Friday, December 31, 2010
Ephesians 5:15-17: "Be very careful, then, how you live - not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord's will is."
John Fischer says: "God has called me to live now. He wants me to realize my full potential as a man right now, to be thankful about where I am, and to enjoy it to the fullest. I have a strange feeling that the single person who is always wishing he were married will probably get married, discover all that is involved, and wish he were single again! He will ask himself, 'Why didn't I use that time for the Lord when I didn't have so many other obligations? Why didn't I give myself totally to Him when I was single?"
Ladies, why sit home in your lonesome, sad selves and wait for Mr. Right to call? Can't you see that God wants to use you in this pivotal moment of your life? Stop wasting your time and do what God is calling you to do! We are so busy being pitiful and feeling sorry for ourselves - then hoping a guy will notice it and love us for our pain! Stupid! We are better than that!
I think of that episode of the Gilmore Girls where Rory is sitting home alone on a Saturday night, waiting for Jess to call - who claims "now that I have you, I don't have to go to stuff with you. I already won your heart." BOZO! Rory is sitting on the couch of her living room when her mother calls and asks her why in the world she is home on a Saturday night. Then goes on commanding her to get off the couch, get away from the phone and go out and do something. Rory then realizes she shouldn't base her life around a guy, exclaims a hearty "Thanks mom!" then slams the phone down and gets up to find her friend, Lane.
I absolutely love this scene, because it shows that girls don't need a guy to define them.
When we look at Ruth in the Bible, she has just been widowed and what does she do? Doesn't feel sorry for herself - instead she goes with her mother-in-law, and serves her. She lets God use her for good. If Ruth just sat around and felt bad for herself-hoping some other prince charming came by to see her in distress, how would she truly benefit from that? Sure she picked up a guy, but for her weakness...? C'mon, ladies...you are far better than that. Be strong! Learn from trials and pick yourselves up. Stop pining.
When are we going to learn that guys don't satisfy? "Life is satisfying only when you diligently serve the Lord, whatever your circumstances." If you are living a life of sadness and pity, then find a guy- it won't be happily ever after, like the movies. It might be happy for the first few days or even weeks, but you'll start putting expectations on your husband that only God can supply. Not fair to God or your husband. Why do you think there is so much divorce?
Figure out who you are as a woman of God BEFORE putting another person in your life. This is a big "DUH". You can't be defined by someone else...it will end horribly.
Richard Foster states: "If all of our serving is before others, we will be shallow people indeed." Pin It
Tuesday, December 28, 2010
The first chapter is about "Being a Lady of Reckless Abandonment". Kendall and Jones tell us how in Jesus' time a lady would receive an alabaster box full of precious ointments from her family. The day a man would come and ask her for her hand in marriage, she would accept by smashing her alabaster box for him to show her honor.
It takes a young woman to smash her alabaster box for Jesus in order to give up her dreams and fantasies about guys for what Jesus can bring to her.
We need to realize as women, that NO ONE will ever give us the satisfaction that God can, not even the man we'll marry someday. When we decide to recklessly abandon everything we want, and give it over to the plans of what Jesus wants for us, the adventure is just as, if not more exciting.
Imagine if girls were to put all the time and energy they would into a boyfriend into their walks with God? First of all, we'd be a lot happier now, and a lot happier in the end, because that is when we start to realize we will never get the same happiness from a guy that only God can provide. In the long run, when we're married and with a husband, the relationship is more likely to be successful, because we know that we can't expect our guys to give us that satisfaction. It's not fair to them or God.
So be a lady of reckless abandonment. Screw what the American culture says about finding a man, or jumping from guy to guy until you can tolerate one. Instead, give God a try. He knows the desires of your heart and He knows what you need now and later. Give up your fantasies to Him, your dreams to Him and your relationships to Him. See what adventures he can take you on. You won't regret it. Pin It
Friday, December 24, 2010
It was just another yearly cardiologist appointment when I learned that my dreams just might not come true. I had been on many trips as my rising passion was for traveling and missions. Virginia, Kentucky, Washington DC, and most recently to Jamaica, where I truly fell in love with other cultures. Scoping out my next destination, I began looking at Covenant Bible College in Ecuador. How amazing would it be to learn about missions in a place like that? I began making plans for it and even applied. I talked to friends who had been to school there, and they encouraged me to go, knowing I would take a lot from my experiences there.
Literally four months later, I sat in the doctor's office, listening to the blunt truth from my cardiologist. Traveling to 3rd world countries wasn't the greatest of ideas for a person with my condition. He also went into many other straight-forward analysis about my future, such as not being able to have kids or living past 40. At 20 years old, I felt like my life was over. How could I live a life without living out my passion for 3rd world missions and cultures, let alone not being able to provide a family later? I spent the next weeks in depression, not able to fathom what was next for me.
Later that summer, the Dominican team had returned from one of their trips, and shared with the congregation. They showed pictures of their working and of the people they shared with there. I sat next to one of the people who went on that trip, Gene McClellan, and he leaned over and said "Ashley, you would do amazing on one of those trips." I wasn't only stunned by his words, but something had been set aflame within me again. I couldn't even explain it. Gene had no clue what my doctor had told me. No one but I had.
I decided to write my name on the list for the next trip, allowing God to do what He wanted with it.
Before I knew it, I was on a plane to the Dominican with 25 other people from our church, not knowing what to expect. God had provided the money for my trip, and I really didn't understand how it had all come together, but it had. I would have been in Ecuador at this time, but instead God had some other plans for me.
Upon the conclusion of our trip, I realized that I was more than capable to do missions work here, because God endorsed it.
Now my passion for the community of Los Alcarrizos is strong, and God continues to use me there. I found out a month after our trip that CBC, the school in Ecuador that I was looking at attending, had shut it's doors. God had sent me a huge message - that He had better plans for me, and that He would provide my dreams. His plan was far greater than what I had in mind. I'm so close to the people I've been on trips with, and I'm more passionate about missions than I've ever been. I know God still has a bright future for me.
God won't let your dreams die; He'll just show you the ones He has in mind for you. They are far better. Pin It
Sunday, December 12, 2010
Lifeboats can sink too, you know. Pin It
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
Well, as much as people think this team is the one to go out and help others next door, in another state, or overseas, that’s not how it works. Let me explain:
I have been reading this book Radical by David Platt. There are many thoughts on how we have “Americanized” everything about the Bible and God’s Word. When we are called to do missions in all nations, we may say “Oh, well, God isn’t talking to ME in that verse”. Yet when Jesus says “Come to Me all who are weary,” we tend to say “now He’s talking to me”. However, where in the Bible does it say that God’s Word has stipulations? Where does it say “if your name is Joe, you do this”, or “if your name begins with an R, you are excluded from doing this?” It doesn’t! That is the point. When we are called to do outreach, we are ALL called to do outreach! Here, in the next state, in the next country, wherever!
People might say, “what about the needs right here in America?” Well this is all fine and well if you are actually doing something here. Sometimes we need to be taken out of our element to really see what needs to be done in our element. For example, when I went to the Dominican Republic, and saw the houses that were practically flat on the ground with parts falling off, I came home and realized we have places just like that here too. I wasn’t able to truly see it until I was brought to the Dominican and formed a heart for really taking notice to people and their situations. When you are snapped into a reality of our world, that is when people tend to do something about it.
So, now what? I’m not suggesting you should go move overseas. However, our hearts should be focused on expanding the Kingdom to the people of ALL nations. This is the Great Commission after all. The point is, must we insist on only taking the Great Commission as far as we “feel like it”?
We need to start realizing that the Bible in it’s entirety is for EVERYONE. We need to take Jesus seriously and the things He calls us to do.
We have one life, One God, and One Commander; what are you going to do with it?
Check out David Platt’s book Radical. This has truly been an inspiration to me! Pin It
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
I want one of those guys you can’t find anymore.
The one that comes home and eats dinner with you every night, without the tv crowding the air in the background. He would rather fill the quiet with conversation on the day’s events, memories, and our faith journeys.
One that cares enough about his surroundings that he takes time to notice an older lady in church who needs a hand and then takes time to help her with her arm-load. He looks up to the solid, older men in church and humbly heeds their advice.
He has the faith enough to give at least ten percent of our income to the Lord each week in Sunday service. He’s willing to even help out with the children’s ministry now and then, because he has ears patient enough to listen to even the tiniest voices.
He’s a hard worker, but it isn’t his number 1 priority. I’m not even the number one, but God, the One we can’t draw breath without.
He can make a sacrifice for his family. Not drink for the sake of being a good example to the kids. Keep the music, movies and media out of the house that causes a stumbling block in faith.
One that can solve conflict calmly and patiently, without harsh words, and realize we can collaborate to reach a solution. We would use God’s Word as a guideline and map to the way we live our lives and conduct ourselves as a family.
He lets me do my own thing and I let him do his, because we don’t want to be so absorbed in ourselves, but be able to have fun with friends sometimes whether it’s together or separately. We trust each other and have good intentions in everything we do.
He would appreciate every opinion and idea, but be strong enough to humbly take a stand in his and our foundational morals and beliefs without hurting.
He doesn’t blow money, but carefully considers where the income is going. One that participates in outreach, not only locally, but overseas once in awhile, because he knows we are called to do it. He takes his faith in God very seriously and follows God’s Word to the best of his ability.
He knows he has flaws, but knows I do too. We can accept each other anyway. He challenges me in my walk with God, and I in his, as we are walking side by side in our faith journeys.
And years and years after the wedding, we can still hold hands, take peaceful walks in the park and still find ways to grow together in Christ.
I’m not in the business of changing people, only God can do that.
Yes, I want one of those guys. The ones you can’t find anymore.Pin It
Thursday, August 12, 2010
As I sit here on the floor of the chapel, looking around, seeing people release the pain from the wounds that have poisoned their lives, I'm left numb. I know I have wounds, but I can't fully grasp them right now. I can't even begin to count the times I've been shamed, or the times I wish I could just not exist anymore, but the circumstances that led me to those moments of shame are so hard to find tangible.
I wonder a lot if I'm bitter about the life I've been born into. The negativity that permeates from my family, as well as the hopelessness that pours from them. I wonder so many times how I made it past the age of 3.
And why am I put into the situation of physical problems when God "made me so fearfully and wonderfully". Things I will never understand until I'm standing face to face with my Maker.
I have been so unreasonably blessed to be where I am, surrounded by the people I have; but why must I be taken from them so hastily? So many times I find myself unable to wait for the day I'll be with my Heavenly Father, but then see the hearts I'm leaving behind. Someday they will join me, but living without them seems like it would shatter me.
Of all the things I look forward to, why the 3 I can't wait for the most have to be the restrictions, the unlikelies, and the impossibles?
Don't I have the personality to be a nurturing mother? The passion to travel as a missionary? Shouldn't I be able to live beyond 40? It's hard to believe that my quarter-life is over half my life. It's not right to be thinking about these things at 23. Pin It
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
I need to get out of this web called Mason County. The people and friends I have here have been wonderful, and unfortunately, they are the only ones holding me back. The things I've learned from my professors has been gold. I would have never been so passionate about my writing, English, Spanish, words, structure, etc if it hadn't been for the people who showed me how to have passion for those things.
My church family has been pretty much my only family, embracing me when times were rough, laughing when things were funny, and actually heard me out when I had something to say, then understood. There will never be another family like them.
My camp family is even more superb. They are the ones that taught me how to live on my own. From little things like parallel parking to huge things like finding self-worth and a place in a community of people.
But I am going no where here. I'm running on a treadmill, seeing nothing but the same old things since I was five. I live under my parents. I have no chance of a future here. Something has got to change.
Writing and traveling have always been my passions. I've always been so scared of taking those leaps in my life. What's the worst that could happen after all? Pin It
Thursday, July 8, 2010
Yet the starving, the poor, the hurting are more happy than us. Does that tell you something?
I've been inspired by David Platt's book "Radical". I'm not too far into it, but only after a few pages, I feel a burning passion in my heart. I'm realizing the values of this country are selfish. They work to take away from what Christianity is about. They put Jesus in a box. The book talks about how Jesus tells us to sell all of our possessions to the poor, then we will have stored up our treasures in heaven. We, as Americans who long for the comfort and marrow of life twist these words into, "Well, Jesus doesn't actually mean to sell all we have and let go of things that we long to have". This is a huge problem. The Jesus we are worshiping at this point is our own, made-up, fake, comfortable, American Jesus.
Who are you worshiping on Sunday morning? Pin It
Wednesday, March 31, 2010
~Open my own store (book, art, or coffee shop)
~Write a best-selling novel
~Speak fluent Spanish
~Be a mom -someday.
~Road trip across America (and make it further west than Wisconsin) Pin It
Tuesday, March 9, 2010
of missing love
He's patching it.
To the falling inspirations
of misplaced hope
He's catching it.
To the lonely rooms
of cold souls
He's hugging you.
To the tired minds
He's replenishing it.
To those giving up
on a seemless life
keep holding on to it. Pin It
Sunday, March 7, 2010
Proceeding to my office, I made copies of one of the devotionals I looked forward to presenting one night in the Dominican Republic...wow, I'd be in the Dominican in a less than 24 hours.
Other team members stopped in, slipping last minute things into their bags. After a brief exchange of excitement and a pinch of nervousness, I proceeded home to take one last hot shower and finish loading my carry-on bag.
Around 11:15pm, I returned to MCRC. Switching some last things in and out of my carry-on bag and luggage, I realized I had forgotten my bottle of Tums, Advil, and Excedrin - true essentials for a week in the Dominican Republic. I drove back home and returned in plenty of time for the passport copying party in the office. I also discovered the multitudes of video cameras accompanying us on the journey.
We gathered in a circle to say a prayer for the trip. This was it.
Jackie, Pete, John, and I rode in Pete's pickup, and by 12am we were on our way. Pin It
Friday, January 15, 2010
As the foggy Chicago skyline comes into view with the surprisingly blue Lake Michigan, a warmth fills our eyes as they burn in delight to see what we have been striving for half the day. It is truly gorgeous. Pin It