If I close my eyes, I can travel back to the hellhole where I was redeemed. I can smell the sewage and feel the slippery, muddy path beneath my feet.
We pass a dump and I see a woman and child bending low, digging for something of value in the trash. The mom finds a half-eaten apple, wipes the dirt with her sleeve and slips it into her pocket. She pats her child’s arm as if to say, I’ve found another meal.
When I look at the dump, I can’t find anything of value, only trash and waste.
But that’s because I’ve never been hungry.
I have been desperate though and it turns out I needed rescuing from a pit just the same. Mine only looked like the American Dream. But it’s just as smelly.
God reached into a slum and found Esther, one of our new moms at Mercy House. She was hopeless and hungry, pregnant and afraid. She was desperate. But just like the queen she was named for, God had a plan, a promise for a hope and future.
He would once again use an Esther to save people from despair.
Against all odds, God rescued her and she gave birth to a baby girl. Esther named her daughter Jennifer, just two days after this precious Jennifer left this earth. This baby was born during a time of sorrow and pain, a tangled mess of mercy and glory, sorrow and joy.
But her chubby cheeks, pretty in pink life, her very name reminds us that He has a plan to create something beautiful from something broken. And even when we don’t understand it, we are not alone or forgotten.
He turns our sorrow into joy.
He trades the ashes in our lives for beauty.