Wednesday, August 4, 2010

My Testimony....so far.... :)

I hope one day my kids can look at this blog and see not only all the fun memories we made and how much I love them but also what the Lord has done in my life. I also know that anytime I read someone else’s testimony I am blessed. For these reasons, I think it is important to write out my personal testimony.

When I was 4 years old I remember being in Sunday School and the teacher having us bow our heads and close our eyes and she asked us if we wanted to ask Jesus into our hearts. I knew as much as a four year old could know about Jesus since I had been in church 9 months before I was born (in my mom’s tummy) so of course I said I wanted Jesus in my heart. I’m really not sure what I understood about it to be honest but I know that I was baptized by my grandfather and from then on I had a strong “conscience” (aka the Holy Spirit) that made me always assured of if I was doing right or wrong.

At twelve years old, I attended a christian camp in which my mom sold her wedding ring for me to be able to attend. (She did not tell me this until much much later. My parents were going through a divorce; I did not know at the time but this is just one of the many sacrificial things my mother has done for me.) Anyway, so I went to this camp and I was confused and my dad had left and moved to Texas and my world was kinda swirling around me and I was not for sure that I had accepted Christ when I was younger and so I prayed the “sinner’s prayer” again. I do remember realizing more about Jesus at this point then when I had first accepted Christ. However, now, looking back, I do feel like Jesus saved me at four years of age in Sunday School. I knew that Jesus had died for me and that He rose again and I knew I was a sinner and that I wanted Him in my heart; I remember telling my mom that I accepted Jesus and really being sincere about it at that young age.

For this point on I definitely had my ups and downs as far as in my walk with the Lord w I grew up attending a wonderful church and Christian school in which I am convinced gave me the spiritual education, understanding, and support I really needed to grow in my walk with the Lord along with my parents. My church even provided the opportunity for me to travel twice overseas on mission trips to Haiti and to London, England.

I don’t remember very much about growing up really. I just have small memories here and there. It is weird, part of me thinks I may have blocked out some memories because my family was going through a hard time, I’m not sure. I do, however, remember my senior year of high school though and how I started to not care at all about being popular at all but really focused on growing in my relationship with the Lord. I remember that through doing this, I actually made more friends and my life as so much less stressful. My senior year in high school I grew so much in my relationship with the Lord; I remember knowing that the Lord had a unique calling on my life, one that involved missions.

Then, I chose to go to Christian college and I was so excited about it. I have to say that the college I chose was such an amazing school. It gave all the students ample opportunity to grow in their relationship with the Lord. I did grow off and on but like most college students a drifted here and there and sometimes I drifted pretty far from the Lord. The funny thing was that at this school, you could put on a front and everyone would think everything was ok with you spiritually when it was not. (Now that I live in the north (or mid-west they say) I know that “putting on a mask” really is a southern concept. People in the north just do not do this, they either are something or they are not and I really appreciate that.) Anyway, at this school I got the opportunity to go on overseas mission trips to Africa and Panama (the country) and it really grew my heart even more for missions.

While attending college I started dating a guy my freshman year and dated him all the way through college until my junior year. We were really not good for each other for a lot of reasons. I truly believed I was going to marry this guy but all the sudden after my trip to Panama I realized he was not the person I was supposed to marry. I want to make this clear, this was (and I’m sure still is) a great and wonderful person, we just were not good for each other. So, I broke up with him. This was a huge turning point in my relationship with the Lord. I really feel like that relationship was just holding me back, and not because of the guy, I just think I knew well before I broke up with him that we should break up and I would not do it.

Anyway, my major when I started college was music. I knew that the Lord had (somewhat?!) gifted me in this area because I received the highest scholarship you could receive for this major at this school and so I just sort of took this as a “sign from God” that I should major in music. Well, I get to college and realize that I am not the only person in the world that could sing. (I had come from a small Christian school, remember, so I think it just made me seem like I could sing really well. haha) So, college as a music major was a major shock. I had a voice teacher that was very very negative and always put me down because she did not particularly like the way I was trained. (My sweet parents had put me through voice lessons for 6 years at that point.) I very quickly got burnt out and lost all confidence in myself and vowed to that I would not put myself in that position again. Little did I know that three years later, the summer before my senior year in college, I would meet my future husband, Adam, a worship leader that would want me to help him lead worship. I think God has a sense of humor. Seriously though, I believe God had to take me on that journey in music for so many reasons, to humble me, and to make sure I always stood behind Adam and didn’t try to take over in the music area (God knows my controlling side all too well. :) )

God had perfect timing in Adam and I meeting and getting married. We dove into ministry with Adam being a youth minister and worship leader at a church in Mississippi. God even provided me the opportunity to teach seventh grade bible for a short period at the school I went to all throughout elementary school and high school; I loved it so much and I am still thankful for that opportunity. I enjoyed complimenting him in his ministry and fell in love with teaching and especially teaching junior high students. God grew me so much while we were at our first church. I believe He used that opportunity for the both of us, as a really hard ministry situation, to teach us that only with Him can we get through hard times.

I had wanted to get pregnant since the day we married but we did not have health insurance and so we needed to wait and the day we got health insurance we began trying to get pregnant. We tried for six months but about three months in I started bleeding as if I was on my period but it did not stop. I was seeing a doctor that kept telling me that it was ok and that he thought I was overreacting. I FINALLY switched doctors and the new doctor found out almost immediately that I was experiencing a very dangerous ectopic pregnancy. He did an ultrasound suggested emergency surgery in a couple hours (seeing as there is a risk that the ectopic pregnancy can explode inside and cause all kinds of damage to your internal organs.) Adam and I were so sad; we knew I had miscarried from a blood test but this was terrible news to us. While in surgery, they realized that the tube that the baby had been growing in was too damaged to leave in place and that they needed to remove it. Everyone told me that when I woke up I said, “I’m never going to be able to have a baby am I?” It was a very very sad time. I had the surgery the 22nd of December so my Christmas was sort of a blur but I do remember that a week after my surgery we got a phone call from my brother and sister in law saying they were pregnant. I was very sad and just had so many mixed emotions, being so happy for them but wanting what they had so badly was just hard. This was the day I decided to start a blog and when I wrote this post.

In the two short years that Adam and I had been married at this point, we had the wonderful opportunity of going on two overseas mission trips to Honduras and to Israel. I am so thankful for these experiences we had before having children. All the trips I’ve have taken overseas hold such special places in my heart but these two in particular hold really special places in my heart. Israel was especially meaningful to me because even now when I read the bible many times I have pictures of the actual places where this took place; it just brought such a new understanding to the bible for me personally. Honduras is special for another reason. I remember traveling to Honduras with Adam and it was his first overseas mission trip and I thought, “Ok, God, I am ready for you to call Adam now to be an overseas missionary. I think it is time now. So do that for me, ok?!” Well, you guessed it, we came back and Adam had no desire at all to move overseas to be a missionary. I cried and cried, thinking I would never have this longing in my heart fulfilled. Little did I know that after serving at the church in Mississippi, God would call us to Ohio, a definite mission field. I meet people all the time, that are not just indifferent but just simply do not know, have not heard. Of course, this was not the type of mission field I had envisioned but the need is so prevalent here. My passion for missions and Adam’s talents in music and media and his desire to see people saved, was combined as God sent us to where we are now, Marysville, Ohio. Wow. God. You are awesome.

So back to the baby story, before my surgery I was attending seminary but after my surgery Adam and I both felt I should just take a semester off and heal etc.; so I did. My friend, Kimberly, had heard about this mission trip to Mexico at the beginning of February and they needed two more people and she was going to go and she wanted me to go as well. So, I head back to my doctor to get a check up for the Mexico trip since I had just had surgery about 6 weeks before I was supposed to leave for the trip. Well, anytime you are trying to get pregnant they do a urine test when you enter the office to see if you are pregnant. The doctor did the check up and everything looked fine and he left and I got dressed and then looked at my sheet he had left in the room and it said urine pregnancy test, “POSITIVE.” I flipped out (in my head) and ran out of the room into the doctor’s personal office and I said, “Umm, am I crazy? This says I’m pregnant but you didn’t say that?!” He looked at the sheet and said, “Let me check something I will be right back.” He came back and said, “You’re pregnant. I’m so sorry, I just would have never guessed that four weeks after your surgery you would already be pregnant!” Crazy huh?! Thanks God!! And then there was Annabelle! After Annabelle was born, we knew, since I only had one tube that I would have a little bit of a harder time getting pregnant and so we did not prevent getting pregnant and when Annabelle was about 6 months old we found out we were pregnant and then there was Adelyn. I am so incredibly blessed and thankful to God that I have the both of them.

I get so excited writing this all out because I know that God is not finished writing my story yet. It is such a good reminder of how blessed I am and how much mercy He has poured upon my life.

Thank you for our story so far Jesus. Please allow me to always be teachable and moldable by you and help me to remember every day how much you have blessed me with and what I responsibility I have to share your name and teach my family about how much you love them and want to know them. Please help me to not only say these things with my mouth but to always teach them by how I live. Amen.

4 comments:

Lauren said...

Thanks for sharing your story. It's beautiful.

Bobbi said...

What a beautiful story! God is so good and he is the most amazing author of all our life stories. You are blessed beyond belief with your two babies. Thanks for following my blog. I am returning the favor! Looking forward to reading more and seeing more pics of your darling baby girls.

~Bobbi @ www.thejohnsonsjourney.com

Beth Ann said...

Ashley - your testimony is honest and precious. It makes such a huge difference when people are real, and I love reading that in your writing :)

Whitney said...

Ashley - you have such a beautiful testimony. Thank you for sharing.