The children were in bed, and I sat alone in front of the fireplace in the family room of my parent's home.  It had only been a few short months since Eddie's arrest, and though we were now safe, our world still spun out of control.  I watched as the flames reduced the logs to ash, and I wept.  "My life is just like that log, Lord.  It's been destroyed and I have nothing left to offer You but ugly ashes."  I read a beautiful passage in my Bible from Isaiah 61, then picking up my pen and journal, I poured out my heart to God in the following prayer:

Here, Lord,
Ugly ashes,
In an ugly bucket
That's all I have left.
I haven't known what to do with them,
So I tossed it about in my mind
And decided to bring them to You.
They're not very pretty. I'm sorry.
So very, very sorry.
I started out meaning well,
Wanting so much for You to be proud,
But look at the
Mess I've made.
I wanted to bury them
So no one would know what had happened,
But I couldn't.
So here they are.
I've heard that for them,
You will give me beauty.
If You will grant me Your beauty
For these dirty ashes,
I'll give them back to You
Through my life.
And this time, Lord, this time
I'll be a planting for You
That You might be glorified.

Ronda Knuth

Mr. Christmas
Perks of the Trade


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