TITLE: Beauty From The Embers Of Yesterday
By Cori Mann
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Unendurable heartache tormented me, grief threatened to swallow me in its jaws of annihilation for over five years. Even now, I find it hard to believe that my home burned down to mere cinders. Everything I held dear turned to dust on that terrible night. The most devastating of all was the death of my thirty-five year old husband and two-year old son.
Their lives tragically and suddenly ripped from me when the flames ravaged furiously through our home. I can remember that night as if it were yesterday. The visions in my mind rage on. Looming over me like a dark cloud is the anguish of my colossal loss.
After the fire my mind was beleaguered with wondering how horribly they could have suffered. When I closed my eyes, I was plagued with many visions of my husband and boy trapped in the fire that horrendously took their lives. These images and thoughts became nightmares, they ranged from them dying peacefully in their sleep from smoke inhalation, to horrific images of their being burned to death and suffering terribly in the process.
I had no idea and still do not know the particulars of their death in the fire. I do know one thing that does not give me much peace. That is the fact their bodies were not recovered. Woven into the ashes of our home, their remains rest.
I remember not wanting to live after that night. I internally died along with them. There was no life left for me without my husband or sweet son. I could not eat or sleep properly and a deep depression further diminished my less than mere existence. My life resembled the ruins of my home and I was imprisoned in deep misery.
I moved in with my mom who did all she could to comfort her distraught daughter. I was inconsolable and blamed God for the incredible loss of husband and son along with the place we called home. A home I felt should have killed me too. I used to regret being out of town when I received the call from a neighbor telling me what happened. Regret that came from wanting to die with them. I felt isolated in my grief.
Mom had become a Christian eight years ago but I did not want any part of this God she believed in. How could I believe in a God whom allowed people to burn to death? One that took away my son and the man I loved.
Mom was kind and gentle and never pushed or pressured me about her faith. She just kept telling me how God was her strength. She too was stricken with grief over the loss of her grandson and son-in-law.
My mom loves life and loves her Lord Jesus Christ. I couldn’t understand why she did not blame him for taking them away from us. How could she still believe in this Jesus who allowed so much suffering?
It was four years later after the fire that I came to understand more of this man Jesus and began to seek him for the same strength he gave lavishly to my mom. I crawled to him with my wounded heart that had burned down to embers with my home, husband and son. I cried out to Jesus with all of my sorrow, anger and frozen life.
It did not happen overnight. I felt nothing after I asked Him into my heart. My pain did not go away instantly. My husband and son did not come back to life. Living each day was still difficult. Each step that I took toward living was as painful as before.
I began to go to Church with my Mom every Sunday. At first I felt like an empty shell just doing the motions. I had no job anymore, no husband or son. I stopped associating with my friends, lost contact with my previous work colleagues. Everything and everyone was gone except my Mom, God and the Church I attended regularly.
After one year of giving my life over to the Lord I began to realize that He could heal my hurts. He understood my pain. He wanted to use my pain to help others who were suffering just like me.
That is when I began to write. I wrote my pain on paper. The healing journey began with a pen and the Prince of Peace. I wrote my story and asked God to help me line after line.
Growing Spiritually and writing my heart out I began to heal and become whole again. Something I never thought was possible after losing it all. I certainly never thought my writings would get published yet they did. My first published book was born out of the pain I endured.
Ignited inside of me is a holy flame that comes from the Lord. This is not the same kind of flame that killed my family. It is a flame that I will carry in His name forever. A flame that would not kill or harm, it was a flame of life and love. This flame came from the Heaven’s above.
Descended upon me is the love of the Lord and His healing power. After leading me to still waters, He then restored my soul. The gentle guidance of His calling has sent me into a ministry focused on helping other women who have suffered great loss.
Today, I am remarried to a strong Christian man and have three beautiful sons. This too is something I never thought possible. I now know that nothing is impossible with God. Like Job my life has been restored and He has blessed me ten fold.
I will always miss my previous husband and I will carry forever the goodness that he bestowed on my life. The time we shared was a wonderful gift that I am so glad I had. My son will remain in my heart forever and his memory will always be the sweetest whisper in my heart that will never go away. One day I will see him again, together we will dance in heaven.
Cancer took my Mom’s life just after my third son was born. I am so glad she saw the fruits of her prayers as she watched my life come full circle. She left me the legacy of God’s undying love. I thank Him always for my mother and her faith. He used her and my suffering to bring me to a place where I could accept him into my heart and life.
I also thank Him for the miracle of new love and life. He has blessed me abundantly beyond my ability to imagine. I am so very blessed to have been given a second chance at love. The joy of children light up my new home that God built. Out of the embers of yesterday came my miracles for today.
“I know that you can do all things; no plan of yours can be thwarted.” Job 42:2 (NIV)
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