Things I know...
How beautiful to see my Ashley begin to open her eyes. This is one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen. I have missed her terribly the last few days. It is so hard to explain the way it feels to look over at her and not really see her. She is now beginning to reach up for me to pick her up and oh how I wish I could. Her little arms are still in restraints and when she hears my voice in the room she reaches out for me to hold her. She doesn't even open her eyes to look to see if it is me she just knows that it is. So instead of picking her up I just bend down and kiss her fingers over and over again. She begins to settle and for now that seems to be helping. How blessed I am to have those tiny fingers to kiss.
I have had so many hours to sit and think as I have waited for her to come back and my mind is repeatedly going back to the day we were told that without a transplant Ashley had only 6 months to live. This was the hardest day of my life. It was my 32nd birthday and we had driven to Childrens Hospital in Houston for a second opinion. As the doctor talked to me my mind was racing and my heart was screaming. How could this be? We had fought for so long and struggled through so much. Never in the 9 months of Ashley's life did I think she might not live. I knew in my heart that if she could just come home to our house that she would get better. I am not sure if there is a word that decscribes the feeling you have when you are told that one of your children is going to die. Desperation? The pain is so great! A few days later I came into the kitchen to find my precious husband huddled over a sink full of dishes. His hands were covered with soap and his eyes were pouring tears. His shoulders were shaking and he was weeping from the deepest part of his soul. There was a song playing and it was talking about" how you would have thought by now that He would have reached down and wiped our tears away." As he listened to the words of this song by Casting Crowns he realized that we both honestly thought that our God would have fixed this for our baby by now, but the truth was that He had not. Ashley was not getting better and better, the truth as painful as it was to admit is that she was dying, and as her parents we could not help her. As we stood in the kitchen huddled together in a puddle of tears we continued to listen to the words of this song. That night we decided that even though we were in the middle of the ugliest storm of our lives we too just like the song said "Would praise Him in this storm because He is who He is no matter where I am". When you reach the place in your life when you truly see that no matter what happens to you good or bad He is still God and He is still to be praised you will never again be the same. When you see and understand that your children really belong to Him and that He is the one who controls their every breath you will never look at Him or them the same way.
I have often wondered why it took the illness in our precious Ashley's life to teach us this. Why didn't we get it before now? I don't know the answer to that question, but I do know that He is still God. I do know that He has given us a beautiful baby who He uses to teach me new things about Himself every day. I do know that without all that Ashley has endured I would not be the person I am today. I do know that He gave my Ashley a second chance at life just in time. I do know that she had lived 5 of those 6 months and she was running out of time. I do know that I will never again fail to see who He really is. I do know that I seek Him more and I rely on Him more than I ever would have without my Ashley's sufferings. I do know that He is using my daughter to bring us closer to Him. There are still so many things that I don't know and may never know, but I do know that He loves me and He loves Ashley and He loves all of you too.