For God so loved…

The last couple of weeks have been rather tolling on me. Between drama and insecurities, it began to feel like things were falling apart. I started to feel extremely unloved, unwanted, and unworthy. I found myself wondering what I had done to be excluded from several different things. I wouldn’t tell anyone either because I felt like I needed to be the strong one. I tend to be like a mom/older sister to those around me. I take on that role and I put all of me on the back burner, which isn’t necessarily a good thing. It is not healthy to bottle things up.

Well, last night at the college service at my church, I found those emotions that I had put on the back burner pushing forward in the form of water droplets falling from my eyes. First slowly, then all at once. I tried so hard to hold them back, but I found that the dam that had been, had just completely crumbled. I found myself pouring my heart out to about 7 or 8 girls, out of whom I only knew three. I was being completely vulnerable to a bunch of strangers who knew nothing about me. I told them of how hard it had been the last couple of weeks to truly feel loved and wanted. After our group split, I continued to talk to a friend about it and really just open up to her. I allowed myself to be even more vulnerable and open about what had been going on and it was one of the best decisions I made that night. While she and I were still talking, one of the other girls in the group, who I didn’t actually know, walked up to me and gave me a sheet of paper and a hug. On the paper, there was the reference 1 John 4:7-21. She said that when she struggled with insecurities, she liked to look at this passage and encouraged me to do the same.

When I returned to my dorm, I made myself a cup of tea and created a little nook under my lofted bed. I made myself comfortable and read the passage she gave me. It talked about God’s perfect love and how God is love. Every fiber of his never-ending being is perfect love. The verse that stuck out most to me, even though I had read it many time before was verse 18. It talks about how perfect love casts out fear and how love and fear cannot coexist. I currently have the reference written on my wrist and I plan on keeping it there for a while.

I also began to think of the verse John 3:16. Typically, when you grew up in the church, this is one of the first verses you would have heard. It talks about how God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son. As I was meditating over the scripture I had read, and listened to some Bethel worship, I realized that yes, God loves the world, but it could have also been worded that God so loves you or God so loves me. Since I was struggling with feeling unloved, this had been so perfect to realize, and it wasn’t by accident or coincidence that I did.

If you feel unloved or unworthy, remember that there is absolutely nothing you could ever do to earn God’s love. God gives his love to us so freely and willingly, all we have to do is accept Him. I hope and pray that you have a blessed day.

In peace and love,

Ashley ❤

Scripture:

1 John 4:7-21

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. -1 John 4:18

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. -John 3:16

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What God Is Doing In My Life

Oh my goodness, God is good! As some of you may know, I moved to college about two and a half weeks ago. It has been a crazy transition and my life has been so hectic! Through it all though, God has put some incredible people in my life. Every day, my friends lift me up in Him and have been constantly encouraging to me. I have said many times that I have never been so comfortable around a group of people my age before, and it’s incredible!

The school I am attending is a private Christian college. This means that I have the opportunity to attend chapel daily, as well as attending classes where they speak about God and incorporate God in whatever we are learning. Coming to this school has already been such a blessing to me and I can’t wait to see what happens next!

I’m going to leave you with this verse, this evening.

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?” Matthew 6:25

Have a marvelous rest of your week!

Love,

Ashley ❤

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God Uses Us

Hello my lovely readers! Last night was my last time going to the youth ministry that I have gone to since I was in sixth grade because I’m leaving for college! It was such a strange feeling to be saying bye to people but it was so amazing at the same time. 

“My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry,” -James 1:19

The lesson was over James 1:19. We then broke up into groups based on grades. So, I was with Juniors and Seniors, even though I’m graduated. It was so amazing because we started talking about situations we had been in where we needed to be slow to speak and what we actually did in the situation. As we were all talking and asking questions, God was constantly giving me words to speak to the group. 

This was just one incidence of God using me for His purpose. Having the spiritual gift of prayer, God will occasionally call me to walk up to someone and pray over them and then He gives me the words to speak. It’s so incredible how He works in us AND through us. So, today I just want to leave you with something to think about. What is God saying to you? How does he want to use you and work through you? 

I hope you have an incredible day and a great weekend!!

Love,

Ashley ❤

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How I Plan to Keep My Faith While In College

Well hello, lovely people! So, I leave for college two weeks from this coming Sunday! Oh my goodness! I have everything together and organized! As many people have heard before, and as my Bible teacher this past year had said a million times, many college students abandon their faith when they go to school. Luckily, I am incredibly blessed that I am able to go to a very small Christian private college. Due to this fact, it may be easier for me than it is for other students my age going to larger colleges, Christian or not.

Despite the nature of my school, I still have somewhat of a plan for staying on the balance beam of Christianity. Besides going to the college I will attend, God has already surrounded me with people who love him as much as I do. I’ve also found a church in the area that I plan on attending.

One of the biggest reasons, I think anyways, that college students tend to abandon their faith is because they do not schedule time for a quiet time during the day. They tend to busy themselves so much that they don’t have time. That is what I plan to avoid. I am that person that carries around a planner and writes to do lists. Every day, I will have my quiet time written down, possibly along with an actual time.

Diving into my faith this past year has changed so much for me. It has changed me. I have become so much more joyful and focused. I don’t ever want to be back in the place I was. So, I encourage you to spend time in the Word daily. It’s difficult to make the time. I struggle with this now and I’m going to try to do so much better. I hope you have a lovely day!

Love,

Ashley<3

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My Story

Hey friends! Today, I wanted to open up and get a little more personal with you. My story, my testimony, is something I have shared with many many people on mission trips, with friends, or even to a stranger I start a conversation with. Something that many people don’t realize is how important every single person’s story is. Everything that has happened in your life is for a reason. That reason is that it’s simply God’s plan. I’ve done things that I would never do now and I’ve dealt with things I refuse to struggle with ever again, but I’m not ashamed because it all made me into who I am now. I am a woman of God and I couldn’t be more proud of that.

Okay. Now let’s get personal.

In seventh grade I switched schools. The year before depression began its hold on me. So when I moved schools, I was mixed in with the wrong crowd and I started smoking cigarettes and drinking. I spent the majority of the summer after seventh grade staying up all night partying and sleeping my days away. This continued on and off for a long while. In the mean time, the depression was still there. I hated myself. That’s the only way I can describe it; hate. As a thirteen year old girl, I did not think I was mildly pretty, let alone beautiful, as Psalm describe’s God’s creation. My eyes were masked by my imperfections and I let it take me over.

In eighth grade, my family lost our home to foreclosure and we moved in with a family friend. As time passed, and I became a bratty teenager, this family friend grew to greatly resent me because because I wouldn’t follow her rules to a T. Her son resented me because I was living in what had been his game room. It was an extremely difficult situation for my entire family. I felt completely and utterly alone. For this year, I didn’t really party but I felt worthless and like a waste of space.

Nothing much happened my freshman year besides the feelings continued and we were still living with the family friend. Sophomore year, my best friend got her license. She and I would always be going places with her and we would drink at her house all the time and she, my other best friend, and I would be smoking all the time. This is also the year where I cut myself for the first time. (All I can say is that I’m so thankful that I only have two scars.)

The next year, my junior year, was the hardest year of all. It was also one of the best. This is the year that I hated myself the most. This is the year I partied the most. I didn’t realize how stressed out I truly was. I was working, going to school, partying. I finally snapped and had one too many melt downs. I ended up on anxiety and ADHD meds, both prescribed by my doctor. That’s one thing I never did; drugs. The summer before senior year, I went to a party with my best friend for the Fourth of July and out-drank a bunch of twenty year old guys. They were in shock that I wasn’t flat on my face and that I seemed completely coherent. That was the last party I went to and the last cigarette I smoked.

I’m not one hundred percent sure what happened, but I just stopped partying. It held no interest or appeal to me anymore. My Senior year changed my life. I surrounded myself with people who love the Lord. I cut out my two best friends because, quite frankly, they treated me like crap. They used me and didn’t really care about me. Once I let go of those friendships, I became so much happier. As the year went on, my relationship with Christ grew. He filled me with a joy that no one had ever seen from me. That is something I am so very thankful for. It was because of God that I was never addicted to smoking or cutting or drinking. It was all because of Him. I am who I am today, right this second, because of HIM.

If there is anyone reading this right now who is struggling with anything I have struggled with, please feel free to comment and ask for my email. I’d love to talk to you and help you any way that I can. Trust in God, because He moves mountains by the flinch of a muscle. I hope you all have a fantastic day!

Love,

Ashley ❤

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Try

Good morning, friends! This morning, I have listened to Try by Colbie Caillat probably 8 times and I’m obsessed. Not just with the song, but the message behind it. I’ll go verse by verse with it. The first couple verses are just examples of her message, not what she’s actually saying!

Verse 1: Put your makeup on. Get your nails done. Curl your hair. Run the extra mile. Keep it slim, so they like you. Do they like you?

So, this first verse somewhat outlines what society says should be a daily routine for women. You have to make sure you look perfect, otherwise people won’t like you. Here’s what the Bible has to say:

“Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.” – Galatians 1:10

Biblically, if we are worried about the opinion of others, we tend to disregard the opinion of Christ and we are blinded.

Verse 2: Get your sexy on. Don’t be shy girl. Take it off. This is what you want; To belong so they like you. Do you like you?

Many women of all ages feel like they have to sleep with a bunch of guys in order to fit in. I personally had two friends have their goal for last summer be for me to lose my virginity, even though they knew I wanted to save myself for marriage. It has become such a cultural norm. Here is what the Bible says about sex before marriage:

“Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous.” – Hebrews 13:4

By saying that “let the marriage bed be undefiled,” it is saying that you have not had sex before marriage. You should save yourself.

Verse 3: Get your shopping on at the mall. Max your credit cards. You don’t have to choose. Buy it all so they like you. Do they like you?”

Material things have become so important in the current generation. People get bullied and harassed for no having the nicest or coolest things and it’s not okay at all. Here is what the Bible says about material possessions:

“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” – Matthew 6:19-21

Material things will go away, but the only thing that is forever is Heaven and your salvation.

Verse 4: Wait a second, Why, should you care, what they think of you
When you’re all alone, by yourself, do you like you? Do you like you?

This is the part of the song where I start to see truth love. What should matter is how you see yourself and how you think God sees you.

“I praise you for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” – Psalm 139:14

This verse shows us what God really thinks. He loves us, his creation, just for who we are. Not for what others think or say about us.

Verse 5: Take your makeup off. Let your hair down. Take a breath. Look into the mirror at yourself. Do you like you? ‘Cause I like you.

This is the most freeing moment a girl could ever have. Looking in the mirror and seeing that your are truly beautiful, inside and out. I remember the time I had this moment and I started to cry. It was an incredible moment and I hope everyone feels it at some point. I’m tying Psalm 139:14 to this verse as well.

Chorus: You don’t have to try so hard. You don’t have to give it all away. You just have to get up, get up. You don’t have to change a single thing. You don’t have to try try try try. You don’t have to try try try try. You don’t have to try.”

I love the chorus because it goes along with the freeing moment in the mirror. You realize that you don’t have to put makeup on every day, or ever. You don’t have to look perfect or keep your emotions 100% in check all the time. You can just be YOU.

This song is one of my absolute favorites and I wanted to share it with you! Love you all so much! Have a lovely week!

Love,

Ashley ❤

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Social Media and the Desperation for Approval

Good morning, lovely people! I’m sitting at my favorite coffee shop, as usual, sipping on a Mocha Latte. When I woke up this morning, I opened up Facebook and saw a video that Sadie Robertson had posted recently. I personally do not watch Duck Dynasty, it just is not my cup of tea, but Sadie is Inspirational! The video is titled “Just Be You and Live Original.” How people see themselves is something close to my heart, so I absolutely loved hearing what she had to say. I posted the video below because I feel as if it goes so well with the topic I want to talk about in this post.

Social Media has practically taken over the lives of people everywhere of all ages, including yours truly. Heck, I’m evening doing the 100 happy days challenge, where I post a picture on Instagram every day! (I have a tab that talks about it.) Social Media has created this little monster in the back of our heads saying “Oh, you only got 43 likes on that, you are so lame.” or “Oh my goodness, I got 88 likes on that! I must be the coolest person ever.” We have become so concerned with who liked or retweeted or viewed or reblogged or whatever they did to our post, that we have become obsessed with it. We obsess over whether or not we are “popular” to people that we probably don’t really even know, who probably don’t really care how many likes we got on that picture.

As imperfect sinners, we are so desperate for approval from other imperfect sinners. The thing is, we already have approval from the one that really matters, God. God is the only one that we should be worried about liking the things we post. We need to remember that he sees everything that we post or do or even think. He is the one who decides if we receive salvation. That being said, if you have accepted Christ, no matter what you post or do, you can’t lose your salvation.

“For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.” Galatians 1:10

The main thing I’m wanting to express more than anything in this post is to not worry about your “social media popularity” because, in eternity, it is completely irrelevant. You won’t be in Heaven turning to the person next to you saying “Hey! I got so many likes on this picture four hundred years ago. So, I deserve the closer spot to Jesus.” Let me just tell you something, if you think that will happen, you might be really twisted.

Anyways, I just wanted to share this tidbit of what has been on my heart recently! I hope you all had a wonderful weekend and I hope your week goes amazing! Watch the Sadie Robertson video below! Have a blessed day and bless others you come across!

Love,

Ashley ❤

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