Ashes to Beauty

We’ve all been hurt by someone. In turn, we have also hurt others whether we intentionally did so or not. I’m not quite sure how this blog post will go or where it will end up, but I pray that God uses me to reflect His love and how great He is through what He has shown me and how He has worked in my life so far.

IMG_7901For a period in my life, I was bullied. I was cut down and broken by the words and actions of people who I believed were “friends”. I struggled with finding people who truly cared for me for some time. Now, I’m not saying this to gather pity from anyone. I am here to show you how God has worked in me and through me. Until recently, I’ve seen myself as a victim. Although I have been hurt by others through their words, I can not call myself a victim any more. I can only say I am a conqueror. Through Christ who gave me strength, I have been able to overcome my weakest moments and affirm myself and my identity in who Christ knows me as.

There are times in our lives when we do not realize how the words we speak affect others so deeply. Words have the power to hurt more than physical violence does. Words shake us to our core and challenge us to question the significance of our existence and purpose. They are replayed in our minds when we are at our weakest and sting the hundredth time we listen to them again; the pain is just as bad as hearing it said for the first time. I am not only a victim of this, but I am also a perpetrator as well. There have been people who have hurt me– yes. However, there are also those I have hurt. I caused pain to others I would never wish for them to go through now. I hurt them because I was also hurt; that is no excuse or justification for my actions. I am confident if we would put ourselves in their place, our words would be much different. Our words would be spoken with truth and grace rather than smothered in lies and deceit. Our words would build others up rather than tear them down. Our words would empower others to live their purpose rather than send them deep into hurt and depression. I can only grow and learn from the mistakes I have made in hurting others and use them to remind myself of the power of words. Of the power I have to scar someones heart or to help make their life better. When we know others are at their weakest, let us be words of encouragement. Let us be fortresses of strength they can rely upon. Let us be the lights which point them to Jesus. We don’t always know why someone does what they do, or why they react to situations and experiences in certain ways. We do not know their full past and experiences. Friends, let us love others by putting aside our pride and helping them grow in Christ rather than tearing them down.

I have been broken. I have been shattered. I have been left empty and feeling absolutely worthless… For what? For someone else to feel better about themselves? To give someone a temporary feeling of superiority in exchange for a scar of pain? No. No more of that. No more being a victim. If someone uses their words in an attempt to cut deep into your heart, remind yourself of who you are. Remind yourself of who Christ knows you and has molded you to be. You are His beloved. You are His child. You may have been broken, but you are beautiful still. You may have been hurt, but you are oh so mighty still. You have been designed with purpose. You have been made to shake the foundations of this world and use your testimony to reflect God’s perfect work in you. When you fall to the ground, feeling completely burned to the ground, never forget: your ashes are priceless when He uses them to create beauty– when He uses them to create YOU.

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If you would like to read some Bible verses relevant to this, here are the verses I was moved by to write this:
Proverbs 11:9. “With his mouth the godless man destroys his neighbor, But through knowledge the righteous will be delivered.”
Proverbs 21;23. “He who guards his mouth and his tongue, Guards his soul from troubles.”
Galatians 6:10. “So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people…”
Ephesians 4:29. “Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.”
Philippians 2:1-18. Read all of it, which tells us how to be like Christ.

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If you have any questions, comments, or concerns, please feel free to contact me. I acknowledge my writing skills aren’t the best, but I promise my interpersonal skills are better. I would love to hear your story and how God has worked in your life! If you are currently going through any of what I talked about (which I know was quite a bit), or if you would just like to talk and have someone listen to you, please reach out to me! I am here for you. I am praying for you. And I love you already, no matter what you’ve done or have gone through.

Love and sunshine– Lisa Bangean.

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