Have you ever been in a position where your life is going great and then all the sudden it turns upside down, unexpectedly, without warning, and you find yourself asking the question, “How did this even happen?” “Why is this happening to me?”

You always hear those stories of bad things happening to other people, but NEVER EVER think it will happen to you. I get it. That was me a few months ago.

I had just gotten married to the love of my life, David Hodges, and moved to Birmingham Alabama. I had never moved before, like ever. I lived in the same house my whole life. So, it was already an adjustment and very hard for me to move away from my family because my family is everything to me. We are all truly best friends. Only 4 short months into marriage, I found out my dad was having an affair.

“WHAT?!…” I could have sworn I was dreaming. “There’s no way this is true.” “No, like you don’t understand… I know that’s not true… my dad would NEVER do that.”

My family was always that welcoming home to all our friends. When my friends had difficult home lives or their parents were going through a divorce, or something bad was going on, my parents were always the ones taking them in, praying for them, and helping them. No matter how hard life got, my family and my parents were the one thing that never wavered. They were my safe place.

I was equally close to both my parents, but in different ways. My mom is my biggest encourager and best friend. My dad and I also had a special bond. We are like twins. Everyone always told me I was the girl vision of my dad. Not only did we look alike but our personalities are VERY similar as well. We had common interests and always bonded over athletics. I was my daddy’s girl. He calls me “Smash,” a nickname he gave me when I was a little girl. My dad was my hero, my spiritual leader (for 20 years until I got married), my best friend, my coach, my boss (I worked for him at his Chick-fil-A growing up), and the only man in my life that NEVER broke my trust growing up.

As you can imagine, I was completely heart broken. But it also brought a lot of problems in my marriage.  Imagine this – the father you trusted your life with for 20 years breaks your trust in the worst way possible. How the heck was I supposed to now trust David? A man I’ve only known for a little over a year.

Thankfully, David and I got great counseling, and I learned that he is not my dad and that David has never given me a reason not to trust him. But here’s the thing, my Dad’s choices didn’t just bring consequences into his life…. he brought very hard realities into all of our lives.

I will say this –  my mom, my siblings and I are praying for a miraculous intervention from the Lord. And my dad really seems to be pursuing Jesus and His healing now, which I am thankful for… but it will be a long road with no guarantees.

I know that there are some of you reading my story who have gone through or are currently going through life-shattering pain.  My heart breaks for you. I know what you’re facing every day. Some days, you feel like you’re going to die because the weight of the pain feels unbearable. That’s why I’m writing this post. I want to share how I am dealing with and surviving the pain in hopes that it helps you too.

I know your heart is so heavy, and it’s a constant fight just to keep it together, but I PROMISE you’re going to be okay. You’re so much stronger than you think you are. How am I so certain? Because if you weren’t going to be okay God would never allow you to go through this without His help.

When I am in such a low place that taking just one more step is impossible, all I can do is sit in silence. Sit in silence trusting and remembering that the same God that moves mountains and speaks stars into existence, is the same God that calls me his beloved daughter. He’s putting breath in my lungs and holding my hand every step of the way. I say these words in my head over and over again, “My God has never forgotten about me nor forsaken me, and I know he’s not going to start now.” “My God is so big, so strong and so mighty. There’s NOTHING my god cannot do for you.”

When we have no more strength, we must rely on God and His strength to handle it on our behalf – and he delights in this. Now, I don’t believe God brings pain and chaos in our world, but I do think He allows it for multiple reasons.

One of the reasons being to bring him glory and shame Satan back to Hell where he belongs.

In the book of Job from the Bible, it talks about how Satan was roaming the earth, looking for someone He could test to see if they would turn from God if bad things happened (Job 1-2). God asked Satan if He had considered (testing) Job. But wait, why would God suggest that Satan test Job – one of his faithful servants? Is it because God was mad at Job or wanted him to hurt? No, absolutely not.

God suggested Job because He trusted Job. He trusted Job to stay strong through whatever trial Satan might throw his way, knowing Job would never blame God or give up on Him. God gives his toughest battles to his strongest warriors. In a way, it’s an honor to be trusted with pain because it says a lot about what God sees in you and what He wants to bring out of you. I have to remind myself that suffering is not an obstacle to be used by God, it’s an opportunity to be used by God like never before.

Where there is impossible pain, God always offers incredible power.

Where there is impossible pain, God always offers incredible power. But we must stay close to Him and trust Him. I’ve always heard about the super natural strength God gives people, but I have never experienced it like I am now. Maybe it’s because I never got to a point in my life where the pain was too much. Too much to handle on my own, so I just handled it on my own rather than tapping into the incredible strength God had for me.

I get it now. I now know how powerful this kind of “God strength” is. It’s in me and working through me. And it’s a gift I would not trade.

So, am I okay? No, not really. But I will be! I have a God who has given me so much supernatural strength and peace, it would blow your mind. No, I don’t like this storm that I am navigating and no, I don’t like what has happened to my siblings, my mom and I. But I know Jesus is with us and that brings me so much peace.

I know we are not alone and God is in control. This helps take the burden off trying to figure out how fix this on my own. Instead of trying to figure it all out, I am committed to fixing my eyes on the One who cares and loves me unconditionally.

“So, we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things, we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever,” 2 Corinthians 4:18.

Here are the three things I must do every day to fix my eyes on the Lord:

1. Get in His word.

God will speak to us so tenderly, powerfully and perfectly through His written word. I especially love the book of Psalms in this season.

2. Worship often.

Turn on your favorite praise music (really loud) and get lost in praising God for who He is and who you are because of Him. I am determined to walk through this trial with praises, mixed with my tears, so that others can experience Jesus through me. My tears will turn into a victory for the cause of Christ.

(Here is a link to the playlist my sister, Hope Houser, made for us to listen to in this season.)

3. Look beyond.

Look beyond your pain, current circumstances and what you’re feeling right now. Find comfort in God’s truths, knowing that He uses all things for good – that there’s a purpose for your pain. In adversity, you have the opportunity to shine Christ’s light brighter and louder than ever before. The darker it gets, the brighter His light shines. The more impossible it gets, the more it becomes evident that the only answer is Jesus.

If you are going through a hard time, this is my prayer for you: I pray God gives you grace to suffer well. I pray He surrounds you with a community of love and support. I pray he gives you strength to do more than “just make it” through this season, but to shine so bright through it. I pray God increases your influence like never before. I pray that He daily gives you the faith to not stare at what’s in front of you, but to see what God sees. His view goes beyond the temporary. His view is eternal.

“I’ll be with you. I won’t give up on you; I won’t leave you. Strength! Courage! You are going to lead this people to inherit the land that I promised to give their ancestors. Give it everything you have, heart and soul…Then you’ll get where you’re going; then you’ll succeed. Haven’t I commanded you? Strength! Courage! Don’t be timid; don’t get discouraged. God, your God, is with you every step you take.” Joshua 1:5-9

God loves you and so do I.

Ashley Hodges

Live Original

Author Live Original

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Join the discussion 34 Comments

  • Tyler Reason says:

    ?

  • Anna McBride says:

    ??? SO GOOD and So relevant! Thank you so much for being so vulnerable, and sharing your heart Ashley!

  • Olivia Wilbanks says:

    Beautiful piece!!! Thank you for sharing your heart even in the hardest time for you. God has great plans in store for you and your family, and I pray you stay strong and continue to thank and worship God. God bless you!!! Praying constantly.

  • Monique Driscoll says:

    Wow. Thank you. I’ll be reading this to my 3 kids tonight. Very similar situation. You have a gift to not just write but communicate Gods activity . Please keep believing for your miracle. Gods timing

  • Vintage Events says:

    This is very sad that this had to happen. I have realized if your serious with God bad things may happen but victory results. I was seeking the Lord during a marriage fast that I thought was going to be a short fast but 40 days past. Overall 5 months past and God was faithful to restore. The storm that was intended to destroy my family revealed my true identity in Christ, victory and an open heaven. Ashley u and ur family are righteous and victorious. The valley that satan wants you to stay in is intended to destroy your family. But this valley leads to a Mt. The Father wants you to know you are at the Mt. of the Most High. This is a Mt. of victory. Rest in his love. The storm that was intended to destroy you will now crush satan under your feet. Blessings to you, thanks for sharing.

  • Carol Miller says:

    Just started your moms Finding I AM study. Our group I s praying for you all. We live in Trussville…..go to 1st Bapt

  • Emily Schielke says:

    This is extremely encouraging. My husband of 18 yrs has been abusing meth for a lil over a year now. Last wk he was arrested for behaviors associated with this destructive drug. We share two boys, ages 16 and 10. We’ve endured hell within our home for over a year. For a short while things began to get better and I felt God was truly intervening, but God had other plans. I don’t know what the future holds, but as you said, God is with us through all the pain and has a plan and has entrusted me with this pain for a reason. I am hopeful my husband will be made to get the professional help that he needs through the court and I know I am beyond capable of taking care of my boys. They’re such good and strong – resilient young men that God has given me to help me and help navigate me through this time in my life. Thank you again for sharing your story and your encouragement as well ♡♡♡

    • Rachael S says:

      Just my two cents, make sure your boys really KNOW that who your husband is right now says nothing about who they are going to grow up to be.

  • Rachael S says:

    Ashley, I’ve definitely been thinking about your family and been praying for you guys. This was wonderfully written and I admire the strength and wisdom you show here. You’ve definitely given me a lot to think about. <3

  • Amber Biggins says:

    This was a great word to me in this season. I’ve been struggling to keep my eyes on Jesus instead of the problems that are staring me down. You definitely reminded me and brought me some comfort. Thank you!

  • Ana Garcia says:

    I’ve been stuck between storms that get worse and worse, but with your words I know God placed me there because he knows I can handle it and I have faith in him. My life was good before with little storms; but I let my life fall apart. I was watching my life from the background, as everything crumbled my relationship of five years. The love I had for my family and the love I had for myself. I lost myself respect and other didn’t respect me either. It was as if I was stuck underwater everything was blurry, and when the tide sends me deeper into the ocean or pushing me father and father away. It tries pushing me away from God to do risky behavior I would never do, and yes I did fall for it. But then something beautiful happened I felt something pull me towards the surface and it was God telling me I’m strong enough and that He was with me the whole way. And sometimes when I feel myself sink into the water I know that God is by my side. Things aren’t perfect nor will they ever be I’m learning to love myself, get close to people again, and get closer to God.

  • Tara T says:

    So this is blowing my mind right now. I was on YouTube tonight and came across your wedding video…I was alone in my bedroom crying my eyes out because I just found out that my dad has started another affair. (We are Christians and have already been through the process of forgiving him for previous affairs)

    I was crying because I have decided that he will not walk me down the aisle when I get married someday. As I was watching all these wedding videos, I was just literally mourning the future things I knew I would miss out on because of my father’s actions.

    I was thinking how sad it was. That all of these girls have beautiful wedding videos with their dads saying sweet things about their little girls and that I would never have that. I’m coming to terms with it, but I just wanted to tell you to give yourself time. Give yourself time to grieve. Jesus will comfort your heart.

    I don’t know you, but I feel your pain. And I know our Father in heaven can ease our hurts if we allow Him to.

  • Hailey Mahadeen says:

    This is such an amazing message!! God is so good!❤️

  • Nancy Silvers says:

    Ashley, This is so full of God’s hope and comfort. I have been on the Proverbs 31 OBS Team and also attended She Speaks when the #First5 app was launched and listened to your mom, as she shared about your transformation by spending time with Jesus each morning and how it inspired her to develop the First5 app. God knew you would need him and a deep relationship with Him at this time. How awesome is that? Praying for you, your mom, dad and siblings and their children during this time. At times like this I lean on Matt 19:26 "and Jesus said,’With man this is impossible but with God ALL things are possible.’ As long as your dad has breath the impossible can be possible in his life, with God’s power, and your mom’s heart.

  • Amanda Fortner says:

    Thank you❤️

  • Carol Evans says:

    Dear Ashley,
    Thank you so much for sharing from your heart. I know you are an encouragement to many. As I read your comments, one thing stuck in my head that I would have phrased differently. God didn’t trust Job, God knew that Job trusted God implicitly. God had given Job the faith that worked in his life. To me, that makes the story of Job even more beautiful as God illustrates how He holds and sustains us through everything. We serve a great God!

  • Grace Pindi says:

    Thank you so much for this message. It truely means a lot to me especially at this moment in time where my family and I are going through a tough season. It has given me courage and faith that we will be okay, even if we don’t feel okay right now. God bless you❤️

  • Haley Byrd says:

    This really hit home for me. God is definitely influencing you to speak to others about pain and how His glory and grace can give them the strength and courage they need. I am 21, lost my best friend last year followed by my grandmother three months later. This past February I found out one of my other best friends was starting her battle with breast cancer. All this happening while I am still dealing with my own medical issues. All I can say is thank you. Thank you for this inspiring message.

  • Meredith Ehler says:

    Beautiful! Thank you for sharing this. Your mom has influenced me greatly, in life-changing ways, and I love that you are now doing the same thing. I will be sharing this with my entire family as well as others. God bless you and your family! Meredith Ehler

  • Joy Brown says:

    God’s timing is incredible! My time in God’s Word took me to Job early this morning, as well as to 1 Corinthians 15. I can’t believe how amazingly God has woven the message from both into your writing. It has always caused me to pause that God would mention Job to Satan. I love how you have expressed that God knew Job would remain faithful. It’s exactly what 1 Cor 15 was commanding and encouraging…to "stand firm". I don’t know if your sister’s playlist includes this song, but I just heard it for the first time today, so I’m sharing it with you: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8OpUlIXDgGk

    Ashley, I love you, I love your precious family, especially your dear momma. She has ministered to me personally time and again over the past – more than 10 years. I often listen to the "Crazy Little Thing Called Love" marriage teachings that your mom and dad recorded together. I am praying for your family. That teaching they shared is still true…and I will still listen…and I will pray.

    Hugging you all,
    Joy

  • Wendy Rye says:

    It is so courageous of you to share this. Thank you for sharing your hardship in order to help others. You may never know the purpose of this pain in your family but through this you are ministering to others. You could have put on a brave face and privately dealt with this pain but instead you opened yourself up and made yourself vulnerable, all so you could share the awesome power of God working in your life. Thank you.

  • Shelby Spear says:

    Your words will heal and inspire many, Ashley. My husband and I have "both" been in your shoes with respective parents. And walking around in such heavy boots can take a toll if we focus on the difficulty of the path rather than the lightness of Jesus’ yoke. Prayers for you and everyone struggling with such a journey. God prevails…always. Thank you for your authenticity and courage.

  • Lisa G says:

    Thank you for this encouragement! Having been on both sides of an affair in my marriage I have come to realize that we are both sinners who serve a glorious God. We must make our marriages Christ-centered and not spouse-centered or we will be perpetually disappointed.

    "Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne."
    Hebrews 12:1‭-‬2 NLT

  • Natalie Bryan says:

    Im so sharing this with my girls. What perfect timing. I have been walking the same road as your mother for about the same time. Very simular circumstances. And to hear from the daughter helps me see just a little bit of what they have to walk out. They love their daddy and yet still feel very hurt. Lots of attention has gone into our marriage, as it should, but it is time for my girls to be able to really deal and heal. My oldest actually discovered the affair, but it was explained away at the time. She is so hurt and feels bad for feeling hurt.
    I pray for your family often!

  • Danielle Wingate says:

    So great and thank you for being honest, courageous and vulnerable to share. I absolutely love & admire your perspective on being trusted with pain.

    I’m so sorry you guys are all walking through this. Standing with you in prayer, why Satan has meant for evil, let God use for good and His glory!
    -Danielle, CatalystWomen.info

  • Suliana Manuofetoa says:

    Wow Ashley this is amazing! Thankyou for pouring your heart& spirit out to bless your sisters in Christ who are suffering in pain& trials&tribulations. Reading your blog made me ball my eyes out because it reminded me of my pain that I’ve tried to bury right beneath my heart& forget about it. I suppressed my pain because I thought it’s better to forget the past and move on, look forward to a better future but I guess your post has made me realise that I need to talk& let it out. God is my father, my strength& refuge during these times & I never complained because I know that just like Job my suffering is temporary, this life is temporary & I look forward to my life in eternity because these trials are a blessing in disguise. God has greater plans for me. However, I’m lacking support from family,friends& church because I don’t tell my story. Thanks for making me recognise not only do I need God but I also need a close support system. You are a blessing! Praying God continues to bless you& your family, praying for healing, forgiveness & love. May your faith filled life continue to flourish & may your love touch everyone you meet❤️ James 1:2-3??

  • Sandy Cike says:

    You are wise beyond your years. My family went through a similar situation with my parents divorcing 27 years ago. I was 26 at the time. It took me 20+ years to realize I didn’t trust my husband, even though he never gave me any reason not to trust him. But because I was "protecting my heart" against potential hurt, I wasn’t able to give his all of me. I also thought that if I just prayed hard enough my dad would see the errors of his ways and come back to the Lord. But that still hasn’t happened. The Lord showed me that it is not my burden to save him. He has to make his own decisions and it’s not my fault if my prayers aren’t answered the way I think they should be answered. Satan wants to steal, kill, and destroy our families but Jesus has come that we might have abundant lives!

  • Jennifer Hopkins says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this and I feel your pain. About 13 years ago I became aware of my mom having an affair with someone 5 years older then me, so like half her age. At the same time she started to emotionally abuse me (which wasn’t really clear to me until about 3 years ago when the abuse became unbearable and had me in a very dark place) until the affair started she was my best friend. I always felt I could count on her, she always would build me up then in a blink it was all gone. Instead of being my mother she became a monster. I was her DD at age 16-17, I became like a girlfriend to her and she’d share things with me that daughter shouldn’t know about at that age. Then when I found my savior(my husband) and I was finally being happy again she started to get more abusive. When we had our daughter 3 years ago she tore me down to absolutely nothing. Unfortunately I haven’t spoken to her in 3 years, my daughter will probably never met her again and my son will never get to spend time with her again because she is a very negative and hateful person. With all that on my plate I had a really hard time being the mom and wife I wanted to be. I even had my husband tell me once about 18 months ago " I just want to see that smile again that I haven’t seen in months, I want my wife back" That was a huge slap in the face. It told me I was letting her still control me and letting what happen take over, which isn’t how it should’ve been. I started searching for ways to heal from it all and thankfully I can say that I’ve found ways to work through all the damage on my own with help from friends and family listening but also turning to the bible. I feel like God led me to a website called Luke 143 ministries that focuses on healing from emotionally abusive parents. Its taken awhile but it’s done wonders for me. I’ve found so much healing with in the bible and it’s helped me get over the guilt of cutting her out of my life. There’s so many passages that helped me realize that I can forgive her but that doesn’t mean she needs to be back in my life. If it wasn’t for my faith, my family and my rock(my husband) I don’t think I would’ve been able to heal and become the person I am now. From all of this I’ve become stronger and a fighter. You’ll get through this girly, just like I got through it all. It’ll take time but eventually you’ll be able to look at that pain and see that it turned into strength and wisdom. May God bless you and be with you through this hard time.

  • Kim Adkins says:

    Thank you sharing your journey through painful time. We all are in different seasons of life. My first born son just went to college so l am adjusting to new normal. Blessings for my son through my tears of loss. What mixture of happiness for him but sadness for me. Enjoy the times when he comes home and seems so happy and confident. God has blessed me so abundantly.

  • Jane Doe says:

    I’m so grateful for you mom’s book uninvited and her truthfulness. I found out my Christian husband has been in an affair and loves another this year. I know your pain, shattering me and our three young children. They are still in school and so impressionable. I know denial, anger, and nearly life ending grief, but have held on to God’s promises of Grace, hope and love with the help of good counsel and friends. We are in a daily battle and are encouraged by Christ and those around us. Continue to pray for all affected by this nearly impossible pain and the long road ahead.

  • Lola C says:

    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you for this post! I can relate to much of your feelings! Praying for you and loved ones.

  • Alexis Gartman says:

    Ashley, thank you for putting your painful story out there. This happened to me as a child at the age of 10. My dad took me to his girlfriends house to eat with her daughter. For nearly a decade I held that secret in from my siblings and my mom because I didn’t want them to divorce. Finally they divorced when I was a senior in high school. I guess God knows I’m really strong. I love your momma, Lysa. I pray for her often! God is amazing and I thank God I have Jesus as my light and I’m living in freedom everyday, thanks to my Highlands family. I will continue to pray for your journey of restoration, healing & congrats on your new blessing! Alexis

  • Brooke Martinez says:

    Thank you for sharing your story. I started praying for you and your siblings when I read your mom’s letter last June. My heart broke for you as I have been in the same situation. I learned about my dad’s affairs 12 years ago. It’s sad that we also experience consequences from our parent’s poor decisions.

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