Thursday, December 31, 2015


2015 was the first year I decided to choose one word to focus on, as that was what the Church urged us to do. My word was relentless. 

Not for me to be relentless, but to bask in and recognize the love of our redeeming God is relentless. No matter what. He is relentless, consistently and passionately pursuing me. He is relentless, His love is relentless. 

2016 my word is intentional. I want to focus on being intentional. Intentional in my relationships, my actions, my words. To be intentional in my being and the way I interact with people, the way I portray myself, and portray God. 

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Black Lives Matter

Black lives matter. Black lives matter, black lives matter, black lives matter.
Black lives matter.

Are we hearing this? Seeing it? Believing it?
Because black lives matter.

Yes, all lives also matter, but right now, black lives matter. I love the analogy in this article because it helps put it into perspective:
It's like calling 911 and saying someone is breaking into your house and you start to provide them your address and the operator says, "All houses matter, not just yours" and you are so confused, because No duh, all houses matter, but right now it's your house getting broken into and your house needs attention and help. 

So yes, all lives matter. But right now, our friends of color need attention and help and support.

"So finding those opportunities in everyday life that you can actually wield your privilege rather than trying to excuse it away or justify it. That aligns you as an ally."

I've had my own white privileged perspective (WPP) my whole life, and it has developed and gotten wider and brighter and more colorful as I've grown, gone to various places in the world, immersed myself into cultures, broadened my horizons, interacted with people, educated myself, and been vulnerable with myself and others, and acknowledged my WPP.

My own WPP said, Hey, some people are racists but few people are. Most people are wonderful and great and kind. 

My own WPP said, Hey, people really are equal...for the most part. 

My own WPP said, Hey, people need to work hard and then they can get ahead and do well in life. 

My own WPP said a lot of things. And it still says things from time to time. Because I don't always understand. And I'm not always perfect and great. But what I'm getting way better at, and actively doing, is recognizing my white privilege, stopping myself and reflecting, reframing, and being more of an advocate and ally for people of color.

Because black lives matter.

So with my white privilege I'm in a unique position to do something, and that's to align myself with the cause. To align myself and declare that black lives matter.

And I believe Jesus would say black lives matter. If I didn't believe He would, I'd seriously be questioning my commitment and faith. But I'm all in and fully committed to a God who loves and says, yes, indeed, black lives matter.

Black. Lives. Matter. 

Jesus Would Say Black Lives Matter:
Jesus would say Black Lives Matter

Articles from Relevant Magazine:
The Problem with All Lives Matter
From the President
Justice Part 2


Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Jottings on John

I'm really pleased with my alliteration on these!
I read through the Gospels, and these are just some of my own summation of points I got from the Gospels. John is the fourth and final Gospel. I don't specifically discuss stories or content, just my own thoughts/themes.


  • Can't talk about light without talking about darkness
  • John doesn't demand we blindly agree. 
  • Important to know scripture. 
  • People liked spending time with Jesus. 
  • Jesus calls on us personally; he cares about us as individuals. 
  • Ch 2: Used something gross and made it wonderful. 
  • Jesus didn't use the whip to harm, he used it to lead animals. 
  • There is such a thing as righteous anger. 
  • Jesus gets to the heart of issues. 
  • Jesus crossed barriers. 
  • Jesus uses simple situations to glorify God. 
  • Jesus gets tired. 
  • Jesus gently confronts. 
  • Jesus meets us where we're at. 
  • Jesus loves women. 
  • The first time he states that He's the messiah is to a Samaritan woman
    • Non-jew. Bad rep. Woman. 
  • Acknowledge we have needs. 
  • Don't blindly follow the law. 
  • Change is scary. 
  • When Jesus performed miracles, didn't want focus on miracle, wanted it on Him. 
  • Jesus' disciples had mixture of doubt and faith. And that's okay. 
  • Hashtag introvert tendencies. 
  • I love that the Bible shows the wrestling and grappling of people (7:40-52)
  • Disabilities aren't punishment. 
  • Jesus cries. 
  • Following the Gospel isn't easy--cross has death and Jesus asks us to die before Him. 
  • Jesus feels pain. He feels with us. 
  • Sin has to be dealt with. 
  • Be humble enough to let others help. 
  • Jesus is an advocate, defender, and is there for people. (14:16). 
  • All of the disciples saw his wounds, not just Thomas. 
  • Thomas expressed his doubts and God revealed himself to Thomas. 

A Look at Luke

What I got from the book of Luke (third Gospel of Bible).


  • Luke is detailed, diligent, intentional (1:3)
  • Mary had fear and showed it--God replied and addressed her fear. 
  • Miracles and signs were performed with intention. 
  • Luke takes more time to explain things. 
  • Connects and cites Old Testament in New Testament. 
  • Luke takes the time to map out the genealogy of Jesus. 
  • Satan knows and uses scripture too. (chapter 4)
  • Jesus has personality of both introvert and extrovert. (5:16)
  • Our friends affect us. 
  • Jesus takes time to be by himself and pray. 
  • Jesus speaks so people can understand; uses language and concepts they are familiar with. 
  • Important to be persistent
  • Jesus loves people. 
  • Being a Christ follower means to choose God above all else. 
  • Don't give up on people. 
  • There are always second chances with Jesus. 
  • Humility is important. 
  • Inclusiveness and diversity is important. 
  • Don't be lukewarm. 
  • God loves you enough to deal with your crap. 
  • God doesn't just forgive, he restores. 
  • Jesus is witty. 
  • Nobody is unworthy; all are loved. 
  • God provides hope for the broken. 
My take on the Parable of the Lost Son (Luke 15:11):
  • Younger Son: Desired independence, went away as far as possible, spoke his needs of being independent to his father. 
  • Dad: Listened to son and gave him his desire. 
  • Older son: Tries to earn dad's favor, questions his own rewards, doesn't step in, essentially tells brother "you're not worth it". 
  • When younger son ready to come back: Had a plan and followed through with it. He confessed and admitted it and did something about it. 
  • v. 20: "But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him."
    • Means his father was looking for him. 
    • His dad ran to him--didn't meet him halfway, didn't wait, he ran to him. 
  • Son had a long speech prepared, he was cut off because dad essentially says, "you came, that's what matters". Dad disregards sons unworthiness and then the party begins.  

My take on the Lord's Prayer:
Father, Acknowledge God
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come. 
Give us each day our daily bread. Be real with needs
Forgive us our sins, Confess sins
for we also forgive everyone who sins Ask for strength 
against us. 
And lead us not into temptation. Rely/trust in Jesus

Musings on Mark

My musings on the book of Mark, the second Gospel in the Bible (New Testament).
There's a lot in there that I understand how so many people can read it and get something different out of it.

  • Mark writes like a no-nonsense guy
  • Jesus liked close knit groups (Mark 3:7)
  • Jesus answers our questions (Mark 4:10, 34)
  • Jesus explains laws of Old Testament and laws of new covenant (Mark 7:6-23)
  • Jesus explains how people can/do twist or use the Bible to further their own agenda (Mark 7:8-13)
  • Jesus has so many human characteristics, reminding us that He was fully human--he expressed a myriad of emotions, slept, ate, sighed. 
  • Jesus raises the standard for marriage and relationships. 
  • Jesus performed miracles when purposeful (v. 52)
  • Jesus asks us to share our hearts/desires with him. 
  • Jesus believes in servitude, serving others, humility. 
  • The Pharisees described him as a man of integrity (12:14)

Saturday, December 5, 2015

How Terrorists Help My Faith

These past few weeks, I've come to the realization that terrorists are helping my faith.
Terrorists, by definition are, those who use violence and intimidation in the pursuit of political aims.

Islam is a really neat religion. Islam has five pillars of faith: Belief, worship, fasting, almsgiving, and pilgrimage.

I get challenged within my own faith so often, especially lately, because I have so many doubts, questions, and confusions, primarily about other Christians. Because I look at so many people who have the label of "Christian" and they don't look anything like Jesus. I think,"If Christianity were right and Jesus was real and able to conquer sin, Christians wouldn't pervert the Gospel" and "If people who claim to believe in the Gospel actually did, they would do life much differently".

Terrorism has given me some hope into Christianity, because I see another religion (Islam), which is a really beautiful religion and guided by kindness, charity, gentleness. And you have people, terrorists like those who are part of ISIS and al-Queda, who pervert the religion of Islam and say they are Muslim.

And somehow, I am able to separate terrorists from Muslims; I am able to see the difference between those who are actually practicing Islam and those who are perverting the religion and saying it's in the name of Islam. ISIS/ISIL, standing for Islamic State of Iraq/Syria, is an incorrect acronym. Because the Islamic State would look a lot different than resulting in terrorism, I would guess. In no way does terrorism from "radical Muslims" affect or skew my view of Muslims or the Islamic religion. In no way do I see any resemblance.

So how come it's so hard for me to have that differentiation with Christians? Maybe because it's more personal, since I subscribe to the Christian faith, maybe when I see "radical Christians" it hits more at home?

Terrorists help my faith because I realize all faiths, all people groups, have "radicals" and not in the good way (Because, arguably there is a good way to be radical). Terrorists help my faith because I see a vast difference between true Muslims and....those who say they are Muslim and perpetuate terrorism. It's really easy for me to not generalize the acts of terrorism to all those who are Muslim.

But it's hard for me to not generalize the acts of "radical Christians" to Christianity and ultimately, to Jesus. I look at terrorists and I realize that if I believe that terrorists don't represent Islam, then it's reasonable to assume that "radical Christians" don't represent Jesus. It's reasonable to assume that Jesus doesn't look anything like "radical Christians". And it's reasonable to assume that those Christians who pervert the Gospel aren't representing the Gospel, they are representing their own agenda.

So I look at al-Quada and ISIS and I think they're terrorists who use the Islam faith as a springboard for their own agenda and aren't actually submitting themselves to God and that helps me to look at Christians who use the Christian faith to springboard for their own agenda and aren't actually wholly in love with Christ.

I do believe Jesus is real and I do believe He conquered sin. And I believe those who have submitted themselves to the I AM and fully repented and allowed Jesus to be the King of their life and spent time with Him and grew in their faith and talked to Him and believe that He did die and rose again and believe that He has endless and boundless grace and agape love, that they wouldn't pervert the Gospel and they would do life differently.

I think these thoughts are right: "If Christianity were right and Jesus was real and able to conquer sin, Christians wouldn't pervert the Gospel" and "If people who claim to believe in the Gospel actually did, they would do life much differently".

If someone says they are Muslim and their actions result in terrorism, I don't believe them. Likewise, if someone says they are Christian and their actions result in hurt, anger, judgement, or despair to others, I don't believe them. Because terrorism doesn't represent Islam and meanness doesn't represent Christianity. 

Thursday, November 26, 2015

11/21/15, My Journal

11/21/15, My Journal
I love the mystery and beauty in God. Such an amazing, gracious, abounding Savior. What a Savior, to come and say, "You. You matter. You're worthy. Here's grace." What a Savior to come and take on the weight, shame, guilt of the world and offer forgiveness. This Savior longs to save the world. This is a Savior who says to care about all people, amazing people, humble people. Who says to offer compassion, love, support for all. Who says, you have resources--use them to love graciously. That is why you are here. 

Thursday, September 17, 2015

People are Amazing

And so is Google. I love Google so much. They are currently matching donations, 1:1, up to $11 million US dollars, 100% of the funds, to go towards helping the refugees. In less than twenty minutes, more than $20,000 has been donated (I keep refreshing, it's super cool seeing the numbers go up).

If I'm being honest, I donated just a little. And then I thought..Ashley, this is why you have money. So I did more. Sometimes, I have to give myself reminders and little have money to serve people. You have money to give to others. You have money to make life better for other people. 

Oh, yeah. 

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Money Commitment

With my money, I want to commit (at minimum, at this time):
  • Sponsor 1 child through Compassion
  • Make 1 Kiva payment every other week
  • Tip minimum 20% (under $15, 50%)
  • Actively pay off debt (car/student)
  • Pay all bills timely
  • Save for trip with friend

Sunday, July 12, 2015

I Don't Want to Help People

Confession: I don't really want to help people. That's not my mission or life goal.

I want to be in a position where I can be part of the celebration of people.
At my old job, we had these called "hope stories". At the beginning of every formal/informal meeting, someone shared a hope story and we had to constantly send them in. And for whatever reason, I hated them. I like hope, I like stories, yet I hated these hope stories. As I thought more, I realized it's because they weren't told in a way that highlighted the strength of the persons who came, but rather said, "look at this broken person who came to us and we helped them". All the hope stories did was elevate us as better than those who came to us for help. And that's when I started to realize I didn't want to help people in the normal sense of the phrase.

I'm not a social worker to help people. I'm not doing my job to help people. I'm here because I believe in people. I believe in the strength and resiliency and dignity of people. I can "help" people in realizing that. But the individuals I work with help themselves. Below is one of my favorite posters. All I'm doing is handing out sticks. My job is to know the people I work with and hand them sticks, provide resources. They're doing all the hard work. People don't usually need help. They need someone to care and give them a stick.

When  I was in grad school, I was conflicted because I did believe in the phrase pull yourself up by your bootstraps, yet it seemed like my new role was to believe the opposite of that and I struggled with that cognitive dissonance. I had to figure out how to meld the two viewpoints together. And while I still believe in that phrase, I also believe that there are so many other steps before that and that's where my role is. 

Before you can "pull yourself up by your bootstraps" you have to know/have the following things:
  1. What bootstraps are
  2. How to use bootstraps
  3. Have boots on
  4. Know that you have boots
  5. Find/buy your boots if you don't have them
  6. Use your boots and move once you've "pulled yourself up"
With some individuals, they need support with all 6. Some just 1-2 of them. And that's my role. To identify which one(s) they need. Or maybe they just want to go barefoot or with another pair of footwear and figure out how we're going to do that.

It's not about me. It's about them. I don't think people need help. I think people need to know someone cares about them, believes in them, unconditionally supports them, advocates for them, is willing to meet them where they are at and sit in the discomfort, and cares enough to not let them stay where they are.

That's what I believe is my role and that's how I do my job. 

Saturday, June 13, 2015


I spent most of my day reading the book of Matthew, from the Bible. Here are a few things I got from it:

  • Jesus raises the standard (Matt. 5:21-24)
  • Serve others and do more than they expect (Matt. 5:38-42)
  • Love more than expected. Include people. Get out of your own comfort zone and greet and engage with various people, who aren't like you. The world is big, be part of it. (Matt. 5:43-48)
  • Take time for people, without losing sight of your mission. (Matt. 9:18-26)
  • He doesn't need us, but he wants us. He desires for us to be part of His mission. (Matt. 10:1-17)
  • Jesus respects other cultures/customs (Matt. 17:24-27) 
  • When earnest questions are asked, He responds (Matt. 13:36-37)
  • We are all invited to the Kingdom, and we all have a choice if we want to accept or not. If we choose yes and go, we have to know the cost. And we have to be prepared for that cost. (Matt. 22: 9-14)

To Be Known

The kind of person I want to be known as:

  • Someone who takes time to really see and know people
  • Someone who believes people are worthy of love and belonging
  • Someone who is willing to take time for others
  • Someone who adores and worships Christ, the Messiah
  • Someone who spends money to better the world, other people, self

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Head Injury Thoughts

For whatever reason, I've started thinking about my past head injury a lot lately. I've been thinking about how much it impacted me, then and now. And how much it just...kind of wrecked my life, to be honest. Sometimes I joke that it ruined my life. And it didn't, I don't know why I feel that way, but I do.

I'm looking back at my blog entries (begin in July 2013) to see my chronicles from the time. It's amazing the detail I put into it. It's evident of when I was doing better and when I wasn't. As I'm reading through them, I'm getting tears in my eyes because it's so clear that the girl who wrote those was seriously struggling. And I can see more and more when I look in hindsight as to why people were so concerned. I'm concerned about the girl who wrote those! You can just see the struggle and the emotional roller coaster of that time. There were so many posts that I would say, "I'm finally doing better!" And then the next post is, "Nope, not doing well." And then I realized, I just kind of suddenly stopped writing about it. Oye to the poodles!

Weirdly, after reading those entries, it has calmed me down a lot and helped me better process. This type of journaling has been really helpful for me. Thanks for being part of it. 

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Brokenness Aside

The first time I heard this song, I wasn't a huge fan. But now, I'm hooked. It's called "Brokenness Aside" Will your grace run out if I let you down? Will you call me child when I tell you lies?

You take brokenness aside and make it beautiful. 

Something I struggle a lot with is jealousy. It's one of those struggles that's on the "inside" so it's something I can hide. It's one of those that can be disguised as good, because it can push me to do more and be more and attain more. It's something that can encourage me to work harder. It's also something that eats me up and swallows me. It's something that I have always struggled with. And some days I do better with than others.

Here lately, I've been losing the battle. Typically, I'm genuinely excited and happy for other people and their lives and accomplishments and such. But there are times when...not so much. And the not so much part comes from a lot of my own insecurities, the root one being that I'm not good enough. Which is something that has been woven throughout the writings here, something I've been able to start to verbalize or write and wrestle through. Again, some days I do better than others. Most days, I do better than before I could talk about it. And I do even better since I was able to identify it.

And what I just so love about Christ is that I can be comforted in that I am enough. And more than that, He is enough. A lot of Christianity is about how people sin and screw up and really, about how we aren't good enough on our own. But that's the just the first part. If you only look at that part, Christianity is kind of mean. But it's so beautiful because Christianity is also about this God who loves people so much, despite everything, and he came in the flesh and met us in our brokenness. And he said I love you, I love all of you. He takes my brokenness and makes it beautiful.

There is another fantastic song by Shane and Shane called "Embracing Accusation".
The father of  lies...All of my hopes of being good enough, I hear him saying cursed are the ones who can't abide. He's right. Alleluia, he's right. The devil is preaching the song of the redeemed, that I am cursed and gone astray, I cannot gain salvation. 

It then goes on to say...
The devil is singing over me an age old song. That I am cursed and gone astray. Singing the first verse so conveniently over me. He's forgotten the refrain...Jesus saves! 

We so often forget the refrain when looking at brokenness and sin. Yeah, it's there. But that's part of the beauty of Christ. Jesus saves. And alleluia, that is beautiful.

I struggle with jealousy. I let people down. I lie to myself and sometimes to others. And yet, I'm still loved, I'm still forgiven, I'm still redeemed.  

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Role Clarity

I'm wide awake, draw me close, stirred by grace
All fear removed, I breathe you in and lean into your love

I'm not always good about extending grace to people. I like labels, I like boxes, I like role clarity. This past week, I've been really focused on role clarity. I was feeling off and my supervisor asked if I felt supported and I sat and thought and said, you know...I don't actually. And we talked about what I wasn't getting and they've responded really well.

One of my issues was role clarity. I was unclear of my role when it seemed to overlap with others. Our job descriptions started to bleed into each other and I was unsure. I needed role clarity, I needed to know what my job was, what was expected of me, what was not expected of me, and to clearly know what parts are actually unclear.

I have also realized that this extends to my personal life, not just my professional life. I need role clarity. I need to know my role in other people's lives. I want to know if I'm just another person, a friend, a good friend, a confidant, a best friend, a sister, a student, a daughter, an acquaintance. I am, for the most part, fine once I know my role. Even if I don't like my role. But I need to know my role and I struggle when I don't know who I am to someone.

But life is messy and relationships are messy and I can't always get role clarity and a label and a box like I want. And I get frustrated and lack grace. Because I'm messy, too.

But I can be confident, right now, in my role with Jesus. That right now, I can just lean into his love. And I can breathe here. And I can be sure in that. And that's enough. 

Monday, May 25, 2015

Jesus Feminist

I've read about 4 books in the past 2 weeks, one of them was called Jesus Feminist.

In college, I took a history of women and gender studies class and I hated it. Nearly every person in that class were those who would truly embrace the word feminist and I didn't want to be that. I'm not sure how long the reclaiming of the word has been (I really hated that class) but over these past few years I've been noticing a shift in a lot of words and reclaiming of them. And I've since realized that actually, I am a feminist.

Not in the way that my classmates were in college, but in the way of believing that women are people and women are worthy. Just as worthy as men. And to be honest, I'm not even sure if I've totally believed that my whole life and just didn't put a name to it. I have had a lot of questions regarding the Church and women, I just didn't know what my questions were. And I didn't know how to ask or who to ask.

A lot of this "blog" is me processing through my questions. Because I have so many and so much of my life was to not ask questions. If you have questions, you're stupid. I don't know where I got that from, because my parents are awesome and I had pretty solid schooling, but somehow that statement was ingrained into me. And as such, I didn't ask a lot of questions, K-12. I sat in class, or sat in church, took notes, and tried to figure things out on my own.

Anyways, back to questions regarding womanhood, feminism, and Christ. And I saw this book in two bookstores and decided to buy it.  (That links to Amazon.) I didn't know how to correlate my passions for education and career and work with the Church and ministry. I didn't know how to be a woman wholly in love with Jesus. I didn't think I was allowed to be a warrior, in any sense of the word. I didn't know how to say,

I'm a woman and that's beautiful and my Jesus loves me and I can be part of His mission. 

Sarah Bessey, author of Jesus Feminist, makes the statement,"patriarchy is not God's dream for humanity" (p. 14) and that resonated with me a lot. Because, doesn't it feel like that's what the Church says sometimes? 

After years of reading the Gospels and the full canon of Scriptures, here is, very simply, what I learned about Jesus and the ladies: he loves us. He loves us. On our own terms. He treats us equals to the  men around him; he listens; he does not belittle; he honors us; he challenges us; he teaches us; he includes--calls us beloved...Jesus loves us...In a time when women were almost silent or invisible in literature, Scripture affirms and celebrates women. (p.16-17)

There is so much more, each chapter is strong and pieces of it resonated with me. And I may continue to process here. There were discussion questions at the end too. Overall, I loved that it was a book that said, hey there are different points of view and that's awesome. It wasn't a book that said this is how it is, but rather a book that said, hey, here's what I'm getting. What do you think? Let's wrestle together. 

Another part I loved was this (I hope I'm not breaking copyright laws!):

Stay there in the questions, in the doubts, in the wonderings and loneliness, the tension of living in the Now and the Not Yet of the Kingdom of God, your wounds and hurts and aches, until you are satisfied that Abba is there too. You will not find your answers by ignoring the cry of your heart or by living a life of intellectual or spiritual dishonesty. Your fear will try to hold you back, your tension will increase, the pain will become intense, and it will be tempting to keep clinging tight to the old life; the cycle is true. So be gentle with yourself. Be gentle when you first release. Talk to people you trust. Pray. Lean into the pain. Stay there. And the release will come. 

I know you have questions, and they're much bigger than the whole church-women-feminism-equality issues. I know. Me, too. Still. So I'll carry you in my heart. Stay as long as you'd like; I'm in no rush. Hurry wounds a questioning soul.

--pg 52. 

I have more to write, more to process, more to share. I was able to gain some good insight from the book, not because it gave specific answers, but because of what was on page 52. Particularly the parts bolded and underlined. Bessey reminds us to ask the questions and wrestle with them. And overall, what I started realizing as I was reading is what's up above in pink. 

To be a woman isn't to be lesser than. I can work alongside my brothers and I am just as loved and just as valued. 

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Foster Care

After finishing up graduate school, several of my friends worked in foster care. Months later, a few of them approached me (all on separate occasions) and asked me if I would be interested in being a foster parent. I didn't think they were serious. They kept asking. I kept thinking they were kidding.

Me? I'm barely able to afford my own rent and bills. I have a degree where I don't know if I'll ever make more than $50,000 at the peak time in my career. I am single. I am young. I'm barely 24 years old. I don't know what I'm doing with my life. I don't know how to take care of another person. I don't know how to cook. How can I feed them? 

I kept offering excuses, which I thought were legitimate reasons. The people who are supposed to be foster parents are the ones who have a home. Who have a family, who have a partner, who have age on their side, who know how to do life. They're the ones that should be stepping up. Not me. I thought our focus should be spent trying to get those kind of people becoming foster parents. Not me.

But my friends kept asking. And I finally stopped and said, "Wait. Are you being serious?" And they said, "Well, yeah. I thought you knew we were being serious."

What? No. I didn't. You can't be serious. And again, with the excuses. And around and around we went.

After several months of this, one of my best friends, who was also one of the ones to approach me about this idea, told me she was for real considering and for real wanted me to consider it.

And then I moved. But the seed had officially been planted, but I never shared it with anyone, other than that one friend, but even then I didn't say a lot. Finally, one day I brought it up with another best friend. I shared the conversations, my thoughts, my excuses, my questions, and we had solid dialogue about it. And we continue to have solid dialogue about it.

It was either that same weekend that I brought it up to my friend, or shortly thereafter, we made a last minute decision to go to church with my brother. (We had gone the night prior to another church and had another plan for Sunday morning. At 11:08am, we realized we couldn't do our original plan so decided to go to the 11:30am service). And that sermon was all about foster care and caring for the world. We just looked at each other and cracked up.

In fact the next several church services I went to, and since I've just moved and trying to find a good church, was a different one every week, and almost every single one of them was about foster care and adoption. And how as a Church, we should be leading the way.

It really started when I read these words from "You and Me Forever" by Francis and Lisa Chan:

We need to learn to err on the side of action, because we tend to default to negligence. So many won't do anything unless they hear a voice from heaven telling them precisely what to do. Why not default to action until you hear a voice from heaven telling you to wait? For example: Why not assume you should adopt kids unless you hear a voice telling you not to? Wouldn't that seem more biblical since God has told us that true religion is to care for the widows and orphans (James 1:27)?

I read that before the move, before the conversations. And ever since started realizing the truth in that paragraph, erring on the side of action.

So I stopped with the excuses and started trying to figure out what to do. And that led me to having a conversation with that best friend. For my new job, I had to attend the same training foster parents go through. I talked to a few of them. I talked to the director. And they all said go. Get started. Do. Doesn't matter my age or that I'm single. Doesn't matter. What matters are those kiddos in foster care. And I can do something about it. So I started reevaluating the reality of it. And as of right now, my living situation does not possibly allow for it.

While I get my life in order in those ways, I've moved forward in other ways. I can't have a kid live with me right now. But I can sponsor a kid. So I just sponsored a child through Compassion International. And I support through Kiva. And if you have foster kiddos, I want to try to make it easier for you. I can hang out with them (for free). I can hang out with you. I can send jokes. I can hear about the crappy parts of the system. I can try to provide rides.

I'm working towards getting my living situation in order so it can be conducive for another human (and puppy, I really want a dog) to live with me. Instead of waiting. I want to do what I can. And if you have other ideas, let me know.

To be a Christ follower means to love and err on the side of action. It means even if it doesn't make sense to the world, even if people tell you it's ridiculous. I wouldn't have thought about foster care, me being part of it, if it weren't for my friends who told me I could do it. People already believing in me, despite all of things I lack. And I would have discounted it if I hadn't been reminded by the words of Francis Chan that my default move should always be to go. 

Thursday, May 7, 2015

This is My Story.

I didn't believe I had a story for a long time. When people talk about someone with a story about the change from God, it's usually about Paul. He went Saul to Paul, he persecuted Christians in horrid ways and then was blinded by God for a few days, was encountered by him, and then became a Christ follower. He wrote most of the new testament. His story is found in Acts 9:1-19.

Eventually, I learned I had a real story. And to say I don't have a story that matters is to say I don't matter.

This is my story. 

I wasn't born in the Christian faith, because it's not something you're born into. My parents knew Jesus and I did grow up in the church, though. I loved it. I loved church, although I didn't always love getting up early on a Sunday morning. I went to church at least three times a week (bible study, youth group, and church, plus any additional church events), knew the Bible backwards and forwards, and could give you all kinds of Bible knowledge facts. I knew there were 66 books in the Bible. I knew the words to the songs sung in church.

And when I was 9 years old, almost 10, I knew there was something more. I didn't exactly know all about the whole Jesus thing--I knew the story, but the part about having a for real relationship with Him was a little confusing. But I knew that's what I needed. I remember the pastor asking me several times, as did my parents, if I was sure about this. I was so confused as to why they were asking, because they were the ones teaching me this. Eventually I understood--my parents and the pastor knew the reality of committing to Jesus. They knew it was a personal decision. They knew it wasn't how much knowledge you had or what your attendance chart looked like, and wanted to make sure it was me making the decision for legitimate reasons, not because I am blindly agreeing to what they say. Much later, I realized how much I appreciated them.

My decision at the age of 9 only made me more excited for church. I brought so many friends to church in middle school, it was almost ridiculous. I loved church and I loved learning about Jesus.

When I was 14, the church I had attended for the past decade began to fall apart. I was devastated and allowed that to destroy my faith. I was hurt by the church and was unwilling to forgive. I harbored hatred and anger for many, many years. The latter part of my sophomore year of high school, I began to engage in church again. There, people rallied around me and supported me and encouraged me to ask hard questions.

I realized that while my decision to follow Jesus was legitimate, I wasn't appropriately fostering or growing my faith. I was afraid to ask hard questions, I was afraid to be angry, I was afraid to be hurt, and I was afraid to question and doubt. I'm nothing like Paul, the guy mentioned earlier. I am like Thomas.

Thomas' story is found towards the end of the book of John. He is often referred to as "Thomas the Doubter" and people sometimes hate on him. The gist of the story is that after Jesus rose from the dead, Thomas was the dude who said, "Hold up, this doesn't make sense. Prove to me that you are Jesus, that you for real died, and that you actually rose from the dead". He was the guy who said, "I'm not sure, show me" rather than "Yeah, okay, I believe you without hard facts". What I love so much is that Jesus met him where he was at. Jesus showed Thomas what he asked and gave Thomas the evidence Thomas sought. Thomas wasn't rebuked for questioning Jesus. I really believe that Jesus welcome questions, welcomes doubts, and wants to meet us where we are at and provide answers. That's what happened with Thomas.

So sophomore and junior year of high school, I questioned, I struggled, I doubted, I grappled. But I did not to lead me astray from my faith, but with the genuine, earnestness of wanting to learn more. I refused to blindly follow, to just accept things on the surface. I wanted to be a for real, legit, hardcore follower of Jesus and what that really meant. This is when I really started to own my faith and make it for real mine. Where I seriously started to "get it".

A big part of Christianity is that "we are all sinners". AKA we all screw up. And while I knew this, I wasn't sure if I really believed it. Because seriously, I was a really good kid. Other than the fact that I hate mornings and wasn't good at waking up, I really didn't know how I was a "sinner". I didn't really lie, I always did my homework (so much so, my teachers told me to not do homework sometimes), I didn't party, I didn't do drugs or drink, I got along with almost everyone, etc. To the world, I learned that I wasn't a "sinner". Because on the outside, I do look good. It's the inside where I am a mess, and that's where my sin was revealed. I struggle with pride. I struggle with jealousy. I struggle with self worth. I struggle with vulnerability. I screw up way more often than I ever want to admit, and it's rarely on the outside. Most of it is on the inside. That makes it difficult for people to really hold me accountable and for me to fight. It's really easy to hide and that's one of the reasons why I continued this blog, to increase my vulnerability.

In Christ, I have been able to find my identity and worth in Yahweh, the God of Jacob. I know I am worthy and I know I matter. That revelation didn't come easy and something I value more than anything. Knowing my identity drives me, my passion, my desires, my dreams, my values, my choices.

There is another thing I am learning with Jesus, particularly throughout college. My heart has changed for the world. As told through this blog, as this is the seed that planted this blog. I have learned that God is bigger than America. And I need to love the world. Not just America. Not just the part of America I am in. But every place. Because God is so much bigger than America. He knows more than the English language. He is the God of the world and for me to say I love God means I need to love the world.

I also have had, and continue to have, questions. I am logical. I am rational. I think things through. Senior year of college I started to wrestle and doubt and struggle with new ideas and new questions. Questions I hadn't thought about before. And I ran.

I had started to lose some of my support network in regards to my faith, because I was so focused on my job in college. And I moved to a new state, where I had zero support network. I struggled. A lot. After a long while, I started to slowly share it with a few people. And then I had a massive head injury that lasted 9 months. And then I remembered I had questions. And I didn't know where to go for answers. But I knew I needed to do something, because the running can only work for so long. I re engaged in Church and found a home church. And I started to once again see the beauty and intimacy of God. The love and desire and yearning and passion he has for people. All people. I continued to be reminded that God loves us. Regardless of whatever mess we are. And I continued to ensure that I rationally understood what I believed. I started asking my questions and had raw conversations.

I've never had blind faith. But I have had muddled faith, times of confusion, times of running away, and faith that is shaky. And I've learned that that is okay. And as I continue to engage in those questions, continue to build a support network, continue to seek understanding, I don't get afraid of posts on social media. I don't get afraid of conversations related to God. I don't get afraid of other people's questions. I don't get afraid of my own questions. Because I can be sure in the steadfast love of Christ.

My story isn't about me, really. It's about God reaching out to me, pursuing me, not giving up on me. My story is similar to millions of others who have committed their life to Christ. The details are all different, but the shift, the purpose, the point is all the same. Weird analogy, but it's like how The Lion King is similar to Hamlet. The details are different, but the premise is the same. My hope is that when reading this, you maybe learn a little more about me, but you learn more about God. Because that's really what I've learned is the purpose of a testimony. 

Wednesday, May 6, 2015


I'm working on writing out "my story". Re: my testimony. Here are the key points (more for my benefit, I like outlines):

1. My heart changed for the world.
--As told through this blog. God is bigger than America.

2. My sin was revealed.
--I screw up more often than I ever want to admit. And most of it is on the inside.

3. Hurt by the church...learning forgiveness

4. Rationally understood what I believed

5. Found my worth.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Cross of Christ

The symbol of Christianity is the cross and I have heard some people ask why.

The cross signifies death. Brutal oppression. Beatings. It was for the good for nothings. 

Why choose that as the symbol? That's not a symbol of hope. Or, doesn't seem like it. 

Christianity believes in three major things:
1. Jesus was born, fully God, fully human. 
2. Jesus died on the cross.
3. Jesus was resurrected.

If one (the birth part at least) and two are true, but not three, then it is silly to have the cross as a symbol, because the cross without the empty tomb is not helpful for humanity. 

If three is also true though, that's game changer,

The cross expresses God's heart towards our physical, emotional, relational, and spiritual needs.

Through Jesus, God gets us. He experienced a blended family, a mom questioning his mission, funerals, best friends turning their backs on him, etc. We focus so much on the God part that we forget the human part.

"The cross isn't just a reminder of the unique message of freely offered grace, but so much more than that: a symbol of the unimaginable cost that was required to purchase it" (Strobel: Case for Grace).

The cross is the symbol because of the humanity and humanness behind it. 

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Amazing Grace

"This is Amazing Grace" -Phil Wickham

I'm just now starting to realize that Jesus didn't actually have to die on the cross. Growing up, it was part of the story. It was the next scene. Jesus died on the cross for our sins. That's just how it goes. 

I didn't realize (and now I realize, yet forget) that it didn't have to go that way. I kept forgetting that one of the amazing things about the God I believe in is that he always gives people a choice. 
He doesn't demand. There is a choice. 

I've been wrestling with my role as a Christ follower and what that looks like with choices. And I keep coming back to, we all have choices. That's what makes our choices real. That's what makes our decisions authentic. 

I also recently read a somewhat similar thought, but in regards to Joseph, rather than Jesus. (You can read it here!)

Back to the choice of the cross. You can see some of the wrestling from Jesus in the Gospels. When I say Jesus didn't have to die on the cross, I don't mean there was an alternative to the cross--there wasn't. But I mean he didn't have to say yes. 

And all that realization does is make me fall more in love with Him. And make me realize how much he loves loving us. And how much he desires us. And how much he is reaching out to humanity. And how much he desperately and excitedly and passionately pursues us. 

The cross needed to happen, but only if people were worth the cost. 
And Jesus said, heck yeah. 


When I was younger, I had some major confusion about some things with Jesus. There are two particular things I have been thinking about recently: perfection and head/heart relationship.

I thought that being perfect meant that everyone liked you. That was essentially my definition of perfect and how to be perfect was to be really well liked by everyone. I was so confused for years because I was told two conflicting things: that Jesus was perfect and a lot of people didn't like him.

That made zero sense to me. It had to be one or the other, it couldn't be both. It didn't fit in my definition of perfection. And no one ever really explained it to me. To be fair, I doubt I ever really asked....But I had some serious concerns and even more serious just straight up confusion.

The other thing I struggled with immensely was the phrase that goes something along the lines of "you need to feel it in your heart". You know, basically mean what you say. But again, I didn't understand it that way, it wasn't ever REALLY explained, and I probably never asked.

So here is what I did EVERY WEEK for years, I'm sure. But I really do remember this, and I will be so honest and it's okay to laugh at me. Because I was a cute kid, sooo....

When I was told we need to make sure we feel it in our heart or however it's worded.. I would literally try to sit up really straight and hoped gravity would work. I'm not kidding. I thought, well, my thoughts are in my head, I need them to get to my heart. My heart is lower than my head. I put my hand on my heart to see if I "felt anything".

I've always been quite literal. And those are secrets that I have not ever shared with anyone, so there you go.

I think these experiences (and others similar to these) have helped me immensely in a lot of ways--

1. I realize now that I try to actually explain things and I take great pains to (probably over) explain things.

2. I look for questions and anticipate what people are confused about. I'm doing crisis intervention training right now and I was told one of my strengths during the role play was that I was good at staying ahead of the questions--I could figure out where the conversation was going before it got there.

3. It reminds me that I was a kid. I was a real kid, as this fits right into cognitive development theories of kids being literal and concrete. And that's important for me to remember.

4. Being perfect has nothing to do with other people, because I can't control other people. I'm only responsible for what I can control, which is only myself. Perfection (in Jesus' case) was about him, not about how others perceived him. It was about his humility, grace, boldness, goodness, gentleness, kindness, graciousness, agape love, justice, mercifulness with everyone and in every situation. That's why we can say He was perfect.

I started thinking about that because tonight, I randomly thought about meeting Jesus at a donut shop. And then I was like....I wonder if He would cut his hair. I wonder if he's feet would be dirty.
And then I realized "Oh gosh, does this mean he isn't perfect if I see things wrong with him?!!?" (Dirty feet and long hair isn't my style). And then I realized the whole perfection thing. And my friends love to tease me about Santa (that's as much as I'm saying), which makes me think of the head/heart thing.

Literal secrets for you. 

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Second Chance

When I think of the phrase "second chances", I think of the song by Stellar Kart:

And that's a great song and I love Stellar Kart, I was also recently introduce to another song called "Second Chance" by Rend Collective.

Oh your cross, it changes everything. 

I love the beauty of the cross and the beauty of our God. I love the beauty of grace.
And I love that the cross changed everything.
I love the redemption story. I love the Redeemer, our Lord, our God.

My word of the year has been relentless. And my phrase that I have been continuously reflecting on is "Jesus changed everything".

Countless second chances we've been given, at the cross.  

Monday, March 2, 2015

Are You Pregnant?

Let's just start this off with me answering with a "I'm not", before going on.

I had to ask my friend: "Are there other ways to get pregnant that I don't know about?!" (She actually had a really funny anecdote and the answer was yes.) (Another note--both of these are in joking format. Sort of).

So, here's a little bit more context:

Recently, I made the mistake of saying "I have something to tell you" to some individuals and more than a few of them immediately responded with, "ARE YOU PREGNANT?" or "YOU'RE PREGNANT!"

No. No, I am not. What?! No. Just, no.

When the boy and I broke up, someone asked me if it was really lonely in bed now. I was utterly confused, because I, having the dirty mind of an 8 year old (so, like...not at all) just said, "What's the correlation? I don't get it.." And they said, since you're not sleeping with anyone now, it must get lonely.

Another person asked me a similar question in reference to the break up, about how it has to really suck to not only losing a partner in any other sense of the word, but especially a sex partner.

Someone else asked if my bed felt empty.

People actually seemed to be more concerned about the fact that I was "no longer sleeping with someone" rather than anything regarding my heart/emotions/thoughts/feelings post breakup.. Not all people, but some.

And now, I'm totally single, not in any kind of relationship with any kind of man, and I'm still getting the question of whether or not I'm pregnant when I say "I have to tell you something". Granted, I shouldn't start things off that way, but when you have to break news to people, some variation of that is the typical lead in. And my news had nothing to do with sex or pregnancy.

If people ask you if you're pregnant, they've already assumed you've had sex. Unless there really is another way to get pregnant that I don't know about.

Sex and Pregnancy

So this is why I had to ask my friend if there were other ways to get pregnant that I didn't know about. Because despite what apparently a lot of people assumed (found out via post break up questions), I didn't sleep with the boy. Ever. He never slept over. We didn't have sex. So to answer all of those questions and to explain why I was so confused with the questions (by the third time I got a question, I was less confused and more annoyed): No, I don't get any more lonely in bed now than when I had a boyfriend. No, it's not weird waking up without the boy next to me. No, to any question asking me about anything related to me sleeping with him.

And not only with him, but any guy. Statistically, there are 11% of 25 year olds who haven't slept with anyone (I'm almost there). And get into a little bit older ages (which is slightly unfair data since fewer people are older and not married), about 3%. Most studies I see estimate no more than 5%, on average.

Because of those statistics, people just assume everyone is having sex, I guess. I don't know. I assume the opposite, but it's because again, I have the dirty mind of an 8 year old and I just don't understand, really. My friend told me about a time when her boyfriend had taken her to the doctor and the doctor asked if there was any chance if she was pregnant. She said, no. And the doctor said, "I thought that was your boyfriend". (There's more to the story, but the basic gist within context). And at that moment (okay, way before that moment, but still) I knew that this friend understood. (And she gave me two other stories that solidified it.)

I would probably guess that most of my friends who haven't had sex probably know the struggle. It's not just a struggle of not having sex (it's not always easy, even if we make it seem like it is). It's not just a struggle of feeling kind of left out sometimes. It's also a struggle of people not totally believing us.


I got to talk with my friend about some of the things we felt/thought when those questions were asked.
Confused, annoyed, mad, angry, hurt were just a few. For me, my first reaction was confusion. But my immediate reactions following were more synonyms of frustration.

I was frustrated that people thought I was having sex (with and without a boyfriend). I was frustrated that the Church wasn't different. I was frustrated that people didn't believe me when I said I hadn't had sex. I was frustrated that people didn't know I wasn't having sex. I was frustrated that people were shocked when I told them I hadn't slept with my boyfriend. I was frustrated that people assumed my relationship was a typical, millennial relationship. I was frustrated that a typical, millennial relationship is defined by having sex.

I was also frustrated that I didn't always have the courage to say I didn't sleep with him. I was frustrated that I didn't talk enough about my actions (or lack thereof) and the reasons for them. I was frustrated that I sometimes liked being thought of as a person who was having sex. I was frustrated that I just laughed along. I was frustrated that I didn't always say anything.

Really, I was frustrated with myself, with the Church, and with each person that asked any question with the underlying assumption that I was having sex. They never asked in a judgy way, just in a way of normalcy... And I wasn't necessarily frustrated in the angry way, more in the annoyed way.

I want my relationships with people, especially men, to be different. I want the Church's relationships to be different.

And I don't want a thought in the back of someone's mind be, "Is Ashley pregnant?" when I say that  I need to tell them something. Because if you made it to my list of people to tell, you should know me well enough to know that pregnancy isn't an option. And if you don't, that's on me. 

Thursday, February 19, 2015


I'm a person who thrives off of checklists. I'll add things to a list if I've already done them so I can check it off. I get a thrill, a relief, a rush. I wonder if it's how "thrill seekers" feel when they go on a crazy roller coaster...I get that kind of high when I complete things.

This whole month has been in total limbo and it has been driving me crazy. I've been so stir crazy, because I had no idea what was happening with anything in my life. Literally every single part of my life was up in the air. Shout out to Anita who let me unload nearly every single thing that happened as it was happening.

Anyways, so with everything up in the air, I couldn't start or finish anything. And I also had the flu for like two weeks (I was out basically on bedrest for almost a week, and this past week have just now started to feel a little bit better). I was getting stir crazy, as well as crazy and afoeuiraufiuajsifj with everything happening (or not happening).

While I was sick, I had to make a goal. so my goal was to get through as many episodes of Friends as possible...I got through 4 seasons (I was at the end of season 1, now at the end of season 5) in just 4 days. And then the other day, I decided to go to the library and get a bunch of CDs and some books. And I've been focused on that. My new project/goal/checklists has consisted of uploading all the CDs and reading the books.

On total accident, I'm in the middle of 5 books, and then my friend just dropped off another book for me. I get stir crazy, I set crazy goals (like read all 5 books in 2 weeks), and check things off. And then I feel so much better about life.

I saw a friend the other day and they asked how my day was and I shouted out, "Oh my gosh, so great!! I was so productive, I got to check everything off my list!!" I was ecstatic, overjoyed, over the moon. Because I was finally, for the first time all month, getting to complete goals.

This week, that means reading and uploading CDs. 

Sunday, February 15, 2015


I was looking at some of my old stickies (which is where I type the random quotes as I hear them and how I can reference back to them) and found some random links...Below is one of them.

When I was in Intervarsity during college, we had partnered with missionaries in China and in fact a lot of my friends I knew from there are in China. When some of them had visited for a summer before moving there, they came back and taught us this song. I don't know the lyrics in English (they had them up at the time, but I don't have them), but even though it's in Chinese (I assume Mandarin), it's beautiful to listen to.

Check it out!

And here's another song we sang that's in Spanish that I love. (This I do have the translation for):

False Ideas

I typically try to stay away from legitimate belief discussions on FB, but the other day I engaged in one. And it didn't go well. It essentially went like this:

(Context: Someone put an article about pending new marriage/divorce laws that discussed the idea of making it slightly harder to get divorced and comments ensued, this is the gist)

Dude I don't know: People can get divorced if they want to, it doesn't affect anyone else.

Me: If one couple gets divorced, it's not a big deal. But when a lot of people do, it is. That affects society, it affects people. 

Dude I don't know: Show me research proving that. Until I see hard evidence that that's true, that divorce affects society, I say let people do whatever they want. Who are you, the government, or anyone else to tell people what to do?

(There was other stuff, but that's the main gist. So then out of spite, I went onto JSTOR and Google scholar and found about 20 different peer reviewed articles that was the evidence he asked for, even if it was rhetorical)

Dude I don't know: I don't care about any of that, nothing will ever make me change my mind. No amount of research will, I think people can do whatever they want and no one should say otherwise. 

I was almost going to tell him before finding the articles, that I was willing to bet that no amount of research would change his mind. Because almost always when people say, show me the research and then I'll change my mind, they won't. It took all my self control to refrain from calling him on it BEFORE I sent the articles, and I couldn't help myself but send the articles to him (it was out of spite, if I'm being honest, it wasn't because I really thought it would be helpful), and then it took all the more self control to call him on it AFTER that. Actually, I just took myself away from the conversation and no longer engaged. And I've started a FB fast, so just FYI...

Anyways, onto the point:

"It is always better to have no ideas than false ones; to believe nothing, than to believe what is wrong."

This is a quote I strongly believe in. This is why I have doubts in my faith, because I refuse to just willy nilly believe in something. This guy had a strong belief (that people should be able to divorce if they want to and it doesn't affect anyone else, in this case), and it is so strong that no amount of evidence can change it. 

As much as I desire a rock solid faith in Jesus, I don't ever have to have the kind of belief that blinds me from truth. So when something is presented to me that doesn't seem to line up with my beliefs, I will think about it, I will wrestle with it, I will engage with it. I won't brush it off, I won't say "I don't care", I won't stick so hard to my beliefs. 

I do wrestle and grapple and fight and defend and question and struggle. And I think that is good and healthy. And I think that's why I so desperately love Jesus.

What bothered me the most about what the guy said wasn't his opinions, what bothered me was that his beliefs were so entrenched with him that he said "I don't care, nothing will change my mind". That rigidity is what scares me. That rigidity is what I don't want for me. Including in regards to my beliefs in Jesus or marriage. 

I remember when I was teaching a healthy relationships workshop, and the second class the topic was sex. And I told my supervisor that I was most nervous because the research supported my beliefs. That may make some people feel better, but I wanted to just present research to the folks taking my class, not instill my values upon them. I told them at the beginning I only have three beliefs I want to instill upon them and believe in:
  1. Know people's names
  2. Importance of accountability
  3. Importance of making this a safe place
Everything else, take what you want, leave what you want, and don't have to believe anything else I say. I had a professor one time that told us, "The point of this class, any other class, is to expose you to information. You can keep your opinions, I'm just providing you with more information." And I love that and I told my class that. (That class went really, really well, by the way.)

Have strong beliefs, have strong faith, hold tight to your values. But be willing to fruitfully engage with others, other beliefs, other faiths, other values, and other evidence. 

Sunday, February 1, 2015


We just started a new series at Velocity Church called Heartthrob. I'm super stoked because it's about one of my favorite topics: Love, Marriage, Relationships, and Sex. So Imma just type my written notes here. The podcast is probably up on the site, if you wanna hear the original message. It was also mentioned that this is only if you want to approach it God's way. You have options, you don't have to do this.

It was around 1 Corinthians 7.

    • A lot of people view the Church of "you're not 'getting any', so you can't 'get any' either", but that's not within the context at all. 
  1. Important to discuss questions and issues. Paul didn't shy away from it. 
    • There's a big difference between our questions and issues. God is more interested in dealing with our issues than answering our questions. 
    • Paul starts 1 Corinthians as dealing with some of the issues first (first six chapters), before answering questions (chapter 7). The issues are sometimes the questions we should be asking, but haven't. 
    • "We've got issues...more issues than Vogue"
    • Culture provides a lot of "tips/tricks", but doesn't really deal with the issues.
  2. It's good and okay to be single--it's not better or worse than being married. Sometimes we treat those who are single as second class citizens, not good enough yet, not yet whole and we need to do better than that because it's not true. Singles are whole and can have fulfilling relationships with other people. Paul discusses suggestions and standards.
    • 1 Corinthians 7:2: If you're not married, you don't get to have sex. God gives boundaries with blessings. We all believe there is such as thing as sexual immorality (re: abuse, violations, incest, etc.) we just want to put our own boundaries on it. If you're dating, he's not your husband. If you're engaged, he's not your husband. 
    • Not trying to shame anyone, we're not about shaming. It's about trying to encourage people to raise the standard. 
  3. Desire and duty. 1 Corinthians 7:3
    • It's not the most romantic language--it's not talking about desire; desire is a byproduct of the relationship, not a goal. It's not about me or desire, it's about glorifying Christ. 
    • "Desire can light a fire, but only duty can keep it burning. Hashtag duty calls"
    • Some days, you have to "show up for your marriage" and "go to work"--fulfill your responsibility. Marriage is a lot about giving yourself away. 
    • Romance and reality lead to resentment, regret, and rebellion. Start looking at it as: What can I give and how can I give?
  4. Gifts and Grace
    • The real gift isn't marriage or singleness, it's the grace. And we need grace to do things right/well. 

Monday, January 26, 2015


I chose to do this again! Click here for the original one!

Freud is a hoot. He's a whacky dude with horrible writing skills (Have you read Civilization and its Discontents?!) and fascinating ideas. In my Social Psychology class, we did a projection test and we're going to try it here so you can do it too, if you'd like. Freud is all about the unconscious and tapping into it, and that's precisely what this test aims to do.

How To Do It
1. Get comfortable. Lay down, close your eyes, kick off your (Sunday) shoes, whatever you need to do.
2. Breathe deeply.
3. Focus on your breathing...breathe and relax for like 5 minutes.
4. Picture yourself on a cloud..a very light, fluffy, and comfortable cloud.
5. You're entering a new land...what does the land look like?
6. Get off the cloud and keep moving forward until you run into water--it can be any kind of water. What kind of water is it?
7. Continue to go forward until you see an animal. Describe the animal.
8. Keep going until you see a structure. What kind of structure is it? Describe it.
9. Continue see an object ahead. Again, you see an object ahead. It's a special object--what is it?

New Land

  • What I saw: Marsh, kind of swampy, lot of dead grass, could be cool, but not really. 
  • Freud says: Summation of current life...what I saw resembles my life now. 
  • What that might mean (My interpretation with Freud's ideas): Ha, um. Life could be seen as cool, but it's not really. There is a lot of room to move about, but in no way is it actual growth. And if I stay too long I could get stuck (like swampy...)

  • What I saw: The it was like damp and mushy, but not like a pond. There wasn't actual water, but could flood...
  • Freud says: It resembles sex
  • What It might mean: Not as insightful as my first time doing this! I guess it So basically the sex isn't happening but when it does, it..will. Hahaha. Hashtag married life. 

  • What I saw: Zebra..wild, free, well groomed 
  • Freud says: This is my alter ego
  • What it might mean: Yay!!!

  • What I saw: A dilapidated shack with nothing around it. I tried to look for a different structure, but that was it. It was broken down.  
  • Freud says: How I feel about society and my place in it.
  • What it might mean: Wow, my views of the world have changed significantly. So...feeling like there's nothing that can be done, feeling alone, feeling like no point in fighting. Feeling like society is broken and unfixable. 

Special Object
  • What I saw: An abstract piece of art. 
  • Freud says: Resembles a future...could be mine or somebody else's, but usually your own. 
  • What it might mean: Um..can't figure it out? Looks a waste of time.

Anyhoo, that is me, according to Freud round two. 
College Ashley was way more excited about her future that's for sure...

Love(ly): Come Here

Love(ly): Come Here: Come here. You. Stop. And come here.  I serve a God who tells me that every single day. We are called and summoned to come to the King. ...

Lies and Truths

Copied from Saturday, March 26, 2011 blog

Take me as you find me, all my fears and failures.

I am not perfect. I have fears and failures. I mess up, I listen to lies instead of truth sometimes.

Lie 1.
I am what I do, what I have, and what others say about me.

Lie 2.
My value is based on my performance.

Lie 3.
I have to be perfect.

And then I remember. Jesus will meet me right where I am at. He will take me as I am. With ALL of my screw ups. With ALL of my sin. With ALL of YOUR sin.

Savior, He can move the mountains
My God is mighty to save, He is mighty to save
Forever, Author of Salvation
He rose and conquered the grave
Jesus conquered the grave

Truth 1.
My identity is completely found in Christ.

Truth 2. 
Performance  Value

Truth 3.
My God is perfect and Jesus paid it all when he died on the cross.

God's pursuit of me, of you, of us, is relentless, passionate, and purposeful.
He rejoices in our accomplishments, holds us in our brokenness, and empowers us in our inadequacies.  

Saturday, January 24, 2015


Relentless is my word of the year and it came from this song. God/Abba/Yahweh won't relent until He has it all. He passionately pursues us. He is relentless. His love is relentless.

And I will set Him as a seal. A seal is designed to join two things together to prevent them from coming apart or prevent anything from passing between them. Nothing separates us from the King, because Jesus changed everything.

I'm in constant awe of His glory and beauty and the fact that He desires me and died for me. And then conquered death and rose again. Hashtag that's my Jesus.

You won't relent until You have it all. 
My heart is yours. 

Friday, January 23, 2015

Come As You Are

I have been hooked onto this song for the past few weeks... "Come As You Are" by David Crowder Band.

Come out of sadness, wherever you've been...
...Lay down your burdens, lay down your shame
All who are broken, lift up your face.
Oh wanderer, come home
You're not too far. 
So lay down your hurt, lay down your heart
Come as you are.

It's such a beautiful reminder of the grace and love and forgiveness that Jesus gives us. He loves us, desires us, and wants us to be with Him. And no matter what we do/don't do, say/don't say, think/don't think, agree with/disagree with, screw up, or mess up, He says to come as we are. 

We don't have to wait to get our life all together before coming to Jesus. I think I forget this way too often. I get more focused on people's behaviors than I do on their hearts. I want them to get "fixed", "do better", and THEN they can come to Jesus. I think, "You're not worthy until you do x,y,z. Once you do that, maybe then the gospel can make a difference." 

What the filth? That's wrong, Ashley. I've got it backwards. Jesus first. Because Jesus changed everything. Yes, our thoughts and behaviors matter. But more importantly, our hearts. And I do think that when we choose Jesus, we yearn to have things aligned with Him. 

I need a constant reminder that all people are worthy. Right now, as they are. No matter who they are. No matter what they are doing. No matter what is going on in their life right now. They're still invited to the table of grace, they're still invited to know Jesus. 

I love the line "all who are broken, lift up your face". Because when we have shame, we naturally hide our faces. And this is a reminder that there is no shame with Jesus. Grace, love, forgiveness, mercifulness. We are invited to come as we are. Just as we are. Right now. Even with that dirty thought. Even with that foul language. Even with that alcohol abuse. We can come as we are, right now. Because Jesus paid it all and he loves us and He desperately wants us to experience the goodness of God. 

We're not worthy when we make good choices. We are worthy because Jesus said we are. So no matter who you are, what you just did, you're still invited to get to know Jesus. And that's just cool.