Beauty From Ashes, Water From Dirt

Exactly two months ago our Tobias Samuel turned one.

The week before his birthday we celebrated his life with family and friends.  It was a special day full of emotion – particularly overwhelming joy and gratitude for the blessing of our little monkey.

486361_786320481704_1328169881_nA little boy that has brought much laughter, many happy tears, and bountiful reminders of God’s mercy, grace, and goodness.

There was much reflection on Toby’s first year of life that day.  As well as remembering the little life of a sibling he wouldn’t meet until Heaven.

We chose to use Toby’s birthday to not only honor our sweet 1 year old, but also to do something in memory of our 2nd child, as well as blessing others in need through Holden Uganda.

601220_786320371924_1800303674_nOur hearts were bursting at the thought of offering these dear people with not only water, but Jesus.

Two months later we received word that our well was completed.  A well providing 2,000 people with clean water.  And our tears gushed much like that water when we saw these pictures…

DSC06391Holden Uganda Well #123

I felt God’s extravagant goodness even in the number our well was given.  We not only have 2 beautiful souls entrusted into our care here on earth, but 1 already experiencing the fullness of life in Heaven.  One.  Two.  Three.

Each one of them represented on the wall of Well #123…

1. A well in memory of the baby that I carried in my womb for 4+  sweet months.  The tiny body I delivered on October 13, 2010.  The child already in the arms of Jesus.

2. A well with a passage of Scripture from Isaiah 61:1-3  – chosen not only because of the significance of the words, but also to represent our first born, Isaiah James.

3. A well built for Toby’s First Birthday.

It is our prayer that Toby recognizes his need for Jesus and grows to love and follow Him.  But we’re also praying the same for the faces that grace these photographs.  After all, this is the very reason why He came…

“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor…” (vs.1)


For what Jesus has done for us, He can also do for them.

“…he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,

to proclaim liberty to the captives,

and the opening of the prison to those who are bound…”  (vs. 1)

Mother’s Day is now a bittersweet day for me.  I am ever so thankful for the privilege and responsibility of being a mom to Isaiah and Toby.  But for the rest of this life, every family picture has a bit of a void and evidence of scars.

“…to comfort all who mourn…” (vs. 2)

This Mother’s Day included some grief and tears.  But my God was so sweet in bringing comfort and little reminders of His grace.

May 12, 2013.  Mother’s Day.

And also the date of our well’s completion in Uganda.  I really couldn’t have asked for a greater present!

“…to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes,

the oil of gladness instead of mourning,

the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit…”  (vs. 3)

This we have experienced.  God taking something so painful, so ugly, so devastating.

And like the splendor of autumn leaves, creating beauty out of death.

Deeper, more significant joy in the midst of sorrow.

Stronger faith and more genuine praise springing up out of despair.

And out of the heat and dirt and desolation comes clean water.  Healing waters.

DSC06392“…that they may be called oaks of righteousness, 

the planting of the Lord,

that HE may be glorified.”  (vs. 3)

I can’t say yet that I’m thankful for the death of my baby.  But I can say that I’m thankful for what God has done because of it.

Deeper roots.

Stronger faith.

Greater growth.

And more genuine, unadulterated praise of our Gardener.  The One Who provides the right mixture of heat for our growth and refinement, as well as the cool water to quench the thirst that was always meant to point us to Him.

And this is our prayer for the people of Uganda, too.

DSC06393“The Lord will guide you continually and satisfy your desire in scorched places and make your bones strong;

and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.”

– Isaiah 58:11


2 responses

  1. Pingback: #123 Heaven Baby Johnson | John 4:14 Foundation

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