Coming Back

It has been a while blog family. To be honest, MANY things have happened over the past few months. I had a scary, life-threatening car accident, my husband turned 30, we received our first foster care placement (a 4-year-old boy), my husband started a new job where he travels often, and there have been changes in my job/career. It’s been a whirlwind. Some of these things have been positive, some have been negative, and some have been both. But I have definitely learned a lot about myself and about my God throughout this whole process.

While healing from the car accident, I began to have a pulling in my heart. An uneasy feeling deep inside, but then other times a peace would come over me. I felt like he was trying to get me to rest, to take a break, to be present in my own life. I sometimes feel as though I had the accident in order to learn to rest. I definitely experienced a decrease in anxiety while healing, which was an unexpected joy. But during this time, I decided to seek out spiritual counseling through my church.

I began seeing a counselor in July while I was still healing, and I am currently still seeing her less regularly. She has helped me in many ways; some of them simple, and some of them large. She has told me to “sit with what the Lord is doing,” ask Him what he is up to in my life, and to be okay with saying no and having boundaries when needed. She taught me that I don’t have to manage people’s emotions and that an idol I have is my reputation or what people think of me. Things that seem very simple and obvious but that I didn’t understand about myself. 

Through working with my counselor and staying in God’s word daily, I have heard Him speak many things to me. One of them being rest. Rest in Him. Trust Him with my life regarding my relationships, my future, my reputation, and my desires. Through trusting Him, I can rest. I can stop trying so hard. Giving Him control is something I didn’t realize I struggled with, but man, it is really hard. Every time I struggle, I remember this verse:

You make known to me the path of life;
    in Your presence there is fullness of joy;
    at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

Psalms 16:11

Remembering that being with Him gives joy and that He will guide me throughout my life. I never experience anything, good or bad, alone. In Him, there is peace and pleasures, which is what my heart desires. He knows me and created me. Surely, He will guide me. If I rest in Him and His goodness, I can have joy and peace. 

I really want that promise. I struggle every day with trusting Him with different aspects of my life as I humanly believe I know what is best for my life. But I will continue to give things to Him, and I will choose to trust that He has my life. I can rest, and it feels wonderful.

Cheers,

Ashlee

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Prayer

Father,

Help me see You when I can see nothing else. Help me to follow You when I don’t see or know the path ahead of me. Help me to trust You, when I don’t know who to trust. Help me to hear Your voice, when the weight of this world’s problems seems too loud and too heavy for my brain to process. Help me to have wisdom and courage to stand up for what is right and what is true. Help me to have wisdom to discern your voice among all the other voices the world throws at me. Help me to be faithful in You and in Your promises especially when the world offers no solution or safety net. Help me to sleep peacefully at night knowing the sun will rise in the East, and You are already there. Help me to keep my eyes focused on you and wait patiently for your help. 

Amen

Feeling confused lately. Shaken. Like the rug has been swept out from under me, but instead of landing on the floor, discombobulated, I am still up in the air. Still in the gasping for air, surprised, scared phase. I don’t like it. I don’t like having my world rocked to its core or my future seemingly so unknown. I long for stability and safety. I long for comfort and peace. All of these things I was looking for in the wrong places, and I have been for years. I have been looking for these things in other good things, but not the BEST thing. Not my maker. He’s the only one who can save. Save from the falling, save from the unknown landing, save from my worried thoughts and racing mind.

Save me Father. Give me rest.

Cheers,

Ashlee

Feeling Discouraged

I am feeling discouraged. I feel like everyone goes through periods of their life where they feel discouraged, uninspired, or just plain tired.

I am feeling that way. I look around at other women who have what I want, and I feel the heavy weight of comparison and judgement rearing its ugly head. As a human being, I feel as though I am a naturally jealous person. I am not proud of this fact, but jealousy, especially comparison, is something I have always struggled with since I was a child. I hate it. I especially hate it because not only am I comparing my life to someone else’s who also has her own struggle, but I also usually fallen short of whatever my standard of judgement is at that time: financial success, weight, beauty, or material wealth. I hate it. I hate it so much. I know I have a great deal to be thankful for (#blessed), which makes me feel even more guilty about my feelings.

The day I am describing was yesterday. Today is the comparison/jealousy/guilt hangover. During this time, I feel disillusioned and discouraged. Unmotivated. Exhausted with trying to keep up.

I am hoping this feeling will pass as my husband and I will be visiting our best friend in Chicago for an extended weekend. Not gonna lie, I need a vacation. I need a break from my life. I am hoping to come back refreshed, rejuvenated, and inspired. I am praying for peace, love, and understanding especially as I ache for things I do not have at this particular time in my life. I know God’s plan is perfect. God’s plan is THE PLAN for my life, and sometimes, I just have to be patient, to know I am loved, and that I will be used for his will if I keep my focus on him. Sometimes, I just have to let it be.

Cheers,

Ashlee

Needing Rest, Finding Peace

As you may or may not know, I am a workaholic, social butterfly, goal-setter, and #girlboss all in one. I used to be proud of this fact. That is, until my energy is nowhere to be found, and my weekends are partially spent in bed (like 13 hours asleep in one sitting).

In short, I am motivated. I have always been motivated and dedicated to whatever I set my mind to especially if someone else is counting on me. I have learned to relish the slight anxiety I have over finishing a project to just begin a new one. Deadlines are like challenges to me. I feel lost when my planner is not overflowing with obligations, preoccupations, social events, and work to-dos. In fact my goals this year include: running my first half-marathon, beginning a family/completing fertility treatments, obtaining the highest credential I could earn in my field, being trained on a completely new-to-me intervention to use with actual people, and continue writing/journaling as, you know, a hobby.

I turned 28 on February 24. I know, I know–girl you look good!

But in all seriousness, my birthday made me look at my current lifestyle including how much authority I have for how my life turns out. I am leading a bible study in my small group using Shauna Niequist’s book Present Over Perfect in which she discusses being too busy, overlooking the most important things, and neglecting spending time in relationship with God. As I was preparing leading/organizing the study, I began to question again how much control I have over my life including how I am choosing to spend my time, thoughts, money, resources, talents. Based upon Niequist’s readings, I realized I have much more control than I thought, and I am choosing to base my self-worth on my ability to be productive, to be the responsible one, and to seem like I am “tough.”

I have not chosen to base my self-worth and value over being a Child of God. Nor have I taken the Biblical principle of “rest” seriously. Even God rested when was creating the entire universe, and Jesus rested when he was working in ministry! Do I really think I am above God and his Son in not needing rest/peace?

Yes…in my human, sinful-natured, flawed way I sometimes believe I am the God of my universe. I am the God of my life, and if I keep working, striving, filling my days up with social events and other obligations, I can control it. I can make good things happen. But that is nowhere in the bible nor is it even possible. I can’t control other people regardless of how much I want to. Sometimes I feel like I can’t even control  myself! (Hello, chocolate cake!).

But through this all, through my sin, my pride, my desire to control, God loves me anyway. He created me, and you, with special gifts and talents. None of which canNOT be accomplished if we rest and rejuvenate. His will for my life is not going to disappear because I set less goals for myself or attend a few less parties/weddings this year. I also have to let go and allow myself to rest. Rest in Him. Rest in prayer and meditation. Jesus rested. He prayed alone and secluded himself, yet His work was done. His will for my life will be too, and everything else is just noise and distractions.

Will you find ways to rest in Him today? To give up some of the hustle our society has become addicted to?

My favorite ways I am finding to rest is through journaling, reading spiritual works, and through mindfulness meditation. All of which allow my brain to pause and to appreciate the life I have been given. All of which all me to rest and to rejuvenate myself in Him.

How will you rest today?

Cheers,

Ashlee

It’s been awhile

So, lots of things have happened since I’ve last posted including: house being robbed, employee of the year at my work, and regaining some sense of peace.

I have been feeling a bit strange since this new year has started. I’ve been tired, more frazzled, and less focused than I have ever been. Why, you ask?

I’m not sure. My husband and I are trying to have a baby. I have work responsibilities that seem even more important than last year’s responsibilities. I am close to finishing my running plan for the half-marathon I’m running in March. So, you know, we don’t have much going on.

But something seems not right. Something seems off.. It’s like part of my soul is missing, or left somewhere like I forgot it along with my wallet and/or keys. How do I figure out what is missing? Furthermore, how do I get it back?

I’ve been praying for strength, courage, wisdom, and patience. Yet that doesn’t seem like it’s enough. I know that my God doesn’t leave me nor forsake me, but why am I feeling so lost? How do I specifically pray for my future if I don’t know what it is I am missing or needing more of?

Maybe my body just needs rest. Rest. Rest in Him. Rest for my body. Rest for my mind.

I believe I will start there, and see where my God takes me.

Cheers,

Ashlee