Monday, February 1, 2016

Beauty From Ashes

Have you ever been handed the results of something and realize there is nothing… NOTHING good that could come from this?

Simple illustration – the first time I baked a cake, I missed a key ingredient – baking soda.  The results left me burying the mess in the garden with hopes that my brothers wouldn’t see it. 

No such luck.

The dumb dog dug it up but couldn’t eat it so there it lay in the front yard looking not unlike a square hockey puck.

Recipes have key ingredients – some taste ok on their own, while others are unpalatable – yet each individual item is necessary to get the desired results.

So when the recipe includes one drunk driver, six untimely deaths, a football player, devastated parents, a grieving community and one merciful God – what do you get?

Let me start at the beginning.

I have to admit it… I’d never heard of Siran Stacy before last week.

After all, when it comes to football, I spend most of the game wondering how a body can enjoy wearing short sleeves on a December day in Green Bay (perhaps their mothers need to get over the soup commercials and start promoting Carharts?) and how in heaven’s name did anyone understand what was going on before the computerized lines on the tv screen? (I speak blessings, peace and good will over the brilliant mind who dreamt up that idea.)

So when our pastor announced that Siran Stacy would be coming to speak at our church, I had no idea that when you invite Siran – you also invite the power of the Holy Spirit to knock your socks off.

Google 'Siran Stacy' and among the accolades of a successful Alabama running back, you will find the devastating story of a man driving home with his family one night, only to be involved in a crash that took the lives of his wife and four children.

Siren's wife and children
His journey through grief and forgiveness has not been in vain for on that November day in Alabama – that day when he went straight from the funeral of his two oldest daughters to the visitation of his wife, son and youngest daughter – that was the day he never could have imagined that nearly a decade later, he would be a key ingredient in bringing revival to a small town in Michigan.

Believers know that Satan is a thief.  His mission on earth is to steal, kill and destroy,

At times, he is successful – and his joy leaves us reeling with devastation, confusion and questions.

Where is God in all of this?

Why didn’t He stop this from happening?

Can He still be trusted?

I confess to asking these very questions when Camden died.  I was walking through the chicken barn when Tim called to tell me the news.  The words coming out of his mouth didn’t make sense.  They were foreign.  There weren’t true.  Couldn’t be true.  They were a lie!  HAD TO BE A LIE! 

“No!  NO!  Don’t say that!”

“Are you sure?”

“Why?  WHY, Tim?  WHY?”

“Call back and ask if they're sure.”

But Tim didn’t need to call. 

It was true.

And he didn’t know why. 

Nor did I.

Why God?  WHY?

Where are You?  WHERE ARE YOU?  Don’t You care?  Couldn’t You stop this? 

We went through the motions of mourning… hugs and tears and a visitation... a funeral... a meal at the church when it was over… and yet, we don’t like it.  We don’t like the outcome.

What can God do with this mess of broken hearts?

Yes, we cling to Him and proclaim He is good.  But admittedly, it’s words we speak and truths we choose to believe – even in the moments our spirits don’t feel like it’s true.

Yet, because of Camden's death, a connection was made that was so unexpected - a connection that brought Siran Stacy to our little town.   He brought with him a passionate message of truth.   He told the story of his own life and declared that “if you want peace – you have to learn to forgive!”

He called out to the teens about speaking life to on another and to be careful what you fill your minds with, “If you hang around dogs long enough, you’re gonna get fleas.”

He called out to men to humble themselves and become worshippers - “If you want anything from God, you’re gonna have to open your mouth!”

And then we saw the beauty of something only our Abba Daddy can do – He gathered up all those broken pieces, brought them together in one place… and beauty broke out.

Children worshipping

Words fail me – how can I describe the feeling of watching children worshipping – hands raised, full of joy?  How can I explain what it’s like to see the community come together, delighting in a God who takes our hurts and transfers it into something beautiful?  How can I best portray what happened there last night?

I only know that God knew each person in the room – and His message to each is this: 

“Pursue Me. 

All the things this world has to offer is NOTHING in comparison to the life I have for you. 

Pursue Me! 

Even when life falls apart….pursue Me. 

Satan comes to steal, kill and destroy, but I have come that you may have life and have it more abundantly. 

Pursue Me…

Only I can bring beauty from the ashes.

Pursue Me.”

And through our tears we begin to see the makings of something new and beautiful and good.  And we watch with anticipation for what our Father is about to do next.


Are you dealing with brokenness?  Feeling hopeless?  I’d love to pray for you.  Email your request here.

My kids were so honored to meet Siran
Be sure to visit Siran Stacy's website to learn more about his story.

Lynette Carpenter is available for interviews and appearances. For booking presentations, media appearances, interviews, and/or book-signings contact

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