Wednesday, July 11, 2018

A Time Capsule

It’s interesting how quickly life passes by and how quickly memories flood the gates of our lives. 

I’ve thought many times about updating this page, but to be honest, at times walking through these memories have been so gut wrenching I can barely bring myself to read the stories of that season. That’s the beauty of the internet I suppose, our memories are locked in time. The beauty of real life is that it proceeds. From the ashes God creates a beautiful life; one we would never have dreamed of but one He is evident within. 

So where are we now?
On July 8, 2015 we gave birth to a healthy baby boy named Cedar. Each year as we celebrate his birthday a few weeks later we throw a birthday party for our little boy Asher. We pull out a memory box on his birthday that reminds us of the love and care of a community that carried us (figuratively and literally) through the hardest season of our lives. We teach our little boy about his big brother who we believe we will meet again one day. Cedar is a reminder of God’s faithfulness and is the icing on the cake of God’s ability to redeem a story.

I say icing on the cake because he is an added bonus to God’s redemption. Often times we think a story like Asher’s can only be redeemed by a healthy baby yet God was redeeming the story all along. Meagan and my marriage is stronger after walking through the pain of loss. Our faith and trust in God is stronger today than it was before Asher. These things don’t happen by chance but only by the hand of a God weaving a story to be more incredible than what we can imagine. That’s why Cedar is the icing on the cake, God had already been at work redeeming a terribly broken story, Cedar is a bonus of His goodness. 

Meagan is currently pregnant with a little girl who is healthy, we expect to deliver on October 8th. Life truly is a miracle. Each day we are grateful for a God who puts our pieces back together and gives us far more than we deserve. 

We often tell the story of Asher to the people we meet, and what still amazes me about the story is the peace God gives us to tell it. It’s a bigger story than a little, broken boy, it’s the story of God’s faithfulness despite our circumstances. It’s the story of how He uses the things this world discards for something great. 

I sit in a coffee shop today almost 4 years later with tears in my eyes and a lump in my throat, in part because I still feel the pain of the past but more than pain, I feel God’s peace. 

God is good and if today you are doubting that truth I am praying our story in some way or fashion will remind you of that truth. Maybe you found this page in a moment of trial, maybe you are reading it today without a happy ending and I am praying for you, to find peace in the arms of a mighty God. 

He knows you, He sees your hurt and is ready to hold you through it. 
-Asher’s (and Cedar and Baby Girl’s) Daddy

Friday, August 1, 2014

31 Weeks.

This past Tuesday at the doctor's office we found out Asher's heart had stopped beating. We induced labor and yesterday morning at 8:38 Asher was here. He weighed just 1 pound 3 ounces and although his little body was broken, he was perfect & beautiful. We spent a good portion of the day holding him and learning him. It was hard, yet peaceful. He taught us so much in 31 weeks and we are so grateful for his little life.

We should be going home today, Meagan is doing great. She was and is a beacon of grace and peace throughout this entire experience. She provided the most loving and safe environment for Asher; she is so strong.

We would cherish your prayers for the days ahead, we miss our little guy so much. What a great truth; that our Asher is in the presence of the Creator God who has fixed his brokenness and restored him to perfection.

We prayed for healing and it happened, we know he is healed. What we didn't expect is that our God was anwsering that prayer in a way we weren't even asking. He has been healing us each and every day. His peace was and is with us right now. He knows our needs even when we don't and is already working in the smallest details to heal the hurt and the pain.

Thank you for joining us on this journey. The emails and text messages and prayers and hugs have been such an incredible out pouring of love. We thank God for you; we thank God for his love, we thank God for 31 weeks with his little gift, Asher.

-Asher's Mommy & Daddy

Thursday, July 10, 2014

The Heartbeat of our Son

There is something so incredible about hearing his little heart beating so fast; so strong. What an incredible blessing his life is; even if only for a whisper of time. Never forget that life is a gift, not a given.

After listening to his little heartbeat I invite you to watch and listen to this video:

Jesus makes beauty out of pain.

I would love to sit here and say this has been easy; that we know the secret to avoiding pain. The truth of this journey is that it has been extremely painful. There are days when the sun doesn't seem to shine; days when a persistent lump is etched into the back of our throats; days when if we had it our way, we would pull the covers up and shut the world out.

But then there are moments when joy is present. Moments where Meagan feels Asher kick. Moments of helping her get her socks and shoes on and off. Laughter, peace, unmistakable joy. God gives us moments when we can sit together late at night and listen to heartbeat of a gift He has given.

Throughout this entire journey we are resting in His ability to make all things new; to put the pieces back together. His grace sustains even when life sucks. When we ache; He aches. He holds us together promising to make beauty out of all of it.

-Asher's Daddy

Monday, June 23, 2014

What's in a name? The Corn Dog that changed everything.

The night we found out about our boy's condition we had spent the better part of the afternoon in tears. We were at a place where we could cry no more. Our hunger had caught up to us and we knew we needed some comfort food. It was late but we knew Dairy Ette was still open. Now was the time for delicious grease and homemade root beer. I'm sure we looked like a wreck, eyes puffy from the salty tears, noses rubbed raw from Kleenex. Our order probably seemed as though we hadn't eaten in weeks: 2 frosty mug root beers, 2 hot dogs, 2 grilled cheese, 2 sides of pickles, 3 corn dogs and a side of Tums.

As we sat eating we began to talk about what we would name our little guy. We knew we needed a name soon as we began telling others his story and he deserved a great name. While processing through the hundreds of search results for names we came across the name Asher. It stuck out as a unique, cool name and as we looked up the meaning of the name, we were sold.

Asher: fortunate, blessed, happy one

The more we thought about it we felt this name was perfect. How could a boy with all of these issues carry a name of fortunate, blessed and happy? How does that fit you might ask? Ultimately Asher will be healed. We believe that with all of our hearts. We are unsure if it will be here with us or in Heaven with his Savior. So we believe he is fortunate because he has a Creator who knit him together and is in the process of redeeming the brokenness (including anencephaly) all around us.

If the Lord takes Asher home to Heaven he will never have to experience the broken world we live in, but will spend his childhood inside the Pearly Gates. What better of a place to grow up? If He heals him here on Earth what an incredible story he will have. Either way our boy is fortunate, not because of an outcome, but because he has a God who loves him enough He sent to His son to die for him, and for me, and for you.

That is the kind of God Meagan and I cry out to on a daily basis. One that heals, One that comforts, One that ultimately will allow His glory to be shown in the toughest of circumstances. He is in the process of bringing restoration to a terribly broken world. When Jesus died he provided a way of redemption that was perfect. His redemption isn't based on our actions but solely on us knowing Him; living in community with Him.

That is where we are right now. Allowing Him to hold us tight and guide us through the pain. We believe He gave us Asher for a specific reason, to love him and help him point others to Jesus. What greater story could be written of anyone's life, that it was used to its fullest and pointed others to a God that loves them. Asher's life has meaning because the God of this universe is giving it meaning. We rejoice in that. We find peace in that. We find hope in that.

- Asher's Daddy

P.S. We have decided on a middle name: Rowan, in definition: little red one. Asher Rowan Burkley, the fortunate, blessed, red one. :)

Friday, May 23, 2014

The Adventures Begin...Queen's Bath Kauai

Perspective is one of those crazy things. As the wind blows and the chips fall perspective can change.

This is a story of perspective.
This is Asher's Adventure of Danger.

We knew when we accepted the call to be the parents of this wonderful boy we were being called to love and cherish each experience we shared with him. We recently traveled with Asher to the great state of Hawaii. If you have never experienced Hawaii I highly recommend it. It's Paradise in one of its purest forms. Aside from the Garden (Think Adam & Eve) I cannot imagine a place more pristine.

Midway through our time on Kauai we set off on an adventure to the Queen's Bath. The Queen's Bath is a rock formation where a perfect pool has been formed. As the tide rolls in and out, the water fills and empties the pool. It's an incredible sight to take in. As we get to the trail head we are warned of the dangers associated with something this beautiful. Like the thorns to the perfect rose, Queen's Bath has its share of moments when it shifts, from its beauty and splendor, to an unrelenting force that can sweep you out to sea. As we continued along the path we were continually met by life preservers meant to be the last ditch effort to save anyone pulled out to sea. It was a constant reminder of the need of rescue when the times are at their worst.

We hiked along and finally arrived at the Queen's Bath.

As we sat overlooking the Bath and the bigger ocean that surrounded us our perspective begin to shift. Not that it takes an ocean to remind us of God's brilliance, but it sure didn't hurt. In comparison to the world around us we were but a blip; a speck in the universe. Our problems, although huge to us, were minute in comparison to the world around us.

Yet to God, our hurts are never too small; our prayers are never insignificant.
The Creator of it all knows us and cares for us more than we can ever imagine.

Many times we misunderstand and quite frankly misrepresent who God is. We place promises in His mouth that if we follow Him times will be easy; that we won't experience pain. Our God isn't a God of pain avoidance. He isn't a God who always fixes the problem the way we see fit. He is a God who promised "that in this world you will have trouble" (John 16:33). In this world we will experience the thorns with every rose. That is why there is hope in the promise that Jesus has overcome this world. Through His death on the cross and His resurrection He provided the life preserver we desperately need. When the waves are unbearable and danger surrounds; He is there. He doesn't leave us drifting to sea but reaches out and offers His hand to guide us through the storm.

This is where Meagan and I stand today; experiencing His hand guiding us through the storm.

And by the way, Asher loved the danger of it all; I'm fairly confident he is an adrenaline junkie.

-Asher's Daddy

Monday, April 21, 2014

The Bottom Falls Out.

On April 16, 2014 during a sonogram we found out our baby has a rare birth defect called Anencephaly. He is not expected to live outside the womb. In the future this page will be filled with his adventures while he is with us, but for now here is his story.

{click on the circle above}