Birmingham author writes children’s book while battling cancer
Cancer. A word everyone fears and no one expects to happen to them. Hearing the word changes lives forever.
However, God can get good out of the worst times – and Ashley Huffstutler’s story is an example of his faithfulness. After tests concluded she had a brain tumor, and despite struggling with chemo, radiation, and language, Ashley said she felt God was calling her to write a children’s book. “When I Hold You” was released in April.
“I wrote this out of obedience to Christ,” Ashley said. “As I started to recover from my surgery and initial treatments, I never intended to write a book. I just wanted to put my words together so my daughters would have something to read and know that God is always present.
“The further I got through the process, the more I asked God if I could even write this,” Ashley admitted.
Always wanting to be used for him, in 2016 the Huffstutlers prayed that God would give them opportunities to share his faithfulness. They were active at Brook Hills Church in Birmingham and had no idea what twists and turns their lives would take.
In October 2017 David said: “Now if you had told me a year ago that I would be sitting in a semi-uncomfortable chair in a Neuro-ICU room at UAB writing a blog at midnight after quite possibly one of the most difficult days I have ever faced, and that was the answer to that prayer… Honestly, I would have my doubts whether it would be possible to pray this prayer.
‘The Lord has heard our prayer’
“However, the more I live this story, the more clearly I see one thing: the Lord has heard our prayer and has faithfully provided.
“He set us on this journey for his reasons. He is sovereign, and as difficult as it may be, he does offer an opportunity to get his name known. “
Ashley’s first symptom wasn’t that worrying: she lost her sight in the right half of her right eye. Since she was pregnant with their second daughter, she could not take a test to definitively diagnose the problem.
They gave birth to their daughter early and Ashley was tested again. The diagnosis: a low-grade glioma… a brain tumor… Cancer.
Their first reaction was to cry.
“This is my wife we’re talking about. My best friend, my fiancee, my love. She’s sick and I can’t fix her, ”David said.
But their next step was to turn to Jesus.
“The real answer to staying together is knowing you don’t have to,” David wrote in the family blog. “Everything is broken and dying. Everyone is broken and dying. Every situation is shattered and dying. There is absolutely nothing that you or I can do on our own to prevent / stop / heal this breaking and death.
‘He lay down’
“Not to put all of Ecclesiastes on everyone (‘not everything makes sense’), but we literally have no hope of being saved in this world… apart from Jesus. The only call in my life is to let it go. The only call of your life is to let it go. That’s the beauty of true Christianity.
The next four years brought ups and downs for the Huffstutlers. Ashley has undergone multiple cycles of chemotherapy and radiation therapy, faces seizures, and has difficulty with communication, memory, stability, and weight loss. She even contracted COVID-19 in February.
“But the more time I spent in isolation,” Ashley recalls, “I realized it wasn’t about me. It’s not about COVID. It’s not about cancer. It’s not about cancer. “It is about trials. It is about difficulties. It is about knowing God more intimately.”
“I pray that God will continue to use these trials to increase my faith, to increase my hope, and to strengthen my confidence. I asked him to teach me more about who he is; that in all that we have to do, that He would help me to seek Him in all circumstances.
“When I Hold You” ends with: “When our day fades into the night, I look at the darkness but I linger on the light. “
It is evident that the Huffstutlers gain strength by “abiding in the Light,” as evidenced by their loyalty.
“One of the main truths that I continue to tell has provided a sure foundation…. . I’m sure many of you have heard it, but take a minute and read this. Once you’re done, take a deep breath and read it again, ”David wrote in the blog.
One constant: Jesus
“God works all things together for our good for those who love Jesus, and ultimately all things are used by him for his glory (Rom. 8:28 / Col. 1: 16-18, 27).
“I truly find that remembering that nothing is wasted by God and that through EVERYTHING (not some things, not some things, but ALL things) God is working for the good of those who love Jesus and for his ultimate glory. . If we truly believe what Scripture tells us, there is not a single circumstance that takes place outside of the sovereignty of God’s authority, and if it is not outside of His authority, there is is used by him for our good and for his glory, ”David wrote.
“For all the unknowns and all the changes, there is only one constant… Jesus.”
“When I Hold You,” a beautifully illustrated hardback book with scriptures interwoven in each image, is available at major retailers. Check out the Huffstutlers’ journey on their blog, “Ever Singing for Joy,” at https://www.blogger.com/profile/07096570516933963113.
EDITOR’S NOTE – This article was based on their blog; used with permission.