January 6, 2014

Stand Tall... You are not alone

 In life, we are all constantly at crossroads. Some of these crossroads are life-changing, and others don’t seem to make a difference either way. These moments come to us sometimes many times a day. Which way to choose . . . what choice to make. Do I take back this lipstick that had dropped behind my purse at the store and now I’m loading all my groceries in the car and I am in a hurry and need to leave? Do I wait at the cross walk with the little boy who looks lost . . . even though I’m already running late to take my daughter to her piano lesson? It is a moment for a young high school girl when she has to decide if she will walk past the young boy who just got his binder torn out of his hands and his stuff thrown about the hallway . . . or if she will stop and help him pick it up and be late for her next class. It is the moment when a young man sits in a dressing room contemplating walking out of the store with the T-shirt he just put on under his clothes . . . or if he takes it off and saves his money to buy it when he can afford it. A young pregnant mother sits at a crossroad at the abortion clinic. . . contemplating whether or not she keeps this unborn child or walks out of there today as if nothing ever happened. Crossroads are always in our lives. They are sometimes small . . . and other times very large and heavy. They come to young and old, poor and rich, happy and depressed. We cannot always control when or how they come. The only part we have control over, is the outcome. The outcome of any crossroad can be very dark . . . or it can bring so much joy for generations to come. We will not always know the ripple effect that our decisions can have on others around us, but sometimes, our decisions will change another person’s life forever.

My name is Ashlee. I am a victim of murder. Through a series of events and by two shots of a gun, I was made a widow at the age of 28, with my youngest child just six weeks old. I am a victim of infidelity. I have felt unlovable. I have felt rejected. I have had days in my life when I wasn’t sure if I would ever take a breath again, let alone be able to raise my five children by myself. I have lived in fear. I have felt much heartache. I have felt truly broken to my core. I have carried some heavy burdens . . . not only of my own, but burdens put upon my shoulders by the death of my husband. I have felt alone. I have felt humiliated. I have been humbled to my knees. I have searched my soul to find my worth in this world, and in the life that was left for me. My world has been totally shattered. I have faced realities I never knew were possible, and found strength within myself to keep up the fight and live every day as if it was on purpose. I have been carried by Angels . . . both earthly beings and those unseen. I have found that being a “victim” doesn’t mean we have an excuse to stop living. Being a victim means finding a reason for seeking a higher road. I have picked up the pieces left and carried on. I am a mother. I am a survivor.

In one way or another, we are all victims. There are times in our lives when we are forced to question who we are at our core. When we are presented with a path . . . we can go this way or we can choose that way. For some, this moment comes when the one person whom we love the most decides we are not enough. This person leaves us—at a most vulnerable moment—alone to search within ourselves for who we really are. We are left trying to find who it is that was left behind. Sometimes the person we love dies. Sometimes it is merely an internal battle we are facing . . . all alone inside our minds. Whatever the situation and wherever you have been . . . you have been hurt. You have felt alone. You have been abandoned, either by your parents, your lover, your friends, complete strangers, or even yourself. We have all been at that crossroad where all we have left is ourselves.

Sometimes these moments of lows have brought you to your knees and caused you to reflect and ponder your relationship with God . . . and other times they have made you question if He is even there, or if He knows you are alone. Whatever that moment has been for you, it is personal and real. It has defined and refined who you are, who you think you were, and who you want to become.


This is my story . . . the defining moments that have truly brought me to my knees, the times when I’ve questioned to my core my very existence, and the experiences I’ve had that have shown me who I really am and who my Heavenly Father still needs me to become. The night of my husband’s death was my darkest hour, but also the very moment when I saw firsthand that my Heavenly Father sent Angels on errands for me. He carried me. It was the hour when all my fears and all the pain of this world collided together and He was there . . . putting back together all the pieces, one step at a time.

28 comments:

Lauri said...

Thanks for writing. I'm reading. Just so you know. I'm a friend from the past but ever present with prayers for your beautiful family and all they have gone through.

madisonandryan said...

What a blessing Ash! You yourself are a true testimate of The Lord!

Josh, Lindsie, and Ava said...

Love you! Beautiful words from an amazing person.

Ruth Sagers said...

Thanks for sharing such personal thoughts, you have a beautiful way of expressing yourself. I love you, Ashlee!

Bingham said...

There is so much power in your words. I know that you will help others find strength with your story. I find strength from your courage and love for others.

Teresa Flinders said...

Hi Ashlee! I served with Abbey in Kirtland. We lived together for 9 months and for 9 months on P-days she would share pictures and stories about your cute family. I marvel at all that you have gone through! Thank you for sharing this with all of us. Your strength is inspiring. Although my trials are so far away from what you have experienced, they are still so real and hard for me. I needed to hear this today.

janie said...

You have been through so much...I admire your faith, courage and perseverance. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and experiences. Abbey posted your blog site on her FB. I will be following, if that is o.k. You are a remarkable young woman. Your mom and sisters were in our ward when they lived in Highland. LOVE your mom. I can see where you get that faith and strength.

Leslie said...

Thank you Ahslee for sharing...you're such a marvel to me and how you still was able to see the light. I felt that you are such a beautiful person just not the outside but definitely inside and your spirit is truly AMAZING!

Mary Jane said...

I dont know you, but you are amazing. Im grateful and humbled by your story and courage.

Anonymous said...

YOU are an amazing woman!! May you be blessed as you raise your beautiful children. I admire your testimony.

Babette Nelson said...

Oh my goodness Ashlee. I am so sorry for what you went through....and so proud of you (even though you don't know me) for what you are now going through. God bless you, and I can see He has. Take time too for yourself in the busy days of giving to your family. I am glad you are able to journal, it is healing for you and for others.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing your story! You are an amazing and inspiring daughter of God!

Anonymous said...

I am so happy that you turned to the Lord instead of turning bitter, as would be easy to do with all you have suffered thru. I too feel pride for you, even though we've never met. You are indeed an great example of true beliver. You truely are never alone. Not only do you have the Lord and your family, but you now have many of us who choose to pray for you and wish you joy and peace in your life. God be With You

smileofparadise said...

Thank you for your MIGHTY FAITH, and your beautiful example! I hope that you can find sense in your suffering, as you understand how much your example can make a difference for others.
And the fact is, we are all connected, so as you hold tight to your faith, you lift all of us. As you stay in gratitude, hoping for peace and healing, you invite peace and healing into the world. Thank you. We are with you. You are with us. You are never alone! Sending so much love and prayers!
Your Sister in the Faith

Christine said...

Ashlee, I was so happy to get to meet you this summer when you brought your children to swim in my backyard. You came
at the invitation of my niece Alison Martin. I love to have swimmers come enjoy my pool on a hot summer day. I always love to watch mothers enjoy their children. You have a very beautiful family and such a spirit of goodness that surrounds you. You are indeed special and I know your story will help so many other women. You serve others be sharing your story of healing. Thank you for your courage.

Debbie said...

Ashlee, I needed to read this today. My sister told me about this blog, and I know I was meant to read this as tomorrow is 4 years since my divorce. I fought for my marriage, even though in every way he turned away from me for another woman.I am so grateful for your words of encouragement. I am grateful for your strength. I think of the days and nights I was either on my knees or on the floor pouring my soul out to my Father in Heaven to help me, I now say he has in every way...even more today because of you. My kids like yours is what has gotten us through. I am so blessed with them and my faith once again. I am a Grammy and the choicest things in my life are my grandkids. I thank you and I pray for you. Deb

Beth Wintlend said...

You have shown such grace and strength through all of this and that is amazing & inspiring!! Thank you for being a role model in this world of ugliness and sin. Thank you for sharing story's of your pain to help others!!

Lisa said...

You are a beautiful writer. I imagine it is very therapeutic to share your story. Thank you for letting us into your life.

Photography By Charity Fox said...

I am so sorry for what you have been through but truly admire what you are doing with this blog. You may not realize it now but I believe this blog will be the start of you doing great things with your life, as you are sending a very powerful message!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing this with us. I always wonder how I would handle myself if I lost my husband. I'd hope I'd keep living for God and not fall subject to the victim role. I am very inspired by you and I'm looking forward to reading more of your story. God bless you!

Mia said...

You are a beautiful chosen daughter of God. I have seen your story on television before, and was struck by your spirit then...I am so glad I came upon your blog. Thank you for opening up about your pain. Forgiveness is a gift you give to yourself, as well a Christ. I have noticed that some of the greatest miracles come in times of the most difficult sorrow and pain. Keep watching for them...I am sure you have many more coming your way. I am so honored to be your spiritual sister. Keep standing tall. You are a pillar if strength to so many others, especially me.

Anonymous said...

Bless you for sharing. I lost the man of my dreams, my fiancé, to cancer when I was 21. I lost a husband to another woman in my 40s (in retrospect, he was the man of my nightmares). But I can't imagine the shock and pain of learning of your husband's death and betrayal in the same horrendous moment.

For me, coming to terms with the betrayal took longer and was every bit as painful as grieving for my fiancé and all the hopes and dreams that went to the grave with him.

Raising kids alone is a daunting challenge, but raising precious kids that you have to "share" with the two people you can't trust (your ex and the other woman)--especially if they undermine your efforts--that rips your heart out!

aShLie JaNe said...

You are an inspiration to everyone who reads. Makes me want to be a better person having read it. Amazing.

Jen said...

I don't know you but I too am a mother of 5 and live in Southern Utah and I happened to come across your story and then your blog and I wanted to tell you what an example your story has been for me! You show so much strength and faith when such horrific things have come your way and I find you to be very inspiring! What a blessing it is to be members of the lds church and have that gospel there to guide us! Thank you again!

Anonymous said...

YOU are an amazing woman!! May you be blessed as you raise your beautiful children. I admire your testimony.

Anonymous said...

You truly inspire me. Your story is so amazing, so painful, and yet it is such a learning experience. Thank you so much for sharing your story.

Dulcinea del Toboso said...

I love your words....and you! Thank you <3

Mandy Pratt said...

I love this.

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