Birmingham author writes children’s book while fighting cancer

Cancer. A word that everyone fears and no one expects to happen to them. Hearing the word changes lives forever.

However, God can bring the good out of the worst – and Ashley Huffstutler’s story exemplifies His faithfulness. After tests revealed she had a brain tumor, and despite the chemo, radiation and language difficulties, 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. “When I started to recover from my first surgery and treatments, I never started with the intention of writing a book. I just wanted to put my words together so my daughters have something to read and know that God is always present.

“The further I got into the process, the more I questioned God whether I could even write this,” admitted Ashley.

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 The Church at Brook Hills in Birmingham and had no idea of ​​the twists and turns their lives would take.

In October 2017, David said, “If you had told me a year ago that I would be sitting in a semi-uncomfortable chair in a Neuro-ICU room at the UAB writing a blog at 12 a.m. after possibly one of the toughest days I’ve ever had, and it was the answer to that prayer… I’d honestly have doubts about actually praying that prayer.

‘The Lord Has Answered Our Prayer’

“The more I live this story, the more I see one thing clearly: The Lord has answered our prayer and has faithfully provided.

“He has put us on this journey for His reasons. He is sovereign, and as difficult as it may be, He truly offers an opportunity to make His name known.”

Ashley’s first symptom wasn’t so ominous: She lost vision in the right half of her right eye. Because she was pregnant with their second daughter, she was unable to undergo 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 bride, my love. She’s sick and I can’t help it,’ said David.

But their next step was to turn to Jesus.

“The real answer to keeping it together is knowing it doesn’t have to,” David wrote in the family’s blog. “Everything is broken and dies. Everyone is broken and dying. Every situation is broken and dying. There is absolutely nothing you or I can do of your own accord to prevent/stop/cure that brokenness and dying.

‘Put it down’

“Not to get all the Preachers on everyone (‘everything is meaningless’), but we literally have no hope of salvation in this world…except Jesus. The only call to my life is to put it down. The only call to your life is to put it down. That is the beauty of true Christianity.”

The next four years brought ups and downs for the Huffstutlers. Ashley has had multiple chemotherapy and radiation treatments, struggles with 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 seclusion,” Ashley recalled, I realized this isn’t about me. It’s not about COVID. It’s not about cancer. It’s about tasting. It’s about hardships. It is about getting to know God more intimately.

“I pray that God will continue to use these trials to grow my faith, increase my hope, and build my confidence. I have asked Him to teach me more about Who He is; that in everything we deal with, He would help me to seek Him in all circumstances.

“When I Hold You” ends with, “As our day turns to night, I stare into the dark, but stay with the Light.”

Obviously, the Huffstutlers gain strength from “staying in the light,” as evidenced by their loyalty.

“One of the most important truths that I keep telling myself has provided a certain something to hold on to…. . I’m sure many of you have heard it, but take a moment to read this. When 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 in the end all things are used by Him for His glory (Rom. 8:28 / Col. 1:16-18, 27).

“I really find that when I think that nothing is wasted by God and that through EVERYTHING (not a few 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 the Scriptures tell us, there is no circumstance that is beyond the sovereignty of God’s authority, and if it is not beyond His authority, it is used by Him for our good and for His glory.” David wrote.

“For all unknowns and all change, there is only one constant… Jesus.”

“When I Hold You,” a beautifully illustrated cardboard book with scripture woven into each image, is available at major retailers. Read about the Huffstutlers’ journey on their ‘Ever Singing for Joy’ blog at

EDITOR’S NOTE — This article was based on their blog; used with permission.

Comments are closed.