Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Beauty For Ashes

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, the sun,
time, consecration, resurrection, life in heaven, and Christ.
I'd also like to add bravery and survivor to that list of symbols.
Coincidentally, I lay in the burn center in a coma in the 
sweltering city of Phoenix, Arizona, 
where I was treated for severe burns over 80% of my body.
The Phoenix symbolizes 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 Lord's 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
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 members of the Church- 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 it's 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 so that He can strengthen us and make us whole again.
 We all have our own struggles and challenges that we must overcome. 
Although your story may not involve literal flames or physical agony, 
I truly believe that you have the strength to rise above
 it and emerge as a beautiful and triumphant being, 
just like the magnificent Phoenix and this stunning temple.
As I toured this miracle temple and it's beautiful transformation, 
 I was taken back by 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, t
he planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified.

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

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Let's chat today!
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