Today, Grant, was supposed to turn 25. But instead, his ashes arrived today. I fall to my knees. I am undone. Breathe,  Alisa, breathe. The body that grew inside me, the body I bore, fed, cared for, now ashes. Breathe. The body, the warmth, the olive skin, the brown eyes, thick brunette hair, the smile that could light up a room, all burned, nothing but ash. Oh, God help me to breathe. The flesh and bone that held his precious soul, ash, all ash.  Finally released from weeks in a cold, dark morgue, but to this…left with a box of ashes. I clutch the box, gasp for air, and grasp for perfect recall.  I want to burn the sight and feel of him into my memory.  Every line of his face, his awkward hugs, his broad shoulders, the curve of  his jawline.

He’s still so alive in my memory, but this box, mocking me, screaming reality…the body once loved, gone, nothing but ash. Think, Alisa, memorize. Recall every detail as you cling to this box of ashes. These memories have to last you a lifetime.

Look to God, Alisa. Breathe. Look to Christ, look to the cross, look to the Word…”beauty for ashes, beauty for ashes” I hear you, Lord. But what does that even mean?!

Isaiah 61:3 To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them “beauty for ashes”, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified.

Ashes, the emblem of death. Ashes, powder that remains after something has been destroyed by burning. And there’s definitely no more beauty in ashes! Ashes, the only thing left when one’s dreams go up in smoke! Ashes, useless, hopeless, gone, blown away by the wind! But God you have said, You will give ‘beauty for ashes’! How God? How are you going to exchange this box of ash for something beautiful, something joyful?! Your word says you are going to take this difficult, disgusting, depressing and horrible situation and give us beauty in its place. Oh, Jesus, pick me up out of the ashes and make something beautiful out of this, as only you can. Beauty for ashes…

Grant, standing before the throne, in his robe of righteousness, I see the beauty. Grant,  in his perfect heavenly body, I can see it, the beauty. His days of pain and weeping are forever ended. The King of glory has wiped away any tears from his face. Every cause of grief has been removed. No more trials or pain. Such beauty. The giving of your own precious son to secure this for Grant, for me, and all who would believe…oh, the splendor. God of all comfort, bringing peace, even now, the majesty. Christ, sustaining my faith in my weakest moments, when I want to flee from God and never look back…but He holds me, never lets me go. What glorious beauty. And I believe too, there is beauty yet to be revealed, I am trusting there is beauty yet to behold, Lord, because you say there is!  I am looking, Lord, gazing at you and crying out, as I hold this box of ash, that was once my precious son. Help me to see the beauty, Lord, in these ashes…

Grant, spending his 25th birthday with his Savior, in paradise; oh, the unimaginable beauty. Happy Birthday, Grant. I love you and miss you more than words are even able to express.

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6 Responses to ashes

  1. Donna Masanotti says:

    Alisa, your writings have been a beautiful expression of God’s loving and merciful grace. We are so sorry for your loss and the excruciating pain that you and your family are experiencing. May God’s arms continue to embrace you with comfort that He can only truly give you.
    Love, John & Donna Masanotti

    • Alisa says:

      Donna, Thank you for writing me and thank you for your prayers and walking this with us. I know I keep saying this, but there is so much truth in it…it means so much to us that it is hard to even put into words the comfort it brings knowing others are sharing the burden of our grief. So thank you ❤

  2. Lisa Rich says:

    Alisa, I read this today and wept, grieved, and prayed for you and your family. On this earth, our God-given senses (sight, smell, touch, etc.) connect us to our humanity and to each other. The absence of these shared senses is real and painful. At sixteen, I lost my father, uncle, and close family friend in a fatal accident. Thirty-eight years later I still long for my father’s embrace, the scent of his cologne, the warmth of his smile, and his encouraging words. In these moments, God, in all his mercy, strengthens me to see through “eyes of faith” the eternal reward that my father and now your precious son, Grant, are receiving. On this earth, our eyes, ears, arms and hearts will always yearn for them. So we will weep tears of pain and rejoicing side-by-side… for our earthly loss, and for their eternal gain. I continue to pray that “The Lord would bless you and keep you, and make His face shine upon you, and be gracious to you, and give you peace.”

    • Alisa says:

      Lisa, you have no idea what this meant to me. Seriously, know idea. It was such a means of grace and God so used it to bring comfort to Glenn and I both. It made us both weep, but in a good way. I would love to share with you the significance of what you wrote, but it’s too in-depth to do here. So if you are up for it, you can call me and I will share it with you. It was such a faith builder for all of us. A little miracle from God. Hugs 480-235-6040

  3. Nancy says:

    Psalm 143:8 ” Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you….” Alisa, I’ve been following your daily journal as you grieve with hope .. When fresh waves of grief wash over you today, may His unfailing love reach down and give you breath, comfort, and fresh hope.

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