Love drives me to do things I feel like I can't do. The night Ashley died Emma brought me two books, wanting me to read them to her. I remember picking her up, and I read those two books with her in my lap. The one book she picked was called "Someday", it is a book about a mother's conversation with her child...talking about the things her child will do "someday" as the child grows older. My heart bled as I read these things that I would never get to do "someday" with my Ashley. My hopes and dreams shattered before me as I read to my little girl.
This picture is how I would describe the shape of my life from that day on. (Not that I didn't do things for my kids before the accident, it's just different now.) I physically and emotionally can't do most things. For some reason...actually, for the three little bodies in my life....I have been able to sacrifice even my own agony to give them what they need. I have been a wounded soldier on the battlefield limping around, bleeding and broken...attending to the needs of the other wounded soldiers.
In the days and months to follow July 24th, 2009, I have chosen to care for my children. I have pushed past the tears and the open wounds to sing them to sleep. I have read books and Bible stories. I have prayed with them when I have been too paralyzed to pray myself. I have kissed their hurts, cuddled their tears. I have bathed them, fed them, played with them....when I didn't have the strength to get off the couch. I have spent hours during the night getting up with them, sleeping with them, soothing their fears. In each moment, my heart was bleeding, my soul was broken. But this, for my children.
My children need more than that. They needed to build snow forts...like they did with Ashley. They wanted to go to the beach, like we used to. They wanted a Christmas tree...when we wanted to skip over the month of December. They don't understand the kind of pain we feel when with each thing we do without Ashley. They can't understand why we wouldn't do those things, if we did them with Ashley. My children wanted to celebrate their birthdays...just the way we always did. Spring is here and the kids had been dreaming up the garden and what we'd plant in it. (How can I say "no"?) "When are we going to go strawberry picking, Mom?" These things are what they need...and despite my open, bleeding wounds, we do these things...because I love them.
How can I do these things? How can I pick up and continue life without Ashley? God gives me the strength each day...even when I don't ask Him for it. I know it is not my own strength. God loved me so much, He willingly took my shame, my guilt, my sin...upon his perfect self. He was condemned, beaten, forced to carry the cross (my cross)that He was hung upon to die. He bled...FOR ME...out of love. God suffered great pain, because He LOVED ME! This love...is the kind of love that lays down all the desires of one's heart for another. This is the love that drives me each day. This is one way in which I am taking part in the sufferings of Jesus Christ.