Beauty from Ashes

Three-toed Woodpecker

Three-toed Woodpecker (Photo credit: ressaure)

Several years ago I traveled to Jemez Falls and Bandelier National Monument in mountains near Los Alamos, New Mexico. As the Texas Girls (4 zany birders) headed to our final destination, we drove up a mountain that had been devastated by the ravages of fire. At a burned out recreation area, we stopped to look for a reported American Three-toed Woodpecker. When I stepped out of the car, a poof of ash settled on my hiking boots.  The previous season’s fire was evident. Instead of showing green foliage, the trees were stick figures with bare arms and fingers. The dusty ash clung to my shoes as I walked. Standing close to a blackened tree, there was a waft of burned out wood.

As I continued to study the burned forest, I noticed tiny shoots of green growth poked through the ash. Healthy, new blades of grasses and forbs pushed their way through a carpet of sooty grey ash. It must have seemed thick to the hundreds of green sprouts reaching for sunlight, yet they persevered in the harsh conditions of the destruction.

I find my life is no different.

Mount St. Helens, recovery after the volcanic ...

Mount St. Helens, recovery after the volcanic eruption, lupins were among the first plants spreading again over the ashes (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Through the ashes of loss, God’s grace pulls me to the surface, towards the Light and nourishment of His redeeming love. It is there that I grow. It is there that I find sweet memories. It is there that His promises sustain me. It is there I find Hope.

Isaiah 61:3 “…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.”

Related articles



  1. Gail, the charred remnants of a burned landscape are a wonderful analogy to our lives amid the anguish of loss. As the sunshine encourages the ground to new growth, the Son shine of God’s love sustains our lives and encourages us to look to and cling to Jesus for strength, hope and renewal.


  2. So many times in my life God has brought something good out of what seemed a disaster to me. Thanks for helping me to remember and to keep that in perspective.

Share your thoughts

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: