Ashley's Story

She will leave fingerprints all over your heart


Facing my Giants

Since Ash has been down and struggling to stay awake this week I have found myself with a little extra time on my hands. I have used the time to catch up on some reading. I don't spend near as much time doing it as I used to, but this week I picked up a book I received for my birthday last month by my favorite author, Max Lucado. The book is called "Facing Your Giants". When I saw the title of this book for the first time I thought to myself how appropriate. I have a distinct memory of walking outside of my Ashley's room in ICU earlier this year and announcing to my friends(O.K., they were actually the nurses on duty that day, but I liked to think of them as my friends) that I did not sign up to fight giants. What was God doing? Cancer might as well have been named Goliath. Most of them just looked at me as though they didn't understand what in the world I was talking about, but a few of them began to giggle and nod their heads as I explained that I felt like I was David staring into the face of the giant Goliath.

As I read through this book I am finding myself devouring the pages that he writes. Max talks about David. He tells of him as a young boy, fearless in his faith. Facing lions, bears, and giants armed with his amazing faith in God. Then he tells of the time that the prophet came to Jesse's house looking to anoint the next King of Israel and he finds the king in the most unlikely place. Not the eldest son. Not the smartest son. Not the most handsome or talented son. I think Samuel is actually astonished when he looks at young David who has just come in from shepherding the sheep. Dirty, smelly, scrawny, immature. The Father tells the prophet, "This is the one."

"God does not see the same way that people see. People look on the outside of a person, but God looks on the heart." 1 Samuel 16:7 (personally I love this verse. God can see inside of our hearts regardless of what others think they know about us)

I continue reading through the pages and find myself following David as he runs from King Saul. The thing about David is that he didn't always do the right thing. His faith wasn't always strong. Sure the foundation was always there, but as he flees from Saul and fights for his life he begins to look at his circumstance and takes his eyes off of the Father. How guilty I have been of doing the same thing at times in my life! What I love about this book is that I am reminded that David was a man after God's own heart. What? He makes mistakes. He doesn't always do the right thing. He really screws things up at different times in his life. Why? or How? can God consider him a man after His own heart? Because of this: David doesn't allow himself to stay away from God. He repents. He pours his heart out before him. He longs for fellowship to be restored. He doesn't just say, "Oh, well. I messed up. Guess I'm on my own now." He goes to the Father again and again and again and restores his faith and his relationship. How encouraging I am finding this!

I can so relate to David. When I was younger my faith was strong enough to fight lions, and bears, and giants. As I grew older there were periods in my life when I allowed my faith to rest and become weak. I have seen only my "circumstance" looming before me and instead of crying out to the Father I have tried to "fix" it on my own only to make a disaster out of my life. I have lived this way, and even now at times I find myself looking at my "circumstance" and not the Father, but the beautiful thing about our God is that He knows our hearts. He knows that even though I may be struggling to find my faith for the moment my hearts desire is to be close to Him.

My sweet Ashley Kate is a visual reminder to me of what faith can do. Her very life and breath reminds that the God I serve is big enough to sign me up to fight the giants that He allows to come before me. On the days that I struggle and my faith seems to be weak He uses this tiny person to show me what He can and will do if only I will look to Him. I continue to have days of doubt and fear and struggle, but He continues to wait patiently for me to cry out to Him just as David did, " Be merciful, O God. Be merciful to me! For my soul TRUSTS in YOU, and in the shadow of YOUR wings I will make my refuge."

Its been a tough week. Admitting to myself that my faith is feeling weak has been tough. After celebrating her last infusion of chemo, we still have had to watch her go through the side effects of that infusion. Today she is slowly coming out of it. She stayed awake and played for close to 30 minutes this afternoon and then it was back to sleep. She woke again this evening and sat on the bed to play for another 30 minutes or so and now she is back asleep. My giant at this time is fear. Fear while she is so weak. Fear of more tumors hiding in her tiny body. Fear of what is coming next. Is there a Goliath standing on the hill just waiting for me to show up so that he can begin mocking me and my faith? I have no idea. Is there a Saul pursuing my Ashley so that it can attempt to take her life? I pray there is not. My faith is real even when the fear seems to be more real. My God is real and He is near even if I struggle to see Him standing next to me. My prayer is that during my weaknesses He will become strong in me.

Having faith doesn't make us perfect. Feeling weak doesn't make our faith disappear. God is God even when we don't feel strong. Facing giants and admitting to myself that I continue to struggle with them has been a painful but very necessary process for me this week. Thankfully God does know my heart and He does hear me when I cry out to Him. Where would I be if I didn't believe? I would be crumpled beneath the feet of those giants. Instead I am looking to be delivered by the very One who can bring the victory.


At 11:49 PM , Blogger jtcosby said...

Struggling daily with my giants...and I have NOTHING like what you are going through...thank you for the is good to be reminded that God knows me...and still loves me dispite my matter how many. Thank you and praying for the little Gherkin (do you guys have a pickle ornament for your Christmas Tree? There's a story behind it...I will have to look it up though.)
Night ;)

At 1:02 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

My dear Trish, I believe when you start being vulnerable like the rest of us and stop being this brave Godly woman inside a book, you will get real and loose fears of giants.You have the Lord, the giants cannot hurt you. Yes, your journalism abilities are good, but so are others. When a Christian that calls the Lord "Father" every other sentence and yet so very sweetly (with venom) attacks a negative comment someone makes (and you do) has some missing pieces. Would those of us reading each day or once a week, be very surprised to find the real you? Are you always kind, sweet and grateful? Are you as together as you sound? Are there callouses on your knees like there should be from the way you write? You speak of giants and slaying them and monsters on the mountains waiting to get your daughter. Is it something that sounds good, or are you afraid? do you know how to ask Jesus to take these fears and let them go and get out of the way? Burdens are lifted at Calvary and at the foot of the cross. I am not trying to be mean. Not at all. We want to continue to hear about Ashley Kate and God's work in her life that has to be God because there is no medical reasoning that she should have lived through so many of the experiences you have written about. I cannot wait to sign on after work each night and see how the baby is doing, I have just never left a post. Please continue. Just be as real as your husband seems to be. I am sorry to be the one but several are thinking it. I was elected. slay your giants but never forget everyone and every life has giants and mountains and heartaches some day by day as yours are. Some are even scarier or more hurtful. Some commit suicide because they could not bear them. Jesus came to help, serve and save. People who have problems and have grown through them can share Him with you, too.
Another thing, people take the time to write in to let you know they are out here and care but you only respond to the negatives directly.
God Bless your Ashley Kate and other children, Dave and yourself. Please continue to post and write your book. I just pray it has a happy ending so Ashley can sign it, too.
Omaha, Ne

At 6:58 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, my word! Another inappropriate posting!!!!I would say someone is very REAL who posts their life on a public blog to be read by others.Posting the ups and downs of a very sick baby who has many times has an undetermined road ahead of her. No one could handle this any better than Trish. Her writing allows us to peer into her world where I see her constantly on her knees before her Father. She writes of her fears...That is real my anonymous poster! We all face giants every day & will continue to do so as long as we live in this earthly body. I personally am horrified that someone would attack a mother of a baby like this and do it on the baby's journal. Her writing is real, raw, and unusually gifted. Colleen in Ohio praying for Ashley

At 9:20 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a beautiful post it personally touched my heart and uplifted my spirit. Thank you for sharing so much with us Trish! Praying for Ash and whole family! (((hugs))) ~Chan~

At 9:24 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I loved reading through your post this morning. A bible study I'd done on the life of David (A Heart like His by Beth Moore) has always been one of my favorites. To know that maybe I could have "a heart like His" despite my many shortcomings is so encouraging to me. Thanks for the sweet reminder.

I've only posted a time or two throughout Ashley's story, but I've been here reading and praying the whole time. From what I can see, your writings have always been both eloquent and straight from your heart. You have been honest about your hopes, your fears, and your faith. You have allowed yourself to be vulnerable in front of us - allowed us to lift you (alongside of Ashley) in prayer. You have acknowledged our prayers for your family, and shown your gratitude for that daily.

Thank you for sharing not only your Ashley's story, but also your heart. I'm guessing that heart of yours is "a heart like His."


At 10:28 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you once again for sharing another entry in Ashley's journel. As we pray daily for healing and strength for Ashley, we pray for comfort and peace for you and your family as well. May Jesus continue to work in your lives and may you continue to bring us such a wonderful testimony of God's amazing grace! We love you, though we've never met you, but the spirit we share is the same. PLEASE keep us posted on Ashley and all of you! Truly take care in HIS love!

At 10:36 AM , Anonymous dee buchanan said...

It's amazing what God does in and through us in spite of our shortcomings. I am so sorry that through all of the emotional and physical struggles with Ashley, that you have to deal with struggles over her journal. Although, I hope you come to the conclusion that the good far outweighs the bad, and the Lord is using it to remind all of us of his faithfulness, his goodness, and our weakness when we do not allow Him to live through us. Please don't stop writing. This has been a powerful tool to encourage all of us, and in spite of your "weaknesses", a faithful testimony and witness to his love and power.

At 10:42 AM , Blogger Amy T said...

My heart goes out to you. I just want to say that you and your family have been an inspiration to me. I know it's hard to put your vulnerabilities out there for all to see. I pray God continues to guide you and let you feel the love and prayers from us. I feel the need to jump to your defense, but will just pray harder for you and your family to feel God's healing arms around you.

At 11:22 AM , Blogger Krista said...

I needed this post today and at this point in my life. Ashley's story has been a great Blessing to me and my family. I just read the negative comment left by 'anon'. I am sorry that you have to deal with this type but in today's society it is inevitable. You are a beautiful person. I knew you once a while ago and now I know your heart. So what if you have some fear, God knows we cannot be TRULY free from fear, especially when it comes to our sweet babies. Ashley has been through so much in her little life--God has shown his miracles. We will continue to love her and your family and we will continue to Pray. Keep writing your beautiful words, as they inspire so many of us out here that sometimes forget our own Blessings.

At 11:33 AM , Blogger Wendy said...

An open comment to Anonymous:

Ashley's journal is touching many, many people. Trish is very brave to post her feelings - which include her doubts and fears, along with her faith and love of our Lord. I don't understand posts like YOURS, Anonymous - you claim to be Christian and yet you post a hurtful message and hide your name. Being Christian is more than just *saying* you are - it means walking the walk. No one "chose" you to be hurtful - you made that decision on your own. Shame on you. Pray - read your bible - look into your heart and discover the true meaning of Christianity. Treat others how *you* would like to be treated. The Golden Rule - something we should all follow.

Trish: Please don't listen to people who clearly have an agenda to cause further grief in your life. Perhaps you should block anonymous posts and take away their forum for their cruel comments.

*hugs* and prayers to you and your family. You are an amazing example for the rest of us.

At 11:55 PM , Blogger Paulette said...

geeesh, Anonymous stop hiding behind anonymous! Leave this family alone. This isn't about you, it is thier story.

Trish just delete them, or maybe just pray that God would convict them. Please keep writing, it is a gift and so beautifully heart felt.
I love checking in on all of you everyday and I want to continue to do so.
The only direction you should take is pushing delete on this rude person!
Praying for you all. I love Ashley.

At 2:52 PM , Anonymous Molly said...

Well! I never! Can you hear the southern belle in me dripping out?
Where does it say that David was never fearful, scared or hurt?
How about Jesus, he got angry when he was protecting His Father's house.
I have watched Trish on the soccer fields, in the baseball stands at a party for her son, at her husband's office. She is not perfect. She would be the first to tell you that. She is real. I have seen her house. I have seen her yard. I have seen her look like a limp noodle (sorry Trish) but always she is the real deal. I have never seen her behavior to be other than what a Believer's should be: trying their best to imitate Christ. I am not sure about calluses on her knees but I know she has them on her elbows from holding her bowed head in prayer.
Noel has said all along that anonymous posts should not be allowed. As one who takes too much too personally I agree. I wish I had half the grace, peace, patience and forgiveness you do Trish. If you need to stop this blog, do so just don't stop writing these precious memories for your family. I won't stop praying for you guys every time I sit down at my computer and I won't stop praying every time we drive by your house. When my tiny niece was born I would keep friends and family updated by email on her condition. Later when she made it home from the hospital and I got to see her I had a book full of prayers and praises from others to give to my sister for her to save for Anslee so she would always remember what a special girl she is.
Trish you guys are wonderful. I remember many times when you have thanked ones for sweet notes, calls gifts...
Some people the devil has elected to be mean. That is Sad-U-see!
I will stop before my righteous indignation turns into sin.
Love you guys!

At 12:03 AM , Blogger Sarah's In the Midst of It said...

Anonymous, you need to keep your hypocritical, mean-spirited, holier-than-thou spewage to yourself.

For somebody who just bashed Trish for not being "vulnerable" (what a joke!), why do you hide behind "Anonymous?" If you can't take the heat, don't leave a comment!


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