Sunday, December 4, 2011
Back in December 2010, one of my dear friends got engaged. I was thrilled for her but her engagement officially made me the last of my close friends to be single. That night, I cried out to the Lord, "Where is he? I know You know, but I don't know what else to do." In my spirit, I felt the Lord gently whisper to me "Give me six months." That's the first time I had ever heard a specific time frame from Him other than "soon." But His timing and our are the not same so I had no idea how long it would really be. The next few months were a wonderful time (yet challenging) of waiting on the Lord and preparing for Rwanda and Brazil.
At the end of April 2011, one my friends suggested I try match.com. I laughed- I had tried online dating before and was certain it was not for me- not part of my story. She insisted and I gave in- giving it one month. If I met someone-great..if not, okay. I saw a few profiles I was interested in and clicked "yes" on some of them that came through the "daily 5" matches they gave me. There was one that really caught my eye and I clicked yes. I wasn't entirely sure what clicking yes meant, but did it anyway. 3 days later, May 3, I got an email from D, the my yes! It was brief, but kind (and not pushy!!) We emailed back and forth and realized we knew alot of the same people, had a lot in common, ministry, BCM..you name it. We emailed back and forth (and FB) for about 3 weeks before I left for Rwanda. We texted while I was gone too- our first date wasn't for another month. At first, I thought it was moving too slow, but now, am so thankful for that month to really get to know each other. Our first date was in June and lasted 6 hours!! Our second date was a few weeks later and also lasted 6 hours! (We love our marathon dates!) Our second date was when I realized this was different from anything I had ever experienced. We didn't see each other for a month because of my trip to Brazil and camps for him...that was brutal!!! Our reunion was another marathon date and then I realized...he was the one I prayed all this time for.
God's timing is absolutely perfect..He wrote this story in a way only He could do. There are so many little things that fit into place: where I was three years ago, where he was three years ago, the paths He had us take..all put together to write a beautiful story. Here's the funniest little piece: D and I both did summer missions with BCM in 2002 but in different places. There's a summer missions poster with both of our pictures on it!
I cried out to the Lord on Dec 4, 2010..the email came May 3, 2011..almost 6 months to the day. Wedding bells are in the future, but again waiting on the Lord to lead D to a full time ministry position (he's a youth minister!) Again, waiting on the Lord, a pattern here. :)
This was us at Medieval Times. He's my Knight in Shining Camo ! (He's a HUGE deer hunter and yes, i've been hunting twice!)
Can't wait to see how the rest of the story unfolds!
Wednesday, November 9, 2011
Just to rest upon His promises, Just to trust His cleansing blood
Just to rest upon His promise Just to know "Thus saith the Lord."
"Jesus, Jesus, how I trust Him, how I've proved Him o'er and o'er!
Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus! O, for grace to trust Him more!"
If anyone knows me at all, they know I love music. I tend to think "musically" at times and can often find songs to relate to what I'm feeling or trying to say. The old hymns are no exception. Don't get me wrong, I love the modern worship music of today but there's something about a hymn- so rich, so true, so simple. I grew up with hymns and often one will pop into my head for no apparent "reason." The reason: God speaking to me through it.
This evening, the above hymn popped into my head. But this time, there was a valid reason: God is telling me to gently trust Him..prodding me and pricking at my heart. There's a particular situation right now where I'm having to really really trust the Lord- probably more so than I ever have before. I can't talk about it here- it's nothing bad, but not something for blog land to hear about (all 4 of my readers!) So if you read this, say a little prayer for me: for wisdom, discernment and trust.
I was talking to my BFF tonight and I told her something that I've recently came to realize: I have a lot of fear. Now, there aren't a lot of things in life that scare me or hold me back- at least I want to think it or portray it. But there's a lot of fear deep down. Most of it is the fear of the unknown. Fear of what lies ahead, even though I'm ready for the future. She gently reminded me that the Bible is very clear about fear and anxiety and worry. To fear is not to trust the Lord. I say I trust the Lord, but do I really? I mean, really?? I think so many times we say we trust the Lord because if we say it, we'll believe it. But saying it and actually believing it are two totally different things. As I was talking to her about my fears, she said this was a prime time to start trusting the Lord now. NOW. I want it to become like breathing..so natural, something I don't have to think about. Oh, if it were only that easy.
I was talking to another dear friend tonight and she told me to be reminded that God has taken care of me my entire life. He has brought me so far..there is so much beauty from ashes. Redemption, leading me into the land of milk and honey, so much of His faithfulness when everything else around me crumbled. God is not going to leave me hanging..He has brought me too far. "Grace has brought me safe thus far and grace will lead me home." (pattern here- music!)
Even when I don't understand, even when I can't see two feet in front of me, the Lord is with me, hemming me in, giving me just enough light for the step i'm on. I have to trust- I have to. I'm commanded to do it: Prov 3: 5-6: Trust in the Lord with all of your heart and lean not on your own understandings. In all of your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.
As the line in "Tis So sweet to trust in Jesus": "how I've proved Him o'er and o'er." Oh yes, I've proved Him time and time again and He's been faithful.
Wednesday, September 28, 2011
I know it's been forever since I've blogged (for all of my four readers!) I've been meaning to get to blogging regularly but well, life gets in the way. A lot has happened since my last post. Here's the brief rundown:
- I went to Brazil- amazing experience! It was very different from Rwanda in so many different ways. The trip stretched me and taught me so much about letting the Holy Spirit lead and move.
- Three of my close friends are having babies (one boy and one girl so far!) so I'm looking forward to loving those babies!!
- Work is steady busy and I've tranistioned to doing what I love about 98% of the time.
- My families are starting to come home with their children- love this part of my job!
- Portico has moved into the Palace- love my community!
- At the urgent plea of one my close friends, I tried online dating again...well, this time it worked!!!! I met a wonderful, godly guy and we've been dating since May. God's timing is all over this and I love how He works. Funny thing is D and I really could have known each other for years- our paths have interesected several times and we didnt' know it. The craziest is when my mom showed us the poster from BCM summer missions in 2002 with both of our pictures on it!!!!! D is everything I've prayed for and didn't even know I needed.
Monday, June 20, 2011
I went to Rwanda scared to death God would call me to live there. Not exactly why I thought that but I did. It didn't take me very long after we landed for me to realize this was not my calling. I can't explain it but I felt really uncomfortable, out of place, like I didn't belong there. The people were nice but Rwandans are generally distrustful of people they don't know- who can blame them? Their own neighbors murdered 1million people in 100 days. I was quickly reminded how this earth is not our home and that we are aliens in this land. I felt like an alien- I didn't belong there. I wrote in my journal, "God called me to go, not to stay."
One of the things we were first told when we arrived will forever be stamped into my heart...I pray I never forget it. "People are not going to remember what you said or what you did. They will remember how they felt when they were with you." I had an amazing experience at the orphanage (i blogged about it at www.voiceforrwanda.org/blog , "The Power of Touch") This statement summed up my orphanage experience.
I spent a lot of time during the trip wondering why I came, why God had brought me all this way to rwanda..and to be honest, I may never know. But I do know this: I'm not the same. Africa changes your view of everything. I think everyone needs to go to Africa just to get a dose of perspective. Things are much slower there, not hectic. People are grateful for help, there are pockets of hope visible in the midst of one of the worst acts of evil ever committed.
Here's what i wrote while I was on the plane: "My heart's desire is that I will not come back the same, that I will have a deeper love for the Lord, for his children, a passion for orphan work, a changed heart, new eyes, and a new vision." I am definitley not the same...and I will seek Him to find me.
Wednesday, June 1, 2011
Thursday, May 19, 2011
I thought i would write about things I learned/experienced in my 20's. They are no particular order!
1. I graduated from college.
2. I graduated with my master's degree when I was 2 weeks away from turning 23.
3. I saw the Red Sox and Yankees play at Fenway.
4. Got head lice while I was a summer missionary.
5. Went to Croatia.
6. bought my first house!
7. Passed my LCSW.
8. Moved 200 miles away from home.
9. Had my first "real world" job.
10. Quite that job to work at my dream job.
11. Became "Aunt Ash."
12. Went to chicago.
13. Got a tattoo!
14. Experienced the bath house row in Hot Springs.
15. Became a director at work- at the ripe old age of 26...oh boy, what an experience that was!
16. Was published in Christian Single Magazine
17. Lived in a house with 6 other girls- yikes
19. Took a spontaneous trip to nashville and saw snow!
20. Saw many friends get married!
21. Went on more blind dates than I care to count
22. Discovered my love for adoption
23. Lost both of my grandmothers
24. Went to boston
25. Had high tea at the Ritz Carlton
26. Learned who my true friends were
27. Laughed a lot!
28. Went to Ridgecrest
29. Saw prayers answered in amazing ways
30. Had lunch with rebecca St. James
Wednesday, April 27, 2011
Got a tattoo. Picture below. This is something I've always wanted to do. It hurt like heck but I love it. It represents the thread of hope that runs through my life because of Christ.
- Going to New Orleans with my BFF to celebrate the big 30. We're 20 days apart and we've always talked about doing something for our big day for a while. She's got two wee little ones so a big trip isn't possible. So we're going to New Orleans and have high tea at the Ritz, cafe Du Monde, ride the streetcar, and go vintage shopping.
- Had professional pictures made. I haven't had them done since I was a senior in high school. I go to church with the lovely ladies of Focus Photography and a had blast taking pictures at the "farm" except for when the lamb decided to poop while taking our pictures.
There's a song by Green Day that really sums up how I feel about turning 30. It's called the "Time of Your Life." I tried to post the lyrics but I couldn't get it to work. Here's the first few lines:
"Another turning point, a fork stuck in the road. Time grabs you by the wrist and directs you where to go. So make the best of this test and don't ask why. It's not a question but a lesson learned in time. It's something unpredictable but it in the end it's right I hope you had the time of your life."
I mentioned earlier about going to Rwanda in May. Well God blew me away with the opportunity to go to Brazil later in July to work in orphanage!!!! He has provided the way for me to go. What' really neat about this is I will go in and meet with the orphanage staff and evaulate their needs and see how other ministry partners can help. I'll also get to do VBS with the children. I have no idea on running an orphanage but I can love on babies! I will also get to speak at a Baptist church in Brazil (with a translator- that's a first!) about how they can partner with the orphanage. I feel a bit indadequate but I know that God doesn't call the equipped but equips the called.
I also have another opportunity to speak to another ministry organization about the roles the church can play in foster care, adoption, and orphan care. Love that I get to share about what I'm passionate about and get to do it hands on.
I'm thankful for this season of life. I'm thankful that I'm single (yes, I said it!) because it gives me the freedom and flexibility to do what God has for me in the moment. Now, not to say I don't want to be married, but where I am is a good place.
I'm ready to have the time of my life.
Sunday, April 17, 2011
Saturday, April 9, 2011
Friday, February 4, 2011
I was trying to think about my word for 2011. There were a few that came to mind, but one just kept coming back again and again. I realized that this was my word: Live. Since my grandmother's funeral, I've been thinking a lot about living. Grief tends to do that. Her pastor talked about how she lived life and to do good, you have to fight to do it. I turn 30 in 3 months (yikes!) and have thought about how different life was in my 20's compared to what it will be in my 30's. As I was speaking at the BCM last week, I thought about how far I had come from my early 20's to now nearly 30. I was shy, insecure, wounded by grief, looking for my place and purpose, a people pleaser, scared of the future. Now, I know who I am in Christ, have a clear sense of purpose for my life, not as scared of the future as I was before.
I want to LIVE...
- with purpose and intention
- for the moment
- healthy- physically, emotionally
- loving others
- treasuring the little moments of life
- valuing my friendships
- with reckless abandon to Him
- with passion
- with joy
- with obedience to the Lord
- with Scripture hidden in my heart
- a song of praise on my lips for what the Lord has done
- without complaining (so hard at times!)
- with hope for the future
- giving of my time, tithe and talent
I heard this quote recently. I tried to remember who said it and tried to find it, but couldn't. I want to say it was Erma Bombeck, but not 100% sure. Anyway, it went something like this: "At the end of my life, when I find myself face to face with God, I want to be able to say, "I have nothing left to give you, I have lived all of my life for You." May I live well, loving Him all of my days.
Friday, January 28, 2011
When we were worshipping last night, I was reminded of the many Thursday nights that I spent at the BCM. It was like I had traveled back in time. Even the band reminded me of our band! I shared about how much the BCM influenced my life, my ministry and my summer missions experience. Words cannot adequately express how much God used the BCM in my life. While I was speaking, in my mind I was thinking, "Have I really been out of college for 8 years? Am I really here?"
A few things that I learned during my time:
- The importance of community
- A heart for true worship
- Servant leadership
- My faith became my own- I experienced God for myself
- Ministry as a lifestyle
- A love for missions
I'm so thankful for my time at the BCM and the amazing ways that God used my experiences there in my life. I can't say enough. Thank you God, for you are good.
Thursday, January 20, 2011
My name is Ashley and I'm 29. I'm originally from South Louisiana but have called Northeast Louisiana home for nearly 7 years. I work for a faith based non profit as a social worker, working with foster care and adoption. I love what I do (most days!) because it's not a job to me but a ministry. I love being able to be Christ's hands and feet to hurting children and families.
I graduated from LSU and love all LSU sports (Geaux tigers!) I purchased my first house almost two years ago and have loved decorating it. I'm very close to my family and try to see them as much as I can. I've not only been blessed with a great family but also friends who are like family. I love traveling, bargain shopping, reading, writing, spending time with friends,exercising, coffee shops and crafting.
I love the Lord with all my heart- what a journey He has brought me on, but I'm so thankful. I'm very involved in my church with women's ministry and music-I love to sing, especially worshiping God. I have a heart for missions and will be going to Rwanda in May ( 3 days after turning 30!)
God has been so faithful during this time of singleness. The top two things I'm looking for in a guy/future husband: that he love God more than he loves me and realizes that God loves me more than he ever will. I have a few other things that I'm looking for, but these are the top two.
If you're interested or know someone to introduce me to, leave a comment!