Why Change?

Why Change?

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...
Jealousy Trap

Jealousy Trap

JEALOUSY TRAP 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;...
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...
Frannie’s Hair

Frannie’s Hair

Frannie peaked her head around the corner, “Hello Ashley, I’ll be with you in a minute.” I noticed how cute and different her hair was so I commented, “Love your hair. Did you straighten it or let it grow?” She bounced around the corner smiling and perky: “Girl, thank you! You see………….my mom was diagnosed with cancer a few months ago and as the news settled she feared losing her hair. Not willing for her to walk this journey alone, I shaved mine first. She now see’s me ‘sassing around‘ and loving my wig and she’s no longer afraid.” Mouth open, tears streaming, and heart pounding -­‐ “WOW”, I exclaimed, “That is amazing! I am so moved and encouraged. What an incredible testimony.” The love Frannie displayed for her mother was sacrificial and it covered her mother’s fears. Frannie was selflessly laying down her right to have hair and it reminded me of Christ laying down His rights for us to have life – life abundantly. I shared my father’s illness with Frannie and how in our pain and lack of understanding God came into our weary hearts and poured out His peace, strength, and hope. She then shared this story with me: “The month after my mothers diagnoses I was busy making bedroom furniture for my first grandson, soon to come. Sitting on the floor with a heavy soul and weary hands, I began questioning the Lord and praying for my mom. In that moment the Lord spoke to my wondering heart: ‘Frannie, just as you have worked diligently in preparing a place for your precious baby boy....