There are moments, days, weeks where my anxiety reaches unmanageable levels. Despite my attempts to remain focused on today and leave tomorrow’s problems to deal with themselves (Matthew 6:34), I find myself focused on planning and obsessing on all the “what if” scenarios. I know what the scriptures tell me and I pray for the peace of God to fill me in these moments. My worry about one thing filters over and creates worry about areas God has already so richly blessed. Do you ever do the same?

Philippians 4:6-7 says, “Do not be anxious in anything but in all things through prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, make your requests made known to God and then peace of God which surpasses all understand will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”

I am shouting this reminder in my soul. My heart desire is to rest peacefully in the promises of Jesus. May this scripture bring inexplicable peace over my life and yours if you struggle in this same way.

When I focus on what I know is true, I am reminded even in the darkest days of my life, God has always been there. He has provided and brought peace in the toughest of circumstances. I say this not in any light manner, but from real experiences.

When my husband was laying in ICU after full cardiac arrest and we were uncertain he would survive, God was there. More than ever before, I felt the tangible arms of God wrapped solidly around and holding me firmly in a peace I could not understand.

I am more than thankful for everything my heavenly Father has done to bring peace and rest and security to my life. I long for that same “crisis comfort” in the day-to-day struggles. I wonder how we can feel less peace in the small things and rest so peacefully in the hardest times of life. Even in my wondering, I am completely confident God would not lead us in a direction that is not going to be glorious in his absolute sovereignty.

I seek his face and his comfort in my anxieties of today. I give all worries for tomorrow back over to Him trusting He has total control. I find a peace in the whirlwind of life remembering how he has never failed us. He is incapable of not keeping his promises! He loves us and expects our face to rest solidly upon Him for our path of peacefulness.

In His grip, Ashlee

Pray with me:  Dear Gracious heavenly Father God, Thank you for caring about even the smallest of anxieties when they trouble the hearts of your children.  Even when you are in complete control, you recognize our inability to find peace in this world.  Guide us continually back to you as we search for comfort and security in your ways. And when we do get stressed out in life, allow us to find grace for ourselves and not allow our worry to create more worry you don’t intend us to carry.  Lead us, Lord, along your path of peace.  In  your son’s name, we pray.  Amen.

Gone too soon

When we lose someone suddenly it feels so completely illogical and unnecessary.  I struggle aligning a good God with such pain. As I watch the aftermath of a life too soon departed, even knowing the hope of eternity, in my human heart I ache for the loss. I watch the heart-breaking pain and grieving asking God why so soon? Why now? Why not one more hug? One more chance to see children and grandchildren? One more I love you?

It’s just not fair and she (or he) didn’t deserve this.

I know technically, none of us deserve to live long lives, and God doesn’t owe us anything. Yet the reality remains, even when God is so fair and so just, His plans rarely make a lot of sense to us.  A young man dying before he graduates high school doesn’t make any sense. A friend watching her husband suffer and die from cancer makes no sense. A mother watching her child suffer and pass before her time does not make sense. A kind tender selfless soul leaving this earth suddenly at only 57 makes no sense. Not to me.

I find myself saying, “it’s just too soon”. And humanly, it is too soon. We are sad and grieve.  However, doesn’t that make it sound like the whole world is just really random and out of control? Wouldn’t that be totally meaningless?  There is good news in which, if I can find the strength, I can find comfort. The good news for all of us grieving – even when we are sad and deeply wish we hadn’t lost someone and beg for it to all be a bad dream – it is never random or meaningless.  The timing of our Lord and Savior is always right and He is always just in when He decides to take us home.

Ecclesiastes 3:11 says  “He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.”  For those of us who know God and have faith in His complete sovereignty over all things, including the timing of our lives for that matter, we are able to claim this scripture with confidence “there is a time and a way for everything, although man’s trouble lies heavy on him” [Ecclesiastes 8:6] since “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven” [Ecclesiastes 3:1].  We must depend on God’s timing to be perfect, even when we here on earth are not. Even when we don’t understand this side of eternity. Even when our hearts of so full of pain.

The only way to align this to our Good Good Father is to fully understand the world we live in is not the world He designed for us.  A world where accidents happen and cancer happens and sickness happens and people die young, just isn’t the world God designed.  We live in a fallen world.  We are left here to try to understand why the things that happen, happen.  But as we struggle, we hope in eternity spent with Christ. His shed blood is our promise when we believe in and rest on Jesus.

I know in heaven it will all make more sense and I know I will see Teresa there.

In His Grip, Ashlee

Pray with Me: Dear Heavenly Father God, our hearts are broken over such loss.  And we can’t make sense of the pain we feel here and now. We do believe in you and we do rest our hope in your complete sovereignty. We ask you bring peace and comfort during this time to all those who have lost loved ones and we ask you bring a blessed assurance to our own lives that we too will celebrate in heaven with all the saints who have gone before and spend our eternity in perfection. For any that do not know you, God, I pray they would come to meet you personally and find perfected freedom in the Cross.  In Jesus precious name, Amen.

In loving Memory of Teresa Elaine Vickers.  7/24/1959 – 10/10/2016


Broken created beautiful

Do you ever feel just flat broken?  So many times I do.  I live in this space of not quite having myself pulled together. The outside might look pretty “with it”, but the personal images of my brokenness have tormented me for some years.  So yes, broken, what a perfect word to encompass the fullness of an emotional undertone of my personal image. I struggle living with self-doubt, guilt, shame, poor self-esteem and inadequacy. All these make me feel nothing more than “broken”.

I let the world’s image of broken taint my image of myself. How can something broken be of any good use?  There are landfills full of this world’s cast aside broken materials. A broken toy is no good for the child’s play anymore. A broken dish becomes trash. A broken necklace may require a trip to the jeweler for repair.

The enemy wants nothing more than for me to hide my broken from God.  Yet, God sees all the history of my sins and knows all the shattered pieces of my soul when I was trapped in sin. The times I allowed my faith to be shoved aside in the pursuit of worldly ambition and success, He knows.  He knows and waits patiently for me to give him the pieces.

Oh, my heart breaks for the times I have not respected who God created me to be.  Even still in these feelings of shame and brokenness, I rejoice in God who is my jeweler. I give all the pieces of my brokenness to my Savior and he makes something beautiful. He shapes my life for his glory and nothing could be more gorgeous in His eyes.

All that I am, all the pieces of me, I surrender to my Lord.  In this total surrender, God is able to cleanse every part of me and make something worthy of bringing him glory.  “For I am his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that I should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10) A work of art. Created specifically by Him for the purpose of good works.  In eternity past, God prepared these good works that He will accomplish in and through each believer by the power of his indwelling spirit.  I beg Him for this reminder as I speak the affirmation of His work over me.  I seek His continued cleansing daily, asking He make revelations deep in my heart of how I may live for him and live full of the beauty he created me to be. A masterpiece.

I know my God does not see my sin, but sees the purity of my heart. He wants nothing more than to be able to quiet the reminders of the world through my obedience to his plans for my life. He wants me to know He sees me, and you, not broken but created beautiful.

In His Grip, Ashlee

Pray with me: Dear Heavenly Father God. Wow, thank you for such an insurmountable love that would take the mess I make of my life, including my disobedience, and see something worthy of creating beautiful for your purposes. My heart is overwhelmed when I imagine the way you see me through the lens of your son and my soul is crumbled by the weight of my sins on him so that you could actually see me that way despite myself but only because of him.  Amazing Grace.  Such grace upon grace.  Thank you Lord.  In Jesus name, and only through his blood, I pray. Amen


Building Bridges & Closing Gaps

Deep breath. Please read forward with an open mind and an attitude of grace.  This was a hard one.

Here I sit, a white female, sharing my heart and gut on the topic of racism. Some may say I write from a predestined air of having no idea what I’m talking about and you are, in some degree, probably right. I have never felt the mistreatment due to the color of my skin. Others would argue that I might have felt the discrimination of being a woman. I can’t honestly say that I have. Either I’ve chosen not to see it through my rose-colored glasses or I’ve truly not been a victim of such discrimination.  Bottom line, I can’t personally say someone has discriminated against me and therefore, I don’t claim to write from a victim’s vantage point.

I write from my heart. A heart which is broken in today’s world. A heart convinced Jesus is brokenhearted as well. I’ve been searching to align with Jesus’s perspective. To learn God’s direction in the one true book to follow – The Bible.

I was immediately drawn to the biblical reality there is really only one true race – the human race.  In Acts 17:26, Paul teaches we all came from the same source of creation, “from one blood every nation of men”. One blood. In other words, there are no superior or inferior races. We are all from the same race: the human race created in the image of God our Father. Superficial differences in skin color, hair color, hair texture, or eye shape may provide physiological differences between people groups. But the Bible doesn’t provide any justification for treating people differently simply because of these physical differences.

I’m not suggesting there isn’t an issue. Oh, completely the contrary. The issue of racism or ethnic prejudices are running rampant in a terribly fallen world.  I’m only suggesting, above, racism is not biblical at the root of creation.  I think we can agree.

However sadly, the first scene of the prejudice plague on our fallen humanity can be found biblically in the Old Testament. God divided humanity into two groups: Jews and Gentiles. The Jews were an ethnic group of people descending from Jacob. A Gentile was, well plainly, everyone else. God desired for the Jews to lovingly minister to the Gentiles in a way that honored and glorified Him. However, the Jewish people mostly became prideful of the status from God and ended up hating the Gentiles. Thankfully, Jesus Christ put an end to this, breaking down the dividing wall of hatred between the two ethnicities. In Ephesians 2:14, we learn of Christ our peace, who made both one, and broke down the wall of separation.

If we all lived in accordance to the teachings of Jesus without fail, we’d already be in heaven, not still here on earth in our fleshly sinful nature. Therefore, we have issues and race has become a big issue either due to pride or fear or insecurities. That which is different from us, scares us in one way or another. We shy away from discussions about our differences because they tend to become uncomfortable or awkward or feelings get hurt.

So, in my deep heart’s desire, I ask; “what can I do, as a Christian, to build bridges and close gaps?”

  • I must accept my own responsibility in the problem. I have to accept where I have an unaddressed preconceived inappropriate mindset and take it to the foot of the cross. Repent and seek correction.  Over and over again.
  • I must not pretend prejudices don’t exist just because they don’t negatively impact me personally.
  • I must not become offended by things like “Black Lives Matter”.  Yes, all lives matter, but do all lives currently feel a personal persecution?  Does saying “Black Lives Matter” necessarily mean all lives don’t? No.
  • I must be compassionate and culturally sensitive.
  • I must tolerate, in the biblical sense of the word, taking the time to listen and understand other people. Build bridges. Break down the isolation between races and cultures.
  • I must not think myself superior. Paul tell us in Romans 12:3 that a man should not “think more highly of himself than he ought to think.”
  • I must treat all others kindly and lovingly. Friendly, open communication is important, as well as is flexibility and keeping an open-mind.  “And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also.” 1 John 4:7
  • I must focus on how to enhance my ability to bridge a racial and cultural gap.
  • I must be willing to have the conversation.
  • I must, in any way possible, point to Jesus. He is the ultimate answer and cure.

I do  not have all the answers, nor do I believe my tiny corner of the world will make global change. My prayer always remains, my circle be blessed because of what Jesus has done in me.  In Him, I seek obedience and rest my hope.

In Christ, I hope in this glorious conclusion. Despite how bad we as humans mess things up on the topic of race, with Christ, there is no favoritism on account of birth, beauty, or blood.  ALL at the foot of the cross are sinners and ALL at the communion table are saved by the same amazing grace.  Praise God.

In His Grip, Ashlee

Pray with me:  Heavenly Father God, I love you. Thank you for pressing this topic deep into my heart and giving me the courage to share it. I pray, we can find healing in a world wrecked with hurt over issues of our differences and hatred. Give us all a spirit of peace, love and understanding. Help us to live a life focused first on Jesus, empathizing openly with each other.  Mold our hearts toward you God. Until you draw us to heaven where we will live in complete peace, remind us we are all your children here and your son died to save us all.  In His precious name I pray. Amen.