It's been a busy summer. You are probably thinking the same thing. Where did it go? I hope everyone reading this had a good one with time off, time with family and friends, and time for recreation and reflection.

The saga of rebuilding our house continues after the fire. The construction workers are making good progress and the roof beams are going up. It's beginning to look like a house again. 

Much has been destroyed. The original crew which came in to pack the things that weren't destroyed in the fire tossed everything they deemed unsalvageable into a pile in the back yard.

As I picked through their pile, I found things that I thought I could save. One silk flower arrangement in a clay pot was covered in soot. The silk flowers were singed and droopy. I picked it up, took it to our rental house, and scrubbed the clay pot clean. Then, I pulled out the flowers and replaced them with fresh, new silk flowers I purchased, securing them with glue. The clay pot looks better than ever.

I thought about God's promises to lift us up and restore us when we are sitting on the dump heap of life. Isaiah writes, "He has sent me to bind up the broken comfort all who mourn and provide for those who grieve in Zion, to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes...and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair (Is. 61:1-3)."

Throughout the Bible, we see how God does this repeatedly. Moses was forced to flee Egypt when he killed a man and hid in the bush, tending sheep for 40 years, until God pulled him off of his dump heap and commissioned him to lead the Israelites to the promised land. 

Jesus confronted the woman at the well who was considered a social outcast and invited her to drink from his well, which never runs dry. She became that day an evangelist to her town, sharing the good news she had just heard with those who previously wouldn't give her the time of day.

As long as we are breathing, God has a plan for us. If we are on the dump heap, his plan is to scrub us up, put a crown of beauty on our head, and a song of praise in our mouth. The ashes and despair will flee. We will be better than ever. Praise God!