My name is Lori Ronald and I live in Southern Alberta with my twelve-year-old daughter Ashley. My life changed dramatically when I learned she had a disease called Progeria. Another life changing event occurred 2 years ago when Jesus Christ saved me from sin and began a personal loving relationship with me.
As I look back, I can see the work of a caring God protecting me, and finally bringing me to a place where I could hear what He had to say. I think back to a time when I was 12 years old. I fell through the ice and was trapped underneath until a friend managed to reach in the hole, grab my hair and pull me to safety.
I had lived my life ‘my’ way and I was good at defying rules and responsibility. I dropped out of school, ran away from home, stole and lied. I drank and did drugs.
When I was 17, I became pregnant. During my pregnancy, I temporarily stopped using alcohol and drugs. Nine months later, a precious gift was given to me. Her name, Ashley Brooke. Being a mother motivated me to slightly alter the path I was on, although I was still depending on all the wrong things to numb the pain and regret from my earlier choices. And I still felt alone.
At 9 months of age Ashley was diagnosed with Progeria. My world came crashing down when I saw a picture of a 13-year-old with this disease. I didn’t know what to say, do or think – except that I loved my daughter very much. I also felt that somehow we would be okay. As she grew, she had such strength and wisdom, such love and spirit. She became my rock, my reason for living.
The next ten years, I relied heavily on the party scene to help me cope. I became an aspiring Kickboxer, owned a Ninja motorcycle, rode a Harley. However, I still felt as if I wasn’t getting the whole picture. Life still felt meaningless and empty.
In late December 2001, I came to a point where I couldn’t continue my life the way I was – not one more second. I knew I was alone and that I had made many mistakes as a person and as a parent. I fell to my knees and cried and cried. The words, “Forgive me, for I have sinned.” came out over and over. I didn’t know or care then, why or to who I was crying out. I had hit my ‘rock bottom’. I didn’t realize and understand then, but God was listening to me. In the next few days, I began to make some changes. I found a little red Bible in Ashley’s room and began to read it, and it started to ease the emptiness I felt inside. I began to have a new perspective and appreciation for life. I also turned away from everything from my past life, since I knew it was harmful to me. However, despite all these changes I was still feeling guilty, alone and full of sadness.
Then I heard about Jesus Christ. The Lord brought me to a place where two men were teaching from the Bible. I heard clearly about God’s Son, Jesus, and how He came to this earth to save sinners by dying on the cross. They taught that his death had been for me and that He had miraculously risen from the dead to enable me to live a new kind of life – the abundant kind. Jesus said, ”I have come that you might have life and have it more abundantly.” John 10:10 It was after three days of hearing this message that I accepted God’s gift of forgiveness. I will never forget that moment, when I understood that God was real and wanted me to know Him. I was saved – saved by God’s grace and rescued from an eternity in hell. What a relief!! How great it was to no longer be held down by my sins. I was free!! And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:32
Now, the Bible tells me that I am seated in Christ. I am still here physically, but my home is in Heaven. Praise God!! Let me tell you what I’ve found. I’ve found freedom from the fear of death, from satan and from the weight of my sin. I’ve found Someone to count on. In reading the Word of God, I have peace, joy, satisfaction and hope. I have everlasting life, all because of Christ! I’ve learned since then that Ashley is not my rock. Jesus Christ is my Rock and because of Him, Ashley and I now stand on that Rock together. We’ll be safe there forever.
Just over a year after the Lord saved me, I met my husband, Jay. Jay was a funeral director who was working in Taber, Alberta. When he moved to Taber from Saskatchewan he attended services at the Good News Center.
One evening Ashley told me that she really liked Jay. I responded, “Me too!” and then “Oops, don’t tell anybody!” Ashley told me she wouldn’t say anything but she never said she wouldn’t write it on the frosted window of Jay’s car! The secret was out! The more we began to know each other the more we wanted to spend time together. Through a lot of prayer and consideration we both knew this was what God wanted for us. Jay proposed to me and we were married on April 18, 2003.
The three of us are very thankful to the Lord for His constant working in our lives and for how God has blessed us so richly. We now happily await the birth of our first child due in July 2004. Ashley is very excited about becoming a big sister!
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but has everlasting life.” John 3:16.
“Now unto Him that is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all we ask or think according to the power that works in us.” Ephesians 3:20