Trading Ashes for Beauty (the wedding story)

This week our church has the pleasure of hosting our first free wedding. It is a new ministry the church is offering in an effort to show our commitment to family values and the institution of marriage. With so many people living together for years before they get married, and often having multiple children before they even consider having a wedding. Our church wants to change that. Those couples often say it is because weddings are so expensive, that they wait to get married. 


So Lighthouse Worship Center is out to make weddings a reality for those interested. We offer to reimburse the couple for their marriage license. We provide a venue for up to 50 guests,  cake, punch and mint reception, officiant and coordinator for the day, decorations, and a few other things to complete this wedding. The only thing the couple has to do is complete 10 weeks of pre-marital counseling. 


This weekend as I was putting the finishing decorative touches on the tables, the morning of the wedding. The father of the bride was watching me and made the statement “It is amazing how such a little thing can make such a huge difference” He was referring to the honeysuckle vines I had trimmed from my yard that morning and placed around the candles on the table. My response to his comment was “and to think this is really just trash to me” See these vines under any other circumstance would of been tossed in the trash, but I had specifically allowed these vines to become overgrown so I would have them for this very day. What should of been cut back weeks ago, I held off because I knew this day was coming. Bruce was right those little vines made a huge difference on the tables. 


That conversation got me thinking. I wonder what else may seem to be a small thing but makes a huge difference? I am willing to bet most of my neighbors and friends didn’t even realize that the bushes in my front yard were a little overgrown and what a huge impact they would have in another scenario, when cut out of my yard. No one really noticed except the designer of the wedding decor. She had a plan and it wasn’t just a, thrown together at the last minute plan, it was a plan she had been working on in her head for months. She had drawn out a design on paper of the best way to set up the tables and chairs in the room, She had measured the tables and the space to assure the right amount of people could be seated in the space. She had searched endlessly for just the right decor at the best prices for this event to come together. That is a lot like our Heavenly Father nothing comes as a shock to Him. He has a plan and He sees into the future, Shoot! He wrote the future! The bible tells us that He is working all things together for our good (Romans 8:28)


But I am gonna be truthful with you, I know sometimes in life, it doesn’t feel that way. Sometimes if feels like our world is crashing down around us. It feels like we are never gonna get out of that hole we are in. Sometimes we just feel like trash that has been thrown away. But the ending of that verse says “ to them that love God and are called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28) See the truth is, we all have a calling on our lives. We all have a reason to live because God has a plan for us. You may be wondering but “Who takes trash and turns it into beauty?” Well, I am here to tell you God does! Just like those vines that would of been thrown away under any other circumstance because they had grown wild and out of control. The designer of that wedding, saw a greater purpose and she used them for good. 


You may think there is no hope for you, you may think you have grown so wild and out of control that good will ever come out of you. Whether it is your lifestyle choices, your eating habits or just what comes out of your mouth. I am here to tell you if you will confess your love for God, He has a plan for you and just as Jeremiah 29:11 says that plan is  “for good and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” 


God is the great designer of our lives, and He takes what others deem to be trash and turns it into treasure everyday.  But, He is also a gentleman who will respect your right to choose to be left alone and if you say “Hey, God I got this!” He will step back and say “Okay it is all yours” and allow you to live the life you want without any interference from Him. The choice is always ours. 


Do you know someone today that may feel like they have been thrown away? Do you know someone who feels like their life is out of control and has just grown wild? If you do, you need to reassure them that if they will confess their love for God and decide to follow His plan, He is the one that turns trash into treasure. It doesn’t matter how other people see you, it only matters what God sees in you and the bible says He knew you before you were even born and He has a plan for you! (Jeremiah 5:1)


So whatever you are going through, whatever may seem to be out of control in your life. Trust that there is a great designer that has a plan for you, if you will only call on Him. He will be right there to help you. So, don’t be discouraged and don’t worry about what others say because the only one that matters is the one that created this universe and when He formed you He had a plan for you! Just trust in that plan today and give God a chance to trade your ashes for beauty (Isaiah 61) 


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