Friday, December 28, 2012

light in the darkness

Our holiday weight loss plan was to take Sommer to a public place and let her put everything in her mouth, thus bringing home a violent stomach bug for Christmas. Okay, it wasn't exactly the "plan", but that is what happened.

The day before Christmas our littlest daughter awoke vomiting in the wee hours of the morning. Holding my baby while she heaved, 5, 6, 7 times, unable to tell me what hurt or when it was coming, has to be one of the more heartbreaking things I have done as a mother. We somehow survived the day, with the low moment being a severe code brown while both girls were in the tub.

The sickness passed and Sommer seemed to be feeling better. My family was given an informed account, but still wanted us to visit for Christmas. We all made it through a wonderful, celebratory Christmas morning and family-oriented Christmas afternoon. We stuffed ourselves for dinner. Then it hit. In a span of 30 minutes, Annike, Christian, and I were all down with the same violent virus. Merry Christmas to us!

This particular Christmas has been a strange one. It seems like darkness has been at work, doing its best to prevent us from seeing the Light. We witnessed more sadness than usual this December. A sadness that often felt like darkness. We have seen a young mother diagnosed with cancer. A young child sentenced to a lifelong disease. Friends experiencing unexplained health issues. A dark cloud of discontent and anger in people we have interactions with. And, of course, there is little that compares to the shadow cast upon December by the shooter in Newtown, Connecticut. How my heart hurts for the people in that town whose lives have been forever changed.

While I was up all that Christmas night, trying to sleep between episodes of our own dark illness, I grasped onto the truth that no amount of darkness will win out over the Light. My mind and spirit clung to immense thankfulness... for a good partner to help hold the children... for the knowledge that this would be over within 24 hours unlike the bad news that so many others had this season... for the still small voice that whispered for me to do laundry before this all happened readying many pairs of clean pjs... for my brave brave 4 year old... for a baby who slept through it all... for my mother who would help us and take care of us as only a mother will, highly contagious disease and all... for the strength I knew was not my own.

Through it all we must remember that the Light has already won. In a sleep-deprived, sick night comes the deepest kind of gratitude. Just like, out of a smelly stable came a royal King. From a humble baby in a manger came the Wisdom we have all be looking for. Through a cruel death came the world's Savior. In the face of all that is inexplicable, He is the Answer.

Excerpts from Isaiah chapter 9 (italics mine)
"Nevertheless there will be no more gloom for those who were in distress....
The people walking in darkness have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.
You have enlarged the nation and increased their joy;
they rejoice before you as people rejoice at the harvest...
For to us a child is born,
to us a Son is given,
and the government will be on His shoulders.
And He will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end...
The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this."


  1. Oh Ashley - your words are beautiful. So much darkness here on earth. So thankful that the battle has been won and we know the Victor. Light shines through the darkness. So glad you all are feeling better. So fun to see Annike at school yesterday. Hope to see you soon!

  2. I'm so sorry to hear that you had a rough December Ashley, and my heart truly goes out to you. Also, it is so wonderful that you found the light in the midst of it all. What a refreshing perspective to have!
    Around the time of the shootings in Connecticut I read a quote (from Mr. Rogers!) and it has really stayed with me. He said: "When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, 'Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.'" While reading this post (particularly about how your Mom took care of your sick family) I thought of those words again.
    God sends helpers. I've found that the act of pausing to look for them is very powerful. It provides a positive place to rest, even in the chaotic face of darkness. For me, having that moment of calming reflection makes it easier to then move forward, and into the light. :)


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