Beauty for Ashes

The ocean is to my left, banana trees are to my right, both beautiful but not near as magnificent as the precious song being sung behind me. “He gives beauty for ashes…” they sing as we make the bumpy ride back to the city.  We are on our way to a recognition ceremony for the four trafficking survivors that have committed their weekend and beyond that, their year, to encourage others rescued as peer mentors.

The weekend of leadership training and excitement has taken its toll as they drift off one by one.  They rest behind me, safe, sound, and secure but eagerly anticipating the relationships they will soon cultivate with other young women that, like them, were once exploited and are now cared for.  All weekend the mentors have been studying their purpose found in Isaiah 61:3, “…to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.  They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.” This verse reflects the transformation they have gone through over the recent years of hard work, courage, and support.  A transformation they are now ready to aid other young women in achieving.

If ever I’ve witnessed God’s delight I’ve seen it in the back of this van, with the ocean to my left and banana trees to my right.

Full Song Lyrics : Beauty For Ashes, By Crystal Lewis
He gives beauty for ashes
Strength for fear
Gladness for mourning
Peace for despair

When sorrow seems to surround you
When suffering hangs heavy oer your head
Know that tomorrow brings
Wholeness and healing
God knows your need
Just believe what He said

He gives beauty for ashes
Strength for fear
Gladness for mourning
Peace for despair

When what you’ve done keeps you from moving on
When fear wants to make itself at home in your heart
Know that forgiveness brings
Wholeness and healing
God knows your need
Just believe what He said

He gives beauty for ashes
Strength for fear
Gladness for mourning
Peace for despair

I once was lost but God has found me
Though I was bound Ive been set free
I’ve been made righteous in His sight
A display of His splendor all can see

He gives beauty for ashes
Strength for fear
Gladness for mourning
Peace for despair

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