this to you.”
Faithlessness is a dangerous place to be because you feel like you have to take control and manipulate your situation in order to preserve or build up the life you think you deserve. Faith requires humility and surrender and a belief that God will deliver you and give you what is good.
I love this line in Isaiah 61:3:
They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor.
When God says he will call me an oak of righteousness, I think of the characteristics of this amazing tree.
An oak tree can withstand incredibly strong storms, like tornadoes and hurricanes. Even when they are stripped of their leaves, oak trees survive because of their strength, their curvy branches, and their incredible root systems.
My root system is developed by digging deep into God’s word and applying it to my heart. Being an Oak of Righteousness means that I no longer ignore the sins buried deep in my heart. Instead I talk about them and deal with them. I also stop trying to fix people and stop doing for them what they can do for themselves. I set boundaries and don’t give into fear to speak the truth.
If you have similar struggles with what I described in this blog post and haven’t come up from the ashes yet, I hope you will surrender to God and:
Exchange your ashes for a crown of beauty.
Receive the oil of joy instead of mourning.
Put on a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.
Be called an oak of righteousness.
Be a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.
This is God’s deepest desire for you.