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The Darkest Hour

I have written and rewritten posts since December, but no draft ever made it to pen and paper. I’d wake up in the night with the perfect story to type up the next day. It was brilliant, thought-provoking, and beautiful. The next day I would check my notes and find this random misspelled list on my phone:

Jerry magire
Roller coaster
Brain joke
I am enough.

I could sooner interpret the Icelandic language than I could decipher this message written to myself. I have no idea what these four bullet points have to do with each other but I remember smiling to myself as I typed them in the middle of the night. “This is going to be one of my best posts yet,” I remember thinking. Guys, that 4:21AM Ashley couldn’t wait to wake up and put these short notes into a perfectly woven piece. Bless her heart.

Last time I had trouble writing a post it’s because I was filled to the brim with grief and sadness that I couldn’t put anything else down on paper. This recent four month drought is not due to sadness but joy. I am dwelling in all that I love about this life of mine. I’m so busy living it that I haven’t made writing a priority, and I miss that. These two great things have consumed the last five months of my life:

>> I own an adorable shop with my friend, Kate. We opened First and Vine in the front two rooms of her house in November and have already managed to move into a bigger space downtown. We are super excited to reopen in May. Sometimes I can’t believe it’s my job because it’s so much fun!

>> Patrick and I are having a baby! After a rough and hurtful season this Fall, we are overjoyed and thankful for a healthy pregnancy. I have been fairly sick since month two but each ultrasound looks just as it should.

This morning, while listening to an Easter sermon, I pieced this past year together in my mind. It’s said that the darkest hour is just before dawn. John 20 narrates that Mary Magdalene went to the tomb “while it was still dark” or “just before dawn” to find it empty. And then so suddenly it was Sunday. It was dawn. Jesus arose. He lives. He’s here and has been the entire time. In the depth of night, when we were unaware that dawn was headed our way, He knew it was coming.

Not only do I stand firmly planted in Friday and fail to see Sunday on the horizon, I fail to recognize Sunday when it gets here. I realized this morning that I dwell in the darkness of grief and fail to fully acknowledge when I’m pulled out of that and into good things: new adventures and new life. How often do I linger in valleys that I cannot see the mountain top I am actually on? How often do I repeatedly pray for something and fail to recognize God when that prayer is answered? And if it’s never answered, how do I allow that to shape my faith in who God is to me?

Know this truth: Even in the darkest hour, Jesus is there. Even when you don’t recognize him, when you think you’ve been abandoned, He’s there. And he’s there in the midst of joy even if you don’t see him there either.

Ashley Cooper

I strive to find joy in each ordinary day.

  • Jackie

    What a beautiful reminder Ashley. It’s so very true….but so hard to remember when we’re in pain. God is good all the time. Rejoining with you today…..and asking God to continue equipping me to live in this truth.

    April 16, 2017 at 4:25 pm Reply
  • Michelle dahl

    Thank you Ashley been going through a dark time in our lives right now and happen to run across this, another of Gods way of working in mysterious ways I believe. Really needed that on this glorious Easter Sunday!! Because he lives I can face tomorrow!! Again thank you and God bless you!!

    April 16, 2017 at 5:37 pm Reply
  • Katie

    Love this Ashley! I seriously just had the a similar thought about a prayer request I had. I had been dwelling on it so much I didn’t even realize that God had answered it already and will continue to. Silly me

    April 16, 2017 at 8:45 pm Reply
  • Vickie Conrad

    Thanks for sharing your heart Ashley. Your story encourages others that walk through dark times. It is true, we are never alone.

    April 16, 2017 at 10:28 pm Reply
  • Terri

    Lovely writing, Ashley. I’m glad the drought is over.

    April 27, 2017 at 10:53 am Reply

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