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Beauty from Ashes


This beautiful blog is written by our sweet friend Hannah Fordice. Read on be blessed dear readers.

His hands are full of scratches and sawdust; they move smoothly down the planks, leaving a trail of deep, rich stain. You would never know that just a few months ago that same wood was stained in black ash and blood.

When the house burned, it burned fast and hard. So fast in fact, that there was nothing they could do - how many times I heard that phrase - nothing they could do, nothing they could do, nothing they could do, until my ears rang with the sick sound of it. Nothing. No home. No dad. Nothing.

As a lifetime went up in smoke, a crane had to move the largest, still burning logs to try and find his body in the coals. And those top logs - they are all that survived. And it wasn't a pretty type of survive; they were black as everything else. Black as death.

I'm not sure who had the idea - to cut one of the burnt logs open - but inside was still the crisp white-yellow of dry pine. A small smile had played over my husband's lips, like a shadow cast by a flame.

It took several months and several pairs of loving hands (Jeff, Dan, Jake, Andy - you will never know the depths of my thanks) to mill the wood, hand shave the burnt off, design and build - but in the end it may have been the most beautiful thing I'd ever seen. A table made from the only scraps left of home.

And as I watched my husband's work-worn hands carve beauty from ashes, I thought of another carpenter. Hands full of scratches and pierced straight through the planks, leaving a trail of red stain. The ugly, death blackened tree of calvary made into a sign of redemption by the hands of Jesus.

We who have been told, 'There is nothing you can do to become clean. Nothing you can do. Nothing.' have been made new, have been carved from death into something beautiful.

""The Lord has sent me... to comfort all who mourn, 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: 2-3

So as my mom moves into her new house for the first time this week, as the table is brought into a dining room full of unfamiliar things - things that don't feel like hers because they were never theirs - we will sit down to a meal as a family, and we will remember.

We will remember home. We will remember dad. We will remember calvary. And most of all, we will remember that we are promised beauty from ashes. 

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The Heart Matters Gals

  • Julie


    I’m turning 60 next month. I can hardly believe it myself. But, I’ve decided that I no longer want to live comfortably. I want to live with a spirit of adventure like I had in the past. To be unafraid of what’s new or different. I want to remain so open to the Spirit of the living God that his love compels me to go wherever he leads me.
  • LuAnn


    I am passionate about people leaning into all that Jesus is. You. Me. Us. Journeying together with God. This is my greatest blessing. And now that my kiddos are out on their own, I’m learning to navigate my new normal. And I am finding there is life after little ones and teens after all!
  • Nicole


    Nicole is a stay-at-home mom of one, and is just returning to writing after a too-long hiatus. A graduate of the University of Minnesota with a B.A. in Philosophy, Nicole previously worked in the fields of journalism, advertising and marketing. Nicole is using her time at home to discern God's next path for her life and to spend as much precious time with her husband and daughter as possible! She is honored to be writing for Julie Miller and Heart Matters Publishing.
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