Saturday, February 28, 2015

He is... here

"Hey-- I'm here."

It's His voice.
I didn't initiate.
He did.
A reminder.
He knew;
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.
Night time.
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.
Elementary school;
middle school;
high school;
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.
Always here.
Always trustworthy.
Whether we believe it or not.
Until we believe it.
Until it is a deep seated knowing in our spirits.
It's then,
that those words;
that reminder:
"Hey-- I'm here."
is enough.

Monday, February 9, 2015

I am...sourced in Him

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 perform.

To understand.

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 do.

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.  

But different.

Recognizably different. 

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.  

Intentionally 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]



Saturday, February 7, 2015

I am loving

I am switching how I do this.

I am loving--with no expectation of change.
I am loving--realizing I could continue to get hurt.
I am loving--realizing I could be hurt even more and bigger than before.
I am loving--where they're at. 
Right there in the midst of the thing I used to try to call them out of. Thinking that outside of that thing, would be the answer.
But no, the Father is right there in the the midst. 
In the midst is the answer.
No need to bring them out. 
Love them there. 
See them there. 
Let Him do the wooing out when they've tasted His love in the midst;
and their hunger rises.
They must encounter Him; His love.
We partner with what He is already doing.
Already doing --right there where they're at.
Taking them out of that would be taking them out of what He is doing in them. 
No, don't force them out-- Join them there.
Love them there.
Feast on what the Father is doing there. 
For it is good.
He is good.