Monday, December 15, 2014

the miracle marker

What is it about a miracle? Especially when you see one. How are they determined?
Is it our admittance to it? When the seemingly shocking happens.
When what seems to be impossible or grim (at best) suddenly does a 360 and there is cause to really rejoice?

It's easy to forget them. Miracles, that is.
For all the miraculous that happens, it's easy to dumb them down. To belittle them. To explain it away.
To be annoyed when we hear ourself or someone else to continue to talk about them.
That one moment. We always want to move on. I always want to move on.
To the next thing:
Ok I am done talking about that.
Ok I am done reliving and remembering that.
It's as if the miracle can only touch our faith for so long.

What are we doing to mark them out?
Miracles. Small and big (if there is such a thing as a small miracle).
Miracles that no one else may care about.
Acts, really, of God reaching down and showing us literal physical grace.
So close and real that we could reach out and touch it.
What am I doing to mark them out? The miracles.
What am I doing to remember them?

One year ago today I was cut from navel all the way down the length of my stomach.
And my baby. My sweet little Eden girl was gently pushed aside. All 19 weeks of her.
And my left ovary was lifted out. And a tumor the size of a grapefruit was cut out of me.
And I slept.
Not knowing if I would ever feel my daughter again.
Not knowing if I would ever see her grow outside of me.
Not knowing what the tumor was.
Not knowing if it was, you know, cancer.

And then. Miracle.
Not only did my little girl make it through surgery and the 24 hours that followed.
She made it until 34 weeks and then came into this world. All beautiful and loved and alive.
My left ovary was saved. And that tumor came back cancer free.
And the healing process that was physically and emotionally painful was all wrapped up in life.

You see, I read somewhere this week that it doesn't benefit us to ask: why, God?
Why me?
Why this?
Why them?
Why now?
But, rather, this writer suggested we ask: What now? What now Father? Because, she said, could we even grasp the answer? His ways. So much higher. His purpose. Not of this world. Not of human understanding. We can not understand God completely. Would He be God if we could?
There is something to glean from miracles. And trials. And trials that are even absent of a miracle that we can see with these physical eyes.
And I've been wrestling. For a whole year now. Wrestling with the why of this trial. Wrestling with the why of the miracle. Sometimes it's hard for us to except miracles in all their grace.
We want to pick it apart into tiny shreds until we figure out what exactly we did to deserve it.
I did nothing.

I've been wrestling with grace. At night when I lay my head down on a pillow. And all is calm. Except my heart.
It's rustling and stirring and asking tough questions about God's favor running out on me after this. And what about the next trial that comes? And what if I suffer again physically?
Because, God, I don't want to.
God I don't want to walk through the valley of the shadow of death again.

Staring at a clock for over two hours in a pre operating room. Listening to the rapid beat of my heart rate blaring over the machine next to me. It was me wrestling with my mind and doubt and so much fear I could swallow it. It was watching patient after patient be wheeled in. Sickness and fear all over their faces. Stories I didn't know. It was trying to repeat scripture over and over to squelch the battle raging. It was fragmented worship in my mind. It was frantic prayers.
Peace, be still.
You see, I've been wrestling with the valley. With the miracle. With the why.
And for a whole year, I don't think I've been able to ask what now?

This is my marker. My stake in the ground. I am marking the miracle. The grace. All undeserved.
I am marking the trial. To remember the weight of the miracle.

I am acknowledging that after all my wrestling I am no closer to understanding all the why.
But, the what now, that is a question that I believe God has been waiting to unwrap and show me. Does it not take faith to ask that question? To say: even though more trials come, it is well.
Though miracles hide, His grace and love are no less.

What now, God?
What would you have me do with this trial and miracle all intertwined?
What now God?
To dare to walk in the grace, the miracle, with no sight of the why.

Yes, God, I will.


  1. This is beautiful, Ashton. I pray Jesus shows you to live in the reality of the miracle, even though it has been a year; that as you continue to celebrate and mark the time that's passed, you step fully into the light He bestowed on you then. I believe He's given you this story to testify to His goodness and grace. I'm thankful for how you shared your journey with me in September and let me hold Eden so often that weekend and for how you're sharing your story again boldly here. Love you!

  2. Tears. This is so beautiful. I have witnessed miracles and I've witness the grief of not seeing one become- in my son Zekey, as you know, is now with Jesus. But then, I think, "Well, that's a miracle! A beautiful escape from suffering and off to a glorious, eternal life with Jesus?!" I'm in awe of the miracle you speak of and cheering you on as you wrestle with God all while pushing to know Him more. It's completely beautiful and I am proud to call you sister-friend <3


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