Yesterday, we had the privilege of hearing Part 1 of Ashlie’s story about pain and loss. Today, she is sharing how her past experiences have taught her about the power of Christ.
Over the course of the next few years, as I ventured more and more out into the world, becoming a professional club-head and developing a seared conscious to my reckless lifestyle choices, I realized I was running from God. I was trying to run my own life. I finally was brought to a place where I had to make the choice to stop running and surrender to God. I did just that. I was tired of the way I was living life. I was tired of being broken. I was tired of trying to numb my pain with dysfunctional behavior. I was tired of giving myself to men with false hope of them reciprocating what I felt I needed. I was tired of ruining my life with bitterness, anger, unforgiveness, selfishness, pain, rejection and a host of other identity killers. I dedicated my life to Christ (for real) and have never looked back. God has saved, delivered, healed, and transformed me in ways that only He can!
I am so honored to share my friend’s story with you today. I admire her courage and transparency. It’s hard to share stories, but today she has chosen to share her story with the hope of encouraging other women who may be experiencing a similar situation.
At 20 years old, I was hardly living the life I imagined I would be living as a little girl. It wasn’t the life I imagined upon graduating high school two years prior with national honors, scholarships, and opportunities to study practically wherever I wanted. Based on my goals and serious dedication to academic excellence, I imagined myself at some prestigious college miles away from home. I imagined myself working my way up the political ladder, as my goal straight out of high school was to become the first African-American female president of the United States. However, that wasn’t the case. At 20 years old I was not at some prestigious college away from home, nor was I climbing up a political ladder. As a matter of fact, I wasn’t in anyone’s college; I was actually spiraling downward into a dark, empty pit that I lived in for a few years to follow. There came a point when I found myself in a 1 bedroom subsidized apartment, unemployed, nearly 3 months pregnant, depressed, and counting down the days to my abortion appointment because the guy I was pregnant by wanted nothing to do with me or our unborn child.
Tonight my neighbors’ music is blasting, but I don’t mind. I find myself swaying my head back and forth to the melodies as I think about my late grandfather.
The old school jams blaring from the speakers outside my window reminds me of when I was a young girl and my papa would play music from his record player. What I remember most is Sunday evenings when family would gather at grandma’s and grandpa’s house for dinner. Occasionally, Papa would come in the den after everyone had finished eating and break out his favorite dance that would make us all laugh. While dancing, he would mumble words that none of us barely understood because his mouth was so full of chewing tobacco, but we knew he was trying to get a silly reaction out of us.
One thing I know for sure is that my papa never got sick. I do mean, never. If he did, he hid it well. It’s like all those years of never getting sick caught up with him and took the life out of him all at once. I’ll never forget my grandmother calling me in early spring of 2008 to tell me the news I’d never expected to hear:
“Your grandfather has cancer. The doctors are saying he only has 6-12 months to live.”
I was in utter shock; we had never dealt with anyone in our family being terminally ill. I did not know what to do and so I pretended.
At this moment, someone is watching their mother pass away from an incurable disease, wishing they could take her to lunch tomorrow instead.
Another is dealing with a broken relationship with an abusive mom; unable to reach out to her, he passes up the flowers, cards and other ubiquitous reminders of the holiday in his local Target.
While some are making phone calls and video chats with their mothers on Sunday, there’s a child out there who never got the opportunity to meet their mother. Others have lost their mothers too soon- my husband included, whose mother passed when he was just 8-years-old.
Countless mothers will wake to a too-quiet home on Sunday after losing their child to the senseless gun violence in the city of Chicago.
For these and others like them, Mother’s Day is not a happy day.
As May 8th approaches, consider these 8 ways that we can be there for those who are deeply aching inside as they anticipate the day:
A dear friend of mine just adopted three beautiful children. She and her husband are beyond excited for their journey as a family.
The love she embodies for her children is like watching the sunrise in the morning or traveling down the sunlit canals of Venice (my dream). The love she displays is breathtaking, warm, inviting, nurturing and most of all, authentic.
This friend of mine loves to talk about her children, simply because she’s such a pleased mama.
One night we were talking and she was bringing me up to date on her children & family, since we hadn’t talked in a while. I’ll never forget the words she spoke that brought me to tears.
I was preparing for bed when I noticed a strange sound emerging from the kitchen.
I was exhausted from the demands of the day and desired nothing more than rest.
But the sound would not go away. It called for my attention. I walked back to the kitchen from my bedroom and sure enough…it was the sound of our smoke detector crying out for a replacement battery.
Too tired to address the issue, I took the battery out, assuming the bothersome sound would cease.
To my surprise, the chirping continued. I removed the smoke detector from the ceiling, and did something that surprised even me.
Today, I was thinking of publishing a happy post. You know, something upbeat, funny and not as deep. But, I felt led to share a little bit of my journey with postpartum depression. Maybe there’s someone out there today that needs to know that they are not alone: and so here I am, showing up, and allowing myself to be seen, so that together, we can persevere and overcome.
Sometimes, blocking out painful memories is a relief, but today, I am allowing myself to sit in the raw tension of my journey with postpartum depression and allowing others to enter into this space with me.
I feel my muscles tensing and tears rushing to the forefront of my eyes, because all I can remember is how dark and gloomy those days were. They were filled with what seemed to be uncontrollable anxiety, sadness, and feelings of hopelessness.