«To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn, to console those who mourn in Zion, to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they may be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified» (Isaiah 61:2,3).
I have three friends who have stories of ashes, tears, and despair. Their anonymous stories may serve as inspiration. Perhaps you will identify with one of them, or you may be able to help someone who is in a similar situation. The first friend grew up suffering from brutal abuse at home. Her mother would beat her with whatever she had at hand, unloading onto her daughter her owm accumulated rage due to the abuses she herself suffered during the civil war in her country. Today both mother and daughter have learned to live with forgiveness and the giving of second chances. My friend has a beautiful Christian family who enjoys the company of their loving grandmother.
The second friend learned of the Adventist church through a very manipulative boyfriend who mistreated her both physically and verbally. He isolated her from all of her friends and family, and besides almost killing her he almost destroyed her self-identity, which in some cases has extremely lasting effects which are difficult to overcome. Thank God (who she finally came to know, in spite of the distorted ideas she had received about Him from her twisted boyfriend), she was able to escape from that relationship and today she has a broad network of friends and acquaintances. She exerts a very positive influence in those around her. She also got back into touch with her family, and she enjoys a marriage filled with blessings and joy. She wants to help other women who have experienced similar situations, both within the church and outside of it, and she hopes to share her story so that this terrible problem can receive more attention. There are some projects already available to help women in this situation, but she believes the subject is still taboo for many women, and there is still a great deal of work to be done.
My third friend was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and although at times it is hard for her to thin’ that this is not a label that defines her as a person, she has learned to cope with her many emotions and reactions. She has become successful in every aspect of her life. She wants to create a support group for people with the same diagnosis.
These three women, each in a different country, recognize that they have been planted by God to show His glory, and they have experienced His transformation in their lives.
Today, Jesus wants to give you a crown, the sweet taste of joy, and songs of praise, as well.