Monday, November 18, 2013

{ " time is priceless. " }

I was able to have a wonderful chat with a lady at church who is very dear to my heart. We were talking about how amazing it is that the time has gone by so fast this past year.

 Dad is almost at day 100 post transplant... and it has been 10 months since his diagnosis of Leukemia. I can't even believe that. I feel like it was just yesterday that mom told me to call Mrs. Kinney, because she was calling 911 when she couldn't wake daddy up. It was absolutely terrifying. I remember it all clear as day. I don't think I've ever tried so hard to pretend I wasn't terrified. I stayed in my room with Abigail and Truman, quietly packing as they played as if nothing was happening. Truman noticed the police officer at some point and we talked about police officers being good people, and that they were here to help daddy. They weren't here to hurt anyone, and he was going to help us out. I can still feel the fear that was welling up in my heart, I don't know if that feeling will ever go away when I remember that night. Amelia and Kyle came as soon as mom and the EMTs were heading out the door with dad. They stayed with us for a little bit until the Kinney kids arrived to pick us up. Pastor Kinney was on his way to meet mom at the hospital, and Mrs. Kinney was waiting for us at their house. The ride to their house was somewhat torturous. I held myself together for as long as I could, before at their home, in the bathroom, I finally broke. I was scared. I don't think I had ever been that scared in my life. It had taken all of my being not to burst into tears as soon as we arrived at their house, or as soon as I got in the car for that matter. I couldn't sleep that night, but I don't think anyone could. When mom and Pastor Kinney returned to the house at about 3:00AM I had only been sleeping for a short time. I switched beds, and headed into Alyssa's room. I was so tired I didn't have the energy to be afraid. I barely had the energy to cry. So I prayed. I remember silently crying out to the Lord, pleading to Him, begging Him to let me keep my daddy longer.

The next day was long, but we made the best of it. Everyone had brought their school to the Kinney's house, so all of the kids were schooling. Alyssa had the little girl she babysat over, so Truman and Abigail were preoccupied with her. We had Prayer Meeting that night, and I struggled to get through the evening. When we arrived at the Kinney's after Prayer Meeting mom told me about the fact that the doctors suspected dad had Leukemia. All I had known about Leukemia was the movie, A Walk To Remember in which the girl passes away in the end (sorry for the spoiler). So having that thought in my mind I thought that was all that was going to happen.

Praise the Lord that's not always the case, and I have my daddy becoming stronger with each passing day.

Through these months I have learned more about life that I had ever known. I not only learned about Leukemia, and physical life, but I also learned that life is truly beautiful. I don't think I had a real appreciation for life. I think I just lived it. When you're young you don't really think about time. You just live. Then all of a sudden you grow up (or grow older in my case ;)), and time is just the blink of an eye. Maybe some days feel long, but when you look back and 10 months have gone by, in a flash... You realize in reality the days were short. I have watched my family grow, and felt myself grow.

The fact that time goes by so quickly should cause us to want to truly live, and live right. We should not just want to live however we want. We should want to give our whole being to the Lord, and trust Him with every aspect of our lives. Sometimes we wish we could have yesterday back, and today seems to slip away faster than we can grab a hold of it. But, tomorrow is brand new. Every breath we breathe is a gift so don't waste it. God is the one who supplies our every breath, supports our every step, and keeps our heart beating. We need to remember that, and in turn give our lives back to Him, because He so mercifully gives them to us. You wouldn't just throw away a beautifully wrapped gift from a best friend, so why would you want to throw away the life the Almighty Creator designed especially for you?

Looking back on this year made me realize how quickly time goes by, and that life is truly just a vapor. We need to live for Jesus while we have the chance to live. Don't hold back in proclaiming His name, and telling people what He has done in your life. He's still allowing us to breathe for a reason, and that is to proclaim His great name.

Life is beautiful, so enjoy every moment!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

{ " my friend, you are never alone. " }

This post is for a friend who is very near and dear to my heart.

Sometimes in times in our lives we feel lost, we feel lonely, and we feel broken hearted. Sometimes we feel completely alone, as if no one in the world is on our side. At times it seems like we don't fit in, and we are part of a totally different planet. No one seems to understand how we are feeling, or why we keep our heartaches to ourselves. But, we do. We do it all for a reason, and it stinks to have that feeling... that lonely feeling that settles in our hearts. Sometimes we are put somewhere we don't quite understand, we're given trials we don't really want to bear. Sometimes things seem like they're falling apart, and everything seems to change in the blink of an eye. We once again get that lonely feeling, like no one understands. Maybe no one does, maybe our heartache is something no one we know has ever experienced before. It might be something we never want anyone else to feel, no one wants to feel lonely, and no one ever should. Even though we're surrounded by people, we still have that lonely ache in our tender, humanly hearts. It hurts. But, sometimes feelings lead us astray, and they aren't true.

Guess what... We're not alone. We are never alone. We have the greatest, most powerful, most loving Friend anyone could ever ask for. There is no one on earth who can understand us like this Friend. That Friend is our perfect, all knowing God. He loves us beyond measure, and is the only one who can fully understand the pain that we've been feeling. He made certain things in our lives seem as if they were falling apart, but He is building something incredible with those pieces. He is drawing us closer to Himself with every heartache, every trial. Through our loneliness we cling to the One who is strong in our weakness, and who loves us no matter how much we feel like no one does. Feelings are not always true, but God is always true. He is always there, and always does what is right.

Just remember, even though you might feel alone, you're not. You're never ever alone. There is always that Friend who hears your every cry, knows your every heartache, and loves you beyond measure. He has a perfect plan for your life, and though it may take a while to figure it out... You will. Just hang on to the One who will hold you beneath His wings, and keep you in the shelter of His love.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

{ " His Pain, Should Have Been Mine " }

I was able to attend the Women of Faith conference with a group of ladies this weekend, and I had a great time. I was completely overwhelmed by the thousands of ladies that were there, but at the same time I was astonished. I don't always remember that there are so many Christians around us! I probably walk by women (and men) in the store all the time that are believers, and we just don't know it.

At the end of the day I was exhausted, but I enjoyed spending time with the ladies, and having good Godly fellowship. The closed the day with the last session that was all about the life of Jesus. They showed some clips from the television series, The Bible, then some of the women read some scripture to go along with each scene. So, they started out with the scene of Jesus' birth, then followed with him raising Lazarus from the dead. Next came the crucifixion scene. Hearing about the crucifixion of Christ is hard. But, it should be, shouldn't it? I wanted to close my eyes during this scene, and plug my ears, ignoring it when He struggled to carry the cross, and when they beat Him, and He cried out in agony it echoed in my ears. It was graphic, it was realistic, and it was so painful to see. I felt my heart breaking as I watched, something I had never seen laid out before me. I had read, and heard about His crucifixion, but I had never seen it like this, right before my eyes. All of those lashes, all of that humiliation, all of that pain was meant for me. It hit me like a bullet, straight into my heart. I couldn't stop the tears, I couldn't stop the way my throat was filled with sobs, or the way my heart ached mercilessly. I felt this conviction wash over me as I was reminded once again that He shed His innocent blood for me. He died on that tree, for me. He willingly gave His life, and lived on earth being rejected, being despised, and being humiliated on that tree, for me. Jesus paid it all, and I owe everything to Him. He took that crown of thorns, He took the beating, He took those three wicked nails... and He took them all for me. He took them to give me the most incredible gift anyone could ever give. He took so much suffering to give me life.  He did His Father's will, and He took my punishment upon Himself, when I am sinner who deserves nothing but hell. I fail Him every day, and everyday He loves me despite my sin. He forgives me, He pours His mercy out upon me, and He carries me when I'm weak. He loves me, and He loved me so much that He gave His life for me. We can never be thankful enough for this gift.
My perfect all powerful Lord and Savior, died for imperfect little me. He died for a wretch like me.

"26 Then he released Barabbas to them; and when he had scourged Jesus, he delivered Him to be crucified.
27 Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the Praetorium and gathered the whole garrison around Him. 28 And they stripped Him and put a scarlet robe on Him. 29 When they had twisted a crown of thorns, they put it on His head, and a reed in His right hand. And they bowed the knee before Him and mocked Him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” 30 Then they spat on Him, and took the reed and struck Him on the head. 31 And when they had mocked Him, they took the robe off Him, put His own clothes on Him, and led Him away to be crucified.
32 Now as they came out, they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name. Him they compelled to bear His cross. 33 And when they had come to a place called Golgotha, that is to say, Place of a Skull,34 they gave Him sour wine mingled with gall to drink. But when He had tasted it, He would not drink.
35 Then they crucified Him, and divided His garments, casting lots, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet: “They divided My garments among them, And for My clothing they cast lots.'" -- Matthew 27:26 - 35

"When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, 'It is finished:' and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost." -- John 19:30

But, He didn't stay dead. The next scene was when Mary found the empty tomb. At that scene tears of joy flowed from my eyes, because He conquered the grave for me. He rose again on the third day, just as He said. Isn't it amazing? The perfect Lord of Heaven loved you enough to die for you.

"But Mary stood without at the sepulchre weeping: and as she wept she stooped down, and looked into the sepulchre. And seeth two angels in white sitting, the one at the head, and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain. And they say unto her, 'Woman why weepest thou?' She saith unto them, because they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him. And when she had thus said, she turned and saw Jesus standing, and knew not that it was Jesus. Jesus saith unto her, 'Woman, why weepest thou?' She supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him, Sir, if thou have carried him away, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away. Jesus saith unto her, 'Mary.', She turned herself and saith unto him 'Rabboni;" which is to say, Teacher. Jesus saith unto her, "Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my breathern and say unto them, I ascend unto my father, and your father; and to my God, and your God." -- John 20:11 - 18

Knowing this should motivate us even more to live for Him with every single ounce of our being. He made Himself a ransom for us, so we should seek to serve Him in every way possible.

"For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many." -- Mark 10:45 

Monday, October 21, 2013

{ " a real life hero. " }

Heroes aren't always what you see in Disney movies. In fact, that is an unrealistic interpretation of heroes. I know a real hero... that hero is my dad.

I can honestly say that my dad is the best father I have ever met. (I was going to say, "best father I have ever had"... but, that wouldn't have done him any justice.) Sure, he has made mistakes, but hasn't everyone? No, he's not perfect, but... is anyone perfect? There has never been a moment in my life that I can remember when my dad gave up on providing for his family, or showing his family his love. He has gone through many trials, or interruptions, throughout the more recent years, trials that I recall him going through. Like having a seizure in late 2010, and being out of work for a while, then losing his oldest son in November of 2010, then losing his own dad in January of 2011.

This year has by far been the longest of those trials, and the largest of interruptions. Throughout his pain, and suffering I have never heard my dad once question God. Maybe he questioned His timing (don't we all sometimes?), but he never questioned God Himself. I will say right now that my daddy is the strongest man I know. Throughout this last year I have seen him go through things that most people would lose hope after. I have seen him sick, I have seen him healthy, I have seen him happy, and I have seen him sad. Going to visit him in the hospital during chemo treatments was so hard for me, because I wasn't used to seeing him like that... weak, and fragile looking. I was used to seeing my healthy, full-of-life-dad, who always had a smile on his face, and was always cracking a joke. It broke my heart to see the strongest man I knew, the man I loved so very much, look weak, and to know he was suffering.

But let me tell you something, despite being sick, being weak, and being afraid, he never gave up. It would be so easy to give up in a situation like that, to be told you have Leukemia, and just to decide it was the end of your life. It would be so simple to just throw everything away and say you were done. But, he never did. He never, ever gave up, and I know he never will. No matter how hard things get, and how foggy the future may seem... he will always keep pushing forward, and he will always keep trusting in our Almighty God. Even when he was weak, he was still strong for all of us. He just kept pressing on, and I know he's not going to stop.

We don't know what's on the road ahead of us, but I know that my daddy is never going to stop until he gets where he's supposed to be.

Just so you know dad, you're my hero, and I hope someday when I may go through trials like yours, I remain strong, and keep my eyes fixed upon Jesus, like you do. And, that I never give up.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

{ " the dark, before the morning. " }

Everyone knows what pain feels like. Whether that pain is mental, or physical pain, we all know what it feels like. Actually, we all know what physical, and mental pain feel like. Even the youngest child can experience physical, and emotional pain. Sometimes we don't always understand why we feel pain. Sure, if you slam your head against the top bunk of your bunk bed (which I do far too often) you will not wonder why your head is then pounding. I mean emotional, or mental pain. Sometimes we just don't  understand why that pain is there. I have had this ache in my heart at times in my life, that I wonder why it's there. This pain that seems to just linger, and sometimes it gets worse, sometimes it fades away. It always seems to show up at the worst of times. Sometimes it's that ache that causes you to feel hollow, and completely alone even though you're in a crowded room. It's the way you have to hold back tears, and you're just silently hoping someone will see the pain behind your smile. That is a pain that you wonder why you ever have to feel. I guess it's human to wonder why we feel pain at all, but without feeling pain, we wouldn't know what joy feels like.

You know how after night time, there is always day time? Even if the sun isn't out, there is light. After the dark, comes the light. The light might not be bright right away, but it comes. The pain that we feel, as Christians, can't compare to the joy that will come in the future. So, every time you feel an overwhelming pain, remind yourself that it doesn't last forever. Every storm runs out of rain, night eventually turns into day, and God knows exactly what He's doing. God has a reason for giving us painful situations in life, and allowing us to experience things that cause us heartache. He has a reason for this, His reason is to strengthen us, and to draw us closer to Himself. Pour your burdens out to Him, tell Him you're hurting, and why, even though He already knows. Even if others might think the reason your heart is aching is "silly" or senseless. He understands all of our pain, and knows what heartache feels like too. He won't just brush us aside like we don't matter, and leave us feeling lonely. He will reveal to us the reason for our heartache, it might take awhile, but someday we'll know the reason.

So, if you're overwhelmed with emotional or physical pain, just hang on there's always dark before the morning.

"For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us." -- Romans 8:18

In Christian love,

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

{ " three years is only a heartbeat " }

I was able to visit someone very special on Monday, and I enjoyed every minute of my visit.

October 14, 2013

I contacted Jack about visiting Blessings Farm to have my graduation photos taken with Trixie. I figured it was about time to update the photos I have of myself with her from about eight years ago.

December 2005
The ride there felt so much longer than it ever had, but maybe it was because I was mulling over memories, and wondering what I may have missed over the last three years. 

When we arrived I noted two new horses in the upper paddock, and another little "shelter" for them too. The walk down to the barn is now paved, so it doesn't have to be a walk, but could be a drive now. (That walk is still a killer though.) They expanded the lower paddock, and just about doubled it. I didn't notice that at first, but when I went to found Trixie I realized I had to search for her through the woods! Anyways, the barn was just about the same. Trixie's tack is still in the same place in the tack room, and her stall is still the same stall. As I headed out to find Trixie out in the, now massive, paddock I was followed by a Biscuit, who trailed behind me almost the whole way. I was pleasantly surprised with the fact that my absolute favorite crazy animal Juice is still there, and was just as frisky as I had remembered. When I greeted him he was kind enough to butt me in the stomach and then just continue eating like nothing had ever happened. He was always so polite. *eyeroll* This was when I realized the paddock seemed to go on for days, and I had to practically hike through the woods to locate Trixie. I was greeted by sweet old Abi, before I finally found Trixie. Upon finding her I admit to having tears prick in my eyes, but I told myself it would be silly to cry. She came to me when I called her name, and she rested her head against my chest, just like she used to when I was little. I gave her a nice long hug, before walking her back to the barn. I didn't really have to lead her, she just followed. I'm aware that she probably follows just about everyone, but the fact that she was there following me again just like she used to, warmed my heart. I spent a good amount of time grooming her, while Laura played around with my camera. 

At first I had this fear that I wouldn't remember how to do anything... But it was all so natural. I knew which brushes to use, where to use them, how to pick up the feet. Everything was like I had never stopped doing it.

I brought her into the arena for some photos, but we decided not to take any in there. Before we went back into the paddock I ran around with her for a little while. It was so much fun, but reminded me that I'm extremely out of shape. 

After taking all of our photos I let her go off to munch some more, and I didn't feel sad leaving. I felt at ease, because I'm not planning on staying away for three years again. I can't wait to spend more time with her, and make up for the time lost. I realized that three years was only a heartbeat...

I was so thankful to be welcomed back with open arms, and open barn doors. 
I'm just going to enjoy every moment I get to spend with her, and keep being thankful for all I am blessed with. 

Enjoy the little things (and the big things, like horses in this case), 

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

{ " Give thanks. " }

Do you ever just thank the Lord for waking you up every morning, for giving you a brand new day? Are you ever thankful that the grass is green, and the sky is blue? Do you ever look up at the sky and think about what an awesome, and powerful God we have? Do you ever just tell your kids you love them, just because you can? Do you ever thank your parents for loving you despite the fact that there were probably many times they may have wanted to just give up on you? Do you ever look around and wonder how people are struggling through this life without the hope you have?

As I was sitting in the waiting room at the hospital, whilst dad has yet another clinic appointment, I was thankful. Sometimes it is hard to be thankful in the midst of trial. Sometimes there doesn't seem to be anything to be thankful for.  But, as Christians we always have something to be thankful for. Some of the people passing through that hospital may think they have nothing to be thankful. They may just go through life, because they have to. Some of them might be alone, and have no one to turn to in the midst of pain, and sadness. Others have family, friends, and people to support them. But, how many have what we have? We have a hope that only people who know and love Jesus Christ can have. We have security in the fact that He will always be there for us. We always have something to be thankful for.

There are even small things we can be thankful for each day. Like a pair of slippers (which is something I am very thankful for!). Or perhaps the way the sun shines, or the way the rain glistens on the green grass. I have always been someone who enjoys the little things in life. Try every day for the next month to write down one thing you're thankful for. Something different every day. It could vary from the roof over your head, to a passage of scripture you read that day. 

Life might seem like a mess sometimes, but it sure is a beautiful one. And, there are countless things to be thankful for. Don't you think? 

Remember to enjoy the little things, and be thankful every day. 

In Christian love, 

Thursday, September 12, 2013

{ " mission accomplished " }

The last seven months have been a roller coaster, for many reasons. One of them was the fact that I got my permit in early February. It was a decision I had made mostly on my own. I had not even thought seriously about getting my permit until dad was in the hospital. I then realized how much easier things would be if I had already had my license. Or rather, how helpful it would be if I had had my license. So I read the driver's manual in two weeks, and when I finished I went to get my permit. After I passed the test, the "training" began. Suzy, who has always been like the-big-sister-I-never-had, offered to teach me how to drive. This was a huge blessing! So over the last seven months she has spent time, and money on teaching me how to drive. I am so thankful to her. I was not a good driver in the beginning. But, how many people can say they were good at driving the first time they ever drove? Not many. So, my first time driving consisted of me just about hyperventilating, pulling over several times, and Suzy practically having to steer. Yeah, not exactly a fun time. Then again, I had never driven a car before. I was used to the ride-on lawn mower, which you had to practically put your entire body into in order to turn the wheel. So, driving a car was a complete change for me. Suzy told me that if I could ride a horse like I can, that I could most definitely drive a car. I didn't believe that for quite a while. The day I first drove on the highway I panicked. I drove with white knuckles, my eyes fixed on the road, and I was probably grinding my teeth. It was absolutely terrifying. Probably a month after that I drove all the way to Wrentham, that was an accomplishment. They were even doing work on the highway, which meant for a good ten minutes there were no lines on the road. That was a little terrifying at first, but was good practice for staying on my side of the road even without lines. I had a few moments when I wanted to give up, and never wanted to drive again. Normally it was after I made mistakes. I was easily discouraged when driving, and quite nervous after a few minor mistakes. I never hit anything, never killed anyone, and never got pulled over. So, I guess that's pretty good. (*chuckles*) As you may already know, or have already guessed, I did not take a driver's education course. Which is a killer on my insurance, but it was a decision we had made.

I tried to schedule my road test in early August, but the appointments were completely filled up. There were absolutely no appointments until early September. So, I waited. At first I wasn't very happy with the fact that I would have to wait a month longer... but, then I reminded myself that God's timing is perfect. I have to remind myself of that once in a while. I finally was able to schedule an appointment for the second week in September. So I set the date. September 10th at 11:00AM. Leading up to my appointment we had many hours of practice, and many many times attempting to parallel park. The day before my test we drove around Southbridge for quite a while, and I practiced parallel parking until we were both about ready to cry. It was quite a stressful event for some reason.

On Tuesday we arrived early for my test, and I wasn't nervous. I was determined to pass, but prepared to fail. Note the word wasn't. At the time of our arrival I thought I was going to be able to keep my nerves hidden. Well... that didn't last long. As soon the police woman came into the building I felt my heart jump, then beat so rapidly that it was causing my head to feel a little bit light. We went out to the car for the pre-test, and that did not go well. I didn't know where anything was located in the car I was driving, I turned on the wrong turn signal, and then I couldn't get the emergency brake to release. Oh what fun! So, we headed out for the test. It was so nerve wracking. First of all, driving in Southbridge is not ideal in my opinion. I can't even imagine driving in Boston... Anyways, I made it fine, until the parallel parking. I was amazed that she let me try more than once. On the fourth try I made it into the spot, and not on top of the sidewalk. I thought for sure after the pre-test, and that horrible parallel parking, that she would fail me. (All in all, I never want to take another road test, ever again.) So, we got back to the RMV parking lot, and I was shaking like a leaf. I think I may have been holding my breath too. She talked to me kindly, and told me the reason she kept having me parallel park is, because she could tell I knew exactly what I was doing. She said there's a difference between nervousness, and inexperience. She said I clearly had experience, and I was just extremely nervous. I was prepared for her to slap the "Fail" sticker on my forehead. When the words, "But, I'm going to pass you anyways." came out of her mouth, I was in total shock. I actually burst into tears, which most people are going to think is stupid... but, I was so relieved. I was so happy I couldn't hold it in. She left with a smile, and telling me to drive safely. It took me a while to gather myself, as I was laughing and crying at the same time. I realize that if it was not for the Lord's hand upon me, and the situation, I would have failed. I can't imagine having done it without Him.

"I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength." Philippians 4:13

I give God all of the glory for my success, and for this great accomplishment.
Having my license means I can serve my family in many more ways, which is what it was all about.

In Christian Love,
Jane Ashley

Friday, August 23, 2013

{ " I must tell Jesus " }

 "I must tell Jesus all of my troubles;
He is a kind, compassionate Friend;
If I but ask Him, He will deliver,
And in my griefs with me He will blend.

I must tell Jesus! I must tell Jesus!
I cannot bear my burdens alone;
I must tell Jesus! I must tell Jesus.
Jesus can help me, Jesus alone."

I hadn't heard this hymn in quite some time, and my aunt was walking around the house singing it on Wednesday before they headed off for home. It's contagious, because now I've been singing it for quite some time. Over and over again.

I got to thinking about this song, and the meaning of it. Even though the Lord knows all of our troubles, and even though He knows when we are hurting, He still wants us to cry out to Him. He wants us to lean on Him. He wants us to tell Him all of our troubles despite the fact that He already knows them all. I know for a fact that we can not bear our burdens alone. Whether that burden is something small in everyone's eyes, but something huge in yours... We can't bear any burdens alone. It is far too painful to have to bear our burdens by ourselves, no matter how hard we try to rely on our own strength it fails. Man's strength is nothing compared to God's incredible and awe-striking strength. We can not even measure His strength! Your burdens will weigh you down more and more every day, they will cause your heart to grow weary, and your every step to be weak. They cause you to feel like you're drowning in a world that doesn't seem to care. We can not hold our burdens alone for too long or they will cause us to break, and to crumble. Instead we need to drop to our knees at the throne of grace and ask the Lord, who is mighty in all that He does, to bear our burdens with us. Some people look at me, and they say, "Wow, you're so strong." But, in reality, I am weak. My own strength is nothing, I myself am not strong. The Lord is who makes me strong. I rely on His strength every day. If I didn't, I wouldn't be where I am today. I give all the credit of who I am, and the strength I have to the Lord. His strength is made perfect in my weakness, for when I am weak, then I am strong.

Isaiah 40:28-31
 Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.

In Christian Love, 
Jane Ashley

Thursday, August 8, 2013

{ someday we will }

So many things happen in life that make us automatically question, "Why?". Sometimes the answer is clear to us right away, sometimes it takes what seems like forever for the answer to our question to be revealed. There are many reasons for using that little one word question. Children often use it to question their parents when they are given a command, adults often use it when having been given a command too... But, as we go through life we find that we ask "Why?" a lot more than just for little things. I many times in my teenage years have asked that little question. Sometimes we don't understand what is going on in our lives we question. We wonder why we are going through the trial we are going through, and we wonder when it is going to end. There are many things I have already seen when going through the trial our family has been given. Even though some of them are just little things... I realize that there was a reason they happened when they did.

I remember the night mom told me they thought dad had Leukemia. I remember the horrible sharp pain in my chest, and the way my knees felt weak. I knew what that word meant, and it immediately brought tears to my eyes. Fear filled me in that moment and I immediately asked the question, "Why?", because I did not understand. All I could associate that word with at the moment was death, because that was all I knew about that word. The word cancer is a scary word. I never knew how scary it was until that night. So many things ran through my head, but over and over again the question "Why?" played like a scratched CD.

The first time I talked to daddy since he had first gone into the hospital he called the house in a panic. He needed to know where mom was, and I remember the weak sound of his voice as he started to cry. It shattered my heart to hear the strong, brave man I called 'daddy' sound so weak and broken. I'll never forget that feeling. He might not know it, but my dad is truly my hero. We've had our ups and downs, but he will always be the most brave and loving man I have ever known.

As weeks went on things got easier to understand. Mom explained to us what Leukemia was, what type daddy had, and that they were going to try as hard as they could to cure it. I still don't understand it all, and it is still scary, but I understand enough to not be as scared as I was in the beginning.

Since dad has been home since May we have gotten used to him being here all the time. We have grown closer as a family in these past 6 months, and we have grown closer to the Lord. At least, I have. I have grown in so many ways. For the longest time I wouldn't let the kids go outside while mom and dad weren't home... Which sounds stupid, but I have always been more on the fearful side. One warm day I had this utter and complete peace wash over me after spending time in prayer, asking the Lord to remove the fear from me, and to calm my anxious heart. I struggled a bit with trusting the Lord when it comes to timing, and when things were going to happen. I was an anxious person for quite some time, and it was something I had to work on. As I have been seeing the Lord's perfect timing in so many ways it has calmed my anxiousness, and taught me to wait on Him more and more. He knows every little detail, and how every little thing will play out. So, I handed everything completely over to Him, and I don't have to worry about what the future holds. I'm not saying I don't worry anymore, I still do. It's just that I know I don't have to worry, because the battle belongs to the Lord.

And hey, can I just point out the fact that I'm getting my license? That never even crossed my mind last year at any point. There are several reasons for that. One was that I didn't have the money to pay for driver's education. Secondly, I didn't have a vehicle to drive, and daddy took the car to work every day. So, there wouldn't have been any sense in having my license if I couldn't even drive. This year I have a reason to drive. Daddy won't be able to drive, so I will be doing all of the driving I can once I have my license.

There are other reasons too, I got to know some people a lot better than I had known them. Having people drive us to and from church has been a blessing, and has also brought good, Godly friends along too that I know we can count on.

I guess what I'm saying in a way is that... We don't understand it all, but someday we will. Even if it's by little things, and the bits and pieces, someday we will understand the reason for all of this.

As for now we keep serving, smiling, enjoying the little things, learning more and more that life is a beautiful gift, and trusting our Lord and Savior with every aspect of our lives.

Everyday might not be good, but there is something good in every day.

In Christian love,

P.S. I apologize for the lengthiness of this post. I just had a lot to say, and so I said it.

Friday, August 2, 2013

{ growing older }

I recall when I was younger, and I dreamed of getting my license, graduating high school, and being an 'adult'.

Then for a while this was me:

Now that I'm finally there it's almost bittersweet. It is amazing how quickly time goes by, and how drastically things can change. I remember at the end of last year saying, "Summer 2013 is going to be my year." I was planning on being graduated, not being in the middle of getting my license, spending the summer having fun, and probably having a good babysitting job... Well it goes to show how you can't plan our your own future! Even if it was just little plans I had, God had different plans for my summer - and my year. Summer has gone by so quickly it is almost unreal. This year has gone by so quickly it makes me a little dizzy. It's already been six months of the year, and we're heading into the seventh! How did that even happen?!

Lately things have come up quite often that have had to do with my legal 'adulthood'. For instance, I now have to pay for my checks, I can have a credit card (not that I'm planning on having a credit card any time in the near future!), I have my own Old Sturbridge Village membership card, (so I can take the kids on field trips), I can no longer be charged a child's fee when we go places as a family, and I can get my license! I thought turning eighteen wasn't going to be any big deal, but... It goes to show that it is in some ways!
Random people seem to forget I'm eighteen, and when I remind them they look as if they're going to pass out. I don't understand why... I have been eighteen for three months now. It's been enough time for people to adjust to the fact that I am an 'adult'. The reason I don't consider myself as an adult is, because I still have a child's heart. Most people underestimate my age, because of my personality. I don't really mind, mostly since I am who I am, and if people see me as younger than I am maybe I should be flattered. We all have to grow old, but we don't all have to grow up, everyone has a little bit of child-likeness in them no matter what age.

All in all, growing up is fun... but, it is a little frightening at the same time. I'm so glad I'm not pushed to be on my own and pushed to 'experience the world' and to 'see what's out there'. I'm so thankful that I have parents who have loved me, disciplined me, and brought me up in the word of the Lord since I was young. I know I wouldn't be where I am today without their guidance and love toward me. Through this time of trial I have had to grow up more quickly than most kids my age would. But, I know it's God's will and I have seen Him work in my life, and my family's life in many ways. This trial has brought us closer together as a family, and closer to the Lord.

I guess this post was a little bit all over the place, but there's a lot on my lil ol' brain!

Have a great weekend everyone!
In Christian love,

Friday, July 26, 2013

{ sweet goodness! }

Not a normal post for this blog... but...

I made cookies! A lot of cookies. Seriously. Like forty cookies. I don't think they will last long though, seeing as I think we have already eaten half of them!

And of course, some plain ones for daddy. 

It was quite a productive day! I made cookies, and managed to get quite a bit of school done! 

Have a great weekend everyone!

In Christian Love, 

{ be anxious for nothing }

Mostly everyone has a plan.
Whether that plan is for today, tomorrow, or ten years from now... it could change at any second.  I have been seeing that more and more as I grow both in age, and spiritually.I just have to say. I am so glad my plans aren't always God's plans for my life. At first it might seem disappointing, but then I just have to breathe in and thank God for having plans that are better than mine. Every once in a while I get anxious. Not necessarily anxious about the moment I'm in, but moments that are ahead. Being a naturally anxious person I have had to learn to trust God with every aspect of my life. But, sometimes trusting is hard. Sometimes we don't understand what is happening. We don't understand what is going to happen, and we are afraid of the future. As humans we all have fears, doubts, and wonderings about the future. 

Guess what! We can cast all those fears aside, and stop being so anxious! The Lord doesn't want us to be anxious, but rather He wants us to trust in Him, and bring all of our prayers and supplications, with thanksgiving to Him! Isn't it wonderful that He hears our pleas, and has our lives planned out for us?! We should thank Him for our trials, along with the happy moments in our lives.

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. - Philippians 4:6 (NASB)

Also even though we might not understand what we are going through at the time, or why we are put into certain trials there is always a reason. Sometimes we just need to close our eyes for a moment and say: "Lord I know this is your plan, please help me to get through it, and honor you in everything that I do.". He knows what we are going through, and He has a reason for everything. Someday we'll understand. Maybe not now, but someday. 

Jesus answered and said to him, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but you will know after this.” - John 13:7 (NKJV)

We can find such comfort in the fact that even though we don't understand now, someday we will! Through trials the Lord draws us closer to Himself, and strengthens our trust in Him. 

Remember: His plans are so much better than our own. 
I know that my future is a lot brighter in God's hands than in my own. 

In Christian love, 

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

{ bountiful blessings }

I just realized how long it has been since I have posted on this blog. I suppose life has been a little bit busier! Also the fact that my computer doesn't cooperate most of the time makes it hard to post. So I decided to take the time tonight (while my computer is up and running) to write out a little update post for anyone who cares to read and catch up! 

We had our Vacation Bible School at church last week (July 8-12th), and I was in charge of the nursery. Well... the nursery consisted of Luca every day, except Thursday when I brought my darling little Adalynn along. I won't lie, it was a long hot, kind of crazy week. But, I am so glad I was there to help out. Also, on the plus side, Luca likes me now! He never really cared for me, but now he doesn't seem to mind me. It was a lot of fun, and by the end of the week I was just ready to have a nap! 

Within the last couple of weeks I went from having no jobs to having two jobs! They are just short-term for now, but that's okay with me. I am watching Adalynn once again on Thursdays and Fridays from 8:00AM to 5:00PM. I love watching her, she's such a joy! 
Then on Tuesdays I am watching my cousin's two kids from 6:30AM until (around) 2:30PM. I did have to get up at 5:15AM this morning, which I haven't done in so long. But it was nice to kind of see the sun coming up for the first time in a long time. 
It will be good to make some money, especially because I will hopefully be paying some car insurance bills soon... 

I understand that "hopefully" made you all tilt your head to the side and wonder why I would want to pay car insurance bills. Well. I'll tell you why... 


All capital letters were completely necessary, and yes I was yelling... in a good way. I am currently working so hard to get my license. I have to give a huge huge huge thank-you to Suzy. I owe so much to her, because if it wasn't for her willingness I wouldn't be even close to where I am today when it comes to getting my license. She has been such an amazing help, she's so patient, and we have also had so much fun! 

Daddy is going back into the hospital on August 8th, which is a week later than we thought he would. But, it seems so close. I will be trying to get my license before August 8th, so I can be a help to my family whilst daddy is in the hospital and in isolation when he comes home. 
Thank you to those who have been praying for me as far as driving is concerned, and I ask for your continued prayers as I am trying to finish up! 

I am just so thankful for all of these blessings, and the way the Lord has been working in my life, and my family's life! 

I hope everyone's summer has gone well so far and it will continue too! 
Enjoy the hot weather! At least it's not snowing! ;)

In Christian love, 

Tuesday, June 18, 2013


We can all admit that there has been a time in our lives when we have worried about the future. Or maybe you have never worried about tomorrow, or what the future holds... But, I have. I will admit to the fact that I have worried about the future many times. I might even worry about it today. It's a part of human nature, we worry. Some people worry more than others. I myself have an especially anxious heart. I am working on being less anxious, and not worrying about the future. There are many reasons we should not worry. The most important one is, because the Lord tells us not to worry.

"Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own troubles." Matthew 6:34 (NKJV)

"And who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?" Matthew 6:27 (NASB)

Along with verses there is a quote I love,

"Worrying does not empty tomorrow of its troubles, it empties today of its strength."

Another reason is, because The Lord knows and has planned our future. He knows our next move before we make it, our next breath before we take it, our next thought before we think it! Isn't that just an amazing, comforting thing to dwell on? He has planned our future according to His perfect will for our lives.
 Through my teenage years I went through many times of heartache, uncertainty, hardships, and trials, but through all of those I had a Rock who is higher than I. At the time of those trials and heartaches I became very overwhelmed, anxious, and I worried for my future. I had someone a lot of teenage girls in this world don't have. I had The Lord. I had the assurance that He would hold my hand, dry my tears, and lead me safely through what seemed like crashing waves. After a while He calmed the storm in my heart that was slowly tearing me down. He took me under the shadow of His wings and caused me to see His glorious face. I was drawn so close to Him as I clung to Him, crying out to Him with my shaken heart and fearful voice. He opened my eyes and caused me to see that His plan is perfect, and that worrying changed nothing, being angry only made me miserable, and I could not find true comfort anywhere except for in Him.

After my brother's death I memorized this verse:

"And we know that all things work together for good for those who love God, to them who are called according to His purpose." Romans 8:28

At the time I could not see any good in this tragedy. All I could see was broken hearts, sorrowing souls, and unanswered questions. Now that I look back in this I see how close it has brought our family, and how it had caused me to cling to The Lord. I have also learned that The Lord allows trials to come into our lives to draw us closer to Himself.

Through this battle we are currently in the midst of many people probably look at our family and wonder how we are still holding on. They probably wonder how we function, how we can look forward to the future with such radiant hope! I have a simple answer, and that is...

The Lord is on our side! He knows the future, He hears us when we cry out to Him! He has planned every moment of our lives, and we have no need to worry. Worrying will not add a single moment to our lives, so we just live. We live for The Lord, and we live day-to-day, in every moment. Life is beautiful, and it is a gift so we need to live in each moment, and trust The Lord with our whole heart.

No, I am not saying that I don't worry, trust me... I do. But, I can hand my worries over to The Lord, and trust that He has my entire future planned out.

So, stop worrying and trust. It's hard to do, but the Lord never breaks His promises, and He wants us to trust Him with our whole heart, and know that His plan is perfect. He doesn't want us to worry, He wants us to trust.

"Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, and whose trust is the Lord. For he will be like a tree planted by the water, that extends its roots by a stream and will not fear when the heat comes; but its leaves will be green and it will not be anxious in a year of drought nor cease to yield fruit." Jeremiah 17:1-78 (NASB)

In Christian love,

Sunday, June 9, 2013


"When my spirit was overwhelmed within me, then thou knewest my path. In the way wherein I walked have they privily laid a snare for me." Psalm 142:3

I came across this verse in my devotional reading recently. The verse above really stood out to me for a few reasons... 
When we are overwhelmed with the path ahead of us the Lord knows and has planned our future. He has planned every one of our footsteps. He knows what we are going to do every moment. He knows the decisions we are going to make. He knows the hardships we are going to go through. Even though He has planned everything out, we still need to live to honor Him in every single thing that we do. When we are overwhelmed we need to look to The Lord, and keep our eyes fixed upon Him... Not fixed on our troubles. We need to cry out to him when we are despaired, and overwhelmed with our circumstances. He gives us our trials to draw us closer to Himself, to teach us to rely on Him and not on our own strength. 

"I looked on my right hand, and beheld, but there was no man that would know me: refuge failed me; no man cared for my soul. I cried unto thee, O Lord: I said, Thou art my refuge and my portion in the land of the living. Attend unto my cry: deliver me from my persecutors; for they are stronger than I." Psalm 142:4-6

When reading this passage I was also reminded that when every man is against us the Lord is on our side. He will always care for us. It may seem at times that no one cares for our soul, but the Lord God always cares for our soul. We are His children, and He loves us as a father loves His children.  He knows the path ahead of us, and He is our refuge. Even when our persecutors seem stronger than we are, we have the Lord on our side.

In Christian love,
Jane Ashley

Friday, June 7, 2013

Well, I have decided to start up a new personal blog. I had been posting on one for quite a while, but I discontinued it, and I thought it would be nice to start up a new one!

I feel selfish sometimes when I blog, seeing as when blogging you're basically talking about yourself and your life... But, I remembered how much I loved blogging, and sharing my thoughts with everyone. So, I finally decided to jump in and try it again. I have decided that this blog is going to be based on what the Lord is doing in my life, how He is blessing me, and the trials He has put us in.

Life is rather exciting, and scary at the same time.
But... I am so thankful that my faith has found a resting place.
I don't ever have to go through a day alone. I don't have to worry about the future, because my path is already laid out for me. Even though I might go through struggles, and life might seem unsteady, I have a Rock who is firm and unshakable.

"Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then I am strong." 2 Corinthians 12:10

I have so much to be thankful for, and I want to share my joy.

Jane Ashley