i hate when i go so long without writing. it feels like i am moving too fast. and i was. not taking time to sit and ponder where my heart has been going. to go deeper into the Deep that has found me. that i have prayed for. i am too quick to move on.
pausing now to account for and remember and re-turn. and i guess to report!
i love you grace, but i also still get frustrated when there seems to be so much to keep track of and remember and control my own growth… there i go again. needing to freaking pause. remember. its not me in control. its Jesus in ashley. He is in charge of my pruning. He is in charge of my growth. He is in charge of my rest. i simply partner and posture myself. and accept the grace and room and remember there is no rush. there is no test i have to be ready for. and everything is connected. all of this Life with Him makes most sense to me when i am constantly abiding and connected. it flows together and stands on its own… Jesus and His Story and this Life, it is so cool to me how they flow best when i am most intimately connected to Him. one concept is connected to another and another explains another.
i finally feel like i am out of school and travel the world mode and into summer mode. while i am still working a full time job, i am able to enjoy my time and feel very present. i am back to enjoying Jesus which i feel like i havent done in forever. i have wanted to, but i have been in my own way, trying to control my rest and growth and hoard love for myself and judge others and not love well. my time in europe really showed me that, as well as my best friend getting married. getting to be around her who models everything i want to be, as well as getting to be around her friends. all that to say, even though i am loving myself more and more, and i love my grace and my freedom, but i see that i have been using my freedom selfishly. and i dont love my life nearly as much when i do that. i dont love others well at all. all this sounds super self-annihilating and brutal and probably not very fun to read thus far, but it is more to be a confession of sorts, an honest repentance, and in hopes to usher in freedom for others who can relate, i dearly hope.
all this to say, this is the place that i was coming from. Jesus opening my eyes and heart to what i no longer want or have to operate in. i asked Him instead to speak words of truth over my summer and my heart heard two words: bride and marriage. as soon as i heard those words i knew that they were about Jesus himself. only Jesus. my Truest Love. my Greatest Love. i was so excited for everything that meant. intimacy. connectedness. rest and growth. remembering. returning. Love-Knowing. i was tweaking and ready. then, in the area of wanting to love others better, i was reminded that that is the fruit of the Spirit that i do not control the growth of. that is part of my new nature that so wonderfully just naturally happens when i am connected to my True Source.
all of this leads me to what i have been desiring to write about for some time now.
the question of my entire junior year was this: how are we as Christians different in showing love and winning others… how are we different from people who are just “being nice” ? what does it mean to love? what does that even look like? what does it mean to lay your life down for others?
i believe i came as close as i ever will be to finding the answer in 1 Corinthians 15:
Now if we have told you about the Anointed One (how He has risen from the dead and appeared to us fully alive), then how can you stand there and say there is no such thing as resurrection from death? Friends, if there is no resurrection of the dead, then even the Anointed hasn’t been raised; if that is so, then all our preaching has been for nothing and your faith in the message is worthless. And what’s worse, all of us who have been preaching the gospel are now guilty of misrepresenting God because we have been spreading the news that He raised the Anointed One from the dead (which must be a lie if what you are saying about the dead not being raised is the truth). Please listen. If you say, “the dead are not raised,” then what you are telling me is that the Anointed One has not been raised. Friends, if the Anointed has not been raised from the dead, then your faith is worth less than yesterday’s garbage, you are all doomed in your sins, and all the dearly departed who trusted in His liberation are left decaying in the ground. If what we have hoped for in the Anointed doesn’t take us beyond this life, then we are world-class fools, deserving everyone’s pity. But the Anointed One was raised from death’s slumber and is the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep in death. For since death entered this world by a man, it took another man to make the resurrection of the dead our new reality. Look at it this way: through Adam all of us die, but through the Anointed One all of us can live again.
i interpret this passage for my heart in this way: while i believe that this is very much talking about the life to come, in heaven, and a physical resurrection of Jesus, i believe that that life starts now and that that physical resurrection symbolizes and signifies something so much larger than a dead man coming back to life. our eternal life, our ABUNDANT LIFE, the Holy Spirit in us Life, started the second i said yes to Jesus. and every moment i continue to say yes, i am partnering with the resurrection. the resurrection that overcame every power of evil, death and darkness. how this passage was a game changer was this: every action i ever do, every time i choose to do something for someone else in hopes they see Jesus, every time i attempt love, EVERY SINGLE THING I DO is fueled and powered by resurrection power.
that. is. the. difference.
it is a kingdom power difference. love is not a feeling. it is a choice. and that choice’s power is not of my own doing, but the doing of the resurrection and the undoing of death and darkness power. when i do something “down here” there is work being done “up there” that greatly influences “down here.” resurrection power is now the heartbeat of my life. the energy and the rhythm of all my comings and goings and doings and beings. this is what makes me different in the world. not on my own, but because of what He has already done. and i partner and walk it out, but He is in charge of how it hits people’s hearts. i just trust and walk and enjoy Him, and choose to protect other people because they are worth it. i want to use my freedom solely for others to be set free. for them to see that it is not only possible but wonderful.
and after learning all this, i am seeing that i want to start putting my relationships above all else. before anything else. i have my ideas of what that looks like, but that is how i know my life will be the absolute richest.
i am a lover. and there is always magic for lovers to do.
updates: europe. i went there. i went to italy and france. i did so much that thinking about it makes my brain explode. it was the best and i soaked up as much of every minute as i could. quick summary: rome in my opinion was touristy and tacky and i didnt love it other than the most incredible historical sites and laughing with my best friends the whole time. milan made me want to be a fashionista. florence was incredible also. paris was magic. i never wanted to leave. it felt like that feeling when you are in magic kingdom at disney world for 11 days straight.
i have being reading a little bit more which i love. i read the book scary close. i was obsessed with it until the last couple chapters that unsettled me a titch and i need to go back and figure out why, but overall i think i really recommend it. now i am reading a book by jan meyers, listening to love. other than the cure by john lynch i have never read anything more true about me. i read two sentences and i am undone. it might take a while.
i caddied. anders’ first pro tournament i got to caddy 36 holes! i think i did 34/36 if i am being honest, but i was pretty proud of myself. and since this is my blog and i can go on bragging about myself, it was in 107 degree heat. thank you very much.
i am with my sisters and it is the best summer ever. i am working at bull street but mostly spending as much time as possible with hannah and abbey and obsessed with every minute of it.
prayer requests: energy. i work all day and give and give and love it, but want enough to stay up late and have fun celebration parties for no reason with my sisters, to be able to do fun things with anders who deserves my best, to enjoy making plans with my friends and getting coffee and doing dumb stuff because we can.
also pray that all of this will be that absolute truest in my life. that the Holy Spirit will be my best friend above all else, and everything else falls under that.
to becoming love,