teach me to number my days…

Some days are full of laughter and smiles….

Some days I want to collapse on my bed and hide….

The past few days have been a combination of great joy, excitement and heavy sorrow. While I found myself celebrating a friend’s new baby and the beginning of SnapShop registration….I also found myself so heartsick it was hard to think. About 3 years ago I had the joy and honor to photograph Lauren (I took this baby photo, the newer shot is from her Caring Bridge page).

She was born with a special heart and this week she went in for the last of a specific type of surgery. At the all too young age of three, she is now in the arms of Jesus. I’m broken for her family. I know many of you know the horrible journey Lauren’s family has been forced on, Please remember them in your prayers. Her family is especially asking for prayer for her older brother Adam…

When FireCracker was in the hospital she stayed on the pediatric oncology floor. That put tremendous perspective on the reality that she just had a broken bone. Some friends came to visit with their 3 boys and I remember talking to them about how “it’s not cancer…it is just a broken bone”. About a month later their 3 year old son was diagnosed with a brain tumor….a tiny guy now fighting a really big battle. Their summer has been full of doctors, surgeries, & testing. My summer has been full of swimming and being driven crazy by wild boys. There is no logical sense to be found.

The day we drove home from our vacation in Colorado another family was also driving home from Colorado. We made it home safely. Their journey home involved a crash that left their three children without parents. Three children coming home from a family vacation….now longing for their parents.

I can’t imagine.

There are so many questions. So few answers. Ups and downs. While I was celebrating this week, many were in the depths of despair. Today I read an email with the following verse,

“Teach us to number our days, so that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” Psalm 90:12

The wisest people I know are those that realize the brevity of life and they live in that reality. I’m not guaranteed tonight. My children are a gift – an incredible gift. If I want to be a wise woman, a wise mom, I will learn to number my days.

Heavy post on a Saturday night…..heavy heart in me.

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  • Mary M. - All the way in central Texas, my heart is heavy with you and for your friends. May the Lord sustain, support, and teach you and those you love through this sorrowful time. Thanks for sharing your heart and those words. Sincerely~

  • Emily F - Praise the Lord that the pain on this earth is not wasted, and that he has eternal purposes.

    I don’t normally check your page on Saturday’s, especially not at close to midnight. But, for some reason I clicked on the bookmark. I’m thankful I did. Thank you for sharing your heavy heart.

  • Kate @ Songs Kate Sang - Dearest Ashley, I am so sorry. Thank you for bringing these people to our attention so that we can join you on our knees in prayer. Revelation 21:4 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.

  • andiejaye - was surprised to see your name pop up as having a new post on my sidebar. it’s heavy stuff. i’m not the kind of person who ever has the right thing to say. just wanted to let you know that they are in my prayers. Klove has a prayer wall on their site too. gonna snuggle with my little bug tonight. thanks for the reminder of our humanity… i love that passage. blessings to you and yours.

  • giozi - You right we have so many questions. All of these is so hard. I don’t want to thing about something bad that could be my children.
    Jesus give us strength, we must to remain faithful to Him and trust his Word.

    Today I’m going to thing about these children when in my prayers. I’m going to give a big kiss to my children right now. A big kiss to yours too.

  • kate - tears running down my cheeks… logging off to go pray and ponder …by sharing this i hope this made your heart lighter

  • Lynne - So, so sad. What troubles there are in the world. It saddens me greatly.

  • Von - Heavy indeed. Bless you for your compassionate heart. Every day matters, doesn’t it. Every day and every little, everyday moment.

  • twirlingbetty - Ah Ashley, I’m so sorry for the family of dear little Lauren, for your friend’s family and their little man with such a battle ahead, and for the Berry children. It does truly make for a heavy heart.
    For me, what your psalm is talking about is perspective. Being able to see how short our lives are and how lucky we are for each day that passes with simple frustrations rather than dire events is a step towards wisdom.
    I think one of the reasons I love your blog so much is because of the sense that you know this already. And you encourage us all to embrace every moment and see the beauty in the ordinary. The beauty in a child’s face smeared with dirt or ice-cream, the colourful beauty of mess, of a sleeping child in a hospital bed who has a broken bone; something that will heal. Even the beauty in plans gone awry – because they’re simply awry – not a matter of life and death.
    So I say thank you. I share your heavy heart tonight but I also say thanks because, as always, you’ve given us a raw and beautiful, thoughtful and loving post.

  • Rachel T. - Oh Ashley, a heavy heart indeed. I understand what you mean – I always have a hard time separating myself from tragedy like that. I end up always looking for reasons why. I hope that being able to post your thoughts here works as a kind of journal for you, to work out your ideas and sadnesses, some sort of comfort for you. I’m sure your empathy and love mean so much to you friends and their families, and they have a stunning picture to remember their daughter by. You did that. Live every moment. <3

  • Shannon Phillips - Thank you for posting this Ash. My eyes haven’t been dry since I heard the news. You are right, there are so many questions. Praying without ceasing for the precious H family and doing everything I can to remember that we are not promised tomorrow. This moment is all we have.

  • Sara - So extremely sad for these families, gonna hug my baby a little tighter tonight. Really puts your life in perspective.

  • jaymee - thank you ashley, suddenly my “to do” list day seems of little importance, maybe we’ll just go to the pool, play and enjoy the day we’ve been given together.

  • Rebecca - This is heartbreaking news to any parent. I will keep all of them in my thoughts.

  • Kimberly - Thank you for sharing such a heavy post! My heart is breaking for all the sadness these people and others are going through. Such a great reminder to live & enjoy today. Thanks for sharing!

  • Amanda - I’ve been reading your blog for a while – I cannot get over just how adorable your kids are and I love your writing. This post, and your recent one, about adoptive parents, really struck a chord within me. Thank you, for your candid honesty. For sharing your heavy heart. For being supportive of parents, of children, of families facing everything and anything.

    With love,

  • Laura - you are a good friend to bear their burden….thanks for the reminder to number our days:).

  • Molly - I read your post last night and my heart has been heavy since….a great reminder of being present in every moment because you just don’t know how many you have. thank you.

  • Celia - Praying so very much for these families. Our Heavenly Father is the greatest comfort in these times.

  • natalie - Oh, Ashley. I don’t know you, but I know this heartache. Thanks for this reminder. I’ve been reading the Amazima ministries blog (Katie’s). Been thinking a lot about ‘what it’s all for’. I’ve come so far from complete surrender, but this post today serves as a good reminder. I go back to James 4:14 a lot, especially when I reflect on losing my momma at age 15. My fav. chapter in all of scripture is 2 Corinthians 4…specifically that last part “so we fix our eyes, not on what is seen, but what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” That said, how can these temporary things cut us to the core? God, give us ‘eternal’ eyes.

  • and she turns one | The Misadventures of Kelly and Kelly - […] these days go. I try my hardest to take them all in, savoring every moment. This blog post – teach me to number my days – and it really hits home for me. My mom always says that there is no guarantee, and she is […]

  • heather - i’m so glad that you share your heavy heart with us.
    my heart is broken for all of these families.
    completely and utterly broken. every pain i’ve experience from the loss of my child comes back when i hear of families hurting.
    but, i KNOW that Jesus can and will restore.
    so that is where i will dwell for a while.
    seeking His peace for every broken heart.

  • Kendra - Frequent reader, first time commenting. I’m a preacher, and preached this morning about the passage from the end of Romans 8 where nothing can separate us from the love of God in Jesus. For me, the good news is always centered in the fact that Jesus became one of us so we are never alone, even in profound loss. We carry our heavy hearts in company with God and each other. Recognizing all of life as a gift is both wise and faithful. May your friends be reminded of God’s promise through the love of people like you, and may you be reminded of God’s love through those beautiful children you have been given.

  • Amy Cornwell - What a very sad post, but a wonderful reminder. I’m praying for these sad stories, they are so heartbreaking. I’m like you, having a fun summer, playing in the pool and relaxing. Thank you for reminding me to count my days and hug my babies.

  • Melissa - Praying for those in need

  • Candy - wow, your post nearly brings me to tears as I think about these exact things so often… how blessed I am and how quickly things can change. There is certainly not a promise of tomorrow here on earth but my heart finds some encouragement in knowing there is another home beyond here. Praying for these families and children… and you! And thanking God for the people I can still put my arms around here.

  • AnnMarie - Thank you for reminding me how truly lucky I am to have such a beautiful life. It is sometimes hard to remember to be thankful and it is so true, we need to be grateful every day for every moment. I will pray for this family tonight. So sad! Some things are so unfair.

  • Linda - This blog post came at exactly the right time for me. I read it first last night after I spent a whole day raging at my 3 year old daughter who refuses to potty train. It stayed with me all through the night as I wearily woke often to feed my 5 week old daughter and as I kissed my 4 year old son goodbye for kindy. I need to learn to number my days as I am blessed with three healthy beautiful children who I am not guaranteed to have tomorrow. THANK YOU! And my heart goes out to your friends. A tragedy you would wish on no one.

  • Emily - thank you for this.

  • Pam K - I am selfish and thank you for reminding me to number my days. I have 2 healthy boys and today I was feeling frustrated and irritable because my oldest has come down with a bug and it has been a bit draining. I will go to bed with a different perspective tonight. I am praying for your friends and for you.

  • Summer - I read Lauren’s story and was very moved being that I am a new mom myself and understand a mother’s love. I have cried and and now prayed for Lauren’s family-the sermon at church today was “What is your story?” and through their faith, Lauren’s story will probably reach many and bring others to know Christ. -thank you for sharing all that you do on your blog!

  • Vénusia - That is so something I need to ear ! I just fight with a invasive molar pregnancy. That is something totaly curable, but not cool to live. I sometimes complains of how my plans to have a baby have been postpone. But that is true, I have to count my days, and rely into God. This will pass, I’ll (if God wants) have an other baby, some people have things really worst than what I have. I should really thanks God for His grace to just keep me alive !!

  • kristina - wow! this all really puts things in perspective. we serve a loving and gracious God and we always need to remember that and take joy in that.

  • Jenny - ((heartfelt hugs)) thank you for this reminder. Much love to you from above.

  • Michelle D. - I can’t even imagine the pain of losing a child. My heart is breaking for them. My prayers are with them during their time of sorrow. I am so thankful for every moment I have with my children.

  • Stefanie A. - This post was such a good reminder to me that trials are all around us and come in all different shapes and sizes. My heart is breaking for this family. Just when I thought I was personally going through deep valleys, I go and read something like this and find myself thankful.

    Thank you for posting these pictures and letting us know how to pray.

  • Kate - I echo your words with a heartfelt, ‘yes’. Just this past Monday we learned that our own sweet boy is a ‘heart baby’. He’s just 6 weeks old, and already facing the reality of heart surgery before the age of 1. My heart broke upon hearing of his diagnosis, but I’m finding peace in knowing that God is in control and He has numbered each of our days in a way that will bring glory to Him. There really are no guarantees, and we do need to remember to cherish each and every moment we share with the ones we love. I believe it is a gift to embrace this perspective. Thank you for sharing.

  • Nicole - many tears this morning as I read this. it is all so true and perspective can be so difficult to get ahold of some days. thanks again for the somber reminder of how fragile life is and what a gift it is to share each day with the ones we love.

  • emmybrown - I’m so sorry to hear this…..

  • Barbara Janaina - Dear Ashley,
    My heart is wiht you and your friends, don’t you worry, because God knows mutch better than any of us what to do, even that we have tears in our eyes, He will be very close holding our hand.
    Some day all this familys that are in pain now, will be smileing again… as you say “this too shall pass”.
    A very big hug from Brazil.
    (sorry for the bad english)

  • erica - This post makes me thankful for all that we have, especially the health of my children. My heart goes out to all those families..heavy heart is right. Prayers to all those families!

  • Brooke - those poor, poor families. i will certainly be thinking of them at this time and remembering them in our prayers. hopefully the knowledege that we will one day be reunited with our loved ones again will help to ease their pain even a little.

  • Lori - Thought I would just scroll and see if i missed anything or any posts from last week. I am balling my head off- I read the H’s caring bridge-a lot of the posts. I am just in shock and I don’t know them. I will pray for them. The wretchedness of this life.
    I know they never expected this- I am sure. God be their shelter.
    And may I remember to always number my days-

  • Tammy - wise words from a lovely lady. lifting all of the families up in prayer, and for those in the world who are struggling. thank you for the reminder of our blessings.

  • ella | lifeologia - these words are so difficult to read through when tears fill up my eyes….
    life could be beautiful on one day for one family and tragic for another…. my heart goes out to these sweet children…. and wishing that none of ours will ever have to live through such suffering….. xo

  • Susan Williams - My son too, was born with a special heart. Two heart surgeries and 4.5 years later he is doing well, but it can be so hard to get through those hard times- those times when you are holding your breath that they make it through. I feel heavy in my heart for this family and their great loss. They are in my thoughts.

  • Callie - Thank you for this post, Ashley! My heart is broken too, and I really needed this perspective check!

  • Joy Fisher - I can’t help but grieve for these families like it was my own, especially after losing my father in early June. I’m a (big dork) huge fan of the TV series “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and there is an episode called, I believe, “The Gift” where Buffy gives her life to “save the world.”

    Anyway, she tells her little sister right before that “The hardest thing in this world is to live in it.” After the loss of someone so close, so special, and so much a part of who you are, I am finding comfort in that. On those days and in those moments when it is really hard to get from one minute to the next, let alone through the day, I just repeat that to myself. I suppose it comforts me because it is a way to be okay with the fact that living in a world where your loved one is not is hard as well as a reminder to forgive life for going on when you think it should have stopped for at least a moment out of respect for that loss.

    I’m sorry to hear of this sad news for your friends, family and community.

  • Becca Campbell - my dad used the “teach me to number my days” verse at our wedding. lovely verse.

  • Corrie - Oh Ashley…I read and read and read little Lauren’s Caring Bridge site. I didn’t sleep well last night thinking about her family and praying for peace for them in the midst of heartache. Caleb was born in Sept 2008 so him and Lauren are close in age and I just couldn’t wait to say “Good morning” to him today. I am still thinking of them and praying. Thanks for the reminder about numbering our days.

  • Pix - Beautiful post and thank you for the reminder. I hate these reminders often seem to bonk us on the head after someone has had such a terrible loss. The verse is lovely and so are the photos of Firecracker. Really enjoy your blog. And even the heavy thoughts on a Saturday night.

  • able mabel - Thinking of all these families…

  • Denise - I so appreciate the honesty of your posts–you give great wisdom without being “preachy.” I am praying for Adam and his parents. For what it’s worth, I found Griefshare to be a great comfort and help, and they talk directly about losing children at times. They have a website where you put in your zip code and find the nearest church that is hosting a group.

  • Samantha - My heart is so heavy I have a 3 year old little girl I just can NOT imagine. Just can’t.

  • Randi - so tragic … i’m so sorry to hear this news … i prayed for little Lauren when you posted about it on FB the other night. i will be lifting her sweet family up in my prayers for sure. heavy post … but a reminder of what a gift each day is. and a reminder to be present, because there are no guarantees. thankful to have hope in Jesus though … so so thankful for Him. trusting Him to carry each of these families through.

  • Darcie - Ashley – My sister-in-law is a nurse educator in Dallas. She said they had lost one of their little patients, a 3-year old, and it had been a rough week for her. Then I read your blog, and I wondered. Just got around to viewing Lauren’s Caring Bridge site and see that she was in Dallas! My sister-in-law Jodie was right there with her. She works in the pediatric cardiology unit. I’m so sorry for your friends’ loss, but I’m glad to know that Jodie and her team were there, doing the very best they could for her. What a small world. Our little girl just turned 3 and I can’t imagine the heartbreak they are going through. As often as I remember, her family will be in my prayers.

  • Jan - praying for these dear children and the whole family as they hurt over losing these precious parents…. I was reading backwards this morning – may a deep Peace and Comfort soak them continually

  • pregnant. and tired. | The Misadventures of Kelly and Kelly - […] had linked to this post – teach me to number my days – and can use the reminder again. And again. And again. And this one ‘on […]