I Need Thee Every Hour

Why is it that most Sunday mornings I have the same thought come to mind?  “I am so tired.  I don’t want to go to church today.”  But every Sunday I push through that thought, hop out of bed, get my dress on, and head to church.  Whether the three hours at church is remarkable or uneventful, when I get home I never regret having gone.

This Sunday was no exception.  Throughout the morning I kept waking up every hour or so, would look at my clock, and feel too tired to wake up.  By 10:15 am the thought came to me as it always does on Sundays, “I’m too tired for church.”  That thought came to me even in the hospital?  When church is only 30 minutes rather than 3 hours?  Where I can wear whatever I want and I don’t have any kids to get ready?  And all I have to do is walk 1 minute directly downstairs to the assembly room?  Pitiful!!!  But just like all the other Sundays for the past 19 years of my adult life, I got up to go to church.  I quickly put a pair of jeans on and a shirt, (I’ve never worn pants to church before however in the hospital any attire goes), brushed my teeth and hair, ordered Ashtyn some Top Ramen for breakfast, and by 10:30 a.m. I raced out of the room telling Ashtyn I would be back in 30 minutes.

I walked downstairs into the assembly room where church was being held.  There were close to 100 other people attending.  We sang an opening hymn, a prayer was given, and we were welcomed to the service.  We then sung the sacrament hymn and took the sacrament.  When the sacrament was completed the church leader who is in charge of the hospital L.D.S meeting announced the special musical number.  It was a song sung by Vocal Point, the Brigham Young University’s 9-man a capella ensemble.  As I sat and listened to the most powerful rendition of “I need thee every hour” the thought kept repeating in my mind, “Ashtyn has got to hear this.”  After the musical number, a 10 minute talk, closing song, and prayer, the church meeting was over.  I walked a few steps to where the a capella group was sitting and with tears in my eyes I asked, “Would you come to my daughter’s room and sing that song?”  They answered, “We would love to.”  I told them that I really wanted them all to be there so Ashtyn could get the entire effect of the song but didn’t know if the nurses would allow it.  There is a fairly strict policy that only 2 people can be at the bedside.  I tend to stretch the rule at times by having 3 people at the bedside, however I knew 10+ people would be pushing it.  The church leaders wife, Cheri, listened as I told of my desire for them to sing to Ashtyn.  When I was 12 years old I lived in Cheri’s neighborhood and went to the same church as she did.  Cheri suggested that the group go to Ashtyn’s room right away and she would go up with them.   I headed to Ashtyn’s room to ask her nurse permission.  Soon the group of nine, and some of their wives stood outside Ashtyn’s door.  Hardly able to maintain composure, I told them a little about Ashtyn.  “A few weeks ago Ashtyn was what seemed to be an extremely healthy, normal 12 year old girl.  She never had to go to the doctor’s for anything.  A week ago she was diagnosed with a very rare type of leukemia.  I believe God is giving her this week to build emotional and spiritual strength by giving her experiences like this.  She is being prepared and fortified so that she will have the faith, courage, hope, trust, confidence, and determination to fight with everything she’s got.”  I shared a few more of my thoughts pertaining to Ashtyn’s future.  I then opened her door and invited them to go in.  They greeted her with such love and then sung this song to her.

Can you imagine the spirit that filled the room?  They sung with such emotion and such power.

I then asked Ashtyn if she had a favorite primary song she wanted them to sing.  Immediately she said, “Yes.  A Child’s Prayer.”  So they sung her favorite song.

There are no words that can explain the spirit those men brought to Ashtyn’s room.  There is no way I can explain the power that was there.  I believe Vocal Point came to the hospital today for Ashtyn.   They might have lifted other children and families as well, but they were sent for Ashtyn.  I am so grateful I pushed through the thought of “I’m too tired to go to church” and went.  It was a blessing that I knew Cheri and that she encouraged them to go to Ashtyn’s room at the time they did.  I’m grateful that no medical staff stopped 12+ people as they walked through the locked doors and past several nurse’s stations to Ashtyn’s room.  I feel watched over that Ashtyn had a nurse who was compassionate enough to recognize the benefits outweighed the risk of having so many at her bedside.

Once Vocal Point left Ashtyn’s room, the charge nurse and other staff were not pleased with what had happened.  Ashtyn’s nurse got in trouble and I will likely get a lecture tomorrow about remembering to abide by the bedside rules.  I am grateful that God is in charge, orchestrating everything.  I know He will continue to look out for Ashtyn and give her the blessings she will stand in need of.  I am grateful that Ashtyn felt completely healthy today.  She was able to fully enjoy and absorb the spirit of the song.  I hope when our faith is stretched thin, we will remember our testimony of prayer.  “Pray, he is there.  Speak, he is listening.  You are his child.  His love now surrounds you.  He hears your prayers.  He loves the children.  Of such is the kingdom, the kingdom of heaven.”   I pray when our hope is shaken we will remember and constantly plead to God, “I need thee every hour, in joy or pain.  Come quickly and abide, or life is vain.”

Later in the evening Ashtyn answered her Uncle Ryan’s question, “Would you rather have had Justine Bieber or Vocal Point sing for you?”  She said, “Well it’s Sunday so I’d rather have Vocal Point.”  Me too.  Our worldly enjoyments seem to be lessening in their significance as the heavenly enjoyments move to the forefront.

The moment Vocal Point left the room, Ashtyn asked if she could see her siblings for the first time since being in the hospital.  Tears filled her eyes as she longed to see them.  To hug them.  To have them near.  The medical staff did not feel comfortable with letting her see them today.  Tomorrow will be another day for another miracle.  My hope and prayer is that Chandler, Morgan, and Ethan can see Ashtyn before she loses her hair and doesn’t feel well.  I pray that Ashtyn will be able to see them while she is feeling well enough to enjoy it.  This boost would be a great help to her and her siblings as they continue to prepare for the side effects from chemo that are in Ashtyn’s near future.

At 12:30 a.m. I layed with Ashtyn in her bed, cuddling and tickling her arms.  As she fell asleep in my arms, my heart and every fiber of my body was filled with love for this young tender daughter of God.  It’s a feeling of warm, intense love that makes my heart literally feel full.  I believe so many of you have that same feeling for her.  I just received a text from Ashtyn’s phone from a neighbor we lived next to for 10 months in 2012.  I believe the feelings she expressed is how so many of you feel for Ashtyn:

“Dear Ashtyn,
Just can’t sleep!  You are on my mind.  I want you to know Conner, Parker, Taylor, Jim, and I pray for you day and night.  We pray for you to be strong.  We pray for your tummy to feel better, so you can eat.  We pray you will have the courage of heroes like Nephi, the strippling warriors, and our Savior.  Courage to be brave.  Courage to face this trial.  Courage to listen to your doctors.  Courage to fight and overcome this cancer!  You can do this, and now you have friends, family…and people who don’t know you but have heard your story…who all love you and will be by you through this.  There are those fighting for you to overcome this trial, who know and love you, on the other side of the veil.  We are all part of your army! Hang in there sweetheart.  Since we can’t be with you every day, we pray you will feel the power of all the prayers being said for you.  Through the power of the Holy Ghost, may you, your mom, and family be comforted.  Rest well, be strong, be happy, and you will be well at home soon.  We love you. Tracee”

Thank you for reading Ashtyn’s blog.  Thank you for encouraging and supporting her.  Thank you so very much for your prayers.  I have seen your prayers being answered.  When she is in need of a specific prayer, I feel in my heart to include Ashtyn’s Army.  I don’t believe they will be answered any other way.  Each prayer matters.  Each prayer makes a difference.  Each prayer brings power.  Ashtyn ate 2180 calories today without a problem.  That is a miracle.  That is the power of prayer.

    26 Thoughts on “I Need Thee Every Hour

    1. Krysti Libby on February 11, 2013 at 8:23 am said:

      Dear Ashtyn,
      I am a friend of your Aunt Trisha. I have known her since we were pretty young. Probably since Middle school. I want you to know that you and your family are in my prayers. I don’t know you personally, but you go to school right by my home, and are the same age as one of my own children. You are so strong, and you are not alone through this battle in your life. You have your Heavenly Father, your family, your friends, and those who don’t even know you praying for you. May the Lord grant you strength and may you be able to feel the prayers of so many around you to lift you and help you fight. Love you dear sweet girl. Krysti Libby

    2. Rachel Eckman on February 11, 2013 at 9:23 am said:

      Thank you for posting these comments! I am uplifted by your words! Ashtyn I want you to know that even though I have never met you I think you are one of the strongest girls I know. You are an inspiration to me! You WILL beat this cancer! You are my hero! Hang in the girl…we are all praying for you!

    3. Jacob Tengelsen on February 11, 2013 at 9:27 am said:

      Dear Ashyn and family,
      I’m one of those 12 people you managed to let into your room. I hope we didn’t get you into too much trouble. I promise we all washed our hands! I just wanted to thank you for letting us sing for you. It was one of the most uplifting and sweet experiences I’ve ever had in vocal point. You are so brave and I’m so impressed with you. I’m also impressed with your family. I don’t know how many mothers I’ve seen with as much love for their children as your mom has for you. Your family really does love you so much. Just know that we’re praying for you and that you have touched us. I’ve never had to go through anything as scary as you are going through in all my 23 years of life. Just know that if you ever want someone to come to sing to you I’ll be there. I might not be able to get all of vocal point up there again all at once, but I’d be more than happy to bring my guitar and play you some songs. I’ll even work up some Justin Bieber for you. just email me and my wife and I will be there. Hang in there and know that we love ya!
      love, the Tengelsens

      • Suzanne on February 14, 2013 at 2:56 am said:

        Dear Jacob,
        No words can express the gratitude felt to have had your group sing for Ashtyn. We have watched your video over and over. It continues to bring the Spirit into her room and provides such spiritual strength that is needed at this time. I do believe it was a miracle that you came that particular Sunday. It was the perfect day for her to hear your message. Please tell the entire Vocal Point how grateful we are for them. You are changing the word, bringing the Spirit into lives, and helping people come unto Christ. What a remarkable thing you are doing.
        Ashtyn would absolutely love to hear you sing again. If you are ever in the area and feel to come up, please do so. If I don’t hear from you, you will likely hear from us in the future.
        Thank you for your love!

    4. McKenzie Hosenfeld on February 11, 2013 at 9:32 am said:

      What an incredible experience! I’m so glad it worked out. :)

      -McKenzie Hosenfeld

    5. Virginia Djahanbani on February 11, 2013 at 10:04 am said:

      You don’t know me. I am a friend of your grandparents on both sides.
      You are in my thoughts and daily prayers.

    6. Amazing! Awesome! So uplifting! I love Vical Point and cried watching those videos. A Childs Prayer is my favorite primary song. I often sing it to myself when I am struggling to have enough faith. What a special experience for Ash! I love you Suz for knowing what she needs and being bold enough to ask for it. We’re praying day and night and Ben and Luke asked to fast again yesterday for Ashtyn. Aaron and I joined and we all went 24 hours… We didn’t eat until 6:00 pm. That was hard for Ben especially but he kept saying that what Ashtyn is going through must be so much harder. Keep up the good fight! We love you!!

    7. Lina Wakefield on February 11, 2013 at 10:42 am said:

      What a special little girl you are! I am a friend of your dad. He served his mission in my home town, Penang, Malaysia. He was a wonderful missionary. I know you don’t feel well right now, but you are a little missionary yourself right now! So many people are reading your blog, following your story, and they are touched by your example. I believe one of our missions here on earth is to help people have a change of heart and you are doing just that right now. Sometimes I think we are given trials so we can grow stronger but also we can help others. Have a great day!

    8. Nancy Kennedy Major on February 11, 2013 at 10:48 am said:

      Hey Ashtyn!
      I served my mission with your Aunt Tiffani and I’ve seen your updates on her Facebook page. Even though we’ve never met, I wanted to let you know that we’ll be praying for you and your family. We wish you all the best! Love, Nancy and Sam Major, Cate (2) and Peter (7 mo)

    9. Brandy Shumway on February 11, 2013 at 11:24 am said:

      Dear Sweet Ashtyn,
      Hello! I am Ben’s, Luke’s, Zack’s, Simon’s, and Roma’s grandmother, and my husband and I live in Taylor, Arizona. We haven’t met you, but feel like we have because the boys have told us a lot about you and your family. We just want you to know that we are praying for you, too, and that we feel very blessed to be able to do so! We have put your name on the Snowflake Arizona temple prayer list, so there are lots and lots of Arizonans praying for you, too. Sending lots of Valentine love your way :),…..Brandy Shumway

    10. Candy Dolan on February 11, 2013 at 12:35 pm said:

      You are touching so many! I needed to hear that song and feel your sweetness even though I wasn’t there.
      Love you Ash,
      Aunt Candy

    11. Lisa Parent on February 11, 2013 at 1:52 pm said:

      Our family is praying lots for you Ashtyn! I know you don’t know us well, but we think of you often, and your are kept in our thoughts and prayers all day long. Your name is in the Oqquirrh Mountain Temple, too!
      Love,
      Lisa Parent (Matt’s cousin)
      PS–Suzanne–from one mom to another–YOU ROCK! Praying for you a lot, too.

    12. kim stewart on February 11, 2013 at 1:52 pm said:

      What a powerful gift they brought you Ashtyn. Just listening left me spechless, I can’t even imagine what it felt like in person. Really incredible sunday you had, your are truly blessed to conftinue to see Gods hand in your journey.

    13. Carolyn Gulbransen on February 11, 2013 at 3:38 pm said:

      You don’t know me, but I am a friend of your Aunt Candy and I knew Grandpa and Grandma Poulsen I loved them so much. I am so glad you are eating better. I am also glad your mom broke hospital rules sometimes mother’s do know best and this time she felt like you needed this more than a few rules. Praying for you and your family.

    14. Charlene Peterson on February 11, 2013 at 4:42 pm said:

      Ashtyn, we haven’t met yet but I live across the street from your new house. I knew when I met your mom and dad and Morgan that you would be an amazing person as well. We are praying for you and those around you all the time. You are one strong little girl. Everything is going to be just fine. You truly are being a great example to so many you don’t even know are watching. You seem to have figured out that it’s not what happens to you that’s important but how you handle it. You are doing awesome!! (Jealous you had all those cute guys singing to you. :)) Keep being strong!!

    15. Susan Bryan on February 11, 2013 at 6:55 pm said:

      Hello, Ashtyn,

      My name is Susan and I am in the Butler 1st Ward with both sets of your grandparents. I have been reading your story everyday and am in awe of you and your amazing strength. You are on an incredible journey and are touching lives everywhere. Sometimes we don’t know why we are given the trials or challenges we get, but know that Heavenly Father is helping you along the way. He is there for you and for your sweet family. You have a special mother who is so in tune with the Spirit and with your needs.

      What an uplifting Sunday you were able to experience! Wow.. Listening to those 2 performances brought tears to my eyes as I felt the Spirit. I can only imagine the presence in your room! I continue to keep you in my prayers and find myself thinking of you throughout the days, even though I don’t know you. I put your name on the Jordan River prayer roll last week. Do you even realize how many prayers are being offered on your behalf everyday?! I just know that Heavenly Father is watching over you.
      I will continue to keep you in my prayers and fast for you to beat this thing! Stay strong and know you are so loved and thought of!

      Susan Bryan, Butler 1st Ward

    16. awesome. totally awesome.

    17. Whitney Hawkins on February 11, 2013 at 9:19 pm said:

      You don’t know me, I am friends with Jared’s wife, Nanette. I saw her post something about your daughter on Facebook. I’ve been reading and praying for sweet Ashtyn ever since. I sincerely wish her the best and pray for her to have courage and strength for your family. She’s touching and inspiring lives in Colorado! Xoxo,
      Whitney Hawkins

    18. Carol Bee on February 11, 2013 at 11:44 pm said:

      It is a spiritual experience every day to read your blog. I remember reading a book about another girl in Primary Children’s Hospital many years ago, who spoke of the angels that were there to help her and bless her. Suzanne, I am so impressed with how much you are being led by the Spirit to help and bless Ashtyn. What a blessing that Vocal Point was there yesterday and were so willing to sing to Ashtyn! May The Lord continue to bless you both.

    19. Megan Nielsen on February 12, 2013 at 12:32 am said:

      Oh my goodness that was so beautiful . Thank you for sharing that!! My son is also being treated at PCMC for leukemia. I am so glad you got all those guys past the charge nurse. Woot woot!!

    20. Melanie Owen on February 13, 2013 at 7:56 am said:

      Sweet Angel Girl,

      You don’t know me, but I just read this post. I have a sweet 3 year old granddaughter who has just spent the last year battling cancer and a sister who fought it and both have won! Many strangers gave love and encouragement and that is what I want to do for you. It all matters.
      I wan’t you to know that miracles happen. God answers prayers, not always how and when we think that he should. It requires patience, but He will answer.
      Keep a miracle journal and write them down, because you think that you will always remember the many “coincidences” that are going to keep coming, but you won’t and you will want to go back and read them. They are a treasure that will sustain you on the harder days.
      God loves you. God will strengthen you. Never doubt.
      Your story, strength and courage will be a beacon on a hill for many to look too.
      Hang in there beautiful girl and just as surely as there will be some hard days, good ones will follow. Watch for the good and know that you are not alone.

      Melanie Owen

    21. This was a beautiful post. Thank you for sharing your journey, your courage and your faith. The music was glorious, and especially touching in light of your particular circumstances. I stumbled on your site today after delivering my daughter to the MTC this morning. I will not be seeing her again for 18 months. Although this is a completely different circumstance and journey that I am taking as a mother compared to yours, these songs were very meaningful and comforting. It was a tender mercy to find your post (nothing is ever a coincidence is it?).

      May God bless you and your family on this difficult journey which Ashtyn has been called to take. I have found in my own line that it is usually through our most agonizing experiences that we draw closest to our Savior. At these times when our faith and hope is stretched to its ultimate limits, we are allowed a clearer view of the matchless gift of His atonement. He knows your pain and your needs and will never leave your side.
      Love & Prayers,
      MoSop

    22. Susan Hardy on February 20, 2013 at 9:22 am said:

      I am a random stranger reading your blog through LDS Living calling attention to it. I am praying for you Ashtyn. You will be on the temple prayer roll in GA as well so many more people will be praying for your strength. Much love from a random stranger who is thinking of you! :)

      • Suzanne on February 20, 2013 at 1:56 pm said:

        Susan, thank you so much for reading Ashtyn’s blog. It makes me so happy knowing prayers are being said for her in GA. I am really touched by you and don’t feel we are strangers at all. Thank you for praying for Ashtyn and thank you for sharing your thoughts.

    23. I came to read this blog today through LDS living. I live in Quebec, and i am a mom of 3 wonderful children. I was so touched by this experience that you shared on this blog. Your story is so close to my heart, and as I watched the video with Vocal point, I couldnt help crying. I can recognize the hospital room, the medical instruments, the whole situation…I have been there, a few years ago, with my own little girl. She has been with her Heavenly Father for almost 6 years now, it s been an journey of healing and grief and so many things i couldnt have imagined. I know how much courage it takes to face each day, and the sweetness of feeling the Spirit comforting me and strengthening my faith. I had felt a loss of connection lately, with my angel daughter, and reading your blog, looking at AsHtyns smile really brought me back to feel like she s close to me, and it s Ok for me to miss her. Thank you Ashtyn s mom for taking the time to express your feelings, so many times i ve had no words or i felt very imperfect in my effort to express such precious and divine experiences. Today I am happy again, I am grateful for such a rich life I have been given , I hope I am a better person for it, and I am grateful for the blessing of being an angels mom. Audrey s cancer had very little chance of healing, and still I know the Lord was there all the way with us, and I believe in miracles. I really hope for the best for you, I will pray with my family for Ashtyn, we will think of you. Sending our love your way, Lucie

    24. Amber Affleck on March 8, 2013 at 8:00 pm said:

      Ashtyn,

      That was so nice of them to come and sing for you. Another thing is that “A Child’s Prayer” is my favorite primary song as well. I also love “I Need Thee Every Hour” We were going to sing “A Child’s Prayer” in our Primary Program, but I will be in Young Women’s. I am going next month. In April. I also have a question. Does Ashtyn read the blog?

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    Ashtyn Poulsen was diagnosed with undifferentiated leukemia on January 30th 2013. She spent 70 days in the hospital during her first two rounds of chemotherapy treatment. During the third round of chemo, she was able to spend 1 1/2 months at home. June and July, Ashtyn will be in the hospital facing and fighting the Goliath called a bone marrow transplant. Ashtyn has been greatly blessed during her war with cancer. The prayers and love received by all those who support her have brought strength, peace, comfort, and miracles. Thank you for going through this journey with us.