Have you ever had a time in your life when things were just, seemingly, perfect?
Well, that's how Ashley and David Hallford's life was going. They had done all the "right" things, both raised in church, graduated from college, got married and were in their mid-twenties with the dream of having a big family with lots of children. When Ashley got pregnant in 2008, they were thrilled to have their dream coming true.
Ashley had a very healthy pregnancy, so when a lump developed under her chin, her doctor thought it was just a blocked saliva gland. No big deal, some antibiotics and she was on her way. But the lump didn't get better, and finally, at her urging, the doctor agreed to do a biopsy.
In the course of 24 hours she went from everything being fine to the devastating news of a malignant cancer diagnosis.
In my interview with Ashley and her husband David, they walk us through the whirlwind of their cancer journey. From the seven week premature delivery of their son, to the confounding nature of her cancer for her doctors as they tried to determine a course of treatment, you can't help but draw a comparison, at least a little, between Ashley's story and the trials of Job, in the Bible.
But while Ashley's story is tough to hear at first, more than a story of trials, it's one of triumphs. It's a story of God's miracles, which He sprinkled in all along the way to show them that He was in control. God gave them physical miracles, their seven week premature son spending zero days in the NICU being one, but there were also spiritual ones. God taught them to surrender control of their lives and give everything over to Him. But the Hallford's hearts weren't the only ones God moved. Ashley shares a remark from their pastor, who said he had never seen a church come together for as long as theirs did, for one person.
And come together is an understatement. At the lowest point in her cancer journey, when the doctors said they had one last possible chemo they could try, the Hallford's church put together a signup sheet and every day for 30 days, people signed up to spend a day fasting and in prayer for her. Not long after this, routine scans - which just months prior had revealed tumors too numerous to count in her lungs - revealed no disease present. She was in remission! And that's where she has been for the past TEN YEARS!
Kicking cancer wasn't the only blessing God had in store for the Hallford’s. As mentioned before, it had been their dream to have a big family, and a few years after she went into remission, they rekindled that dream. Doctors, however, told Ashley the chemo and radiation had done a number on her body and she would not likely ever be able to conceive another child. And right on time - in His time - she got pregnant not once more, but TWO more times!
Right now, you may be reading this and while happy for her, you may be feeling a little sting, because the person you loved, who was faithful and loved Jesus just like Ashley, did not receive the healing she did. Ashley said she often gets asked this question. She said her answer is often that she doesn't know why. But she points everyone back to God and that He is faithful and He will bring you peace.
For me, my big take away from Ashely's story is how our lives, which we think we can keep all neat and perfect, can change on a dime. The world tells us constantly how we are in control of our lives. And so often times, we fall victim to Satan's lie that we can do all things through our own strength. But our own strength is the LAST thing we can count on.
There is SOOOOO much more to Ashley's story than I was able to cover in the Podcast, so click on over and order a copy of Ashley's book "Losing Control: How God Used Cancer and Infertility to Bring Me to the End of Myself"
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