From ashes to renewal

What happens to the ashes?

I have not really considered ashes.  At this time, the whole state of Texas is lit up with wild fires.  My son-in-love is a career firefighter, and he is called to go and deal with fires.  I have seen him come home from work covered in ash and soot.  I look at him, and am so thankful that while he is doing what he loves to do, I do not have to deal with the smudges.  I do not have to worry about how to get the ashes out of the clothes.  The smell of the fire reminds me how grateful I am for the work that he does.  I am thankful that he is safe.  I am thankful that he has saved lives.

With the wildfires that are ablaze in my state, the ash is in the air, and it is affecting the sinus cavities, throats, and souls of those who are in those areas.  The ash and soot are bothersome and it is a reminder of the loss of homes and dreams that are experienced.

Growing up, I remember a family in my neighborhood who would on purpose burn their yard every spring.  We would drive by, and see the ugliness of that crispy lawn, and wonder at their sanity.  However, not too many days later, this family had the most beautifully green, luxurious lawn in the county.  Why?  Because they burned it.  In the burning, the nutrients are released and returned to the soil.  This sets the lawn up for renewed growth that is the envy of the neighborhood.

We all have ashes in our lives.  We have dreams and hopes that have crashed and burned.  We can all look over our shoulders and view the ash heaps of our dumb ass moments.  In the words of my friend, Mike, we would give everything we have for a ‘do over.’  We see the missed opportunities, the squandered resources, the shattered wreckage of ‘what could have been.’

Maybe we have ashes of things that we have willingly sacrificed because we felt that God was calling us to a higher place.  We felt that we had to leave behind those things ‘that so easily beset us,’ only to look back with longing at the ash heap.

In my reading today, I noticed something that I had not noticed before.   In looking at the priestly duties, in addition to performing all the rituals of the Temple, they also had to cleanse the altar of the ashes from the burnt offerings.

Jesus is our High Priest.  We can trust Him to take care of our ashes.   The cleansing (purifying) releases resources for renewal.  The ashes are not just tossed into the trash, they are the raw material for future glory.  As we look back at the ash heaps in our lives, lets not look at the ruin of hopes, dreams, opportunities.  Instead, we can focus on the renewal.

Until next time,


  1. Love it, well done! We do cry when great forests are burned. We are greatly saddened at the loss of homes or lives. That goes without saying, but the reality is all of the tree and plant loss in the Hill Country and other places will allow nature to renew the soil. The fire cleanses the bacteria in the ground as well making new growth stronger. We forget our own ashes actually can bring strength…the renewal process makes us stronger IF we allow Jesus in, His Holy Spirit to guide us. Many stop with soot on body, and never move from that position. Jesus is the Cleaner!

    • We think about the loss, but we forget about paving the way for the new. If we go through loss, we will always be recompensed by the new. He makes all all things new.

      • As they say ashes to ashes and dust to dust. I have started over so many times with losing everything, only to have to start on the ground and work my way up, shucking the dust of the ashes of the past.
        As i spread the ashes of the past to the different winds that i travel to, does the box have to be completely empty before renewal will take place? Or do we keep some of that ash to remember the road that was traveled?

        • Great question, Ruth. Everyone is different, but there is a principle that our hands can only hold so much. If we are holding on the the ashes, then our hands are full, and cannot receive the renewal. In my own case, I too have suffered much loss in my life. While those whom I have lost are very near in my heart, my hands are open to receive the newness of life. Jesus said,Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full. John 16:24. I believe that Jesus meant what he said. He wants my joy to be full. My joy is not full, probably not even existent if I am looking at the ashes. Another scripture that has meant a good deal to me is in Isaiah 43:18-19: Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert. Sometimes when we are looking at our ash heap, all we see is the desert. God is saying, forget about that. The past is the past. I am doing a new thing… You are going to come into a fertile place, a fertile period. I don’t know about you,but I is am excited about the oasis that He has prepared for us.

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"My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Hosea 4:6"
"Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food. Genesis 1:29"

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