I’m sure most all of us know the parable of the talents, but for fun let’s review.

In this parable [Matthew 25:14-30] Jesus talks about stewardship of the gifts God has given all believers. In the story, the master was leaving on a journey and to one of his servants he gave 5 talents, to another 2 talents, and to another 1 talent according to their ability. A talent equaled about 75 pounds of coinage and was approximately 15 years of normal wages for one person. This was a crazy huge responsibility for each of the servants to bear.  When the master came back to settle accounts: The first two servants had put the money to good use doubling their amounts and were able to present the master with his principal and the additional profits. Yet the servant with one talent was afraid to use it and hid his master’s money.  The master then took this one talent and gave it to the servant who had ten talents.

What we learn through this story is simply this – Christ wants us to use the gifts He has provided to us, not to bury them. Spiritual gifts should be valued as gifts of God’s grace toward us. We are called to “bear much fruit” [John 15:8] that lasts, and our spiritual gifts play a significant role in doing that. The character in this story I personally tend to relate to and perhaps at times understand the most is the servant who hid their talent.

Can we pause a second – let’s just talk about how cool that the word ‘talent’ meaning a unit of measure in this parable means a gift or skill to us in our modern-day vernacular … God’s so smart!

So, about my friend who hid his (I’ll say her) talent. Before we get all holier than thou thinking, “yep, she should have done something with that talent”, how many have done, or are doing, the same thing?

Think about her looking at that talent and remembering what she read the night before one of the other tribe members posted on their instagram or facebook page about a new venture they were headed toward. She felt insecure and knew she could never measure up with her little talent and forgot all about the fact that the talent she had was just that – HER talent – given specifically in trust by her master. The talent was meant for her to use in a God preordained way. She got caught up in wondering how she would ever be as much or as successful or have as great an idea as the others. In the middle of her comparison, she was too lost to see how uniquely amazing she was and how beautifully her life already perfectly complimented her talent.

Any of this sound familiar?

Does to me. I’ve spent entirely too much time living in comparison convinced I could never be half as this or that as someone else. I could never do that job. I could never draw that well. Or paint like that. Or speak so eloquently. Or communicate so clearly. Or sing like her (really I can’t – singing: whooo, uhm NO!). I have spent so much time living in paralyzing fear of failing if I would even try to use the very things God gave me to use. In reality, that doesn’t even make sense. That sentence doesn’t compute when lined up with the biblical truths of how God created us.

We can’t even get out of the very first book of the bible without solid basis for believing God created us to be who we are. In Genesis 1:27, we are told: “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” In HIS image – that’s pretty much saying your pattern was perfection. NICE!

Then flip a whole bunch of books over to the New Testament and see where Peter lays out exactly how God blessed each of us with our gift (talent). He says, “God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another.” [1 Peter 4:10]

God created us, blessed us with the specific, unique, quirky, silly, beautiful things he determined we would be. We need look no further than His word to find our worth and a relationship with Him to have our purpose. Seek Him for direction if you aren’t sure about your talent and then trust Him as you use that talent to further His kingdom. Your gift/talent may be the one thing that encourages the people around you most. And when you are scared (which, still, you will be), lean in to Him – a child of God fully reliant, surrendered and submitted to her creator brings nothing but all honor and glory to His name.

So, sweet friend, take your talent and do not be afraid. Do not hide it and remind me the same. Let us together wildly pour ourselves in the direction God leads. May we live confidently in the promise of serving Him always always yielding a high return.

In His Grip, Ashlee.

Pray with me: Dear Heavenly Father God, We love and we thank you for creating us exactly as we are. Thank you for embedding a special gift or gifts in each of us that you predestined us to use for your kingdom. Give us the fortitude to seek those gifts out and the courage to pour them into furthering your mission. May we live with our eyes focused on you only looking side to side to encourage and build up our family in Christ.  We pray in Jesus name.  Amen


07022dfa95ebf9516c0d1e832eb9d6eeI love this photo of the baby bird nuzzled in close to the mama bird.  The visual imagery of how God defends and shelters us settles my weary heart when most nothing else will. I can so see myself poking my little nose out of God’s covering and then quickly tucking myself back into safety telling God I’m not ready yet. Can’t face the day, can’t face the problem, can’t face them, can’t face myself, I just can’t…. cover me back up God.

Psalm 91 says, “He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day.” [verse 4-5]

WOW – terrors of the night. Little secret about me: I have terrible dreams. Nearly every night I dream and I mean I dream vividly. I remember all of my dreams and they are in full color with total detail like street names and full narrative scripts. At times the dreams are just silly, however the worst dreams will leave me yelling out in my sleep and waking in tears. These dreams are so real to me that the emotions linger on me for days and I find myself unable to shake the terror of the night. (I am sure some therapist would have a field day with that, but I’m just going to leave it right there.)

And arrows that fly by day…. Don’t we all have those? Waking up saying “Today is going to be better” and then of course life happens and we have to deal with adulting.  The fiery arrows just shower with no real sign of relief.  And yes, there is perspective and we have to look for things to be thankful and count our blessings – life truly is all about perspective. I truly deeply believe this in the core of my being. Even still, these arrows (in spite of our blessings) require attention and the “dealing with” part isn’t always what I would call a blessing.  (Can I get an Amen?)

Yet, in my weariness, inside the terrors of the night and the arrows that fly by day, I will cling to the promise of where my refuge lies.  I know who is my shield and rampart (defensive wall). And in the night terrors and arrows of the day – I will not fear. Well….I will try really hard not to fear or doubt or question my own ability to “just deal”. IMG_4055
I will write His promise on my hand and look at it a million times until the fear leaves. Until my strength in Him feels as real to me as it has always been to Him. In His confidence and strength, I will poke my head out of His wing and allow Him to blow wind under my wings in order that I may fly. As is His full intention for us all.


In His grip,  Ashlee.

Pray with me:  Dear Heavenly Father God, you know our hearts and you are not surprised by our weariness and fears and insecurities. You know the days we need to rest tucked close under your wing for fear of facing the day.  You welcome our times with you like this while you build back strength. Infuse us with your word giving us courage to face the day and may we never lose sight of your desires for our lives. Remind us there is no fear in your calling and we never walk the road alone.  Keep us strong in the mission and wise with your guidance.  In Jesus name, Amen.


Rest here.


The pure weight of life can easily become a heavy load. I don’t believe that is a bad thing to admit. Schedules, family events, work, bills, church, ministry work, house chores… all of it adds up. No matter how much individually one or the other may fulfill and over joy you, when you put them all together it is very easy to end the day to be left wondering if you really got anything accomplished. Let alone accomplish something great for God.

The easiest thing to do on these days is feel like a failure and convince yourself you simply aren’t capable of doing it – whatever “it” is. I’ve been here, listening to the voices in my head that ask me “why bother” or tell me to just go back to bed. When I get into this state, everything becomes super hyper sensitive and I could without any effort turn into a total recluse. I over analyze everything, get my feelings hurt too easily and forget the true heart of those dearest to me. Does this sound familiar? Sure it does and, honestly, sometimes in life we just need someone to say, “me too”.

HOWEVER, this is not reality and not where we get to camp out.  Absolutely, I’m glad to know others have moments they feel this way and I promise to be the first one to empathize when you are feeling total buried under the duties of life. I will set a timer and let you rant about all the things on your plate. But when the timer goes off (like mine really needs to) I will encourage you (and me) back to the promises of God.

A few thoughts to battle the overwhelmed blahs;

#1) We give the devil an inch and he will take a mile. As soon as we begin to believe the half-truths and down right lies of the enemy inside our own minds, we give him room to grow seeds of dissension. God is a good good father. He does not condemn or destroy, but builds up, encourages and directs toward righteousness.

#2) To hear God’s voice we have to stay in His word. I know for me when I start to feel these overwhelmed times in my life, I’ve struggled to remember the Bible was written as an instruction book and a place of encouragement for me. This is precisely where I need to hear from my Father God. Overwhelmed lives look for things to shed the pressure.  We can never let our time alone with God be the thing we shed.  But sadly, if we admit it, many of us have.  Then we lose the one place we can rest well and revive our souls.

#3) The way of the Lord is not to be a hard heavy road. Yes, in this world we will have trouble, not saying there won’t be days we have to dig in deep and persevere in our faith. What I mean is that when we walk with Christ, the perseverance gets easier.  Jesus tells us in Matthew, “Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” [Matthew 11:29-30]

So when we feel like life is too much and forget for a moment where our focus should be, three quick steps; 1) the devil lies, 2) God’s word holds truth and 3) it really is easier with Jesus.

This is a reminder message to myself more than anyone. I run a pretty constant pep rally in my head in an effort to stay focused. My prayer is someone else would gain some encouragement from the things I need encouragement in.  Someone out there needs to hear, “me too” right now.

In His Grip, Ashlee.

Pray with Me: Heavenly Father God, please bless every person this message touches. If their life is feeling the overwhelmed nature that I so often struggle with, I know you wish nothing more than to rest their soul. Give them, and me, the gentle reminders of who you are and where the lies come from. Your way has never intended to be laced with defeat, but victory in your son, Christ Jesus. When the anxiety raises and the weight of the world feels heavy on our chests, give us strength to remember in the moment exactly where we can rest – your word.  Thank you for loving us so much and shepherding us in the fold of peace. In Jesus name, Amen.



Wild and Free

My girl #iveyleaguemom (aka Tiffany) invited me to tag along for this weekend launch party for the book “Wild and Free”.  I was definitely excited, because of course I love all things Tiffany and Charleston is a cool town and what I knew of the book was pretty spot on – so, why not? I’D LOVE TO GO! (translated: eeeek – I’m so excited!)

What is Wild and Free?  Simply, it is a book. However that is like saying the ocean is just water.

Wild and Free is an anthem for women.  It is a challenge to live wildly in exactly who God created you to be while also living freely in all Christ has done.

Wild and Free is a disposition.  It’s a place all women should live from the inside out. Total freedom in Jesus and total confidence in what God has created and planned.

Wild and Free is a friendship. The diversity of women brought together by being commonly grounded in Jesus, encouraging one another to be the best us God orchestrated us to be.

Wild and Free is a soul’s refreshing. When you thirst deep within, needing desperately the water of life, living Wild and Free reminds you to focus on the good good father, Elohim – He created you and He loves you and He knows you intimately.  Rest and drink Him in.

The launch party weekend was full of events celebrating women, laughing and enjoying our time together. We made new friends, learned so many new things (my makeup skills require their own post all alone!) and shared what God is doing in our area of influence.  I know for sure, Tiffany and I dreamed, cried and shared exactly how “God is messing with us” right now. The freedom of this trip to be completely as Wild in God and Free in Jesus was exactly what my soul needed.

“If you have ever felt both too much and never enough” – get this book. Give it to your mom, daughters, sisters and friends.  Jess Connolly and Hayley Morgan have not held back any truth, nor have they been shied away from the transparency required for this message.

In His Grip,  Ashlee

you can buy it here–> http://www.amazon.com/Wild-Free-Hope-Filled-Anthem-Enough-ebook/dp/B010R2U5ZU

you can visit their site here–> http://www.wearewildandfree.com/

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