Friday, January 29, 2010

Beauty For Ashes

by Dina Sleiman

The last Friday of the month is our poetry day here at Inkwell Inspirations. I wanted to think of a poem to honor our "Week of Jen" theme, but I was really struggling. I searched through my collection of poetry that I've written over the years. I toyed with some love poems, but they didn't seem quite right. I was ready to give up and just go with them, when I remembered this simple verse I jotted down recently while working on a blogpost about Bathsheba. The name of the poem is "Beauty for Ashes."

Jen's book is about a young pastor's wife who has given up on her husband. Five years have passed since her marriage went up in flames. She ran away. She gave up. She had no hope. She was convinced her marriage was over. But God had other plans.

Isn't that so often the case in our lives? God takes our messes and turns them into something beautiful. God gives us beauty for ashes. The oil of joy for mourning. The garments of praise for the spirit of heaviness.

What an amazing God we serve.

Beauty for Ashes

I bring to him my garden overcome
with thorns and weeds, without order
or purpose, an unkempt riot of color.

I bring to him the tangle, the mess,
the mixed up threads I worked so
hard to weave. Only to disappoint.

I bring to him the charred remains
the smoking mire, the gray ashes of
all I held dear and lost in the flames.

I bring to him the bloody remnants,
torn and shredded, of my cold dead heart,
which once beat with well-intentioned love.

I must die to truly live.
Make me beautiful once again.
Overwhelm with me bouquets

of fragrant roses, petals strewn in joy.

Has God ever given you beauty for ashes? What does this phrase mean to you? Have you ever had a second chance at love?


  1. Beautiful words, Dina! I love reflecting on how the Lord takes our rags and turns them into robes fit for royalty. Where would be without His grace?

    As for new ideas . . . er, I'll keep thinking on that one, LOL. =)

  2. Hi, Roseanna. Thanks for visiting. Hey, and next month I'm going to share a poem about the power of the blood of Jesus. Guess who's book will be mentioned. Hmm...could it be "A Stray Drop of Blood" by Roseanna White?

  3. Just beautiful Dina! As I expected!

    Thank you for sharing your gift with us.

  4. Ah, Dina, that is incredibly beautiful. You know, yes, I can think of a specific instance where God has revealed the beauty in the ashes. Himself. He is the beauty He revealed to me, and I've never forgotten that breathtaking moment when it was revealed to me. It forever changed the way I see things.

  5. Hi Dina,

    This is just what I needed to 'read' this morning...thanks for your words of encouragement.


  6. Thanks Deb. As I mentioned, this is a new poem, so I was curious to see the reaction.

  7. Wow, Suzie, so true. Thank you for sharing your insight.

  8. Karen, I'm so glad to hear that. Be blessed.

  9. Dina,
    You are so very creative. Beautiful post. I've had second chances at many things in life. Thank God!

  10. Emma, thanks so much.

    Is that Emma Edwards Cabaness??? Welcome to the Inkwell.

  11. Thanks, Jill. Yes, we all need those second chances, don't we.

  12. You have written a poem for me, describes my life, especially the part about the well-intentioned love, that turned out to be all wrong. I am feeling a garden theme for me as 2010 begins. I wrote in my journal on Monday, that it's time to plant new seeds, nurture them, and see what will grow. It's hard to wrestle down the fear, to wait for that bleeding heart to heal, but I'm feeling the hopefulness like the promise of spring. (We're in a frozen state - MN!) Thank you for your gift of words, healing words, today.

  13. Just lovely, Dina. What a powerful poem. Thank you for sharing your gift with us.

  14. Mary, that's powerful. I am so glad the poem spoke to you today. Praise God.

  15. Susanne, thank you and you're very welcome. It's always a blessing to see how God can use the words I've scribbled down to minister to others.

  16. Dina, your poetry is beautiful and raw. It grabs my heart. I love the pics that accompany it. Did you take them?

  17. Anita, the pictures are from

    I was definitely feeling this poem when I wrote it.

  18. Wow Dina... Beautiful words. Could be applied to many different aspects of our lives including our journey together...

    I hope my comment will not embarrass you. It is snowing outside and I can't handle it :)
    Couple nights ago you were sound asleep and I was on my side of the bed reading and I then looked at you and a big smile was painted on my face. The Lord showed me how beautiful you are from the inside and the outside. He truly brought beauty for ashes...

    Love you baby.

  19. Okay, maybe a little embarassing, but I won't make you sleep in the doghouse with the coming storm and all :)

    Yes, that's my husband if anyone's wondering. He loves to comment when I write and get all sappy, but he's correct, this poem definitely can describe our marriage. Hopefully that can be an encouragement to someone out there as well.

  20. Wow, what a lovely comment from Dani! That's true love right there, folks :+}

    Dina, your poem is beautiful. It's a touching reminder of how imperfect we all are, and how He takes our imperfections and makes them glorious.

  21. Jen, in addition to reminding me of the story "in" your book, it also reminds me of the story "of" your book.

    Many blessings on this new venture.


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