February 3, 2020

A million reasons

This morning I woke up thinking about a tree I met many years ago. At the time I was a young college girl with the world at my fingertips. It was my 21st birthday, I was planning a wedding, and I couldn’t wait for the future. I felt sorry for that little tree. I stopped just a moment to listen to the story of how in a flash of light, its whole world changed. The story is said that when this tree was just small it was hit by a bolt of lighting—splitting it into many pieces. The little tree didn’t die—but for a long time it didn’t live either. Just fought. Then one day—as the story goes—life finally sprang again from its branches. Magnificent and unique . . . it found a way to get back up; way different than what it thought it had been created to be. It could no longer stand tall—but wow how it stood. Beautiful, brave, strong, and not just surviving . . . thriving. Many years had passed, and through many storms . . . there it stood.

I passed that tree hundreds of times—sometimes it was shade for cows in the hot sun, birds flew in and out of nests in its branches—every time I always remembered the story of its past. 

One day my drive passed this brave tree was very different. It stood at the bottom of a hill. One I knew I had to climb with my babies, to bury their father. The ground was covered in white—a lot like today—and there it’s snow covered branches reached out to me...and for the first time I didn’t see a broken little tree full of pain . . . I saw . . . hope. 

We all have a million reasons every day to just give up. Pain so real it could strangle us. Fear so strong it keeps us awake. Futures so unknown we feel like we are walking—or climbing that hill—in the dark. 

No matter our story...we are a lot like this little tree. Survivors who know what it is like to have a million reasons we aren’t going to be enough—fighting voices that tell us to just give up—but showing up anyway.

If a tiny tree can be hit so hard and broken so badly...but still stand anyway, so can we. A million reasons could keep us broken...but there are just as many that can keep us standing.

Reach those branches out proudly. If anyone knew the storms you have had to weather to stand so tall...they would know how much courage it took for you to hold them up. I can promise you this...God knows, and He is so proud of the magnificent, brave, warrior you have turned out to be. Hold your head up friends. Your story isn’t over. 


Unknown said...

Bless you Ashley, just saw your story on TV, You are so strong and so positive, brightened my day.
Bless you and your family

lanie said...

Just came upon your website by "accident" thru a link on someone else's page...
I have already saved a couple of your pages to refer back to. Tell your daughter-Bostyn, she is definitely touching lives by telling her story.
After a bit I realized your story reminded me of one I remembered hearing about...
I remember being so shocked the night I saw it on the news. Looked it up and lo and behold it is your story I remember. Walgreens has never been quite the same for me since...many times I have said a prayer for that family (your family) knowing that the road ahead was to be so so hard on that young mother and all those babies. I am so glad to have come across this and been able to see a prayer answered. Who ever knows where & how that God will show us that he keeps All the details of lives and prayers. Bless you and your lovely family.

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