Fire is scary. And unpredictable. And can consume everything in its path with no rhyme or reason as to where it chooses to go. We witnessed that first hand this summer.
Life is slowly beginning to go back to normal. Or at least as normal as it can. We still have days that are hazy with smoke. We still have to remind ourselves that those clouds are really just clouds, not another massive fire ready to come over the mountain again.
Some days, it feels like life is safe again. To be completely honest, this whole ordeal has affected me more than I ever would have imagined.
I have avoided taking my kids to see the destruction, striving to protect them from the images when things were still so uncertain. I didn't want them to have those pictures in their heads when it still felt like we were living in the thick of it.
Now that the smoke is almost gone, and the gorgeous colours of fall are appearing, I thought it might be cathartic to give the kids cameras and go hunting for the life rising from the ashes.
As we drove down the road from our house, we talked about how this summer is a perfect example of how life is sometimes. I told the kids that at some point in their lives, you're going to face hard times. How it's going to feel like you're never going to see the light at the end of the tunnel and how it's going to feel like they're all alone. They're going to wonder if God has abandoned them.
So this afternoon we went looking for the life that comes after the hard. I challenged the kids to find the most beautiful green thing that they could amongst the ashes.
As we walked through the devastated forest, we were all excited to see the grass in the bushes and the trees returning to green from the roots. The kids explored, touching the bark on the trees and finding the holes left by the burning tree roots.
I told them that this summer we all walked through something really really hard. And the hard in life is going to happen again so I wanted them to have pictures in their minds from today to remember. That what we saw today was going to be their example that His love is even in the ashes. That seeing the green today would remind them that He has a plan. And that if they can trust Him to walk through it with them, at the end they'll see green too.
We talked about how we all came out of this stronger. And more sure of His love.
After we got home, I looked over all the pictures we had taken that afternoon, and my beautiful, soft-hearted little boy somehow managed to find this. Love in the ashes.
I don't know what it is that you're facing right now. I do know that you are not alone. You are loved. You are enough. And if you can find a little hope, you will get through this.