What do you think of when I say the word BRIDE? Being a bride is much more than wearing the perfect white dress and saying: “I do”. Being the ultimate bride is saying YES to Jesus Christ. When you say, “I do” to Him it is transformational. He is your greatest lover; nothing nor no one will ever compare. This “yes” is a journey. This “yes” is giving permission for your heart to become fully alive. This “yes” is giving Him permission to remove your veil alowing the true you and your beauty to become fully alive.
It is the most important “yes” you will ever utter. Are you ready for more?
He is waiting for you at the altar of grace.
I said a real YES many years ago and out of that this poem was birthed. It blows me away every time I read it. God has continued the unveiling of my true beauty, and I am in AH! I am His bride! So are you! Read ON beautiful one —-
Chains of bondage wrapped so tight
One mistake after another, every day and night
Who had I become, and was their any end
To the misery, pain, and bondage I was living in
My truth had been distorted, and my heart stripped away
Would I always feel this worthless and picked “over” day by day
I continued to give what I had, thinking surely one would see
I was worth something, and one would give back to me
But how could I give away, what I did not ever contain
How could I freely love, when all I felt was shame
If only I could stop this ride and start all over again
Surely I would do things different, and not heap sin upon sin
Please someone tell me, there is something better or more
Tell me that there is “light” behind these dark and heavy doors
Am I only fooling myself, and this is “just the way it is”?
And now I must exist in the chains of bondage, scars, and mess
And then one day the WORDS came to me
It is “’I’ that you need, take My hand and I’ll set you free”
Who me? The broken one, rejected, scarred, and shamed
Yes you! My chosen one, now let Me have your chains
If you will put your hand in Mine, and obey my glorious call
I will take you down the road less traveled and restore it to you all
Where ashes once were heaped, only beauty will reside
More beautiful than ever the Kinsman Redeemer’s Bride
No permanent mourning, nor sorrow, nor sin to keep us apart
I pour upon you my oil of gladness, and redeem your broken heart
I will put joy in your heart and give you a garment of praise
And display you for My splendor for the rest of your days
The Bride of the Prince of Peace, the beautiful Bride of the King
You will wear my Robe of Righteousness, and I will wear all other things
I have redeemed you, restored you, and set you free
Now take My hand, and dance in liberty
You are My precious child, only fit for the King
Now live like you believe Me, and I will bless you beyond your dreams
I am not asking you to do it alone, just seek Me with all your heart
I am your Kinsman Redeemer, and I will do your part
I have sprinkled you with My blood, and washed you white as snow.
You were bought with My Life, now you are beaming with My Glow
My faithful promises are your armor, so sore on eagle’s wings
You are Redeemed and Restored; you are the BRIDE OF THE KING!
Ashley White (2005)
REGISTRATION OPENING NEXT WEEK
Thumbing though old journals, desperate for God to speak, when my eyes fell upon this entry from many years ago. It was a powerful reminder of how far my Good and Faithful Father and has brought me. It was also one of the key unveilings of my true beauty. However, there are many, and every one of them is intertwined and significant to my beauty becoming fully ALIVE. Also, each have played a crucial role in birthing this amazing new women’s retreat coming this April 8-10th “Beauty fully ALIVE”.
Let me share one unveiling now:
A few years into my second marriage the Lord began awakening a passion in me for women’s hearts and their marriages. But as this passion grew unexpected warfare plummeted into my own young marriage – which immediately led to the enemy’s whispers… ”How can you teach other women when you can’t even get it right yourself”? I realized in that moment my greatest struggle was also my deepest passion. And I was desperate for God.
Over the next three years every time there would be a heated discussion between my husband and me I would resent, keep score, pout, personalize, internalize, compare, push away, want revenge, and vow to not need him so much again. His words regardless of their intent were like daggers, which penetrated deeply. Unknowingly I left fragmented pieces festering where they pierced me and they oozed bloody lies covering the truth I was desperate for.
This continued on and off. I would fight “worldly”, then surrender, diligently seek the Lord, then feel stronger, be loving, then make failed attempts to be a good wife. Ultimately each strategy failed. I thought I was praying all the right prayers, memorizing all the right scriptures, attending all the right Bible Studies, cooking all the right meals, doing all the right things. Yet it was all performance = acceptance driven. I no longer dared be vulnerable so I performed. However, my performance mentality left my heart falsely satisfied, desperate, and thirsty for more.
I could not seem to shake this defensive attitude or this hunger, and he could not seem to penetrate my wall. What was going on? I wanted to be loving, vulnerable, forgiving, and inviting, but behind my wall there was failed striving. I was desperate for God and cried out. WHY GOD? Here I am with a passionate heart to help women, but no matter what, I keep failing.
A few months went by and everywhere I went I heard: “as a deer pants for water so my soul thirst for you.” Okay Lord, yes I am thirsty. Then a guest singer came to our church; guess what he sang? Yep – “As a Deer Pants for Water so My Soul Thirst for You”. Then the very next morning on my daily walk I veered off the road and made my way down to the waters edge. Standing straight across the lake from me was a beautiful deer coming down for a refreshing drink. The floodgates of my heart burst forth and I cried vigorously, “Lord, what are you trying to tell me? I know I am thirsty and desperate for You, but what else? What are you up to?”
And then the dance to unveiling my beauty began.
Through the next several weeks I was led to read and watch John and Stasi Eldredge’s books and DVD’s (Captivating and Wild at Heart). The truth was astounding. I had been in darkness veiled and blind. But, now He was removing my veil one layer at a time, and revelation like the ocean waters began pounding over my stone wall wave after wave. My eyes and ears were opened to life altering truth. Darkness turned to light. I wept for days! It was sweet, refreshing, and covered in grace. He revealed to me I was severely broken, shattered, wounded, and bleeding profusely. I kept performing, attending, memorizing and learning but there was no intimacy, relationship, healing, integration, nor trust. I was trying to offer life and love from behind this broken, wounded, mangled, and distorted place. Therefore, what I offered was exactly that. It was a severe heart issue. I HAD NO IDEA!
Through this new journey of His wooing and pursuing my heart, the Lord showed me my “defensive attitude” was actually built out of starvation, desperation, and protection. I had been wounded in the past from other men, and with each wound I began constructing a grand yet deadly wall around my heart. Unintentionally I drug the old wall of stone right into my new marriage and tried my best to love freely and wholly from behind it. Needless to say I failed –again and again and again! What I built for protection was imprisoning me.
Praise Jesus- Praise Jesus that was not the end of my story. No, He did not forsake me nor leave my heart to die behind my wall of stone. The dance to freedom continued as I sought Him like never before. Hand and hand we began tearing down the wall one brick at a time, and replacing each with garments of truth, love, healing, wholeness, and restoration. Once parched, weary, overcome, and walled in, I was now becoming beautiful, satisfied, refreshed, victorious, alive, and free. He was awakening my heart to more, and quenching my thirsty soul.
This chapter of my story has increased my passion for women’s hearts. Remembering it has reconfirmed my deep desire to educate, inspire, encourage, and usher other women into freedom. It’s also one chapter upon many others which led me to offer my new women’s retreat, “Beauty fully ALIIVE”. This gathering of women is an invitation to MORE. He is calling His daughters to:
SHAKE OFF THE DUST
Beauty fully ALIVE
He will not force His way in; He wants to be invited. He does not want your performance, perfection, rules, or religion. He wants your heart so He can begin unveiling your beauty and revive your heart to becoming fully ALIVE! There is a great unveiling waiting for you, and it is time for MORE!
RETREAT DATES: APRIL 8-10, 2016
Retreat speakers and guest: Ashley White, Pat Domangue, Melanie Massey, Tallie Maybray, Amber Zambie, Michelle Crouse, Gary Ratcliff, Lindsey Nadler, Kelsey Bohl, Kathy Boggs, and Dana Milford – WHOA!
DETAILS RELEASED NEXT WEEK
Change is on the horizon yet my heart is resistant – “why change”? I am too busy, and it is the last thing I feel like doing. However, it’s the most needed. Why can’t I see it clearly? Distracted with life’s curve balls, children, family, business adventures, and many “good things” I am tempted to hang onto the threads of lies. Their familiarity brings false comfort and part of me likes it – so I think. God is calling me to more change, yet my wondering mind is tempted to hide and remain busy. Excuses mount. Rebellion rises. Lies lurk. Stubbornness surmounts. There is a thickness in the air of change, and I must choose to push through the unknown, rise up, and trust the One leading me out. It’s my choice.
In the midst of my chaos and questions I sense more nudging. I must obey. I stop, wait, and listen; and there in the stillness. His grace abounds. His love draws me out, and His light begins to penetrate the shattered fearful places within. His change for me is not to take away but to give more. His change is only an agent to usher me into more wholeness, freedom, and sweetness. He see’s my desperate need. Why can’t I? Why do I resist? What the enemy means for harm, numbness, and destruction God is using for His glory, restoration, and new life.
Although change is hard, it’s the fear of change that holds me captive. When I began viewing change as “a new frontier”, and began asking God, “what He is up to in the midst of this new frontier” – my perspective starts to change. My fear of change is losing its grip; not because I like change, but because I trust the One who has gone before me. I am not trusting the air, nor is my life up to chance – NO, I know the One who is leading me onward, upward, and into more. He is on the front lines of my life’s story. He is in the details, and He is in the change.
As I invite Him in and give Him full access to my heart, He is removes the layers one by one and calls me forward from glory to glory. If I never changed I would become stale, stagnant, stubborn, and calloused. But He longs for more for his daughter. He pursues my heart relentlessly. He desires for my heart, mind, body, and soul to be renewed, alive, obedient, awakened, and restored. He desires for me to become more like Him with every ounce of change that comes my way. And I am not alone.
More change. More like Jesus — What a beautiful change that is!
AN INVITATION TO CHANGE:
Her instinctive emotions of jealousy arose often-entrapping feelings of constant unworthiness in her soul. She did not believe she could retain affection, attention, and respect on her own merit, even though it appeared she had it all. She thrived on controlling her surroundings, yet she lacked self-confidence causing constriction in relationships. These constraints and emotions were damaging her relations instead of growing, nourishing, and protecting them.
Her jealousy spewed out in competitive actions, quite gossip, and abrupt thoughtless comments, which drove many away. She thought often: “She has more than me; She is prettier and skinner than me; She is more likable than me; Her husband is more spiritual than mine; her child is more talented than mine.” These accusations were nestled in insecurity, mistrust, lies, and fear — a bundle of brokenness. She feared never being loved for her heart alone so she compared and manipulated. Her unrealistic comparisons paralyzed her heart from loving herself, loving her life, and truly loving others. Her constant uncontrolled jealousy festered beneath the surface of every relationship with a destructive manner. The enemy loved her struggle. It was a perfect tool to vandalize her heart. She knew it was wrong yet she felt bound in this jealousy trap.
What could she do?
Jealousy is intolerance toward someone believed to enjoy an advantage. It is an attitude or feeling with an intense interest for another’s honor or prosperity. Jealousy occurs when we are afraid someone is going to become equal or even superior to us. This kind of jealousy is a sin. Jealousy can be fervently attached to almost anything worth having; material possessions, social status, job positions, spiritual evolvement, physical talents, character traits, special skills, and relationships. The jealousy trap is a relationship killer.
Do you constantly feel the need to compete, compare, and win?
Do feelings of jealousy fester within then rise up un-expectantly?
Do you ever struggle to retain feelings of self-worth and self-confidence when you compare yourself to other women?
Jealousy is something that everyone needs to deal with in varying degrees and in many facets. But, many don’t ever go there. The awesome news is when we do “go through that door” we discover truth. We don’t have to allow jealousy to reside in our hearts and rule our lives. We don’t have to live bound and taunted in the jealousy trap. We have been given the power of our resurrected Jesus Christ to overcome, break old agreements, and not live according to our old sinful nature/our flesh/the lies. We must stop comparing ourselves to others, and begin embracing our true identity in Christ Jesus. We must invite Him in to heal our wounds and bind up our broken hearts. We must allow His truth to wash over us transforming us daily into who we are called to be as daughters and sons of the Living God. He is waiting !
You are created in His image. You are fearfully and wonderfully made. You are His confident and beautiful you. You are HIS!
LORD, Examine my heart and reveal any jealousy inside. Forgive me of my sin and fill me with You’re Holy Spirit. Christ in me I will be a confident and secure and produce Your fruit in my life. My I recognize my insecurities and find my security and self worth in You alone. Thank You Jesus that you love me for me. I love You LORD. In Jesus name I pray – AMEN
DETAILS COMING SOON:
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 one, His hand is extended to you. It’s your choice to reach out. Go for it. Grab hold sister. And one step at a time He will bring you out from underneath it all.
Prayer: Lord God Almighty, You are King. Come and be King of my heart. Fill me with Your all-consuming Holy Spirit. Invade my flesh. Bring me out from underneath it all. Help me to remove the tattered garments of meanness, greed, anger, bitterness, jealousy, control, unforgiveness, judgment, gossip, selfishness, and distrust. Heal me from the inside out so I may be a reflection of Your beauty and light. Cover me in Your robes of Love. Wash me white as snow. May I bring my hearts deepest question to You and, help me to receive Your answers as TRUTH! Your word says and I decree: Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, I clothe myself with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. I bear with others and forgive others that I have grievance against. I forgive as the Lord forgave me. And over all these virtues I put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. (Colossians 3:12-14) You are all I need Jesus. I love You LORD. Praise You Jesus. In the name and the blood of Jesus Christ I pray – AMEN
COMING THIS APRIL 8-10! STAY TUNNED FOR DETAILS
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 and releases her bound hair (which a woman never did in public). She intimately wipes His feet with her beautiful locks unconcerned about what others thought. She offered her heart to her King. The disciples watched in judgment; they did not understand her bravery. One by one each disciple rebuked her for her waste. They saw money; She saw Jesus. She said nothing in her defense, against the cruel accusations, but Jesus did.
“Aware of this, Jesus said to them, why are you bothering this woman? SHE HAS DONE A BEAUTIFUL THING TO ME….……When she poured this perfume on my body, she did it to prepare Me for burial. I tell you the truth, wherever this gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.” (Matthew 26:10-13)
Jesus received her offering as a “beautiful thing”, and declared her sacrifice to be remembered throughout history. Jesus always defends a worshipper. There is nothing too dirty that He alone can not make worthy. And that day the fragrance of her worship filled the room, changed the atmosphere, and imprinted history. She washed His feet in fragrance. He washed her heart in mercy.
Extravagant worship fills your heart with lavish love, consuming peace, vibrant fragrance, bold courage, and unending hope. Pouring out your hearts devotion is a natural response to the One who loved you first. He remembers your personal offering of extravagant worship and longs for you to be His “smitten bride” not a “busy bride.”
What you worship will consume your heart. Are you an extravagant Worshipper of Jesus? Or are you an extravagant worshipper of busyness and meeting needs? Will you pour yourself onto Jesus as an offering and allow Him to pour Himself into you?
PRAYER: LORD JESUS, Here I am; I give you my heart. I spill my heart as an offering. I long to worship You in Spirit and in Truth with all that I am. Remove my heart of busy-ness and replace it with a heart alive and focused on You alone. I desire to be “Your Smitten Bride”!
In Jesus Name I pray – AMEN!
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 heart true victory would be on my knees crying out to “The God who sees”. Their battles would not be left to chance. So I lay face down bellowing before God and declaring His powerful Truth, knowing He does not lie and is faithful to watch over His word. I took hold of the opportunities to fight for my kids, and now I have seen “The One who Sees” fight for them too.
Do you believe God sees you? Right now?
PRAYER: El Roi, The God who Sees, Thank You for seeing me and my family. Thank You for loving me. I desire to know You more. I consecrate my family and my children unto You. Come have Your way in our lives. Holy Spirit lead us and guide us daily into all truth. I bring the full work of the Lord Jesus Christ against every foul and unclean spirit that sets itself up against me, my marriage, my children, my home, and my domain. I plead the blood of Jesus over us and invoke the Kingdom of God to come bringing His kingdom into our kingdom today. I love you Jesus. Thank You for loving me. In Jesus name I pray – AMEN
TRUTH The angel of the LORD found Hagar near a spring in the desert… The angel of the LORD also said to her: “You are now pregnant and you will give birth to a son. You shall name him Ishmael, for the LORD has heard of your misery… She gave this name to the LORD who spoke to her: “You are the God who sees me,” for she said, “I have now seen the One who sees me.” Genesis 16:7,11,13 “El Roi” -‐ The God Who Sees Me
STAY TUNNED FOR ALL DETAILS AND REGISTRATION FOR THIS AMAZING WEEKEND COMING THIS SPRING:
YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL!
Squash Cornbread Recipe has been my absolute favorite this summer. After many trials and tweaks, I believe this recipe is my favorite. ENJOY!
- 4 medium squash spiraled thin and boiled (or chopped small and boiled). Drain water off and let cool
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp. garlic powder
- Dash Sea salt and pepper
- 1 cup – stone ground organic white rice
- 1 cup gluten free organic all purpose flour
- 1 tbs. minced shallots
- 1 cup organic shredded cheese
- 1 jar of unrefined organic coconut oil
Cut or spiral squash. Boil until soft. Pour in colander and let water drain off. Let cool. Mix the squash in really well with the remaining ingredients. Heat coconut oil over medium to medium high heat. Using a spoon drop one spoonful of mixture into hot oil. I flattened it with the back side of the spoon to help cook evenly. Flip several times until lightly brown. Remove from oil onto a cookie sheet lined with a paper towel. Let cool and dig in.
NOTE: You can use 1/2 cup white rice flour + 1/2 cup organic corn meal if you prefer instead of 1 cup of white rice flour.
Happy Summer. With Memorial Day being only a few days away I had to share one of my favorite recipes with you. This is a must because it’s easy, delicious, and will defeintly impress your guest. Get in your kitchen and have fun!
Shrimp Tacos with Cilantro-Coleslaw
- 20 medium prawns, peeled and deveined
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon chipotle powder (can add more if you like it more spicy or omit)
- 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 4 corn tortillas -non GMO or (you can replace with fresh flour tortillas or a purple cabbage leaf)
- coconut oil for frying
- chopped cilantro
- diced tomatoes
- sliced avocado
- fresh lime quartered
For the Cilantro-Coleslaw:
- 1/4 cup coconut milk
- 2 cups finely shredded coleslaw (I mix ¼ purple and ¼ white cabbage)
- 4 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon of southwestern seasoning
- juice and zest from one lime
- salt to taste
- In a bowl whisk together olive oil, garlic, cumin, chili powder, salt and chipotle (if using). Add in shrimp and toss to coat completely. Cover and refrigerate for 20 minutes to give the flavors a chance to marry.
- Cook shrimp in a skillet on medium heat until pink and cooked through, about 5 minutes. Turn off heat and cover to keep warm.
- Use enough oil to lightly coat the bottom of a small pan, about 2 tablespoons. Heat over medium-high heat. Cook tortillas one at a time until soft, about 30 seconds on each side. Fold over to make a taco shell. After you cook each tortilla, place them on paper towels to absorb any of the oil left over.
- Stir all ingredients for the Cilantro-Coleslaw and let it sit In refrigerator for 20 minutes (Can do this first).
- Spoon 5 shrimp into each taco shell. Top with cilantro -coleslaw, tomato, avocado and an extra sprinkle of fresh chopped cilantro and an extra squeeze of fresh lime juice.
I served these with organic black beans, Garden of Eatin blue chips and organic salsa,
As the summer approaches and our bodies crave more fruit. Here is a healthy, easy, quick, and delicious recipe for a Fruit and Nut Salad tossed with a beautiful Vinaigrette Dijon Dressing.
Fruit and Nut Salad
- 1 Pear or Apple cut into small pieces (can use mango, berries, or peaches, fruit in season is best)
- 3 tbsp crushed cashews (can use walnuts, pine nuts , or almonds – you choose)
- 1 bunch Arugula
- 1 bunch Watercress (can add shaved red cabbage)
Loosely mix greens with the pieces of fruit and cashews (nuts)
Vinaigrette Dijon Dressing
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoon each plain yoghurt (Fage),
- fresh lemon juice to taste
- 1tsp red wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon thyme, garlic powder, sage, and basil
Combine in a bowl and whisk briskly with a fork until well blended. Mix into the salad !