Hard Anniversaries and Beauty from Ashes

Four years ago today, I got the biopsy results.

Four years ago today, I couldn’t catch my breath.

Four years ago today, I collapsed into Corey arms.

Four years ago today, fear was a physical presence surrounding me and pressing in.

Four years ago today, I was handed the monumental burden of figuring out the best way to break my boys’ hearts.

Four years ago today, I cried myself to sleep.

Four years ago today, my life forever changed.

Four years ago today, God allowed me to be reduced to ashes.

But here’s the thing. My God makes beauty from ashes. (He didn’t have to allow healing in my body, and this side of heaven I will never understand why some of us get to live to see our babies grow up and some of us don’t.) But he chose to heal me. And it is a beautiful thing to be on the other side of the greatest pain you have ever experienced and see how Jesus was there the whole time. Every. Single. Moment.

So today, though I will shed tears because anniversaries of hard things hurt, I will also bask in the love of a God who gave me today.

Today, my physical body is healed.

Today, I can inhale the arctic Iowa air because God chose to give me breath.

Today, I can collapse into Corey’s arms, not in fear, but in great relief and awe of what God has brought us through.

Today, fear hides in the shadows, but it doesn’t have a hold on me.

Today, I am figuring out how to plan a child’s graduation party, not how to break a child’s heart.

Today, I may cry myself to sleep, but they will be tears of remembrance and tears of joy.

Today, I am a different person than I was four years ago. And I like this person better.

Today, I live the beauty that can only come after the ashes.

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
    because the Lord has anointed me…
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
    instead of ashes,
the oil of joy  instead of mourning, and a garment of praise
    instead of a spirit of despair.

Isaiah 61:3

By KimHarms

Kim Harms is a freelance writer who lives in smalltown Iowa with her husband of 18 years and their three sons. She's a contributor at CT Women and has written for Guideposts, Chicken Soup for the Soul, Creation Illustrated and a variety of other publications. In 2016, Kim was diagnosed with breast cancer and underwent a bilateral mastectomy and breast reconstruction. This website chronicles her life after reconstruction and offers resources and encouragement to other women who are going through the reconstruction process.


  1. That was absolutely beautiful!!!! When we go through the refining, beauty does come the ashes. It’s not fun to go through but I’ll bet you wouldn’t change it because of the more beautiful person you are. Miss you and your family!

    1. Thank you Kim. So true. I wouldn’t change it, but if I was given the choice before it happened, I’m sure I would have said, “No thanks. I’ll pass on the cancer.” 🙂 Miss seeing you guys too!

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