Beauty from Ashes

If you were to ask me to list for you the best days in my 40+ years on the earth, I would have no problem rattling them off – some with dates I could remember, some with just the day.

Gave my life to Christ √
Married Jaclyn √
The birth of all four kids √
The date that Kara and Gabe gave their life to Christ √

If you forced me to do a top 25, I would no doubt be able to list other moments that have made a joyful impression or impact on my life and try to make cuts based on no rubric or rules whatsoever.  Even so, these 8 rise straight to the top.

Conversely, if you were to press me for a list of the worst days in my 40+ years, the list would be a short one.  My response to students sometimes is “Every day is a good day –  some are just better than others,” and I really do mean that.  Even the worst day we think we are having pales in comparison to not knowing where your next meal will come from or where you plan on sleeping tonight.

My inability to pinpoint a worst day changed exactly two years ago today – on August 25, 2017.  That was the day that Joshua Kane Scott took his last breath.

In the weeks following that date, I wrote a lot.  Cathartic, mainly.  The following paragraph was part of my thoughts on the day we buried our son:

“. . we know that there are inevitable things we don’t want to do, but will end up doing at some point in our lives. Loved ones will get sick and be hospitalized. Parents, grandparents, and (for at least one of the two in a marriage) a spouse will likely pass away during our lifetime. My children will leave home one day and, while bittersweet, will be moments of sorrow to close that particular chapter.”

I can still hear the words from the doctor working the Emergency Room on that August morning – “He has expired” – like he was a gallon of milk.  In the days after, I thought often about all the ways that someone might tell two worried, anxious parents that their worst nightmare had come to fruition.  And that of the options, he put my son in the category of a coupon or driver’s license.  Since then, wisdom tells me that he probably struggled with what to say as much as I critiqued it.

So for the last two years, this weekend has been one we dread, we trudge through, and we put in the rear-view mirror until another August rolls around.  Both the Friday morning and the date itself conjure memories as fresh as if it were yesterday’s bread coming out of the oven.


But, with apologies English teachers everywhere – Ain’t God Good!


Last Thursday evening, JP hugged both Jaclyn and me good-night and walked upstairs to his bedroom.  We knew that for the past several months (or more) he had been wrestling with making the decision to ask Jesus to become Lord and Savior of his life.  So, before going to sleep (and without our help), he prayed to do just that.

Add moment #9 to the first list I shared with you, and no superlatives included here would really do justice to the knowledge that our family’s eternity is secure.

So, this morning.  THIS morning – August 25, 2019, JP will complete the process of making a public acknowledgement of Jesus as Lord and stir the waters of baptism.

I cling to the promise made about how the Messiah will provide in Isaiah 61:

“He has sent me to heal the brokenhearted, proclaim liberty to the captives, and freedom to the prisoners. . . to comfort all who mourn. . .to give them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, festive oil instead of morning, and splendid clothes instead of despair. . “

So today, while still battling the memories seared into the nooks and crannies of my soul, I welcome the beauty provided as I would a cool drink of water in the desert.

See you again soon, my son.  And now – JP will too!

Praise God from whom all blessings flow!

“See if I will not open the floodgates of heaven and pour out a blessing for you without measure. I will rebuke the devourer for you, so that it will not ruin the produce of your land and your vine in your field will not fail to produce fruit,” says the Lord of Hosts.
– Malachi 3:10(b)-11







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