Monday, September 10, 2012

Remembering Ashley

*I was waiting to post this to add more pictures of Ashley that I have printed but not scanned in...if I continue to wait I will never hit publish!

This weekend I went down south to attend the memorial of a sweet friend.  Ashley was my college roommate.  I lived with 3 girls who I believe were handpicked by God to be my roommates, to help guide me closer to Him.  Amber was the first roommate I met, and she pursued me for her bible study(my first) like no other!  Ashley came next, as she was also in the off campus study.  Then we met Jana, she answered our ad for a roommate and she was perfect for our house! College is a such a transformational part of life, I was truly blessed to spend most of it with these girls.

On August 29, 2012, Ashley and her unborn child entered heaven, she saw the face of God.  In the days since the news I find myself envious of God because He has her with Him, and at the same time envious of Ashley because she has seen His face, she sits before Him now.  But mostly I am sad, devastated for her husband and two girls who remain in this life without her.  Heartbroken for her mom, dad, sister and brother and their families who have lost their daughter sister and friend.  I am sad that she is no longer a phone call away, that I didn't take the time to call her every time she entered my mind, saddened that I let so much time go by without a conversation. Just sad it really is unimaginable, doesn't seem like it could be real, and while I trust in God's goodness, and His perfect plan, I don't like this part of it.  But I will trust.
She was a big part of my life.  Integrated in the college memories, intertwined with my life for 4 years, and a dear friend for 15 years.  She was a friend where no matter how much time passed, it was like none at all when you saw or talked to her.  While I only knew her as a mom from a distance, I know she was an amazing mother, and a great wife.  I know her family was blessed by her.  I know she has jewels in her crown in heaven.

Ashley was a sweet, devoted, and godly woman.  I remember so many little memories about her.  She was instrumental in my growth and understanding of who Christ is and what a life devoted to Him and walked with Him truly looks like.  She influenced the world, the world did not influence her.

As I attended the memorial I was struck by the realization that all those touched by her, were influenced by her, and saw in her the living out of Faith that the bible talks about.  Ashley in her single life and then later in her married life with her husband, drew people in.  She lived in several places due to her schooling, and her husbands schooling.  Every location was represented at her memorial.  

The friends who spoke, talked of a quiet, intentional, classy woman.  This was the woman I knew.  She wasn't one for small talk, so when she did talk we took it in.  When she spoke, it was because she had something to say.  She had these amazing brown eyes, eyes that were so beautiful and seemed to always have a spark, just a spark of mischief in them:-)  Her smile mesmerizing, contagious, and constant.  Even though she was intentional about her words, she was funny, and fun to be around.  Always up for a prank.  

She taught me so much.    Like how to wear black.  That your bible is like your purse, you almost never leave home without it.  That it is possible to be around people of this world and NOT let them influence you, to instead be an influence on them, and to truly be God's hands and feet.  Of course we had our boy talks, and our make-up lessons (actually Jana was mostly involved in that), everything Ashley and her family does is beautiful, her sense of style, class, and beauty were always admired.

Her family, I admire them so much.  They welcomed me in as part of their family from day one.  I will always remember times in her family home.  Her mom's innate gift of hospitality (seriously staying in their home is a gift, a blessing, and and honor), she introduced me to coastal style, ebelskievers, the Barefoot Contessa and so much more.  She was quick to remind me that boys shouldn't be lame (I think she called one a "poop!" once:-)), that God comes first.  Her dad, always ready to talk about life, theology, and anything.  I remember a conversation on women in ministry that has stuck with me to this day.  I respect him, I know why Ashley wanted a husband who was like her dad.  Her sister is so fun and sweet!  I loved hanging out with her and hearing their crazy stories.  Their home is full of love, respect, prayer, and fun.  I will always remember the times Ashley invited me home.

Ashley I love you, I miss you, you will live forever in my heart, and I will see you again someday.  We will praise our God in heaven through eternity.

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