In Spite Of Book Review by Jeff Bush

In Spite Of

By John and Joann Ashley


– When we arrived at Johnny’s incubator there was an elderly nun standing next to him
and talking to him. When Joann got to her feet to see Johnny the nun turned and
said; “Are you his Mother? He is so sweet, I have been visiting with him and he has
such a sweet personality, and just think, God chose you to be his mother.” To my
wife, this petit nun was the angel God sent to minister to her. That sweet lady
reassured Joann that God has blessed her with this special child and that he had
such a sweet personality. At the time Joanne thought, ”How could she know that?”
However, the nuns words were prophetic. We certainly have been blessed. Johnny
had the sweetest personality of anyone we know. Had she said to Joann, “Oh, I am
sorry so sorry,” or had spoken words of sympathy or played into the sorrow that
Joann was feeling; she probably would have discouraged Joann and probably made
the situation much worse. May this be a lesson to all of us, to choose our words
carefully when trying to help someone experiencing grief. — Page 20

– To anyone who may be in a similar situation today, the old saying, “one day at a
time” is so true. It is very easy to get caught up in all the tomorrows that may never
come. Try not to allow yourself to dwell in the future. Today will be hard enough to
deal with. And if by chance today is a good day, ENJOY IT! We can ruin a good
today by fretting about the rough tomorrows. Believe me, I am the king of destroying
a perfectly good day by prioritizing tomorrows. The truth is, tomorrow may never
come, and if it does come, it will have its own set of issues to be dealt with. Focus
on today and let tomorrow take care of itself. I heard an old pastor once say, “Worry
is like a rocking chair. It doesn’t get you anywhere, but it gives you something to do.”
Very true words. — Page 26–27

– So many questions enter our minds at times like this. The biggest question is
“Why?”, but we also want to know the answers to the “What?” questions. What
caused this to happen? What will be in the future? Again, most of our questions go unanswered when we ask them. We try to figure out all of the possible scenarios and
most of the time we are wrong in our predictions. — Page 27

– There is one question that I would like to address that is asked less frequently, but
the answer is more readily available. That is the who question. Who allowed this to
happen? Who made my child this way? The answer many times seems
counterintuitive, but the real answer is that God created our son the way He did for
His purposes. — Page 27-28

– We won’t always get our answers when we want them, and many times the answers
we get aren’t the ones we are looking for. We may never fully know the “Why” or the
“What”, but we can always trust in the “Who.” Joann loves a quote that she read
somewhere; “God gives us something better than the answers to our questions, He
gives us Himself.” — Page 29

– You see there is no reason to compare pain and grief. I read somewhere that the
“worst kind of grief is the grief you are going through.” The worst kind of grief is not
losing a child or getting diagnosed with cancer. It is the grief you are experiencing at
the time. Your grief is the worst grief you can experience. — Page 37

– The most important person we had to learn to share her feelings with was the Lord.
You see He knows our thoughts anyway so trying to pretend that we don’t have them
is futile. Coming to God and being completely honest isn’t the easiest thing to do.
We may have to confess our anger toward Him, admit we don’t understand and ask
Him the “Why” questions. You know what? He can handle it! He is not offended by
our anger in times of trial. The “Why” questions don’t bewilder Him. Talking things
out with the Lord is a step towards healing. — Page 40

– When we experience tragedy and grief in our lives, we need to find those that will let
us talk. When someone we know is going through a difficult time in life, we need to
open ourselves up and allow them to talk, again and again. — Page 40

– Keeping ourselves busy is a good way to help us from being discouraged by our “In
Spite Of” situations. — Page 105

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