Tuesday, December 29, 2015
When you realize you've messed up.
When you realize that place you haven't been in for years is now only a few seconds behind you.
All too familiar faces of guilt and shame come and sit beside you.
It feels righteous to stay seated beside them.
It feels like what you're supposed to do;
Beat yourself up.
For you couldn't possibly be justified to give anything of value in this position.
To not feel guilty.
To not beat yourself up.
To not hold back;
Would be a statement that you believe you are allowed to do anything you want.
That what you do, say, and think don't have consequences;
Don't have effect on anything or anyone.
That in order to rid yourself of sin, you must put your attention to it.
That if you take your attention away from it, you'll find yourself in it's midst again.
That feeling is strong.
So strong that even an intentional look away still somehow keeps a part of you in that place.
It's ingrained in us.
That guilt and shame and pulling back are a healthy part of the process.
But that whisper...
I hear it.
I hear Him.
Something different is on His lips.
And it, in many ways, actually feels wrong.
But I've known it to be true.
Known it in a place much deeper than feelings;
in a place more real than feelings.
Child, you know these aren't Me.
If you are feeling these things it just means you're trying to deal with sin outside of Jesus.
Stand back up.
As far as the east is from the west;
I've already removed them from you.
Now, see Me.
Just like that?
Just like that.
But that can't be the right way to process this. Without giving this enough attention I won't feel bad enough about it; I will find myself right back in that place.
The problem isn't being in that place.
It really has nothing to do with that.
Your heart simply hasn't been fully turned to Me.
Just come be with Me.
Sitting in guilt and shame does nothing for you or for Me.
Stand back up.
I need you.
I know your heart.
I know who you are.
How you respond here sets a precedent for those to follow you.
I don't want the next generation to be stuck here.
Now, see Me.
How satisfied you are when you demonstrate tender mercy [merciful to forgive]! For tender mercy will be demonstrated to you.
Monday, December 21, 2015
And I'll immediately dismiss it.
Not wanting to again know the pain or experience the feeling of stupidity that came with the event.
The dismissing actually masquerading as wisdom.
the dismissing equivalent to not dwelling there.
But He told me to look right at it.
He told me to go back to that place;
to that feeling.
I can't just run.
I can't just ignore.
In the running;
in the ignoring;
I'm running from the importance of that moment.
From the Lord in that moment.
"No," He says.
"Go back there."
"Go back to that place. Find Me.
Begin to associate those hard feelings with Me.
You must look right. at. it.
Ignoring this will only force you to face it later."
I. Feel. Stupid.
I feel stupid all over again.
Going back there will make me not want to step out again.
Will make me not want to take risks.
Will make me favor not wanting to get it wrong and be stupid over possibly releasing You.
"What if it doesn't matter?
What if it doesn't matter if you're wrong?
What if each moment you're actually seeding something greater?
Relive the feeling of stupidity.
Relive it right there in My presence.
Relive it knowing and seeing Me there.
Relive it aware."
We can no longer be afraid to look our feelings in the face.
To stand in their presence;
and to see Him.
The importance of each moment;
it's too great.
When we decide to look away from the hard thing;
the painful thing;
we miss Him.
He is right there in the center.
We think we are actually protecting ourselves.
We think we are being wise.
We think we are preventing ourselves frin getting down.
Instead we are doing the opposite.
Go back to that place.
Tuesday, December 8, 2015
Thursday, November 5, 2015
And I felt so stupid.
I felt like some wacko who believes aliens are walking among us and going to take over the world.
Like I was describing a foreign concept.
Like I was pressured to describe it differently;
Downplay how powerful and real my experience was;
Downplay how significant the object of your question is to me.
Because I'm afraid.
Afraid of what I'll look like.
Afraid of how others will see me.
Afraid of what they'll think.
Afraid they won't understand.
Afraid I'll be misunderstood.
Afraid I'll be identified as a Christian;
which means I'll be identified as a judgmental, bible pushing Jesus freak.
That's not me.
I love Jesus.
But it's real; raw; genuine.
It's not weird; it's beautiful.
I don't want to be misunderstood.
But I can't keep risking shutting up what's inside of me;
Cutting off a world that is so desparately hungry.
Whether they yet know they are hungry or not.
They are worth the risk.
The becoming of the Bride is worth the risk.
If I am perceived as weird and foreign;
if I'm misunderstood;
May the oddity that lingers be an opportunity for another to think on the Lord.
A seed of thought.
Not return void.
I pray they ask another question.
Friday, September 18, 2015
Holding the giant sheet above my head.
Above our heads.
Before, we held it up together as a body.
Before, we held it up and filled in when others were feeling unable to lift their hands to hold it.
Now, He holds it.
At every entrance to the house.
They are holding it.
And we are all dancing under it.
Free to go and be.
For we have greater things to do.
And we can't be concerned with holding this covering.
They will hold it for us.
And as we dance beneath His covering;
The Angels watch.
They learn of His heart from us.
They see more of Him then ever before as we are released in freedom;
Not concerned with the weight.
And He smiles;
Watching us in our freedom.
Watching His Angels watch us.
We dance in Him;
We realize how big the field is when we lower our hands;
And let go of the weight;
And grab a hold of Him.
There's no shame;
In looking like a fool.
When I give You what I can't keep;
And take a hold of You.
More than words.
More than good ideas.
I found Your Love in the open fields."
Oh may My heart be seen.
This Love [this Bride] that carries Me.
Friday, September 11, 2015
I don't know that dead is really always dead.
We feel dead.
We see dead.
But what we feel and see as dead perhaps is really just new life.
If we would only blink.
To reopen our eyes and stretch our hands out again to feel.
To creatively reconstruct our perceptions.
To allow Him to come stand in our line of sight;
to realize He's always been in our line of sight.
To allow Him to come cover the space in front of our out-stretched hands;
to realize He's always covered every inch of space in front of our hands.
To become more aware that seeing and feeling Him is not always what we've understood.
When we feel like we have nothing to offer;
Because we feel dead;
Because we see only the hard things in front of us;
Because the only thing we can manage to allow out of our mouths is discussion of the current death;
Maybe that is the very thing we have to offer.
Maybe death is life.
Maybe when we present our current offering;
maybe He's wrapping that offering in Himself.
Maybe our dead things are wrapped in Him--in Life.
Maybe EVERYthing is Life.
If only we take off the shades of shame; guilt; and expectation.
Maybe it's not so much right and wrong;
but more-so opportunity.
Despise no thing.
Maybe death is just a place.
And no place will ever define us.
Life defines us.
He defines us.
No need for shame.
No need for guilt.
No need for expectation.
Life resides in every place.
Life resides in our perceived dead place.
No worries son.
Alive in the dead places.
Saturday, July 25, 2015
Thursday, July 16, 2015
Friday, June 26, 2015
Sunday, June 14, 2015
Monday, June 1, 2015
--If I let myself learn how to operate as extreme-me in the presence of all extreme-you.
Thursday, May 28, 2015
Monday, May 11, 2015
Or into this.
They all sound well and good.
But when they fail they bring you back around to disappointment.
To not being good enough.
And I hate to see you sitting in that.
There's a better way.
You know this.
You've done this before.
Remember when you had not yet overcome that past behavior?
Remember when you would try this method and that method?
Remember the boundaries you would set up for yourself?
Remember how time and again that failed?
Remember how you stopped trying to control behavior?
Remember how you began to just be...with Me.
Still stumbling along the way.
But beautifully stumbling.
Stumbling less and less
as being in My presence began to sync your heartbeat with Mine.
Because it was never about behavior management.
The source of the problem is never the behavior.
The source is always not enough face-time with Me.
The source is not knowing My heart.
The source is distance.
Get close to Me.
And those behaviors will begin to no longer fit.
You won't have to try to stop them.
You will, instead, not want them.
Get close to Me.
And eventually you won't have to try to be something you want to be.
All of Me in you will simply burst forth.
More and more.
You won't be able to hold it in if you wanted to.
That's what a heart close to Mine looks like.
Get close to Me.
Get so close.
Soak Me in.
With an empty stomach.
Eyes set on the buffet before you.
And run to be the first in line to fill your plate.
Get close to Me.
Get close to Me.
Thursday, April 30, 2015
I think they were meant to take care of a natural need so that we could move on to focus on higher things;
on bigger things.
They were meant to provide, as needed, while we are expanding.
So we can expand.
Thursday, April 23, 2015
Sunday, April 19, 2015
Sunday, March 1, 2015
So aware of my flaws,
that I almost live in those flaws in a place of constant awareness.
Oh that I would be more aware of the treasure in me.
So aware of my value,
That I would live in constant awareness of that treasure.
That I would stop seeing myself as a burden to you.
But as heavy valuable gold worth possessing.
I am worth your bearing with me in this season.
I am worth your discipline.
I am worth your patience.
I am worth your love.
I am worth your seeing Him in me along the way.
Don't abandon me.
Don't discard of me among the rugged stones to be trampled on.
I belong in the lavish palaces along with the other sparkling gems.
And I'll make my way back there.
Leave the door unlocked.
Leave the window open.
Trust the Father with me.
Trust that He has rooted Himself in my heart.
And that He's just cleaning house;
spraying His perfume in every nook and cranny until the aroma never leaves.
Trust Him with me.
Trust that I am learning.
Trust that I am forward steady;
despite what my dramatic expressions may indicate.
I am worth it.
I am so worth it.
heavy. valuable. gold. --worth possessing.
Saturday, February 28, 2015
It's His voice.
I didn't initiate.
He knew this place is uncomfortable for me;
So He reminded me-- He's here.
I hate being home alone.
I've always hated it.
My mind has the chance to wander to the "what ifs."
I've dwelt my fair share of days in the "what ifs."
This didn't develop overnight.
It developed over many many years.
and to now.
There aren't many nights of being alone now.
One of the perks to being married.
But every once in a while,
I get the "opportunity" to be again.
I remember the many times in college when my roommate would leave for the weekend.
How scared I was.
I was intentional the only way I knew how.
I'd pray myself to sleep.
Would often take me hours.
I hoped it would eventually subside.
That the fear would lessen.
Has yet to be my experience.
I'm finding that,
The fear doesn't change.
Our response to it does.
Our persistent-intentional awareness, declaration, gut-knowing belief that we no longer remain a slave to it.
It doesn't have to change.
It doesn't have to leave.
It can stay, even.
And we can become so beautifully unaware of its being-there; arms length away.
Because we are so aware of Him.
So trusting of Him.
He wants to walk with us into that awareness.
Into that place in Him.
A place where we don't even have to pray ourselves to sleep;
only to have to do it again the next night.
Instead it's a constant reminder that-- He's here.
Whether we believe it or not.
Until we believe it.
Until it is a deep seated knowing in our spirits.
that those words;
"Hey-- I'm here."
Monday, February 9, 2015
I fear writing this as I don’t want to perpetuate the picture that many people have already painted of me:
That math girl.
To be honest, it’s not my favorite picture.
Don’t get me wrong;
I love that part of me.
I love me some affirmation in that area.
And yet-- I don’t want to be known for that.
It limits me.
And it also has me responding by putting much undo pressure on myself.
(I realize that’s not anyone else’s fault. Rather it’s a long practiced response on my part.)
To be the best.
To be perfect.
Let’s face it—math is a DOING activity.
And I want my DO to come out of my BE.
I don’t want to just be the math girl.
So, at the risk of being misunderstood...
My relationship with math has always paralleled life for me.
And this is how I see it:
Our relationship with learning difficult math (the math we are required to do at various times in life anyways) tells us a lot about how we approach life.
What is our attitude when we begin?
How do we respond when we don’t understand?
Do we keep going?
How do we respond when we STILL don’t understand?
Do we STILL keep going?
Do we ask for help?
Do we go in with an open mind when receiving help?
Do we feel stupid?
Is our confidence in ourselves shaken?
How much of a time commitment and investment are we willing to put forth to ‘get it’?
How much of an emotional commitment and investment are we willing to put forth to ‘get it’?
Are we striving for perfection?
Are we trying to just get by?
Are we looking to understand or just make the grade?
Things that are hard for me to hear:
The attitude that “I can’t do it” or “I couldn’t ever do that.”
The attitude that “It just comes easy to you, Ashley.”
It doesn’t always come easy.
In fact it usually doesn’t (at the very least FEEL like it) comes easy.
It’s usually super frustrating.
It’s an emotional rollercoaster.
I often spend hours getting nowhere.
Followed by an hour or two of many tears.
When I say I can’t come out to play, it’s not that I don’t want to.
I SO do.
But I am aware that I have many more hours ahead of me that night—attempting to understand.
There’s no definite foreseeable end point.
Not just one more page to fill in writing, a final edit, and a complete paper.
Math is not more difficult necessarily. Not really comparable if we accurately evaluate it.
It creates a different relationship with the material than most other subjects.
No, no definite foreseeable end point.
Other than a long awaited and hoped for opportunity to confidently write “QED.”
No measurable completeness of one more page.
Rather, pages of scratch paper.
Pages of getting nowhere.
Pages of maybe getting somewhere.
Pages of SO close.
Pages of, “crap I so thought I had it until someone showed me how wrong I was.”
And then somewhere down the line—a potential answer, maybe.
Hopefully by the deadline.
Hopefully before my mind is jello and I’m forced to just lie down and give up for the night.
In hopes that my dreams will reveal the intricacies and perspectives of everything I couldn’t conjure up in my waking hours.
I truly believe I am mostly good at math.
Not because I’m just good, but because of how I’ve responded to it.
How I’ve responded to the difficulty.
True, there is likely some raw talent (particularly in my math rapping abilities) but there is much to be said for my practiced, intentional mathematical responses.
Same is true for us in life.
So now I’m back at it.
Learning more and new (to me) math.
How do I respond now?
I can’t say the first few weeks have been a pretty picnic.
I’m sure Trayer would testify to this, much to my embarrassment.
But it fiercely reminds me of my need to respond.
Lean into Him.
And respond from that place.
Well, if anyone was at Bible Study last Wednesday, you’ll remember us talking about just sneaking away with the Lord.
Mark used me as an example.
People should be asking, “Where did Ashley go?”
She snuck away for 10 minutes.
To be with Him.
This new math relationship has created an obvious need and opportunity to sneak away.
As my food.
And also during my teaching moments in responding.
Our responses must be trained to be sourced of Him.
We can't give up in a specific area when that specific area is an opportunity for the general.
I don't know if I am to finish this degree.
I don't know if the actual monetary investment is completely worth it in the natural.
I don't know what it will all look like.
But I do know that this class, this semester, is for Him to draw me into my source of response.
In math, and in life.
We must be sourced of Him.
In all things.
[and all, in the Greek, means all]