July 16, 1998 - The day that I became a mommy. Ashley Sue VanWingerden....the pride and joy of my heart. The first little flower in my garden. The crown of my motherhood. Eleven years with a little girl that filled my heart till overflowing every day. Showing me Jesus in her every move. The days were filled with laughter, love, hugs, kisses, cards, crafts, imagination, lots and lots of playing, dancing, dreaming, dressups, tea parties, shows, singing....and so much more.
July 24, 2009 - The day my life was uprooted, torn apart, burnt to ashes. We were getting ready for a weekend at my parents house. As I packed, my husband and our two oldest children went for a quick ride on the boat. They wanted to check on the new crab traps they set a few days before. A quick boat ride soon turned into the nightmare of all parents lives. There was an accident, Ashley fell off the boat and was lost. Three days of search and rescue until she was found on Sunday morning. We never got to see our girl. Friday came again and we burried our daughter.
It is February now. Six months later. I stand in the rubble. July is as real as yesterday and feels like forever ago at the same time. I am broken and lost. Life flows on because it has to. Each day I wake up and know that the day must go on. There are three little ones that need a mommy, they need to eat, they need to play, they need clothes to wear, diapers changed. They need to go to school. The homework is still there, we still need doctor and dentist appointments. None of these things change. Only now it takes all i've got to do just what we need to get by. All of these things within the cloud of grief...that is at times so dense you can't remember where you've been and can't see where you are going. Sometimes it is so heavy you feel like you are pinned to the floor with a dagger through your soul. But...the end of the day comes, I sit down with my children to pray and I thank God for giving us our portion for that day. Sometimes it feels like it's not going to be enough, but the sun always sets...and then it rises again the next day.
I don't understand God's plan for my life. There are what if's and if only's every day. There are questions and unanswered prayers. I painfully wonder why God would have blessed us with an angel like Ashley and then taken her away. I DON'T know why! I do know that JESUS LOVES me. I Do know that Ashley loved Jesus and she is with him and like him. I DO know that my Redeemer Lives and He WILL stand on this earth again. I Do know that there will be a day when I will see her again....and we will be together with each other in glory.
There are so many things I could write about....so many things I want to share. But for now...I started with the outline of our story. The begining of my new life. One that I did not choose. One that I can only walk by faith in Christ Jesus. I am so thankful for all of our friends and family who have stood by us, walked with us, held us up both physically and prayerfully. We are forever greatful for your love!
If you do not know my Ashley Sue...her service and memory video can be viewed at