|© Eros Turannos|
"...let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted." Hebrews 12:1-3
I'm Ashley, going against all odds since 1991.
My mom's water broke on February 12. I had to stay in the hospital about 21 days until I was clear from infections. The following year my parents divorce. At age 5 I was deeply scarred by grief when my dear grandpa died. At age 8 I entered the fashion industry, knowing what it felt to be rated & humiliated by the standards of society. By age 12, Endometriosis accompanied my womanhood, suffering from this painful health disorder although at the time I was unaware of it. During the years of 13-17 I had an unhealthy relationship that added to my emotional baggage. At 16, I was being cyber bullied by seniors in my school who would take pictures of me and Photoshop them on skeletons, among other things. The fall of my 17th year was chaos: my dad was framed and put in prison unjustly, my great-grandma (who raised me) passed away & my mom's [bad] relationship with a man 10 yrs older than her took a toll on me. Add the fact that I had unbelieving parents and that's a recipe for destruction.
Needless to say, the enemy had a target on my life. If I had followed through with my suicide plans, I would've never lived to see my 18th birthday or graduation. If I am writing these words today it is only because of Jesus.
In a nutshell, I've given you a taste of my life. In those moments, I was powerless. Everything around me, all my circumstances, pointed to my weakness. I should've given up on my life... and I was going to. Until I understood the cross.
God lead Jesus to the cross... He lead Jesus through torture. It was God's will for Jesus to endure mockery. And by the time we thought it was over, Jesus died on a cross. He appeared as a slaughtered lamb. When it all looked like defeat before those who mocked him, it turned out to be the biggest victory we've ever known. Our history is still impacted by this moment.
It doesn't matter how things look around us. What matters is who we serve. We serve a might, faithful God that has made a way for us. He adopted us as His when we deserved hell. He can take our circumstances and use them for OUR good... ultimately, His good. We can trust Him with our stories... We must persevere and endure.
I write this to you, but mostly to myself, because our circumstances do not define our end. God does! The beauty of the crucifixion is that the cross was not the end of the story. The present situation shall pass! I'm a living testimony of how God changed all my circumstances and used it for His good because I pressed on and believed His promises when things were against me. I've seen His hand move. He restored everything and multiplied it.
My dad got saved, went to my graduation and was baptized that summer of 2009. My mom broke up from her bad relationship that year and is now doing way better. I'm on friendlier terms with my ex (as friendly as exes can be, haha), I'm dating a wonderful guy I'd like to spend the rest of my life with & I'm still believing I'll one day be healed from Endometriosis. Until that happens, I'll keep reminding myself that appearances don't matter. This is not the end of my story.
If God brings you to it, He will bring you through it.