August 13, 2014

Take upon Me

So much of this blog I have spent telling stories of the past. I have had to rummage through old journals and memories; I have done my best to recall exact conversations and the feelings I felt during each of them. It has not been easy to relive these moments, but it has been so healing for me as I have. This weekend I was taught some new lessons that I want to share. It doesn’t follow in the order of our healing, but has really touched my heart.

On Friday Bailey and Bostyn picked out some cookbooks at the public library. They spent most of the day making menus of the things they wanted to cook. They were anxiously asking all day Saturday to make some of the recipes on their lists. I finally agreed.

Saturday evening the two were eagerly cooking away. They were acting so big and were having the time of their life. I was trying to let them lead the way and do most of the things they could on their own. They were chopping up vegetables and making salsa, browning meat, and measuring out rice. Each step was organized and they worked together for what to do next. It was fun seeing them team up in the kitchen and act so grown up.

At one point Bailey went to take off the lid to our food ninja.  Instead of just unhooking the power button unit she pulled up the entire lid, and power top, and the blades. Since the lid and blades were still engaged with the power source, the machine thought it was still connected to the base.  When she went to put it down the power button hit the countertop and the blades powered up in full force—shredding both of her hands.
(Warning: graphic pictures of her hands below)
It was like a crime scene from a movie. Blood was literally shooting all over the white cabinets and floor; every child in our house was screaming at the top of their lungs. She lost a lot a blood; most of which was all over the dinner they had been working on and the hard wood floor extending from the front door to the back bedroom.

The only thing I remember before going into a state of shock was looking down at her hands and seeing half of her finger hanging by some skin.  I could see through the blood the palms of her hands. They resembled a sliced open uncooked steak. Shawn grabbed some towels and within seconds they were out the door. He rushed her to the hospital while the other kids and I stared around at the blood stained kitchen.

Five seconds. Literally in the blink of an eye our house went from a peaceful, sweet, safe haven of imagination—to a traumatic war zone none of us will ever forget. As Teage and Bostyn and I wiped our tears and scrubbed up Bailey’s blood off of the walls and floor, I felt a huge wave of humility rush through me. Somewhere on my journey of writing about the pain in my past, I think I have secretly hoped that we had it all behind us. We already lived through the rough patches, right? We shouldn’t have to go through any more pain, or physical anguish. I have gotten on this blog to document the stories of the past, almost in hopes that it meant the hard times were all behind us.

Well I am here today, humbled, to report they are not. We have not been exempt from cuts and bruises, and broken hearts. Bailey ended up needing about 45 stitches between the two of her hands. Both of the palms of her hands were ripped open. Her left pointer finger had a tendon and vein that were sliced through—hence the spewing of blood everywhere. And her right thumb is cut up. 





She is so wrapped up in bandages that she cannot feed herself or do any of the usual things she has always been able to do on her own. For the first few days, every time we would unwrap her hands, everyone would burst in tears—staring at the mess on her hands, and the pain in her eyes.  Sunday she spent all day in mourning for a life she felt she had lost. She has been very emotional and in so much pain. 

Yesterday I was doing laundry when Bailey walked in with tears in her eyes. What she said to me I will always remember, “Mom . . . I don’t want to be like this. I wish I could run away from it. I don’t want to feel this pain anymore . . . but I have been thinking about some things as I have sat on the couch while everyone does everything for me. Remember on Saturday morning when you and me were talking about how all the kids in our family have something they struggle with—like math or reading—and I said I didn’t really struggle with any of that. I asked you to tell me what things you have seen me struggle with.  You told me that because I was so smart at a lot of things . . . you saw my need to find empathy for others in their struggles. I think I understand that now. I didn’t know before how to see what other’s felt, because I had never felt it. I have never understood Tytus’ food allergies, or Teage having a hard time with reading because those things haven’t been hard for ME. Not being able to use my hands the last few days has given me a chance to think a lot about what others go through. I have thought about people in wheelchairs, and those that are blind. This has been really hard, but I think I am starting to see what you were talking about when you said I needed to find more empathy for others.  Bostyn has done everything for me. She has cared about me more than she has for herself. She has brushed my teeth, and fed me food, and really cared about my pain. She said on the way to the hospital you and her listened to When you believe and you both cried for me. I have never in my life felt more close to seeing how others feel in their struggles. I think I even know a little bit about what Jesus went through when they put the nails through his hands . . . and I hurt for Him. Just like I didn’t deserve this pain in my hands, neither did He. But because He felt that pain, He knows exactly what I am feeling right now.”

That moment when you see before your eyes the pure tender truths that only a daughter of God can teach you.

Empathy. We know Jesus Christ has it for us . . . but how many of us have been given the opportunity to feel it for Him? I don’t think I will ever look at the scars on my little girl’s hands without thinking about a Savior who took on similar scars for me.

We are not alone in our struggles, and this week I didn’t just write about a past pain when I felt alone—I watched my daughter live in pain. A trial I could not take from her in any way. I am starting to wonder if after our conversation on Saturday morning she went up to her room and prayed to receive more empathy for others, a lesson not easily learned by watching another suffer.

Not all of us will be given scars in our palms to help us remember the sacrifice that Jesus Christ has made for us personally, but we are all given trials. Each person on the earth will go through pain—maybe not always physical, but we will go through some sort of suffering.

The grace of God isn’t fully comprehended until we are able to use it to help us overcome our trials, and peace from our pain. We can read about another person’s experience finding empathy for the suffering of others—even Jesus’s pain in his hands as they nailed him to the cross, but it isn’t until we are in our own suffering that we fully comprehend the magnificence of His sacrifice. It is through our own physical and emotional pain that we can come to have empathy for our Brother who willingly suffered for us.

 Jesus Christ chose to take upon him all of our pain. He did it willingly because he wanted to know exactly what we were going through. I know that with that empathy He is much more equipped to kneel at God’s feet and plead for the forgiveness we need. He has felt each pain and therefore knows of our suffering when our actions fail us.

I can almost picture him—on the dark days when I have failed as a parent—begging God to forgive me. I can hear him telling of the pain that was in my heart on a day, just weeks after Emmett was shot, when the kids were trying to let Tiffanie and me sleep in. They went into the pantry and got out their own cereal, only to drop a bowl and set off the alarm. I imagine Christ telling Heavenly Father of the fear that was coursing through my veins as I ran out to the kitchen—thinking I was going to find Rob in my house—but instead my panic caused me to yell at my kids and their spilled milk. The fear in my screams wasn’t about the dropped bowl, or the alarm ringing through the house—it was about everything that alarm could have meant. It was about a fear much greater than a spilled bowl of cereal.

 I can almost see Christ, as He knelt at the feet of God explaining my mistake, with tears in his eyes—pleading for Him to forgive me. And just as Jesus had empathy for those who drove the nails into His hands, I know that He feels the same for us as He pleas, “Father, forgive them . . . for they know not what they do.”

I know that because Jesus chose to feel our pain, instead of receive revelations of them . . . He is our greatest advocate. Without feeling my pain, Christ could never describe my actions so perfectly. Without knowing my fear, He too would only want to condemn me for my mistakes.

I pray that each of us may take the little moments—the times when we want to scream WHY ME?—to better understand the suffering of others. That we may find empathy for the One who has felt them all, and be a little more grateful for all the blessings He has given to us.  And as He takes upon Himself our pains, let us try to understand the sacrifice that it was, even for such as Him.  He didn’t do it because it was easy—He took upon himself our pains because He knew that He would be able to save us, when we alone were not enough.

His suffering was not in vain . . . and our pain doesn’t have to be either. Turn to Him when the load you are carrying gets to be too much to bear. He will take upon Himself the scars that you may never see.

The scars of my pains will forever be a reminder of the suffering He did for me. As I take upon me His name, my suffering will always bring me closer to the eternal being He is creating me to be. 



28 comments:

Janette Cary said...

This is beautiful!

Janean Justham said...

Thank you, Ashlee.

Anonymous said...

Sending thoughts and prayers for your sweet daughter and your family. Beautiful post, hang in there!

lee4darcy said...

Wonderful message. Thank you!

Lori said...

Such a touching post!

c a n d a c e said...

I loved this post, so tender & sweet. Thank you thank you for sharing.

Anonymous said...

What a great message, I love reading your blog. My two year old little girl saw the pictures of your daughters hands and she said "ouchie, kiss it better" so she grabbed my phone and kissed your daughters hands and said "all better" hoping your daughter heals quickly.

irene said...

Someone once said "if something is fair it isn't a trial" and this seems so unfair to happen to a little girl - but what a wonderful girl!! She has learned something many of us much older struggle with. May God bless her and your whole family with all you need to get through this. Many prayers on behalf of all of you and much love is sent!!

Spacebar1966 said...

WOW! I have been in the position where one of my children has been in a life altering situation and the helplessness is completely overwhelming. Thank you for reminding me of Christ pure love for me, my family and those in our lives. I have followed your journey through your words and had smiles, laughs, heart break and tears for the trials you have experienced. You have a beautiful gift that you have shared with the world that most people could not and would not do. Your writing has been inspirational and really has kicked me in the butt when I needed it most. Thank you for sharing yourself.

Melyssa said...

Sending prayers to your sweet family, especially Bailey! I think watching your children suffer is possibly one of the most difficult trials in my life (I have two children on the autism spectrum.) and I live with chronic pain. It gives me so much peace knowing my Savior is the one who understands what I am feeling. Thank you for this beautiful post!

Anonymous said...

Thank you! I needed this so much today! You really have an amazing gift. I am suffering from pain inflicted by someone I love with all of my heart. This story and the rway you have told about your tragedies in the rest of the blog and in your book are helping me have hope and promise! I hope your days and weeks and years are filled with happiness from knowing that you are helping others by sharing your story.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing, prayers for Bailey and to your family.

Anonymous said...

That is an amazing daughter (and whole family) you've got there! Hope the healing goes smoothly!

Deb said...

wow. Your daughter is very insightful. You should be very proud of her and all of your family for the way they pull together and overcome obstacles.

glenda said...

Praying Bailey heals soon. Beautiful post!

Janna said...

Poor Bailey! That looks so painful! :( But it is amazing the insight she has for being so young. Your example of living a life of faith in all circumstances clearly has had a positive impact on her. Praying for quick healing for Bailey and that she doesn't have any permanent nerve damage! God bless!

Mel said...

What a sweetheart, I shed tears at the tender insights she gained.

T said...

Oh my gosh! I cannot believe those wounds! Poor, sweet baby! I am so sorry! I hope she heals well, and that she can keep her good outlook on the important things she's learning. She's one amazing girl! I'll be praying for her!

Anonymous said...

Ashlee,
I discovered your blog a couple days ago and have read all of your entries. I have never read anything more inspiring and motivating in my life. What makes your story unique than all the many tragedies is your humility so evident in your genuine admission of anger, spite, bitterness, pain, and all the emotions so many try so hard to polish over. Your love and faith for the Savior is profound. I find safety and warmth in your messages because you don't preach what you know, you simply testify his truths! I don't know you. But I can say I feel close to you and love you and your family through our Savior's atoning sacrifice.
My husband and I are both converts to the church. We were both baptized and sealed in the temple three years after our wedding day. We've been married 14 years now and have five sweet children. Eight years into our marriage I discovered that my husband had had affairs all through those years with multiple women. He was addicted to pornography. He was smoking. He was drinking. He was doing everything wrong behind my family. With our family we went on temple dates, he baptized our children, held his calling, and served everyone. How was I so blind? Needless to say I got angry. I felt like the husband that I knew had died. The man in front of me was an imposter! As you know- words cannot adequately describe all the emotions that I went through in those dark confessional moments. I felt trapped to the standards I had committed myself to in keeping my family "together for eternity". I wanted to run away from him. I hated him. I wished he was dead so I could move on with my life. Yes I wished my husband had died. I thought it would be an easier way out of the pain. I am humbled by your story. How the death of your husband left so many unanswered questions. My heart broke again when I read your struggles of loneliness as you yearned for your husband's warm embrace and apologies. Our stories are tragically parallel but they also ended differently. I wish your husband was not murdered. I wish he was still alive to find you in your closet crying and wrap his arms around you- so both of you can cry together. I didn't know him. However having seen the atonement work it's miracles with my husband, I believe with all my heart Emmett would have transformed his heart and loved you even more than on your wedding day had he had the opportunity to repent. Ashlee, God's light is everywhere. There is no darkness so dark that God's light cannot penetrate. My husband lived and went through the repentance process here on earth. Emmett found his light too. He is just waiting in heaven now. He is where the source of light is.
You are a beautiful woman, mother, and survivor. Thank you for sharing your experience with us. You have truly exemplified what it means to walk in His light.

Anonymous said...

This made me think of The Hand Song by Nickle Creek. Have you heard it? Thanks for sharing this sweet lesson, prayers for quick healing for your little one!

Mari said...

Those pictures are very hard to look at! Yikes! But your words are beautiful. What stuck out to me was how you described thinking all your big trials were behind you. When my husband passed away 4 months ago, I honestly thought that trial was so huge that surely I would have a break from future trials, at least for awhile, but that has certainly not been so! But I have learned that through all of these trials we face it brings us closer to our Savior. He is always there for us! He helps us carry our burdens, and makes them light -- it is miraculous to witness firsthand! May God bless you in your future, and keep you strong to handle all things that come your way. You are beautiful and strong beyond comprehension!

Anonymous said...

Ashlee,
As I have read your blog posts over the last while, I keep getting reminded of the scripture in 2 Nephi 33:4 which reads "... And the words which I have written in weakness will be made strong unto them; for it persuadeth them to do good; it maketh known unto them of their fathers; and it speaketh of Jesus, and persuadeth them to believe in him, and to endure to the end, which is life eternal." You have written in weakness, and continue to persuade others to reach out to the Savior for succor. You’ve helped me and many others to understand about humility, and how to look to the Savior, and to make it through our days. At the same time I have noted the healing that you have shown through your writing. You are an amazing young woman, and in magnifying the talents you have been given, are finding the deliverance you desire. That's the rub. And your daughter is now figuring this out. Every trial we are given is also the opportunity for growth if we embrace them and look for the wonderful lessons our Father in Heaven provides us through them. Healing is always slower and more arduous than we want, and many times is more painful than the injury. But I’m so thankful that you have been willing to put yourself and your family out there and let each of us learn from your tragedy. Please help your brave daughter understand that the world is watching her learn life's lessons, but that she is teaching many much older than herself. I believe that I speak for many others when I say these things.
Thank you

Anonymous said...

Oh my goodness...ouch!!! That must have been so horrifying! I have 3 boys who are grown now but they had their share of injuries. My middle son fell off the roof of my car (no, I did not know he was up there!), broke both arms and suffered a concussion.

Thank you for sharing so much with us, you have a gift!

Anonymous said...

I grew up in the church, I feel that although I may not be the picture of a perfect memeber of even a memeber that I have a strong connection with Jesus and God. I married my wife almost two years ago, she is not a memeber, and I have found through family struggles, deaths and arguments that many times she will lash out at me.
I found your blog by mistake honestly, but I started to read, and just kept reading, not wanting to the post to end, wanting more information from you wanting to read more. I hurt for you as I read and in some way I felt connected to what you were saying. Now I have found that I dont check the blog daily to see if there is something new but at times I will feel that I should look, after looking and finding a new post I will read it and everytime what you are saying can be applied to my life. You have helped me gain patients and calmness in my family when problems come about. I have found that I reflect on what you have said and it helps me take a second to breath and adress things in a rational and cool head. Thank you. Thank you for being open and honest and putting yourself out there because it does help and it is helping me. So Thank you

Anonymous said...

This is my favorite post yet. Thank you xo

Aimee and Mark said...

Beautiful post, Ashlee dear! I love reading your words and feeling your testimony and the beauty of your soul. I miss you. I hope we run into each other one of these days. Let me know if you're ever in Minnesota! :)

Unknown said...

What a beautiful post. It brought me to tears. Thank you for sharing all you do.

Mary said...

I have been following your blog for a long time now, but have never commented before. Somehow whenever I feel I need a reminder of the blessings in my life, I read a new post of yours and it reminds me how much my Savior loves me, and is mindful of my struggles. You will truly be blessed beyond measure for the service you are doing for so many, by sharing your story with us. Thank you, thank you.

Post a Comment

 
Blog Design By: Sherbet Blossom Designs