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THE EXCHANGE THAT CHANGES EVERYTHING

 

If we haven’t met yet, my name is Amy Boland, and I have the immense honor of being the founder and leading The 61 Exchange, alongside our incredible team! The Lord revealed Isaiah 61 to me in a way that transformed my life almost 10 years ago, and placed an urgency inside my soul to set set captives free. You see, I was a broken girl in so many ways and when I read that the Lord would give me beauty for ashes and would still want to use me to display His splendor, despite my past failures and mistakes, I was in. I had tried everything else and was willing to surrender it all to have a fresh start. What Jesus has done over the past 10 years leaves me speechless. Beth Moore once said, “give God your mind and He’ll blow it for you”. That’s my story and I wouldn’t want it any other way. 

 

If you didn’t know, the name of our ministry, The 61 Exchange, comes from this very verse (Isaiah 61:3) and points us to the Greatest Exchange, Jesus exchanging Himself for our sins so that we could have eternal life. This exchange changes EVERYTHING in our lives and eternity. Thank you for following us along the journey of The 61 Exchange as we share stories of beauty for ashes, build community, and encourage each other. 

 

It’s time to dig in and break it down! It may seem small but it’s mighty! 

 

and provide for those who grieve in Zion—

to bestow on them a crown of beauty

    instead of ashes,

the oil of joy

    instead of mourning,

and a garment of praise

    instead of a spirit of despair.

They will be called oaks of righteousness,

    a planting of the Lord

    for the display of his splendor.

                     - Isaiah 61:3 niv

 

and provide for those who grieve in Zion—

 provide- make available for use; synonyms: to supply, give, or deliver

 grieve- suffer grief; synonyms: mourn, lament, sorrow, cry, sob, weep

 

In this line of scripture, we see the declaration that God is going to PROVIDE for the people who GRIEVE. I don’t know about you but I’ve grieved a couple times in my life and I bet you have too. Whether it’s the loss of a relationship, divorce, illness, bitterness, anxiety, depression, self worth, financial issues, infertility, abuse, or drug/alcohol issues with yourself or a loved one.... we’ve all grieved! It’s a broken and sinful world and because of sin, we are going to grieve and feel pain. I immediately think of John 16:33, “in this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

 

There is GOOD NEWS! The first part of this line says that HE WILL PROVIDE! 

God is going to SUPPLY, GIVE, and DELIVER! Come on somebody! That in itself sets my heart ablaze! All the wrong that has been done, all the pain that has been cause, all the broken-heartedness, and all the tears cried... God is going to SUPPLY, GIVE, and DELIVER! Will it look like we thought it would? From my experience, I can tell you that it usually doesn’t look like what we thought it would and that’s ok because it’s immeasurably more than we could ever think or imagine! Our job is to trust Him, knowing that He has our best interest at heart and sees the full picture. His ways are always higher. I pray that we live a life fully surrendered, open handed, saying, “Lord, whatever the cost, Your name and Your renown are the desires of my heart.” 

 

 to bestow on them a crown of beauty

    instead of ashes,

bestow- present (an honor, right, or gift); synonyms: present, award, grant

crown - a circular ornamental headdress worn by a monarch as a symbol of authority, usually made of or decorated with precious metals and jewels.; 

synonyms: enthrone, invest, induct

beauty- a combination of qualities, such as shape, color, or form, that pleases the aesthetic senses, especially the sight. ; synonyms: vision, picture, beauty queen, belle

ashes- the powdery residue left after the burning of a substance, the remains of something destroyed; ruins; synonyms: cinders, embers, “a pile of ash” 

 

Have you ever had a major life event or crisis that left you feeling like, “my life is on fire”... in a bad way? Like, “stop, drop, and roll” is out of the question at this point? The control has been lost, there is panic, and you’re in emergency/ survival mode? You know that devastation is around the corner. Well, we’ve all been there and I’m pretty sure that ashes will appear in different areas of our lives again. Fires will come and go and leave us with ash in our lives but that’s not the end of our story! Beauty is ahead! Thank you, Jesus! 

 

Instead of those ashes, God will BESTOW (honor) on us a CROWN (symbol of authority) of BEAUTY (a combination of qualities that pleases, vision, picture).

 

REREAD that one more time. Anybody else want to raise up the praise hands?! 

I do! 

 

This is my story, this is my song! Everything that the enemy meant to kill, steal, and destroy in my life, God is now allowing me to take ground and authority in those areas! I struggled with self worth and feeling like God would never want to use me because of my past. Now, I run the ministry of The 61 Exchange, that speaks hope, truth, and life over women for them to know who they are in Christ Jesus. And, it’s not just beauty in one way, it’s beauty is multifaceted. I constantly see the Lord redeeming the ashes of my life and surprising me with the redemption of the ashes I even forgot about. Ladies, this is His Word that is living, breathing, and active. He wants to bestow on you a crown of beauty for ashes. 

 

and a garment of praise

    instead of a spirit of despair.

garment- any article of clothing: dresses, suits, and other garments

praise- express one's respect and gratitude toward (a deity); synonyms: glorify, worship, honor, exalt

spirit- the nonphysical part of a person that is the seat of emotions and character; the soul; synonyms: soul, inner being

despair- the complete loss or absence of hope; synonyms: hopelessness, desperation, anguish

 

First of all, let’s note that “AND” begins this next part... meaning not only are we going to get a crown of beauty for our ashes but we’re ALSO about to get a new spiritual outfit! All the ladies say, amen! 

 

Second, throw off any spirit of despair, loss of hope, desperation, or anxiety! You don’t own those clothes anymore! God is going to exchange it for a garment of praise! Your new spiritual outfit is radiant, joyful, and full of praise for what God has done and is going to continue to do! The old is gone, the new has come! And you know when you’ve got that new outfit on, you’re walking with your head up, boldly, and confidently, not in yourself but in Who Jesus is. 

 

They will be called oaks of righteousness,

    a planting of the Lord

    for the display of his splendor. 

called- cry out to (someone) in order to summon them or attract their attention.

oaks- a tree that bears acorns as fruit and are an important source of hard and durable wood used chiefly in construction, furniture, and (formerly) shipbuilding.

righteousness- the quality of being morally right or justifiable.Righteousness is one of the chief attributes of God as portrayed in the Hebrew Bible. Its chief meaning concerns ethical conduct (for example, Leviticus 19:36; Deuteronomy 25:1; Psalm 1:6; Proverbs 8:20)

planting- place or fix in a specified position; synonyms: place, put, position, set

display- make a prominent exhibition of (something) in a place where it can be easily seen; synonyms: put on show/ view, showcase

splendor- magnificent and splendid appearance; grandeur, magnificent features or qualities; synonyms: elegance, beauty, lavishness, ornateness, glory

 

Ladies, this part means freedom from sin and shame and making a way for others to see His glory! 

 

From the previous lines, we’re walking with a CROWN of BEAUTY and a GARMENT of PRAISE! And now God calls (to summon us to act) us to be oaks of righteousness! An oak bears fruit and it is durable! It is also used to build in construction. God knew we’d need to be oaks because He is building a Kingdom that CANNOT be shaken! And we’re not just any oaks, we’re called to be oaks of righteousness, meaning that we do what is right according to scripture. Constantly holding up the Word of God as a mirror into our lives. Oaks of Righteousness reflect the character of Jesus and His teachings. 

 

And for the grand finale, ladies, we are a planting of the Lord to display His splendor! Meaning that He chose us and set us in time and place for such a time as this. Wherever you are and whatever you’re doing, God has placed you there to display and showcase His splendor, beauty, goodness, love and faithfulness all for His glory! Do it with all of your heart. 

 

I’m in tears as I type this because I’m completely humbled and still not over the grace that He would take a wretch like me, give me a crown of beauty for ashes, a garment of praise, and call me to display His splendor. 

 

This is the beauty of Jesus. He exchanges it all so that we can have eternity with Him, be healed, and tell the world of His glory and power.