Beauty For Ashes: The 61 Exchange

 There are moments in life we are presented with great obstacles. We can either allow them to destroy us or see them as an opportunity to surrender, trust and be open to the process of becoming. On this “Good Friday” I choose to be transparent with my truth and hope that it may be a reminder that you are seen, you are heard and you are loved.   The name,  61 Exchange , comes from Isaiah 61:3. That The Lord will give a crown of beauty for ashes and joy for mourning. The 61 Exchange tells the stories of how Jesus has done this exchange in women's lives and ultimately point people towards the greatest exchange, the Gospel.   I am continually in awe of how God relentlessly finds ways to show me that I am seen, heard, and loved by him. This year has brought some heavy challenges to bear...death, loss, exhaustion, another death and more loss. Ashes being sprinkled amongst the top three months of this year already. Just this week the bottom seemed to have fallen from under me without warning. I am an entrepreneur, but I work to support my business and I was let go. I asked why, what did it mean? Why now and what now? Though in the midst of a tornado of ashes, this still voice called me out of my focus on the enormity of my circumstance and reminded me that I had been through worse. It was true; I had been through worse and instead of panicking I decided to not only remember but to run to the one who had brought me through. It was the second Monday of the month and that meant it was The Grove night. I am a member of Passion City Church in Atlanta, GA, and if I am within the metropolitan area you will find me at The Grove. But just hours earlier I had received my devastating news. Emotionally I wanted to just go crawl in my bed and disappear, but when I played back all the perfectly orchestrated moments that lead me to the other side before, I decided to trust the voice and go to the gathering.  I was ready to hear from my Father and be cradled by his all-consuming love. I needed answers, peace, and the power that only He could give to move forward in patience, understanding, love, and humility. And you know what? He showed up! He showed himself BIG AND BEAUTIFUL as he always does. He met me in the depths of my pain and fears and lifted my spirit. I sang my praises to Him at the top of my lungs. I let go and lifted my hands to receive Him completely unashamed and unconcerned with how I looked to those around me. I cried the ugly cry. This was real, raw and a true release. I could physically feel the tornado of ashes falling to my sides. The weight, the shame, the fear, all of it. Only left was a sweet offering of beauty. It was all ok. It was ok to be hurt and broken. It was ok to cry. It was safe to let go, and I am so very thankful that I did. My circumstances may not have changed, but I have because of him and that changes everything. Amen!

There are moments in life we are presented with great obstacles. We can either allow them to destroy us or see them as an opportunity to surrender, trust and be open to the process of becoming. On this “Good Friday” I choose to be transparent with my truth and hope that it may be a reminder that you are seen, you are heard and you are loved. 

The name, 61 Exchange, comes from Isaiah 61:3. That The Lord will give a crown of beauty for ashes and joy for mourning. The 61 Exchange tells the stories of how Jesus has done this exchange in women's lives and ultimately point people towards the greatest exchange, the Gospel. 

I am continually in awe of how God relentlessly finds ways to show me that I am seen, heard, and loved by him. This year has brought some heavy challenges to bear...death, loss, exhaustion, another death and more loss. Ashes being sprinkled amongst the top three months of this year already. Just this week the bottom seemed to have fallen from under me without warning. I am an entrepreneur, but I work to support my business and I was let go. I asked why, what did it mean? Why now and what now? Though in the midst of a tornado of ashes, this still voice called me out of my focus on the enormity of my circumstance and reminded me that I had been through worse. It was true; I had been through worse and instead of panicking I decided to not only remember but to run to the one who had brought me through. It was the second Monday of the month and that meant it was The Grove night. I am a member of Passion City Church in Atlanta, GA, and if I am within the metropolitan area you will find me at The Grove. But just hours earlier I had received my devastating news. Emotionally I wanted to just go crawl in my bed and disappear, but when I played back all the perfectly orchestrated moments that lead me to the other side before, I decided to trust the voice and go to the gathering.

I was ready to hear from my Father and be cradled by his all-consuming love. I needed answers, peace, and the power that only He could give to move forward in patience, understanding, love, and humility. And you know what? He showed up! He showed himself BIG AND BEAUTIFUL as he always does. He met me in the depths of my pain and fears and lifted my spirit. I sang my praises to Him at the top of my lungs. I let go and lifted my hands to receive Him completely unashamed and unconcerned with how I looked to those around me. I cried the ugly cry. This was real, raw and a true release. I could physically feel the tornado of ashes falling to my sides. The weight, the shame, the fear, all of it. Only left was a sweet offering of beauty. It was all ok. It was ok to be hurt and broken. It was ok to cry. It was safe to let go, and I am so very thankful that I did. My circumstances may not have changed, but I have because of him and that changes everything. Amen!