You're Given Beauty For Ashes & Sitting Among Friends #41

Most of my teenage years and through my twenties, I managed to accumulate a large amount of baggage in my life.

I found myself on the run from myself and from my reality.

In fact, I moved 5000 miles from my home just to try and become who I thought I could be. 

In my island paradise, I found myself crumpled up on the bathroom floor crying out, “I am a good girl.” 

Who I had become was the girl that had added to the mess daily and covered it up with a smile on her face. 

Now that I look back on it, I can see the Lord and His hand in my life, clutching me tight, not willing to let go. My many decisions should have turned out much more disastrous than they did.

My one regret was grieving 
                             My God.

    My Lord.

         My Father.

I had given my life to Christ when I was a preteen but lived my life completely for myself. We have been given free will to do just as we please and that is exactly how I lived.

I grew up going to church. I knew all the right things to do and say but I had driven a great divide between my fellowship with God in my life.

He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. Psalm 40:2

The Rock on which I now know I can stand firm on, never left me. As far away as I felt, the truth was I was the one who drifted away. Not God.

I know this to be true of God. He can turn your messes into something He can use for His purpose.

What Christ did for me was took a hold of my life in a way that I could not have expected. He found a way to draw me back to Him. Of Course, there can be consequences for our behaviors but God can use it for our good, for His Glory.

What Christ did for me was turn my past into a passion. A passion for sharing His redemptive never-ending love and how it reaches far beyond our mess.
I can rest my hope in who He says I am and not on my past or my mistakes.

He takes our ashes and turns them into beauty.

He will replace our grieving with joyous blessing.

Instead of living a life in despair, even when we have driven ourselves there, He will replace it with Praise. 

He is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords and no matter our situation, He is willing, upon repentance, to restore all of our brokenness.

He has sent me to tell those who mourn that the time of the LORD's favor has come, and with it, the day of God's anger against their enemies. To all who mourn in Israel, he will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the LORD has planted for his own glory. Isaiah 61:2-3

Do you have a past you wish you could erase or escape the shame? Have you faced circumstances in which you need restoration?

My friends, there is hope! I am a testament to the Living God that offers restoration to the broken. A God who is in the business of making all things new.

Are you ready to take the steps into trusting a God that seeks your heart? To love you and make you whole again?

He is simply a conversation away. He is waiting to hear from you.
Cry out to the Lord who reigns in both Heaven and Earth.

Seek Him and you will find Him when you seek Him with all of your heart.  Deuteronomy 4:29

Friends, we are here to encourage you and others, please share with them so they to can join us in the conversations here. Want to continue this conversation? Send me an email or comment below. 

You can also join me on one of my social media sites where we can connect throughout the week. 


This week's featured friend is Debbie Jackson from Bible Fun For Kids. Debbie has such wonderful ideas for kids lessons. They are all complete with the lesson to teach and the activity to go along with it with color pictures. If you are looking for kids activities or a particular story stop by her page where you are sure to find engaging Bible resources. Thanks for sharing with us every week, Debbie. I am glad you are here.

While you're here, sit down with some of my friends.

WOW! I know Summer is busy so I thank you all for coming here and for the 83 Amazing posts. This party has been wonderful and it is thanks to you, friends, who link-up with us and those who stop by and read and SHARE! Thank you!

You all are amazing writers who share DIY's, Recipes, Photos, Giveaways, Homeschool and Family and Faith. Many of you have amazing journeys of faith and I praise the Lord we are able to connect here!

There are easy share buttons to your left or at the bottom of each post (mobile) and after you link-up. Thanks for sharing! 

Thanks! From all of us at  #SittingAmongFriends
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  1. Thank you for your testimony. Thanks for hosting as well!

    1. Thank you, Helen for stopping by and sharing with us here. I am glad to have you aboard!

  2. Jaime He has pulled us all up out of that slime. Thanks for sharing your story.

    1. Thanks be to God for His indescribable love for us that He does not leave us there! Thanks for stopping, Deborah!

  3. Jaime, this is so good, because I see in it the truth that God can take the ashes of a life -- or the ashes of day -- and bring beauty. Blessings to you!

    1. God will work together those things we have made a total mess of and turn it into something He can use for His good. What a tremendously loving God that is. Amen! Thanks so much for sharing with us, Michele!

  4. All of our troubles can be used for His glory. Messy past here too.
    Thanks for the encouragement Jaime!

    1. We have all come from a pit that is why we need a Savior. If we could do it ourselves, erase the shame and despair, then we wouldn't have needed a sacrifice. I am glad that He chose to put back the pieces of our lives, if we let Him. Even on my best days, I NEED JESUS!Thanks for sharing, friend!

  5. What a beautiful testimony of God's grace, Jaime! 💗

    1. You nailed it, friend! It is because of God's Grace. We are hopeless without it. Thanks for being here, Alisa!

  6. This gives me so much encouragement, Jaime, because my youngest 20-year old son is leaving for California tomorrow and I'm not sure he's prepared for that big move. We've had some heart-to-heart conversations where he's walked away feeling like I'm a "pessimist" and I am very worried. It's so hard to watch your "baby" walk so far from home. He's got some spiritual stuff to resolve as well, so my hope is that God uses it like He did for you during that time so far from home. Thanks for the linkup too, my friend!

    1. Oh dear friend, I can imagine the hurt of placed on my parents at any point in my life. How I may have grieved their hearts. It is part of growing up, sometimes. I am glad that God used my mess to get me to understand how desperately I need Him. I will keep your son and your heart in my prayers. Blessings to you, Beth!

  7. Our gracious God gives good gifts! May He ever walk with us in our mess and make us marvelous along the way.

    1. I am reminded of the verse every good and perfect gift if from above. God can only give good gifts because He is only good! Glad you are here, Miss Kathy!

  8. I did the same thing--though not so far! I moved from NJ to CA to "find myself" but I wasn't there, so I came back. Unlike you, I grew up in a strict "religion" but never knew that I could even have a personal relationship with Jesus. It wasn't until many years later that I discovered this, but I am so glad I did! There are times that I can remember my old life--if I try, I can experience that emptiness and loneliness and I'm so glad that I can so that I can pull myself back and know how very loved and forgiven and full I am! Thanks for sharing your testimony, Jaime.

  9. Thanks for hosting the weekly link up, Jaime!
    Hope you and your family are doing well this week.

  10. These words of yours I love..."What Christ did for me was turn my past into a passion. A passion for sharing His redemptive never-ending love and how it reaches far beyond our mess." Wow! You are a beautiful story that God is sharing! Thank you for your powerful words. Happy to be your neighbor at #TestimonyTuesday

  11. Jaime, some parallels in our stories, I see! Thanks for the linkup.

  12. Very interesting. Very nice words.

    The funny thing is that I moved away but came back to my home city. The thing is I learned is that I had to hit my past head on to move on. It has helped.

    Thanks for hosting.

    Sent you my email addy in a Facebook Message.

  13. Thanks so much for the feature! I appreciate it! Thank you for hosting each week!

  14. Love this, my sweet friend! He is our redeemer. He trades our ashes for beauty. I'm praying these words get in the hands of a precious someone who thinks she's messed up too much to be restored. And then, I pray she finds truth and healing!

  15. I am so thankful that God is willing to take plan B if plan A is not according to his will. Like the shepherd seeking his lost sheep, the Holy Spirit is often called the Hound of Heaven as he goes after those who are in rebellion. God is faithful and He is in the restoring business, and when He forgives he also forgets. Thank you for sharing with us here at Tell me a Story.

  16. I'm so happy and thankful to read of God's goodness in your life. Thank you for sharing this great post at Together on Tuesdays, so that others can be blessed :)

  17. Oh Jaime, your story is different I am sure but sounds a whole lot like mine. And I went from church to church (even up until recently) trying to find my place when it was in God's arms all along.

    God bless dear!


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Seek Him First! Today's Bible Reading

James 1:17
Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of Lights with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.

It is of utmost importance that you know that Christ died for you. He died for all sinners so that our relationship with Him could be restored.

Because of His sacrifice on the cross we can have peace. Are you seeking more peace today? Peace of the soul can only be given through the redemptive power of Jesus Christ.

I hope that you, too, know the saving grace of an amazing God.
If you have questions about how to know more you can email me at

2 Timothy 1:7