An Evil Thing

It’s a blog day.  Found out someone I know was raped.  A while ago.  But I’m just finding out.  And she’s not my BFF.  She’s not someone I hang with – or ever really have.  But she is a beautiful, beautiful person.  Kind.  Generous.  Servant hearted.  Hard worker.  And sweet.  So sweet.  Not that any of that matters. Evil doesn’t care who it destroys.  And everyone is someone to somebody.

So, I have to write and figure this out. Because it doesn’t make sense why God would allow this to happen to her.  I’m heartbroken.  Over her.  Over the world.

When I was younger, really young, maybe even in high school, I remember thinking and even saying out loud, I’d rather be dead, than raped.  The thought of it was so scary – living life afterward seemed like such a horror that it made more sense to me to just die.

Time.  Experience with God.  A bit more wisdom.  And my feelings are different.  I’ve met people who have experienced this – or something similar – and these women are radiant.  And their lives enrich others.  They matter.  Their purposes matter.  And what happened to them once is not who they are. In fact, what happened to them once has propelled them to be so much more than they once were. So on fire to help others.  To be a rescuer.  To share and save and give of themselves for the sake of the hurting.  What satan intended to destroy – the disgusting ways he wanted to ruin – God took that gruesome circumstance and healed, showed Himself strong and loving, and actually USED it for GOOD.

I don’t pretend to get it.  And there is so very much I don’t understand. It hurts.  But I do know for certainty that God is good.  And that there is no evil, there is no destruction, no death that He does not have the victory over.  I have faith in Him.

Nahum 1:1-3, 7-8 ~ The Lord is a jealous God, filled with vengeance and rage.He takes revenge on all who oppose him and continues to rage against his enemies!

The Lord is slow to get angry, but his power is great, and he never lets the guilty go unpunished. He displays his power in the whirlwind and the storm. The billowing clouds are the dust beneath his feet. The Lord is good,a strong refuge when trouble comes.

He is close to those who trust in him. But he will sweep away his enemies in an overwhelming flood. He will pursue his foes into the darkness of night.

1 Corinthians 15:55 ~ ”Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O hell, is your sting?”

I really don’t know what else to say.  I’m so, so sorry this happened.  So sorry.  And I pray for my friend – that the healing comes quickly.  That God reveals more of Himself to her – that she rests in Him, sees more of Him and realizes how deeply loved she is by Him.

Letter to My 7 Month Old Son

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Dear Sweet 7 month old son,

it seems like yesterday we got the call surprising us with your existence and place in our hearts.  “It’s a boy!!!” I jumped up and down, paced frantically and talked a mile a minute as we notified grandparents and made plans to come get you as soon as possible….10 seconds would have been too long of a wait, let alone a 14 hour-across-the-ocean-and-most-of-the-coninental US trip through the night.  No sleep, but we made it (thanks to your mama’s sheer determination and so much help on the way from our family of friends).  That day was a good day.  Now you’re my little Clay Bear, which is so fitting because nothing has brought out the bear in me like you have.  Lord, help the lady who one day steals your heart from me!  It is going to be so very hard to share you.  I still can’t believe how much I love you…..

Everyday is Forever Day

Can I just say that I love that Mya’s “Forever Day” sneaks up on me every year….three years in a row I have been like, “oh yeah, today was our happy court date day.” Truth be told, she became forever ours a LONG time before our court date….a long, long time ago God destined her to be my daughter. On the floor in the bathroom when I was crying in pain – she was mine. The day I was driving to the gym and saw a baby belly drawn in the sky with a could pen, she was mine. Getting this picture sent to my phone from a nurse while driving to the hospital 100 miles an hour, she was mine. After a few minutes of holding her in my arms telling Matthew how ‘this just can’t be real or right….they just gave us this baby without even checking our IDs, and its awkward, I don’t know what to do and she looks like an old Chinese man.” Matthew simply says, “well, too bad. She’s ours.” She was mine then too. She’ll be just as much mine tomorrow as she is today. So, this day honestly hardly ever occurs to me. And lest you think we are some sort of weird adoption party poopers, trust me, this girl gets celebrated a LOT. Everyday is forever day. Everyday is her birthday. And everyday she wants cake to seal the deal.

my first glimpse of Mya Selene
my first glimpse of Mya Selene

Just Love

Original Write Date: October 15, 2013

Today is forever family day for us.  And it snuck right up on us, tonight, after our girl was already asleep!  But I still want to take a moment to celebrate, and to remember that God has done great things for us.

“Family is not defined by our genes, it is built and maintained through love.”

It is crazy how at one point in my life I clung to and longed for ‘genes.’ And now, it’s all just love.  And I’m so incredibly thankful for the love.  My heart has changed.  I know the truth.  My daughter is mine because she’s mine.  I don’t want my family to be defined by our genetic similarities!  That seems so shallow now.  So lame.  I’m not my mother’s because I have her voice.  I’m not my Dad’s because I have his eyes.  I’m theirs because they love me.  I’m theirs because they’ve poured out there hearts to God on my behalf. Because there is nothing they wouldn’t do for me.  I’m theirs because God gave me to them.  That is all.  And Mya is mine because she’s mine.  I love her.  If-you-touch-her-I’ll-kill-you love.  There’s nothing better than that.  There’s nothing else I want to define our family.  Just love.

Scratchy Throat Cries

Original Write Date October 3, 2013

Laying in bed at 6am listening to the sound of scratchy throat cries through the baby monitor.  It’s freezing and I don’t want to get out of bed, but those are sick baby cries.  I hop out of bed, rush up the stairs and pick up my poor little snuggle bucket.  Instantly her head is on my shoulder – no better feeling.  I do what ‘you’re not supposed to.’   We trek back downstairs and quietly slip back into my bed.  Two fluffy blankets over us, and a pup at our feet.  As she’s laying on my chest coughing and sniffling, I find myself thinking, “Thank you, Lord.”  Thank you so much that I get to be home with this little person who needs me.  Who wants to cuddle.  Thank you that I don’t have to hurry up and get dressed, out the door.  There’s this time we have.  I’m so blessed.

Some Thoughts I Forgot I Had

Original Write Date March 24, 2014

Was just scrolling through some of my old rantings and found a little gem….it’s from a time I was trying to find meaning in our childless state.

Here’s something to consider.  Maybe the truth is that barrenness allows for greater fruitfulness.  The work God is doing in me through this trial might far outweigh any victory I’d win without it.  Also, in a very real sense, being barren gives me more freedom to be a mother.  To see a soul that needs nurturing, and step in.  To open our home.  To drop what I’m doing and go.  To invest in the lives of neighbors, and friends….people who need love.

This may seem crazy, but there is some peace in believing this.  My infertility is not for nothing, and it is definitely not meant to hold me back.  Could it possibly be that my ‘unknown infertility’ makes me a mother?

I think I wrote that about 6 months before we got Mya.  What do I think now?  Yes! It was easier to care about others, and be deeply involved in their lives prior to parenthood.  Sometimes I really miss that.  I want to do something big and meaningful and unheard of.  Every decision now is weighed by how it will affect my girl.  My time is limited.  My energy is drained.  My money doesn’t flow as freely either.  My marriage is harder work than it used to be.  It is easy to feel overwhelmed daily by the sense of responsibility.  It is easy to feel stretched thin.

With all of my heart, I believe that you don’t have to be a parent to be a parent.  I’ve seen this truth play out in my own life….I have mothers and fathers and sisters and brothers who don’t share an ounce of my DNA.  But, for those out there, who like me, want a houseful of children to raise, I will always pray you get to experience motherhood, not just in the true sense of the word, but in the legal/common sense of the word too.  It feels ‘lesser’ or shallow to say that.  But if God has placed this desire in your heart, don’t give up.  There is absolutely nothing in the world like having a baby that is mine.  I’m learning it is hard.  Time consuming.  Wears you out.  But, you will never be the same again either.  There is a new part of me now that I didn’t know I had.  A joy.  A fire.  A depth. A part of me that life, death, time, or circumstance can never change. It is crazy.  Crazy. Crazy. Crazy.

SIDE NOTE:  I used to call myself ‘barren’ all the time.  Like it was some sentence or curse placed on me.  That was wrong.  If anyone is in Christ, she is not ever, not even for a second, ‘barren.’  Not even fruitfully barren.  Because The Lord lives in us, we always have life to offer….there is always something new being born in us, something we can gift to the world…a legacy we can leave.  We are not vessels of death, we are temples of life.

For Rudy

original write date Jan 20, 2014

For Rudy.

Today was a long, hard day, Big Guy. Deep in my heart I felt your time with us was coming to an end, but I did not expect it to happen today. You have gotten me through so much, Buddy. You’ve been with us. You have sensed our needs, known our hearts in a way only you could, and you just were what we needed.

You were chaos. A shoestring stealing bundle of fluff. You stole people’s food. You ate our first couch. You woke us up to pee by smacking us in the face. You made us laugh often (peanut butter sticky faces, shower surprises, shaking out your wet coat all over us). You transformed from a psycho pup into a cuddle bucket on the exact day I needed you to. You rode shotgun with me for 18 hours driving home, and you flew 20 hours in a plane’s belly following us around the world. You trained me for a marathon. You scared away a masked man from my front door. You watched all ten seasons of Friends with me the second time Matthew was gone. You fit in the palm of my hand the day I woke up from my Grandma’s death. You were my happy handful all of those years we were waiting. You delighted Mya. You were her first words: Doggie, puppy, “Ru-wee.” 

I never knew what it felt like to have my heart warmed until you were nestled in the crook of my leg. I will always be grateful. I will love you (and your floppy ears) forever.

Love, love, love,
Ashley

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Job 12:7 & 10 – But ask the animals, and they will teach you. Ask the birds of the heavens, and let them tell you. In His hand is the life of every living thing and the breath of all men.