“I HAVE A PLAN FOR YOU BEYOND YOUR WILDEST IMAGINATIONS. PRAY AGAINST DISTRACTIONS THAT THE ENEMY THROWS IN YOUR PATH. I WILL USE YOUR MANY GIFTS THAT I HAVE BEEN DEVELOPING IN YOU AS YOU HAVE WALKED THROUGH THE REFINING FIRE. FOCUS ON THE REFINEMENT AND HOW YOU HAVE COME OUT OF IT STRONGER, BOLDER, MORE DETERMINED. SHAKE OFF THE WOUNDS, THE SMOKE, THE ASHES. THE ENEMY OF YOUR SOUL WILL TRY TO KEEP YOU WALKING AROUND IN THE RING OF FIRE. YOU HAVE STEPPED THROUGH IT! STAY THE COURSE TOWARD THE DESTINY I HAVE CALLED YOU TO. I WILL MAKE YOUR CAREER CHOICE CLEAR…ONE STEP AT A TIME…ONE DAY AT A TIME…ONE PERSON AT A TIME. CONTINUE TO OPEN YOUR HEART FOR HEALING AND TRANSFORMATION.”
These words were spoken to me six years ago during a difficult and transitional time in my life. I had just gotten divorced and was coming out of being a stay at home mother for over twenty-two years of my life. Re-entering the workforce with a significant needs son who required 24/7 care, seemed impossible. The grief was debilitating and my future of starting a new career at 48 years of age was frightening. The upside was having time to step away from the care of others. I started caring for myself and I loved who I was becoming. There were certainties that I had discovered in this more artistic, youthful, adventurous, joyful version of Angela. Like an old dusty treasure chest in the far corner of the attic, she had been buried for a long time. It was fun to unlock that long lost treasure and see what was inside. After spending some time rediscovering the younger version of myself, I found that the wisdom I had gained along life’s journey enhanced what I had already known.
1. GET BEYOND FEAR AND BE BRAVE AND DREAM BIG!
2. BE INTENTIONAL ABOUT YOUR DREAMS – WRITE GOALS, MAKE DEADLINES, CREATE A BUCKET LIST.
3. BUILD RELATIONSHIP AND MAKE MEMORIES WITH THOSE YOU LOVE.
4. DON’T WASTE TIME WORKING A JOB YOU DISLIKE.
5. IN LIFE YOU WILL WALK THROUGH FIRE – NEVER, NEVER GIVE UP.
Sitting alone on New Year’s Eve 2013, I chose to formulate a list of things I did NOT want to do anymore, things I HAD to do before I left this Earth, and qualities I wanted in a man, if and when I was to make the choice to marry again. After completing my lists, I had to ask myself these two questions: (Was I ready to move from victim to victor?)
WHAT WILL YOU DO WITH THE FIERY TRIALS OF LIFE? LET BITTERNESS AND BLAME BURN WITHIN?
OR WILL YOU WALK THROUGH THE HEAT OF THE FIRE AND ALLOW IT TO REFINE YOU?
This led me to a research project to understand the history of fire more completely? Will you walk with me down a heated path as I share the history of fire and how it affects the human soul? Perhaps we will discover what truly creates the human soul on fire?
The word “fire” can evoke fear in us and imagery in our minds of torment, disaster, destruction, and pain. For example, the recent fires in California have been devastating, to say the least. Loss of a forest, home or even a whole community takes years to rebuild. In my home state, Colorado residents have seen their share of disastrous fires. I’ve grown up often fearing the summer months because if adequate moisture has not fallen by May, the risk of fires in the summer months is extremely high. Fires overtake our beetle kill pines in the rocky mountain forests and allergens and a dangerously dry climate are the before and after effects of forest fires. As the smoke creeps over the front range, vicious smoke hovers over our Denver Skyline, often so toxic that residents have to spend a good portion of what could have been a beautiful Colorado summer, indoors.
However, not all fire is intended solely for destruction. The very same woodland set ablaze can be nature’s way of rejuvenating that forest area, burning down the old and allowing for seeds to produce a new generation of trees that invigorate the forest with new life. Forestry workers conduct controlled burns every year to promote new growth for trees and vegetation. Fire is an element with its many uses. The same fire that can destroy a home, when contained, can provide hours of warmth and entertainment to its occupants by the use of a beautifully mantled fireplace or masterfully crafted fire pit. It can also provide the heat needed to entertain or produce soul food. For those gourmet cooks out there, what would you do without the flame from your gas grill or cooktop? What about those avid campers who look forward to a nightly gathering around the campfire with friends and family, enjoying each other’s company, a favorite drink, music, and good conversation. The night isn’t complete without the fiery favorite sweet treat…SMORES!
FIRE…whether we are receiving it positively or negatively–no one can deny that this powerful force is a marvelous gift in the universe that we must highly respect.
“Since the beginning of time, mankind has struggled with fire, trying to determine ways to harness its power and energy.”
Since the beginning of time, mankind has struggled with fire, trying to determine ways to harness its power and energy. Co-existing with fire has been no easy task, but mankind has always respected its properties and understood that it certainly does have a force for destruction and when harnessed, a force for good. We have come to appreciate that fire can be used even to beautify: such as the refinement of precious metals. How are gold, silver, and platinum refined so that they can be placed in a savvy investor’s portfolio? Is it not through a refining process that is predominately made up of fire?
As you take a look at the diagram to the right, you can see that the refining process of precious metals is no simple task. With fire, metal is exposed to high temperatures for long periods of time, chemicals are added and impurities are extracted from the metal. Why do we refer to these metals as “precious”? The refinement makes them valuable to purchase, sell, and trade. When the impurities are gone, suddenly they become more valuable. Remember what the wise men brought to Jesus upon hearing of his birth? They realized that a Savior was worthy of precious gifts.
“Upon coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshipped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented Him with gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.”
Precious metals are often chosen for an engagement/wedding ring to show the dedication, love, and commitment one has to their forthcoming vow of marriage. What better way to express love until “death do us part”? The circular shape of a ring symbolizes eternal never-ending love. It has been traced back to Roman times, the reason the wedding ring is worn on the left hand, fourth finger is because the vein in the ring finger runs directly to one’s heart. They called this vein the “vena amoris” or vein of love. Naturally, to solidify a union based on love, they’d place the ring on that finger to signify the romance a newly married couple shared. A pretty adorable representation of two hearts becoming one, right?
Now let’s get back to the refining process…
Cupellation is a refining process in metallurgy, where ores or alloyed metals are treated under high temperatures and controlled operations to separate noble like gold and silver from base materials like lead, copper, zinc, arsenic, antimony, or bismuth, present in the ore.
As I read about the process called cupellation I began to draw some interesting parallels between the metal refining process and a Soul on Fire. When I began writing about the refinement, I realized that this process and its comparisons to a human Soul on Fire is worthy of another Blog Post. Now that you have the basic history of fire and its refining process, tune in early next week as we explore it more at length.
For now, may I ask you a question? Are you a person who walks around in the ring of fire? Or are you a person who has walked through the fire and has become refined by it? What Creates A Soul on Fire, Part II might help you determine the answer to those questions.
Thank you for walking with me down the heated path. Warning: it is about to get hotter.
See you soon.