It is not good, but it is well

Several years (and a battery of tests that nearly killed me) ago, I was diagnosed with a string of autonomic nervous system disorders. After months of attempting to regulate my heart rate and blood pressure with medications, which resulted in more near death experiences of allergic reactions and other side effects, my cardiologist recommended I, instead, learn to drink dry red wine. That is why there is a small wine rack in my bathroom. It holds a few empty wine bottles with labels for which I have an affection, and has some space beneath for hanging glasses. This is where the toasting glasses, the ones a dear friend had our names and wedding date etched onto, from our wedding have lived for the last couple of years. On the night of Jesse’s last scans, I walked into our bathroom, took off my “Hope” bracelet to place it on a jewelry rack that rests on the cabinet below the wine rack, bumping the structure as I did…and one of our glasses slipped forward off of the rack, crashing on top of the wine glass I actually use for my nightly few ounces, shattering both of them.

I stood, motionless at first, trying to reconcile the days events with what had just happened. I reached for the still-hanging glass and turned it to see Jesse’s name scrolled across. I exhaled in relief, then set to work cleaning up the tiny shards of memory. I cannot sensibly explain why I was relieved to find it was my glass fractured into a thousand tiny fragments. Trauma and grief have their own rules, written in a language known only to those whose souls speak the language of lament. But relieved, I was. Relieved, I still am.

I wrote a string of words years ago, back when brain cancer was new to me, and put them aside, knowing they were ahead of their time. I tucked them away somewhere safe and have yet to find them, though I’ve searched every day since June 22. I can only remember one line of them, but perhaps it will suffice for a moment such as this.

It is not good, but it is well.

It is well. It is well with my soul. Well that we have ceased treatments, knowing we have done all we can do. Well that Jesse will not likely live to see his 40th birthday or our 20th anniversary next year. Well that single parenting will be a part of my story. Well that our children will know the ache of being Fatherless. Well that I will know the pain of Widowhood. Well. It is well. Not because any of this is good, but because God is good.

It is not good, but it is well. It is SO WELL with my soul.

***I know this is difficult news to read and, perhaps, even more difficult news to accept. As you process through this, please remember that we are real, ordinary people making the decisions we believe to be best for our family. We make no decision without extensive prayer and thought, wanting very much to walk forward in wisdom, giving Jesse the best quality of life he can have for whatever time the good Lord gives us with him. If a treatment option is available, we have most likely heard of it, definitely researched it, and probably even tried it. Please refrain from sending either of us articles or videos or links to experiments/treatments that will bring about healing. We have been doing this for just shy of 5 years and know what’s out there. More importantly, we know earthly healing is a delay, not a deliverance. Physical healing is temporary, always ending in eventual bodily death. Jesse lives soul-healed, free from fear of an earthly death; thus, we are at peace. Though Jesse’s body wastes away, we do not lose heart. Do not lose heart, either, dearest.

Hope lives.

“But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So death is at work in us, but life in you. Since we have the same spirit of faith according to what has been written, ‘I believed, and so I spoke,’ we also believe, and so we also speak, knowing that he who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and bring us with you into his presence. For it is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God. So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are temporary, but the things that are unseen are eternal.”

2 Corinthians 4:7-18

24 thoughts on “It is not good, but it is well

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  1. You are an inspiration and your words a gift. Jesse’s words too. Gifts that you have freely shared, and gifts that can continue to bring hope, guidance, support, empathy and ultimately glory to God.
    Thank you for letting us into your world and for taking the time to show us His light.

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  2. You are a blessing and a hope for all of us that are still learning what trust in God is. I have been praying over you and your family and will continue to do so. I hope someday you will compile your writings and wisdom into a book…or two or three!! Thank you for your honesty, your vulnerability and your deep love for Him who loves us all beyond understanding!!

    Sent from my iPhone

    Sally

    >

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  3. I can’t think of any words that would make anything better. I can only say that I am praying for your family. Praying for strength, peace, and comfort. I pray that Jesse will have many special moments left with your family. I pray for you and your children to experience many happy moments that you will file back for a rainy day when they need to be brought to the forefront of your thoughts. Thank you for updating and letting us be a part of your journey.
    Kim

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  4. Ashley, your writings have been such an inspiration to all. Thankful you and Jesse and your family are in the Lord’s hands. May I share this on my FB page? There are some of my friends that know you and have known you and have prayed.

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  5. Bro Joe and I are heart broken for y’all. But your faith in our Heavenly Father is what will sustain you….all of you….as you already know! Y’all are in our prayers and thoughts every day! Sending hugs, love and prayers as you live life to its fullest with Jesse! 🙏🏻❤️🙏🏻

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  6. I send much love to you, Jesse and the kids!

    Thanks so much allowing us to be a part of your journey.

    Prayers continue. God is still God with all his amazing powers. He will do what He will.

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  7. Wow, Ashley- like so many who have left comments, I too really do not know what to say, so instead I enjoy hearing your words poetic in a way that just assists you as the listener of heavenly voices singing praises Ashley and Jesse please be recording videos for up coming birthdays, future weddings, graduations- you two are so special, again the only thing I can say is nothing-I’ll sit back and listen to your words.

    God bless
    Rob

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  8. I am so sorry to see this. I cannot imagine the pain you are going through as a wife and mother, yet coping so eloquently with a tremendous weight, you are inspirational without doubt. Please give Jesse a hug and a hello from an old friend. Tell him thank you for being a kind person, I will always appreciate his genuine kindness. Sending prayers for peace to your heart and angels over your family.

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  9. Ashley, Your spirit and faith have been such an inspiration to me, and I know to others. I am lifting you all in prayer.

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  10. Jesse, Ashley and family;
    Y’all have been in our thoughts and prayers from the very beginning. Our outer man is decaying but; our inner man is being renewed day by day! We will continue to pray for y’all! God Bless you!
    Rob and Robin
    Texas

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  11. Your faith has carried you all a long way and will continue to do so….I pray for Jesse, you, and your family each morning. Losing a spouse isn’t easy but I can tell you first hand that the good memories become more valued every day. So grateful we serve a God who knows what we need, when we need it. Thank you for sharing your lives with us. Very inspiring….

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  12. God Bless you, Jesse and children. You have been a Blessing and inspriation to every Christian on how to handle these earthly afflications, Psalms 34:19. Through it all your family has continued to give God Honor and Glory each and every day whatever may come. We love you, we are praying for your continued strength and comfort from our Lord.

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  13. Ashley and Jessie, I don’t know how anyone could dare second guess you, or question all that you have done. Your lives roar of God’s love and faithfulness. I wish that we could bear some of your burden for you. We love you, the Cruitts

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  14. Dusty and I pray for you and the family each day. The courage that is shown by you and Jesse are nothing short of amazing. We love you so and pray for complete covering over you.

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