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.