how holes make her whole

On April 9th FireCracker broke her femur. She ended up spending the rest of April in traction at the children’s hospital. She had a metal rod drilled through her leg just above the knee. We were told it would be weeks in traction, weeks in a cast and then a long recovery before she’d walk again. April was a long month.


As much as I dreamed of being out of the hospital, I treasure those weeks with her. Each day I found myself praying she’d be able to walk by her second birthday.


We finally left the hospital and learned to live with The Cast. May was a long month. She adjusted better than I did. We weren’t sure how long The Cast would be part of our family. Again, I prayed she’d be walking by her birthday.

Well, The Cast came off and she now bears two little holes on her leg from the traction. She likes to point them out and say “hole” to anyone who asks her about her leg. I think she’s already a bit proud of her scars.

While we were in Colorado I was watching her climb, hike and in general refused to be carried. It was a week before her birthday. I spent April and May praying she’d walk by the time she turned two…and there she was climbing mountains as a one year old. On the outside she bears two holes. On the inside she is whole.

I wanted a way to be reminded of how God went above and beyond in regards to answering my prayers. I was hoping for baby steps in July. I got mountain climbing in June. As a reminder I printed that photo above to replace one I had hanging in her room. Lisa Leonard has a new home decor line (previously it was primarily jewelry). She sent me a pennant banner with the word “whole”.  It it gorgeous and the perfect size. I used two strips of duck tape to stick it on the back of the frame.

The scars on her leg really bothered me at first. I hated that age one she already had marks that will be with her for a lifetime. However, I’m learning to be grateful for those two little holes. I hope to help her remember that even if her outsides don’t look so perfect…she is wonderfully made and perfectly imperfect….and whole.

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  • Kimberlee Jost - Weird wild.
    I just read this.
    This afternoon as I was working, the Lord brought you to mind, and I began praying. I started thinking about those Colorado pics and how Firecracker was not wanting to be carried and what a miracle it was that she could do the things she was doing. I thanked Him for that…and then started praying for someone else.

    And now….I come home and read this post.
    Yeah, that was from Him.
    The One who makes all of us whole again.
    I am continuing tonight with a heart of praise.

  • Brenda Fager - Really wonderful of you to share her story and your heart. We have an amazing testimony in our family also of God’s abundant healing beyond our meager request of him. I love the C.S. Lewis quote: “If we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that Our Lord finds our desire not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, we are like ignorant children who want to continue making mud pies in a slum because we cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a vacation at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.” Out of a terrible car crash where my youngest died on the lifeflight, was resuscitated and almost died again in the hospital, I asked that God not let him die on the freeway. God sent him home 6 1/2 weeks later healed and whole!!

  • katie - super sweet.

    i just ordered my first thing from lisa… love her work.
    and although i’m relatively new around here, i love yours too.

    thanks for all your sharing and beauty.

  • Madeline - That “whole” banner…priceless, perfect, complete. She will cherish knowing that forever.

  • susan caing - God is amazing! and she’s wonder woman. =)

  • Natalie - I wasnt looking and today my eldest smashed her thumb in a very heavy door (on the hinge side) and i wonder at what point or age does the mommy stop blaming herself for the accident…have you grappled with this?

  • stefanie - beautiful post!

  • jdzjane - The “scars” are what make us who we are. Those scars remind us of our past and what a wonderful present God has given us. What a great testemony to the ones who ask. Like you said – God went above and beyond what you could have asked for. Not baby steps in July, but mountain climbing in June. Praise God! O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever. 1 Chronicles 16:34

  • Tawnya - I just started following your blog and find it so refreshing! Thanks for your sharing a snippet of your heart and journey through your precious little girl and what God has done. I so appreciate you creative insight, love for family and life, and to find that in someone with a common love for Jesus!

  • Ruth - Ashley, what a true testament to the power of prayer (And not just yours–I think everyone who reads this blog and then some were praying for you and Firecracker.) I love the Lisa Leonard banner too. Happy birthday to your sweet little one! :-) God is Awesome.

  • Carla B - Precious! Love when God is so obvious. Nothing is too small for God.

  • Julie - I don’t usually comment on blogs, but this post was beautifully written…made me bawl. Love the way the project turned out, too :-)

  • Kelli - Love the post – thank you for being so real, so whole, so authentic. . .

  • rachael - Beautiful – God is so good and so faithful!

  • Michelle B. - ohmygosh this post makes me cry… thanks, Jesus, for stories to tell :)

  • Sandra - God is Good! Great reminder that God is in control. He does listen and time heals all wounds. Great post ?

  • emily june - shes so beautiful, it seems she never thought of not walking, and once again a child teaches us, nothing is impossible. thanks for sharing

  • Hillary Gustin - Hi Ashley! Praise God for his faithfulness and love and what an encouragement your sweet girl’s story has already been to so many people. Thanks for sharing!

  • Rebecca - This is the first time I am reading your blog, that story touched me so much! Isn’t God so faithful!!

  • irene - huukksss…
    teary teary eyes, great post!

  • Erika - see your child in traction like that. What a beautiful blessing to see her out and running about like she is. God is so good!!!

  • Kina Baddorf - This is such a sweet reflection on her surgery. Prayer is just amazing.

  • Jacqueline - Such an inspiring story and photos! Thanks so much for sharing this with us and it made me teary. I love that pennant banner too! Have a lovely merry happy week and love to you!

  • Mirys from Brazil - Speechless…

    Kisses and blessings (more blessings).
    from Brazil

  • Stefanie D - I just wanted to leave a note. I started reading your blog a little after Firecracker went into the hospital. I was looking for art/craft blogs and generally stay away from “mommy blogs” but I have really enjoyed reading about you and your family and silently cheered Firecracker on as she became whole again. I have really enjoyed reading about the struggles and thinking, if a baby can handle this, I will be fine. She is sweet as can be and I love seeing her sweet little face. The nick-name Firecracker really does suit her.

  • stephanie - cried. our God is so good.

  • Denise - Sweet sweet. You made me cry. :)

  • Rachel- Wildflower Photography - i’m was just popping over from vintage junky. what a fab blog you have! i now follow you. adore your beautiful “whole” photo. how precious. :)

  • amy jupin - oh my goodness gracious.
    i love this post.

  • Cassi - Ashley, that was beautiful! Absolutely beautiful

  • Leah Robinson - Our God is great!!! Loved this post =)

  • Stacey - Loved this post. Loved everything about it.

  • Victoria / Justice Pirate - we all bear scars at some point. It is great that she has so much endurance already for going through that. Must have been really tough!! She is wonderful.

  • Sharla - This post is so beautiful. She is so beautiful. Love the story and yes, I am crying :)

  • Chiara M - My boyfriend was hit by a car when he was six years old and spent some time in the hospital in traction. The two scars on either side of his knees are really wonderful. Whenever I see them I’m reminded of childhood and the way he tells the story about how he was running across the road because he was so eager to get cookies. Hopefully Firecracker will see the scars as a reminder of the fun little girl she is.

  • Amber - Cal, my little one had heart surgery when he was just 3 pounds. the scar was only few centimeters. Now he’s 16 months old; his scar grows with him. It is 3 inches now and that imperfection is one of the many things that makes him perfect. It reminds me that Cal has purpose and that God is good.
    You are pretty much my hero, I dont know if I could spend weeks in the hospital with a one year old..Your little fire cracker is presciously perfect. Thank you for sharing.

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