beauty for ashes during naptime.

yesterday we ditched nap time.
i gave the kids 5 minutes to get on shorts and flip flops and pick three toys each, to bring with us down to the pier.
i threw some juice boxes and granola bars in my bag,
and then we drove here....
the bucket of toys sat in a lonely pile all afternoon,
as my kids striped off their shirts(to my surprise...the water is freezing!)
and basked in the 78 degree weather and the waves.

for some reason, all afternoon, i had a certain song in my head.
do you remember that Crystal Lewis song? (from soooo long ago , i know!)
Beauty for Ashes.
I sometimes feel like God sends me little tastes of his beauty to comfort me after a time period of dealing with my grief.
this afternoon was incredibly beautiful and bathed in a golden sunshine that was out of character in January....
could it have been sent for me?
"When sorrow seems to surround you,
when suffering seems heavy on your head,
know that tomorrow brings wholeness and healing. 
God knows your needs, just believe what He says...."

"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 your 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 says..."
that song was based on a passage in Isaiah.
here is God's promise:

"He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,
to proclaim the year of the LORD'S favor
(for great insight into who, exactly, that LORD is click on it)
and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
and provide for those who grieve in Zion-
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 despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the Lord
for the display of His splendor."

Isaiah 61:1b-3

a sweet moment, turned into me feeling like a warrior!
yes please!
i wanta be in that club.
and i want to train up my children for it too.
these precious moments at the beach are just an investment in them.
someday they will have to face their sorrow, fear and despair(cause no matter what form it takes, we'll all be faced with it at some point).
and they will have to draw on this investment i am making.
the investment to put them first
and to put every effort i have into living my life with open ears to Jesus' voice, in MY life.
i hope that when their day of sorrow comes, God will put his beautiful wash over their memories of their mother and that He will be able to use even me.
mistakes and all.
at times, ungracious and impatient.
at times, frustrated and snappy.
at times, calm and loving.
at times, fun and embarrassing.
i am gonna trust that God can use that whole package for His good purposes,
and then raise up His (and sorta mine, for a minute) OAKS OF RIGHTEOUSNESS
out of the ashes......

 (i know, i know, these aren't oaks...they're palms...but they were my view from the back of the pathfinder AFTER i had buckled all three "oaks" into their seat belts and had 30 seconds of looking around before i hopped in and drove home for bath time...)

today i decided to join up with Heather again.
she hosts a linky party where we all chime in about how we are looking for the lovely in life.


  1. this post made me about SICK of our gray skies and winter cold here.
    i am craving sunshine.
    beautiful photos paired with beautiful words from God.

  2. I so needed to read this today... I'm stuggling and it has helped so much.

    Love the photos - stunning!

  3. My new friend Aly - you know Aly - sells lovely prints that have that very 'Oaks of Righteousness' phrase! Also that whole Isaiah passage is what we're both studying in Breaking Free. Love that paired with your photos. Really breathtaking ones. 'Nother level dude.

  4. I love everything about this post ! your children...the beach...the sun...the Word of God...the Oaks !! (i love that) and your palm trees...what a blessed day !

  5. Oh it is beautiful and so wonderful to think of someone so amazing guiding, leading, teaching and praising. Gorgeous x

  6. Super amazing photos Shauna.

    I am so encouraged by this post and such special memories for you!

  7. shauna im going to post this song as well and link back to your post

  8. wonder...just wonderful...thank you....

  9. beautiful post! and i haven't heard/thought about that song in too long...thanks for sharing it! i loved it years ago!

  10. The fourth photo from the top is my favorite. Oh, what lovely FRAMING! And then of course the last one of the palms. gasp.

  11. fantastic!! the photos, the verses. all of it is fantastic!

  12. love the photos! Nice to see someone enjoying the sunshine.

  13. Wow what fab photos, I must admit to being green with envy as here in the UK it is freezing cold ! Oh how i dream of sunny days ....

  14. Oh how I long to be in a place to release myself to Him. Thank you for showing me it's possible, or rather letting God lead you in such a way that God's truth is transparent in you. Beauty from ashes indeed.

  15. What a beautiful post.
    I am so glad I met you at Blog Sugar and found your blog. I am really enjoying it.
    SIde note: my 2nd son has those shorts and my daughter (3rd after my 2 boys) has that dress. We spend a lot of days at the beach too. Felt a little like I was looking at my own babies.
    Love from,