Sunday, December 4, 2011

A Love Story

 I'm trying to be a better blogger! I was thinking about what I could blog about no exciting trips lately (lot of travel but nothing exciting), work is work..but life has been pretty great the past few months! So I thought I would write about the beautiful love story God has written over the past few months. There's a lot of beautiful details and it would fill an entire book but here's a little bit of it. 

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 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, 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

'Tis so Sweet to Trust In Jesus"

"Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus, just to take Him at His word,
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 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

Update- Yes, I'm still alive!

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.

That's a picture of us at the top..can't get it to post to the bottom of the writing..suggestions? Anyway, that's a bit of what's going on with me...will try to be better about posting. :)

Monday, June 20, 2011

Post Africa Depression?

I've been back from Africa-Rwanda- for one week. The whole experience was amazing, humbling, frightening and uncomfortable all rolled into one. The "Post Africa Depression" hit me yesterday- I think because I finally had time to sit still long enough to think. What i write next may not make sense to anyone (not even to me!) but that's okay. I will likely be processing for years..I may never know this side of heaven all that I learned from Rwanda.

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 , "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


I'm not sure who all is reading this, but mainly I wrote this so I could say I blogged from AFRICA! I've been here 3 full days and already my head is spinning from all I've seen, heard, smelled, (Africa has its own smell!) but it's amazing. I'm sure I'll be processing for months to come. Check out our blog for the trip:

Thursday, May 19, 2011

30 things about my 20's

I'm less than a week away from turning 30! Despite the fact that I noticed a fairly large patch of gray hair this morning, I'm pretty excited about turning 30. Now granted, life looks a lot different than I thought it would at this point, but I feel like it only gets better from here.

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

The Time of My Life

I'm a month away from turning 30! For some reason, I'm really excited about this. I'm really looking forward to turning 30 and what this season has to bring. I may do a few posts about what I've learned in my 20's and things I look forward to in the season of 30. I've already done a few things to celebrate turning 30.

  • 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.
I love how they turned out

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

From My Heart- A life changing Experience

I posted this on my Fb page and wanted to share it here. This gives you a glimpse of what God has been doing in my life lately-yes, there's more to come! This is so unlike me to do this and way out of my comfort zone, but when God calls, okay. I pray that as you read this, you will see my heart and what God has been doing in my life. I've worked with abused and neglected children for almost six years now and have recently began to work with adoptive families both domestically and internationally. I love my job and am so thankful that God has allowed me to work in a ministry setting where I can be His hands and feet to His children. I've dreamed of one day going overseas to volunteer with an oprhanage, not knowing how one day it would be a reality. I've recently become a part of a great community of believers at Portico Church. I have been challenged in my faith and have seen the church be the body of Christ. On May 28, a team from Portico church will leave for Rwanda to spend 2 weeks doing an art camp for the residents of Peace House, a home for boys who were on the street. They will also be spending some time in an orphanage. I am a part of that team!!! I am so excited and it's been a dream come true. It's been a huge step of faith for me on so many different levels and also for us as a team. We stepped out in faith, believing God has called us to go, and purchased airline tickets. We got an amazing deal on tickets and have almost all of the money to pay for the tickets. Another neat thing for me about this trip is that I turn 30 2 days before we leave for Rwanda. Talk about a birthday present! I like to think it's God's birthday present to me- telling me to the have the adventure of my life with Him! Okay, here's the part I'm not so crazy about doing this: Would you pray and ask God how you can support "Voice For Rwanda?" You can visit our website and read about what God is doing. We are needing sponsors for the art camp, but I know that times are tough financially for everyone right now. Even $1 or $5 will help. You can can donate safely through Pay Pal and it's tax deductible. I believe that "God funds what He favors." If you can't give, then I ask you to committ to pray for our team. We leave in 7 weeks! We will be gone from May 28 to June 12. Pray for our safety in traveling, health and for God will do while we are there. Thanks for letting me share my heart with all of you! His Ashley

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Wedding day-

It's been a busy past few weeks and months. I have a lot to post about, but my head is tired and can't think too deep tonight. LOL I've been running all day long doing wedding stuff. Today was the wedding of my dear friends Andi and Jonathan. Andi and I met in a such God way nearly two years ago and I call her my "answered prayer." God knew I needed a friend and when I prayed for one very specifically, He sent me her. We have laughed together, cried together, prayed together and encouraged one another. Last September, we went with our church to Ridgecrest NC for Single's Labor Day weekend. She and I became friends with another group from NC and we all hung out that weekend, hiking, shopping. There she met Jonathan. But it was so funny- they hardly paid attention to each other all weekend! Then we get home and they start facebooking, talking...December they are engaged and here we are: Wedding day today! Andi is moving to NC with her new family, which includes a beautiful 13 year old daughter. The wedding was absolutley perfect and beautiful- a few tears but tears of joy. It was so neat to see how God perfectly orchestrated every detail of their day and how He brought their path together. It is a beautiful picture of redemption and grace. Proverbs 3 is the passage they've chosen for their marriage and I love verses 5-6: Trust in the Lord with all of your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all of your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight. I love this verse right now because life is looking incredibly different than I had planned (even at this point in life being single) but it is exciting. I love that I don't have to understand (and can't understand) what God is doing but I have to acknowledge Him in all that I do: give glory to Him, seek Him, look to Him, be aware of Him in all things. So thankful He makes the crooked paths straight.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Word of the Year: LIVE

I know it's 2 months into the new year and I'm just now posting this, but for some reason it's been hard for me to sit down and actually blog about it. I'm not big about New Year's resolutions, but several years ago, I heard a pastor talk about having a "word of the year." I really liked that idea and have done it off and on for the past few years.

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
  • selflessly
  • 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
  • content

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

A stroll down memory lane

Last night, I had the opportunity to speak at the BCM at Southeastern La. University. It was an amazing opportunity. The BCM played such a huge part of my life in college and in my story of who I am today. Before the service, I had dinner with two of my close friends from BCM. Great mexican food and great time of catching up and talking about old times. The campus has changed so much. The building looks the same, the couches are different, the BCM house is now green (you would have to see it to believe it!)

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

Show us your Life

I love reading Kelly's blog, Kelly's Korner. It was one of the first blogs I read. She does a series of posts called "Show Us Your Life". This week is "Show us your Singles." This is very out of the box for me, but I figured why not! You never how God will work. This isn't the clearest picture but the most recent. I was MOH at my close friend's wedding this past summer.

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!