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Thursday, June 15, 2017

Weathered Storms



As I sit here tonight listening to the storm blowing in, I can't help but imagine our hearts feel the same way as we walk through our lives. As we encounter conflict after conflict and disappointment after disappointment the thunder begins to roll inside of us gripping our heart with great fear or anxious passion.  Some people are afraid of bad weather. When it begins to storm they worry and pray for it to pass. Others like myself love bad weather and enjoy the tranquility of it's chaos.

Storms bring new growth. Plants cant survive on sunshine alone nor can we. In order to grow we must face the rain from time to time and allow it to cleanse our soul. I don't fear the storm because I know what follows. The fact that I crave it sometimes tells a different story. My life has seemingly been one storm after another and its the only way I know how to live my life. I endure the rain. I am the umbrella that shields those around me. In a way I have romanticized the rain in the way that it gives life and cleanses everything it touches.

Without the sun there would be no rain. As the rays of sunshine dance on our shoulders and bronze our noses it enables the journey of our soon to be rain drops.  As moisture is collected from the ocean, creeks, rivers, lakes and streams that are hidden away from sight the sky is heavy with it weight. It needs to release the burden.

As we live our lives beneath the warmth of the sun it watches over us as we face heartache and loss. It shines light on the faces that cause us anger and resentment. It wakes us each morning with the relentless reminder that we have responsibilities and expectations to meet. Just like the sky we take it all in over and over. Day after day our hearts are heavy with the burdens. Some of us fear the break down and others find a familiar comfort in it.

Before long our hearts and possibly those we are closest too hear the thunder as the clouds begin to roll in shadowing all around. Just like that tears begin to fall and just like a soft afternoon shower we find healing in the release. Other times we shout in anger and hurt as a storm sweeps across our lives purging the brokenness and leaving us soaked in tears that may take days to dry. In some cases hurricanes spin out of control not only destroying us but everyone around us as we try our best to wipe away everything and start over.

Do you fear bad weather or does it excite you in ways you don't understand?

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Dear Future Husband 5.16.17




Dear Future Husband,

How was your day?  I pray it was filled with favor and blessings. I spent the day nurturing a seek teenager and that was challenging. When we learned about the differences in males and females I must have missed the day we discussed the transition of males into toddlers when plagued with a common cold or other illness. Studies have shown it to be very profound.

I am currently decluttering my home and organizing so I dont have much to move when you find and marry me. I am planning a garage sale to get rid of everything I dont use or need. I hope you're not upset that I wont come with a fondue set, fish griller, painting of 2 basset hounds, fish tank, scrubs, parot painting and a cd collection demonstrating self hypnosis.  I just need to get back to the basics and simplify my space.

I wonder where you are and what you're doing right now.  Some nights I imagine our lives together and I watch it play out like a romantic comedy in my mind. You are Gerard Butler.  You're welcome. We laugh often and home is where we rush back to at the end of every day.  The boys are happy and we sit as a family roasting one another with Deez Nuts jokes.

Well my dear I am off to bed. Before I turn off the light know that I read my devotion and pray for you, for us and for the life we will journey together. I really hope you hurry. Patience is the virtue that Im clearly refining. Continue to seek after the Lord and he will guide you. I believe in the man he has designed for you to be and until you are mine. I love you.  Goodnight.

Love,
Your future Wife
Ashley

PS: Im currently on a budget so I gave up tanning and nails.  If you could lower your standards just slightly that would be great.

SO MUCH CHANGE

               
So much has happened since I last wrote but I will try to keep it as brief as possible. Kevin came around and we had a really intense moment the night he came back. It was truly a God moment and I really feel God pursuing him. I finally met his parents and he declared his intent for this relationship and forward we march,

My mother passed away on 4/20/2017 around 3am by speculation. She had battled ovarian cancer for 4 years and really believed she could beat it. She and I have always been somewhat estranged and we rarely saw eye to eye but in the end she found Jesus.  I watched her body deteriorate but her soul transform into amazing grace. In her final days I spent some time with her and the morning of 4/20 I felt this strong urge to check on her before I went into work.  I walked in to find her dead.  She looked very peaceful and I have no doubt she went home with the Lord.

My sisters and I planned a memorial service because mom wished to be cremated. We made entirely too many inappropriate jokes about that process but mom would've expected nothing less. She always wanted a "Smoking hot body" however my sisters wouldn't allow me to ask the crematorium to play "This Girl is on fire" as they prepared her body.  Mom wanted to be split into thirds for each of us but I told her before she passed that I just couldn't do that and if I had to take a third I would be shooting her off in fireworks. My sisters and Aunt spread some ashes near our grandmothers grave and took some with them. Dana intends to spread mom in beautiful places as she blogs the experience over the next year.  Her first attempt was mothers day and she walked onto a bridge overlooking a river that feeds into the lake where she kayaks. She had a moment and began to dump mom's ashes when she heard someone yell.  She quickly realized she had dumped our mother on a fisherman below the bridge and she took off running. Mom could always find a man in the oddest places.

I personally hit a hard time financially and Im slowly climbing my way back out. Kevin has pushed me to create a budget and that is the most horrible thing in the world. I gave up getting my nails done, getting waxed, and wait for it......PALM BEACH TAN. Gasp!!! I did however join Focus Fit gym which includes tanning so its an extra incentive to go! This whole adult thing has been one stumble after another. Actually there have been moments I literally face dived off the mountain of adulthood and slid all the way down. I am however surviving as I always have been and what doesn't kill me only makes me stronger.

Im presently training to climb Stone Mountain and my sister will join me.  We will spread some of mom's ashes at the top and pray that the wind doesn't carry her into anyone's family picnic. Kevin and I are also about to celebrate our first year of dating. My boys are going into the 4th and 8th grade and are growing faster than I am comfortable with. So much has changed in such a short period of time and so much is changing even as I brief you but we welcome change.

Change has always been a bit scary yet exciting...stay tuned

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Our story came with an ending



Well here I am after all this time.  Here I am running back to these pages as words flow from my soul.  Here I am bleeding the emotions from the depth of my heart as if to purge the pain in the process.  I have nothing to write about when I am whole and happy.  You see this is my therapy.  The love I found was beautiful.  It exceeded all expectations of what I imagined a love story to be.  We made memories and shared moments that bring me nothing but a smile.  A smile that is quickly slaughtered by the reality of an ending.  Our love story had an ending.  The story had an ending.  The love.  Well that remains.

He hid his demons from me and while his change of mood should've have thrown up red flags he held on to me. He was depressed.  I thought I could love him through it and be there to push him as he sought treatment for it. He chose his pain over me.  He chose to let me go rather than fight for himself and fight for us.  I was not enough.  My worst fear came to life before my eyes and I had to let go of our love.  This man who told me we were forever lead me out to sea and left me to drown on my own.

I prayed for God to remove him from my life it it was not in his will and in spite of the pain I feel I trust in the Lord to know whats best.  I have moments though...God do I have moments.  In those moments the pain grabs me with such force that I am paralyzed with grief.  I reply the words, the moments, the promise in his eyes. I cry and I beg Jesus to take the pain and the memories away.  If it is in his will to remove him from my life then please remove the scar left behind.  Please remove the memories and the moments of what could have been.  Restore my heart and erase him from my mind.  I beg you Oh Lord! It was as if life dangled in front of me all that I had prayed for then ripped it away like a cruel joke.

I find myself angry that he withheld this information.  I feel as though he used me as a feel good drug to make himself better for a while. He knew that his life consisted of moments like this.  He knew how this would end up yet he took my love and continued to take and take and take until I wasn't enough.  Broken people break people. It is a selfish survival tactic and I learned the hard way. Looking back I see all of the signs.  Love had blinded me so. I thought I was so prepared.  Love was a battlefield and I was armed for war. As I lie here a casualty I can only praise God for his mercy. Im thankful this happened before I wasted years or found myself married in this situation.  I need love but I need it consistently. I need stable love. I need a man who loves the Lord more than himself and who is whole. I need a man who is equipped to lead us. I am willing to obey God in spite of how I feel. I am on a journey to becoming a modern day Ruth.  I understand that means triumph over pain and loss.  I understand that means loyalty and faith in God.

You see I set out writing this love story when the greatest love of my life is Jesus. Our story has already been written. He is all I need.  I am enough for him.  He loves me without fail and consistently pursues me.  Until a man loves me like he does then I will protect my heart. I used to think there was so much romance in fighting for love but Christ has taught me that love is given freely.  It isn't earned. I have tried to prove my worth by earning love and affection my entire life. Until I truly understood how Christ loves me I was unable to identify what love really was and most certainly what it is not. I praise him for his wisdom through these trials. I welcome the pain because without it I cannot grow.