Paul Ratliff’s Testimony….The day my family’s life changed.

Paul and Ben

Paul Ratliff and Benjamin Dowdy

Today’s blog post author is from my nephew Paul Ratliff.  Paul was Elizabeth’s cousin, and he and Sam immediately bonded.  So much so you would think that they were brothers.  I tell Paul that they are brothers by another mother and brothers in Christ.

Paul’s family was close to Lizz, Sam and the boys.  Today I share his thoughts about “that day” on July 30th, and how that event has affected him and his faith.

Paul:  This is a wonderful witness to the glory of God even in times like this.  Your story, your testimony is the beauty that has come from the ashes.

I love you and your family,

Aunt Julie

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I was at work when I received a phone call from Sam Dowdy’s cell phone.  Sam and I had a way of answering the phone like typical buddies do.  When no response was coming back to me I took a moment to pause and that is when I heard on the other end of the phone.  “Is this Paul…Paul Ratliff” I replied “yes it is, who’s this?”  “My name is Josh Bingham and I am friends with Sam.  I am calling you because Elizabeth and the kids were killed in a car accident.”  At that moment I was paralyzed.  I said to Josh “let me talk to Sam.”  Sam cannot talk right now but he wants you to come to Salado.”  At that moment I went to my office and headed to Sam and Elizabeth’s house.

I was freaking out.  I would try to call Liz’s phone and nothing.  I called my wife Christi to let her know what had happened to Liz and the kids and she could not believe it.  I told her I was driving to Salado.  My next call was to call in a favor from a friend of mind that works at D.P.S.  When he called me back on my cell phone the only thing he said was “Paul, I am so sorry” then and only then did I realize that my beautiful cousin and her 3 boys were gone.  For some reason before then, I was kind of numb to the fact that this was even happening, but because I had some time to process this overload of information I was hoping that the information was false or I was in a bad dream.  Once confirmed by a D.P.S. trooper is when I pulled over and had a long moment to myself.  I called Christi and she just comforted me as she always does.

When I finally arrived at Sam and Liz’s house the first thing I did was embrace Sam.  No words were said just pure emotion.  As time went on and Pastors came and prayed for Sam and the family I felt I was empty somewhere in my heart.  I always believed in God and Jesus but I never really paid too much attention to it.  So as I am watching Sam Sr. and his wife Rhonda Dowdy pray and give glory to God I started to look at my faith a little closer.  I told myself “I am missing something in my life and that is a relationship with God.”  You have your family and there is your church family.  I knew right then that I was going to make it a top priority that God was going to come into our family’s house.

When there was a silent moment I asked Sam Dowdy Sr. if he knew of any good churches in our area in Leander.  He recommended Journey in Liberty Hill.  Journey Church’s vision is to lead people into a healthy life changing relationship with Jesus Christ.  That was a powerful statement to me.  I am now hungry for Jesus Christ and what he has to say.  Both Christi and I are now born again Christians.  If it were not for Elizabeth, Fischer, Ben and Hayes our family would be lost not knowing what God has in store for us.

Paul Ratliff

Here is Paul’s Baptism picture at Journey Church on May 22, 2013 as he professes his faith and follows Jesus into the waters of baptism:

Paul's Baptism

A mother’s thoughts on this 1st anniversary…….

So, the day has arrived.  Another milestone for my family.    365 days, the 1st anniversary since Elizabeth, Fischer, Benjamin and Hayes left us and met my Lord.    I remember, Lauren calling me…..she was hysterical and I couldn’t understand a word she was trying to tell me…..she kept saying “they are gone Mom!  They are gone!”.  And with those words a parent’s worst nightmare began.  My wonderful boss, Lisa Lerma, drove me to Salado.  I told her we needed to stop in Round Rock at the bank where Jennifer worked.  I needed to get word to her.  She wasn’t there, she was in school, so Lisa Lerma took me on to Salado and Jennifer’s step mom, Lisa Herro would go back and tell her the news.    I remember, the car ride from Austin to Salado was silent.  Lisa in her compassion and not knowing what to do broke the silence at one point and told me that she didn’t know what to say.  My response to her was that no words were necessary.  And let me pause here and say….if you have a friend or family member that is grieving, no words are necessary.  Just sit and be with them.  Cry with them.  Hug them.   I remember during that car ride, I just kept staring out the window of the car, hoping there was some terrible mistake.  Unfortunately, there wasn’t.    For the first 3 months, I was in “Mom” mode and was worried about everyone else.  Then October came and I knew I needed to focus on my own healing.  I became part of a parent bereavement group through Hospice Austin.  They were instrumental in getting me through the upcoming holidays.  Then in January, I decided it was time to start my individual counseling.  I returned to the Hyde Park Counseling Center that is associated with Hyde Park Baptist Church.  For me, I needed my counseling to encompass my faith.  They are the same folks I turned 15 years earlier when I was in crisis when I was going through my divorce.  And through this journey, the best healing has come from Jesus himself!  As I have stated in earlier posts, I have never felt closer to God in my faith life than this time……EVER!  I have also learned more about what it means to worship over this past year.

As a Mom, this experience has broken my heart, and as Cathie Laurie stated about the loss of her son……it’s as if God has broken our hearts so he can do something bigger!  That is my continued prayer.  Let this not be the end of Lizz’s story.  May people find Christ, may families raise their children in grace based homes.    It always does my heart good to hear how this event has impacted people and families in a positive way…..and I am always praying that God will use me.

So, to honor this day that Elizabeth and the boys went to live with Jesus, I will visit these places to remember……..

Elizabeth’s burial site.  The place that stands as a testimony to their life and physical existence here on earth.  Dietz memorial made some markers that I will place there today.    Once her headstone is placed, John and I will take the markers and place them in our backyard.    I will then place the memorial wreaths that I made for her and the boys.  John and I will weep because we miss them……not because we are sad because of where they are……but because we just really miss their physical presence with us.  We will pray and sing “10,000 Reasons” and “I Still Believe” to affirm our faith in the one that tells us if we are absent from the body we are present in the Lord….and we will give him glory in all things.

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We will then go to the accident site where Jesus and the angels came down and scooped Elizabeth and the boys’ in their arms.   This will be the first time I will have gone to the accident site, but feel the need to do so…..many have asked why….and why today…….and my heart says I want to stand where the last place they were…..and stand where Jesus took their hands and transported them “home”.  I want to see the crosses that someone’s act of kindness crafted to honor Lizz and the boys.  I will also testify to the enemy that he did NOT win……he did not destroy my family or me……and that my Lord and my God is the God of angel armies and he that is within me is greater than he who is in the world!    I will lay some flowers……..

I will then visit the Tea Embassy down on Rio Grande and have a cup of tea.  Lizz and I loved that place.  Lizz surprised me one Mother’s Day for a Mother’s Day tea there!  What a special memory!  The Tea Embassy was the last place Lizz and I went together before she left for Alaska, just the two of us.  So, there I will sit, sip tea and remember.    After we left there, Lizz wanted to eat at Top Notch.  Another favorite of ours…..Cheeseburger and Onion Rings……just like me!  So, John and I will have lunch at Top Notch to remember……cheeseburger and onion rings!

I will wear Lizz’s sandals today, her scarf and will wear her favorite perfume……Miss Dior Cherie.  Every time I smell that scent, it reminds me of Lizz……and today, I will want to do that.

I have tried over the last 365 days to grieve pro-actively.  I stated early on that if I had to go through this I was convicted that I was going to let God and I face the headwinds of this event together and “lean in”.  I have tried to not be afraid of the pain or the suffering but take it all in…..and honor the one that suffered for all of us……my precious, precious Jesus.  I hope Lizz and Christ are pleased and honored.

To my Elizabeth:  I miss you…… we all do.  I miss that we won’t experience Fischer going to kindergarten next year.  Ben playing soccer, Fischer playing baseball.  Holding and kissing Hayes.  You finally getting to go to the Aveda institute and open your spa in downtown Salado.   Your laugh, your smile, your morning phone calls when I was driving to work.  Of course, I know that heaven is way better than anything down here on earth……but, still, I grieve for those missed events that will not happen.  I grieve because I love. I hope you are asking Jesus to send us special strength and peace today.  I will look for godwinks from you and the boys…….and I will look forward to when our family will be rejoined for eternity.  Until that day, I will store the memories in my heart and close my eyes and remember……always, remember.

To my Beloved John:  I know this is not what we expected when we said “I do” over 5 years ago…..but I am so blessed that you loved Elizabeth and those boys.  Thank you for walking this path with me, never critical, always supportive.  And today, I will share this day with you.

To my amazing daughters  Jennifer and Lauren that walk this journey:  I love you to the moon and back, you are both amazing women and so very special to your momma!  Remember, this is not the end.  The cross tells us that.  You will spend eternity with your sister and your precious nephews.

To Jeff:  God blessed us with an amazing gift.  We had no idea we would only get to enjoy it this side of heaven for 25 years.

I got this willow tree figure to commemorate this milestone in my journey.  It is called “Always”.  Loss does not take away love.  We love always.  We remember always……and I will hold you in my heart “always”.

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Julie

So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.  2 Corinthians 4:16-18

Day 30: Worship songs we sang at the homegoing service and my reflections…….10,000 Reasons

Scan_Pic0129I saved this song choice for the last due to its significance.  This song has been hands down the most influential song over the past year for me.   Have you ever had a song that whenever you heard it, it took you back to that moment in time?  Well, Matt Redman’s 10,000 reasons is one of those songs for me.   I remember, the first Sunday John and I returned to church after the accident and this song was sung.  As I worshipped that Sunday and sang this song, I felt so very close to my precious Jesus and close to Elizabeth knowing that she too is worshipping the King!  It is this song we sang at Fischer’s 4th birthday celebration in October of 2012, I sang it on Hayes’ due date on January 1, 2013, again on Elizabeth’s 26th birthday in February, again on Easter morning at sunrise in the Salado cemetery, again on Ben’s 3rd birthday in April.  I will sing it tomorrow on Tuesday, July 30th, the first anniversary of Elizabeth, Fischer, Benjamin and Hayes’ homegoing.  I will once again worship and recall the amazing memory with a church full of hundreds of people raising our hands and voices and singing the words from the song:

The sun comes up, it’s a new day dawning
It’s time to sing Your song again
Whatever may pass, and whatever lies before me
Let me be singing when the evening comes

And on that day when my strength is failing
The end draws near and my time has come
Still my soul will sing Your praise unending
Ten thousand years and then forevermore

Bless the Lord, O my soul
O my soul
Worship His holy name
Sing like never before
O my soul
I’ll worship Your holy name

Many that were in attendance that day have shared that they can’t hear this song without thinking about Lizz and the boys’ homegoing service.  Neither can I.  Singing this song from now till I am called up yonder, will be apart of  every milestone I will travel on this journey.

Over the past year, I have embraced the phrases that “whatever may pass and whatever lies before me, let me be singing when the evening comes” and “still my soul will sing your praise unending”.

I hope you join me and raise your voice, close your eyes, look at the face of our Lord, and worship!

Click to listen:  10,000 Reasons

Lastly, I am going to request for prayers for my family tomorrow and throughout the week.  Please pray for peace that only he can provide.  Comfort, that this is not the end, and hope.  My family are survivors.  We have proven that.  I am convinced my family are also thrivers.  The journey from July 31, 2013 forward will continue to illustrate that.    And please pray for God’s grace.  He always sends what we need at the right time.  His grace is sufficient and he is faithful.  AMEN!

Blessings,

Julie

A big sister’s thoughts on the 1st anniversary of July 30th…….

Jen and LizzToday’s blog post is from my oldest daughter Jennifer.  I have been so honored and blessed to see how both of my daughters have handled this journey with strength and grace.  As Jennifer states, everyone’s journey is different, and my hope and prayer is that we provide the grace to allow everyone that individual grief journey experience.  Please read on as Jennifer shares her thoughts and reflections on the anniversary of Elizabeth and the boys’ home going.
Julie
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Aftermath
It’s no secret that our family was rocked in what will be the 1 year anniversary tomorrow.  I will never forget that day.  It started out like every other.  Went to work, then went to school in the middle of the day.  When I got back to work – I noticed my step mom Lisa walking out of the bank, with a couple of my closest co-workers in tow.  I thought immediately of my dad – but she had different news.  Then began the journey of grief…
Shock
I cried alot.  The day after the accident, my pastor, Joe Champion called me.  I remember talking with him about purpose.  The one thing that  all Christians live for, I was suddenly struggling to understand.  What was God’s purpose in this?  I remember asking him, was her purpose to be a good mom, and a hard worker?  He helped me to understand that it is not what you do, it is WHO you live for – that is your purpose.  Lizz lived for God.  She raised her family to live with purpose.Then the numbness took over.  I remember only bits and pieces of the funeral.  I remember the caskets.  I remember the pearl details.  Pretty and ornate – just like Lizz.  I remember the church overflowing with friends, family, and co-workers.  I remember the worshipping the One that had already welcomed Lizz and the boys all into their heavenly home.  I remember my parents’ speeches.  I remember the photos that Lauren put together of a family that would never be the same…and the sting of loss knowing that Lauren and I wouldn’t be able to be a threesome on this earth anymore.
Healing

I threw myself into school, work, and grief counseling.  I remember my first day in counseling that I had to say OUT LOUD what brought me to counseling.  I never said it out loud like that.  Since that day, I haven’t repeated it.  I learned how to deal with the car accident, and grieve in a way that was right for me.
Out of the Ashes
Grief is a hard thing to do.  You have to face alot of painful things.  Grief is different for everyone.  If my counseling has taught me anything – it is how to handle your grief, “your way” – and to allow others to grieve “their way”.  Its not wrong, its just different.  That still doesn’t mean that it’s not hard to go down a path as a family unit still.

One year later, I look back at not only my journey, but that of my family’s.  I’m married, buying a new home, and keeping busy at work.  Lauren has since become an IRONMAN!  Ava has graduated kindergarten.  The Mom’s and Dad’s are still finding their new normal with their daughter gone, but they are moving forward.  We all are.

I have been listening to Christian music most of my life.  A song that has really seen a lot of play on my iPod alot lately is “Aftermath” by Hillsong United.

“Now all I have I count it all as loss

But to know You, and to carry the Cross

Knowing I’m found

In the light of the aftermath”

Click to listen:  Aftermath

My family is still rising out of the ashes – the aftermath of my sisters death.  I think we will be rising out of the ashes for some time to come.  Regardless – we are still standing.  We are firm.  We are faithful.

To the significant others in our lives – Keith, Dan, Lisa, and John…You lost just as much as we did.  But thank you for still allowing us to cry on your shoulders and handle our bad grief days with grace and love.

Jennifer Herro Pascar

Day 29: Worship songs we sang at the home going and my reflections……I Still Believe!

I still believe

This song was my personal song selection to the worship service.  I selected this song because it was written by Jeremy Camp and was the first song he ever wrote.  It was written during his grief journey after he lost his first wife to cancer.  His wife Melissa passed away a few months after they married.  In his book, “I Still Believe”, he talks about early after Melissa’s death, God told him to pick up his guitar.  Jeremy replied to God that he didn’t want to pick up his guitar.  God told him again to pick up his guitar.  So, Jeremy in an act of faith picked up his guitar and he says the words began to flow and in a short time, “I Still Believe” was written.

Because of how this song was born, I felt the words were the closest to what our family was walking through.  Again, in a church of 500 people with overflow in another building and through the hallways and in the parking lot of Salado United Methodist there were an estimated 1200 people, with our arms raised and tears flowing, I didn’t understand why……. Why me Lord?  Why my daughter? Why my grandsons? Why my family?…… and this song expressed some of what I was feeling:

Scattered words and empty thoughts
seem to pour from my heart
I’ve never felt so torn before
seems I don’t know where to start
but it’s now that I feel Your grace falls like rain
from every fingertip, washing away my pain

[Chorus:]

I still believe in Your faithfulness
I still believe in Your truth
I still believe in Your holy word
even when I don’t see, I still believe

Though the questions still fog up my mind
with promises I still seem to bear
even when answers slowly unwind
it’s my heart I see You prepare
but it’s now that I feel Your grace fall like rain
from every fingertip, washing away my pain

[Chorus]

The only place I can go is into your arms
where I throw to you my feeble prayers
in brokenness I can see that this was your will for me
Help me to know You are near 

Please click to watch Jeremy sing “I Still Believe”:  I Still Believe

I have received the most feedback at Lizz’s homegoing service around the spirit and presence of God during the worship and singing of this specific song.  Many have personally told me, they haven’t felt the presence of God like they did at that moment as this song was being sung.  Many of the cards and letters I received have mentioned this also.  I have to agree.  Even in this tragedy,   God was so amazingly close and present.  The worship leader shared with the family what it was like for him to stand in front of the church leading the worship and witness this amazing moment.

As we approach the 1 year anniversary of their home going, I can testify that his grace is sufficient.  I still don’t understand the why……but I do have hope.  Hope from my Savior that overcame death.  Faith in the promise when he told us, if we believe in him, that where he is, we shall be also.  Hope that this life is not the end, but the beginning.  And hope that through this pain and suffering, God will use me and Lizz’s story to spread that message of hope.

So, yes, I still believe.  His promise that his grace is sufficient is true.  Do I still grieve?  YES!  Do I still hurt?  YES!  But I walk this journey with my Lord and he promises that He is faithful.  I am a living testament a year later that he is faithful.

Dear Lord:  Thank you for your grace that has fallen in my life like rain.  Thank you for holding me and at times carrying me through this valley.  Thank you for your closeness during this past year.  And please hug my baby girl and those amazing boys (which means you will have to wrestle them down) and hug and kiss them for me.  Tell them we carry on……and you are still showing me a path…….but with every breath I have, I want to live the rest of my days telling about you and honoring the memory of Elizabeth.  Amen

Julie

Day 28: Worship songs we sang at the home going and my reflections…….Courageous

I have written a previous blog posting about the song Courageous and the significance of Micah 6:8 to Elizabeth and our family.  When the movie Courageous was released John and I went to the movie theater to see it.  We have always been a supporter of Sherwood Baptist who produces faith based movies.  They produced Facing the Giants, Fly Wheel, Fire Proof, and Courageous.  We thought Courageous was an amazing message about Father’s and their very important role in God’s eyes in our families.  We felt so strongly that we told all our children that we would be babysitters and buy movie tickets if they would go watch the movie.  Elizabeth took us up on the free babysitting offer and she and Sam went out for dinner and a movie and saw Courageous.    Elizabeth would later comment how much she wanted to raise her young boys into Courageous men of God!  Casting Crowns worked with Sherwood Baptist to write the song that would accompany the movie by the same name…..Courageous.  As you listen to the song, at one point, you will hear the background vocals begin singing:  Seek Justice, Love Mercy, Walk Humbly with your God.  Those three phrases are based on Micah 6:8 that says:

 And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.

As part of Hayes’ nursery, Elizabeth had made a LARGE wall hanging with the words:  Act Justly, Love Mercy, Walk Humbly with your God.  It was to be a visual reminder to raise her boys to be courageous.

One of the most moving parts of Elizabeth and the boys’ home going service is when we played this song as part of the videography that Lauren had put together to remember Elizabeth and the boys.  Our families began singing  “Seek Justice, Love Mercy, Walk Humbly with your God” while pictures were being played on screen.  Next, row by row, the people in attendence joined in.  It was an incredibly moving moment.

If you haven’t seen the movie Courageous, it is available at your local Christian bookstore.  I would encourage you strongly to watch this movie.  My favorite scene is from the end of the movie, when the main character Adam is speaking at his church.  Click here:   Final Speech from the Movie Courageous

We are inviting any man whose heart is willing and courageous to join us in this resolution. In my home, the decision has already been made. You don’t have to ask who will guide my family, because by God’s grace, I will. You don’t have to ask who will teach my son to follow Christ, because l will. Who will accept the responsibility of providing and protecting my family? I will. Who will ask God to break the chain of destructive patterns in my family’s history? I will. Who will pray for and bless my children to boldly pursue whatever God calls them to do? I am their father. l will.  I accept this responsibility, and it is my privilege to embrace it. I want the favor of God and his blessing on my home. Any good man does. So where are you, men of courage? Where are you, fathers who fear the Lord? It’s time to rise up and answer the call that God has given to you and to say, “I will. I will. I will.”

Elizabeth wanted her home to be full of grace and raise COURAGEOUS boys by their already COURAGEOUS Dad!

Please click to listen to Casting Crowns sing Courageous:  Courageous

The only way we’ll ever stand
Is on our knees with lifted hands
Make us courageous
Lord, make us courageous

Where are you men of courage?

Julie

Day 27: Worship songs we sang at the at home going…….

Another song selection that we sang at the home going for Lizz and the boys’ was Chris Tomlin’s “White Flag”.  It is from  their Passion 2012 event.  I hear this chorus and it takes me back…..listening to a packed church with hands raised, reaching for the sky singing, surrendering everything……

We raise our white flag
We surrender
All to You
All for You

We raise our white flag
The war is over
Love has come
Your love has won

Here on this Holy ground
You made a way for peace
Laying your body down
You took our rightful place
This freedom song is marching on

And these words have never rang more true today than almost a year ago when we sang them.  I have raised the white flag of surrender.  The first year of my grief journey has taught me that.  Love has come and Love has won!  Love holds my daughter and my three grandsons.

I hope as the music plays, you will close your eyes, and worship to the one who is both Truth and Grace, and who laid his body down and took our rightful place.

Click here:  White Flag

To Him all glory, and honor,

Amen,

Julie

Day 26: Worship songs we sang at the home going……

Over the next few days, I want to highlight some of the songs that the Diem/Herro/Dowdy family selected and sang at Elizabeth and the boys’ home going.  For those that were there with our family, many of you told me how you felt the amazing presence of God in a way that you hadn’t before…..especially at a funeral.  Even in such sadness, our God was there comforting us.  Our family felt strongly that we were going to worship and give glory to God that day, in spite of and even in this circumstance.

My prayer for today is for those that attended the service, these songs will bring you close once again to the Great I AM!   For those that weren’t able to be there that day, I hope you too can use this to draw close to our precious Lord.

Today, I want to share one of the songs we sang……”Light up the Sky” by the Afters.  Listening to this song almost a year later and hearing the lyrics, I have come to appreciate them even more:

Light light light up the sky
You light up the sky to show me You are with me
I can’t deny
No I can’t deny that You are right here with me
You’ve opened my eyes
So I can see You all around me
Light light light up the sky
You light up the sky to show me
That You are with me

Please click to listen:  Light Up The Sky

Thank you God…..for you have shown us repeatedly that you are with us…..through your closeness, your peace, your comfort.  But also through your creation……through rainbows, butterflies, geckos, crickets, hummingbirds, baby birds and most recently dragonflies.  Thank you for opening my eyes!  And thank you for your loving and comforting presence that was oh so very close that July 30th, 360 days ago today.

Breathe……

Julie

Day 25: Favorite worship songs over the past year…..Overcomer!

Today’s selection is a song of encouragement.  I love, love, love the message of this song! Love the tempo, love the words and the singer….Mandisa!  Mandisa as you may remember was on the 5th season of American Idol and finished in 9th place.  Today, she is a contemporary Christian singer.

Whatever it is you may be going through
I know He’s not gonna let it get the best of you

You’re an overcomer
Stay in the fight ‘til the final round
  You’re not going under
‘Cause God is holding you right now
You might be down for a moment
Feeling like it’s hopeless
That’s when He reminds You
That you’re an overcomer
You’re an overcomer

Everybody’s been down
Hit the bottom, hit the ground
Oh, you’re not alone
Just take a breath, don’t forget
Hang on to His promises
He wants You to know

The same Man, the Great I am
The one who overcame death
Is living inside of You
So just hold tight, fix your eyes
On the one who holds your life
There’s nothing He can’t do
He’s telling You

Have you really considered that thought?  The risen Lord lives within us!  I know I am still learning about what that really means.  I think if we truly understood the power and significance of the Great I am, the one who overcame death living inside of you and me, how different would we live?  Because as Mandisa says……there’s nothing He can’t do……He’s telling you and me.   And there is one thing I know……because of Him……I AM A OVERCOMER!  AMEN!

1 John 4:4:  You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.

So, stand up, turn up the speakers, raise those hands and sing!  Overcomer

Blessings,

Julie

Day 24: Favorite worship songs over the last year……Beauty will rise!

The Day 24 song selection is from Steven Curtis Chapman, again from his Beauty will rise album.  This song is the title track.  This song is based on Isaiah 61:1-3:

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
    because the Lord has anointed me
    to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
    to proclaim freedom for the captives
    and release from darkness for the prisoners,[a]
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor
    and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
    and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
    instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
    instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
    instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
    a planting of the Lord
    for the display of his splendor.

The lyrics to the song follows and are some of the most transparent words……

It was the day the world went wrong
I screamed till my voice was gone
And watched through the tears
As everything came crashing down

Slowly panic turns to pain
As we awake to what remains
And sift through the ashes
That are left behind

But buried deep beneath all our broken dreams
We have this hope

Out of the ashes
Beauty will rise
And we will dance among the ruins
We will see it with our own eyes
Out of these ashes
Beauty will rise
For we know joy is coming
In the morning

In the morning
Beauty will rise

So take another breath for now
And let the tears come washing down
And if you can’t believe
I will believe for you

‘Cause I have seen the signs of spring
Just watch and see

Out of these ashes,
Beauty will rise
And we will dance among the ruins
We will see it with our own eyes

Out of this darkness
New life will shine
And we’ll know joy is coming in the morning

In the morning,
I can hear it in the distance
And it’s not too far away
It’s the music
And the laughter of a wedding and a feast

I can almost feel the hand of God
Reaching for my face to wipe the tears away
You say “It’s time to make everything new
Making it all new”

This is our hope
This is a promise
This is our hope
This is a promise

It will take our breath away
To see the beauty that’s been made
Out of the ashes
Out of the ashes

Again, I chose the video that has Steven performing live, no back up band,  just a dad and his guitar, singing a song he wrote about his daughter……

Please click to listen:  Beauty will Rise

Hope you are blessed!

Julie