Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Beauty for Ashes

Lets chat today!
A Phoenix is a beautiful bird that is regenerated or reborn
and is often associated with the sun and obtains new 
life by arising from the ashes of its predecessor. 
In horrible flames and combustion the legendary bird dies and 
simply decomposes before being born again.
The phoenix symbolizes renewal in general, as well as the sun,
time, consecration, resurrection, life in the heaven, and Christ.
To that list of symbols, I’d also like to add bravery and survivor.
Coincidentally, I lay in the burn center in coma in the 
sweltering city of Phoenix, Arizona 
where I was being treated for very serious burns over 80% of my body.
The Phoenix is very symbolic to me and my story in so many ways.
About five years ago when the devastating fire damaged the
interior of the historic tabernacle here in Provo, 
everyone was saddened, and I felt a personal loss.
Since I was born, and as long as I can remember my 
family attended stake conferences (church), 
Christmas and Easter programs, 
symphonies and graduations in that glorious historical building.

When in 2011 it was announced that this 
defeated fire-damaged building would be 
transformed and made into a temple, my heart was deeply touched. 
I could see the Lords plan all along- it was the same plan He had for me!
Renewal, rebirth, rejuvenation, restoration, and new start.
So you see, the legend of the beautiful phoenix isn't just a myth to me.
It's my story, and it's the story of this temple.  
We were both literally reduced to ashes 
and born again strong, brave and
courageous gaining new wisdom with a different kind of beauty.
That's why this temple is so significant to me.

Last summer Mr. Nielson and I met Nish through our Wednesday chat sessions.
Nish lives here in Utah and has become one of my dear friends.
 Nish joined us on a tour of this new temple. 
 Nish is not a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and it was
such an honor to explain to her why we 
build temples, what happens in them,
and why they are so special to Mormons- especially this temple!
A few days later Mr. Nielson and I had the privilege of touring
 the temple again, this time it was just the two of us.
 I was very emotional this time around, and everything about it made me feel weepy.  

Maybe because I believe and know that 
God never leaves us in the ashes; 

His arms are eagerly inviting us to come to Him with our pain, 

heartbreaks, disappointment, sadness, loneliness, and despair,

and He will strengthen us and make us whole again.

We are all “rising from the ashes” of something.   
Your story might not include fire and physical pain, 
but I believe whatever it is, you can overcome it and be reborn into 
something glorious and beautiful,
just like the majestic phoenix and this glorious temple.
As I toured this miracle temple and it's beautiful transformation, 
 I was taken back at how it is both stunning on the inside and outside, 
and I am reminded of my own miracle and
restoration, and it gives me reason to rejoice!
 Isaiah 61:3
 To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified.

You can get more information about touring 
the new Provo City Center Temple Here.