tastes and treasures

If then you have been raised with Christ [to a new life, thus sharing His resurrection from the dead], aim at and seek the [rich, eternal treasures] that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. And set your minds and keep them set on what is above (the higher things), not on the things that are on the earth. For [as far as this world is concerned] you have died, and your [new, real] life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, Who is our life, appears, then you also will appear with Him in [the splendor of His] glory. Colossians 3
He has made everything beautiful in its time. He also has planted eternity in men’s hearts and minds [a divinely implanted sense of a purpose working through the ages which nothing under the sun but God alone can satisfy], yet so that men cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end. Ecclesiates 3
Some people store up treasures in their homes here on earth. This is a shortsighted practice—don’t undertake it. Moths and rust will eat up any treasure you may store here. Thieves may break into your homes and steal your precious trinkets. Instead, put up your treasures in heaven where moths do not attack, where rust does not corrode, and where thieves are barred at the door. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matthew 6

i haven’t written in a while. haven’t been here in a while. haven’t felt like i have had much to offer. much that I’ve been filled with. much that i have been seeking.

i have, however, been feeling like i haven’t been journeying well. haven’t been seeking well. growing well if at all.

lies that feel more true. knowing what i know that i am never behind in time or with Him, that He doesn’t have expectations for me to meet with a checklist of my progress. knowing that He is not distant with arms crossed waiting for me to get it together and then return for a scolding.

it was good to walk into a weekend where the first night my heart was spoken to that it needed to be reminded, and awakened yet again, for the millionth time (and thank You that there will always be more. infinite do-overs. that i don’t want, but know i will need):
“just come back to Me. re-turn. remember. re-relationship. I have missed you. I am. right here with an arm around you always. whether you feel Me or not.”

and i can breathe.

and say i am sorry. with no scolding. no guilt. just missing and wanting Presence and Life and Love-Knowing and Becoming.

i would love to stop there. but i get to go on. after remembering Home, i am wooed a little deeper:

(pause. if you haven’t read the scripture at the top, now is the time.)

that sense of Home. it is but a sense for now. a taste. of eternity. but to put on the perspective that there is an actual Home… not here on earth. an unknown Home that i am told is the actual truth and my actual destination and citizenship.

my heart and stomach fall. a pit in my stomach. butterflies and not the fun ones.

i am going to die.

this side of life. what i know. all i know. its going to end.

i’m scared and daunted and doubts arise that i don’t live with everyday and surprise me that they are in me.

arise new nature… its time to believe. there is not a lot of time. its time for a new perspective. heavenly and eternal and imperishable. how are you going to live, ashley? this is an unrepeatable gift, this life. this now. its beautiful. i love it. i love celebrating and soaking up every millisecond. but there is more. how are you going to live in and for the more? for that whats-coming. what are you going to dream about-what are you going to goal- that is rooted in eternity? how are you going to live today for those days. how will you treat others and make choices and think and use your time, dear one?

we are told to not think about death and live in the now. that is half true and wildly incomplete. because

I WILL NOT DIE. not really. i have been told i already have. that i should, every day. and that instead of a finale, i am transformed in the blink of an eye. that eternal life is what is more true about me. its been gifted and given. this is not a morbid perspective to wake up with every morning and let that reality sink in. but it is a BIG, out of body, i am so small, this story is SO large, God is God and He is forever, perspective and reality. i am going to go on forever. but much is wrapped up in that. much that i can do today that points to those days.

i’m ready to get started. everyone is saying new year new you. i have heard new year true you. i like that. time to start believing and living from the true me. living fearless. believing all of it. dreaming big rooted in eternity, not just what i want to experience on this side of the veil. storing up treasures. loving with abandon. whatever that looks like. dying everyday. whatever that looks like.

so that i can live never-ending. at Home. with Jesus. Forever.

to becoming Love,


p.s. wild how scripture defends itself and is connected and all tied together, huh?


let your adornment be what’s inside—the real you, the lasting beauty of a gracious and quiet spirit, in which God delights.

-1 Peter 3:4

beauty comes from a gentle, gracious, settled, quiet spirit.

being honest (and when am i not brutally so), that was not incredibly appealing at first reading.

but rather, physical beauty is what i thought i longed for, and what i thought others were looking for in me. I want to look in the mirror and be satisfied with what i see. to be confident and settled in what was reflected. not pick myself apart and wish for difference and compare to beauty around me.

but what is confidence if not the root of all this. if others think that i am beautiful, that is the ultimate reflection, right? that will lead me to believe i am beautiful and have more confidence and feel better?


what if confidence is a settled spirit. trusting that settled spirit. a quiet spirit at rest. a satisfied spirit. to let go of other’s opinions, to be free from judging them, in my heart and out loud, and not to constantly be striving to prove.

another version of this verse says that beauty comes from a gentle spirit. well, gentleness is a fruit of THE Spirit… from God, part of my new nature… that means i have gentleness because i already have His Spirit….no longer needing to pray or ask for gentleness…it is freely given. a package deal. but i want it to be fully uncovered…  operating from that fullness.

when i picture myself being gentle, it is being a peace maker… slow to speak. not demanding the center of attention or trying to prove anything. but settled. patient and humble, not thinking of myself as less than I am, but to see myself ONLY as God truly sees me. Gentleness, to be kind, to give grace, and to act in goodness.

i see Jesus inviting me to imagine. imagine myself down the road. to picture who i want to become. and i see myself. fully me. but fully more alive. more awakened to his Presence. more my TRUE self, uncovered. i see myself smiling. a lot. laughing. HAPPY and joyful (being settled in all circumstances… no matter what they are). seasoned with life. i think of how i treat other people. i think of how i look. somehow i look the same, but i FEEL like i am more beautiful. i am more pleasant to be around. more who i believe God is inviting me to become.

HEAR ME SAY THIS: I HAVE TO BELIEVE THAT HE LOVES ME NOW, JUST AS MUCH AS HE LOVES THE LATER MORE RENEWED UNCOVERED ME. He loves me on that journey. though that version of me is the REAL AND TRUE me. i am becoming more and more THAT ashley the more i become like Him. because when I reread the definition of beautiful, it is Jesus.

His settled-ness is captivating. And His beauty invites.

we as women (and honestly i would be shocked if men have missed it) all know and have experienced painfully the world’s standard of beauty. it is SO easy to fall into! the enemy constantly pushes me into comparison mode. he wants to steal, kill and destroy me, and if i were my enemy, i would be hell-bent on keeping me from knowing and choosing to believe these truths. it would change everything and dangerous would be an understatement against his dark kingdom if i fully believed all of this. and he is cunning; what better way to keep me from knowing this then to create a standard that is always changing.

pushing away the broken standards of this broken world, i think of some of my friends who are so in love with Jesus, that His Presence walks into the room when they do, they radiate Him and they are full of Captivating Beauty. they are most beautiful when they are not obsessing over their false sense of outward beauty, they are most beautiful when they are at rest with their appearance and the spirit. and in turn, i don’t see them as their outside as much… i get to see what Jesus sees… 1st Samuel says that man judges outside appearance but God looks at the heart. so i am praying for a perspective change, because God tells me that i will love people the way that i love myself. when i am self critical, self judgmental, self aware about all the wrong things, this is the extent i “LOVE” others!! and vice versa. but i choose the perspective of Jesus, to become free from that. i become more gentle and gracious. slow to judge. choosing to see both the beauty in me and the beauty of others.

and a gracious spirit. to give grace, to myself, to others. grace leaves no room for even a single judgment or comparison.


i choose to trust this truth. believe then see. venture outside the shires and risk this to be truth. (Lord of the Rings reference because 1. i love it 2. Arwen is a bad-ass beauty)

i will not spend one more second of my abundant playful celebration, life stuck in false comparison. my eyes are set on things above. my beauty-full windows to my settled shimmering soul eyes. heart eyes. green-blue-grey earthly eyes. waiting and expecting and alive in true settled beauty-fullness.

the more i walk along this journey, hand and hand with beauty Himself, the more I become.

like Him.


a challenge to my beauty-full sisters: let’s go forth and stop comparing ourselves and others on a standard that doesn’t exist. let’s offer our strength and settled spirit and life giving vital beauty. let’s choose to love ourselves and each other. let’s celebrate every single part of what we have been given. lets drop the yardsticks of ever changing comparison. lets love ourselves! we are worth it! we shimmer and shine when we believe this. that we are beautiful because we are beauty image bearers. its at our core. we are beautiful because we are!

lets believe it and live full of beauty. it is who we are.

to becoming Love,


tunes part 2

Every once and a while I love sharing how Jesus shows Himself through worship music that finds me. Enjoy!

Take Your Place – Jon Thurlow
Faithful to the End – Cory Asbury
Hope Will Rise – Warr Acres
Strong God – New Life Worship
Steffany Frizzell Gretzinger’s whole album – The Undoing
Brave – Bethel’s whole album
Harvest’s album – Curtains (especially God Demonstrates His Love, and Make Us Ready
White Flag – Chris Tomlin
Christ Is Enough – Hillsong
Glorious Ruins – Hillsong
still the whole passion 2014 album, especially Let It Be Jesus (gets me every time) and Elevation Only King Forever album.
I Surrender – Hillsong
Good Good Father – Housefires
Shane & Shane – The Worship Initiative, every one of those albums is boss.

mystery + icing

He decided to make known to them His blessing to the nations; the glorious riches of this mystery is the indwelling of the Anointed in you! The very hope of glory. -Colossians 1:27

If you had even a faint spark of faith, even faith as tiny as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, “Move from here to there,” and because of your faith, the mountain would move. If you had just a sliver of faith, you would find nothing impossible. – Matt 17:20

So, first and foremost, I urge God’s people to pray. They should make their requests, petitions, and thanksgivings on behalf of all humanity. Teach them to pray for kings (or anyone in high places for that matter) so that we can lead quiet, peaceful lives—reverent, godly, and holy— -1 Timothy 2:1-2

 Confess to one another therefore your faults (your slips, your false steps, your offenses, your sins) and pray [also] for one another, that you may be healed and restored [to a spiritual tone of mind and heart]. The earnest (heartfelt, continued) prayer of a righteous man makes tremendous power available [dynamic in its working]. James 5:16

i don’t get prayer.

i just don’t get it. doesn’t make sense to me. never really has. how is it actually effective? for what reason does it have power? how are our prayers effective…

and on and on my crazy crockpot goes. endless rabbit trails. i think I have a million rabbits up there. runnin down their trails. in a crockpot. rabbit stew.

my point exactly.


i don’t get it.


i don’t have to get it to see its power.

praying big specific prayers is dangerous. in the best way.

i asked Jesus to show me His mighty holy side. i am getting tastes (let me know if you want to hear about the hiccup story). long story short, that’s a mighty prayer.

many have heard that Appalachian State has been going through a really hard season. haunting and tragedy and loss; loss of innocence. loss of security. loss of life.

a prayer walk was lead throughout campus and mighty things were proclaimed and prayed and asked for.

James 5:16. that sounds like a promise to me. and we know that we are the righteousness of God because that is why Christ died for us. (2 Corinthians 5:21)

prayer is faith spoken and proclaimed. in any prayer spoken, any request, any form, thanksgiving, proclaiming, hoping… it is faith manifested. it is fruit. proof of faith. it is choosing to believing the unseen.

of course i analyze, wrestle and struggle.

Love is finding me in different ways that i never thought would come, and here i am trying to analyze the magic. plan ahead and formulate. instead of the dance, the beauty, the resting, the celebrations of my wild freely given abundance of a Life. i know the latter is the real me. i feel and hear it beckoning.

but then fear.

of history repeating and my future dreams crumbling and broken heartedness cackling in my ear to remember pain and never risk again.

but if i feared faith every time, there would be no prayer. there would be no mountains moving. if I try to figure out and analyze and predict and fear change… there would be no butterflies or grace or magic or wild receiving or risk or might or majesty that i know deep is calling out to deep. the heart beat of my celebrations.

i want to partner with the Mystery and trust what i cant see and don’t understand. i lean not on my understanding but depend fully on the One that knows the number of hairs on my head, the amount of days i have left, what they will entail, for my Good and always His Glory. always.

Lean on, trust in, and be confident in the Lord with all your heart and mind and do not rely on your own insight or understanding. Proverbs 3:5

He decided to make known to them His blessing to the nations; the glorious riches of this mystery is the indwelling of the Anointed in you! The very hope of glory. Colossians 1:27

all i aspire to do is Love-Know Jesus more. to know is to love. and that is Heaven on earth.

everything else is icing.

i love you, icing.

And this is eternal life: [it means] to know (to perceive, recognize, become acquainted with, and understand) You, the only true and real God, and [likewise] to know Him, Jesus [as the] Christ (the Anointed One, the Messiah), Whom You have sent. John 17:3

[For I always pray to] the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, that He may grant you a spirit of wisdom and revelation [of insight into mysteries and secrets] in the [deep and intimate] knowledge of Him.

Ephesians 1:17 (AMP)

Answer my prayers, O True God, the righteous, who makes me right.
I was hopelessly surrounded, and You rescued me.
Once again hear me; hide me in Your favor;
bring victory in defeat and hope in hopelessness.

Understand this: The Eternal One treats as special those like Him.
The Eternal will answer my prayers and save me.

Psalm 4:1,3


i feel a little behind these days and not where i should be with Jesus. distant.

my least favorite place in the whole world. and i guess that is a taste of hell. dramatic but not.

i feel like when i am fully in abide-mode, everything i read or sit in with Him flows and seems connected and simple and sits in clarity. doesn’t it seem like scripture and answers to big questions make most sense when you are in abide-mode more consistently?


i feel like i am in catch-up mode.

coming home and being in Boone has been harder than i thought. so wonderful, yet so hard. i am a preparer and a thinker, and didn’t expect the ways that it has been hard.

after getting dinner with one of my closests from Thailand, i had a meltdown. (i love you, meltdowns. i really do. release and freedom comes).

i hate not being there anymore. i hate not loving in that way. i hate that they are in the bars when i am waking up in the morning. i hate when some of my best friends here don’t know what i am talking about because they never read my updates. i hate when my heart is missed. i hate the way girls dress walking around the mall not realizing that they look exactly like so many precious girls we met at night. i HATE not being near my closests. that we are literally at the four corners of the country.

i hate feeling like i never went.

there are ten billion ways to mess up and do life the wrong way. process the wrong way (how in the hell do you actively process… someone tell me what that looks like. reflection? not enough. asking jesus? yeah that actually could be it…) but of course i hit every wrong way instead of the one right way… i keep falling short. needing grace.

and i feel not as clear. not as “on the right path”. needing to catch up. to do it right. like something is missing or off.

that is not truth. i know it. but it is where i am at. needing to return and remember and sit in His love and Love-Know Him. but being enough where i sit.

someone wise and hopeless once said: life is hard. and then you die.

i could see that.

but in the middle there is Full Life. and Settledness. and Love-Knowing. and Presence. and Rest and Adventure Himself.

that is Who i will wait for. that is Where i will return to and remember. that is What i will ask for, knock, seek and find.

when i feel out of control in an area of life (last week the line-up: health and finances), that is a clear indication of what i can surrender.

and i want this year to be an offering. waking up, receiving His grace gift every morning. choosing Him back. healing and then healing again and then re-healing. remembering who i am, what i am worth, where i am headed,

and then going forth.

life laid down, surrendered, offering.

and yet receiving.

because that is who He is.


in other news:

-my favorite human got married. i cried from beginning to end then tore up the dance floor

-i have sat through 4 out of 6 classes and so far SO good

-i moved in to my most favorite house and ADORE it and my beautiful roommates

-i am overwhelmed yet wanting more. He is Good.

paradox and paradigm

its 4 am. awake since 2. jet lag was an unexpected pain in the booty.

somehow i thought i would just completely adjust, in the same way that i miraculously did two months ago when i arrived in Southeast Asia.

i cannot believe i went to Thailand.

after 62 delirious travel hours, upon kissing the ground in America and bursting in to tears when the poor man checking my passport in customs said “welcome home,” i could not believe that i was gone for two months in Thailand.

and i cannot believe i am home. what i could not wait for for such a long time. here.

it is easy for me to believe that i can handle and control and take care of this next season of life. seemingly easy and fun and exciting events coming up.

but then why do i have zero energy and feel like i am recovering from a stomach bug? why am i not able to control when i can sleep? why are anticipated moments not what i had planned? why did i wake up in anxiety the first morning upon being home? when i was finally safe. finally where i dreamed of. where i couldn’t wait to come back to.

because i cannot even do easy, simple, fun, everyday mundane life alone.

every moment home calls for dependency. calls me to remember where i just came from. what i saw. what i felt. who i felt. what i learned. and relearned. and relearned again.

i am still and will forever be child-like dependent. needing to abide. waiting for mana.

i cannot wait to abide in celebration of the next season of life. soaking in right where i am. remembering and hoping; paradox hand in hand. i cannot wait to sit and wait for my mana portion of abundant life and joy and love… paradox: portion of abundance. because i cannot muster it up. it is freely given and i have it and i abide in Him who gives and Is and i cannot wait for more of what i have.

the Kingdom is paradox. balance. mystery.

written on the envelope of a collection of letters from my team of sisters who loved me well for two months straight, were the words “paradigm shifter.”

upon looking up the meaning behind my new favorite identity name, a paradigm shift is “ a change from one way of thinking to another. It’s a revolution, a transformation, a sort of metamorphosis. It just does not happen, but rather it is driven by agents of change.”

in my becoming journey, my butterfly metamorphosis, i will keep being an agent of change. living in the paradox and the balance and unbalance and mystery. and bringing my heart to everyday.

to be still and know, and rise to be undaunted. to let myself be loved, and offer love. look back to remember, and look ahead to hope. to believe then see.

it goes against natural.

its my new nature.

supernatural, paradoxical, paradigm shifter.

i cannot say thank you enough for reading this blog, praying with and for me, entering in and riding the ups and downs, loving me so well… i cannot express how vital it was to me and how it allowed me to not only survive, but at so many points, thrive on this trip. i am never not on a “mission trip,” but every supporter and reader and prayer and warrior made this unreal special one happen. the kingdom came. in thousands of ways. thank you again and again and again.

i could not be more ecstatic (i use the term “tweaking”) to be home. first of all, i do not know if i have said it enough, but i LOVE you, America. i cried in whole foods… i cannot express how much i missed my weird eating habits. (my best friend signed a letter: “i love you more than you love grilled zucchini and coffee combined.” that is an impossibly large amount.)

i am so delighted in and safe and celebrated. i really have amazing events and happenings on the horizon that i cannot wait to step into: concerts with home best friends, moving in to my new house in Boone, accompanied by one of my favorite sisters, being a beach bum at my favorite place in the world for a week with my favorite people, CRU leadership retreat (the small group bible study prayer has been ANSWERED! thank you Jesus! may look different than imagined but still THANKFUL!), wedding of the most amazing humans i know, Hannah and Taylor, and then school! (then a big birthday…. i LOVE birthdays!)

please continue to cover me. journeying with me. i have a strong feeling i love whoever is reading this :)

thank you again.

to becoming Love,





(citation: Kuhn, Thomas, S., “The Structure of Scientific Revolutions”, Second Edition, Enlarged, The University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 1970(1962)

guest speaker: Kirby Olson



My favorite person in the whole world is the best story teller and eloquent writer, and depicts the end of our journey in the most amazing way.


an excerpt from Kirby Olson’s blog:


It’s been an incredible journey through Thailand over the past couple months, and honestly a bit surreal that it’s coming to a close. There’s been days that felt like minutes, and moments that completely stopped the hands of time. There were nights that I’ve never felt more alive, and nights that I’ve wished to be far from the cold darkness that engulfed these streets. At times, I believed I had never had a more life-giving community, and other times I felt like my heart had been lost in the masses, completely misunderstood. There was moments of pure joy and hysterical laughter, and moments of terrifying spiritual warfare. We were a group of 20 American girls, walking through our own crap, but coming together as the body of Christ to illuminate the darkness in Chiang Mai… and I truly believe we did that.

Looking back, I see a shift in our ministry about half way through our time here. From the beginning, the bar moms, girls, men and pimps could immediately tell we were different. We walked into empty bars, ordered a couple sprites, and asked a few girls to play pool with us. They would ask us what we were doing in Chiang Mai and we would tell them we were here on vacation and were teaching English at a local college. Then we would come back with small talk questions, “what’s your name?” “where are you from?” “how long have you been here?” in hopes to build some sort of foundation for a new friendship. Many of these conversations did turn into friendships! and my friends spent much of their two months investing in specific girls, teaching them English, taking them to lunch, singing karaoke, exploring waterfalls and ultimately sharing their own stories with them.In the beginning, my heart was hard toward the men we found there… the sex industry is supply and demand at it’s finest… these men were the very ones who were fueling the industry. If there wasn’t a demand, maybe these girls would be in school. But whatever animosity once stood between me and those men, soon became a burning desire for them to be set free from their own captivity.We no longer only looked for quiet bars with a few lonely girls… instead we entered booming bars with loud men and rampant personality. At this point, the bar moms, the men and our new friends knew us. The girls would see us walk in, and immediately get up from the men they were entertaining to greet us with open arms. The bar moms would ask if we wanted a couple sprites, and the men told us we were “brave” for coming to such a place. This time, we no longer told them about our vacation or the schools we were teaching at… we told them about our heart for these girls, and our desire to see them set free from those bars. We told them that those girls were our friends, and we loved them so we came to visit them. We looked at the men as if they were something special as well… as if they were worth knowing, because they are. Because for whatever reason, they believed the lie that they could escape their sorrow and misery back home and find fulfillment from the alcohol and women in the red light district. But when they met us, they encountered something different. We no longer had a passive mindset toward these men, rather I was desperate to tell them who they could be.Each night our team split into two groups. Nine of us would hit the streets, while the other 11 of us would stay back and intercede. We prayed for opportunities to speak the name of Jesus, we asked for men to get up and walk out of the bars, we prayed for vision and peace to overwhelm our teammates so they could have meaningful conversations without fear of anything seen or unseen. We prayed that the men would notice we were different and approach us to find out why…. I’ll never forget the night I met my friend Peter from Ireland. He was around my dad’s age… and I immediately noticed him when we walked in. I was at the pool table playing a game with my friends Da and Gale and suddenly Peter walks past me toward the bathroom. We made eye contact and I smiled, and then kept playing pool with my friends. A few minutes later, Peter comes walking out the bathroom and this time he stops to talk to me. First, he asked me where I was from and then proceeded to compliment how beautiful my expression was… he said he had never seen anything like it. He told me that I wasn’t just pretty…. but radiant. I didn’t feel
uncomfortable or violated, because it honestly seemed pure – like he was truly in awe, and this was the opportunity I had been praying for… He said, “you must be blessed by Buddha or the gods or something…” but I told him it was Jesus. He looked at me for a couple seconds in silence, and then added a few more compliments and told me he was going back to his friends at the bar, but that it was nice to meet me and that he hopes I enjoy my time in Thailand…. I’m not sure what happened in his mind for those few seconds of silence, and perhaps I will never see Peter again… but he encountered something different that night, and that is why I came to Thailand.

I came for those men just as much as I came for those women. My heart aches for my girls in there, because I’ve seen their suffering and I’ve heard their pleas for help. They don’t want to be there. They don’t want to strip down to barely nothing, and expose themselves for the pleasure of a man. There’s no safety, or purity or dignity in that. They dream of a man who will pursue them and love them and cultivate them, just the same way I do. They want to learn English so they can get a good job, and support their families. They want to believe that tomorrow will be better…. but first they need us to stand up on their behalf. They need Godly men to set the example… these women are being manipulated and abused because we are standing by and indulging in our own desires.

Men, the porn industry fuels the supply and demand… when you think that a couple clicks aren’t going to hurt anyone, there are women who are forced to engage against their will, and instead of rescuing them, we are tightening their chains. This is a desperate call for you to wake up. Millions of young women are exploited day in and day out and we need men, along with women, to rise up and call for justice. Get educated on the subject. Ask questions. Find someone to hold you accountable, because the truth is that she’s worth so much more than a half-hearted habit. That same habit that requires nothing of you, requires every fiber of her being and every ounce of her heart. She is a human being. She was perfectly created for a purpose. She was made in God’s image and she was bought with the blood of Jesus. She’s a daughter of the Most High King… and she’s waiting for us to go get her; to do something about this.

Rise up. She’s worth more.