“I am continually wanting to grow closer to God in any way that I can because I’ve seen the strength that He’s given me that I know is not my own.” – Ashley Jones
In June 2016, at the age of 14, only 3 months after suddenly losing her father, Ashley Jones faced another life-changing event. While enjoying an ATV ride in the mountains of Colorado, the vehicle she was on flipped, landing on her right arm and pinning her to the ground. Ashley’s older brother was miraculously able to lift the ATV and free her arm and then Ashley had to walk half a mile to where help could reach her. After an ambulance ride and an airlift to Denver the decision was made that her right arm was too badly damaged to save and amputation 6 inches below the shoulder would be necessary. God had saved Ashley’s life, but she now faced losing a limb.
Ashley recounts what it was like when she woke up in he hospital at 2am and saw for the first time that her arm was gone. “I remember it feeling like a dream.” Ashley recalls. “I looked at my mom and said ‘Mom, what do I do? Where do I go from here?’ and my mom just looked at me and said ‘Ashley, we’re going to get through this. It’s going to be OK.’”
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11
While she was recovering in the hospital, I was able to connect with Ashley via Skype, encourage her and invite her to the Beautifully Flawed Retreat. Friends and family helped raise money for Ashley’s family to go to Kauai for the retreat (how cool is that!?), and only 4 months after losing her arm, Ashley attended Beautifully Flawed where she was supported and encouraged by other women with limb loss – and she got to surf!
At that first retreat, we wanted Ashley to know that she was not alone, and we were able to come around her and help her in building new skills for her new life (like putting up her hair, tying her shoes, and cutting her food). Beyond the small but important tasks of daily life we also encouraged Ashley to consider and embrace what God had in store for her. Ashley has attended the Beautifully Flawed Retreat each year since losing her arm and now she is supporting and encouraging other women (and people everywhere!) with her story, vibrant spirit, and strong faith.
“I’m going to give God my best and He’s given me His as well… that’s what’s been really miraculous and fun. God has shown me a lot of grace and then I’ve been able to give grace to other people as well. I’ve found forgiveness in my situation and that has been an amazing part of my story.”
Ashley has always had a competitive drive and soon after losing her arm she made goals for returning to the activities she loved. She got back out on the soccer field and then doors opened up to the new worlds of track and field, cross country, and competitive triathlons. Over the past couple years Ashley has been part of a state champion 4×800 relay team that competed in Nationals this November, and she also placed 2nd in her division at the 2019 USA Paratriathlon National Championships. Incredible!
“Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us…” Ephesians 3:20
Ashley recently shared her story at the Friends of Bethany Shine Forth event in San Diego. Her words of encouragement ring true for anyone facing any sort of challenge…
“It’s scary not knowing what tomorrow will bring. If you’ve been through something hard you might not know how to take that first steps in your recovery process or in finding a new hope or a new tomorrow. If you are willing to take the first step, which can be intimidating, you have no idea what tomorrow will bring or the joy that tomorrow can hold.
Don’t let your limits limit you from what you think you are capable of doing”
– Ashley Jones
“I’d also like to say, don’t let your limits limit you from what you think you are capable of doing. I think we all put limits on ourselves and if I had put a limit on myself thinking that my arm was going to hold me back from ever achieving anything that I’ve done athletically or otherwise, I think I wouldn’t be here today, and I wouldn’t have found the joy in my life that I have because I have trusted in the Lord and trained hard to be where I am. I think if you are willing to trust Him and you are also willing to not limit yourself you will realize you are capable of more than you ever thought you could be.”
Ashley is currently a Senior in high school looking forward to graduating this Spring and recently accepted a track scholarship to High Point University in North Carolina for the Fall. Congrats, Ashley!
Like Ashley, you can be Unstoppable when you refuse to limit yourself, take the grace you’ve received and show it to others, and TRUST that God can do more than you ask or imagine if you let Him.
Check out my Unstoppable Year course where we deliver you personal growth curriculum covering the most important topics to living joy-filled, beautiful lives, no matter your challenges or circumstances…like Ashley!