Mommin’ Ain’t Easy

Newborn

“I will lead them down a new path, guiding them along an unfamiliar way. I will brighten the darkness before them and smooth out the road ahead of them. Yes, I will indeed do these things; I will not forsake them.” – Isaiah‬ ‭42:16‬

I will be the first mom to say that mommin’ ain’t easy. I have been blessed to be able to be a step mom for almost three years and now have the privilege of raising one of my own as well. Both roles are difficult in different ways but both are beautiful as well. They don’t tell you about the difficult times and the sleepless nights. Maybe they do but in your mind you imagine different. They don’t tell you about being so worried about either of them or praying for their future. They don’t tell you how deeply and completely your heart will belong to them.

If there is one thing I’ve learned these last three years and these last two weeks, it’s that being a mom should be hard because being a mom means sacrifice. It means giving when you are empty. Loving when you are hurt. Praying when you don’t know what to say. And hoping that through it all you can be a light in the darkness and a refuge from the storms in this world. God has reminded me that it is a blessing to be walked out with Him. Time with Him is crucial to not lose your sanity and patience. Prayer is our biggest weapon against the enemy and love covers all.

So while there are many days I have cried over these last few years, there are many prayers that have been answered. God continues to guide and show me how to walk along this mom path. Sometimes it’s beautiful and sometimes it’s just really hard. But at all times, He is God and He is with us. He gives us the strength we need for each day if we let Him.

Not Fitting the Mold

BrokenPencilI’ve blogged off and on for years now. I’ve written commercially about fitness, how to grow your gym, and how to motivate your clients. Somehow when it came time to write this blog (my first for #ThisIsLiving) I lacked the ability to motivate myself to do it. I’d write a few sentences here and there that I’d quickly go back and delete. I’d stare at my computer screen with the cursor flashing, daring me to write something. I even got a whole paragraph in comparing the spiritual pursuit to running- something that has way more parallels than you can imagine. Yet, I still found every excuse under the sun not to write a blog entry – something I had volunteered to do. Why?

After staring at the blank page for the better part of two months, I came to realize the reason I couldn’t write this is that I feel inadequate to impart any type of spiritual wisdom. I am in no stretch of the imagination what you’d expect a Christian to be. I am tatted up with a half sleeve, live in yoga pants, I curse more than I’d like to, I’ve been divorced, and I loathe the societal stigma that has somehow attached itself to being an Christian. So, who am I to write to you about anything to do with holiness?

…I came to realize the reason I couldn’t write this is that I feel inadequate to impart any type of spiritual wisdom.

On Sunday, the message at church was on Jonah. During which it became abundantly clear that like Jonah, I had been running from doing something that I feel God has called me to do. Don’t you hate that? When people say stuff like that? “God told me.” I used to hate that, too. It sounds totally cliché, but I assure you it is also totally legit. When I say that God called me to write this, I don’t mean I audibly heard him say it. It is more like something on my mind and in my heart that I can’t quite put into words. Obviously, it wasn’t something of my own creating. I’ve fought hard against it. Where is all this leading you’re wondering? Don’t worry I’m finally getting to the main idea.

Like Jonah, I was afraid and I had taken hold of a pagan idea and pretended it was true. I was afraid to put myself out there by writing and being vulnerable. I had taken hold of the pagan idea that Christians are supposed to be perfect. Since I don’t fit that mold, I felt I had no business in writing this. Then I recalled how Hebrew literature depicted some of the best of the best: David, Abraham, Jacob. None of these men were painted to be holier-than-thou and perfect. God used them in their imperfectness, and with their many sinful blemishes, to do amazing things. They knew what I’ve come to realize in writing this and through the message I heard…what I hope you’ll explore as well: “We can keep trying our plan, or we can yield to God” and “Sometimes, the thing you feel uncomfortable doing is the thing God’s called you to do.”

Spring In February

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“But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.” – 2 Peter 3:8


Having our spring in East Tennessee start in February this year has been quite unusual. But God has been teaching me that His timing, although it can be unusual, always has a purpose. It’s easy to think that we know what is best for our lives and that if things turn out how we hope, then life would be perfect. But God works in His own timing. He knows what is best for our lives. And like a good Father, He intentionally wants the best for us. It isn’t always easy to trust the unknown to Him…but He gives us the faith to step out and give Him our plans and watch as He works and the beauty unfolds with our best interest in mind.


“He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.” – Ecclesiastes 3:11


The Land of In-Between

landinbetweenIf you have spent any amount of time near the church or any Bible-centric programming you no doubt are familiar with the story of a young shepherd boy who would one day become king. David was the youngest of eight sons who, despite insignificance in the eyes of the law and man, was handpicked by God to become king.

David was chosen by God to be the king of Israel; he was in the eyes of the LORD the rightful ruler of God’s people and kingdom. David was destined for greatness, destined to become the greatest ruler the kingdom of Israel would ever know…and he had to wait some fifteen years until he could fulfill his divine calling. Continue reading “The Land of In-Between”

Timing Is Everything

ClocksMy white-haired, blue-eyed, 83 years young Mom was finally ready to consider downsizing from her 2,500 square foot home on an acre of land. She’s been living in this home alone since 2008 when Dad went on to be with Jesus.

For years, this idea had triggered an emotional tug-of-war. She would toy with the idea and then dismiss the notion as she considered all the work involved in a move. This decision would mean surrender…moving from her 2,500 square foot home into a smaller space would require letting go of treasures. And this triggered insecurities – she felt safe in her home, surrounded by neighbors who are friends from church.

Continue reading “Timing Is Everything”

Dear Senior…

Things began to change as I grew up a little (physically, mentally and spiritually), went to college, and experienced some trials. I traveled a bit and remember feeling a little out of place.

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I made many mistakes. I took the road that many traveled and left the one that few take. I decided that I knew best. In the end, it was hard to even see my reflection. God brought me to a place of brokenness. A place that ultimately led me into His arms.

Ashleigh_DearSeniors2

Now, you’re graduating. You’re ending a chapter to begin another. Time moves so quickly. So I want to write you a letter to help you begin this new journey. I hope this reaches your heart and you remember it in moments of indecisiveness, trials and failures.

Continue reading “Dear Senior…”