Jennifer Kostick– Jennifer has been married for twenty-three years to her high school sweetheart, Paul. She is the mother of three children, Paul IV (22), Samuel (6), and Grace (6). She also has six babies residing in heaven. It is those six tiny souls who have propelled her into women’s ministry. She is a conference speaker and author of the book Nothing to Hold but Hope (one woman's journey through miscarriage, stillbirth, and infertility). Jennifer blogs at www.Jenniferkostick.com and is passionate about encouraging women through a godly message of mercy and hope.
When I decided to talk about beauty, I never imagined how much of it would be uncovered in so many different ways. I didn’t realize that I would all of a sudden see people differently, that nature would appear so glorious, or that the beauty of Christ would be uncloaked in a whole new light. Isn’t that just like God?
On the Vlog last Friday, I mentioned how I love the word but as a conjunction because It delivers hope. The eyes of my soul are being renewed. It’s okay to be who I am as long as I’m allowing Christ to work within me. The revelation of Jesus in one’s life is enough to heal any wound from the inside out.
This morning, I awoke craving the word of God. I must admit, some days I have to push myself to study. It takes discipline. However, today, the beauty of the clear blue sky lured me outside to my deck, and I couldn’t wait to dig inside His truth.
I settled in Hosea, and though I’ve spent time there before, it’s been awhile. As I familiarized myself with his story and the prophecies and pleas he sent forth, I began to think of how blessed we are to walk through trial when it means we can understand and comfort one another’s pain.
When I lost my daughter to stillbirth, I received a letter in the mail from someone who had also endured the same type of loss. I remember feeling a kindred-type freedom in her words, because they reminded me I wasn’t alone. I appreciated her taking time to relive her own suffering to minister to me. Oftentimes, when we minister out of our own ashes, it causes us to deal with old hurts. It’s in those tender places of ministry that God continues to bind our wounds.
We all face hardship. The question is, what will we allow God to do, in another life, through our pain?
Hosea was not only comparing Israel to living a life of harlotry, but he was commanded to take up residence with it Himself. His wife played with the fire of this particular sin and Hosea was heartsick. He was called to minister out of his own grief – out of his own experience.
I will be very honest and say that I have a difficult time giving advice on topics I know nothing about. I try to apply biblical application, but it’s all I can do. Let’s put it this way, I’m a parent, so I have a hard time taking parenting advice from those who do not have children. I could never take marriage advice from someone who wasn’t married.
Statistics are studied. I need to be comforted and ministered to by those who have walked a similar path. And though I’m called to minister to women who need encouragement, I won’t always be able to identify with every struggle. What I am sure of is that I can always pray.
I once received a phone call from a woman who had lost a baby during childbirth. The first words out of her mouth were, “How did you do it? How did you get through it?” She contacted me because she knew I had resided in the same desert of grief where she was now living. She needed to know how I found water during the drought.
That is why beauty from ashes is so amazing. It leads us to a place of comforting others through matters of the heart and soul. It’s the kind of ministry that carries eternal value. It’s an unsung melody performed in perfect pitch because the soul connects to the heart’s sorrow.
I know how to minister to women who have faced infertility and pregnancy loss. I can identify with a heart trapped in grief. I’ve raised a son, so I’m able to talk about child rearing from birth through age twenty-two. I’m in the thick of raising littles, so I understand weary mama moments. I’ve been married close to twenty-four years, and I’m aware of the commitment marriage commands. I’m not an expert, nor have I achieved perfection in any area, but God has taken my ashes and raised them to form a picture of beauty.
And, friend, I know you also live a wondrous beauty from ashes story.
You might be single, maybe you are married without children, it’s possible you’ve been divorced or lost a child to an illness much later in life. Whatever your story is, it holds beauty that is more precious than you can imagine, and someone is waiting to hear your story. You might be thinking, “I’m not in ministry.” Well, I have news for you: Every Christian is called to ministry.
Ministry isn’t compartmentalized into church leadership or strictly for those part of church led ministry teams. If you are a wife, mother, daughter, sister, or friend, then you’ve been called. Your life is beautiful, precious, and worth more than you know.
We often become lost in thinking that what we do day-to-day is monotonous and doesn’t count for much. You need to know that whatever you are living through, it’s a call to action. You will be called to use today’s challenges as someone else’s comfort and awakening.
Christ will use you!
There is a discrepancy as to where the following quote came from, some say William Shakespeare while others say Pablo Picasso. However, someone said, “The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.”
Regardless of who said it, I would like to declare it as the definition of ministry! I would only add that the meaning of life is to find Christ and acknowledge that in and through Him our gifts are given. After that, we must give it ALL away. The wonderful news is that we will never run dry. One of the most beautiful mysteries of the Giver is that He constantly refills so that those who seek Him are continually filled with the pure milk of His eternal Word, which never ends.
Friend, you have a gift – a purpose – a ministry.
Imagine standing in a wide open space while holding the ashes of your pain inside the palm of your hand. Now picture placing your hand next to your lips and blowing those ashes into the air. When you exhale that breath and surrender those ashes, the Father will catch every one and transform them to be used for His glory through your beautiful life. The next breath you take will be one of freedom and hope. Those ashes shape your eternity. And, friend, it’s nothing short of beautiful.
PS: For this week’s #Findingherthursday, I want you to snap a picture of something that is beauty from ashes in your life. If your beauty from ashes cannot be photographed because it isn’t tangible, post a picture of beauty wherever you are. Don’t forget to use the hashtag and tell us why you chose your picture!
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