• 57°

Ann Farabee: Beauty for ashes

 

I did not even want to go. I was enduring one of the darkest periods in my life. Grief, pain, sadness, doubt… the list of negative emotions was overwhelming. Home was my fortress. I tried not to leave it. My heart was broken. My life felt empty. I doubted that the sun would ever shine again. If it had been shining in the last month, I had not noticed. My days were dark. My nights were darker.
But, this was our annual church camping trip. I knew I had to go and try to let others know that God was seeing me through – that I was trusting God in this trial.
But… I knew I was not. I was struggling.
So, there I was – at a campground – surrounded by around 100 friends from my church. I tried to join in, but my empty eyes showed that I could not.
As we gathered around the campfire at the end of the night for worship, I was just relieved I had made it through the day. People told stories, there was laughter, testimonies, singing. Normally, it would have been a beautiful sight, but we had intentionally placed our chairs toward the back of the group – and I just stared at the fire. Those flames – I wanted to feel their warmth. I wanted to enjoy the moment. But, I felt nothing.
Later, as the flames grew dim, my pastor’s wife softly said to the group, “Before we go to our tents for the night, could we all just gather around Ann and Charles and pray?”
I took a deep breath, and then watched as they slowly and lovingly drifted our direction with tears in their eyes. They gathered around us. Some reached out to touch us. Others placed their hands on the shoulders of those in front of them. Hands and voices were lifted in prayer. I knew God heard the prayers. I heard the prayers. But I felt nothing. I was as cold as cold could be.
We thanked them for praying. There were some hugs. Then, the crowd moved quietly away into the darkness of what was now a cold night.
I looked back to where the flames had earlier lifted up such warmth, joy, and beauty for those singing around the campfire. Now, all I saw were ashes on the ground.
I realized that was exactly where I was. My spiritual fire had gone out. It was a cold, dark place to be. The ashes were all that remained.
As I lay in the tent in a sleeping bag, my head on a pillow, and my husband snoring softly beside me, I stared at the darkness most of the night. I finally softly breathed these seven words, “God, how do I get through this?” No answer came. I guess I did not expect one. I eventually drifted off to sleep.
Daylight broke, and as my eyes opened, God placed these words in my spirit, “Just keep going.”
So, what did I do? I kept getting up. I kept getting ready. I kept going.
Time seemed to creep by, but I soon started to feel the results of the prayers my friends had prayed on my behalf, when I was hurting too much to pray for myself.
A few months later, I was sitting in church one Sunday morning waiting for the service to start. I noticed something. The sun was shining through a window – and somehow – the rays landed right on my face. It was a beautiful thing.
I understood at that very second how God can take the ashes of our lives, and give us beauty instead.
I smiled – and was ready to worship. Not only was the sun shining again – but the Son was shining again, too.

Ann is a speaker and teacher. Contact her at annfarabee@gmail.com or annfarabee.com

About Post Lifestyles

Visit us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SalPostLifestyle/ and Twitter @postlifestlyes for more content

email author More by Post

Comments

Education

RSS talks first steps for new federal relief totaling $66 million

China Grove

Gary’s Barbecue staff, customers look back at 50 years

News

Salisbury Lions Club names Person of the Year, Lion of the Year at 78th annual banquet

Education

Student COVID-19 numbers show first decline since plan A

High School

High school golf: Fowler competes in state tournament

News

Amazon announces new distribution center for North Carolina

News

House passes bill to bar Cooper from mandating COVID shot

Coronavirus

Rowan County sees death 302 from COVID-19; Health Department to host final mass vaccine clinic

Ask Us

Ask Us: What happened to work on South Fulton Street home?

Crime

Blotter: Woman says she was shot in hand on Lincolnton Road

Crime

Rowan Sheriff’s Office charges Salisbury man with operating illegal gambling business

Crime

Blotter: Rockwell man arrested on felony drug, breaking and entering charges

Local

Rep. Amber Baker discusses legislative session during Rowan Democrats breakfast meeting

Local

Thousands of locals, out-of-towners gather for a groovy time at annual Hippie Fest

News

N.C. Zoo ready for expansion if lawmakers OK funding

Education

RSS budgeting for tens of millions in federal COVID-19 relief funding

East Spencer

‘Back in full swing’ for the spring: East Spencer community gathers for food, fun and fellowship at Spring Fest

Local

Rowan native Lingle among those honored with NC Military Veterans Hall of Fame induction

Business

Former pro baseball player, Tar Heel standout Russ Adams finds new career with Trident Insured

Education

Profoundly gifted: Salisbury boy finishing high school, associates degree at 12

Local

Cheerwine Festival will stick to Main Street, stay away from new park in September

Lifestyle

Celebrating Rowan County’s early cabinetmakers

Education

Service Above Self announces youth challenge winners

Business

Economic Development Commission creates search tool for people seeking Rowan County jobs