beauty for ashes

We all have dreams as a children. Things we just knew we would do. I truly believed I would be on star search. I’d be lying if I didn’t watch the Taylor Swift performance of “Innocent” on the VMA’s with a little bit of envy. Just cause I know what she must be feeling in that moment. This is awesome…

But God had a different dream for me. That of a worship leader. In those moments of revelation where I am apart of a group that has just entered the throne room of GRACE, I think… This is awesome… really, truly awesome… For me, my dream of becoming a singer never died, in fact, God gave me something grander, something I could never have come up with on my own.

My dreams didn’t die, they just changed.

But the death of a dream can be a horrendous thing.

For the man who dreamed of growing old with his wife. Images of their retirement, the ministry and traveling they would do together died along with his beloved wife.

For a a family full of daughters and grandaughters growing up with a mom. Without a grandma.

Or the loss of a career.

Or being betrayed by a church.

Or just knowing that the one thing we want is the one thing we don’t have.

When I was a 18, a terrible, swift fire burned down from the mountains and through our city. It moved faster than the evacuation orders, and when my dad found the flames at the end of our country road, we only had time to pack the most important things. We were evacuated from three different places that day, and ended up in the mountains outside of Redding, staring at the yellow flames that outlined the entire city in the black night.

All the scanners and stories listed our street as looking like a warzone.

Two neighbors called us to say they watched our house engulfed in a gigantic wave of flames, rolling over our home, our animals, everything.

that cloud above northern cali is actually smoke from the fire on Sept 2, 1999.

The next afternoon we were allowed to go back to our street. And it did look like a warzone, but amidst the blacked ground, the torched trees and scalded rocks, were houses. One by one we passed them until we saw ours, completely unharmed. The smell was awful. We had to have everything removed and cleaned. Even our clothes.

For about a week, it looked awful. The trees and brush looked frozen in time, as if a wind storm had blown through and time had stopped. Everything was black and covered in ash. I used to go for walks through it all, in terrible awe of what happened.

Then one day I noticed a blade of green grass. In Redding. In September. Then another. And within weeks, a beautiful layer of green grass covered every inch of ground that had been blackened by fire. There amongst the rubble was life. Not the old life, but new.

In death is life.

Even nature speaks of this cycle. When something dies, a seed falls to the ground and produces new life.

Sometimes the death of a dream makes room for a new one. And sometimes it just is what it is. Awful and horrible and you continue to put one foot in  front of the other. That is when we turn to Jesus and His redemptive power. God is in the business of redemption. Taking what was dead and useless and broken and corrupt… and making it like new.

Bright green grass in the midst of a charred, destroyed landscape.

Just because you’re stuck somewhere you might not want to be, doesn’t mean you have it all figured out. You can’t see the future. You cannot imagine what God can do in the midst of the destruction. Or what He can do after the dream has died.

The healing and relief that comes with trusting Him is an absolutely marvelous thing. He can do so much better than we can.

And just because it didn’t turn out like we hoped it would, doesn’t mean that we cannot absolutely cherish what we once had. Because somethings cannot ever be taken from you.

my mom and my baby last summer

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