Have you ever considered the words ABOUT and FOR?  Before you say, “who cares!?”, stick with me – I’m going somewhere.  To really explore, let’s look at the difference the words mean when used in context.  If I say, “Tell me something about yourself” or “Tell me something for yourself”, would you answer the same way?  I tend to think not because they are pretty much different questions.

Look at it this way –

ABOUT yourself means with regard to yourself.

FOR yourself means for your benefit.

Now that  we have gone to English class, “so what” right?

Let’s take a step on over in our prayer life. Have you ever considered the difference in praying ABOUT someone and praying FOR them? Pretend for a minute you have not and I just enlightened you as much as I have personally seen light bulbs go off in my spiritual world lately.

I have spent many hours in my prayer life praying about relationships. I mean to tell you good long desperate hours seeking the face on my savior regarding people so near and dear to me.  I’ve gone face down prostrate to my master in request. I’ve wondered when God was going to act and felt long-term heart ache as I wait for reconciliation. To me, to God, to each other.

As I wait for their demons to become chained in the blood of Jesus.

As I wait for them to come to peace with God.

As I wait for their hurting to stop.

As I wait for their running to stop as they fall safe in the arms of God.

Remember the light bulbs?  It occurred to me while I was laying my face on the ground in front of my Father God…..I may have also been pounding my feet and fists in something of a two-year old tantrum.  Maybe, just maybe, many of my prayers sounded a lot like “God – change them!”, “Fix them!”, “Teach them a lesson”, “Oh, if only they knew you Lord” “…. spent more time with you God”, “…. were more obedient”.  You get the idea. Lots and lots of praying ABOUT.

I believe God has been waiting patiently for me. Listening, looking over to the right side of the throne and chuckling with Jesus. Probably saying, “this one, always going back to the same mistakes, is a little dense, ya think son?”  I think Jesus in all his redeeming glory might say “She means well Dad”.  I mean I’m sure they talk about us… aren’t you?

Fortunately, somewhere someone is praying FOR me as well as Jesus himself is personally interceding on my behalf with our Father. Hence – light bulbs!   This particular light was sparked from a conversation with a dear friend (Rachel – LOVE her).  Through her gently suggesting, I had some real revelation with God in my quiet time. I’m pretty sure she was His instrument in this timing.

Now, my heart is turned soft in my prayers FOR my people.

As I pray Jesus protect them from the demons they struggle against.

As I pray the peace of God to overcome their heart in troubled times.

As I pray their hurts will disappear.

As I pray God’s arms safely catch them when they feel His great grace.

Coming in line with God’s perfect will and desires for all of His children creates a love in my heart for others rather than my personal rant session I was having with God about them.

Maybe you too?  Maybe it was just me… either way, Good stuff God!!

In His Grip,  Ashlee

Pray with me:  Dear Heavenly Father God, thank you for sending us messages through your children you very deliberately put in our lives. This message I personally so needed to hear and maybe others too Lord.  I surely needed to get over myself. Give me the heart to pray for others rather than about others. I want to pray in their benefit not just describing them or their current struggles.  I pray for myself, God, that I would have a softened heart always remembering I will never look someone in the eye your son did not die for.  We are all your children and I am honored to come into your presence with prayer. Continue to correct me when I need it God.  Help us all remember.  In Jesus Name, Amen.


King of the World

I have to know – have you heard this song by Natalie Grant?

When did I forget that you’ve always been the king of the world?
I try to take life back right out of the hands of the king of the world.
How could I make you so small when you’re the one who holds it all?
When did I forget you’ve always been the king of the world?
You will always be the king of the world.

Oh my heart…. this has so spoken to and touched me in a deep deep way bringing clarity to my weary mind.

It has been a long 18 months around my world. I have worked really hard at seeing the good in all things and being positive. Although a solid attribute to have, I inadvertently have convinced myself talking about the hard times would somehow be a weakness of faith or cause someone else to not be as faithful in their hard.  Or even that somehow saying “this is hard” negates how honestly blessed I feel.  Actually, the “hard” for me is a portion of where this blog was born.  Birthed through growth when I hurt, growth in God speaking to my broken and tired soul. Strength grown, even through the struggles, knowing God has time and time again been faithful in the hardest of my days.

But, the reality is, some days really are the hardest. In the last 18 months I have had four immediate family members spend a collective 35 days in the hospital through 8 surgeries/procedures, countless doctor appointments and an ever-changing medicine regime to manage on top of the regular ups and downs of life and work and home and empty nests and not-so-empty nests… and… We all have our own “and…”.  As a wife/mom/daughter, there truly is nothing more I want to do than nurture and care for my family, yet there are hard days. Days I am tired physically and emotionally.

The more tired I become, the less energy I have had and in full disclosure my time with God has been suffering. For a while. This is reality friends.  As I began to realize the slump of ‘going through the motions’ I had to pull myself out of, I realized “Why when we know what we need the most to get through the hardest of days, do we feel it’s the first thing we can let go of?”  It is as silly as saying, “Here is the medicine that will make you well, but leave it on the shelf and don’t take it. ”  Makes lots of sense huh? Not too deep to have taken me a few months to realize. (I am smarter than I behave, I promise.)

When I first heard this song by Natalie Grant, I was so convicted I literally broke into tears. I had been feeling so weak on my own. In that weakness, I was overwhelmed with the weight of our life’s circumstances. I have been completely sure my tiredness meant I was a failure at the harder times in life. When I don’t feel joyful in my tough moments, I wonder what is wrong with me. Through Natalie’s precious voice, I realized – these are the days when I have taken life back out of His hands and have tried to do it all on my own.  Through such clear words, this song reminds me He never intended me to handle anything in my own strength.

I have said before, I write about what I struggle with in hopes someone else will grow with me. If you are struggling to handle your “hard” in life on your own, learn and grow and be reminded along with me.  Let’s give it back to God and our successes will be that much more kingdom glorifying when we say “I could never have done it on my own. God carried me!”

And rest in this truth with confidence – My struggle doesn’t mean I don’t love God or trust Him or that I am failing at living faithfully. It just means I need Him that much more. In Matthew 11:28 Jesus tells us, Come to me all who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest.  I pray for you today, and please do the same for me, that you make quiet time for God. Let Him speak life into your tired and strength into your weary. Give your circumstances back to God and let Him be King of the World – His track record is way better than ours.

In His Grip, Ashlee

Pray with me: Dear Heavenly Father, We love you and we praise your amazing love for us. I stand in awe at how patient you are with me Father. Right now, God, remind us that you are in control. Remind us of your sovereignty in a very tangible way. May there be a peace come over our lives that we cannot explain any other way than through praises and glorifying of you as the provider of all strength, rest and provision.  Father remind us when we grow weary, you are the place of rest and the energy source we most need.  When we are tempted to take things back over into our own control, remind us that you are the King of the World and we can trust you as our refuge and fortress. Help us to be confident even when we feel weak and like we are failing.  We are already conquerors through your son Jesus and it is in his name we pray, Amen.

Get in the Circle

It’s been over a month since I’ve posted and more than a couple of my dear friends have asked if I was planning on posting soon or if I would post on certain topics.  So, it is time to tangibly process through the events of the last month(s). Welcome to my stream of consciousness one topic at a time.

My heart hurts.  Like really hurts over the pain of this world. There is so much ugly with a constant reminder of such a fallen world. People fighting over which lives matters more and politicians shooting arrows of deceit across party lines. Well meaning sweet people throwing condescending opinions toward anyone who doesn’t rest their backside solidly on their well-meant sweet bandwagon. All of it makes me sad. I think God is sad too. (or at least disappointed.)

I keep going over in my head how to do something, anything, to make things better. I flip-flop between feeling so insignificantly capable of making a change in the huge world of struggle to feeling a burning desire larger than my body can handle to just DO SOMETHING.  But what?  What can I do? What can you do?

I found myself on more than one occasion saying, “If more Christians would love like Jesus, things would get better.”  It is a grand plan. I can easily say, “If all Christians would just be true Christ followers and behave like Jesus, loving like Jesus, the world would get better.”  This is such a great idea and so solid a statement.  However it is a lot to say, and even more to expect, the whole population of Christians to change on a statement made by someone who maybe hasn’t even taken their own advice.

You see times I said this statement with an air of smugness and judgement.  I have to confess, I thought if this or that super Godly person would just act super Godly, there would be one less ounce of harm in the world.  Do you see anything wrong with that? Notice any smidge of hypocrisy coming from me there?  {Geeez, why didn’t you point it out before I had to be hit in the face with it….. 😉  What is “super Godly” anyway – did someone wake up less human and less flawed?

Once I decided to quit being so super un-God honoring with my own attitude, I reflected on a strong point I had heard months before.  While doing a ladies group study on Gideon by Priscilla Shirer, she was talking about creating a circle of revival right where we are. It is all about drawing a circle around yourself and beginning that impact where you are. You see – change begins inside the circle, with me.

Not sure who Priscilla Shirer is? You must immediately check her out here http://www.goingbeyond.com/blog/

During all the grossness that has become our culture, I’ve come to realize the only way I can impact and the best way I can honor God is exactly as Priscilla said, to start with me. As I work on me, I should pour that into the people in my circle. Then ask them to create their circle and pour into their people. Create revival, which is after all an improvement in the condition or strength of something. Couldn’t we use some improvement in the condition and strength of our world?

We need revival and we need it to start in us. Christian women loving Jesus, loving like Jesus and loving our circle.

My circle is drawn and my commitment has been made. Join me.

In His Grip, Ashlee.

Pray with me: Dear Heavenly Father God, We love you so much and are so in awe of all you have given us. Your love never fails even as we tear your world apart and hurt your children. Thank you for loving us so much.  God, give us the power to generate real revival on earth starting inside each of our circles of influence. Hold our tongues and have us speak edifying truth into each other and allow us to learn to really love like Jesus loves us.  We are asking you now God to show up in our circles, impact us so that we may impact for your glory.  In Jesus name we pray. Amen