Underneath It All

Underneath It All

Emma enters the room and every head turns. She is stunning, tall, thin, and beautifully dressed. She walks with grace and confidence. She smiles, walks through the crowd, and engages in numerous conversations. She loves the attention yet underneath it all, tears stream down the walls of her heart. She puts up a good front, but the scars run deep. She longs to feel loved, and after years of asking: “Am I enough?” her heart concludes – NO! She feels the stabs of rejection deep within, and it defines her inner wardrobe. Her mistakes and failures color her thoughts and actions, and she covers her wounds with multiple facets of control and pretention. She longs for something more. She pines for her filthy rags to be removed. There are days when she takes off one garment of judgement and then another of gossip—- only to find that she has put them back on at the end of the day. Looking at her you would never know the tattered garments covering her heart and the insecurity in her soul. Outwardly she appears beautiful and bold, yet the inward she is naked and fearful. What would it take to tear down the walls of garments she is hiding behind?  She longs to come out – to be seen – to be noticed – to be beautiful  – TO BE FREE. What is your heart clothed in today? What are you wearing right now? Will you let Him remove your filthy rags, one garment at a time, and clothe you with His robes of righteousness – the garments of Heaven? Oh sweet...
Smitten Bride

Smitten Bride

As a Bride of Christ  – Are you a “Smitten Bride”? The worship music played loudly though my ear buds as I sat on the floor in front of the hotel mirror applying makeup for the day. The girls were beginning to stir and so was my heart. In the mirror I saw a broken girl; yet the Lord whispered – “Beautiful”. I saw dirty rags. He whispered -“Clean”. I saw shattered. He whispered – “whole”. I saw bondage of busyness. He whispered -“smitten bride“. I saw my past. He saw my future. Tears streamed down my face as my hand reached to the Heavens. There was no holding back regardless of who was watching. I was smitten – I had to worship Him! How could I not?  He was washing me in mercy and restoring my heart piece by piece. It was a beautiful thing. This reminded me of another women who could not help but worship him. A busy bride defines Martha to a “t”. Her heart is divided with good/god distractions. Yet she is a preoccupied worshipper. Mary represents a smitten bride with a focused heart, and she is an extravagant worshipper. Martha’s hospitality was focused on meeting the “needs” of Jesus; Mary was focused on “Jesus”. Mary was not lazy; She was whole-heartedly smitten and intoxicated with her Lord and enjoying her King. Jesus was pleased. In John 12:1-3  the smitten bride, Mary, anoints Jesus’ body with her alabaster jar of oil. She breaks open her life savings, her 401K, her everything and pours it onto his dusty feet. Then she makes a scandalous move...
Does Anyone See Me?

Does Anyone See Me?

The pain surfaced unannounced; unseen to all and I wondered, “Does anyone see me?” I fought back tears. Yet it was the song “I Can Only Imagine” playing on the radio that brought the fountain to my cheeks. Twelve years earlier I had knelt beside a church pew during a concert as they sang this same song. In the middle of an awful divorce, my heart was bone dry. Face buried within my weary hands, I cried out in desperation, “God please take me and my two children. Everyone else I know and love is doing fine. But my kids can’t make it without me……………….and You see I can’t take this agony anymore. Please. Please. Please. – Take us God. I want to be with You.” Does anyone see me? The band continued -­‐ “I can only imagine what I will see when Your face is before me…” Then everything silenced, – “Ashley,……… I Am right here! There is work to do!” I looked up immediately. Surely everyone had heard and was staring at me. But to my surprise everyone was still worshipping. I paused on my quivering knees in awe. He had called me by name! He declared a purpose for my life! HE SAW ME! The God who sees -­‐ saw me in my misery and reached down into the dirt of my brokenness and began rewriting my story. Twelve years later the enemy launched an attack on my children. This momma bear was ready for battle wondering again – “Does anyone see me?”. My head suggested many ideas for worldly triumph. However, I knew in my...