The mountains in California, and cities surrounding them, are ablaze.
Some of those fires are in the mountains not far from our home.
Ash is raining from the sky like snow.
The sun, masked by a thick cover of smoke, is beating down with no less vigor. And the moon echoes the intense days in a brilliant display of color that lights up the night sky, void of stars.
A couple of weeks ago the sky was orange all day long. It was like the world tossed on a warm filter for the day. I was walking through my kitchen when I noticed the light streaming into the stairwell from the upstairs window. It was beautiful. So I grabbed my phone from my back pocket and snapped this picture.
The moment I did I realized that I was literally seeing Isaiah 61:3 come to life.
“To console those who mourn in Zion,
To give them beauty for ashes,
The oil of joy for mourning,
The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness;
That they may be called trees of righteousness,
The planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.”
Beauty from ashes.
Life from death.
Hope streaming through a window reminding me that sometimes the hard things are bringing beauty in unexpected places.
Trees of hopelessness burned down so that trees of righteousness can spring up from the barren ground. SO that the Lord may be glorified!
It’s been hard to see through the haze the last few weeks. And not just the haze in the sky. Launching the book into the world was a lot like going through labor and delivery. And the post launch exhaustion is real. There have been so many people, both friends and strangers, who have reached out after reading my book to share their own stories of hope in the mess.
An old college friend shared with me that she was that child visiting unsafe places who needed someone to advocate for her, but her parents were ill-equipped. She reminded me of truths that I still have a hard time wrapping my head around as part of my life story.
She said…“Leaving when you should matters. Believing the abused matters. Acting on behalf of the vulnerable matters.”
A new friend shared her devastating loss of a baby they went to great measures to love. As she read about the life lost in my story, she felt a new permission to grieve and hope at the same time.
The beautiful hope of life, but also the raining ashes of despair. They sometimes go hand in hand.
And it’s part of what makes this life remarkably dependent on a remarkably dependable God.
So much of my life story was lying dormant in the messy places before Jesus asked me to get up out of the rubble, pull the hard things out from under the rug where I was hiding them, and trust Him to cover me with His hope. As I stepped out in obedience, the ashes I’d gathered no longer weighed me down. A new hope emerged. A new story began…
And now I’m literally walking every night beneath the ash-filled skies with hope beside me.
"And suddenly it all feels worth it."
Help others to Hope Fully
Hope fully has been on Amazon for two weeks now! It’s been downloaded nearly 700 times and dozens of print copies have been ordered. It’s humbling to hear the stories of how the book is impacting those who have read it.
Have you picked up a copy yet? Would you share it with someone you think might need an extra dose of HOPE?
You can find the book here:
And when you are done reading it, I’d love if you would take a moment to leave a review. You can do that here:
Thank you for walking this road with me, friends. Hope is my favorite.