August 15, 2019

Beauty From Ashes - Tracy Krauss

Isaiah 61: 1 - 4
The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me,
because the LORD has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor;
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives,
and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;
to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor,
and the day of vengeance of our God;
to comfort all who mourn;
to 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.
They shall build up the ancient ruins;
they shall raise up the former devastations;
they shall repair the ruined cities,
the devastations of many generations. (ESV)

I was going to use only a portion of the above scripture, but I just couldn't seem to slice any of it away. Liberty for captives; comfort for those who mourn; rebuilding of devastated ruins... This month's theme contains such powerful truth - that out of the ashes, God can make something beautiful. 

The Biblical metaphors are abundant: Gold can only be refined by fire. A seed must die in order to grow into a new plant. Only through death are we ushered into heaven. It's a well known principle and one of the greatest paradoxes we can imagine. God uses darkness to emphasize the light. 

I believe that everyone has a story to tell that relates to this theme.... about a time when God met them in the midst of their trials and used pain and suffering to bring about an even greater blessing. Sometimes it is through health related trials. (I have experienced this more than once, twice with blindness and once after heart surgery) Or it might be because of a wayward child. (Also been there... very frightening times, I assure you.) How about the death of a loved one? (The untimely death of my 18 year old cousin left an unforgettable imprint, as did that of my brother-in-law shortly after I was married.) Financial difficulties can be an immense trial. (Have I ever mentioned the time we had absolutely nothing to eat for months besides deer meat and faba beans?) I am grateful that I never suffered abuse as a child, but I did go through my share of heartache when my parents divorced.

No one is exempt. Each one of us has our own burdens to bear, but I can honestly say that in retrospect I have grown spiritually and emotionally through each one. While not necessarily grateful for the trial itself, I am thankful for the resulting growth. Each has given me tangible evidence of God's amazing love and care. This has spilled over into my writing life, as well. The pain of years of rejection gave me fortitude to persevere, taught me about owning my own voice as an author, and helped me embrace the call to write that God has placed on my life - despite the hardships.

Tracy Krauss is the current President of InScribe. As a multi-published author and playwright, she has met with many writing trials as well as personal ones, but continues to press on despite the occasional and fleeting whim to throw in the towel. 
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  1. What a beautiful post, Tracy. Somehow you caught in a few sentences what people everywhere go through in their lifetimes. And, the wonder of it all is that the Lord can take every single hardship and give us beauty from the ashes. What a hope we have!

    1. I sometimes wonder how people go through life without the Lord... I am so grateful!

  2. A few months ago, God impressed Isaiah 58:6-12 on my heart. I keep asking what, exactly, it means for me, and now I see I didn't read far enough. The correlation between "my" passage and yours is amazing. Still seeking direction, but this helps. Thanks so much for sharing this encouragement, Tracy!

    1. I love the way God bring things together from so many different angles. God bless Kathleen!

  3. I love that passage. It is so powerful and hopeful. And I also loved your words, Tracy. So true that we may not be grateful for the trial but the resulting growth is worth it.

  4. God doesn’t bring us the suffering, but he definitely knows how to use our trials as growth opportunities. If God has anointed us, or tried us by fire, he has work for us to do. When we have the Spirit of the Lord upon us, we are to bring news to the poor, bind up the broken-hearted, proclaim liberty to the captives . . . Thanks, Tracy, for your good words.

  5. Thank you, Tracy, for this comprehensive take on how God brings beauty out of ashes. I too love this Scripture. So often in my life I've seen the truth of your words: "It's a well known principle and one of the greatest paradoxes we can imagine. God uses darkness to emphasize the light."

    You spoke of issues that touched everyone in some part of brokenness.

    1. No one is exempt BUT God is always there.

  6. Hi Tracy. In reading your post the writing of Henri Nouwen and Jean Vanier came to my mind. Both of these teachers and writers spoke of "brokenness,"just as Sandi has used the word also. In being aware of our brokenness we can also bring help and comfort to others. Personally, this is what your post has brought to me. Thank you Tracy. :)

  7. Tracy, that passage represents, I think, our calling as writers. This is the very purpose for Christians who write, no matter what genre or audience we are writing for. As we create characters or reflect on our world, we are encouraging the hurting to heal, the captive to break free. I see your books doing this. Thanks for expressing our writer-purpose in your post.


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