Since restarting this blog, I’ve been thinking a lot about what it means to me, and how I want to use this platform to reach others.
I haven’t figured it all out yet.
The one thing I do know for sure is that I want to talk more about my faith, to write more about what my faith in God means to me, and to highlight how wonderful He is. That He has the ability to take a person like me, a woman who has stumbled so many times, a participant in a life that was being turned to ashes, and in return give me the greatest gift He could give—Love. God’s love made beauty from ashes, and showed me how even though I stumbled, and sometimes fell, that He was right there with me, picking me up and brushing me off, making me even stronger in the process.
Let me start here. My name is Shanna and I grew up in California. For years I worked a job that I commuted to via a gorgeous stretch of toll road. I basked in the early morning sun, and reflected as I took in the scenery filled with rolling green hills scattered with wildflowers. I loved it and found so much peace on that drive.
Every fall, around the month of October, the combination of blustery Santa Ana winds and dry brush would result in wildfires. One day, an abandoned car caught fire, and burned acres of land, igniting sections of brush that lined the freeway. This dry brush fire jumped the freeway (did you know fire did that?), and burned the green hills and wildflowers, leaving a charred and blackened mess. When I first saw the devastation that the fire caused, I wanted to cry. What had once been a lovely and peaceful scene, had turned dark and menacing. After lamenting to a friend of mine about this, he pointed out while it was tragic, that the ashes would eventually help the land to regenerate and make way for even more flowers. “Watch.” he said, “It will be even more beautiful than before.”
A little over a year later, while on that same drive, I looked around once again at the stretch of land that I had become accustomed to seeing. Only this time, it was Spring, and the flowers had bloomed seemingly overnight. Triple the amount of wildflowers scattered in bunches alongside the roadway and up the rolling hills that were now so green, they were practically neon.
Beauty had come from ashes.
As I sit here writing this, it’s now over a decade since I have driven that stretch of freeway in California. I now live in North Carolina, and see my fair share of wildflowers on any given Tuesday. But I’m so grateful for the lesson I learned all those years ago. And I now see that God was setting me up even then, that I might reflect on it today, as I move my writing in a new direction.
This change in direction won’t be for everyone, and that is perfectly okay. I understand if the few readers that I do have won’t want to stick around to hear me talk about how wonderful God is. I still love you all, and send you off with that love.
For those who stay, thank you. I promise to be as authentic and courageous as I possibly can be.
And if you’re new around here, I can only assume that you’re here for a reason. I hope you read some stories, and are led to new realizations of God’s enduring love. You may read something that resonates with your situation, even if it’s not verbatim. We have all stumbled, and we have all experienced something that forced us to be reborn out of ashes. We are an example of what stumbling beauty represents, and I’m so glad you’re here.