My Favorite Coat

My Favorite Coat

Hello Friends,

Thank you for joining me on this wonderful Saturday. What makes this day so wonderful, you ask? Well, for one, I’m not experiencing the weight of an elephant on my chest anymore. I am able to have hope for the future. God has been sending so many people to encourage me during this time. All whom have experienced the same trauma and heartache as I. He so is wonderful!!

Although I haven’t been “blogging” I’ve been coming up with so much material. Sometimes I am unable to fall asleep until I have it written all down, or at least cliff notes and it always feels so good.

A few weeks ago, I was able to conjure up a poem. I haven’t written a poem in what seems like forever. In another attempt of stepping out of my comfort zone, I will debut it here.

Stuck

This coat I’m wearing, I love it,
It fits my curves and everything above it.
I’m so proud because it will be mine forever,
As long as we’re together we can battle the worst weathers.
After a while it was all I wore,
The comfort and embrace it provided felt so secure.
Not realizing the more I wore it the more I outgrew it,
But it was mine and I felt good just to own it.

But one day it began to tear at the seams,
I tried my best to patch up what was lost,
But the more I tried the more it cost.
Until one day it was gone, never to be found again,
The devastation killing what was left of my core.
“What else could provide the comfort and loving care?
What would I do with myself? Who would even care?”
See, to you it may be a simple coat that can be replaced,
But to me it was everything I was missing in the first place.
In my life where things seemed so dark, until my coat came along and pulled me out,
Well, looking back, at least I thought.
The more I mourn, the more it becomes clear,
That the struggle wasn’t the coat but something deeper than what appeared.
The coat would have to become distant memory,
Letting the seams tear is a sign that I should move on to make new memories.
We all deserve to have a great, secure coat,
We just have to know where to look.
I began to seek my Father who told me that my story can be rewritten,
It’ll just take a little grinding and pinching.
“But hold on to my promises, Beloved” He says,
I’ll always hear Him repeat to me especially in time of despair.

This poem was inspired by the realization that I have been operating in codependent relationships. It wasn’t clear to me why I was experiencing extreme heartache towards someone who clearly wants nothing to do with me. In God’s gracious character, He has been removing my heart so I am able to heal and move forward.

I don’t have all of the answers right now, but right now, I am resting in His promise that “this to shall pass”.

Thank you, friends for reading my thoughts. It has been my pleasure sharing my story, although it has me terrified. Please remember to pray for one another, especially during a time like this. 

But the Lord is faithful; he will strengthen and guard you from the enemy. -2 Thessalonians 3:3


It’s All About Perception

It’s All About Perception

Good Day Friends!

Today I’m thinking about how we perceive certain things in our lives and how much perception makes a difference in whether or not we have a good day or a bad day. Sometimes, we are unable to avoid bad days, but overall, I believe perception determines whether we allow those bad days to control the decision we make.

I believe that one way we overcome life struggles is to perceive our struggles in a positive aspect. I see a lot of post about how changing our mindsets is important to achieve the goals that we have set for ourselves. Even God says that we have to renew our minds each day in order to live a more fulfilling life.

Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.  -Romans 12:2

I love how it says that God’s will for us is “good and pleasing and perfect”!

I used to think that being diagnosed with mental illness, lupus, and fibromyalgia was the worst thing that could have ever happened to me. I truly thought my life was over, but then I realized it was just the beginning. Changing my perception helped me to realize that I can use this new diagnosis to my advantage.

Changing our mindset or how we view our circumstances helps us forgive those who have hurt us, it helps us to accept our current situation; good or bad, it helps us to have courage to overcome future obstacles, and it helps us to let go and not sweat the small stuff and become more appreciative. Changing our perception also helps us have more faith in God; that He will deliver us from whatever is going on and like scripture says, it will be “good and pleasing and perfect”.

When I decided to change my perception, I asked God for His help and of course He came through with His promise of changing how I think. Fact of the matter is, God will pursue us. He will find ways to get our attention. He will allow things such as illness’ to get our attention so we can actively seek Him, so we can have a close relationship with Him.

He will use our struggles as a chance to get closer to us. God wants us to have a relationship with Him. He wants us to spend time with Him, just like a Father who wants to have a relationship with his children. His love is neither conditional nor passive. I believe God has used mental and physical illness to get my attention so He can have a close relationship with me. Let’s face it. When I was healthy, I really didn’t seek God. I wasn’t concerned with having relationship with Him. I was so wrapped up in my own life, only seeking what I wanted.

When He uses such things are illness’ to get our attention, God doesn’t just sit back and expect us to fight it alone. He fights for us!

The Lord is a warrior: Yahweh is his name. -Exodus 15:3

“Don’t be afraid. Just stand still ad watch the Lord rescue you today… The Lord himself will fight for you. Just stay calm.” -Exodus 14:13,14

Truthfully speaking, my life has gotten better because of it. Why you ask? Since I’ve embraced that this is the current season in my life, it has inspired me to do the things that I’ve always wanted to do. For instance: I am unable to hold a full time job because of this condition. Since I cannot work, I am able to spend more time with my children. I am able to be at home with them more. I am able to connect with them more. I am able to put more time and effort into starting my own business. I am able to concentrate on starting and sustaining my writing career. And more important, I am able to help people by sharing my struggles and helping them overcome theirs. It truly is the best feeling.

Since my diagnosis, I’ve grown closer to God which is awesome! I feel His presence more and more. I feel His unconditional love like never before. I am able to appreciate life more. I am able to slow down and enjoy sunsets. I no longer desire death when I become overwhelmed. I no longer desire to give up. I’ve shed most of the pain that has been apart of me most of my life. I am free from shame, guilt, and condemnation from the enemy. I’ve been able to forgive and forget. I’m eating healthier and I’ve been motivated to work on my dreams.

My diagnosis has been the best worst thing that has happened to me. It has given me a testimony to share with others who are in same boat as I am.

When changing our perception, it is helpful to remember:

  • Gods love is faithful and good (Psalm 36:5)
  • All we have to do is slow down in our self-efforts and allow God to guide our steps (Psalm 37:23)
  • We are safe and secure in Gods love (Deuteronomy 33:27)
  • We are sheltered by His presence (Exodus 33:14)
  • Allow His knowledge to wash over us (Romans 1:19,20)

“Remember, it is not your weakness that will get in the way of Gods working through you, but your delusions of strength. His strength is made perfect is made perfect in our weakness! Point to His strength by being willing to admit your weakness.” -Paul David Tripp

Thank you all for reading my thoughts today. I pray that you all are having a wonderful day. As always, I appreciate everyone who takes the time out to support my blog. Please remember to pray for one another. God bless you!

No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him. -Isaiah 64:4

 

Are You A Lost Cause?

Are You A Lost Cause?

Hey Friends,

I pray your day is going well. My day is going great! This morning, I was reminded of 1 of God’s many promises.

And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns. -Philippians 1:6

How amazing is our Abba Father? This verse tells me that I am never a lost cause. God will never give up on me. Living in a world where abandonment is apart of most of our life’s stories, God says he will never abandon us. Not only will he never abandon us, but he will continue his good work within us. In order for him to continue his good work, that means he already started it, right?

And since God makes NO mistakes, then that means the good work he is doing in each one of us is leading to perfection, since God is perfect. Wow! I’m getting chills just typing this.

If you ever have doubts about where you are in life, what you are doing or may not be doing, be assured that God is working in your life. He never stops. He will continue his work until we meet Jesus face to face either when he returns or in heaven. Whichever comes first.

Also, know that there is nothing that can separate you from God’s love, so don’t worry about that. I used to think that if I gave up on myself, that God certainly has given up on me. Not the case AT ALL!

And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord. -Romans 8:38-39

Dear brothers and sisters, take comfort in knowing that God will never leave you, nor forsake you. He will continue to do his perfect work in us and there is nothing that we can do to separate us from those promises and his love for us.
Thank you for reading my thoughts today. I pray that each and every one of you is finding comfort in Gods grace and everlasting love. Please remember to pray for one another. In Jesus’ name.
If there be anything that can render the soul calm, dissipate its scruples and dispel its fears, sweeten its sufferings by the anointing of love, impart strength to all its actions, and spread abroad the joy of the Holy Spirit in its countenance and words, it is this simple and childlike repose in the arms of God. -S.D. Gordon

 

Expectations

Expectations

Happy Sunday, Friends!

A friend of mines, husband, posted a comment saying Jesus followers were stupid for believing “someone rose from the dead to save lives”. At first, I was offended. I didn’t understand why he would post something like that knowing he had “friends” that were believers.

My first thought was that as a friend, I respected his choices not to believe, so he should respect my choice to believe.

God brought it to my attention that I was being selfish and unreasonable. I know right, how am I being selfish if he offended me? Well, I selfishly projected my expectations onto him. I expected him to respect my life choices as I respected his. I got upset because I expected more than what he is able to give. So, who’s really responsible for my hurt feelings? ME!

It’s not right to expect someone to behave in a manner I thought was appropriate. I then began to understand, that instead of being upset with him, I should pray for him.

Do good to those who hate you. Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you. (Luke 6:27-28)

I would ask, how or why would I bless him if he is judging me for my faith. Then I had I ask myself, who am I to judge. Wasn’t I once the same person who judged others for their faith? It is then I realized that it is God job to hold him accountable, not me. Just like, God held me accountable for my transgressions, no one else.

He has his opinion because he’s never felt the warmth of Jesus’ presence. The love and grace He gives you when you cry out his name in either pain or praise. It’s hard to believe that someone who has experienced his mercy would say such a thing.

So I began praying that my friends’ husband feels that kind of love. That good ole’ tears are flowing, heart is open, Holy Spirit is flowing, kind of love.

It’s taken me a while to get to this point. I am a believer because He was the only one that showed up and to pull me out of the pit of death. For me, believing in God is not a choice that I have, other than death. I’ve tried the worlds way of dealing with my illness and it almost killed me. Jesus is the only antidote to my sickness. That has been proven over and over again. So if that makes me stupid, then…🤷🏽‍♀️ It is what it is.

That being said, if you’ve run into someone that doesn’t share the same love of Christ as you do, don’t be upset. Please understand through a heavenly perspectively, that they don’t know what they are saying. Pray for them, so they can too, one day feel that good ole’ Jesus love and join us in heaven.

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First Time I Was Abused

The first time I was physically abused by a boyfriend brought on a bunch of confusing emotions. He would say things like:

“I love you”

” I can’t live without you”

“No one can love you like I can”

“If I can’t have you, no one can”

“You are mine”

All while strangling me with his rough hands that used to rub my back…all while slamming my body against hard surfaces of his home…all while violating my body with scars that never seem like they would heal.

I was confused because my heart was telling me that he loved me, but my mind was asking, “how is this love?”

Back then, I didn’t know what love was, but I knew abuse wasn’t it. We hear so many stories about women getting hit by their boyfriends and husbands, but they chose to stay. Why?

I believe because it’s a lack of knowledge of what true love really is.

Since my journey of seeking God, I’ve gotten to experience what true love feels like. There is nothing like feeling so broken, inside and out, and our heavenly Father comforting us with his unconditional love. To describe in words, I would say that it feels like a warm, supernatural embrace.

Last time I felt it, it made me weep. Yes, I said weep because it wasn’t just crying. My spirit let out a spiritual S.O.S and his spirit responded with an overwhelming feeling of gratefulness and grace all wrapped into one. I realized that he created me so wonderfully made. So much so, he spent so much time creating me in his likeness. And I’m positive that allowing someone to damage his temple (my mind and body) was not apart of his plan for my life.

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. -Psalm 139:14-16

Now that I know how much God loves me, I will never allow anyone to treat me less than that. How many people can say that their father loves them so much, that he sacrificed his perfect child for you? We all can. Now that’s love.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. -John 3:16

Love is not meeting his fist with the side of your face. Not enduring hateful, blaming words of regret and how you’re not worthy of love. And definitely not death by his hands because of this narcissistic personality.

To this day, I still have nightmares from that night, and many other nights that I thought my life was going to end by an abusive narcissist, but then I wake up, praising my Ab\ba Father for giving me the strength to leave that situation and never return. For giving me the strength to find value in me. And for loving me so much by showing me through this word and example that this is not the plan that he has for my life.

Please reach out for help if you are in an abusive relationship. God says, Love is…

 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. -1 Corinthians 13:4-8,13

If your spouse is showing anything less than what God says love is, seek help from a family member or click this link to find your nearest Safe Place location or your local hospital/clinic on ways to escape from your abuser.

I love you. God loves you. You are worthy of true happiness. Have a safe and wonderful Saturday. Please remember, pray for one another.

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Letter To A Broken Heart

Letter To A Broken Heart

Hey Friends,

So, a good friend of mines, who I care for dearly, even though we have never met in person, is suffering from heartbreak. This pain is so familiar to me and I’m sure to you as well. There are very few people, if any, walking this planet who hasn’t experienced a broken heart. Whether it was from a breakup, betrayal, or even loss of a loved one (literally or figuratively).

Heartbreak has been known to claims lives. According to the American Heart Association, Broken Heart Syndrome can resemble symptoms that of a heart attack due to stress-induced cardiomyopathy aka a broken heart.

Personally, the last time my heart was broken, it felt like death had both of his hands wrapped around my heart, squeezing so hard that every breath that I took was unbearable. Every tear that ran down my face was that of physical and emotional twinge. I begged for relief, at one point, even hoped for death to finally claim the pieces of what was left of what used to pump life throughout my limp, lifeless body.

As my friend described her pain, I couldn’t help but be reminded of my own grief. I felt helpless on how to tell her ways to overcome such horrific agony. Honestly, I barely remember how I made it through myself.

Then, I prayed and asked God to reveal to me the right words to say which prompted tonight’s post.

My Dear Friend,

I know that you are hurting right now. The pain that you feel is unbearable. It feels as though life cannot possibly go on for one more minute of agony surrounding your mind. I do not have the answers that you seek, nor the cure for your discomfort, but one thing is for sure. The love that Jesus has for you will get you through this difficult time. Our Creator designed us to have needs and wants. He has designed us to love and take care of one another and you were betrayed by a person who promised they would protect you. There is only one person who can fulfill your need and desire for unconditional love, Yahweh. Even saying his name…Yahweh, allows you to create a new breath with every letter.

He created your needs and wants to match up with his. Your desire to be loved lines up perfectly with his need and desire to love you like your hand fitting into a glove. It is natural to try to find our desires here on earth in things and people other than God. So, it is not your fault. Please forgive yourself, friend. No one saw this coming, including you. But you know who did? Jesus! He knew that the world would break your heart. That is why is he waiting with his arms open wide, awaiting you to climb into his lap like an infant so he can comfort you that way a Father should comfort their child.

God promises that he will satisfy all of our needs and wants, including our need and want to be loved. He also promised to never break your heart as the world has. We will never be fully satisfied here on earth because the earth is not our permanent home. His kingdom is. We will find contentment for which we were created when we let our desires become fulfilled by him, and him alone. During times of suffering, he says, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” (2 Cor. 12:9). Take this opportunity to draw closer to him. He is waiting for you, friend. I promise he will give you more love and joy that this world has to offer. His word says, So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor. Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.” (1 Peter 5:6-7). 

I love you so much, sis. I will continue to pray that the Lord makes every day easier to bear. Until then, know that I and our Abba Father are here for you.

Sincerely,

Ashley

If you are experiencing heartache, this letter applies to you also. Please know that I am here for you. You can email me, and I will be more than happy to pray for you and try to give you the best advice that I possibly can without judgment. I do not have all of the answers, but I know who does. Jesus and I are tight like size 2 underwear on a size 20 bear.

 

Love you guys with all my heart. Stay safe!

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Ode To My True Love

As I lay on your chest while hearing the song of your heartbeat, I reflect on the life that we have together. Who knew that five years ago, God would bless me 😇with someone who would heal all of my wounds from the inside out.

Many told us that we shouldn’t be together, but I thank God every day for allowing our love to blossom 🌸into a beauty that many do not understand. Thank God that He knew what He was doing by blessing me with you 💕

You were made for me and I was made for you. We finish each other sentences. I know what you want before you even ask. My soul is directly connected to yours.☯️

You remind me every day of how much you love me. You are my best friend, my confidant, my lover, and my protector. You are the light 🌟during my darkness, the inspiration 💓 during my self-doubt, and the encouragement 💞during my tough times.

img_1887-e1518618794646.jpgThank you for being the best husband a lady could pray for you. You have exceeded my expectations of what a loving husband is and it is all thanks to our Heavenly Father.

You’ve made all of the pain and heartbreak in my past worth it, because, without their rejection, you wouldn’t have found me, loved me, healed me, and reminded me that I am worthy of true love.

img_2660We have been through the trenches of hell together and because of it, our bond and love have been transformed into a foundation that cannot be destroyed by anyone or anything.

You have loved my children as if they were your own and you have blessed me with a mini-you👶🏽that has all of your most beautiful qualities.

Saying I love you will never be enough to fully express the gratitude and admiration that I have for you. Thank you for never giving up on me. Thank you for setting an example for our children of what real love looks like. Thank you for loving me unconditionally. Most importantly, thank you for loving me for me. 😘

Happy Valentines Day and Happy Anniversary, my love.

“If you live to be a hundred, I want to live to be a hundred minus one day so I never have to live without you.” -A. A. Milne