Be bold.

I haven’t written in a while… and there’s some reasons why. I’ve let doubt take a foothold in my life and faith. Doubts of what God is doing in my life. If He’s in my life. Who He really is and who Jesus really is.

That’s awful I know. You may think, “How can she call herself a believer? A child and daughter of Jesus if she struggles with doubts?” or maybe you’re like me and you’re realizing that you aren’t alone. I think the enemy tries to tell us we’re the only ones who feel this way and that we can’t call ourselves a Christian or saved because of it. He’s really good at that one… and better yet, I’m really good at being deceived by his lies versus my own salvation and God’s truth.

Over the past year, my reality has taken 90 degree shifts. In June, I gave my life to Christ. In December, I lost a relationship that was all I really knew for half of high school and half of my first year of college. My whole reality changed from growing up in church to just now accepting God. It was like a veil was torn off my eyes, but it was and still is confusing because I felt as if I’ve been living a lie. And when that old relationship changed and ended, it left me with no direction and disheartened about God’s plans for my life.

I was and still am in a state of utter confusion with what God is doing and all that makes up God, like the Trinity… or how God and Jesus are separate but one at the same time..or how the cross occurred. It’s mind boggling really… and I have so many questions.

I lay all of my disgusting unbelief and doubts in my sweet, at times too forgiving Jesus to just be honest… and to let you know that your sin doesn’t have to be a secret. That if there is something you’re struggling with, maybe doubts or some other sin that’s taken a stronghold over you, that you are forgiven. Whether grace has been made real to you or not, the very day your heart was pulled and you called His name… you have been forgiven for this very moment. I know grace doesn’t always seem like it’s for me because of who I’ve been, but on those days where I feel unworthy of grace and doubts flood over me…I have to speak what I know is truth over me. I have to be bold and expose my sin, so that it doesn’t control me. The more I hide and the more I cover it up from God, the farther I feel from His love and mercy. And that’s an open door for Satan to bait me.

Tonight, I cried my heart out to God. I felt fear. I felt doubt. I felt shame. And I felt unworthy to even think that I was one of His beloved. That surely my heart had changed and I was disqualified. Tonight, a sweet friend prayed the words over me, “He’s saying, ‘Be bold! Don’t worry what anyone will think!’ He just wants to hug you. His arms are open and He wants to baptize you in His spirit” These truths that were boldly proclaimed over me made me realize that this fear was holding me back from being all that God formed me to be. I stopped writing because I was fearful of being “fake” or not saying the right words. I stopped showing people love and accepting Jesus’s love because I was afraid of where He may lead me… and maybe it was somewhere that I wouldn’t like. But being bold in our faith is what drives out every single fear, doubt, and worry that we have. Because worry ends where faith begins, my friend.

If you’re running on empty in faith… feeling disqualified or doubtful, I’m there with you. But He’s saying, “Be bold my child. For I did not give you a spirit of fear, but have called you to be brave.” Refresh yourself and dunk yourself under the immense ocean of the Holy Spirit, because we were created to be more than this.

Advertisements

When I Answered

On June 14th, 2015….My life was changed forever.

It was a typical Sunday at church for me. But my heart was not where it should be. Lately I had been agonizing over if I was truly saved.

I grew up at Cascade Hills and believed in Jesus and everything the Bible said, but something was just off. I prayed. I read my Bible. But things were never intimate. It was like I had to reach really hard to try to see God. I got “saved” when I was in middle school. Maybe 12 or 13. I was really just scared of Hell to be honest. Truth is, I don’t think I even said the prayer. I just decided one day I didn’t want to go to Hell. And I used that moment in middle school as the day I called upon Jesus and accepted Him into my life. But, I think deep down I knew that wasn’t really it.

So back to June 2015. I had felt restless in my faith. Like I knew there was something more to it and something missing. It was more than just this far away God and reading the Bible for good verses. I remember I would spend nights in agony over if I was truly saved and had a relationship with God.

June 14th… that would all change.

I walked into church like normal. Me and my parents. We sat on our normal row. Pastor Bill was doing a series Players vs. Pretenders. I couldn’t tell you to this day what the sermon was about, because honestly I don’t remember. I just remember thinking, “God, I’m not getting anything from this at all.” My boyfriend at the time texted me that morning, “I know something great is going to happen to you in church today, I just know.” So during the sermon, I was desperately searching for something to hit me in the face. Then, before we went into the invitation time something happened. Pastor Bill began to say how he had a friend who went to church for ten years, but he was never saved. He would feel uneasy and always wish the invitation would hurry up. Then, God called him to salvation that very same weekend.

And then…. it hit me. My heart was beating so fast. It felt like it was going to fall out of my chest. It honestly felt like God was just pulling my heart. I remember thinking, “Oh no. No, God. You’ve got the wrong girl. I’m saved, I know it. God, You’re wrong!” But, I just knew……I knew this was it. This was my moment…..God was calling me whether I liked it or not. It was like He was saying,”You know…You’ve been pretending for so long.. You don’t know what the real deal is yet” I just remember thinking, “Okay God…. Here we go.” It was like I couldn’t argue with God. I mean how can you argue when your heart is being pulled out of your chest? So with my eyes shut, I could feel the tears pile up and I just remember asking God to forgive me. I literally remember praying “God, forgive me! Please forgive me!”  And after I remember praying the sinners prayer following my pastor’s words. I don’t remember exactly what I prayed….but I just know I did. And then, Pastor Bill called for us to walk down the aisle as a public announcement and letting everyone know about it. I felt so nervous. I almost didn’t. I thought, “Okay God, I prayed. I’m good. I’m not walking” But, I knew if I didn’t do it now…..I would doubt if I really meant it forever. I was afraid of what my parents would think. After all, I pretended in front of them too. I fooled everyone. I told my dad and mom I had to go walk. I got out of my row and just walked down the main aisle. In front of everyone. I didn’t know what to think. I felt like, “What did I just do? Did I really just get saved and now I’m walking in front of everyone? This doesn’t make sense” Pastor Bill gave me a thumbs up and smiled as I told the couple at the head of the aisle “I prayed that prayer” and they hugged me and took me to a back room. I don’t remember how many people were there. A few maybe. I remember there was this one young married guy, and maybe another woman. This old family friend was one of the invitation counselors, and she wasn’t talking to me. No one was. I felt so confused about who I was, how did I pretend for so long, what am I now, what’s happening. I was in total shock and needed someone, anyone to talk to me. I tried talking to her in between crying, and for some reason…she just wasn’t very receptive. Her husband was right there and said, “Oh I wondered who that girl crying was!” I felt horrible. I felt so confused and conflicted, and I just wanted someone to explain what was happening. Then, Bob Hawkins came and talked with the group and me. He had seen me grown up and baptized me. He is one of the kindest souls I have ever met. And he just hugged me and let me know I was alright. He explained to me that coming to salvation can almost feel like going through surgery. You get so anxious about the pain and you put it off. But once you do it, you’re at peace and relieved. I remember thinking, “Well I don’t feel relieved at all right now…. does that mean I’m really saved then?” And we all walked out of the room. I remember right as I pushed that door open and walked out of the sanctuary, relief and peace washed over me. Like I had no need to worry about my salvation ever again, that I was a player. I met my parents and the couple I came up to. I was explaining what happened in my heart to my parents and started to ball. I just blubbered, “I just felt tormented by Satan or God or something for so long that I wasn’t saved and wasn’t right with God and my heart was just beating so fast.” Then, we were going to walk out and Pastor Bill hugged me. I was crying so much that it got all over his shoulder. I remember him saying, “You’re just too sweet. If you ever need anything, you just let me know.” We walked out to that empty parking lot, and I knew everything had changed just then. That I was different. My reality was not the same anymore. For the entire afternoon, I spent it trying to wrap my head around it. I had just accepted Jesus into my heart. That if I died before church that morning, I would’ve gone to Hell. That I knew of God, but I didn’t know Him…until then.

Sometimes, well a lot of the time….The devil likes to use my past against me. He likes to tell me that day didn’t happen like that. That I’m still a pretender and that every day I fail to burn 100% for God….I’m disqualified. He likes to say that my testimony isn’t real. That it isn’t big. For a while, I’ve believed that. I’ve believed that it isn’t big, and not still important or in tact because of my mess ups with my walk and with Jesus. I’ve allowed the idea that I’m disqualified to take root. But nothing changes that day. Nothing changes the amount of tears I cried out to God. Nothing changes my surrender. And nothing changes that now I’ve given God personal access to my life. Even though my walk changes and at times suffers, does not mean that it ceases to exist. I choose not to let that take root in my life anymore. I’m choosing to tell my story like it is something big, because it truly is. Now, I’m not that version of Ashley anymore. A lot about me has changed. I sometimes fear that maybe because I’m not the girl who I once was when I invited God into my life, then that means I don’t mean it anymore….. but that’s a lie. I couldn’t take that back even if I wanted to. There’s not a day I would take it back. Because my friend, salvation is a choice on your part…not God’s. It’s your choice to accept….God leaves that in our hands. He calls, but we answer. God won’t take it away. While He’s all powerful and has the ability to, He will not.

So on June 14th 2015, He called…..and I answered. As surreal as that day may seem to me in the moment and to this day, it is still very very real.

 

Sincerely, A Stubborn Daughter

Do you ever get an attitude check from God?

Jesus constantly calls me out in my walk of faith. Here lately, I’ve just been stubborn with God’s plans for me. It’s like when He tells me to wait, I want to rush. When He shuts a door, I try to open it back up. And when He opens a door, I stay stuck in the hallway still holding on to the one He shut.

A lot of the time, I stress and worry about what God has planned before me. When really, my life is not in my hands and it’s not my own. I worry that where He’s leading me will be something I can’t measure up to or won’t love. I forget that God knows my heart and deepest desires. What He chooses for me is really what I’ve been asking for all along. Today, I’ve felt His subtle whispers and sweetness just telling me to rest and trust. I constantly want God to reveal His big picture to me, and I always try to rush whatever God is doing. The moment I see Him move, I jump to a conclusion about His plan and worry about what’s to come. But, I’ve realized the moment I rest and abide… the more He starts to show me His way. Yet, when I worry…it’s like God takes His hand off because I’m not willing to trust what He’s preparing.

If you think about any relationship, trust is one of the most important keys. It maintains the tenderness and blocks out any doubt. Trust is vital. Without trust, a relationship crumbles. Without trust in my walk with Jesus, there’s space between us. When I decide not to trust the One who has never failed me, then I put space in between our intimacy. In times of feeling far from God, I can tell you it boils down to me not trusting Him. That happens a lot in my walk honestly. Sometimes, it’s hard to have faith and trust someone who you have never been face to face with. It’s scary to hand over your life and dreams to a person that doesn’t necessarily speak audibly to you. But I find once I do, God begins to line things up just the way they were meant to be and satisfy the longings of my heart.

He will set before you a myriad of doors. It’s like your whole life is walking from door to door until you reach the gates to Heaven. Each door has a purpose, and I refuse to stand stuck in the hallway between doors in fear like I have been. Because my lack of trust and stubborn attitude are the only things holding me back from reaching that destiny He has so graciously laid ahead for me.

So when God opens a door before you, please do anything but hold on to the one He’s locked behind you or dig your heels in. Every second you fail to fully embrace the season God has put you in, you’re missing out on people that set your spirit on fire and opportunities that will shape you into who you were created to be. I say all of this because recently I’ve spent far too much time in the hallway. The feelings of worry and fear became a familiar wallpaper for me. But no more. I refuse to let the enemy laugh at his success and my failure to see it. And I refuse to miss out on God’s best. Take a step toward whatever and whoever God is calling you to, because it may just be the very thing that He knows you need. Trust me, it’s far sweeter.

Sincerely, a stubborn daughter.

“When He opens a door, no one can close it. And when He closes it, no one can open it. I know what you do. I have put an open door before you, which no one can close. I know you have little strength, but you have obeyed my teaching and were not afraid to speak my name…Continue strong in your faith so no one will take your crown” Rev. 3:7-8,11

Dear younger me.

Dear younger me,

It’s crazy to think life has gone by so fast already.

I wish time travel actually existed, so maybe you would have the chance to rewrite some things in our life that didn’t go exactly as planned. But, then again life is unexpected and that’s the beauty of it sometimes. Like how something could happen and shipwreck your reality, but make you as a person.

Ash, I wish I could tell you that you’ll grow up and become this girl who has life all figured out and everything together, but you don’t. And that’s okay. I want you to know that it’s perfectly fine to not be perfect in life. Somewhere along the road, I think we picked up the mentality that you’ve got to be perfect and happy all the time to be loved or feel loved. Somewhere someone put conditions on how much they loved you, and I want you to know that you should never have to work for someone’s love. You are enough. And if someone decides for themselves that you aren’t, let them leave. Because you are worth so much more than that. Please believe and accept that everyday.

I want you to know that God’s love is not the same as the love humanity offers. The love of the world tells you that you have to fit in all of these boxes. Let me set you free for a sec. You will NEVER fit into the mold of the world, no matter how hard you try. That’s perfectly fine though! You’re you, so never try to imitate another. If God would have wanted you otherwise, He would have made you otherwise. If He wanted you a little taller, you would be. If He wanted you less awkward, you would be. If He wanted you to put your heart on the line less, He would’ve created you a little less open hearted. Ash, you share your heart with everybody whether they are the wrong people or the right people. I think that makes you pretty brave. Sometimes it gets us hurt, but I would hate one day to read a letter older me wrote to present me and find out that future Ashley is cold and bitter, because she stopped letting people in. Love and share often, it’s what gives you happiness. Trust me, I know ya.

Take some time in between caring for others to care for yourself. You tend to put other’s happiness above your own. That’s both an attribute and weakness. Never get too selfish to where all you care about is you. But don’t belittle yourself and beat down your worth, because you deserve to be happy too. Ash, your happiness is always found when you learn to love yourself and spend time in God’s love. I think sometimes we give Jesus the characteristics of the people who have wronged us. But always remember, He is the exact opposite. Not once has He let you down. He still loves you, even when you place wrong labels on Him. He knows your struggles and He understands. Remember Him always and constantly run like a prodigal to His arms.

I know that you at 8, 12, 16, or even 18 will never read this. I think this letter to you is really a letter to me. I look back on all the times where I struggled and just wish I could go back and tell myself all of this and more. I look at the different stages of Ashley I’ve been and just wish I could tell each version of my younger self that I love her. That despite where she’s at, she’s okay. She’s forgiven. She’s loved. And that she’s gonna do great things.

I think that’s what Jesus says to us, Ash. Each version of ourself He loves. We change as humans. God knows that, and He knows us. He loves each version of you. Believe that.

Sincerely yours… the March 15, 2016 version of Ashley.

 

How to be content when God is quiet.

I’ve learned many things growing up in church. Still now as a young Christian, I’m diving in and discovering more about our God. Like how God physically walked in the garden of Eden. Or that old song every kid in Awanas learned to memorize the order of the gospels.

I’ve learned a good bit. However, the most important thing I’ve come to know is that I will never be able to fully comprehend God. I mean think about it. God is SO big. He surpasses any capacity we could put Him in. So, despite the fact that we learn and read the Word…. our Father remains a beautiful mystery.

When I would read books like Crazy Love by Francis Chan or read descriptions of Heaven in the Bible, my version of God and the spiritual realm was blown to pieces. This scared me at first, but now I think it is by far the coolest thing about God–that He is so very big and there is no way for me to learn every thing about Him. It kind of takes the pressure off. I don’t have to be worried that if I forget one fact about Jesus, or don’t fully get the Trinity, or can’t comprehend a verse that I’ll be scratched off of Heaven’s roll call. God Himself says, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts” Isaiah 55:8-9.

With that in mind, I don’t understand why God is silent sometimes. I don’t understand why He doesn’t audibly speak to me instead of using gentle whispers, because in my small minded ways that seems better. But I do get that God is God. Like it or not, the very moment you invite Him in He floods your heart and your life with His presence. The moment He knocked on your heart and you answered, you died to yourself. This life is no longer yours, but now it’s His.

When God is silent, He’s silent. When God makes you wait, you must wait. When God tells you His plans, you better believe He will set you up to accomplish them. God reigns over your life in the sweetest way possible, and the only thing you can do when He shifts your reality to set you up for something bigger is to just simply obey reverently.

When you’re in this season of waiting or maybe even you feel spiritually dehydrated, learn to be content. Be fully content and okay with where God has you, because He put you there for a reason. He, the Creator of the Universe, thought about this very moment in your walk with Him before He created the world. Rest in that, and learn to find joy in the little things that seem annoying due to your impatience.

Also, learn to see God’s hand when you don’t hear His voice. In this season of waiting and lack of spiritual fire, I’ve noticed God’s hand everywhere. The little answers to prayers will stack up, and you won’t believe how much He is listening. When you pray for a good parking space and He gives you front row. When you pray for an okay grade on a test you feel unprepared for but end up acing it. When you pray for the opportunity to meet new people and God sets the stage for introductions. That’s God. That’s His hand over you. That’s His silent whisper saying, “I’ve got you.” God has got you even when you feel like He has completely walked away. 

So take this time to observe God’s hand. The more of it you see, the more joy will over pour from your heart. The more joy you have, the more you radiate Jesus to the world. And hey maybe that’s why God gives us quiet seasons all along.

Wait patiently with a content heart. He’s up to something great, friend. 

 

You are a new creation.

You are a new creation, so stop living and treating yourself as if you aren’t one.

If someone would’ve told me this a month ago or so, I would’ve been forever grateful. But I think sometimes the sweetest lessons are the ones we learn the hard way.

On June 14th, 2015, I surrendered my life to Jesus. I remember searching for God always and coming up empty handed weeks before. My soul felt restless. Then, that Sunday I was all in. It felt like my heart was being grabbed and pulled. From growing up in church, I automatically thought, “No no God you’ve got it wrong. I’m saved. I know I am. I shouldn’t be feeling this.” But, in my heart I knew God was asking for me to declare my faith and fully open the door of my life to Him. I remember my prayer. “Father, forgive me! Forgive me!”

The next few months I was radically changed and eager to grow in the word. I went through trials and gained great faith as God brought me to mountain tops. Life was pretty peachy. But, I started to live for other people and not God. And when you start to live for people, your happiness lies in their hands. I would revert back to my ways of worrying due to my lack of focus on God, and then be told over and over by people dear to me that I really didn’t change. Slowly, I began to live the life of the girl who didn’t know Christ. I kept living in the old, when I was made new. And let me tell you, living in the past kept me from living at the level God wanted for me. People I loved betrayed me, the enemy took my fears and doubts for a joy ride, and my self worth was at an all time low. I didn’t want to walk into God’s presence because I felt like He wouldn’t want me if I confessed what I had been doing. It was an up and down battle. Some days of victory and some of defeat.

But, that’s all changed.

I started going to The Door. I experienced worship in a new light with new people who were in awe of God and weren’t  afraid to live a life that attempts to walk in such a way that you see Jesus when you talk to them. And tonight a messaged was shared that shipwrecked my heart and what I had been feeling. The pastor, Andrew, shared a dream about driving through the mountains from mountain top to valley, back and forth. Then, the valley was flooded to where he couldn’t go back. He said it was a message from God for the people who have gone from trusting Him to relying on themselves and reverting back to their past. But God was going to flood those valleys of your temptations and the past. I bawled, because that was me.

I share this little ramble to say that if you’ve received Jesus, you’re a new creation and you never have to live with the guilt or shame of who you once were. You are NEW. That is my heart’s deepest prayer–to believe and live as the new creation God crafted me into when He took hold of my heart. You are a new creation. Brand new. Think that over and over until you wake up one morning and your heart is healed and you whole heartedly see yourself for what you are, which is new and righteous.

The Breaking Point = Your Break Through

Have you ever hit a rut in life where you almost feel numb, and wish you could experience something to make you feel again–whether it be good or bad? You know that feeling of ‘I feel like everyone in this world at this exact second feels at least something, and I’m just here existing through the motions?’

I had that moment on Nov. 12, 2015 during the MercyMe concert. I had just turned 19 and life just didn’t seem to be going anywhere. My relationship with God lacked spark and so did my actual relationship. Everything just felt, for a lack of a better word, “eh.” There was no elation or devastation. Nothing but me spinning my wheels.

So there I was at this amazing Christian concert and I felt “eh.” People surrounding me had their arms lifted high in worship, and all I could think was, “God, why am I the only one in this room not moved to tears by Your glory?” I felt bad for feeling that way, but that’s how I felt. But looking back now, I kind of understand.

Before the concert had started, they played this song by Sidewalk Prophets called “Keep Making Me.” It started off with the lyrics, “Make me broken so I can be healed ’cause I’m so calloused and now I can’t feel.” I remember thinking how that was exactly me. I just wanted to feel something, anything. In about a month or so, I did.

You see, I realize now that maybe those moments that we are so broken and even angry with God are the BEST blessings we get. The moment God brought me to my knees was the moment I desired Him the most, and it was incredibly humbling. There were some nights during that brokenness that I would just look up at the blue cross hanging on my wall and just fall to my knees and pray. I’m talking collapse in a ball and crying because you can’t believe God loves you that much kind of prayer. Through that, I’ve realized the best things in life have come in the moments that I thought were the worst.

As I drove home tonight from catching up with some beautiful souls, that song played on the radio. Here recently, I’ve had one of those spiritually numb ruts. But listening to that song, I just remembered how God has been working everything for my good and that He is still there. That song talked about making God your one desire, and I thought back to my period of brokenness for an instant. And I realized that I thought because I felt healed, then I was good and I didn’t really need God at the tippy top of my life.

What I’m saying with all this is that being broken and empty is where it’s at. That’s where you think less of yourself and desire God first and foremost. And I mean truly desire Him to the point where you cannot get enough! I think we all get so hung up on the pattern of being on a mountain top, going through a valley, healing, and then repeat. The trials of this life happen so often that we mold God and our relationship with Him differently for each stage. I forget that my sweet Jesus in the valley is just as good as my Jesus in the not so exciting realm of life. So from now, each day I’m going to try to break myself–break away from the world, myself, and give a little piece of me to Jesus each day.

I don’t think we ever get our break through until we’re broken. Remember how there’s always a valley, and after there’s always a great mountain top? I think God has been a step ahead of us with that pattern. I’ve just never noticed the purpose of it until now.

For when you feel imperfect..

I don’t know why I thought there was such thing as a perfect Christian. That there was this mold that if you did everything just right, then maybe you would be loved more by God. I thought that if I had just one not so nice thought or if I went through a season of silence with God, then that was just it. I was done for. Satan kept whispering every time I would sin or feel alone due to God’s silence. “You’re not a good enough Christian. Who are you to even call yourself a Christian? You might as well take back that day you got saved, because why would God want someone who doubted him and lacked trust? God’s got better people out there than you.”

I listened and still listen to these whispers to the point where they almost seem real. It’s all illogical though really. Why would God send Jesus to die for my sins and leave me because I sinned? I mean if that were the case, Jesus’s death would’ve been pointless. And I’m sure Jesus wouldn’t have endured all of that for nothing. Everything Satan says is illogical. The notion that my salvation could be taken away due to a lapse of spiritual closeness or hearing God’s voice would be ridiculous, because once again the cross would have been for nothing.

Every time I hear these whispers, I think back to Bart Millard’s profound words. Bart is the lead singer of MercyMe and for a long time he struggled the same battle that I fight. Everyday, the devil would whisper these lies into his mind to the point where he almost walked away from everything God had planned for him. But everyday, Bart’s friend would text him, “You are holy. You are righteous. And you are redeemed.” For the past weeks, I’ve doodled that on my notes in class and said it to myself in the mirror even. Because sometimes, I think us Christians and Jesus followers forget what the cross really did. It made us flawless. God sees us as He sees Jesus–holy and righteous. I get so into the motions that I forget that I am a new creation in Christ. I forget who I am through Him. I forget the power that lives within me. I forget all of this, because I’m too busy trying to have it all together spiritually like I think everyone else does.

One thing I’ve had to realize is that God doesn’t love my pastor more than me. God doesn’t love me more than an alcoholic man that beats his wife. God doesn’t love the great prophet Elijah more than me. He loves us the same amount. And despite my preconceived idea that there’s this box God puts me in in order to love me, there is nothing I can do to make Him love me less. Even if on some days I listen to the enemy’s whispers, accidentally say a cuss word in traffic, or gossip about some girl’s shoes. God loves me no less on my worst days, than He does on my best days glorifying His name.

I don’t say any of this to say,”Hey go out and do what ya want cause God’s cool with it, He still loves you!” I say all of this to speak to my own heart and yours that no matter when or how far you fall, He loves you no less. So get back up and fight the good fight.

The Ultimate Perfect Man.

The perfect man. The seemingly impossible thing to find in this generation. A man who will love you unconditionally, treat you with respect, never leave, and truly care about every aspect that makes you, you. All of us want that, don’t we? I know I do.

The thing is, many girls and I search for this perfect one only to come up empty handed. It seems that no perfect man exists…well at least for us. Other girls seem to have it together by getting engaged and starting the life almost every little girl dreams of—being a wife and being a mom. I know some people that are feminists may read that and cringe, but let’s be brutally honest, ladies. We all want to be loved by the one, feel like we’re enough, and have kids to tell them everyday, “You’re so loved.” Because after all, that’s what we desire someone to tell us. 

However, one downfall to this perfect man search is that we use it as our source of fulfillment. Trust me, I’ve fallen for the thought that maybe if I find the perfect one then my life will start rolling and I’ll finally be blessed with the best things in life. Somehow, I’ve failed to realize that the perfect man has been calling my name since the very day I took a breath on this Earth. He called my name relentlessly even while I did everything to hurt him. I picture him as some lovestruck, gawky teenage boy steadily showing his affection for the girl who was too busy to notice that he was the only nice guy surrounding her. That guy is Jesus. Girls, imagine God’s love for you like that. Like Mouth and well every girl he’s fallen in love with on One Tree Hill. Like Rhett after Scarlett and that blonde kid who, regardless what the movie is, steadily chases after Molly Ringwald in Sixteen Candles and The Breakfast Club. That’s Jesus.

A lot of the times, us girls are so wrapped up in these great guys (or maybe not so great guys), that we fail to truly fall head over heels in love with THE perfect guy. Jesus never stood anybody up. He never forgot to call. He has never and will never break your heart. He always tells you you’re beautiful and that He loves you regardless of what you did or have done. Heck, Jesus even could pull off a man bun. But in all seriousness, He would take a bullet for you… but instead He took the cross for you. He said, “I love her enough to die for her, so that one day she has the chance to know me and how much I care for her.”

I think the moment we fall in love with Jesus, we stop chasing the perfect man because we’ve found Him. And I also like to think that whenever He calls upon us for salvation and we say yes, that He throws His hand up in the air like Judd Nelson in The Breakfast Club. Because, He got the girl and He’s so pumped that He gets to spend eternity with His true love.

I believe that when we fall in love with Jesus, He helps us be that wife we want to be. He makes us that grounded Proverbs 31 woman and He starts to unfold the earthly love story He wrote for us. But first, we must fall in love with the Eternal One. Then and only then can we be fulfilled and bursting with so much joy and happiness that it overflows sending a little bit of Jesus’s love to everyone we come in contact with!

 

When the enemy strikes.

The enemy. Who is he? Why does he torment us?

The enemy is that little voice that whispers, “You’re not good enough. You’re not the Christian you should be. God isn’t speaking to you, so you must not have that great of a relationship with him. God’s given up on you and you’re not saved anymore. You couldn’t possibly please God because of your past. Don’t trust God, because you could fix this situation. Do what you want, it’s not wrong. This is YOUR life.”

The enemy is the one who fills your head with these lies and almost always gets you to feel defeated and like these whispers are truths. Why does he do this? We’ve all heard the answer that the enemy comes to “steal, kill, and destroy” our peace, happiness and joy. But he also tries to get you off of God’s path. Unfortunately, he’s pretty successful. I think we’ve all fell victim to Satan’s lies. He paints them as half truths, so that way you start to semi believe him. He whispers more. The more he whispers, the more you’re drawn in to believe those. No one is safe from his attempts, not even if you’re a child of God. I’ve noticed that ever since I surrendered my life to Christ, the whispers grew in number and just as I was at the brink of doing something for the glory of God…he showed up and instantly tried to discourage me from it. If you’re feeling the weight of his lies on your shoulders, I’m here to tell you that you’re completely normal. I feel them, too. Every Christian does.

But the great thing about these whispers is the fact that Satan does this because he’s scared! He’s been defeated. He’s already lost the war. I think as Christians, we forget what Jesus really did on that cross sometimes. I admit, I fail to think of the magnitude of the cross daily! But in this moment, I’ve come to realize that we battle an enemy daily that has already been defeated. The Bible says, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” Ephesians 6:12. We constantly fight this battle and wage war with the enemy and his tricks, yet our Savior has already defeated him. We let him take root in our lives and attempt to start a fight with us, when Jesus himself said, “It is finished.” 

This isn’t to say that because Jesus has already settled the score that we won’t ever face the enemy’s constant hissing in our ears. We will, because he will do anything to get us off track. But what I’m getting at is that we don’t have to battle him. He’s already lost. We just have to choose to ignore the lies. “Therefore, submit to God. But resist the devil and he will flee from you” James 4:7.

This may be super lengthy and maybe a little scattered, but I say all of this to show you that whatever lies he’s whispering in your heart right now… They’re lies and they have no power over you. I say this also to preach to myself, because the enemy gets the best of me a lot. So whenever he strikes, resist. Hold your ground and pray, “God, you’ve already won. I choose to believe your words and your truths because you love me and chose to die for me, so I would not have to battle this alone.” Do that, and you’re golden.