Thursday, December 22, 2011

God, Please kick me in the right direction....

I can't really put into words the feeling inside of me. There are things I can't talk about, but would love to talk about, things I don't know how to talk about, and things that I don't want to talk about. Luckily, God knows my feelings and struggles.
I don't want to be thrown into drama that isn't mine, chaos I didn't create, and feel like a burden. (Just a few more cryptic things for you to process.)
Standing up for myself is hard. I hate ticking people off, and I hate confrontation. Yep, I'm a sissy. I believe certain things are unfair, but I suck it up and take the blow to keep peace.
I have plenty of life decisions to make this week. I just wish God could literally kick me in the right direction, but I guess that is when faith wouldn't exist.
Prayers would be awesome. Pin It

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Society's Pressures

I've come to realize that society - especially that of America - has an unreasonable standard of measuring one's identity and success. The first thing someone will ask you is "What do you do for a living?" or "What did you major in?" In America, you need a degree to be looked at in a positive manner. When you don't have a job or make the cash, our society tends to frown upon you.
Unfortunately, many people don't realize how wrong society is. Everything we do on this earth is meaningless. All the achievements we gain, the jobs we have, the money we make, the possessions we have...all absolutely meaningless.
Because our society places these pressures of degrees, and good jobs, and pay raises on us, we become anxious and worry about our lives. It's all such a meaningless cycle. Then we cope with our worries and anxiety in destructive ways. Society's pressures destroy us. Unless we know the truth.
Luckily, my truth is that of Jesus Christ. Because I know He has placed a more important mission in my hands, I don't worry about the society's calling on me. If I simply live out the passion and gifts God has instilled in my heart to the best of my ability, everything else I live for is unimportant. So what if I don't get that raise or get an A in my class? God expects me to do my best in everything, but He will provide for me daily. I can't get bent out of shape over things that don't matter in the end. Pin It

Monday, November 21, 2011

Lessons from God

This whole year has been one big blessing and amazing learning experience for me. Last January I was at such a low. I didn't know where I would live, how I would get by, and lived quite afraid for awhile. I spent a couple nights on the couch at church, then lived out in Hamlin with Jen. She is so wonderful for letting me live with her!
I still had to keep my chin up with the high school girls in my life. Though, I can't lie, there were tears shed with them as well. They are so awesome to me too! Doing the Lady in Waiting study with them has been one of the best ever. I can't even begin to tell you how much of a blessing that book has been to me! Even today.
This year's Dominican trip seemed almost as if it were in a fog for me. So much was going on at home, that to sit back and take in what God was doing in my life was near impossible. I had way too much going on with my family, my health, and other relationships. Trying to explain how intricately God works through people is hard, but He sure did - even on the plane home from the DR. I got into a great conversation with one of our team members, and things seemed to become so clear! I wrote my dad a letter about my feelings and how God has worked in me. I stood up for myself in another relationship, and I was put at ease about health concerns. 
Jen and I finally moved into Wildwood in May and things were really looking up. Though, relationships were still quite strained with my family, especially my dad. With summer came house-warming parties, where I took a leap and invited Mark (the guy I've had a crush on for a year now). Surprisingly he accepted!
More summer fun came up with fishing, baseball games, Dominican team events, and hikes at the state park. Mark and I started dating officially, which was huge for us since feelings just seemed too hard to put out for either of us and our crazy shyness. Mark and I shared in many late-night conversations that really challenged my thinking about the situation I had been through all year. He barely even knew about it, but God had used him to open my eyes.
I was convinced that I was going to marry this man.
I wrote my dad another letter, telling him how much Mark meant to me and how much God had used him to open my eyes on how grateful I needed to be of my dad for raising me to be a strong, woman of God who decided to pursue a strong man of God. Mark reminds me so much of my dad - scary isn't it? He has that solid faith, traditional values, and strong morals that my dad has taught me are important, and I knew that finding another man like him this day in age would be near impossible.
God had placed people in my life all year that have pulled me up, and helped me out. He put people there to say the right things at the right times, show me what was right to do in difficult situations, and use even books to teach me about true security and contentment in Him only. What a great way to take pressure off of Mark!
Since Mark met with my dad to ask him permission to marry me, and since I wrote my dad that letter, the relationship has slowly healed, and I feel like God has brought me such grace and blessing in a difficult time. God has rewarded me for waiting for this man.
Ladies - WAIT for him. Don't just be with someone because you want to be with someone. I can't even tell you how big of a blessing this man is to me! He has taught me so much, even hard things that I used to be stubborn about. I love him. I love God. God is so amazing! Pin It

Monday, August 15, 2011

Wait...Just Wait

Are you relying too much on a guy, when you should be having FULL and complete reliance on Christ? Have you ever considered that relationships don't work out because one of the couple is making the other meet expectations that only God can meet? Are you secure, content, in love, pure, reliant, and faithful to Christ? Or a guy?
When I gave these things over to Christ (for REAL gave them over), He blessed me so wonderfully and unexpectedly. When you chase guys, you are not chasing after God. When you're not chasing after God, do you really think He will bless you with a strong, faithful man who will last in your life? 
C'mon, ladies! You're better than that! Wait, wait, WAIT for a guy who is fully enveloped in God's love and Word! That is the BEST. You can't change a guy who gets into trouble, or does things that are evil in the Lord's eyes. Only God can. Don't get into that relationship until he realizes he needs a Savior and then seeks Him out! If he never does, then forget it!
Just WAIT!!
Pin It

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

What Truly Matters

God has been SO stinkin' good to me! I can't believe how amazing He is and how amazing His works and blessings are! He is the ultimate sculptor of my life.
I've spent the last year of my life trying to abandon everything for Him - my job, my relationships, my money, my possessions, my time...everything. At first it was so hard and down right scary, but now I feel so free of everything. I have less worry because I know that He will provide and He won't fail me.

I've also been doing well at keeping myself busy instead of moping around and complaining about my situations (specifically singleness) over the last few months. And what do you know- He has sure shown me that when I do His work and put my faith in Him, and not worry about where my life will be and with whom, He sends such amazing blessings and such a great and unexpected time!

I can't even begin to explain just how blessed I am. This whole last year has been so hard and scary, yet I've been at such peace about everything. He has brought the right people into my life at the exact moments I needed them- even though I didn't realize I needed them at the time. Just one big WOW!

It's funny that when you let everything go, and stop worrying about having everything you need and desire, that is when God's provision truly comes out! I have seen this so much over the last few months!

The moral of the story, let go-let God. He is good and He won't EVER fail you. When you reach this true realization, He will bless you indeed. I wish many people could see this - especially those girls chasing after guys in fear of being alone their whole lives. It doesn't matter what I lose in this life, because I'll never lose what truly matters in this life. =) Pin It

Monday, July 11, 2011

"Taste and see that I am good..."

I must say that this "mountaintop" experience from the GEMS Conference in Colorado has truly touched me. I am in awe of my Creator and appreciate little things He's placed before me day to day. I pray that this awe doesn't wear off too hastily and that I can be a leader growing in the fear of the Lord.
I long to be unashamed for my Father. I'm sick of sitting back and not standing up for what I believe is right or wrong. I'm sick of being walked on and allowing things to just slip by.
Why do we live in sin when we know that the most important thing in our lives is Christ? Why not live for Him when He is the sure option? We don't give Him the credit He deserves and we live like He has done absolutely nothing for us. I hate it. I'm so fired up against people who pretend they are what they aren't. How can we be positive examples of the Christian faith when we are doing what the world endorses?
Then there is the other side of the spectrum.
The Christians who think they are too good for the world. They walk with their noses up high all haughty like, ignoring the people who so desperately need to know who Christ is. They see Christians and think we are too good. Yet we are awful when we act this way. We are hypocrites.

Personally, I'm so afraid of the vulnerable things in my life right now. I'm afraid of drama that doesn 't even belong to me. I'm afraid of being thrown into drama that I don't want to be a part of. I don't know where I'll be in a year, or what I'll be doing, but I am certain of one thing:
God has always been so good to me. He is good. He will always be good.
My life on this earth is just that: life on earth. Heaven is the ultimate goal and prize. When I aim for things of this earth, all I will get is earth. When I aim for heaven, I'll get earth thrown in. CS Lewis tells us this. Forget the drugs, drinking, sex, swearing, and negative input. I'm done with any negativity in my life. I long to be done.
Why should I rely on people when they let down? God is unchanging. He is good.
I pray for discernment and direction. Only God knows me truly and only God knows where I need to be. Pin It

Friday, June 24, 2011

Pleas to my Father

Lord, give me strength to get through what's ahead, and to let go and be at peace for what is behind.
Send me strong people to keep me alive in you. Help me not to hold my tongue when I need to speak up. Don't let me settle. Challenge me.
Help me realize that some things I can't take responsibility for or please everyone that I encounter. Help me to realize that not making everyone happy doesn't make me a horrible person, but help me to say "no" more often.
I want to live a life unashamed of You. Who cares about earthly things when I can have eternity with You. I don't need the luxuries of this planet, when I can have an everlasting love with You.
I've been so tired lately, Lord. I've been frustrated more than usual, fed up with situations, and people. Please, please keep me going. I can't do it without You. I wish more people realized how much You are needed in their lives. I don't know how they do it without you - maybe just lame old pride.
I love You, Father. Pin It

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

On the Same Page

I'm currently working my way through a book called "Lady in Waiting" with my high school girls, and it has been quite an rewarding experience to hang out with them and just listen to the things they are gaining from the study.
I'm looking into another book called "A Man Worth Waiting For" by the same author of "Lady in Waiting" and I am taking in a lot from that book as well. I feel like I'm at that point of life where any decent guy that walks into my life I would fall for, when in reality, I should wait for one that actually is designed for me and will help me in my faith walk rather than bring me down.
In Jackie Kendall's book, she lists things to look for in a decent dude and one reality that hit me was the following:
"If someone is her (right guy), she will not have to stop running (the race), she will not have to change her pace, and she won't have to look behind her, because before she knows it, he will be running beside her. He will keep up with her, and they will continue the race at a complementary pace. This will be her running partner for the journey ahead. They will encourage each other and not trip each other... (God will tell her) 'Ashley, you will only get married to a man who will enhance your devotion to Me. He will not compete with it." (pg 25-26)
Ladies need to ask themselves "Is he looking in the same direction as I am?" And for Christians, we know that direction is Who we run toward. We need to be careful not to let something or someone hinder our progress in the race of faith. In fact, it tells us in Hebrews to "throw off everything that hinders us."
 Ladies, don't settle for just anyone. Make sure he will challenge you in your faith and run beside you in the race! You shouldn't need to slow down for him or stop. Missionary dating is NOT the answer. You can't change him, only God can. There's no reason to date and save when you can be friends and teach him. You'll be the one pulled down before you pull him up. Pin It

Sunday, May 8, 2011

A Prayer

I pray to You tonight for help, praise, thanks-giving and confession.
Help me to be an example for You. Help me to not be ashamed of who I am in You and in what I believe in. Help me to say "no" when I should, to reach out when I need to, and to say what You intend for others to hear.
I pray for Your path in my life - whether that means a life of singleness surrounded by friends and loved ones, or a life with a significant other and a family of my own. If that be the case, Lord, please grant me a strong husband who can stand firm in You, show me it's ok to stand up for myself, and who will have a greater love for You than for me. Help him to base his life around Your Word and guidelines for our lives and the lives of any children who could come into the picture.
Lord, if I remain single for life, please help me to accept it, and embrace the family I have in You. You have blessed me with nothing but the best. You have given me mothers to hug and talk to, fathers to feel loved, adored, and protected by, and siblings to cry and laugh with. I thank You more than ever for those people in my life. I would be so lost without the guidance I've had through them. Thank You for showing me that I can make a difference too - for showing me that I am indeed significant to the lives of people.
I praise You for the inspirations You have portrayed to me. The sunrises behind the Caribbean palm trees, the sunsets imprisoned within the trees to the west of our apartment window, and the stars that reveal the mystery of You each night. Your creation is amazing, and Your workings are intricate. I can't even comprehend how You piece it all together day to day.
I ask for forgiveness in my slip-ups. I pray You help me to be better, because I am truly nothing without You. Help me to stay firm in You, and to hold strong in my convictions. Help me to be a wonderful example of You. Please keep me from falling into the crowds of worldly motives and materials.
Lord, I thank you again for bringing me to where I am with the people I have. Only You could have worked out my life in such an amazing way, and I know You will never leave  or fail me. I'm comforted in the knowledge that You have knowledge of my future and my decisions. Help me to make my decisions Yours, and my steps to be in Your path. Bring the right people into my life, help me to cast off the things that will tear me down, and to stand up for You when it gets rough.
I love You, my Father,
Amen Pin It

Sunday, April 3, 2011

What Passion Feels Like

I can't even explain the overwhelming passion that I have for the Dominican Republic right now. Just going to church today and seeing the glow on the faces of people who have gone before in light of the recent trip. People are sharing their experiences with others and seeing how God is working in the hearts of potential, future team members and the long time veterans is just amazing.
My heart beats a little harder when I think about the future trips, and the project and what it will do for the community and the kids. I truly feel like that is where I need to be - working with the people in our church and helping to stir that passion by sharing mine. Relationships are so important to me and forming new ones is one of the most amazing feelings for me.
I feel so close to people I've been on trips with, kids in the Dominican, and the new friends I've made in the Dominican that I can't wait to see next trip!
It is such a passion that I can't even explain, but just thinking about it makes me so excited! Pin It

Saturday, April 2, 2011


Reflecting on this last trip to the Dominican, I find myself to be braver than before, happier, more loved and an array of many other positive emotions and feelings as a result of the trip. I feel like I'm able to stand up more for what I believe in, and for when things are bothering me. I have always been such a pushover and allowed people to walk on me, but I'm happy to say that I have been able to release some things.
I think this is because I feel more loved - not that I was never loved by people on my team - but I was truly able to allow myself to accept it this time around. I never took it seriously, but for some reason something clicked in me with this team. Maybe it was because of the constant advice I was getting from people wiser than me, or the hugs I was given in times of frustration, but all I know is that I feel like I am valued, and because of that I value myself.
With everything that has gone down in my life so far this past year, having a few father figures around really did me some good. For so long I've felt guilty and just down about life, but now that I've felt the love of other fathers around me and know what their point of view would have been in my situation, I know I can move on and be ok.
I am so at ease with so much in my life right now, and I know that people have my back no matter what happens. It's ok to be scared and frustrated, but it's also ok to be loved and accepted.
God definitely did a lot in my life during this trip, and I didn't even realize it until the plane ride home. Pin It

Monday, March 7, 2011

What Happens When you Can't Say "No"...

I can't even begin to untie the knot my life has become so far in 2011. It seems like so many things have been thrown at me in such a small amount of time and I haven't even had the time to duck, or to catch it all. Satan is on such a prowl in my life and he is trying to tear me down when I have this amazing experience coming up in the Dominican. There has just been so much with work, church stuff, Dominican stuff, health stuff, life stuff... In less than two months I've been forced to move out, get a car - so the other one didn't kill me, make family upset with me for reasons I don't even understand, play a balancing game with Sunday mornings, been told to brace myself for possible major health-related things, and still try and mange to hold myself together for the sake of the kids I work with and the people I come into contact with on a daily basis.
Everything is such a blur, and I find myself fighting tears on a daily basis. It's funny how one day I feel like God has plans and He has it all under control, but then the next day I forget things, or I let someone down, or I'm scrambling for peace of mind.
I don't know how to handle people - heck, I don't know how to handle myself much of the time. I didn't expect 24 to be so insane. I feel like a tired, over-worked, over-burdened, housewife. There is no way I could handle a husband and kids with what I have now. I know God won't give me more than I can handle, but the plates I'm stacking are getting to an uncontrollable height, and the sad thing is that it is probably all my own fault.

"If billions of people are living a Christless life, then there certainly is no time to waste on an American dream."
Radical - by David Platt
Quit begging the question and get out there and start spreading the Gospel! Pin It

Thursday, March 3, 2011

To Lose is Gain

Seems that my life has taken quite a turn this last week. Not even really sure why, but I'm moving out of my parents' house and in with my good friend, Jen. I'm sad, nervous, excited, and confused all at the same time, but I know God has a plan for me. He knows where I'll be in a month, year, 5 years, the rest of my life.
I have found an unbelievable amount of peace through all this and the situation that has presented itself to me. This is very unusual for me since I am one of the biggest worriers I know!
Just remember to give your lives to God. He'll take care of you. =) Pin It

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Dysfunctional Malfunction

I've really been surrounded by everything malfunctional and dysfunctional this past week. Between my car, the copy machine at work, my computer, just random little things that haven't been working right (like my space heater, Windows Movie Maker)'s all been very frustrating. Then there is the dysfunctional element of my life - worship. True, untainted worship. Sundays just aren't Sundays anymore. I feel like I get up and go to work for no pay. I know I am 50% of the problem. I never say no. I make myself available too much. People don't think of things until they see me. I feel bad saying no, or ignoring them, or saying to catch me later, or leave a note. I just never used to be that way.
BUT, I miss going to church with a worry-free mind. And feeling like I'm going to a place of worship, not a place of work. It's quite exhausting. Even Sundays that no one approaches me, my mind is still in constant disarray. "Did I remember to make that change in the bulletin? Whoops, I misspelled that in the power point. I forgot to print the sign-in sheets, again!"
I miss the aspect of pure worship - something that I haven't truly gotten to give to my Lord since Sr. High retreat at Portage Lake. I don't know what this is telling me. I wish I could sort out my mind.

Then there is the element of malfunctioning health. I'm so puzzled by my condition. So puzzled why no one knows about it and what my future holds. It really is quite nerve-racking going through each day, wondering where you'll be in a year, or 6 months, especially if your doctors have no clue. I feel convicted when I ask God why, or what. Especially when I hear that song "He Knows My Name" where the very first line is "I have a Maker, He formed my heart..." I'm left thinking "You forgot some of mine..." (Half-joking of course) I've been struggling with this a lot lately as things change and I experience more stress. I can't help but wonder if I'm really living out my dream. What if I don't get to my dreams? And no one knows where I'll be in a year. Uhg. 25 shouldn't come with these kinds of thoughts. This is definitely a faith walk. Pin It

Monday, January 31, 2011

LIfe's Cliches

I think I'm in love with the idea of being in love. As much as I hate cliches, this one is very evident in my life right now. I'm afraid of settling, or saying "oh well, it's not like the most perfect guy is going to walk into my life, so I might as well go with this one." Not every guy is perfect, but I know better than that. I know that God knows what I need now, and what I'll need 10 years from now. I am learning more and more what I want in a husband, but I know that God knows not only what I want, but what I need.
I have felt so stinking tired lately, and a little fed up with life and just people in general. I'm not used to being surrounded by people, or loud people, or being a leader, or balancing so many things in life. I'm tired of pleasing the world and trying to make people happy, then people guilting me when I don't come through. Even when they don't realize they're guilting's just that small look they give you, or that staccato "oh" after you say "no".
I'm dealing with a lot at 24, and I feel like if I'm this busy now, where in the world will I be in 2 years, 5 years, or 10 years? As much as I admire women who run themselves ragged in sacrifice for others and to keep everything moving because if they aren't there the world will fall apart, I don't think my heart can handle that. I think I'd hate my life. 
I miss having days of sitting around, drinking coffee, and writing. Pin It

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Lady of Faith

We continue on with Lady in Waiting, chapter 3 - Lady of Faith. For any Christian, this chapter's title may sound like a resounding "duh", but don't write it off too quickly. I read through this and found myself guilty of a lot of the things talked about.
As women, we are constantly "spouse-hunting". We tend to focus so much on finding a guy, that we neglect to keep growing our inner selves. Why do we as women change churches and communities only because there aren't any "perspective single guys"? That's shallow. We join ministries because the cute guy who plays guitar is in it, or we sign up for a trip because it could be a chance to get to know some guy.
Where exactly are our motives here, ladies?
If God wants to bring you the "perfect guy", He sure doesn't need you to help Him. God knows your motives, and He knows when you're ready for a guy. Proverbs 16:2 - "All man's (or woman's) ways seem innocent to him (or her), but motives are weighed by the Lord." When you're around an available guy, are you being sensitive of your motives? Just because the guy doesn't know your motives, God sure does.
Why are we so afraid that God won't come through for us? We know He loves us, and wants what's best for us, so why don't we trust Him? You know what the opposite of faith is? Fear. That's exactly what the enemy wants for us.
You know how Ruth met Boaz? She chanced upon him. God brought Boaz to Ruth in a real way. How cool of a relationship would that be? I don't think it would feel as special if I kept trying to set up the meetings the guy I ended up with.
Listen to this story from Lady in Waiting:
"God brought His best for one woman all the way from Escondido, California to Kenya, Africa, where she was serving her Lord. She was not anxious about the absence of available men. After a broken engagement and a couple of years of less-than-satisfying dating, Vivian had volunteered to go to Kenya, Africa, to teach missionary kids. Just before she left for Kenya, she attended a Bible study where she met a precious Christian guy named David. Had she not been leaving for Africa that week, they might have had time to become better acquainted. Frustrated by the reality of meeting such a fine, Christian guy just before leaving to go halfway around the world, Vivian followed the Lord to Africa with "eyes of faith". Little did she know the script God had written. Halfway through her first term on the field, a construction team arrived from the United States to do some work for the academy where she taught. Guess who was part of the team? You got it: David. He and Vivian not only got acquainted, but they also married right there in Kenya. Just as Jesus brought David to Vivian, Jesus can bring your life-mate to you, no matter where you live" (Kendall, Jones, p. 46).
Ladies, quit distrusting God and start living a life for Him. When you are lost in Him, He'll bring you Mr. Right. Distrust leads to sin. Trusting leads to a great life now and the best life later.  Pin It