Thursday, December 10, 2009

Ashlynn Coconut

I had one of those not-so-stellar-moments-in-parenting last week (or maybe it was 2 weeks ago) on the way to my son's hockey practice. I had just carried my 2 sleeping children to the car to go and pick up my third at the school. I was already running right at the time that I needed to leave with no minutes to spare ... when my four year old hurled all over the mini-van. (of course all over the area with knobs and buttons on the seat.) It was yucky ... anyway ... I briefly kinda lost my cool at the situation, but luckily I was able to recover with some massive clean-up, hot water, Clorox wipes,Lysol and prayer (ha!)
I would also like to add that I was going on about 2 hours of sleep after being up all night with Easton who was coughing constantly throughout the night and threw up all over me and the bed twice before finally getting some rest.

Anyway, while I was sitting at the ice arena waiting for Brayden to finish his meeting I shared a couple DumDum suckers with my 4 year old (who was feeling better and just had too much phlem from a cold that caused the earlier troubles.) I was feeling pretty low and unworthy as a parent and I chuckled at the fact I was having a DumDum ... how appropriate for me.
Here I am blessed with 3 incredible boys how can I possibly have an inkling of a thought of even being a bit worthy of even entertaining the idea of adopting. How crazy. It was the stark reality of my humanness as a parent. And how lacking I am.
Guess what the kind of sucker I ended up with out of the two in my pocket?

"Ashlynn Coconut"
Only God.
Did you even know they made a flavor called that?
I didn't.
You see, "Ashtyn" was the girl name we never got to use with our first 2 children that garnered our chosen BOY names ... and then "Ashlyn" was the name reserved for Nolan if he had been a girl. Such a sweet name.

Earlier this year my passion for orphans was reignited and I came across a blog of a family following their journey to their daughter "Georgia," a special needs heart baby in China. (SIDENOTE: That was the name I LOVED and had chosen first as our girl-name pre-children. Well, Jeff was not so keen on the name and although it has a special place in my heart, it was not going to be an easy sway with my husband.) So, as I journeyed with this family through the emotional rollercoaster I ended up in August leaving a comment on their blog as they prepared to leave the hospital after successful heart surgery for their Georgia. I was a little bit sad that my peep into their journey was probably coming to a close as they would most likely move along away from their blog and melt into daily life as a family. I for some reason went back to read comments on their blog that day and I noticed one after mine that the commenter mentioned the sweet journey she would soon be on to get her "Ashlyn". It was at nearly the same moment I had the previous thought about missing Georgia. Wow. Maybe it's just me ... but the timing of these things just cannot escape me. It was beyond words A-MAZING. (And I cannot help but see a red thread between my heart and those 2 names that mean so much to my heart. What that red thread means is unclear, it definitly does not mean we will ever adopt of course ... but maybe it's the growing of me and a passion for something so much greater than me or our family or my personal journey.)

Since that time I have followed that family to their sweet daughter Ashlyn, another special needs child from China, and love that I have had the opportunity to share in their journey and hear their thoughts and hopefully be an encouragement to them.

So I am reminded of what a gift of hope that good things still come out of the ashes of our pathetic moments.
And to find comfort in that it's okay to hope ... because on our own we are nothing short of inadequate. And there are so many good things that come out of hope--far beyond what we can imagine or dream.
Only God could have known the depth of what that DumDum would mean to me ... and at that very moment.
Yes, I have some real bonehead moments ... but God bridges the gap between what I am and what He needs me to be. He gives me the hope of dreams and the faith to have a few crazy ideas ... some may call them Dum(b) ... but I prefer to weigh them more on the side of crazy-faith or maybe what I'll now refer to as "Ashlynn Coconut" moments. I love that God can use me in whatever way He has called me. I will continue to pray that I listen for his guidance in finding the purpose for which He has called me and to open my heart to whatever that brings, remembering that "God doesn't call the prepared. He prepares those He calls."

It is so sweet to have met Georgia, Ashlyn and their families--what a blessing to witness the hand of God at work.
It's sweet!


Tara Anderson said...


I used to struggle with the same thoughts...I have three healthy little miracles, how could I want more? You know what I finally decided? I wanted more because that's what GOD wanted for me.

We all have our days where we feel like we can barely manage the blessings we have, let alone another one thrown in the mix...but God IS faithful on those days to remind us that His plans look alot different from than ours. One of my favorite stories in the Bible is the story where the 12 year-old Jesus remains at the temple teaching after his parents have (oops!) left Jerusalem following Passover. His parents travelled for a DAY before they realized Jesus was missing! And you know what I LOVE about that? The mother that God chose for HIS only begotten Son lost her child...GOD'S child...and didn't even realize it for an entire DAY! I'm sure if the pages of Scripture recorded such a big occurance, then there were probably small ones that weren't recorded as well. God doesn't expect human mother's to be perfect...not even the mother of His Son. There is something reassuring about that. :)

Love you!

The Sanders Family said...


Thank you once again, for sharing your inadequacies in such a very vulnerable way. You are not alone. All of us moms feel like we not not worthy on any given day, or should feel that way due to our own sin tendencies. Trust me, on day three of being snowed in, and after battling one too many sibling rivalries, I look back and see all the things I could have handled differently. But you're right, that's where God comes in. He makes up for what we lack. He covers us, and man am I thankful! Thank you for reminding me of God's eternal care on this day!

I also love that you shared the little reminders God keeps leaving you, using little girl names that are near and dear to your heart. How amazing! He had a mighty plan for you Valerie, that I'm sure of!

Angie :)

Gretchen said...


You are such an amazing blessing to me! And, no, I didn't know that they made a Dum Dum sucker with that name. It is Gabriel's favorite (next to Smarties) and I have never seen it. I think you got the only one meant just for you!! (smile).

Keep hoping, my friend, maybe God does have an Ashlyn waiting for you. He will show you in His own time.

BTW, I am copying your post and putting it on my blog. Thank you for sharing a great life lesson moment that ALL of us moms have!!

Michele said...

Wow. Thank you so much! And that quote at the end is priceless.

Thank you so much for sharing! You are always an inspiration to me!!

The Raudenbush Family said...

I laughed aloud reading this post---since the example I gave in my post about the charms was ASHLYN! I love the name Ashlyn since my favorite passages of Scripture are those about the tree planted by the steam living water that does not thirst when drought comes and always bears fruit. That is why we named our dear daughter Ashlyn. Perhaps you had another "Ashlynn Coconut" moment reading my blog post about the giveaway. May God grant you the desires of your heart and make His will known to you for your family.

The family

The family