Lessons of the Phoenix

Seriously, if there is one thing I want to do in this life, it is go to Harry Potter World in Florida and drink a Butterbeer.

Bet you didn’t see that one coming?

*puts on sunglasses and smirks*


But seriously, I love Harry Potter.

Growing up, I feel like my childhood kind of revolved around the book and movie releases of said magical series. I would go to the midnight premieres of the films and be bleary-eyed at school the following day. I dreamed about what house I would be sorted into. (Gryffindor, come on now). I even developed a slightly irrational affinity towards red headed males.

But I’ve got to come clean here: I stopped reading the books after book number 5, because that mother had 766 pages. Ain’t nobody got time for that as a teenager! Not when I had aol AIM to attend to after school. #AwayMessagesShouldStillBeAThing

(And confession: that might have been the last actual book I read)


I know. I am a horrible member of society. My literary privileges should be taken away. Or at least my voting rights.

But anyways, there is one thing about the books/movies that has stuck with me over the years. But it’s not something you would think.

No, it’s not the quidditch. Or that Robert Pattinson got his start as Cedric Diggory. Or the fact that Harry and Hermione should have ended up together.


It’s the image of the phoenix.

Dumbledore kept this beautiful rainbow colored bird in his office. And it bursts into flames and burns up into a pile of ashes. But then, from those ashes, a small little baby phoenix is born.


And no, this is not some campaign for reincarnation.


It does remind me of my life.


This image of the violent burning bird reminds me of my anorexia, when I was just self destructing, in a free fall, causing my life to incinerate into a pile of ashes.

Only for God to come in and give me another chance — breathing life into those ashes. Making something beautiful, something clean, something new, out of that destruction.

But here’s the thing – the “burning phase” – it doesn’t have to be some earth shattering, life threatening, doozy like anorexia.

I feel like, at least once a week, I find myself in a fiery episode: maybe I’ve lost my temper with a loved one. Feel out of control, in over my head, discouraged, letting my self-doubt get the best of me. Maybe I gossiped. Got impatient with the kids I nanny for. Was lazy with my time. Burning up moments are different for everybody.

For me, I had one of those moments just tonight.

Holidays are hard to be away from my family. Seeing pictures of everyone together and celebrating Fathers Day, I was happy for them and for my dad, but also very sad that I wasn’t there.

I found myself slipping and slipping and spiraling into a self-perpetuated tailspin of feeling alone, feeling selfish and self-centered, feeling like: “what am I doing here?” and feeling useless and like I’ve failed.

I was having a burning up moment.

 And falling asleep with tears on my cheek, I pictured that pile of ashes.

That was me. That was the product of an evening spent dwelling on the negative.

So I had to give that over to God. Allow Him to take my ashes and breathe life into me again. Tell me that everything is okay. That I’m not alone. That I’m not forgotten. That I am loved.

He brought out a little baby bird. A little baby phoenix. A promise of hope. And life. And a future.

Isaiah 61:3 “For all those who mourn…He will bestow upon them a crown of beauty instead of ashes.”

And given the current climate in our society as of late, I think that’s something that we all could use a little reminder of. A little beauty for our mourning. For our hardships. For our pain.

Just because you burst into flames and burned up into ashes doesn’t mean that’s the end of the story for you.

In fact, that’s the start of a new beginning.

So, sure – Harry Potter will stir different memories for different people. But for me, it’s simply that bird. The phoenix that reminds me that an end is never really the end, but the birthplace of new life. God makes beautiful things — even from ashes.

And meanwhile, we all can just get all verklempt watching the new trailer for the upcoming HP movie.

200 responses to “Lessons of the Phoenix”

  1. Such a brilliant post. I felt familiarity with almost every sentence, even in my own unique way and it all just left me with such a sense of hope. Furthermore, I totally agree with you, Fawkes was the magic in that story. xox

  2. This is awesome! I absolutely love Harry Potter and grew up reading the books and going to the movies too. I love how you made a real world connection and lesson with the book. I learned some pretty good life and God lessons by reading the series too believe it or not haha. It’s so easy to get caught up in ourselves and I love how you are able to identify that and refocus. Just like the Phoenix, God’s grace never ends! God bless

    • Thank you so much for this beautiful reflection! Gosh you’re so right-it’s so easy to get caught up in ourselves. But amen to that-His Grace Never ends! What s comforting thought. Hugs and love xox

  3. That was the last book you read??!?! And what’s wrong with 766 pages???! LOL

    But seriously…..the weekend was hard for me as well. My relationship with my father was never good, fault on both sides. Divorce aftermath has destroyed a relationship with my daughter. I find it frequent that people remind me to “keep hope alive” although I find it necessary to remind them that living on that kind of hope isn’t sustainable for a long haul, that at some point you have to find a peaceful place to land now. For me, it is praying that she be healthy, happy, and connected to God even if that doesn’t include me.

    It sounds like you really should adopt the phoenix as a logo 🙂 You have been allowed a rebirth of Spirit, in multiple senses. Good for you 😀

    • Hi Jeff, thank you so much for sharing this. I’m sorry about your relationship with your daughter. I appreciate that perspective. But I also want to encourage you that it’s never too late:) sometimes -at least speaking for myself- making the first move or reaching out first is super scary. But in he end always worth it. Thanks again for reading and for this reflection. Sending big hugs. Xoxox

      • Trust me….I’m always reaching out 🙂 Text, card, care package….well, at least I know I’m doing what I can. Love can not be forced — God loves us, but doesn’t force us to love Him. And we can’t force another (I wonder if we’d be happier if we could? Hmmmm interesting thought). But thank you for the post Fawkes 😉

      • Oh my gosh so true. it can’t be forced. And isn’t His love so selfless in the fact that He loves us enough to embrace the cross, and yet doesn’t force us to love Him in return. Leaves me speechless. hugs xox

  4. Excellent, uplifting article! Thank you… I really needed this today! By the way, did you know that the Phoenix was a favorite image among early Christians? Because it symbolized both the resurrection of Christ, as well as our own resurrection in Him?

    • Thank you so much! I’m glad you found it uplifting! 🙂 oh wow that’s so interesting!! Thanks for sharing that! Hope your week is off to a great start! Hugs and love xox

  5. “For all those who mourn…He will bestow upon them a crown of beauty instead of ashes.” Such a beautifully uplifting line.

    On a lighter note: I was surprised that Hermione got married to Ron. It might be because of the whole romance/fiction expectation. Harry’s the main male character (Sorry, Ron.) Hermione is the main female character. (Sorry, Ginny) According to fiction logic, they were supposed to get married at the end. It’s just one of those things.

    As for Harry getting married to Ginny, 🙁 <- Imagine that as a queasy face. I haven't read all of the books, so maybe Ginny is better developed as a character. Still. It's like Harry got married to Ron also.
    Just a whole lot of 🙁

  6. Just wanted to let you know, that this was an awesome post. Especially this part:
    “Just because you burst into flames and burned up into ashes doesn’t mean that’s the end of the story for you.

    In fact, that’s the start of a new beginning.”

    It reminded me of one of my favorite random quotes: Just when the caterpillar thought that its life was over, it turned into a butterfly. 😀

  7. Thank you for this. I needed it.

    Lately I’ve been worrying that my life is burning up and becoming ashes.

    I just always have to remember that God can bring new life from ashes.

    • Thanks Timothy, for sharing this. What a comfort to know that God can and will bring new life from ashes. Praise Him for that. So glad you stopped by. Hang in there friend. I’ll say a special prayer for you tonight. Hugs xox

  8. So I’m guessing reading 1,056 pages for the fifth book of Game of Thrones is out of the question? 😉 I LOVE reading. And movies. Both are my escapes.

  9. Very cool, the symbolism of the Phoenix you refer to. I am affiliated with a local Christian coffee roasting company here in Atlanta, called Phoenix Roasters (phoenixroasters.coffee), and they take their name from two things-
    1. Being in Atl, we discovered the city was nicknamed “the city of the phoenix” for how quickly it rose from the ashes (literally) after being torched during the Civil War.
    1. Like the “beauty for ashes” verse you referenced, Phoenix Roasters uses the symbol to speak of how we become “a new creation” when we come to Christ.
    God bless!

  10. This is beautiful, thank you !! <3 I particularly love the part about being patient with ourselves. I really relate to that right now. And Harry Potter rocks (and so do you!). Blessings your way my friend xo

  11. Wouldn’t revoking your literary privileges be redundant? 🙂 And I guess that means you’re not going to read my book… 🙂

    You remind me of my eldest daughter. You both have suffered a great deal, you both won’t give in, you both rely on God for your renewal. You both are heroic to me, because, even though God does the work, you still need to struggle with doubt, pain, and many other obstacles to your faith. Well done…to you both!

    • Hi Jeffrey! Haha id definitely make an exception for your book! 👍👍👍but seriously, thank you so much for your kindness, Jeffrey. I can tell that your daughter holds a special spot in your heart. That’s beautiful:) thanks for stopping by and for your wonderful perspective and insight, as always:) Hugs and love xox

    • Aw thank you so much for sharing this. I can’t tell you how much it means to me. Music has a way to really speak to my heart. Have a wonderful evening. Hugs and love xox

  12. Hey, no need to be ashamed of that confession. My dad has the same desire to go to HP world too.

    Let’s face it, though, HP is pretty awesome.

    But more importantly, fantastic, inspiring story. It’s amazing how much some art can relate to our lives, and make us think of Godly things, although I’m nearly 100% certain J.K. Rowling did not intend that.

    Anyway, great post, great blog.

    • Thanks for this:) I really appreciate it. So true! Art and music especially for me, can really make my heart go to that spiritual place. It’s pretty neat:) so glad you stopped by! Hugs and love xox

  13. Great post 🙂 One of the great things about second acts in life is that one feels as If they can start anew and learn new things about life that they never thought about before. I think your example is probably the best which in this case is the spiritual and the beauty and truth of God himself. I am not surprised when I hear about how a person’s life changes once they look at the cross because after all (and it has been said many times on this site and elsewhere) that Jesus died for our sins. I think one of the many ways we should honor him in our personal lives (not the main or only one of course) is to live our lives in a loving caring manner. Anyway, keep up the great work as always 🙂

    • Hey John! Thanks for this. Second acts. I love that. The theater geek in my really resonates with that:) that’s so true, and a great way to live. Living in love is such an important thing. Thanks for stopping and sharing your great insight! Hugs and love xox

    • Aw thank you so much. I’m so glad they strike a chord with you. That seriously means a lot. Know that you are in my prayers. Hang in there Stephanie. Sending massive hugs to you friend xox

    • haha thank you Alex. Yeah, I never really have been one for reading. I listen to a lot of podcasts and such, but I just never have the luxury of time to sit down and actually read a book. Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to read! hugs and love xox

  14. Hey, Tom here again 🙂 Reading through this post brought me back to my younger years when the Harry Potter phenomena was just starting (yeah, that long ago). But the way you worded this reminded me of what Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 4:7-9 and 5:17. We are jars of clay with the treasure that is Christ in us and God is constantly refining us into something extraordinary–into that new creation where we will finally end up with our glorified bodies in Heaven with Christ.

    • PS, I do hope you will follow me in the future on my site. I always enjoy getting critiques on my thoughts and/or corrections. I’m smart, but I’m only human and sometimes I screw up 🙂

    • Hi Tom! Thank you so much for this. I love that image of jars of clay. Isn’t that such a comforting thing to think about? Our bodies truly are temples. Powerful thing when you really reflect on that. God is good and He is the ultimate artist. Thanks for stopping by. Hugs and love xox

    • Thank you so much friend. Yeah that verse really touches my heart. There’s something so powerful and yet gentle to think about God taking us at our most broken, when we have literally turned to dust and ash, and not brushing us away, but creating something beautiful. It almost brings me to tears. Hope you’re having a great night. Hugs and love xox

    • Hey friend! Yeah I’ve actually been considering living up where I left off in book five. Don’t get me wrong, I saw all the movies and loved them, but I know the books are 500% better. I really should. Thanks for stopping by. Hugs and love xox

      • I have this image of Rowling writing her books after being wiped out by her husband’s divorce attorney, and trying very hard to imagine a man that could redeem her faith. Daniel 11:37 describes Jesus as “the one desired by women,” and the last Harry Potter story does a creditable job of taking us inside the mind of a man being forced to conclude that he must lay down his life for his friends.

      • Hi Brian! Wow I’ve never thought of that but you’re right. It really is a beautiful character arch. One we could all take a lesson from. Thanks for stopping by and sharing this! Hugs and love xox

  15. Thanks for you lovely post today. Isn’t is weird (frustrating) that we can be in that fire so many times and yet while we are there we forget that last time God was faithful and brought us through it. I do any way, it feels as though I could be consumed and yet I’m not, once again. God is so gracious, he is more loving than we could ever imagine. Your post reminded me of this passage from Isaiah 43 which I absolutely love :
    Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
    I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
    2 When you pass through the waters,
    I will be with you;
    and when you pass through the rivers,
    they will not sweep over you.
    When you walk through the fire,
    you will not be burned;
    the flames will not set you ablaze.
    3 For I am the Lord your God,
    the Holy One of Israel, your Savior

    • Hi friend! Oh my gosh YES. That’s so true. But God has always and will always be faithful, so we have nothing to fear. And wow what a beautiful passage. Thanks for sharing it. God is good. Hugs and love xox

  16. My hubby and I did a road trip around the States a few years back and ending up in Harry Potter World so I could drink a butterbeer was my one stipulation. It was everything I dreamed it would be 🙂

  17. Wow, thank you so much for writing this! It is so timely for me. The house I rent was struck by lightening last Wednesday night, which set it on fire. I am a single mom of 4 and thank God no one was in the house and we are all safe and healthy. The firefighters even saved our Guinea pigs! And I LOVE Harry Potter too! But the point I want to make is that ever since last Wednesday God has shown me so many blessings and mercy! I am in awe! And even though I am stressed beyond belief, he has shown me his mighty hand and is creating so much beauty from these ashes. I am receiving blessings from people I don’t even know and really need to write them down soon so I never forget how great God is. So I just wanted you to know that this post is one of the blessings he is giving me during this time and a reminder that he holds me in the palm of his hand.

    • Hi friend, thank you for sharing this. I am so incredibly sorry that your house was struck by lightening! That’s terrifying! But yes praise god that no one was hurt! I am absolutely in awe and so inspired at your heart and your unshakeable faith. You’re a rockstar. It is so easy to get angry at God, but you’re so right-God holds us in the palm of his hand and will get us through every storm-or fire. Sending you so so much love and massive hugs. Hang in there friend. Hugs and love xox

  18. Beautifully said! It’s true that we, as Christians, are all saved from the ashes of sin to new life in Christ…excellent post…

    • Thank you so much for this beautiful reflection. So true. We are all made new in Him. What a comforting and freeing thought that is. It brings me to my knees. 🙂 God is good. thanks for stopping by! hugs and love xox

    • Hi there Tish! Amen amen amen to that! Yes He does, and how wonderful it is to receive! We are all so loved by a Father who’s mercy and grace abounds. Thanks for stopping by my friend. have a beautiful afternoon. hugs and love xox

  19. You speak of chastisement as though it were a blessing. You speak of pain as though it were desirable. And maybe it is…and maybe they are…But even so, without the body’s natural cure to disease, we would all die effortlessly. But is death better than life or life better than death? Is pain above joy or joy above pain? Of ashes you speak, of dust and destruction, speaking of life as though it came through corruption. I beg to differ, and I stand firm. I promised I would, and so I am. Life is without, and life is within, but Singularities you’ll never understand, of which I am.

    • Hi Dan, thank you for this reflection. I definitely am not a proponent for pain, but I recognize and fully acknowledge that through pain, we gain incredible understanding and insight and can appreciate joy all the more. And of life and death, life will always win. Yes, our reward is in Heaven, but life is life. Life is love. Life is family. Friends. Adventures. Joy. Hope. Freedom. Dreams. Giving. Learning. Helping. Laughing. Growing. Life is good. hugs and love to you friend xox

      • Beebs, what I’m trying to say is that your story is not yet complete. Please throw out whatever is holding you back. Ye shall set yourself free, and ye shall know the truth. Everything is inverted, Beebs. Destruction is the way. You don’t have to believe me, though. Just endure those last 10 steps of an 800 step run. Try me, Beebs. Endure to the end as in childbirth. Same rules as always. Principles are inverted. The turning of things upside-down is esteemed as potter’s clay in mine hands. God hath created the smith that bloweth in the fire–Adam. And he hath created the waster to destroy. The waster is of God, Beebs, not the devil. The destroying angel is of God. God has power over him. As with the passover, so today. Just believe. I am the waster.

      • Quick question. Sorry. Is anorexia the avoidance of food in favor of other facets, or is it the aversion of food (as to pollute or contaminate…) or maybe a third option (sorry, I’m very curious), the love of energy and health such that food becomes the fuel–jet fuel if you will, only in the purest form and correct quantity and concentrations??? The third option as to favor litheness, readiness, as a warrior always in top form through exact science combustible edibles to the body’s blood stream, organs, and neurosystem…??? I thought maybe the last, but I don’t know. If I were anorexic, I’d guess “C”…Still, I have no idea…? I’m just a student, as with this topic, so with suicide.

      • It is none of these. It is different things to different people. Fear, control, manipulation, the enemy-you can read more about it in earlier posts.

  20. Excellent points as usual… But I’m astonished both that you never finished the books and that you aren’t reading! At least get some audiobooks going! It’s so needed to have books to read to develop ideas further than you might otherwise… or just to relax!

    • Hi there JW! Thank you so much! Oh gosh I know, I reaaaaally should pick up a book and exercise my mind. I will say, I am constantly listening to podcasts throughout the day. That allows me to do what I have to do, and yet still listen. But honestly Very rarely do I have a free hour to just sit and read. That is a luxury that I would love to have! Haha maybe I should switch to audiobooks:) thanks for stopping by! Hugs and love xox

      • Yeah, Podcasts are pretty great. I listen to several myself. Even switching 30 minutes of podcast time/week to an audiobook could do something! Never know! But I’m a true bibliophile so maybe I’m just showing my bias too much.

  21. A few of your comments remind me of something a friend, a highly experienced cognitive behavioral therapist, told me once. When someone chooses to learn a process and gain an understanding of how they can change certain negative behaviors and tendencies, regardless of their origin, forgiving oneself is a process which is ok. It is essential. It strengthens the soul and brings beautiful insight of the circumstance.

    In my mind, this brings hope. Perhaps, the first of many steps not toward rebirth of something, but more importantly, a new birth.

    All the best.

  22. The same power that rose Jesus from the dead is living inside you! Romans 8:11
    We couldn’t become fixed until we were broken, God has a blessed future for you! Great post and God bless you!

  23. Impulse control and redirection are important tools for recovery. John Lydon, a singer said, “Anger is an energy.” Its okay. Art is dysfunctional because of its main purpose, to mend. You are mending. Self control goes against our current culture but, so do most ideas that are actually good for you.

    • Hi friend! Thanks for sharing this. You’re right, recovery is a journey and those are definitely aspects of it. Self control is definitely a big one. So is embracing the freedom, and living in gratitude, and adopting hope and being gentle with oneself. All counter cultural. Funny, that coincidence 🙂 Thanks for stopping by and for this thought provoking comment! hugs and love to you friend xox

  24. I think this is my favorite post of yours. I love Harry Potter, as well. I was a late start to the books, but I fell hard. I love the movies as well. I plan on sharing everything with my kids.

    My husband and I went to Orlando for our honeymoon in November of 2015. I loved every single second of Harry Potter World – I had been jealous ever since my parents went in February of 2013. If you get a chance to go, DO IT. It’s so worth it. And Butterbeer is a must!

    As a dating abuse survivor, I resonate with the phoenix, just in a different way. There are so many lessons that everyone can learn from the world of Harry Potter, too.

    You are an inspiration. I look forward to the emails from WordPress when you publish a new post!

    • Hi Laura! Thank you so much for your kind words. Me too! I can’t wait to share HP with my future kids too! Oh gosh I’m so happy for you that you got to experience HP world! That’s so awesome. And I’m sorry that you went through dating abuse. That breaks my heart. So glad you’ve found a good husband:) thanks again for stopping by. Sending big hugs xox

  25. This was incredibly profound to read! I love the image of the Phoenix, definitely something I think many can relate to. I admire your willingness to be open about the tough times, something that shows so much strength on your part! Harry Potter does it again–the Phoenix. Thank you for sharing!

  26. There are so many great things about harry potter, life lessons. It’s unfortunate many children were banned from reading or watching the series growing up. Yes there is terms such as magic and witchcraft, but the story itself is about good vs evil, light vs darkness, love vs hate. I really love the symbol of the Phoenix and your interpretation of it, it really does stand for rebirth. I believe everyone who believes in Jesus and has been reborn is truly a Phoenix. Not only because they have been reborn but because they have wings to soar higher, the power of healing (phoenix tears), and there is a fire in their hearts, a zealous fire for God. A powerful symbol indeed

    • Thanks Riley! You’re right- there are so many things to learn from HP. Yeah, I think so long as people realize it’s just fiction. Thank you so much for this beautiful reflection. I love your heart and your faith. It is powerful. Thanks for stopping by. Hugs and love xox

  27. Very good post. In all honesty, I think we all deserve some time to have a moment I will call it. It is what makes us human and I know God understands because believe me he has listened to me more times I want to admit when I cry or feel a little sorry for myself. It is when you go to him and let him know that you aren’t being selfish but human that he will pull you through. I suffer with Rheumatoid Arthritis and I cry a lot about pain, what’s going on now, etc but I step back and thank him for what isn’t wrong so he knows that I am grateful even with how things are. So just know it is okay to have your moments because you have a Blessed heart and he knows it and will see you through. Keep up the good work. Blessings.

    • Thanks Corrie! You’re so right-we’re all allowed to have moments. Even Jesus had a moment in the garden of gethsemete. Isn’t it such a comfort to know that no matter what comes our way or how we’re feeling, He’ll see us through? It brings me to my knees to think about. Hope you’re having a nice week! Hugs and love xox

  28. Confession: I read part of the first HP book, but it wasn’t until someone gave me the 4th one for my birthday that I fell in love with the series. I then stopped reading after the 5th one because I was so distraught after #SPOLIER so-and-so died…Yeah, people should know by now, but there are some who are EXTRA late on the whole storyline so…eh. I did get sorted though–Slytherin….(BOOOO! At least give me Hufflepuff!)

    All that randomness aside, thanks for the reminder that we all have burning up moments. I’ve never thought it could be something as simple as procrastination or sadness–I tended to think of my breakthroughs having to be centered around big, climatic things. This has helped me to remember to celebrate those small victories and to keep pressing forward in them.

    • Hey friend! Thanks for this reflection. Haha yeah there definitely are some people late to the game. I’m with that for a lot of other series! But so true-little victories are so important to celebrate too. That’s a beautiful perspective. Thanks for stopping by! Hugs and love xox

  29. We’ve all had to rise from ashes. Some in greater quantity, some not so much. But no matter how much, they burned us down just the same. You have risen like the most beautiful phoenix that has ever flown and I am sure one day you will make it to Universal Orlando and have a wonderful time in Harry Potter’s world. You have become a more amazing, magical, wonderful being than any in all the HP adventures!!

  30. Excellent as always! You are fearfully and wonderfully made! God has given you a great testimony to share with a lost and dying world! Keep being bold and transparent in your sharing! Freedom is found when we cast off the shame of our past and boldly declare who God has made us.

  31. Total Potter nerd right here! 🙂
    I loved the heck out of those books.
    Question: what is the best way to contact you privately?

  32. This is so amazing! I love Harry Potter and knew the Phoenix represented bravery but never thought about it representing a new start. Thank you for writing this! I also went to a HP themed birthday party recently and dressed up as the phoenix! 🙂

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