Beauty for ashes

Our pastor is in a sermon series on Psalm 23, perhaps one of the most famous, read passages of scripture in the whole Bible.  Last week he taught on verse 3, “He restores my soul”.  As he talked about grief I couldn’t help but look back over the last year of our life.

I just finished ordering a printed, bound copy of our blog like I do every year.  I perused the pages and remembered.  The first and last months of the year held great loss for us.  One day I was writing about the cost of prescription drugs and the next I was literally unable to get off the floor in absolute shock as my husband sent news from over the mountain pass that he had found his dad, who’d not returned from a hunting trip.  He was not alive.

The gut-wrenching grief that ensued was beyond words.  Though we’d walked through some pretty devastating things already, this was unlike any other.  We walked through the heartache in our own ways and held onto each other for dear life.  I questioned God’s goodness and who He really was, for the first time in my adult life.  I tried to read books and articles but nothing gave me the answers I sought.

One of the message points on Sunday was about accepting what cannot be changed.  I think that part is pivotal in determining how/if someone gets through significant loss.  Ultimately, nothing I could do or say or think or feel would alter what happened.  Making the conscious decision to “get up from the ground” like David did in 2 Samuel after his son died ,is a decision we have to make.  No one can make it for us.

In the way only He works,  as life moved on and we continued along the sacred and tender journey together, God ever so graciously gifted us with a reminder of all the potential and all the beauty that life is.  Five months after losing Chris’ dad, we found out we were expecting our fifth child, just a few days before Father’s Day.

“Talk about beauty for ashes” my dear friend wrote to me when I told her the news.  Beauty for ashes indeed…mourning into gladness.

Realizing how fragile and unpredictable life really is, we decided to do something totally out of character for us and go to Hawaii for 11 days in November when my parents offered to share their timeshare with us.  It was a trip of a lifetime and though a LOT of work, was a precious gift of time as a family and we cherished every minute.

As the year came to a close, we all held our breath waiting for our aging grandma to make the trip with my mom across the country to come for a 3 week Christmas stay.  We made cookies, played around her chair and soaked up sweet time with her.  Little did we know those were her last days and the day after Christmas she would have a stroke and be ushered into heaven just 4 days later.

Leaning over her bed with my bulging baby belly, I couldn’t help but be overwhelmed at the full spectrum of life I was watching.  The very new, growing inside me and the very old, slipping away slowly as we held hands.

Though none of it was just what we expected I marvel at the way God weaves beauty and promise in the midst of pain and loss.  I will never tire of watching.  And I will keep counting…

#405 – the way God works and the knowing I’ll never truly understand it all

#406 – a mama of 7 children who just had a c-section bringing our family dinner today

#407 – a very tired oldest boy sleeping in until 10:30

#408 – the miracle blanket

#409 – 7 loads of clean laundry piled high in the family room (at least they’re clean right?)

#410 – promises

#411 – kind words spoken at just the right moment

#412 – making a garden list

#413 – rubbing a fuzzy soft baby head with my cheek in the early, early morning dark

#414 – a full fridge for a l-o-n-g week

#415 – girl scout cookies

#416 – our beauty for ashes baby boy



I clicked over from Ann’s Multitude Monday link.

It’s Friday and there are still more lists to read. Today I finally got to yours. First – oh my goodness – what a momentous year. So much of everything wrapped into it. And because it’s sneaky to throw a baby in at the end – how could I not choose as my favorite from your list is #416 – our beauty for ashes baby boy

May God Bless and Keep you and all of yours this day


What a year for you and your families. Isn’t it beautiful to look back and see what you couldn’t when you were right in the middle of it? To see that even though our human emotions get the better of us, God is always at work and holding us tight.
By the way- Phineas is just precious!


I stumbled on your blog from Keeper of the Home and this post really spoke to my heart.

Last December I lost our third child, less then a year later my beloved stepmom died suddenly and a month after her death I gave birth to our beauty for ashes baby Miss Penny.

There is so much to be grateful for and we too have chosen to get up off the floor. Yesterday was 6 months since my mom passed. It has been beyond difficult but we rejoice in knowing that she is worshiping at the feet of Jesus.

Snuggling Penny’s sweet fuzzy head in the wee hours of the morning does help and reminds me of all the blessings that God has given us.

Blessings to you and your beautiful family 🙂