walk on

“Travelers who have crossed the Alps know how dangerous those mountain passes are, how narrow the foothold, how deep the rocky ravines. They know how necessary to safety it is that they look up continually. One downward glance into the dizzying depths might be fatal. So if we would surmount the heights of faith we must look up-look up. Take your eyes off yourself, off surrounding circumstances, off means, off gifts, and turn them to the Great Giver.”
A.B. Simpson

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i’ve been exercising a lot lately.

its no big deal, but its a pretty big deal so leave a comment if you’re proud of me.

but yesterday i was relieved to not have to go run when one of my bestie girls who i look up to the most asked me to go on a long walk. it was about an hour of talking through sparatic breaths and waiting to cross streets and nearly getting run over by people who were actually running, and poor thing, she talked about herself for maybe 10 minutes, and the rest was me babbling on about myself through confusion and mental exhaustion and frustration. the walk was all around Appalachian’s campus, and by the time we got back, new thoughts came clear. not in hoped for answers, but in the exact reminders and half thoughts that i needed to keep going. to come full circle back to a place that i have been to before, but then make it too complicated. go the long way. forget, and have to re-turn.

these are some thoughts from our walk, aka from her wisdom, that spoke straight into the depths of what I have been wearing myself out yet again to hear.


there is a lie that i have been buying into. so subtle, so alluring, so seemingly true.

you have to do cool big world changing things-start a ministry, go over seas and live without any resources, be Super Christian Woman- to validate your faith and prove your life is worth living. that it is only enough for God if you are radically sold out and seeking the next adventure right and left.

thank. God. i was reminded of Enoch. the human mentioned for two seconds in Genesis. “Enoch walked steadily with God. And then one day he was simply gone: God took him.” that is IT. that is all we know about that sweet thing. but later in the New Testament, what i have heard to be called “the hall fo faith”, he is included! because he walked with God, that was enough. God saw his heart, his faith, and that was what mattered.

it was enough to walk with God, intimately enjoying Him every day, adoring His Presence, becoming His friend, listening to His Voice.

i need to have grace for myself, because at least twice a year i wear myself out trying to formulate and grow myself and figure out and control, and beat myself up for forgetting yet again. for thinking of what needs fixing about myself. for focusing on the wind and waves, instead of the Calm and Rest Himself.

but i am brought back to the place that changed. EVERYTHING.

it. is. finished.

i am under grace. the curtain is torn so that i can love fully and be loved completely with nothing holding me back. everything else that is added to me or changed or that i accomplish and do is icing to knowing and walking with my Father.

it is mary and martha. for sure this is my absolute hands down favorite most applicable and relevant story to me. martha doing and proving and fixing and busy, mary being and resting and listening and enjoying. i just want to sit at his feet. i feel as i type those words that that is the absolute most true thing about me.

do not hear me say i don’t want to do any of these things or take the easy way out. the only thing i am taking is the pressure off. i want to do these things. I have always had a heart for adventure and for new and for big. but i believe that as i walk, He will lead me to them, and they will be icing on the cake.

why would i want to do amazing things in His name to be in the hall of fame, and miss knowing his heart, his voice directing my path, calling me to greater things in time, knowing the Name that says i am worthy and enough and already written in the hall of faith and the book of life, and nothing i will or will not do can change that. he WILL direct me. he WILL teach me how to love better. he WILL show me how to live. but i want my biggest accomplishment at the end of my life to be that i am able to say the Holy Spirit is my best friend.

He will accomplish what he started in me (phil 1:6). He will accomplish what concerns me (pslams 138:8). I just keep my eyes on Him and walk.

Matthew 6:30-34 (MSG)
30-33 “If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers—most of which are never even seen—don’t you think he’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you? What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God’s giving. People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.
34 “Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.

“Wisdom means to choose now what will make sense later. I am learning everyday to allow the space between where I am and where I want to be, to inspire me and not terrify me.”

― Tracee Ellis Ross

Lizzy gerl to Mozambique!

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Sometimes I do not think when I look at Lizzy that I have ever seen beauty shine any brighter. Her heart for the Lord is unlike any I have ever seen. In excitement and Joy, she knows the heart of her Father, and she has been dreaming of showing others in Mozambique for about as long as I have known her. Please read the beauty of her words and give what you can or feel lead to give, and I hope you have the honor of meeting this beauty-full human.

from her blog:

This summer I am heading off on an amazing adventure to Pemba, Mozambique on the east coast of Africa. I need to raise $7,000 by April 25th and I’m so excited to see how the Lord will provide. My fire was lit for long-term international ministry during the summer of my sophomore year of high school. It has continued to grow and Harvest School, the missionary training school I’ll be attending this summer, is a huge step forward into that call. I am about to learn what it truly looks like to live with and love and learn from some of the most spiritually wealthy people in the world. My heart is bursting and this is my attempt at articulating almost 3 years worth of thoughts into one blog…bear with me.

The past few years have been full of lessons. Deep disappointment, overflowing joy, lots of tears, and days of constant laughter have marked the path of processing this passion for a place I’ve never been. Confusion and doubt have threatened the joy in my heart but I’ve learned more about God’s character than ever before. When I was believing the lie that I would never see this dream come true, He reminded me that he saw my passion (he’s the one who put it there), that he knew how I longed to go. He taught me how truly His heart was for me and how He was preparing me through being present where I was to step into the next part of this journey. It wasn’t time yet. So I waited. There is so much of Him to be found in the waiting. We don’t just serve a God who tolerates us in our questioning. We are children of a father who delights in showering us with love. In the middle of my doubt, He sent me strangers and friends from across the country to divinely reinforce the knowledge that was so hard for me to believe: He has, for some reason, chosen me to carry His love to Pemba. He didn’t just calm my fears, He removed any source of doubt that this was His call for my life. When the enemy told me I was inadequate for this assignment, Jesus reminded me that He never asked me to be, all He wants is an available, teachable heart whose sole purpose is to love Him. He chooses the lowly, the unimportant, the broken and makes them righteous, worthy, and wholly new. I am nothing, He is everything, and I am in awe of His graciousness.

I have no idea what I’m getting into, but I am trusting in His steadfast faithfulness that never wavers. I’m not going with the notion that I’m somehow better than those we have the opportunity to love. These brothers and sisters understand the greatness of our King and live their lives with a freedom and rest many of us have never known. The dirty, starving, unloved children of Mozambique are receiving crowns of beauty instead of ashes every day. Emotionless, traumatized, violent kids are being transformed into peace-carriers, made into the likeness of Jesus and overflowing with joy wherever they go. And they are going. In Pemba, I’ll be learning the greatest lessons from His greatest treasures. His little ones who know of His power and cannot keep it hidden. Cannot keep their light under a bush. Are not intimidated at the thought of telling someone about Jesus because they understand it is truly good news!! He is worth talking about.

Everyday in Mozambique, miracles are taking place. Food is being multiplied. The blind are given sight. The deaf hear. The mute speak. The lame walk. The dead are raised. But the physical miracles, while world-changing and good, are not the ultimate point. Without the relationship, nothing matters, nothing lasts. So the most incredible miracle of all is that people who were once dead in their sins, tortured by an enemy who used to hold the power are being set free into new, glorious, abundant life with Jesus Christ! Nothing can compare to the surpassing greatness of knowing Him in His death and resurrection. I am beyond excited for what’s in store and I plan to update anyone who wants to read as often as I can. If you are interested in Harvest School or just want to learn more about Iris Global and the amazing work they’re doing, you can find more information at irisglobal.org. 

Please please please, friends or strangers, join me in the testimonies that will rise up from this summer. Pray with me for the hearts of Mozambique, my classmates, and our leaders.

Like I said before, I need to raise $7,000 by April 25th. That’s a lot of money in not a lot of time. If you would like to offer financial support, you can click on the link and follow the steps to make a donation  –> gofundme.com/oxutmg

I could not be more grateful for you love, prayers, and support.

Blessings,

Lizzy

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,

ashley

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

beauty-full

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?

but.

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.

so.

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.

beauty-full.

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,

ash

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.

anyway.

i don’t get it.

But.

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

modes

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?

well.

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.