Beauty for Ashes

At a very early age my little world spun out of control. I remember feeling lost and confused and helpless amid the chaos. It was too big of a mess for me to ever even know how to begin to put it all back together, so I took comfort in bringing order to what I could. I arranged the books on my shelf by height, hung my clothes up in the closet according to color and style, and did my chores meticulously. My room was organized and tidy and therefore so was my life. Thus began my need to control what I could and fret and fear about what I could not.

As I grew so did my need to keep a tight grip on my surroundings. The deep soul desire for security drove me to need every part of my life neat and in order. I walked in fear of the future because it was unknown and I was unable to control it. Changes of any kind brought on a swell of dread and anxiety. I desperately wanted to trust Jesus, but the truth be told, I did not truly believe that He loved me and wanted His very best for me.

In Hebrews 13 it says, “… for He [God] Himself has said, I will not in any way fail you nor give you up nor leave you without support. [I will] not, [I will] not, [I will] not in any degree leave you helpless nor forsake nor let [you] down (relax My hold on you)! [Assuredly not!]” According to His word, God could not leave me in that pit of fear and dread and insecurity. And so at the age of 20 He set me on the road to freedom from the very exhausting need to have control.

He gave me my husband who loves me beyond anything that I deserve and who feels no need to be controlled by his wife. None. Not at all. Ever. After 27 years together I have all but given up on trying to convince him that he needs to do what I want him to do and when I want him to do it! (We are both first born kids in our respective families and anyone who knows anything about birth order might wonder if God was quite aware of what he was doing when He brought us together.) God used the unconditional love this man has given me, to heal a brokenness in me that was deep and severe. God knew I needed a rock-solid man who would not be swayed by the tantrums of a healing wife, to birth in me a security that my heart had yearned for.

Now, in another divine intervention so as not to leave me in that pit of despair, God arranged for me to give birth to nine children.  With each new baby I became more keenly aware that I was going to have to release my need to control every little detail or I was going to have a breakdown. If you know me at all, you know that my babies are my dreams come true, but something had to give when a momma of nine needs all the Legos arranged in plastic boxes according to type and color!  That something was about to give!

When I was about 39, God took me on a journey that at the time I thought would be the death of me, but in reality was His grace and mercy reaching down and taking hold of me and drawing me out of the deep waters of fear and insecurity.  God had used my husband and my babies to plow and prepare the soil of my hardened and self-protected heart, so now I was ready for Him to teach me to walk in the freedom that He had died to give me.

Through the process of several years the Holy Spirit drew to the surface of my soul, wounds that had crippled and deformed me. Through many a sleepless night, I literally thought that I was dying.  With fear and adrenaline coursing through my mind and heart, He taught me to cling to His Word.  Throughout the wee hours of the night, I would pace back and forth through my quiet and darkened living room audibly repeating every scripture I could find on fear and His love for me.  I begged Him to let me quit walking through where He had me, but like my husband, He was unmoved by the fit that I was throwing.

With time I began to see some changes in me that I knew were nothing short of a miracle.  I became convinced of the love of Jesus for me.  That realization set me free from the snare of fear. That, then, set me free to release my need to control and entrust my life into His capable hands.  Like never before in my life the Holy Spirit had become my trusted counselor and had led me to the Truth found only in Jesus.  The Word of God renewed my mind and released me to be all that God intended me to be.

I write this because I want you to know that what He did in my life, He will do in yours.  I am convinced that true freedom and healing are found only in Jesus.  He cannot leave you behind in your place of despair, because He is true to His Word.  He will take every broken, devastated, crushed area of your heart and give you beauty for those ashes.  He is at work in you to bring about something beautiful that will bring Him glory and honor.  Invite the Holy Spirit to counsel and empower you.  Entrust yourself into His loving care and stand confidently on His Word which is Truth.  Do not be moved when the attacks of the Evil One are especially intense.  One of the last things the Devil wants is for a daughter of the King to truly get a hold of who she is in Jesus.  Trust your Redeemer who loves you more deeply than you can grasp; He is bringing you out into a spacious place of beauty and freedom.

photo Stacy Havens

3 responses to “Beauty for Ashes

  1. Wow Stacy, what a wonderful story of God’s love and grace in your life. I can so relate to the “control issues!” And God saw fit to give me the same kind of husband as yours that has loved me into wholeness!


  2. Thanks for sharing this, Stacy! I have experienced some of that kind of pain myself lately (the pain of change and letting go), and like you, I feel the comfort and presence of Jesus now more than ever. Praise God for leading us deeper!


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