invited

There is a story in Exodus, where Moses and the Israelites have been taken out of Egypt and are wandering in some direction towards the Promised Land. Sheep, disciples and Israelites all are the ones with the reputation of memory trouble. They forget what God has done. Manna, breakfast of angels, has been provided to them every morning. They have been rescued from captivity. They have been given the presence of God and the presence of God. And it isn’t enough.

Moses is over it. I would be too. And yet I am totally a sheep, disciple, Israelite, most of the time. I forget, complain, wander. We most resent in others what we struggle with in our own selves.

Then there is a moment in the story where God pulls Moses aside and tells him that He will open up the way before him, that he can go into the promised land. That the promise will come quickly. That Moses will be fulfilled and arrive.

And then God says, you can have this promise, but I will not be with you.

Moses says no thank you. “No, thank you, God. If your presence is not with me, I want nothing to do with the promise yet. I will not go without you. If you stay I am staying here. If you go ahead I will go, but I do not want the promise early. I want you.”

Oh, how I want that to be my heart. At times it glimmers to be so, but there are so many times that I want the easy button. I want the hurry through the ache. I want the finish line. I want to arrive. The journey is too painful. It is treacherous and confusing. It is glorious and beautiful but those are the most vanishing evaporating fleeting vapors of the whole thing.

I know culture has taught me much of this. 2 second wait times. 3 second attention spans. Quicken this, speed up that, hurry and produce and arrive. But it seems to be a technological advancement of a human condition that spans to the ancient of times.

My flesh, my false self, my autonomous independent self-protecting self wants to blitz through the hard. I want to get to the promise.

But God is in the now. And I don’t want to miss Him. He invites me to find Him, “but what do you most long for? What do you want? I know you want the promise, but it is me you most desire. When you want easy, you really need my peace. When you want stimulation and adventure and excitement, you want my joy and Holy Spirit and larger story, the wild that comes from reckless surrender to me. When you want safety and buckle down in self-protection, what you most desire and was made for is complete trust in my arms that promise your good and my glory. You want me more.”

And He shows me how to remain in the now, in the hard and unfinished journey, with His presence as the prize after all. Not the promise or the finish line.

Sisters, I want to walk together on this journey. We were meant to. We were designed to do it together and invite each other further up and further in. This September there is a weekend away where God invites us to be with Him in the midst of the journey. In the midst of the storm, the battle, the wilderness, the unknown, the new, the in between, He invites you to re-orient back to Him for your own refreshment, your good, your rest and your healing.

I don’t want us to miss Him in what He is moving in right now. What He has been moving in your whole life. And what He is inviting you into. He has so much in store for you: so much healing, so many promises, so many abundant life blessings. But He wants to first show you His heart. He wants to give you Himself. He is the prize. He is beyond that good. He wants you to see Him with new eyes and a healed true self.

He has such good in store for you, whether or not you except this invitation, but this is an anointed weekend that you get so much of it at once. It is unlike any women event I have ever experienced. Cheesy and cliquey are no where even near this event. It is authentic, it is real, it is truly a time away with God. It is what you want it to be and yet God will invite you into all of the depths.

Will you consider this invitation? Will you ask Jesus if He has this for you this year? Ask Him to speak through the stirrings of your heart and pay attention to His prompting.

For more information, head over to www.zoweh.org/the-deepening-weekend

You can register here as well. Registration is open now.

I really hope you come with me. I could not be more thrilled for what God is going to do.

He promised. And we will not miss Him in the waiting.

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psalm

536B7FF1-D49F-4050-8CD5-850AE386E84B.jpegi needed my dad, and i still do. i am worshipping and talking to Jesus, resting in union with Father, speaking against warfare, singing against it – not striving or fighting in my own power and strength

he is disarming my linear way that cannot go backwards or be interrupted or have one way things work. the new way is not linear; if i get off course it is to find you there. if i turn from you i run straight into your arms. if we go backwards you move the finish line. there is no arriving at a destination of wholeness – it is only deeper and more because you are infinite.

you minister to me God. in quietness and rest is my strength. you renew and refresh my soul. in beauty you make me come alive again. in your presence my soul is revived and awakened. my story can never end in death – you only redeem. you only deepen. you only renew and make beautiful. even when you carve out and cut deeper than my deepest wound and pain, i cry out and it sounds like a battle cry, a melody of worship, and i am changed and i see you more clearly.

when i am still and breathe, your hope fills my lungs. when i pause and listen, settled knowing truth rises up and quiets my racing. my answer is yes, i trust you.

you truly are life, and i will not run from this dark night. i will welcome it because it is you. you are the woods. you are the storm. and when the waters rise, i will not be overcome, but arise baptized in more of your power and beauty. *

________________________________________________________

*last line inspired by instagram post by Kalley Heili

haunting

Being back in one of my favorite places in the world, I couldn’t wait to stand on the beach, my feet in the sand, the sun dipping below the clouds, and have total peace, contentment, settledness, wonder joy and awe, rush over me and bring to tears and thanksgiving like it had in the past. But it didn’t.

“What is wrong with you? You are incapable of emotions and being present.”

I still have some sadness while trying to be present at amazing places and not feeling total wonder, beautiful, emotional resonance and reactions; trying to be present but feeling the veil, and just seeing how much weight I put on emotions to define something and make it true… that emotions, senses, feelings are reality. Which I don’t think is all wrong or bad, but I definitely do that with my relationships as well as my walk with God.

“I don’t feel you anymore, something is wrong. I need to fix it”

When in reality we get tastes of the sacred Romance here and now, we can’t control it, but I wish I had the emotions and the feelings that make something/define a moment to be true or weighty, etc. because then it feels true.

I’m trying to be ok in the mystery, instead of when I have an experience with Jesus and then I’m changed and feel something, as time goes on and I feel differently, I panic and go to a place where I say “what happened!? I have to be back in that place! How can I control and manipulate my reality to get back there!?”

When again, it was another taste of the romance, like visiting a new place for the first time and then leaving. You’d be crazy to try to go back and re-create everything to feel the same thing, instead of having the memory, remembering that you encountered beauty and were changed by it, desiring more but content in the not yet, being haunted by the romance, and saying “God was there. That was good. That will never leave me, whether I feel it or not. The romance will be back in another way and another time, and I can’t wait, because I was made for that, and God is restoring it in me.”

It’s not always something wrong with me that I can’t fully experience the moment. It’s the veil, the not yet, the broken fallen unredeemed, that will soon give way to the fullness of union.

freedom day

4th of July is one of my absolute favorites for many reasons. Summer, warmth, community, America, bbqs, lakes and boats, fireworks! But I am reminded every year that all of the celebrations rest on the foundation of a very core truth: we are free. And this freedom that we experience in our country even serves as a reminder of an even deeper reality: my forever freedom is bought with a price, and I am FREE.

We can tend to have a very immature sense of freedom when we define it as the ability to do whatever we want, whenever we want. I believe that this mentality has allowed us a lot of hurt and chaos in our country and culture.

True freedom is freedom FROM something, FOR something. We are free from death, from the law, from works, from self, from the enemy, from the world, from sin. But we are not set free for the sake of sitting in that freedom or doing whatever we want.

That is not kingdom.

We are set free for abundant life. To love recklessly. To grow into our true self. To converse intimately with Trinity. To abide in perfect union. To advance Kingdom on earth.

Anything less than this is not real freedom it is bondage. It leads to death.

And something that Jesus is showing me recently is that kingdom freedom very often requires a new dependency or responsibility. That I thought that I was my most free when I was fresh out of college, single, working 3 part time jobs, able to travel and leave whenever I well pleased. But that was not actually truest freedom. I’m experiencing the most freedom putting down roots. Getting married. Committing to things. Giving up “freedom” for Kingdom Freedom. It has made every difference. You see, in the kingdom, many things are backwards. Worldly systems are turned on their head. I believe the way freedom works is one of them. Jesus says, “risk this. Surrender. Trust me. Commit to this. And watch what I will do.” And you do, and somehow you gain. Somehow you become fuller. Somehow you are more free.

So this morning I am so thankful that we are a free nation. I am so thankful for the men and women who gave their lives and fought to purchase our life. There is always sacrifice and selflessness in true freedom. Thank you Jesus for being the ultimate. I want to give my life for your dear ones as well.

And somehow then I will find it, more free, along the way.

Happy freedom day, everyone.

more joy than

I find more JOY in following what you tell me to do than in chasing after all the wealth of the world.

Psalm 119:14

meditating on that scripture… I so want to hear Trinity’s voice even more clearly… to KNOW what they are inviting me to do. I want to be so fully surrendered, not protecting my life, totally ready for whatever whenever. I believe and feel that I am and could be, I just want to KNOW that voice. know that it is Him clear as day. He is inviting me to see one of the biggest issues hindering my hearing – because He is always talking – is my attention span. listening to too much noise, other voices, distractions all come in to play… but my ability to ferociously push them aside to make the space. to sit in the silence as they vie. to wait in the nothing. patiently. until the still small voice cuts through the emptiness…

let there be Light.

amen

For all of God’s promises find their “yes” of fulfillment in him. And as his “yes” and our “amen” ascend to God, we bring him glory!

Whatever God has promised gets stamped with the Yes of Jesus. In him, this is what we preach and pray, the great Amen, God’s Yes and our Yes together, gloriously evident.

2 Corinthians 1:20 TPT and MSG

amen. so be it. it is such a beautiful word.

its proper place is where one person confirms the words of another, and expresses a wish for the issue of his vows or predictions.

from the root word “to believe”, and “to support, confirm, be faithful, nourish as does a pillar or a foster mother and father. to be founded, firm and stable – of a place where a nail is driven in.

i can say amen because i believe in the one who is stable, the one with nails driven in his body.

Jesus introduces his teaching by saying amen, or “truly i say to you” in other words, you can lean on this as truth, you can build upon this, this will support you.”

i say amen, and i say that i agree with God. that i believe it to be true and to become reality. i desire and hope it to be so.

 

trust & enjoy

And so, dear brothers and sisters, you are now made holy, and each of you is invited to the feast of your heavenly calling. So fasten your thoughts fully onto Jesus, whom we embrace as our Apostle and King-Priest.

Hebrews 3:1 (The Passion Translation)

i so so so so easily get weighed down with focusing on my broken, my not enoughness, my unfinished. and it’s heavy and i feel stuck and less than and behind. but this morning as i ask for freedom and lightness i hear Jesus say:

it comes through trust and enjoying. trust i am doing it in you, that i’ll take you back to the unfinished broken unhealed in MY time, not by you staying in that place making it happen and trying to find it all on your own. trust your new nature, who i say you are. live out of that place. it’s true despite what you feel. and when you start trusting and enjoying me and yourself, you are free to trust and enjoy others. you’ve learned the hard way from the critical route of others. trust that i have them and i am telling you your story, not theirs. enjoy where they are. it is good. enjoy where you are. it’s great. and that’s the only place you can find me. let me have and handle your broken and unfinished. that’s it’s only rightful place, in my arms. right now is a time to enjoy and try out your true self. trying it out makes it feel more true. i have so much in store for you, but only when you trust and enjoy, instead of heavy analytical fixing. lay it down and go out and dance and run and eat and drink and enjoy and trust and fully live.

i love you, kid.

to becoming love,

ashley