Sunday, September 26, 2010


The enemy has been defeated. Death couldn't hold You down. We're going to lift our voice in victory, we're going to make our praises loud.

Sometimes God asks us to do tricky things. Sometimes His timing is really inconvenient. I mean...come on. I have school. I have tests. I have papers. I have meetings. I don't have time to build relationships God. I don't have time to really care about others. Doesn't He get that?

This is how He often responds to me when I tell Him that:
He says, "Ashley. Kid...Honey, Child. What are you doing?"
And then I tell Him, "Welllllllll.........I..I..I....Eep..."
And He smiles. And reminds me that He will take care of me. And that I seriously have got to get my butt in gear and actively love people. And His timing, contrary to my belief, is actually quite on target. He also reminds me that He's gotta be more important than school. That He is the source and provider of joy, peace, passion, purpose, love, excitement.

So, why am I writing this at 3:20am? Because I couldn't sleep. These last few nights, I've been able to have really intentional conversations with people about Christ. And in both of them, He revealed Himself in a powerful way. I saw people break down and run straight into His glory. And people were faced with a decision. Christ or something else. Tonight, I got up so I could listen to some "Jesus Jams" as I like to call them. And I began reading "Starving Jesus". And then apparently...felt the need to write in this blog (what a weird word) but in a very real way.

Also, I'd like to point out that this is like a for real journal type entry. Yeah. Be proud. Bam.

Back to the whole God thing from a few paragraphs earlier. I gotta be semi-careful how I word this, write this, enter this...but here we go. So I have a really cool job. My job is to care about people. And I get paid for it. Pretty legit, yeah? Yeah......... Well. There's actually a lot more to it than just caring about people. A lot more. But I want to focus solely on the whole caring aspect of it. So, I have 43 people that I'm directly "responsible" (I don't really know what the right word is, but that seems to fit okay....) for. 43. On one level, that's not that many, right? It should be easy to care about 43 people. And to that I say, "You're right. It is easy to care about them."

I'm going to clump these 43 women together and say this about them: They are really cool. For real, they are amazing. Sure, they get on my nerves sometimes (in the most loving way, of course), and sure, they do some ridiculous things. But I have got to say. I seriously love them. I adore them. I admire them. All 43 of them. And I care about them. (And what's really nuts to me. Is that God loves them, adores them, cares about them. Way more than I ever could. That's the kind of God I serve.)

But those things...are easy to do. It's the whole actively loving thing that I have issues with. Mainly because I just don't have time. Or they don't have time. Put it together, and we don't have time. We are too busy to build a genuine relationship. And I have continued to use that as an excuse. That I've tried, but it's not going to happen. One of us is always busy. But excuses aren't really a favorite of God's. And He seems pretty adamant about the whole actively loving thing.

Having a genuine relationship with 43 people. And the rest of what my job entails. And being a full time student. And keeping up with other things and people. Is actually quite difficult. So this is where I complain apparently. Yeesh. What I'm getting at is this. 43 people is actually a lot when it comes to actively loving. So that's why I tell God I don't have time. Because if I spent just one hour with each of them. That's 43 hours. But a real relationship is more than one hour. It's continuous. It's many hours. And many hours with 43 people. Is a whole lot of hours. And that's when He tells me. Hey Ash, just trust me. This whole time issue ain't got nothing on me. I got you. You can do school. You can keep up with things. You can actively love. So long as I am in the midst of it all. So long as I. Come. First.

If you are one of those 43 persons. I'm going to let you know right now, that I'm going to be knocking on your door really soon and asking to hang out. And I'm going to be pretty persistent. Because I genuinely want to and because God really wants me to. Because you are worth it. You are worth my time. You are worth having an intentional conversation with.

Okay, okay God. I think I get it. Good grief.

So here's what I'm saying.
1. Don't use lack of time as an excuse to not love on people. Especially if you're a Christ Follower.
2. Actively love people. Be genuine. Build genuine relationships.
3. People are worth it.
4. The 43 girls I've been talking about are fantastic and I can't wait to for real get to know them.

And just so we're clear. I love my job. And I love my girls. And I love my God. And my schoolwork will still get done. And all is good in the hood. I'm not actually as overwhelmed as what it may have sounded, because I am continuously calmed down by the peace of God.

Friday, September 17, 2010


I just found out that there are approximately 150 English words that are both verbs and nouns. (You can see the compiled list here.) 150 words. This includes drink, order, fish, address, sting...and love. Some of you may be thinking, "No duh Ashley, of course 'love' is a verb and a noun. Everyone knows that". To which I say to you...I don't think that's entirely true. I don't think everyone knows that. I think oftentimes, we (people...) see love as just a feeling. Like when people say they marry for love, they're usually speaking in terms of how they feel about one another. Granted, this is all my own opinion, but I'm pretty sure if that's the sounds like an awful reason to get married. Because, really now, what's the probability that you will FEEL the same way about a person for the rest of your life? I can probably promise that my feelings often fluctuate. Feelings are pretty conditional. And besides, the dictionary defines feeling as "an emotional state". Well, what does state mean? It means "at a particular time". (Definitions from Oxford American Dictionary) So what I gather, is that a feeling is what emotion you are at a particular time. And the chances of you being all giddy and excited for the rest of your life, regardless of any circumstance, is pretty slim I'd say. But hey, that's just my rationale. 

But, this argument is missing two things. 
1. The Bible uses it as a noun at a better way than the feeling. 
2. Love isn't just a noun. It's also a verb; an action. 

The Bible uses the word "love" as a noun at times. An adjective describes a noun, yes? And adjectives 
are descriptive words, yes? So the majority of 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 uses the word "love" as a noun. 
Check it out: "Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not 
demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about 
injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always
hopeful, and endures through every circumstance." Using "love" as a noun isn't bad! It's good! Paul uses 
it as if it were a noun. Love is a noun! Additionally, this describes the noun as something that doesn't
fluctuate based on changes or conditions. This noun is constant. This is a very different noun than what
many people think of it as...hmmmm.

The Bible also uses it as an action. Because love isn't just a noun--it's a verb too. Go out and love. Go out and love 
on the world. Love through actions. Love through words. Love isn't something you feel. It's something you do. It's 
something you show. 

There are four words for "love" in the greek language. Agape, eros, philia, and storge. The basic run down goes like
Agape: true love, sacrificial love
Eros: Passionate love (like significant others)
Philia: Friendship love
Storge: Affectionate love (like parents to children)

God is our father, our Abba. Storge. 
God is our friend. Philia.
We are His bride. Eros.
God loves us fully and wholly. He sacrificed His son for you, for me, for us. Agape. 

God is love. Love is God. God loves us in every way possible and in the best way possible. 

We are called to be Christ like. We are called to love as He does. I want to focus more on the agape love. When He
writes for us to love, it's the word "agape". We are to love unconditionally. Even if someone is a jerk. Even if
someone lies. Even if someone hates. Even if someone "does something bad". Even if someone makes us angry,
mad, sad. Even if (insert something here). No matter what. Love. Agape. Forgive people. Love people. Care for
people. No matter what. It's hard. I know. He knows. But that's not an excuse. Love people. Agape. 

And remember. That you are worth it. That He died for you. And He loves you. And He forgives you. And you.
You don't deserve it. Neither do I. He still loves us. Agape. 

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


Song of the post: "This is the first day of the rest of your life" (Hold Us Together, Matt Maher).

If it's your birthday...
Happy birthday to you!
Happy birthday to you!
Happy birthdaaaaay dear (or is it to?) YOOOOOOOU!
Happy birthdaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaayyyyy tooooooo yooooooouuuuuu!!!!!

Yaaaaay. Hip hip hurray for birthdays!

A lot of people have been having birthdays recently, so I'm in the birthday mode! (Although I have yet to have any cake or ice cream!!! What the heck?!) But for real...I've been thinking a lot about birthdays. I feel like there has been so many of them recently (seriously like almost 1/4 of my residents have had birthdays within the last 3 weeks) that I can't keep up with them! Which I then feel awful for because I like giving cards to are my favorite things everrr so I just assume other people like them too, just perhaps not to the degree that I do. I've also been thinking about my pals that aren't in Flagstaff...and how I have to miss their birthdays which is rather unfortunate.

And it may seem like I'm big on birthdays...but I'm really not. I more just like to make sure people feel cared for, particularly on the day that they're celebrating their day of birth.

I've also been thinking a lot about my past birthday. On July 17, 2010 I turned 20. I was in South Africa from July 7-July 27. In case you didn't pick it up...I got to spend my 20th birthday in South Africa. And it was pretty tight, not going to lie. I got to go to the lion park and play with a baby tiger and baby lion. I can legitimately say I've been mauled by a tiger and got a rip in my pants by a lion. It was amazing.

At midnight, South Africa time (9 hours ahead of AZ), my cabin mates woke me up and sang to me and gave me a card--it was beautiful! I got to spend the first 10 days of being 20 serving Christ surrounded by people who are wholly committed to Jesus. And thinking back to those first ten days serves as a reminder of how I wan to spend the third decade of my life. I want to spend my twenties simply loving Jesus in the most passionate and powerful ways. Jesus gives me such joy. "Like sunlight burning at midnight, something so beautiful, beautiful" (Beautiful, Beautiful, Francesca Battestelli). Being woken up at midnight with people who have the light of Christ was truly beautiful.

I want this decade to begin and end with Christ. For He is the I AM, Alpha and Omega.

I think that's why I am so excited about birthdays. I want people to experience something cool. That doesn't mean they have to go to South Africa. That doesn't mean they have to go hang out with a tiger or lion. It does mean that I want people to feel joy, feel loved, feel cherished, feel excited. Excited for their life, for the year, for the decade. And that means that those of us who call ourselves Christ followers, have got to step up. And go share the Good News of Christ. Because it's fo' real good news, ain't gonna lie.

Have a very happy birthday!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Life's Cool

I have a lot of half (or less than half) finished things. There are a lot of things I want to write about here, but I just haven't been able to sit down and think things out. And some people tell me that it's silly, that this is a blog, a journal type deal, and that I should write (type). And not think, let it flow. I'm not down for that, and am going to continue to think things through and not be totally ridiculous. With that being said, here are the things that I have been wanting to write here, or have started writing:

  • Birthdays. I think it's partially because a lot of people have had birthdays lately...and I've been thinking about my birthday..
  • Love. There's a lot to chat about on that word=) 
  • Along with love...marriage. 
  • I think there is more...but those are the main ones..

Sooo hopefully I will get those nailed out...