“To all who mourn in Israel, He will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair.” Isaiah 61:3 (NLT)
“Larry, thank you so much for what you said to me this morning.”
I could see the questioning look in his eyes. “Do you know what I am talking about?” I asked. He looked me in the eyes with a gentle, steady gaze and answered, “I don’t remember what I said to you this morning, but I do know whatever it was, it needed to be said. I say what comes to me at the moment. It’s done. And I move forward.” ….
Moving forward. Our eyes locked and I felt an overwhelming rush of love and gratitude. The words he shared that morning were words I longed to hear several years earlier during a rough patch in our marriage. I was hurt, confused. I remember asking God to give me peace, to help make sense of the situation. I did not want to hold onto the anger. I could not. I knew, for me, holding on to anger makes things worse. It festers, eats me up inside and causes me more harm.
My key to rising above negative situations is praying to see blessings and beauty. Finding gratitude and good in all situations is how I maintain mental and emotional stability. Maintaining both gets a bit shaky at times. But I have learned it is okay to be shaky. I trust God and believe it will pass. It usually does.
Years after the hurt; my prayer was answered that morning through Larry’s words. God showed me rough spots, anger, hurt feelings, shakiness come. It’s done. And we move forward.
P.S. Larry was diagnosed with early onset dementia in 2019. I was crushed; still am at times. But on this day, God’s goodness, His beauty for ashes was clear.
Dear God, thank You for showing me beauty and blessings can be found in all situations. And, when I least expect it, You send a clear message of Your love and faithfulness. Let me always remember Your message through Larry’s words…It is done… Move forward ! Amen!
Eating comfort food is like wrapping myself in a nice, soft blanket on a fall evening. One of our favorites is Mediterranean Roasted White Beans. Try it!
Mediterranean Roasted White Beans
- 1 Cup Uncooked White Beans
- 1 Medium Red Bell Pepper, seeded and finely chopped
- 1 Medium Green Bell Pepper, seeded and finely chopped
- 1 Medium Onion, minced
- 1 Large Garlic Clove, thinly sliced
- 1/2 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 Tsp Tomato Paste, diluted with 1/4 Cup Water
- 1 Tbsp Dried Oregano
- 1 Tsp Fine Sea Salt
- 1/4 Tsp Black Pepper
- 8 Small Cherry Tomatoes, halved
- 1/4 Cup Hot Water
- Place beans in a medium bowl, cover with water. Soak overnight. Or, use rapid boil method. Cover. Bring to boil. Boil uncovered for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let soak for 1 hour. Drain. Rinse.
- Cover beans with water. Place on high. Boil. reduce heat to simmer and cook 30 minutes until tender but not mushy
- Preheat oven to 350. Combine peppers, onions, garlic, cooked beans, olive oil, tomato paste mixture, oregano, sea salt, and black pepper. Toss gently in a large bowl.
- Place mixture in a large casserole dish. Sprinkle halved cherry tomatoes on top. Add hot water by pouring it on the side of the dish to avoid washing off the olive oil and other seasonings.
- Cover with a top or foil and roast in oven about 1 hour. Check and add a little water at a time if the beans are drying out.
- Bake until the veggies and beans are tender. Remove the cover and roast an additional 10 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes. Serve