Take These Ashes

Take These Ashes

When you've walked through fire, what does it look like to sift through the ashes and faithfully wait for God to bring the beauty He promises? "Take These Ashes" explores broken relationships, grief, forgiveness, anger, trauma and how God's redemption often looks different than what we pray or hope to see unfold. Episodes include personal conversations and the voices of experts to help guide you to healing through your own hard stories.


August 28, 2020 6 mins

Take These Ashes Trailer- We all want the beauty God promises us in Isaiah 61. We forget, though, the beauty follows the ash.

This is an original spoken word piece by host Heather Lobe Johnson, introducing the podcast's themes of fire, ash, and beauty.

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We all have stories of walking through fires... maybe small, maybe monumental. But materials that pass through the flame are inherently changed, including us. Whether your story includes loss, trauma, prolonged illness, or broken dreams, listen to Heather's story for encouragement that:

  1. Your pain is valid. 
  2. You're not alone in the fire (Isaiah 43:1-3).
  3. This pain and brokenness is part of the fuller arch of the Gospel, as we wa...
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When we walk through challenging seasons, what happens to our faith? Our view of God? 

In this episode, host Heather Lobe Johnson discusses these questions with writer and philosopher, Hilary Yancey. Hilary talks about the fires in her life, and how she wrestled through questions, doubts, and quiet prayers to the faith she has today. 

Resources mentioned in this episode:

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September 7, 2020 13 mins

Could it be that our fires are holy ground, where if we’re paying attention God can speak into our lives?

In this episode, we enter into the story of Moses and the burning bush (Exodus 3). Through this encounter with God, Moses was given insight into God's character, a promise, and a directive. 

Like Moses, our fires can be the things that draw us into God’s presence, where we begin to pay attention,...

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September 14, 2020 37 mins

When we walk through "furnace seasons," does God feel distant or present with us?

Daniel 3 takes on an extra layer of meaning for young widow Danita Jenae, who has been sustained by Jesus's presence through intense loss this year. Heather and Danita talk about the intense isolation of trials, how God comforts us when we walk through pain, and the importance of giving ourselves grace to rest in the exhaustion of grief. 

Resources me...

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When gold is refined, fire burns away its impurities. But when we're in the fire, it sure feels like we ourselves are being burned.

This episode is a conversation with guest Shannon Geurin, a woman whose story of a redeemed marriage points us back to God's restorative work. Heather and Shannon discuss whether our heartaches and hardest events burn or refine our lives, and though their stories are different, they ultimately come to ...

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In this broken world, we're bound to feel the burn of broken relationships.

KJ Ramsey, therapist and writer, joins Heather for a conversation about learning to feel safe in relationships after woundedness. Whether your hurt stems from family, church, a marriage, or friendship, unhealed wounds can affect your view of relationships with others and God. But through coregulation and interdependence (explained by KJ in this episode), we...

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October 5, 2020 6 mins

There is power in processing our pain.

It’s going to take time. It’s going to take space to process. And it’s going to require grace for yourself to take both that time and that space.

When you're just outside of the flames and you're not sure how to begin sifting through the ash, you may wonder where to begin.

In this plac...

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October 12, 2020 11 mins

Often times when we walk through great loss or change, we cannot go back to how life was before.

So now here in the ashes, we must grieve, forgive, heal, and rebuild.

I hope in sharing more of my story (a continuation here from Episode 1) and the stories of others, you will hear that healing is possible. Rebuilding is possible. And hope is possible again.

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We don't have to be perfect or get it all right when God calls us good. And that is freeing.
*Note- this episode includes conversations around mental health and suicidal thoughts. Please listen with care for your own soul (and a mindfulness about those who might be listening with you). 
Wendi Nunnery and Heather Lobe Johnson discuss the proce...
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October 26, 2020 15 mins
Do you believe God is trustworthy? 
When we’ve been through broken relationships and pain in this world, sometimes it makes it hard to see God as good. When we see Him through our broken lenses or as the source of our pain, it can make it hard to trust Him.
If we're going to surrender the most integral parts of ourselves, our prayer requests, our addictions, or our shattered hear...
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    When we’re in the embers, do we run back to the fire, do we stay in the ash, or do we fully surrender to the healing process God has for us?

    In this episode, Heather is joined by her husband Ryan who shares his story of how his addiction to prescription pain killers eventually brought Him to the Lord and sobriety. Heather and Ryan discuss the process of true surrender, the need for transparency when we’re struggling, and parallels ...

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    November 6, 2020 6 mins

    At the end of this week, one of unrest and unknowns, we turn to God as our ever-present help and comfort. Listen as Take These Ashes host, Heather Lobe Johnson, reads Psalm 46 (NKJV and The Message translations) and prays for God to help our hearts be still in Him.

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    “We don’t pray because it guarantees a certain outcome. We pray because it ushers us into the presence of God.” –Nicole Zasowski

    In this episode, Heather Lobe Johnson and Nicole Zasowski discuss:

    • The space between what we thought would be and what actually will be
    • Identifying the wounds of our pasts and the ways we try to protect ourselves; restoring love and trust in relationships (including with ourselves)
    • Nicole’s struggle ...
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    Rather than pushing grief aside, how can we make space for it? 

    This week, Heather Lobe Johnson is joined by Thelma Nienhuis, author of Quiet Assurance: Meditations on Peace for the Grieving Heart. Thelma shares about her own story of lingering grief (in the loss of her mother at a young age, infertility, and spousal caregiving). In this episode, Thelma also:

    • helps us find new language to address our grief
    • talks about Scriptur...
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    When we are bruised and broken, the holidays sometimes accentuate the ache within us.

    Our brokenness doesn’t get to take a break at the holidays.

    In fact, sometimes these broken parts of ourselves get even louder in comparison to the joy we see around us. Listen to this episode with Heather Lobe Johnson on why it's important to tend to our hurting hearts during the holiday season. 

    Show notes:

    • 1:40- Heather's own story with gr...
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    Part of the healing process involves grieving, and "going right up to the edge of what you think you can't bear because some of it is so painful to look at." 

    Author and speaker Amanda Anderson joins Heather Lobe Johnson for a rich conversation about our emotions, processing past pain, naming the hurts, and ultimately finding comfort for our grief with the God of all comforts.

    Show notes:

    • 4:11- Amanda's ash story of anxiety, d...
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    When the unexpected rises up, how do we respond?

    Mary knew God’s character, she understood His big-picture plan, and she trusted Him with open-handed surrender. Listen to this episode about the Magnificat (Mary's prayer in Luke 1) and hear what we can learn from Mary about trusting God--especially this year. 

    Resources mentioned in this episode:

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    On our darkest days, we have to keep chasing after the light.

    Author and speaker Dorina Gilmore joins Heather for this conversation about finding light when we’re living in the shadows of grief. This is also a timely conversation as we reflect upon the hard year of 2020 and head into a new year. A few highlights from this episode:

    [2:14] Dorina’s story of walking through the fire of unexpected loss and grief, and what it means to b...

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    Where is God when we suffer? Where is the abundant life promised to us? What does Scripture have to say about grief?

    In this episode, Heather Lobe Johnson is joined by Kristin Vanderlip to discuss how pain is addressed in the Bible, and how God meets us in our suffering. Through Kristin’s own story of unexpected loss, she came to see hope in a real, lasting way. She also found a surprising connection to a certain Bible story that m...

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