I haven't posted here for such a long time. Shame on me! But I need to now. We have had such wonderful experiences of late. I need to write them down.
First of all, a couple of months ago, I went in to get my temple recommend renewed. While I was visiting with the stake president, we discussed the reason for our move to Logan. Of course, Ashley was huge part of that decision. I spoke just briefly about some of the experiences we had with our amazing daughter. At the end of my interview, the stake president told me he felt a very strong impression I needed to share Ashley's story in stake conference. I was speechless!! That is the best way to describe how I felt! But I knew it was what the Lord wanted me to do. Of course, I said I would be happy to!
I cried all the way home from the church. You see, in Ashley's patriarchal blessing, she was told she would be a missionary to a great many people. Her influence would bless the lives of others. At that time, she didn't think she could help anyone. She was too sick to get out of bed. Since her passing, I have seen many lives change because of her extrodinary example. Her influence hasn't stopped. She continues to inspire and lift hearts, even beyond the veil. I wanted to tell her in that moment just what a treasure her life was. Her influence was so great. She was a missionary, just by enduring to the end. What a blessing and a privilege to share her story once again, in hopes someone, somewhere, would be blessed by her experiences on this earth.
In preparation for this talk, I wanted to do all I could to stay close to the spirit. I wanted to take Ashley's name through the temple. I knew that special event would bring me close to her and to the spirit. It would focus my eyes once again on the eternal perspective.
So, Memorial Day weekend, my entire family came to Logan. We went to the temple and I was Ashley's proxy as we took our her endowments. The spirit was so strong that day! I felt it the moment I walked in the front doors. I felt it as I did her initiatory work. I felt it as we sat in the chapel, waiting for our session to begin. During the session, my heart burned in my chest. I knew my beautiful angel was near. My love for the Savior overwhelmed me! Because of Him, and his infinite sacrifice, this beautiful girl would be ours forever!!! That realization overpowered me! As I looked at my siblings and their spouses, my heart filled with gratitude and love. There is nothing in this world like sitting in the temple with those I love so dearly!!! They have been my closest supporters. What a blessing to have my family surrounding Jason and I on that special day! The spirit continued to fill all our hearts as we sat together in the celestial room. Many tears were shed. It was one of the most spiritual moments in my life and all because of my beautiful angel!!!!
The weekend that followed was crazy, but oh so much fun! We all sat and talked for hours! Our children were in heaven! There is nothing more delghtful than gathering all the grandchildren together. They love each other so much! I left the weekend feeling on top of the world, ready to face the world once again, the love of my family burning brightly in my heart.
Since that time, I continued to do all I could to invite the spirit into my life. I read my scriptures. I kept the TV off, keeping the noise of the world out of my head. I tried hard to be patient and loving with my kids, encouraging them to keep the spirit of contention out of our home. I listened to conference. I listened to John Bytheway and other uplifting speakers. I played uplifting music. Jason and I went to the temple. I fasted and most importantly, I prayed. I knew this talk was not mine to give. What needed to be said only the Lord knew. I can't tell you how earnestly I prayed and pleaded with the Lord that he would guide my every word.
Last night was a miracle! When I arrived at the church, I was still unsure which parts of Ashley's story to share. I had a few thoughts on paper, but I was starting to feel worried! What if I failed!! What if I hadn't done all I could do to invite the spirit into my heart and my life? The more I sat and thought, the more scared I got! But when it was time to speak, the spirit filled my heart. I have no idea what I said. But I know last night, I was an instrument in the hands of the Lord. The spirit was there! The Lord knew what the saints of the Logan Stake needed to hear, and he blessed those words to flow from my mouth. I take no credit! What a blessing to be able to give back to my Father in Heaven! He has given me so much!
As we sat in the session of stake conference today, the spirit continued to fill my heart. It feels so good to be on the Lord's side. For so long, I kept one foot in the world and one foot in the gospel. You can't do both! You have to pick a side. I know which side I am on. I never, EVER want to go back to the person I was a few years ago. I was so lost! I lost sight of the eternal perspective. I will be eternally grateful my little girl helped bring that eternal perspective back into focus. She is my greatest hero! I champion her life. I hope I will always live up to the amazing, valiant young lady she is.
The gospel is true! The Lord loves us! He hears and answers our prayers! He fills our hearts with peace and happiness. In our darkest hours, he comes and cradles us in the arms of his love! With God, all things are possible!!!