Sand Castles of Strength

1 Corinthians 1:27 But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;

(This is an excerpt from our book, “Finding Grace and Peace, IN SPITE OF, Trails and Tragedy, The Johnny Ashley Story” Living In Spite Of )

When Johnny was eight years old we took a trip to visit my mom in Florida once again. Only this time we had to travel via North Carolina to pick up our other sons from camp. After retrieving them we continued south and spent the night in St. Augustine in north Florida on the Atlantic coast. It is a very beautiful city and we enjoyed our time there. We spent as much time as we could on the beach before traveling on to see Mom.

While on the beach Johnny decided he wanted to build a sand castle. I was in the ocean with Bob and Jason, mom was relaxing on a blanket we had brought. I was watching Johnny from the distance as he struggled to take a bucket and carefully walk across the sand to an area of the beach that he could get some wet sand, maybe twenty yards from the blanket. This may sound like an easy task to most, but for Johnny it was a very hard trek.

The reason being Johnny didn’t walk till he was almost five years old and most of the time he wore leg braces to support him. Now, on the beach, he was without the braces and on the uneven sands and without anything to hold on to made the journey precarious.

With bucket in hand and both arms out for balance, Johnny headed off to build his castle. When he arrived at the place where he would make his new creation, he realized that he had forgotten the plastic shovel he would need to dig in the sand. As I watched from the water I could see the wheels spinning in his head, ”Do I go back to get the shovel? Do I try to get Mom’s attention? Or do I just make due with what I have? After all the walk will be hard to navigate there and back again.”

I watched and tears filled my eyes as he dropped the bucket and headed back to the blanket. Each step was taken with caution, but with great determination. (To the blanket and back to the construction site.) The short walk for us that are healthy, was a monumental task for him. However, he made the trip without complaining or asking for any help. Finally having everything he needed for building his castle he got to work, satisfied in his quiet world, just him, the bucket, and the shovel.

This may not sound like much of an inspirational story to most, but for me it was a huge moment. At that moment in my life I decided that as best I could I would not allow myself to ever give up! No matter how hard life would get, I would remember that moment and allow it to be my motivation when things got tough. I was the only witness to what happened that day on the beach and I believe it was meant just for my eyes. I am so grateful that I was witness to the strength of a king going to build his castle.

Let’s go out and build some castles today!

One thought on “Sand Castles of Strength

  • March 21, 2019 at 3:04 pm

    Mr. Ashley, Just wanted you to know your words are so inspirational. I enjoy reading your e-mails. Thanks for blessing my life. God is at work. I love the book and have shared it with others.

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