At the end of March and beginning of April I had the opportunity to lead a Beauty for Ashes mission trip to New Mexico. Our team consisted of 17 women from all over the United States that came together with one goal- to serve the Lord with all our hearts by serving the Native American women of the Navajo tribe.
This team was truly hand picked from God. Each with special gifts from the Lord. We shared our stories… Although we all came from different backgrounds, we all share a common denominator. In the same places that our lives once were filled with pain, now our stories testified of the healing power of GOD’S redemptive love. Our stories were filled with God’s mercy and grace.
God orchestrated all the details for the team and the woman from the Navajo nation to come together, 2 nations becoming one, His daughters under ONE GOD, covered by HIS redemption power, love, favor and grace.
In 1 Peter 4:8 that “love covers over a multitude of sins”.
I believe it to be truth, not only because is biblical, but because I’ve experienced it!
“For this reason I say to you, her sins, which are many, have been forgiven, for she loved much; but he who is forgiven little, loves little”. Luke 7:47
I can love much because I’ve been forgiven much!
BUT also because I AM LOVED much! And so are YOU!
One night during our mission trip we listened to the track “The Inheritance” by Graham Cooke, it goes like this:
The Lord says,
There is nothing you can do to make Him love you more.
There is also nothing you can do that would make Him love you less.
He loves you because He loves you, because He loves you, because He loves you
because THAT is what He is like.
It is His nature to love.
And you will always be His beloved.
And His love is unchanging.
And He loves you 100%.
He won’t love you any better when you become better.
He loves you 100% right now.
He loves all the way…all the time.
His love is unchanging…
You are the beloved.
It is why I chose you.
That is why I set My love upon you;
that you would live as one who is outrageously loved;
that you would receive a radical love, so radical it will blow all your paradigms of what you think love is.
I am He that loves you outrageously.
You may love Me back outrageously with the outrageous love that I bestow upon you.
So My love comes this evening to set you free from yourself.
My love comes to set you free from rejection and from shame
and from low self-esteem and from despair and from abuse
because when I look at you, I see something that I love.
I see someone that I can love outrageously.
Beloved, you are My beloved.
That very night chains were broken, hearts were healed, identity and worth were restored…the Lord filled our hearts with LOVE and HE released FREEDOM. He unleashed His power so that we could become the vessels that He was going to use to redeem the painful parts of the Navajo women’ stories. In the following days the Holy Spirit continued to minister in and through us. He healed their hearts and began restoring hope for their nation.
The difference was like night and day! On day one the Navajo women were guarded and hesitant to share, but by day 3 they were hugging us and telling us how much they needed God and Beauty for Ashes in their community. The Holy Spirit poured living waters over the parched soil of their hearts.
It’s there…where God’s love and our pain collided that the heavenly patterns of His hand were revealed. You see, God uses it all!…the events, trials, and sufferings of our lives to either adjust our direction or use our pain to administer His love to others. And the vast majority of the time, He is allowing the pain in order to accomplish both. Discomfort doesn’t feel good. Discipline is hard. Pain is heartbreaking. But when you learn to walk so close to God that you can feel His ever-constant presence, everything in your life will be worthwhile. Everything will be redeemed for His glory.
One of the most soul-satisfying and joyful experiences you will ever receive on earth is seeing the fruit of your pain become life-altering nourishment for someone else engulfed by the same pain that previously dominated your life. Afterall, His word declares in John 15:13 “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends”.
The dry and parched places of pain become well-springs of God’s living water for others to come and find hope, healing, comfort, and hear the truth for themselves. God’s love gushes out from us and collides with their pain, revealing the hand of a Creator compassionate enough to walk through the suffering before us just so we can see how it’s done and marvel at what waits on the other side.
No matter what you’ve been through, what’s happening right now, or what the future may bring, a divine calling rests upon your life. You have a destiny intricately designed to change or impact someone else’s trajectory. Every experience, every pain, every moment has a purpose. Each day holds a promise and is covered by mercies.
Everytime I go into the field to share about the gospel and the redeeming power of God’s love and grace, I am reminded of the cost of my freedom and redemption!
At the cross- HIS grace, mercy and love collided…our salvation, redemption, forgiveness and freedom were the result of the price that was paid in FULL for YOU and me!
“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me”. Galatians 2:20