Burnt Stones and Rubble

The other day I was inspired to write after listening to the song “Smoke Clears,” by Andy Grammer. The chorus repeats these words:

You’ll never be alone
Even when your world explodes
‘Cause after all the smoke clears
I will be right here
I will be right here
When the smoke clears
I will be right here
When the smoke clears

I was reminded of so much hearing the chorus. I thought of all the bombs, both literal and figurative, that have blown up relationships and visions of what life is supposed to be like. I was also reminded of the darkest days of my husband’s 2013 deployment. The song, “Grenade,” by Bruno Mars was popular and every single time it came on the radio, what can only be described as a mixture of fear and rage came bubbling up out of me and I mashed the button for a new radio station immediately. I thought, “How could someone go on singing about catching grenades for a loved one when my loved one might actually be catching a grenade for me and everyone else in the US.”

Stupid “love song.” That song spoke only pain to me. At the end of the day I didn’t want my husband to catch a grenade or anything else for me; I just wanted him home, whole, in one piece. While no grenades were thrown, a vehicle born IED was detonated in the province where my husband was stationed. In fact it was detonated very close to where my husband was standing. That explosion is the literal bomb that changed the course of our relationship and the picture of what our life should look like.

For a long time the smoke lingered and the rubble smoldered. The after effects from a momentary explosion are long lasting and not easily sifted through and put back together.

I was angry. The rage I felt over the song, “Grenade,” was nothing compared to what I felt in the months and years post explosion. In recent months there has been a lot of healing; individually, together, and as a family. We have been surrounded by people, wherever we have been stationed, who loved us -all of us- and supported our physical, mental, and emotional health practices.

This morning I sat down to read to my daily Bible study. Its title is “Faith & Work,” and it is a study of the book of Nehemiah. It is a study of how faith and work rebuilt the wall around Jerusalem that seemed all but lost-smoldering, broken, ruined. The commentary that accompanies the study talked of remembering. Remembering all the good works God has accomplished. It spoke of looking back in the present in order to move forward into the future. So I did and I was struck by something that is said by the enemies of the Jews, “Can they bring these burnt stones back to life from the mounds of rubble?” –Nehemiah 4:2 I read this and I thought, those stupid enemies, of course they can bring the wall back from rubble. They believe in a power greater than themselves and with Him anything is possible.


I am often tempted to look back-not to remember-but to despair at the burnt stones and mounds of rubble of the life I thought I was going to live or the relationships I thought was going to have. BUT, today I was reminded to look back and remember that those burnt stones and rubble are the new foundation for a marriage and a family, for partnering and parenting. Here’s the phrase I first skipped when I read Nehemiah 4:2 this morning: “back to life.” The enemy didn’t question whether or not the Jews could rebuild, they questioned whether or not a city and a people that had fallen into ruin could be brought back to life.

As the smoke has cleared from the explosion in my life, my relationships and my life have not simply been rebuilt, they’ve been brought back to life. What was once burnt stones and mounds of rubble have been used to create a better foundation for the life I envision leading; life that not only has enlivened human relations but more importantly a life that has real relationship with God. He never left me alone and He is most certainly standing right here as the smoke clears.


  1. Jenny Lynne, you have made me even more proud of how you are living according to what God wants for you and your family. Keep up the Faith, you will help your sons and husband so much, because FAITH can move mountains.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s