Now what?

I assure you this is not a political post – rather a post political post. I have purposefully tried not to add to the drowning of political melodrama over the last 18 or so months. I would much rather look at puppy pictures or see your babies and learn about your kids’ latest accomplishments or celebrate another year of marriage with you.  I truly rejoice in the blessings and joys of your life. Your happy makes me happy! Does that make me shallow? Perhaps. And if that is your opinion – you are free to have it. I still love you, in Jesus name.

And I don’t have my head in the sand, I am aware the election is over and there is a winner. The question I have is this, “Now what?”  Because the debate isn’t over and the arguing hasn’t stopped. Whether I personally am happy, sad or indifferent, what is my responsibility today, as a Christian, in this place where I find myself. “Now what”?

I’m glad I asked (I know you wanted to)… I’ve turned to my bible, my Christian leaders, trusted sources I read and prayed a lot.

If you have read much of my writing, you already know I believe strongly in my circle – starting for change inside of my reach. If I can impact my circle, to impact their circle, to impact their circle, pretty soon everyone is prayerfully impacted positively in someone’s circle. Just like if we all held hands, we would eventually all be connected somehow. It’s a lovely picture that I agree is not everyone’s plausible reality, but allow this girl her dreams, ok?

So, what does that look like?

The Gospel. First and always. People are searching for some inkling of hope and answers that rise above politics. What better opportunity to proclaim a God who will overcome anything in their lives, even in Washington, than right now?  First and always is the gospel message of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Love the person who didn’t vote like you. Don’t assume they are anything less that someone else Jesus died for on the cross at Calvary. Their stance or motive for their vote may be different, but they are still His.

Acknowledge people are scared and worried. Lots with good cause. Their communities don’t know what to expect and are weary of what is coming. Their concerns are real and their hearts are hurting. Don’t disregard their pain.

Name calling doesn’t get us anywhere. Simple, but true. Unfortunately, a necessary reminder.

Be wary of saying things like “God spoke in this election”. Number one, who am I to speak for God? And see the third point – does this attitude win the hurting people for the kingdom or make them feel alienated by a God they should trust?

We are Christians first. One family in God’s kingdom.

There is much to be said of the total sanctity of life, but plainly with no fault, ALL lives matter. In the womb and out, regardless of skin color or side of the badge. ALL.

Pray. I continue to seek the face of God in my life’s direction as well as the wisdom of our leadership. I do not believe God is surprised and I am certain He wants to hear from His people. Just as certain as I am He can and will do a mighty work in our nation to glorify Him.

In His Grip, from my circle, loving and longing for change. Ashlee

Pray with me:  Dear Heavenly Father God, wow what a whirlwind of emotions we bring to you this week God.  Thank you for opening your arms and your big ole daddy lap for us to find comfort when things are so out of control. You never cease to love or protect us and for that, I am so incredible grateful. God, please bestow upon me, your daughter a supernatural strength to love in the unloveable junk of this world. Give me wisdom of when to speak and when to be quiet. Mold me and my attitude so that all would see your works in my life. We’ve come so far, with you working on me, and God I can’t wait to keep going. Always my prayer – help me impact the kingdom for you Lord. In Jesus precious holy name. Amen.

 

November… worshipful gratitude

Worship.  Being worshipful.  Worshiping.

I’ve been dwelling on this word for some time now. Such a high calling for the Christian. What does it mean to you? I’ve explored what it means to me and as we enter into November, the season of thanks, I’ve resolve even more than ever a heart that is truly grateful is worshipful.

There are many text in scripture I’ve studied in my attempt to fully understand an attitude of worship. I found myself resting in quiet times again and again on Hebrew 12:28-29, “Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire.”

Do you see?  1) Be grateful for the gift of the kingdom.  2) The kingdom that can’t be shaken. 3) Therefore worship in reverence and awe 4) God is all-consuming.

Not only have we received an amazing gift, but the gift can’t be taken from us. And because of such an amazing gift, how can we help but be in total face down on the floor worship of a God that is all-consuming in our hearts and lives.

The season of November gets forgotten more and more in today’s fast pace rush to Christmas. I love the world is excited in anticipation of the Christmas season and yes – Jesus is the best gift ever (like -ever!) and Christmas is all about Jesus’s birthday. However, the whole reason for his birth, was to save us. God sent him because He loved us and wanted a way for us to be with Him forever. Jesus was born to die for my sins. And that feels like something to be grateful for and get worshipful over.

I am sinking my feet firmly this year in a full on celebration with a grateful heart ready to find my quiet moments of worship to the Lord who has given me so much. Every single day I am grateful for my salvation. I hope to find an infinite amount of moments to thank God in worship for what He has done for me.

In His grip, Ashlee

Pray with me:  Dear Heavenly Father God, I love you and praise you. I am continually humbled to come into your presence in prayer. I bow my unworthy head as I thank you for all you gave for me and all you have brought me out of. I read today, God, “We all have chapters in our story we don’t read out loud”. Oh my, Father, how much we know that’s true of me. Yet you provided an unshakeable gift for me. A gift for us all. Thank you for all you have done and will do to bring peace in the crazy, joy in the sadness and love in the hatred of our lives. November is all about gratitude and worship as we prepare for a huge birthday celebration in December. In Jesus’ precious and holy name we pray. Amen.

 

 

Peaceful

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

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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.

I helped write it….

Y’ALL!  EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEK!!!!!!!!!

I can’t remember the last time I was this excited and shocked.  Several weeks ago, I stepped out on a limb and submitted an entry for possible inclusion in a published devotional for this advent season.  I have just learned today, I was accepted!!

Y’all – I HELPED WRITE THE AMEN PAPER ADVENT DEVOTIONAL!!!

Thank you for your kind words to my writing here. You encouraged me to get really crazy uncomfortable, trust God all the more fully and take a chance on this amazing opportunity. Never ever did I really believe I would be selected, but God knew! He’s so stinkin’ cool like that!!!!

(Exclamation marks should be read with crazy enthusiam. The more the better! yay!!!)

Pre-sales start tomorrow, Thursday, September 15. More information to follow!!

In His Grip, Ashlee

Pray with me:  Thank you Lord for exciting days. Thank you for all the times you show up and surprise us in the middle of the mundane of life. Your love for us never stops amazing me and humbling me. God, through this, remind me how much obedience to your call matters more than fear of failure. Encourage others to step out in all the more faith with you knowing your plans in our obedience are better than anything we can imagine alone.  In Jesus Name! AMEN. 

 

 

ABOUT or FOR?

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