This is supposed to be a happy day, my seven year anniversary to my husband Stefan. But every year our anniversary comes around, I wake up reminded of that really hard day. A car accident that could have taken my life and my grandmas. It spared us, but took two others. So every time a wedding comes around that I go to, or our anniversary, I need to constantly remind myself to be happy in the moment. But sometimes I get afraid that every time goodness comes–tragedy is right behind.
So as this day is my anniversary, I generally recall a lot of its moments both good and bad. I remember that day forgetting to buy pantyhose (silly but necessary). So a stop at walmart’s I went. And then realizing they only carrying knee-highs! I thought this was a big problem (boy was I deceived!). I remember my sister and I in the bathroom fooling around with my
birdsnest hair, and it not behaving. I remember Stefan leaving before I to get to the church, as I tried to get ‘made up’ in time for the big event. I even remember feeling geared up, readied even. For the all so common to me ‘joy stealers’. Let me explain, as some of you already know or have experienced– It’s that history we have, of things going wrong when they were supposed to go right. A foreboding to speak. But as it had played out before, I was ready to still have a good day, despite any or everything that may try to mess with what I had hoped for as the perfect day. I hated this foreboding, and I hated having a victim mentality. But as it went I felt that if I wasn’t at least prepared for what could happen I might be let down so much that I would fall deeply discouraged, and maybe even get depressed! So I would square my shoulders, pretend to act brave and then act on as if I was expecting the very best. But I remember facing off early that morning like a football player determined to slam down any joy killers that would dare to step in my way. You may be laughing, as I craze through these pools of forebodings I had set myself up for. But to me I was just going with what I had been used to. To prepare, lets say, for a battle! I wanted so much growing up to feel what it was like to be girly, cherished, loved. I wanted so bad the white dress, made hair, and captivating features. I wanted to steal back everything that I had missed out on. Or so I thought i missed out on. I guess you could say, I was a recovering tomboy. As I was growing up, I wanted to do everything boys did. Climb trees, get dirty, make forts, look tough. I had managed doing all those things pretty well. And I also had managed pretty well to hide my heart. I would act very tough, I was good at giving advice. And I kind of thought that I was tough. At least I seemed to be able to encourage others pretty well. I could say a few words fully believing. But I could not believe in myself. I loved being encouraging to others. I believed others were more sad than I could ever be. And so I also had a rescue mentality as well. At least when, I could encourage someone. I was able to feel worth something, loved. I could be tough for someone who at the time may have found it hard. But during all this ‘tough’ business. I think I missed a lot of things. Relationships being one. As I tried to seem tough, I could look mean and actually push others away. I could be intimidating. One look at me on a day that I was ready to fight, I may scare you away for a lifetime. I found that sometimes being tough was okay, but other times, it could make you feel invisible. Instead of being real, and possibly rejected, I would put on a face that let others know that I did not need them to accept me. And sometimes I even catch myself doing this today. But as with most things, it’s a habit that is hard to kill when it begs my attention. But now as you are now fully aware of my weakness as my tough girl ‘no crap’ attitude. I will carry on.
Fully expecting to don my white dress when I arrived at the church. I laid my dress out on the back seat of my grandmothers Chevy blazer. Already a bit behind we (my grandma and I) jumped in and set off. I was going to be married at my grandmas church. I had picked it because it was in fact, small, cozy, and if there were not a lot of people it would still looked packed ( do you see my tough mentality again?) So off we went, and nearly a mile or two before we get to the church my grandmother in her teal lady’s suit says “This darned thing! Can you help me buckle this seatbelt!” me laughing leans over to her driver’s side and “click” and on we went. I had no idea just how needed that buckle was.
So now we come upon a hill with a sharp turn, we start to get in line to climb up the hill when I see a crimson colored car coming down opposite lane coming. And as it came fast I had only a second, not enough time to think, react, or for those of you who are not saved, repent. It was then I fell asleep. And it felt like I was asleep, for a very long time. But it was strangely only minutes. I woke up to a sounding horn that constantly screamed. I remember my sister leaning over me, praying, crying, and terrified she was saying Ashley wake up! Please wake up. I managed to awake. And I still can recall, my bother in law in the ditch, hands out, head to the ground pleading with God on our behalf. It’s hard to recall all these things, painful even. And there is so much more memory to this I have. The smells, the sounds, the questions. But I am going to leave the rest of the details out for now. But as I recall. I think there is something I need to share with you. During all this, I do belive the Lord prepared me for what it was I was about to go through. I wasn’t even necessarily surprised by exactly the seriousness of the situation. But I do believe at least in my inner being, that we are created for a huge purpose. And that if we weren’t there would not be so much ‘crap’ we would have to fight through to get there. Because if it were easy. We friends would never grow. And if this bothers you that the thought of taking a hit this hard on my wedding day is cruel. You obviously don’t know what large of a pill I was (Pun intended). But as it stands today, I think what was very bad stood to my good. I am I think, less guarded. And more carefree.
I think that the worst that can happen is actually less scary than say the hours we stressed over the possibility. And that I am learning little by little how to be okay with not being in control. Because even when I felt I was in control. I really wasn’t. And some of the most important things, are hidden until you go through something like this. People, matter. Relationships, matter. But all this stuff over here, nope. Doesn’t even make the cut. Being real, loving God, And loving people? That is the one thing that you cannot waste your time on. So as I so often preach to myself on a daily basis. There are hurts, pains, doubts, fears, and Joy killers. But there is also SO MUCH MORE. And if you take anything away from this. Please take that you can trust God with your heart, and your future. And it’s true that there is a big bad devil out to get you. But take courage in there is one who can cover your life. And that It is a healing thing to search for the one who’s made you. And that you are not forgettable by him. There is to this day, a lot that I am going through, some known by some. Other things known privately. But it is challenging to see the good in all the bad. But it is worth all the effort you can throw at it. My husband Stefan, deserves a lot more than seen. He has carried a load several times I could never carry. He has done things for me that I wish I could have relieved him from. But he is that kind of guy a girl dreams about. I missed the dress, the dance, the cake….mmmm cake! baha! But I also have what I always, always, wanted. Not without some twists and turns though. Just in case you thought that things just rolled into place effortlessly. (rarely does) But as a resounding gong I will remind everyone that some things are worth hurting, and fighting for. And even if you don’t get the result you were hoping for. You will get something that made it worth the toil. So as the theme is for me lately, welcome to me. Not having my ducks in a row. And not being in control. And having LOTS of things I call weakness. But I am never going to give up on finding healing for everything that hurts. And I am going to say I no longer have the unending advice I used to have. But at least I can look at you and say I love you, and that you need to hang on. And that I am so thankful to have married a man named Stefan. He really is a good standard for what kind of man a girl like me needs.