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 61:3
What does beauty for ashes mean?
Ashes refers to the adversities in life and beauty refers to how the Lord can turn around those adversities that He might be glorified.
We should never hold onto our past, otherwise we become victims of our circumstances, it is vitally important we understand our early emotional wounds and uncover or expose them to gain healing. A lot of the time those early childhood wounds are carried over into our adolescent years and then “rooted” into our adult years. Rooted meaning grown deep into our soul. We can begin to act out or behave externally but internally where the roots are really determine why we act or behave externally. Exposing these roots is the first step to healing. We may not even know why we get angry, depressed, or fearful, but there is something internal or deep within us that has not been rooted out of us.
The Holy Spirit can shed His spotlight on the hidden or unexposed areas of trauma/abuse in our lives. But a word of caution, don’t try and force revelation, let the Holy Spirit, in His time and His way expose those areas. You may not be ready to deal with certain areas yet, so don’t push ahead of God’s leading. A lot of the times we have to work out our healing, and undoing a lifetime of emotional wounding takes time, so be patient with yourself. God desires that you are healed and made whole. His desire is to redeem you and restore you. Emotional healing starts when we uncover the deep roots of pain first, it is what I like to call the first layer. Then the second layer can be exposed and healed, and lastly the last layer can be exposed and dealt with. We will explore these layers in greater detail. An analogy of your healing is like pealing an onion, when you peel an onion it is one layer at a time. As with our emotional healing, it is one layer at a time. Peeling off all our layers at once could be painful and overall we would not get a complete healing.
Types of emotional wounds that need to be healed from early/late childhood (first layer):
1. Abuse-physical, mental, emotional, and sexual
2. Early exposure to false religions or belonging to a religious system
3. Betrayal- family/friendships
5. Death, divorce, illness of parents of close relatives
6. Unstable, chaotic, or violent home environment
7. Bullying by family/peers
Most important relationship during this time: family. So your early family relationships are very important in your emotional health and well-being.
Types of emotional wounds that need to be healed from late adolescence/early adulthood (second layer):
1. Betrayal in friendships/relationships with significant others
2. Relationship break-ups
3. Rape (date rape)
4. Abuse in relationships with family/friends, dating relationships
5. Crisis pregnancy
6. Abortion, miscarriage
7. Death, divorce, illness of parents, friends, or loved ones
8. Not able to find a career or purpose in life
Most important relationship during this time: friendships. So if there has been major trauma with friendship during this time the greater the emotional wounding.
Types of emotional wounds that need to be healed from latter years in life (third layer).
2. Betrayal, rejection, abuse or abandonment of spouse/friendships
3. Stagnant in career. Many perceived failures as a result
5. Death, divorce, illness of spouse, children, family, or friendships.
6. Miscarriage, abortion, and/or infertility
7. Prodigal children
8. Spiritual abuse/manipulation of leadership in your church
9. Caretaking roles (sick children, parents)
1. Empty nest
1. Extended family members in crisis
1. Lose of job, finances and/or stability
Most important relationship during this time: Significant other (spouse). So if you have been emotionally wounded by a spouse during this time, the greater the emotional wounds.
These layers of emotional wounds are not all inclusive, you may find that your emotional wounds are not listed. This is just a guide so you can add any other layers of healing that you need to. If you have never received healing from early childhood and early adult years then the layers of emotional wounds can merge and you can begin to experience external behaviors that are surfacing from internal root issues.
Healing occurs first when we have a desire and believe God does want our emotional healing.
Here are some action steps you can take towards your healing:
1. Pray and ask God for emotional healing. Don’t underestimate this critical step towards your healing. Don’t relent and don’t give up until you receive your healing. Pray this prayer if you need some help getting started:
Thank you Father that you desire to heal and restore me. I ask you to bring restoration to my emotions, and to redeem the years the enemy has stolen. Would you make me whole and bind-up all my emotional wounds. In Jesus name.
2. Journal, write out your pain, your true feelings. Writing or journaling has proven to be an important therapeutic tool for recovery. If you need help or assistance during this time, I offer email counseling to women. I can also pray in agreement with you for your healing. You can email me @ Stephanie@christianhopecounseling.com. Write out your life story, from earliest childhood memories to present, but don’t force this unless the Holy Spirit prompts this. The Holy Spirit will only lead you to this step to expose and bring healing, not to bring more pain.
3. Spend daily time with the Lord. Read the Bible, pray, sing, meditate, and journal what God speaks to you.
4. Write out your blessings every day! This step helps with feelings of being a victim and with self-pity. Make a blessings journal, write down (5) things to be thankful for every day.
5. Read Joyce Meyer’s book, “Beauty for Ashes.” Excellent read and recommended for people suffering from emotional wounds. The first time I read “Beauty for Ashes” I received salvation at the end of reading that book. Other reading recommendations: Joyce Meyer’s, “Battlefield of the Mind.” Dr. Dan Allender’s, “Hope for adult victims of childhood sexual abuse.” My book, “Wilderness Mentality.” You can find these books at amazon.com and you can also find my book at www.createspace.com/4036784
6. Rest and be still as God is working on you. Love and forgive yourself. Forgive others that you hurt you; including your offenders.
7. Write a letter to your offenders or to the people that have hurt you. You don’t have to send it! If God leads you, confront your offenders in love and with forgiveness. This step should ONLY be done under the direction and leading of the Holy Spirit.
8. Know who you are in Christ. You can download from Joyce Meyer’s ministries a copy of “Who you are in Christ.”
9. Be gentle with yourself, healing takes time. You did not get here overnight, so be patient with yourself.
1. Start finding enjoyment in the small things in life. Begin to enjoy your life.
1. Exercise, especially walking to relieve stress that can accompany emotional wounds.
1. Love yourself and think of yourself the way you would want someone to treat you. Accept and love yourself, right where you are and who God created you to be.
1. Watch your thinking and negative thought patterns and speech. CHOOSE to be thankful, positive, and faith-filled.
Not allowing the emotional healing you need can lead to greater emotional wounds. It is better to work through your pain then to numb your pain or repress the pain. When we repress our pain, the pain just does not disappear but will manifest in other external behaviors.
Here are some distinct ways our unresolved pain can manifest:
1. Drug/alcohol abuse
5. Constant need for approval
6. People pleasing
7. Fear; fear of man
8. Guilt; condemnation
1. Inability to trust others
1. Difficulty connecting or maintaining relationships
1. Lack of joy; difficulty finding enjoyment in life
1. Lack of true peace
1. Easily offended/hurt
1. Pretense-false self to hide the real you
Take the journey to your healing, God desires your healing and emotional healing can happen!