A Mother’s Heart and the Faith of a Child

I came across a post on Facebook shared by a Brother and friend, Dominic. He had just announced his engagement to a woman I have heard lovely things about (but yet to meet), named Ashby. After reading the post she penned on a group dedicated to praying for her and her young son, I asked permission to share it with you. She didn’t hesitate to say yes, stating ‘It’s the Lord’s story and the more He is proclaimed the better!’  There is so much to learn, by women and men alike, through her words of both joy and pain, through which she never seemed to take her eyes off of Christ; through the example of God working in and through her in all decisions concerning both herself and her son.

Please send up prayers for the three of them as they embark upon this new journey, with God leading and clearing the way. 🙂

Deeper Healing

By Ashby Greenlee on Monday, December 29, 2014 at 10:07pm

About a month ago, Trooper asked me, “mom, where did you meet my daddy?” I told him it was at a restaurant where our Bible study (“Crew”) was meeting one night. He then asked if he was at the restaurant too. I told him no but his daddy and I fell in love and got married and then he was in my belly after that. Then came the sucker punch…”why didn’t he wait for me to come out so I could meet him?” Before I could reply he went ahead with his next question which was “mom, if you were married why did he die? Married people are supposed to stay together forever.” At this point, I was definitely choking back tears and tried to answer him as truthfully as I could. I read him a book before bed and then came into my room to try and process the conversation. I was overwhelmed with a deep grief for Trooper. As he gets older and is able to comprehend more, harder questions are forming, many of which I don’t have the answers for.  

Troop woke up the next morning wanting me to read him his “daddy book” (a picture book of Spencer I had made for him) and spent the next day and a half asking more questions. I felt teary and exhausted and reached out for prayer. I’ve mentioned my dear friend and fellow widow Joy Wood several times before because God has used her to minister to me in the most timely and beautiful ways. She called to pray over me after my text and let me know that morning was tender for her as well since five years ago on that day, her husband Avery had gone to be with Jesus. We both prayed for each other and as I hung up, I remembered something she had told me years before: when the Lord takes you through a time of deeper grief, He uses that to bring you to a place of deeper healing. I have found that to be true in my own experience and this time was no different. In addition to Trooper asking more questions about his daddy this week, he also added something to a prayer he had been praying for months: “Dear Jesus, I pray you would give me another daddy. I pray my new daddy would be Dom.” He actually did this at a dinner party one night in front of some of Dom’s close friends … this kid loves to keep me on my toes   

The progression that led to that point had been so sweet. A few months ago, Dom was on the phone to someone and mentioned his girlfriend. Trooper said, “Who is your girlfriend Dom? I want to meet her!” Dominic said, “Troop, your mom is my girlfriend.” Without missing a beat he said, “She can’t be your girlfriend Dom! She’s my mom!” We let it go with a chuckle but about a month later, he drew another connection. We were dropping Dominic off at his truck after dinner with friends and as we were saying good-bye, Troop said, “Hey guys! If you are boyfriend and girlfriend maybe you should get married and then Dom could be my daddy!” Neither one of us have never said anything to Trooper about Dominic’s potential role in his life because we wanted to see God do that in Trooper’s heart. We smiled at each other that night knowing that God had brought Trooper to this understanding in His perfect timing. On the way home, Troop asked me if we would really get married. I told him that seemed like something we should definitely talk to Jesus about and he told me I should pray. When I was finished, Troop was quiet for a minute and then he said, “Mom, I don’t hear anything.” Lol. Kids are so refreshingly honest. I told him it might take a little time but that Jesus would talk to him but it probably wouldn’t be out loud. He pondered that and then said, “You know mom, I bet Jesus is just thinkin about this. I bet He’s thinkin about if Dom should be my daddy or not.” I laughed and agreed with him and sure enough, a couple weeks later Troop’s prayers for Dom began to take form.  

Something in him changed with this new prayer. I watched an already close relationship between the two of them grow into something even more beautiful over the course of the weekend. Trooper’s countenance toward Dom became more loving. Instead of looking at him as a big playmate who builds Legos with him, he began to see him as a potential father figure. I heard “I love you Dom” more than normal. I saw him ask Dom to hold him while he lovingly put his little head on his shoulder or go to him for help with something he would normally ask me about. There was a bond between the two of them that grew before my very eyes. I realized that THIS was the deeper healing. After several days of grieving for Trooper not having his father, I saw a provision from our Heavenly Father and how He was knitting their hearts together. Eating lunch one Saturday, Troop told Dom he should pray over the meal first and that Troop would go second. Much to Troop’s delight, Dom’s prayer was “Dear Jesus, thank you for this food. I pray that you would give me a little boy and that the little boy would be Trooper.” Trooper looked up with a big smile and I can cry just writing about it because watching this unfold has been such an unexpected grace and extravagant gift.  

The third time Dominic and I hung out, he shared with me that his dad had died in a car crash when he was two. He also told me his mom married a man that has been a great dad to him and that several months before he met me, he began praying for a wife. He also prayed that if it was His will that she would have a child. It was a deep desire in his heart. Chill bumps covered my arms because I realized this man sitting before me quite literally understands Trooper in a way no one else could. He knows the questions Trooper will have about his dad because he had the same ones growing up. No one would be better equipped to help him then someone who has been through it himself. 

We hear often of how God’s timing is perfect but I don’t know that I’ve ever been so flabbergasted at the intricacy and detail of how and when God answers prayers as I have been with this relationship. I’m overwhelmed with how much my Father loves not only me, but my son and this amazing man he’s brought into our lives. I won’t say this has been easy because meeting Dom did not wrap up this grief journey in a neat, little bow. At times, I felt the loss of Spencer just as intensely as when it first happened. I have struggled with what it’s like to love two people and it not actually being a betrayal to either one although it felt like that at times. These last several months have been both wonderful and painful and at times, downright confusing. Recently I was reminded of something a biblical counselor once told me, “You’re not supposed to get over people this side of Heaven. If you were over it, THEN you’d need counseling.” 

We don’t stop missing people. It’s actually beautiful that way. It’s a testament to the love that you have for one another. It’s ok to still miss Spencer. Meeting Dominic doesn’t change that because Dominic isn’t supposed to replace Spencer. Dominic is exactly who he is supposed to be in my life and Trooper’s life. He was always meant to take up this role at this time. In fact, God has been preparing him for it his whole life, starting with the loss of his father at a young age. He once told me that he felt Jesus gave him the privilege of watching Trooper and I because he got to see what his mom went through raising him alone before she met his step-father. 

I don’t know how God works and I don’t have to understand Him because my mind literally can’t fathom His goodness, love or power (Isaiah 55:8-9). What I know is that He is sovereign (Genesis 50:20, Romans 8:28, Proverbs 16:9), He is in control (Psalm 115:3, Isaiah 40:23), He is good(Psalm 119:68, Matthew 19:16-17, 1 Timothy 4:4, James 1:17) and that He DEEPLY loves us (John 3:16, Romans 5:8, Romans 8:37-39, Ephesians 2:4-5). He created us and knows exactly what we need and at what time we need it. Through the ups and downs of our lives, He is there comforting us, preparing us, teaching us, guiding us, protecting us but most of all, loving us. He shows us this in a million different ways and sometimes those ways are so incredibly intentional and intimate that we realize we are genuinely known inside and out by the Creator of the Universe. Through great trials we see great healing, great love and great provision. We wouldn’t choose them, but we can be so thankful for what we learn from them or more accurately, what we learn from Him. 

Sunday evening at Laudermilk Beach Park, Dominic got down on one knee and asked me to be his wife. Trooper was playing close by and ran up to us with great delight and said “can we have the weddin tomorrow?!” It was a moment I can mostly describe as peaceful. I felt excited but most of all like this was exactly where I was supposed to be. It felt like coming home. 

There is literally no way I could ever convey how much your support has meant to me on this journey. You have stood beside Trooper and I but mostly you kneeled beside us before our incredible God and Father. There is no greater gift than to have someone pray for you and my son and I have been overwhelmed with your beautiful gifts. They supported us, encouraged us and sustained us. We love you so much. Your prayers are definitely coveted over our little family and the future God has for us. I pray it is one that brings Him great glory and shows His great love. I pray that for you too and as always, I would love to have the honor of praying for you with anything that is going on in your life. 

~Ashby

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