Monday, January 31, 2011

Encouraged

I was so encouraged after our meeting on Saturday. I felt so blessed to be a part of Circles. I have longed for community where people want to be real and open with each other and  help one another grow closer to God. Even from the short amount of time we have had with each other I already get the feeling it is going to be a great community.

I thought a lot about what we talked about yesterday in the fact of engaging with people and being intentional but at the same time listening. I made a point today while I was at work to be more intentional with people and to try to be present as well. It made me realize how much I go throughout my day missing how people are feeling because I am not present. I attempted to ask people at work that I don't normally talk to how they were doing. It was cool to see their faces light up in the fact that I was interested in how they were doing. This thought process today led me to be able to engage conversation with someone I didn't know. She was recently diagnosed with cancer and had a lot of complications occurring as a result of the chemo. I attempted to be intentional and engage with her. She started telling me how she was feeling and started crying. She shared how she didn't think she could be strong any more in getting through this and was afraid of what was going to happen next. I knew God wanted me to pray with her. This time I listened and got to pray with her. I shared with her that God is the only one who can get her through this difficult time. I then got to share with her my brother's story to offer encouragement.

My brother Sean was diagnosed at the age of 17 with a brain tumor. He was a wrestler and very active but started to feel off balance and was getting severe headaches. Then they did a MRI which showed the tumor.  About two weeks later he had surgery. Before he went into surgery, we all thought it was non-cancerous which the tumor itself was already scary enough but after the surgery we come to find out that it is cancerous. This was one of the worst days of my life when I found out my brother had cancer. He then had to have a grueling year of chemo and radiation treatment. It was hard watching my brother suffer but I am so grateful for what this experience brought about. Many were praying for healing for my brother and God first brought it about in his heart. We all grew up Christian but my brother made the decision to finally give his life over to Christ and became a Christian during this time. He now is is in remission and going to nursing school to be an oncology nurse :) I learned so much through this time. Some of it was learning that God is the only one who can give true peace and joy and strength. He taught me to lean on Him and to receive His love through others. God truly turned an awful thing to be used for His good in bringing my brother to Him and teaching my family valuable lessons.

Here is my brother with a couple of friends during his treatment in the hospital


Here are both my brothers. Sean is on the left and his twin Brett is on the right.



So anyways,  I have been very encouraged in Circles and the lessons I am already learning. I look forward to getting to know you all!

Ashley

5 comments:

  1. This is exactly what I kept thinking about on Saturday. "We all believe this, we all want to do this, but will we put it into practice?" Ashley, thanks for putting yourself out there, and making yourself available and willing to pray for your patient. So cool. As we all try to live out the things we're learning in circles, I'm excited to hear all the stories that will emerge.

    And thanks for sharing Sean's story. And the pics!

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  2. Oh my goodness, I can only imagine how scary and how out of control you must have felt as a sister... my 10 year old brother had a pretty bad hockey accident and I remember the feelings... you feel lost and like theres adreneline from the enemy in your veins. It's SCARY! But PRAISE GOD for the answer to prayer! It is sometimes so crazy how God uses situations that we'd least expect to become a miracle and be a path to finding a true relationship with Him. I am so happy this story ended good. Your brother will be in my prayers that he remain in remission. Thank you for sharing this story. What a great reminder of God the Healer and His Divine intervention into our lives when we really trust in Him :)

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  3. That is so great how you put yourself out there and let God use you in the way that he did. What an encouraging story! I really enjoyed our Circles session this past Sat and was convicted as well. I starting getting out of my comfort zone and am trying to be very intentional when it comes to starting conversations and listening to others so it is awesome to see how everything turned out with you when you stepped out and had your trust in the Lord.

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  4. This is so awesome Ashley! I am so encouraged by your story! Thanks for sharing all this. I think it is so awesome you work at a hospital too! I would love to hear more about it! Have a great time in New Zealand! See you when you get back!

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  5. Wow! Wow! Wow! I am just in such awe that God used you in such a unique way to engage in someone else's life and encourage them! You are such a blessing to this patient of yours! And your brother's story is equally as inspiring! Thank you so much for sharing Ashley!

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