If I was there today . . .

Right now at 1pm on Wednesday, hundreds are gathered in Nashville at Judson Baptist Church to celebrate the life of our friend Ashley.  I got  text from Carla at 12:30 saying that the church was already packed out.  That made me smile.  And it brought pang of sadness to my heart, selfish in nature I admit.  I wish I was there with everyone to honor such  brilliant light of a person. 

I wish I could be there to say long with my friends that Ashley’s was a life that seemed to pulse joy and hope and goodness into everyone she was around.  When someone passes, no one wants to remember the negative things about that person, but honest to goodness, I couldn’t think of a thing.  I tried.  Well, she didn’t like to change really gross diapers . . . heck, neither did I.  🙂

If I was there I would stand with my friends and say, “Didn’t she have an amazing smile?  Didn’t she have the best laugh?”  She loved to laugh, and always seemed to find a way to do it.  We had the best times there on Monday nights at the Y, where she and I first got acquainted. 

If I was there today, I would celebrate with everyone how absolutely amazing she was with kids.  I know she wanted to have her own so badly, but really she had lots of them that just adored her whether at church or at the Y.  Jonah was enthralled with Ashley’s beautiful blue eyes and that great smile.  He loved that miss Ashley would let him “pop” the air out of her cheeks.  She even babysat him once on New Year’s.  She asked ME if she could watch him.  Jason says that was his first real date.  😉 

If I was there today I would talk about what a friend she was.  Never focusing on herself, her illness – always wanting to know how you were.  Always setting out to make sure you knew she cared.  I would say she had great faith, courage, grace, and beauty – unfortunately only the kind that can one can come by through persevering through trials.  And did she persevere.  That girl embodied the word.  Never felt sorry for herself, although I know she enjoyed the cancer free times immensely.  She is wearing the crown of life indeed, her life’s verse that we all had on our orange Ashley bracelets.  (James 1:12)

I’d say, dance, girl.  Laugh.  Enjoy being whole again.  Enjoy being healed, forever.  Can’t wait to see you again. 

I think of all this as I sat in the doctor’s office today listening to the heartbeat of new life, of my unborn child, watching Jonah’s eyes widen in amazement.  All I can say is, Isn’t God amazing?

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3 thoughts on “If I was there today . . .

  1. Crystal! I thought of you so many times yesterday! I went to the service and it was beautiful. Such a celebration of a beautiful life well lived. As Dr. Mims said, it started with Ashley and ended with Jesus. Lots of tributes, Evidence sang “Streets of Gold” (she’s dancing, girl, you know it!), and it ended with “I’ve Just Seen Jesus.” Ashley had requested that the plan of salvation be presented at her funeral, particularly the Romans Road, so the family asked children she had baby-sat or had an impact on to read them. It was really sweet. That girl had an impact. Such a radiant example of God’s grace, mercy, and love.

  2. Thanks, Mandy! My friend Carla (she used to sing in the Judson choir, Soprano) texted me at the beginning of the service and then called later to give me every detail. I just knew Ashley had planned the whole thing! I am so glad it was such a celebration . . . I know that her passing has really had me thinking a lot about what kind of legacy I’m leaving, and I’m sure others are as well.

  3. Thank you for making me cry at work.

    You and Mandy have beautifully summed up my thoughts of Ashley. I can’t get into words how that girl has effected so many lives. People who did not know her can’t understand why we are still talking about her. To have known Ashley in the least little bit was a true blessing.

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