Friday, February 18, 2011

Chapter Five: Beauty for Ashes

Written by: Teresa Criswell
Copyright 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011

As I fell asleep, I drifted into a beautiful dream.

I suddenly appeared in the most unforgettable valley with sculpting, cascading mountains all around me. I took notice of the beautiful, breathtaking trees, their height so grand; their green leaves so vibrant with color. The smells, the color and especially the scenery were overwhelmingly real. I watched the rushing, translucent waters brilliantly flowing over rocks bending into streams and rivers. I could hear the sound of a violently rushing, beautiful river to the distance and the picturesque sound of an amazing waterfall crashing upon the waters below.

The beauty was intoxicating for all my senses. The smells and scenery were so crisp with effervescent life.

As I stood in amazement, suddenly the thought of the unforgettable girl came to my mind. I wondered, “Where is she?” I knew I was to find her to see what she had become. As soon as I had the thought of her, I saw a beautiful silhouette of a woman off to the distance. She looked remarkable, she had transformed from a feeble, insecure girl; filled with shame, into an elegant, incredibly beautiful woman.

I noticed she was barefoot and twirling about in the meadow; the grass somewhat high as I saw each twirling step she took and at the same time I could hear the sound of grass crunching beneath her feet. She was humming a joyful sound.

Her long beautiful hair tossed so freely around her face and along her back as she aimlessly sang and danced. The golden highlights pierced through her dark brown hair as the sunlight shone upon her head.

Off to the distance, I saw the beautiful animals from the mountains curiously coming out, watching her in wonder. Their ears perked up as they were still with awe. It was so cute to watch their heads move ever so slightly as if they were puzzled. When I came closer to where she was, I saw what looked like dirt flying out of her hands as she twirled about. She released what looked like ashes into the wind for it seemed she knew something miraculous was about to happen.

As she twirled about, I saw the smile upon her beautiful face, her teeth glistening white as she effortlessly spun around and floated about like a feather. She was stunning to watch. I marveled and I watched her dance to a sound of freedom. It was as if the whole world had disappeared and it was just her and her Father God. Her hair swung about her face, bouncing back and forth upon her shoulders, caressing her back. I loved watching her as she ran with her hands down by her side as they glided along the long blades of grass. She tumbled and rolled onto the ground; giggling with relief. Suddenly still, she laid there on the ground, closing her eyes, basking in the warm sun as she looked up with a smile of contentment at the clear blue sky.

As she opened her mouth to speak it sounded like a song, a beautiful melody of freedom and joy. Her voice so softly and gently spoke to God. She spoke so softly to Him as though He were lying next to her holding her hand. She giggled as a little girl curled up in safety as though she was next to her Daddy. She said in a child like voice, “I love you God.”

I could see the splendor of His Peace come over her as she turned over on her side and curled up into a ball and gracefully with peace fell asleep. She was a woman of beauty.

As she fell asleep…I awoke to reality. I yearned to dance like she did. In my pajamas I eagerly jumped out of bed with excitement as a little girl and began to twirl. As I twirled about, I smiled and looked up, remembering the freedom at that moment from when I was a child. I looked down at the carpeted floor below my feet, twirling some more, and the area that I twirled in seemed to turn into a giant “cinnamon roll”. The joy came over me as I giggled in dizziness. As I twirled, for that moment all the cares and worries literally ‘flew’ away from my consciousness. This expression allowed me to come to God as a little princess knowing, without doubt, who my King was.

I reminisce of the dream and realized that God so passionately took every evil, vile thing that she gave to Him and He dissolved it with His amazing, glorious Love. His presence, His All-Consuming Fire of Love burned it up and caused it to cease from existence in her life. She may have a memory of it but the pain and sting of that memory ceased all together.

I am so enveloped in the recollection of the dream that I became caught up in another vision. Immediately I was startled as I heard what sounded like trumpets sounding from heaven. I spun around quickly as I heard the sound of horse’s hoofs and suddenly I saw the Mighty Man of Valor, The King adorned in Peace who came towards me down from the mountains, it was Jesus!

As I saw Him approaching I just knew that He was coming for her, when to my surprise He stopped right before me and He smiled. Oh his smile melted me in my place as I stared into the most loving eyes I had ever seen. His eyes filled with purity, vast as the sky, so pure and eternal, His unforgettable eyes painting a picture with me in it.

He reached His Arm of Salvation out to me as I grabbed hold of Him. With overwhelming strength He swung me up and around to ride behind Him on His beautiful white stag. There was nothing I could say but hold on to Him as He galloped away with me embracing Him; not wanting to let go of Him. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to let go because of the fear of falling; I didn’t want to let go because of who I was holding onto. The only thing I could do at this moment as my face pressed against His strong back was to embrace Him. I could smell His amazing fragrance. The fragrances were so lovely, the lily of the valley and the rose of Sharon. I have smelled many beautiful fragrances but this smell was heavenly, peaceful and strong.

I was captivated by His fragrance and realized with awe that I was getting to ride with none other than the King of kings. It would seem that the blades of grass, the trees, the animals and waters were bowing down to Him as we galloped by. His presence annihilated everything with His love; I thought to myself, “How could I for one moment ever stress about who I am ever again”? “I know who I am because I am starting to know who He truly is.”

When I rode with Him, I knew that I was important; I knew that I was beautiful. As I heard the words come out of His mouth, it would seem as if the whole world stopped to hear this Voice that could never be mimicked. For His voice was of love and compassion accompanied with authority and strength. In awe, I heard Him say, “Do you know how I long for you?” This question not only startled me but it also paralyzed me as I was in awe to hear such words come out of His amazing mouth. This mind blowing thought, “You long for me?” At that moment, I knew the answer was “yes” for the answer was revealed as I was in His glorious presence.

His presence was like a heartbeat that pulsated with unfailing love. Worthiness was what he crowned upon my head and then placed around my neck the jewels of wisdom and understanding. When I felt His hands caress my neck it caused me to want Him even more. The realization of who was with me, I became weak as I became obsessed with Him. I found myself wanting only Him and nothing else and no one else.

No wonder the girl twirled about and lay freely on the ground so sure of who she was. Jesus, The King adorned in peace, rescued her.

I then realized this desperate obsession I had for Him was only a glimpse of how He longs to be in continual fellowship with us. His love for you and for me has consumed and annihilated the shame, regrets, unforgiveness, bitterness, hatred and grudges we have embraced long enough and He has replaced it with His glorious beauty of redemption and restoration.

Will you allow His beauty upon your life?


  1. Isiah is one of my favorite books and how God can bring beauty from the ashes is always amazing and something I cling to.

    Thanks for coming by my blog and following me. I love reading His word and staying in touch with those who will encourage me.

  2. Your vision reminds me of my own vision I had several years ago. I was watching "The Princess Bride," and as the couple rode off in the sunset, I suddenly had this...longing. I had never experienced love like that. I wondered what it would feel like to be riding into the sunset with my love. Suddenly God spoke to my spirit, and said He and I were doing just that!

    I'm so excited to find a sister in Christ who understands that vision...and lives it. Thank you Teresa, for posting your beautiful book. It's the best love story I have ever read...