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:
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.