Ashley's Story

She will leave fingerprints all over your heart


Its been a long time

Its been a long time since I've allowed myself to log on to this journal and pour out my heart. I haven't spent too many days of late allowing my heart to spill onto these pages. Nothing in particular stands out as to the cause for this. Just lots of little stings here and there over the years that have brought me to the place that I now sit. I guess I'm just more cautious about what I share and for the most part the inside of my heart just kind of stays there. Inside.

But, tonight as we drove the rainy road home from the ball fields in Grapevine my heart was full and the memories of those exits and those roads we were on came flooding over me. I shared a little with Dave and then retired back to the bed with my own thoughts until I drifted off to sleep.

The last four years have been amazing. They have been hard. They have been ugly. They have been beautiful. They have been more than we could have ever dreamed, ever imagined, ever hoped. In ways that are both good and bad.

As we drove passed the exit that led to the hospital our sweet Ashley Kate spent the first six months of her life in I became overwhelmed by the memories. I drove that road and took that exit with the biggest burden my heart had ever carried. I drove that road and took that exit with the most excitement I had ever felt. I drove that road and took that exit crying more tears than my eyes had ever shed. I drove that road and took that exit more times than I could count. Some days with my eyes shut. Literally. Thank God for His protection over us during those months. Those long, emotional, draining months. Then finally I drove that road and left that exit with more joy than my heart had ever held and more fear than I had ever known. All wrapped up in one amazing moment. The moment that I took her tiny self out of that hospital and tucked it safely into my car for the ride home having no idea what her future, our future, would hold.

To see her now, today, as she played in her chair with the rain pouring down all around us those days seem distant. What joy she had as her eyes twinkled at the fields tonight. It was cool, and crisp outside. Darkness had settled in and the lights were on all around the field. It was the light that caused the rain to be illuminated in such a way that she could not only feel the rain but also see it as it fell. She was so happy. So very happy. She pointed and stretched and "showed" me the rain as she watched with more joy than I could ever explain to you. I signed rain for her a few times and then I took her hands and showed her how to make the sign. From that moment on she signed "rain" again and again and again. I watched her with as much joy as she was feeling and thought to myself, "God has brought her so far. So very far". To see her today at four years old, living the life that He has given to her, sitting in her chair, unable to run and splash in the puddles, but so able to find the beauty in that moment. It blessed me so very much. I could hardly believe that she had made it to this place. To that moment. After all the hurt, the fear, the pain, the struggle, the fight, the impossible. She is here to enjoy the rain that is falling around her.

Ashley Kate is a living, breathing, testimonial to the power of our God. I see her and the images of where she's been, what she's lived through, and all she survived flood across me. Others see her and I wonder what they see as they try and figure her out. I so wish there were a visible explanation that when strangers looked her way they could instantly know the power of God and all that He has done. I'm sure our friends remember as they watch her at the ball park, but I so wish the man who became so frustrated by her play yesterday could know. He was so irritated with the noises her happy little self was making that he commented loud enough to make sure I heard him. I sat for a while and thought I'd just let her be and allow her to play, but his frustration was growing so I finally took her back to the RV. At first I was hurt and a little bit angry with him as he stared and voiced his disdain to others, but then I just became sad. Sad that he missed the beauty of who she is. Sad that he would never know. Not that he would never know Ash, but that he would never know the power of God in her life and what He has done in her.

So... when I wonder why I still come her, to this place, to this journal, I remind myself it is for "that" man. For the ones who still stumble across this sight, for the ones who are sent here by others, for the ones who have been so faithful and are still interested, for my children and for myself. I still come here to share the awesomeness of God and how He chose to show it to me through the life of my youngest child. It is something I hope to never forget and something I hope to never fail to share. Most days it is has become a simple recording of her schedules and progress, but every once in a while it is still a glimpse into the heart of her mom.

Whether it is one or the other doesn't really matter to me. What does matter to me is that I never leave this place without feeling grateful. Grateful for her life, for her every breath, for each moment, milestone, and memory. There were many days when I feared she wouldn't live another, breathe again, or experience any more. If for no other reason than that its still worth it for me to visit here every day or two.


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