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    Can You Pray For Us Today?

    Hi y’all. This last week has thrown me for a whirl on a roller coaster of emotions. I’m exhausted to say the least. With everything that happened, I didn’t end up posting a blog last week. I’ve got several blog posts that have been stirring in my mind for awhile, but honestly, none of those seem right. More than anything I could write to y’all this week, I would rather ask for a favor. Can you pray for myself, my family and my friends today?

    Please Pray For

    + A family member who is in a coma after suffering from 2 strokes.
    + Myself and my family as we grieve the loss of our dog, Clyde.
    + A friend suffering from a severe allergic reaction.
    + A friend who lost her father this past week.
    + Several new opportunities that are arising in the next few weeks.
    + Our continued house search as we start over after changing locations.
    + Restful sleep.

    Grateful For

    + Time spent with loved ones.
    + God bringing glory to himself in the midst of tragedy.
    + A husband who has supported me throughout this crazy week.
    + Getting to see friends I don’t normally get to see later this week and weekend.
    + A property manager who is working with us to extend our stay in our current home.

    Thank y’all. We desperately need your prayers. How can we pray for you?

    Let Freedom Rise

    Red, White + Blue. Inner Tubes on the Lake. The American Flag on as many things as you can get it for the day – clothing, drink koozies, etc.. Grilling Out by the Pool. This is America. The 4th of July is our day. Let Freedom Rise!

    Except, what about those that aren’t free today? What about those that are suffering captive by their own minds, their own addictions and even by others? There are a lot of us captive by varying things. Today, most Americans will choose to focus on family and friends, fireworks, relaxing in their freedom and amazing grilled grub like that brisket above.

    Freedom. You know those who have gotten us here – our armed forces, our leadership at all stages, our ancestors and our past as a nation. But those who aren’t yet free are harder to put a face with. In fact, they’re the ones we ignore, the ones that we’d rather not put a face with. Ignoring them and their existence is a 1000 times easier than admitting slavery still exists, than admitting that it’s real and that this is a problem.

    The problem is that it is real though. Listen to these statistics that Love146 has collected: “In 2012, the International Labor Organization estimated that there are 20.9 million enslaved today. That’s an estimated 4.5 million in sexual exploitation, an estimated 14.2 million in forced labor and an estimated 2.2 million in state imposed labor… One child in Love146’s Survivor Care Program was sold by a trafficker to a brothel for $72. This price is quite typical.”

    You can read more about slavery – how it happens in today’s world as well as some of the stories of those Love146 has helped here. Seriously, click on it and educate yourself. Then come back here and pray with me.

    A Prayer to Let Freedom Rise

    God, you know what is going on in the world around us. You see the good and the bad. You see the downright atrocious. The thing that make my heart so sad and causes tears to flow freely from my face. I can’t even imagine with you being All Knowing how you so deeply feel about this. You see every single moment. I can only imagine the heinousness of it all.

    As we celebrate our freedoms in America today, may those who are not yet free know that they are loved and cared for even now. Allow us to be your hands and feet as we stretch them out to those who need it. To those who are deemed unworthy according to our society. To those who are “supposed” to be overlooked and forgotten. May we see them. May we remember them. May we play a part in their rescue, in your redemption story for their lives.

    You can move mountains with the slightest of whispers. We know that you can take the world of human trafficking and not only make it turn upside down, but change hardened hearts and eradicate that world for good. God, work your miracles. Rescue those who are trapped! 

    God, force us outside of ourselves. May we lay our selfishness of not wanting to upset our “perfect and busy” lives to help those who are hurting whether they’re your beloved children who are trapped in human trafficking or those we know are hurting but are hoping someone else will step up to help them so we don’t have to. Will you use us for you glory? Lord, we’re here. We’re ready. We’re waiting for your gentle, “Let’s Go.” before we launch out in obedience. Show us where we need to be obedient to you in this today. 

    Lord, may our partnership with you be a blessing to others right where they are. In Your Name, Amen. 

    Resources – Where to Start + How to Get Involved

    I hope your heart is stirred today. I hope at least you will learn more and remember those without the same freedoms as you and me. If you’re looking for more additional resources, I’d start here and then check out the organizations that I have put my own trust in below. I would strongly urge you to see if your church has a small group based on learning more about human trafficking and how we can prevent it. I joined one for a semester a few years ago. It was probably one of the heaviest small groups I’ve ever been in, but also one that challenged my stagnant faith in a “wake up, o sleeper” kind of way, especially to the plight of others around me.

    A great way to get a good glimpse of exposure into what is going on is through reading and seeing. While Netflix has several documentaries that highlight human trafficking in various ways, I would recommend steering clear of those initially. I’d instead recommend focusing initial documentary screenings regarding human trafficking to these ones that are provided online thanks to Elijah Rising. I haven’t watched them yet myself, but I’ve heard really good things about Nefarious from the leader of the small group I was in. I’d also recommend reading Renting Lacy. Get ready! This book tore up my heart over this issue when we delved into it as a small group. If you’re looking for even more, A 2nd Cup also has an amazing resource library here.

    Organization against human trafficking:
    Free the Captives // Love 146 // Redeemed Ministries // A21 Campaign // A 2nd Cup (Houston Coffee Shop) // Elijah Rising

    The Weird Thing Annie Downs Taught Me About Bravery

    My rhythm of life was greatly interrupted last spring. My daily rhythm changed drastically as I sat out a few rounds against Chron’s Disease due to surgery. What I didn’t realize at the time is that it was also being deeply interrupted by something else. I spent a lot of time in various waiting rooms reading tales of bravery penned by Annie Downs in her book, Let’s All Be Brave. It’s weird. I thought in those moments that hearing these stories were to help me to get through surgery and recovery but they seeped far into my heart past those months.

    I wouldn’t say I’m a risk taker. The unknown and how everything will play out has always made me a bit anxious with possibilities. It makes being brave hard! When I started reading this book, I didn’t realize what being brave in my life would mean. I didn’t know the steps ahead that God would ask me to take in His name and in the name of courage itself.

    Unmarked

    I have long felt the desire to write about the words within these pages. Words of bravery beckoning for courage. Doing bravery any kind of justice is something I just I don’t feel I can adequately capture because I struggle with my own bravery. The path to finding my own bravery has been rocky. Some days look crazily more brave than other days.

    I’m a doodler. In meetings, in my personal reading, in making checklists for the day – I doodle. I underline, I highlight, I circle, I draw arrows and so much more. After urging my friends to read this book last January and finally finding a chance to have a book chat over Skype, It was a surprise to me when perusing the pages again that there wasn’t even a single pen mark.

    I picked the book back up again last week. Still no markings. I have very few books in my possession that are this devoid of pencil, pen and highlighter. In a way, I am so thankful for that. Last week, I read these words again and allowed them to cut into my heart and soul once again.

    Annie’s Words That Punched Me In The Gut

    “If you are brave, you are willing to walk the map that is yours, the one with twists and turns you’ve never expected, and you must be disciplined enough to stay on the narrow road under your feet. Step by step. Each step leads to the next, and before you know it, you are walking in a rhythm of courage.

    I never tied discipline to courage. I never saw the correlation. I guess I should have, since I lack in both. But in all matters – physical, mental and spiritual – I believe that to live a disciplined life leads to a brave life. We long  to be brave in the big moments, in the clutch times, in the times when our backs are up against a wall. But to get there? It’s the everyday. It’s the practice. It’s the steps. It’s the discipline.

    Let’s be real; that’s not the most fun answer you’ve ever heard. None of us enjoy discipline. Hebrews 12:11 puts it perfectly: ‘No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.’

    And in The Message? Boom. ‘At the time, discipline isn’t much fun. It always feels like it’s going against the grain. Later, of course, it pays off handsomely, for it’s the well trained who find themselves mature in their relationship with God.’

    It always feels like it’s going against the grain.
    Yet. It pays off handsomely.”
    Let’s All Be Brave by Annie Downs

    The Weird Connection + My Path to Brave

    I’ve always perceived discipline to be a continual rigorous act that requires patience and strength no matter what the discipline is for. Just like Annie, I never thought about discipline to be related to courage. Never in my wildest dreams. It just seems so weird. Yet, as I’ve started adding more bravery to my life, I’ve become more brave.

    I quit my job.
    I married my best friend.
    I began writing and blogging again.
    I picked up my camera and started shooting again.
    I started a Supper Club.
    With the support of some friends, we created an accountability group called the 7th.
    I started a new treatment for my Chron’s Disease.
    I confronted my fears.

    I became increasingly braver with every act. The bravery has opened my eyes to new ventures that I feel like I can say yes to and that I can feel confident about. I don’t know when I became braver. I don’t know when I first embraced courage and said, ‘Let’s travel this road together now’. What I can tell you is that as I’ve given myself the gift of grace to fail, I have become braver.

    I didn’t realize this until recently. I’ve struggled a lot with some of these things. When Rick and I were discussing one of them the other night, he turned to me and told me that I showed bravery in my decision. Bravery to follow God and to live true to myself. In that moment, a realization sunk in. I had never pictured it that way, but maybe, I am brave after all. If nothing else, I’ve got to be on the right path to bravery.

    I don’t know what you’re struggling with. I don’t know what giants you may be facing or what is lurking in the back of your mind today. What I do know is that my life is being changed through the brave path of discipline. The small disciplines of giving myself grace, allowing myself to fail and in saying both the courageous yeses and no’s, are making myself into a better person as each day goes on.

    Annie Downs later says, “Unforced rhythms of grace. Discipline as a rhythm. Could discipline look like grace and make me braver?” Yes Annie, I believe it can. I do believe it can.

    My Prayer for Those Struggling with Owning Their Purpose + Calling

    A couple of weeks ago, Rick and I had a bizarrely bare weekend schedule. We quickly remedied that with milk tea, Pandemic and some sweet time chilling in our hammocks. You may remember that I accidentally added Christine Caine’s, Undaunted, that weekend. I’ve been pretty candid that I believe in God’s timing for me to read that in spite of it not being on my list per se. (You can read more about that weekend reading and my thoughts here.)

    It’s no secret to me that God is using this season for me to sit and confront my purpose, my calling and His timing with it all. It’s a tough season to say the least. One peppered with questions, struggles, wonders and so much more sitting on my heart. It’s not been easy and it’s been way longer than I wish.

    I feel a stirring deep down that this season will be coming to an end soon. I don’t know what that will entail or what will come of that ending. In some ways, I know that my purpose and my calling have been renewed during this time as well as my belief in His good timing. His timing is perfect and sweet and above all, good even when it doesn’t seem like it. He’s all knowing and in control. It takes trust to believe in His timing and what he’s called is to do. It’s not always easy, but it’s always possible.

    Writing this prayer today, I’m sitting shotgun on a road trip while listening to a podcast and enjoying the golden hues of a late in the day summer sun over country fields in Texas. It’s exactly where God wants me, right here, praying this prayer for both myself and for you.

    Pray this with me.

    God,
    You are great and mighty. You are a sweet, sweet Father who cares for us even in ways that we can’t fathom. You know everything and hold everything together in crazy, miraculous ways.

    I know you know my innermost thoughts. I know you know my despite for this season of waiting, a season of questioning who I feel like you’ve called me to be.

    You’ve called me to be a warrior carrying your words in my heart yet I struggle to hold fast to them myself. I read them, I hear them said to me and yet your truths seem to bounce off my heart. Why can’t they stick, Lord? Why can’t I believe who you’ve called me to be? Why can I believe you’ve created and revealed your purpose for me yet I feel like I can’t act on it?

    This feeling of waiting lingers around me at every turn. I know you’re doing good things. I can’t imagine what you’re sowing into me right now that you’ll use for your glory in future seasons. Give me patience to do this hard work of waiting as I see others seemingly pass me by. Allow me to cheer on and encourage those who are doing all the things I wish I could be doing while I wait for your timing to follow where you will have me be. Lord, in this waiting, break me and draw me closer to you.

    I know your plans for me are greater than I could ever begin to imagine. Help me to own my calling. Help me to cast off the cares of the world that don’t align with yours. Help me to believe in truth and not the lies that have wormed their way into my heart and my mind. Replace them with your words, your sweet, sweet words that you have spoken and sung over me since the very moment you thought about me. Let those words take root and flourish in my soul.

    Lord, take these words. Take my heart. Make the words I believe about myself and my purpose and calling to be words that are true and words that are of you. Make my heart reflect more of yours. Amen.

    Cling to this with me.

    “Waiting is just a gift of time in disguise – a time to pray wrapped up in a ribbon of patience- because is the Lord ever late?”Ann Voskamp, A Holy Experience

    He is never late. Now, let’s go live in His calling and purpose for us. Let’s go live the love we can in this moment.

    Undaunted + How God Used These Words In My Life

    I’ve given myself a huge undertaking. With my desires for diving back into a life of reading, I’ve given myself 29 books to read this year. When I set out to make my 2017 Reading List, I didn’t venture to add so many books. It just happened. The sheer number of it, kind of scares me as it begs that I won’t be able to finish. In fact, to date, I’ve only read three of those in their entirety.

    When I saw that Christine Caine was starting a book club for those reading Undaunted: Daring to do what God calls you to do, I figured I’d sign up. It was on my list anyway. Y’all, this book wasn’t on my list. The author isn’t even on there with a different book that I planned to read this year. This has to be God’s timing. The words I have read this past week and over the weekend have cut deep into places that I know He spoke directly into using Christine’s words.

    The words ‘rallying cry’ are evident and were placed on my heart as a summation of her words. With every chapter, Christine pleas for our generation to step up and step outside of ourselves. For us to know who we are in Him and to throw our fears aside to follow Him. To live undaunted.

    Her Stories

    Australia has long been a fascinating place for me and more recently, Greece has captured my interest. It’s funny that Christine Caine, a Grecian girl who is from Sydney, Australia would write words that would land in my hands and even more so into my heart. She’s filled with wit, draws from personal moments from getting lost in a rainforest to the very moments God placed A21 on her heart in the most unlikely of places.

    Christine’s tales suck you in as she shows you how God’s hand has been evident in her life. Her gentle yet fierce words beckon the reader to look at where God has been evident in their own life and where their relationship with Him is currently. She speaks of the fears, disappointments, and unknowns she has grappled with and yet overcome. Her ability to overcome with God at her side invites and imagines for us to have the same in our lives.

    Undaunted. That’s a word that escapes me. It’s a word that I’m not sure if I’ve ever had roll off my tongue. I know what the feeling of being daunted is – full of fear, unknowns looming in the future, a general yucky atmosphere up ahead. What about undaunted though? Undaunted is a word brimming with courage, an unstoppable force as it faces challenges head on with the confidence and faith that God will help you overcome them.

    That’s the way I’d like to live. What about you? So often though, it’s a life we’re wishing for rather than the confidence we are living in.

    Her Use of Scripture

    Christine laces her words with scripture in a beautiful, captivating way that makes you want to read more, to read deeper. It’s a way that is uniquely her own. I read a lot of Christian Living books. While I absolutely adore this genre, sometimes I feel that God’s words are standalone next to the author’s own. They flow in and out, yet keep their words separate as they relate them back to the scriptures. As a fellow writer, it’s hard to not admire Christine’s gift for writing. Her use of bringing the scripture so vividly in front of her readers not just in a way to reference but in a way that it dances on the page in front of you and leaps into your heart. It’s like reading it for the very first time even if it’s the millionth.

    Words I Needed + Maybe You Do Too

    Rick and I decided to spend some time in our hammocks this weekend. We spent hours relaxing, reading and just resting in two different parks over the weekend. The most surprising this to me was God choosing that time to meet with me. I’m not sure if you’ve ever had intentional time with God in a hammock, but I’m now convinced there may be no other way. In a world where distractions are constant and loud, there’s something about a hammock that seems to block them all out.

    Christine Caine’s words are so God breathed, I want you to read them for yourself. These are words that hit my heart in the best of ways over this weekend:

    “If you allow those labels to loom larger in your heart and mind than the promises of God, they can fool you into missing God’s truth about who you are, into not pursuing the purpose God has had in mind for you from the beginning of time… You need to return to the truth of God’s Word that will last forever, not meditate on circumstances that will change and fade.”

     

    “If we allow other people to tell us what we are and are not qualified to do, we will limit what God wants to do with us.”

     

    “When you let fear run your life, you close yourself off from anything that might hurt or cost or make you uncomfortable – including opportunities to serve God and claim his promises.”

     

    “When Jesus asks, Do you love me? he is also saying: Then keep your eyes on me. Keep believing in what I have created you to do. Turn over to me your fear, and hold fast to faith in me. Replace that fear – fear that I did not give you – with the love, power, and sound mind that I have given you. Know that my presence is your antidote to fear.”

    Words for the Weary

    Lately in our home, we’ve been discussing work versus play. Mental health and self-care are frequent topics. This weekend our hammock time served to be a complete separation for us. After so much talk between us over the past week, I thought it was interesting that Christine discussed it. In the midst of a book calling us to live undaunted in our faith for ourselves and to reach others, she devotes time and words to slowing down, recharging and rest.

    We can get worn down by the needs in this world, and wearied by them, God knows. We need sleep, rest, restoration, recuperation. That’s why God gives us the end of a day, and he doesn’t begrudge us our rest. He doesn’t want us to come to the end of ourselves and be defeated and enslaved in a spiritual Auschwitz, tormented, thinking it is the work we do that sets us free, so that we have to get back up on the treadmill and do more, be more. No, he doesn’t want us to burn the candle at both ends so that we end up lethargic, fatigue, burned up, and burnt out. To do that is to walk into the lie that was wrought in iron over the arched entrance of Auschwitz – to be held captive by the idea that work sets us free. This is not what God meant when he said in Isaiah 1:12: “Why this frenzy of sacrifices?” (MSG).

     

    Working ourselves into a frenzy of tormenting others by working them to death is not freedom. It is enslavement. But we are not slaves; we are free. And we have been freed for a purpose: to share what we’ve been given. The Bible tells us, “he has shown you, oh man, what is good, and what does the Lord require of you, but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8 NKVJ). 

    It’s easy to work, work, work. Even now, in a season where I have slowed and am working on different projects than traditional ‘work’, I find myself working a lot. I research, I stay current, I do housework. (Although, I just realized that I started laundry several hours ago and now have wet clothes in the washer. Oops!) It’s tough to pause and separate from what we’re doing but it’s so very necessary.

    The Story That Stuck Out The Most

    I tend to overwork. In fact, the other night I literally had a dream where I was working to prove my worth to work. I fell in love with the story that Christine breaks down for us in It’s Not Business – It’s Personal.  She reframes a story from Luke – the man on the side of the road and the good Samaritan.

    Nowhere in Jesus’ story does it say that the priest or the Levite were bad people. But they were busy people, religious people. They were so consumed with keeping their schedules, appointments, and commitments that they ended up walking past someone they should have helped. The man lying on the side of the road was an interruption to their ministry, rather than the object of it. 

    These are words that having been in ministry, just kind of shakes me up. It begs me to wonder what could have happened if, “x program had happened”, if “x told her idea”, if “x really embraced God’s leading instead of brushing it off”, if “x truly cared and went out of their way”. The what-ifs don’t have to be what-ifs. So much of that is buried in busyness, personal agendas and fear.

    If you’re reading this, I pray that you don’t allow the interruptions to throw you off. I hope you choose to submit and embrace them. I know that I will be more consciously on the lookout for those God-given interruptions in my life. Moments where He has plans and a purpose greater than myself.

    Worth it?

    Oh my goodness, yes! Even though this wasn’t on my Reading List, I am so glad I worship a God that intervenes in the smallest of ways for my good. I know He set this book club in my path this past week. I needed to read these very words this weekend. This is a book that I would definitely recommend. In fact, I’m passing it off later this week to one of my best friends.

    I’d strongly urge you to read this, especially if you’re struggling with disappointments, past labels, knowing who you are in Christ and who you could be. Even if you’re not struggling with those very things, I recommend you read it. You can find Christine Caine’s Undaunted here. Order it today, her words are so worth it. You will not be disappointed. Especially, if God is leading you to hear these words!

    It’s Days Before Easter, Is It Too Late To Start Lent?

    My family didn’t grow up doing Lent. In fact, other than my parents and grandparents talking about fish for Friday meals, I don’t recall really hearing anything about it. One Sunday afternoon at youth group changed that. Someone mentioned that they were going to give up chocolate or soda. A few minutes later, the circled rounded to me I participated in my very first Lent. I think I gave up sweets.

    Over the years, my relationship with Lent and giving things up has been an on and off again thing. This year, I didn’t give Lent a second glance. When Lent was starting, I happened to be starting a very different kind of in depth study and didn’t feel I could give the time to both. I said a cold hard, “see you later, Lent” as I left it in the rearview mirror. As time has grown closer and closer to Easter though, my heart is changing. I’ve set aside the other study for a reprieve amongst the intenseness of it. Within this break, I’ve started to feel weird that I’m not as focused on Lent as my instagram feed is. Weird that I’m a Christian who is “failing” because I didn’t give Lent my all.

    Lent isn’t about pretty instagram sayings on little square backgrounds or the eloquent words some of my friends string together under photos though. Lent isn’t about giving up chocolate and then sneaking a piece on Sundays because that day doesn’t count. It isn’t something you can “fail”. It’s about Jesus. All the moments leading up to the ultimate sacrifice that He gave for us as he died for our sins on the cross. It’s about intentionally connecting with Jesus whether it’s for the entire season or for a few days. Isn’t having that relationship with Him what this is all about anyway?

    It’s days before Easter. Can I really start Lent now?

    Why not start now? It may feel weird. I don’t believe God thinks it’s weird. I think he just wants to connect with us regardless if we start on the right day or not. We can’t go back in time and start Lent weeks ago. At least I can’t, my DeLorean is currently in the shop. Just kidding, I don’t really have a DeLorean time machine. What we can do is start digging into the Easter story and the moments leading up to it. We can delve into the moments before Good Friday and give it more time than just an Easter Sunday church service. We can intentionally sit and spend time with Jesus starting today.

    This morning, I got up and did my normal routine which includes reading the daily quote on a quote-a-day calendar that I was given years ago. This is today’s quote:“Ours is a God of Mondays, of new beginnings, of starting again, of seasons and weekends and tomorrows. He begins the day with love and ends it with faithful. And then again tomorrow.” – Emily Freeman, Chatting at the Sky. It reiterated that it was okay for me to start whenever because each day is a new beginning, even with Lent.

    What Lent Study Can I really do before Easter? Will I even get anything out of it?

    I just started a Lent study a few nights ago on a YouVersion study. It’s called The Final Lessons: A Holy Week Plan and is by Becky Kiser of Sacred Holidays. I am loving it so far. It’s short, simple, sweet but has a huge depth to it. What stood out to me last night when we were studying John 12:12-13 is something that I always overlook. It’s the word hosanna. It’s been a word that ever since Sunday School was kind of a throwaway word as I read over it and around it but never truly read it. Becky’s words caused me to pause and really look at this so often overlooked word.

    “Hosanna was a form of praise, but it also was a word used to talk about salvation, help or rescue—to ask for it or proclaim that it is here.” – Becky Kiser. Hosanna isn’t a word that has particularly significant meaning to me by itself since it’s always alluded me. With those words attached to it though, especially rescue, it changes things. Rescue is a word that I can really understand there.

    Let’s take a look at John 12:12-13: “The next day the large crowd that had come to the feast heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem. So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, crying out, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel!

    I’ve always read that with the connotation of Hosanna being something along the lines of “awesome” but that’s just a part of it. Putting the word rescue in its place changes so much. In my mind, it seems more active now. We know why we’re shouting Hosanna. We know that Jesus is here to rescue us. The combination of awesome and rescue intermingles praise with desperation. Something, that is so felt in my heart as I am desperate to be saved from the sins I struggle with and so thankful for how He has rescued me and continues to rescue me. 

    Y’all, I’m 2 days in and loving it. I highly recommend you go and download it. Don’t let Easter pass you by without even stopping to glance at it. With Easter baskets, Sunday best, nice lunches and Easter egg hunts, it can be so easy to forget about the true meaning. That there’s something more to Lent. Don’t let that be you. Yes, you can start Lent today. It’s not too late. You don’t even have to call it Lent. Call it connecting intentionally with Jesus. Call it a quiet time. It doesn’t matter what you name it, just let that time be His and don’t let Easter Sunday be the end to you connecting with Jesus. It’s not just a Lent thing. It’s a life thing.

    Happy Easter!
    Ashley

     

    Starting Over To Become A Better Me


    I love, love, love the idea of everyday adventures and unseen beauty. Oh how I wish my life could be that! I wish those were things that really exemplified my life – searching for unseen beauty in things that may not be so lovely and seeking out everyday adventures in the mundane. It just doesn’t seem like that is where I am though. Maybe it is where I was and maybe where I’ll circle back to in a different season. Right now though, that’s not the season I’m in. It’s not where my heart is. I think I just need to start over and work on becoming a better version of myself.

    Why Start Over?

    I believe it’s a season of changes, healing and restoration. It’s also an incredibly challenging time of sorting out of the identity of who I’ve become versus who I wish I had become or could become. I’m questioning my current life path. I’m seeking out past hobbies that once brought me joy and looking at them in a new light. Due to all of this and the switching of priorities of taking care of family matters first instead of working for a career, it’s time for a fresh start, a new chance at who I wish I’d become. Some days, I have the desire to look at my life penciled on a page and start ferociously erasing. Afterwards, I’m left with imprinted scratches and a somewhat new-ish slate. It’s something I can start over with. With each pencil stroke, I can begin to build something new, something better.

    Why Becoming A better Me Starting Today?

    As this journey has started, one thing has become incredibly evident. I have changed significantly over the past several years. Unfortunately, I think the vast majority of these changes aren’t for the better. I’m not saying that I believe I need to be the perfect woman juggling her career, kids, faith, home, friends, family and everything else with exact and precise balance while living each moment with intentionality. There are areas of my life that I feel like I’m not good at though, that I feel like need improving. I don’t feel like I live each day with intentionality. The thought patterns I’ve developed over time could use a major overhaul. I don’t give myself grace, yet I know I need to learn to do so. These things won’t change overnight, but I believe I can start to become a better version of myself one day at a time starting today.

    What Does Becoming A Better Me Look Like?

    In short, I have no idea. So many areas of my life that need redemption. From my questioning faith after seeing so many Christian failures as well as my floundering relationship with Jesus to a new healthy lifestyle that isn’t filled with pinned workouts while I’m seeing how many donuts I can eat in one sitting. Due to my love of research and reading. I know that research and reading will play heavy roles on this journey. I know being truthful, honest and eagerly seeking out answers will be on the way. This journey will be filled with changing things/habits/thoughts/routines, trying new things/foods/workouts and discovering that even an older dog can learn new tricks. The cool thing is that each day is new and what becoming a better me looks like today may be different in a year or so depending on the season.

     

    Grab my hand and let’s journey together!

    Ashley