Ashley's Story

She will leave fingerprints all over your heart


The Wheels on the...

..."car" go round and round, round and round, round and round. Ash and I accompanied Allison on a road trip to Dallas this afternoon to be picked up by her Aunt and her cousins so that she might attend a birthday party this weekend. As I drove back this evening I glanced in the rear view mirror to see the most amazing smile on the most beautiful almost three year old I know. In that moment I was taken back almost 3 years ago as I glanced in my rear view mirror to see the face and the look of wonder that came across it as I drove that beautiful baby girl to her home for the very first time in her life. It was her first time ever outside the walls of a NICU and the world was so large and she was so small. Her six month old eyes were full of wonder as she looked around and tried to figure out where she was. The tears in my eyes clouded my view of her face in my mirror and my heart screamed with thanksgiving as I prayed the whole drive home. It is unbelievable to me that she is fast approaching 3 years old, and that she is mine. Her reflection is in my rear view mirror and not someone else's. She is still with us. I am humbled beyond words and more than grateful.

As I watched her this afternoon she caught sight of me watching and began to roll her little hands "round and round" in order to cue me in that she would like to sing her new favorite song. So I began and the smile on her face grew larger and larger with each verse. "The wheels on the bus go round and round, round and round, round and round", I sang. She rolled her wheels with such happiness that my heart screamed once again with thanksgiving for this child. This amazing child who has changed my heart and my life more than I would have ever imagined.

In the early morning hours of our day I lay in our bed listening to her "talk" to herself. She was trying so hard to say something. Anything. I listened as her little tongue and her lips clicked and sputtered and squealed. She wanted to talk so badly and I wanted more than anything to make it possible for her. As she continued to "talk" I began to pray for my child. There are those moments when I am desperate. Desperate to help her with her struggles. Desperate to give her the abilities she does not yet have. I want to hear her speak. I want to see her walk. I want to listen as she talks my ear off about nothing really that important but something that means the world to her. I want to walk along the trail at the park with her tiny hand in mine as she skips and jumps across the cracks. There is nothing in the world that I would not give to make these things possible for Ashley Kate. As I prayed I began to feel convicted. What are the things that He wants for me? Are there things that He so desperately wants to bless me with? What areas in my life does He ache over because I have not yet learned or don't comprehend? How broken my heart is for Ashley Kate. How broken the Father's heart must be for me. What am I struggling with that He wants to change for me if only I would allow. In those moments of realization my heart broke and ached over my own lacking. There are many, many areas of my life and my heart that need "therapy".

Still I am learning from this child. From her struggles I continue to see my own. How blessed I am to have her. This tiny example of trust. Of strength. Of innocence. Of joy. She is a gift. A precious gift we have been given and will never be worthy of. God smiled on me the day my phone rang and my heart opened up. He heard my deepest prayer and the cry of my heart and He gave so graciously to our family. For as long as I live I will never be able to say thank you enough.

As I type her daddy readies her for bed. Tiny cupcake pjs trimmed in pink gingham have been pulled over her head. He wipes her bangs out of her eyes and kisses her on the forehead. She scrunches up her nose and smiles that smile we love so much. He says, "night, night time" and she shakes her head "no, no" smiling the whole time. He scoops her up in his arms and she rides in the crook of his arm into our bedroom. An image I hope to never forget. We are blessed. Blessed more than I would have ever imagined the day I answered and said, "hello".


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