Tuesday, July 17, 2012

I think in analogies...

All growing up, I had a serious phobia of bees.  The sheer sound of a “Bzzzz” would send me running in circles, screeching while my hands wailed out of control.   I would detour my path if I saw bees in the clearing; and no matter what I was doing, I was willing to let the bee take over my space to insure a 100 yd distance. 

My caution and fear of the stinger followed me into my teen years; pride set aside, as the sight of a bee still sent me into a frenzy.  I thought I had mastered the art of bee running, until one day the little sucker was buried in the sand stinger side up…my foot could no longer out run, as the stinger latched perfectly to my heal.  I winced for a slight second as I was caught off guard to the tiny prick.

THAT WAS IT?!?!? A MERE SECOND OF DISCOMFORT? I spent years running and screaming and making a ruckus for that?

Should I be appalled, embarrassed, or relieved?
…appalled that the anticipation of the sting was more painful than the sting itself?
…embarrassed that I made a bee sting a lifelong phobia
…or simply relieved that none of my fears were confirmed, and the little bugger no longer has an effect on me?

There are many stingers in this world that prelude a caution of buzzing, sending me running in circles, screeching with hands waiving in the air. I grow fearful, anxious, and create the effect each scenario will cause through my imagination. Rather than resting on faith and truth, the buzz sends me on detours if I can see a "sting" in the clearing. I hurl to a sudden stop, creating enough distance, giving way to the "stinger".

Inevitably, regardless of my best effort to detour my “stingers”, they find me.  Usually I am caught off guard, as they burry themselves stinger side up; anticipating the moment I can’t outrun them.  Some stingers sting worse than others, but each leave me appalled, embarrassed, and relieved as the realization sets in: the buzz was more painful than the sting.

As I look back on years of bee running…I wasted too much time on detours, and too much energy on fear.  The promise of the sting kept me enslaved to anxiety and worry, as my imagination created a false promise of a pain that did not uphold truth.  If I had stopped running, and fixed my mind on truth; truth that a bee sting is NOT going to kill me…I would not have been held captive for so many years. 

As my analogy of bee running set in, I was forced to ask myself what stingers in life am I running from?
…am I putting my trust in the false promise of a buzz to produce a painful sting?
….has my imagination created a false reality enslaving me to anxiety and worry?
…am I creating unnecessary detours?

Realizing that fear is built on lies, and truth is built on faith…I see that satan has used lies to detour me from truth.  God gave me HIS armor… “In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one.” (Eph. 6:16)  God says in Isaiah 41:10 to “fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you”

The false promise of the sting only leaves me appalled and embarrassed…Gods truth, however, gives me strength and faith with the assurance of deliverance. 

No more detours from this girl.  “The Lord is my strength and my shield; in Him my heart trusts, and I am helped.  My heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to Him!” -(Psalm 28:7)

Monday, July 9, 2012

Do you ever wonder why you are doing what you are doing?

I used to.
Then I gave up.

Questions like: Why am I a Real Estate agent?
My only answer: it’s because of Jesus!
I fought Real Estate at first.
God won.
I have never been so glad to lose a fight.
Saturday may have been the worst, best day of my life….

Waking up sick on the day of my first official open house, was anything but spectacular.
Setting up “Open House” signs in 114 degrees, could possibly be a reflection of hell.
I was faced with a choice: I could use the Lords strength and be joyful, or I could be a crab.
My character when sick and sweaty, gravitates towards crab.
If I’m miserable, then everyone else should be also.
God had other plans.
As much as Id like to say I chose joy, I know God chose it for me!
He knew what was coming…

While I cant go into details…
Trust when I say God had a divine appointment set up.

I saw potential buyers walk through the door, God saw broken children in need of His love.
He changed my eyes to see an image of a customer, and fixed my heart to see a soul.
Tears flood my eyes yet again as I think of the gem who walked through the door that afternoon; a woman in need of a friend, a prayer, a hug, a shoulder.
She came looking for a house…but really God was looking for her.
As soon as the conversation began, so did her story unfold.
Tears streamed. Hearts ached.
The Lords power reigned as His Spirit overcame through prayer.
A connection was made in a way ONLY His love can connect.

Why am I doing Real Estate?
Beacause God says, “Love ME. Love others.”
God wanted me to love a beautiful stranger. That day. That time.  HIS way!
He simply used Real Estate to connect the two of us.
It’s not the way I would have planned it.  It’s better.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Grace in the Midst of Disgrace

“God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong…”- 1 Corinthians 1:27

God has done exactly that.

Each of my days are different; however my mornings are a consistent routine.  I can list what I do, and the order I do them.  It wasn’t until this past Saturday afternoon I realized my heart and mind have followed a routine as well.  Unfortunately, it is shameful.  Take a look for yourself…

I woke up on a bed, in a house, with air-conditioning.   
Curse you alarm clock!

I stumbled to a bathroom, with running water, and endless amounts of TP.   
Still contemplating why I was awake.

I had two cups of coffee. Scrambled eggs. A bowl of Fruit. All housed by appliances and cookware allowing me to enjoy such delicacies.
Rather than enjoying my meal, I rushed through it complaining how late I was going to be.

I showered in cool running water and used an assortment of cosmetic items. Shampoo. Conditioner. Body Wash. Shaving Cream.  Razor. Face wash. Make-up. A brush. Curling iron. Toothpaste. Toothbrush. Lotion. Deodorant. Perfume.
All of which go un-noticed, as they are expected commodities in my every day life.

I thumbed through a closet full of clothing and an array of shoes…
Only to catch my thoughts thinking upon the clothing I wish I had.

I hoped in my brand new car filled with gas, cranked on the AC, and blasted the beats from my iphone…
Only to be distracted by the Mercedes SLK that passed me on the highway.

My morning routine was conducted as normal, but as I arrived at the Phoenix Rescue Mission, God started to shed light to my unconscious routine of thankless thoughts.

“God chose what is low and despised in the world, …. to bring to nothing things that are”- 1 Cor. 1:28

Within minutes of passing out water and outreaching to the homeless in down town, I realized it was myself who was in need of "outreaching".

Andrew has a rash spreading on his body due to constant sun exposure.  The lack of shade on Arizona streets leaves his skin in agony and filled with open sores.
His face never lacked the presence of a smile. He was overjoyed with thankfullness from our willingness to listen to his story and bring him cold water.

Tony fights for a second chance at life, as he was recently released from prison.  He prays for strength to return sober to his family 400 miles away in the coming three months.  
Mean while, his only possession is the Bible.  He spends his time translating Gods Word in Spanish in hopes his unbelieving friend might come to know Jesus as His personal Savior.

LeBrie is 3 months away from delivering her precious baby girl.  She seeks Gods favor to provide a shelter once her daughter is born.  She was burdened, but sought out anyone who might pray with her.
After an extensive talk to the Lord, her embrace and tear-filled eyes exuded a light of hope.

Tanya had nothing but a hat on her head and yet she possessed the biggest smile I have ever seen on anyone’s face. Despite being on the streets, with no confidence of incoming food or shelter, she had three prayers: for Jesus to become her best friend, for God to provide her with a Bible study group, and the skies to pour down rain.
The Bible and bottle of water we left her with will never compare to the permanent picture forever framed in my mind of her bear hug and shining grin.

John asked for food and water.  We had nothing left but a few celery sticks, cucumbers, and a half empty bottle of water.
With a smile he said “I’m not a fan of celery, but I bet I can find someone who is. Thank you for the water and your kindness to a stranger.”

I hoped in my air-conditioned car to return to a full refrigerator and loved ones.  There is no doubt God used the weak to humble me in my shame.  My routine each morning has not changed, however God transformed my heart from unconscious thanklessness to a heart of rejoicing. I can boast not in what I have been given, but rather in the One who gives all things. If stuff was the the reason to rejoice, then the people I encountered that Saturday afternoon should not have had any reason to be thankful. My heart has not been transformed because of my enlightened awareness to all I have, but rather to the One who gave. My stuff and routine mean nothing without my first love Jesus.  Don’t be mis-taken, I am thankful for the tangible things I have, but my heart rejoices because I am now able to see Jesus in each moment, rather than floating blindly though life as a shameful mess.

“And because of Him, you are in Christ Jesus, He who became to us wisdom from God, is righteousness and sanctification and redemption. So that, as it is written, ‘Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord’”- 1Cor. 1:30-31

Friday, April 20, 2012

Pass the Salt, Please

As I sit down to blog for the first time in months (due to a season of studying and test-taking) I feel as though I have just sat down to coffee with a good friend whom I haven’t seen in a while.  Being SO excited to share all that God has done; but overwhelmed by His goodness, I am at a loss for words not knowing where to begin.

God traded me pepper for salt; He took away the smelly allergen, for a thirst quencher!  He made me stop thinking and reacting with a spice that only made me weak with the sniffles and replaced it with one that made me dependent for His flowing water of life.  He intertwined His Word, multiple teachings, books, newly formed relationships, and mentorship to reveal common themes of His thoughts, to rid me of my thoughts.  I could write story after story…but where would I start?  My blog left off on point A and I am now at point E….there are many ups and downs, twists and turns between the two points, but thankfully the direct path between Point A and Point E is a straight line.

This straight line connects God’s revelation in my life from October of last year, to now; where He is forming His revelation to a broadened, more defined understanding of what that revelation should be. In October God told me to take His message of Psalm 139:14 to the world…He used a song by Brit Nicole to speak to me.  “I Want to Set the World on Fire”.

At the time of my revelation, I clearly heard the Lord tell me to take His message to everyone and anywhere that He would send me. I heard the whole song, but neglected to hear the most important verse.  In fact I resisted it.  I interpreted based off my perception what I wanted to hear. AKA, selective hearing.

Praise Jesus, he took my perspective and shattered it, then reconstructed it to his perspective, opening my eyes to His glorious vision.

My Perspective:

Take the message of Psalm 139:14 to girls just like you, in North America, who struggle with their physical appearance, lies from pop culture, and past heart aches that have become their false insecure identities.  Take this message to schools, camps, different organizations, teams etc. To girls who struggle with the day- to- day of gossip, mean boys, and family rejection.  Tell these girls they don’t need more stuff, adequate talents, a perfect physical appearance, or a boyfriend to have worth or a purpose; they simply need Jesus!

Not a “bad” perspective.

BUT just as I neglected to recognize the rest of the song “Set the World of Fire”  I neglected to see beyond Psalm 139:14; to study how Jesus tangibly shared these truths when He walked this Earth.  To see who His audience was; who my audience should be. (Matt19:23, Mark 10:23-25)

 Gods perspective

You want to set the “World on Fire’?...the world is not JUST North America…you asked me to send you everywhere….to tell anyone? 

Then Ash, why did you neglect the part of the song that says, “I want to feed the starving children, and reach across the farthest land, tell the broken there is healing, mercy in the Fathers hand”?…

Because that made my revelation costly, and no longer comfortable.  That made Psalm 139:14 not only a message I believed, but a message that needed to be followed out with action.

Don’t stand in front of white, middle-class girls with hair extensions in your head, a face full of make-up and pretend to know what TRUE beauty is all about.  Don’t “inspire” in an air-conditioned building that you arrived to in your brand new car… Don’t show up wearing designer logos with platform wedges, and think you are being stretched… (Matt 10:5-11)

Rather, GO to all nations. Be with people who are not like you…people who understand what it means to be poor, to be hungry, to be naked, to be dirty.  Clothe them.  Feed them.  Wash them.  Brush their hair, wash their feet.  Tell those beautiful orphans who were abandoned by their parents for a buck, that they have a Daddy in Heaven who is CRAZY about them and gave His own life for their sake!  Tell those stunning young woman who have been enslaved to evil men, that their worth and freedom can be found and restored through Jesus.  Tell them their Creator gives them worth through Himself; that He made plans of their arrival to earth before the beginning of time.  That this Creator who intricately made them to be a marvelous individual, created them in His Marvelous image. 

Don’t just tell them, SHOW them!  Be dirty with them, learn what it means to be hungry, give your clothes to them, find them healing, teach them…give them all your time and energy.  Be their friend.  Find out what makes them special, then celebrate it!

WOW! A bit more hefty than my perspective.

By no means do I demean or deny that there is a need for young girls in America to fully comprehend who they are through a marvelous Creator.  Is it wrong to wear make-up, be in air-conditioned buildings, drive a new car, wear plat form wedges?….NO!  But when the American Dream is replaced by Gods dream, when happiness is traded for holiness, and when being comfortable is more desirable than being uncomfortable…. “Houston, we have a problem!”

It is impossible to study Jesus’ life and find that He was ever comfortable, self-serving, or chasing a personal dream; rather He was always living outside of himself, by denying himself (Philippians 2:6-8).  He commanded us to love the “least of..” because we could love Him by doing so (Matt. 25: 35-40).  Multiple times throughout His gospels, He instructs that believing Him was simply not enough…it MUST conclude with following Him by leaving EVERYTHING behind,  starting and ending with any form of comfort…  To follow Jesus means to literally do as He did; to make His ways my ways; his thoughts, my thoughts.

So where do I go from here?  I am praying, seeking, asking, that He will enable me a way to GO.  To diligently seek being uncomfortable.  Not walking out of my house in the morning without being completely surrendered as a vessel for Him.  God made me to be an inspiration.  Whether that means to the teller at my bank, the enslaved girls in down town Phoenix or to 8-year-old Sarah who is deaf and poor, but whose ceaseless joy changed my world one Saturday morning…I will not simply tell them how marvelously made they are, BUT I WILL SHOW THEM!

I’m excited to share what God has done in my next “coffee date” with you… lets not make it months till next time!

Friday, February 10, 2012


I am so blessed to have the opportunity to join in a journey of blogging with other followers of Christ!  I was asked to share some of my dating experiences and gathered wisdom on http://20-somethingsblog.blogspot.com/ .

I love that our Lord can take our devastation and failures and use it for His good, if we are faithful to let Him!  I am delighted to be used even in the smallest of ways...if only by declaring the truth my God has imparted to me through my experiences can encourage someone else!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

I am SO in love...

with Jesus!!!  My heart feels like it could burst out of my chest as I must explain why!

Journals, I have found, can be one of the biggest blessings in disguise.  It is a place where we let our guard down and share our innermost secrets…where we write the juicy gossip, vent about situations and people, and share our deepest aspirations.  Journals are the one place we hold nothing back.  We tell of the good, and the bad…not withholding any information…it is our safe haven.

Personally, my journals act as my prayers.  I admit that if I pray in my head, within 2 minutes, I am thinking of something totally random and off topic...making my prayers aloof and un-concentrated. SO, I write them out; forcing myself to stay on track. It is my safe haven, where I hold nothing back while presenting my heart to the Lord.

A benefit, I have found, to writing out my prayers is I have the ability to go back and see how God answered them.  I often forget how far He has brought me, because I often forget the small triumphs in between each trial… I get caught up in the day-to-day issues and lose sight of how I was brought to that day.

I was in the middle of writing this very blog, telling of how I am so in love with Jesus, when I spotted my journal.  I felt inclined to read it, and opened to the very page that I had prayed to God asking Him to make me fall in love with Jesus! 

The date was October 2, 2011 and on that day I watched the Passion of the Christ.  Upon watching the Son of God under-go the shameful death for my souls sake… stemmed my prayer to fully surrender to Jesus out of the love He demonstrated for me.  I asked Him to crucify my desires and thoughts and transform them to His.  I did not want to be simply an on-looker in the crowd who was moved by His death because I believed He was the Christ…but I wanted to be one of the few who helped Him carry the cross to Calvary’s hill.

“Therefore, behold, I will allure her and bring her into the wilderness, and speak tenderly to her.  And there, I will give her her vineyards and make the valley of Anchor a door of hope”- Hosea 2:14-15

Looking back to this day in my journal, God did take me to the wilderness.  He stripped away the allure of the world and brought me into His presence.  He had to remove me from what I considered comfortable…and take me to a place I was unfamiliar with. It forced me to rely on only Him.  His consistent and constant voice reminded me, HE IS ALL I NEED!  The truth of His steadfast love was given to me over and over.

“And in that day,” declares the Lord, “you will call me ‘My Husband’ and no longer will you call me ‘My Baal’”  For I will remove the names of the Baals from her mouth, and they shall be remembered by name no more.”- Hosea 2:16

God started conforming my desires to His…being in the desert was more appealing if it meant I had more of Him.  The things that once seemed SO crucial to my happiness and advertised false fulfillment to my desires, no longer interested me.  I wanted more of my Jesus.  I stopped fearing for my fleshly body and started to fear for my soul.  (Matthew 10:28)…knowing that my soul is the well spring of eternal life, and my flesh is dying; Jesus being the only cure to salvage the spirit within me.

It took experiencing the truth of Ephesians to prove that not one man is good in his flesh, Jeremiah 17:9 to tell me my heart is deceptive and sick, Proverbs 3:5, 28:26 to tell me I cannot rely on my own understanding, for me to comprehend and believe God's steadfast love for me. (Psalm 86:5, 89:31-33) 

I have read one too many dating books…and the good ones will tell you to GUARD your heart.  Wanna know why?


We are Imperfect, and unable to love perfectly.
We change our minds, and change in personality.
We are selfish and love ourselves above anyone else
We Lie
We Cheat
We are deceptive
We disappoint, and fail to follow through
We have this permanent thing called SIN…. It never goes away!  Sin is a curse to ourselves, to everyone we encounter, and it mocks the very One who created us!

I believe now, the Lord has allowed me to experience first hand the detriment someone else’s sin can cause to your heart…. ONLY so that I would become fully surrendered to HIM and HIM ALONE.  Wanna know why?

And His love is perfect; it is unable to be anything less.
He is incapable of lying, cheating, or deceiving me.
His love never changes, because He never changes.
His love is not just a bunch of words, but they have been carried out.
His love is selfless and sacrificial.
His love is steadfast, eternal, everlasting, and unable to fail.

The best part is… FOR THE FIRST TIME…I do not have to guard my heart! 

“And I will abolish the bow, the sword from the land, and I will make you lie down in safety.  And I will betroth you to me forever.”-Hosea 2:18-19.

I have been a follower of the Lord for 13 years this month.  I have always understood Gods love for me, and I have genuinely loved who He is…  BUT, as of lately I have become so IN LOVE and fully captivated with Him!  

Having been in a romantic relationship where I was “in love”… I now understand the symptoms and side effects that take place from being in love.

I think of Jesus all day long.
I talk about Him at every chance I get.
I have a giddy, stupid grin on my face.
I wake up early, just to be alone in the quiet with Him.
I talk to Him all the time.
He has become my confidant, and best friend.
I crave His word, wanting to know Him fully.
I long to please Him…I want to put His wishes before my own.
I desire for others to know who He is.
My life would cease to exist without Him.
Surrendering my life to Him is no longer a sacrifice, but a pleasure.
His voice is no longer an interruption, but a divine invitation.
My plans are held loosely, in concordance to His plans.
My life is now complete; my soul is finally satisfied.
Everything has become faded at His illumination.
I am finally at peace, because I am no longer searching.

In my first blog, (now found under http://psalm139-verse14.blogspot.com/p/my-verse-14.html) I wrote about my desire to be a wife…to be loved and adored by her betrothed.  To love and to serve, giving my life to another…

Jesus is the ONE my soul has longed for.  I am HIS bride, adored and loved by Him, my betrothed.

“I will betroth you to me in righteousness and in justice, in steadfast love and mercy.  I will betroth you to me in faithfulness.  And you shall know the Lord!” -Hosea 2:19-20

On October 2, 2011…I wrote out this whole verse of Hosea 2:14-20 in my journal.  And from it, this was my prayer…

“Imprint this verse on my heart, in my mind, and on my soul.  When I grow weary in the wilderness, make me fall in love with You.  Bring me so far with You, that only You can be responsible!”

His faithfulness is only one of the hundred attributes that make me in love with him.  From October 2, 2011, to now January 18, 2012…the Lord has brought me to the wilderness, romanced me with His steadfast love, changed my heart towards the idols I placed in my life, and brought me into an everlasting covenant with Him though his grace and all perfect love.  He has brought me from simply loving Him, to being compassionately in love with Him. I am finally experiencing the truth I have known my whole time as a believer…

He has brought me this far with Him, and only He is responsible!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

I decided to fast.

People fast all the time.  However, I have tried and failed multiple times due to my love for food and hate towards the discomfort of hunger.  But, despite past failures, I was determined to be strong and push through 24 hours without food.

The purpose of my fast was to for-go my fleshly desires, and rely fully on the Lord; to pray at each discomfort, and seek the Lord for fulfillment of His Word and Spirit.

I started off strong, by missing my favorite meal of the day… BREAKFAST!  By lunch I was hungry, but felt confident when I denied both Dunkin Doughnuts and a PB&J Sandwich.  As I spent the afternoon in Barnes and Noble, I started to become faint.  But continued to write out prayers for the next half hour, until I was too light headed to think (pathetic, I know).

Rather than to use my hunger to engulf myself in prayer and fulfill my purpose in fasting, I headed home to take a nap…knowing sleep would take my mind off my hunger.  I justified that my nap would leave me refreshed and therefore promised myself to finish the night by reading and praying.

Sleep worked like a charm, until I was woken to my Mom calling me downstairs.

The moment I stepped out of my room, I knew I was in trouble…and trouble was confirmed the moment I met my family gathered around the dinner table with plates full of pizza and wings….MY FAVORITE!

I quickly justified to myself that I needed to join my family, as it was my brothers last night before he headed back to University for the semester.  Before I had time to comprehend what I was doing, I had already eaten 2 slices of pizza and 3 wings.

It tasted so good!

But no sooner had I started eating, did I feel the urge to vomit. I could not move, every motion made me queasy.  I laid on the couch for 2 hours, feeling sick and sulking in my defeat.  Not only had I given in to temptation and failed once again, but I also just wasted most of my night.  I will never see those wasted hours again.

Praise to Gods grace, that I was not left sick for too long and he redeemed my failures by teaching me a lesson through a tangible analogy.

My failure started before I ever took that bite of pizza.  It started when I became weak and tired; when I no longer was dependent on the Lord...when I decided to do things my way and take the easy way out. (ie, take a nap)  

It worsened, as my nap took me out of prayer and communion with God, and I was left weak.  Being weak, while presented with temptation is a recipe for failure.

Failure happened when appeasing my flesh became more important than honoring God to every extreme.

The satisfaction of quenching my desires through temptation left my flesh satisfied for only a brief moment (ie, eating cheesy pizza),  but created a lasting effect on my soul.  It took less than 10 min to eat that pizza, but left my stomach and mind in anguish 12x longer as I spent 2 hours on the couch.  Clearly turmoil and regret were not worth savory taste buds.

My defeat left me useless, as I was not able to fully carry out my ambitions and goals.  It took away precious time, that I will never get back.

I am aware that eating a few slices of pizza in the midst of a fast, does not qualify me in the world record book of sinners (if there was such a thing).  But it is in the small and weak, that God reveals the big and powerful. Through this small story of my weakness, He has taught me a big and powerful lesson:

I cannot rely on my flesh, except in expectation that it will lead me astray.

A moment of walking on my own is the invitation to multitudes of temptation and failure.  Doing things my way will always get me off course.

Satisfaction is only found in the Lord.

Enticing things are usually a pathway to deception. Sin takes me farther than I ever intended to go, and costs me more than I ever expected to pay.

Justification is another term for disregarding God.  It is an ugly word with ugly results.

No matter how confident I may be to overcome something, my flesh will always fail me, and it is through humility of my spirit and denial of my flesh, God will be the one to over come.

“God uses various forms of discomfort to woo us to cry out to Him, but He never forsakes us.  God is the only one who is not repelled by the depth and length of our needs”- Beth Moore.

My favorite part of the lesson was to be taken deeper with my Heavenly Father…even through the means of justification, temptation, choosing my flesh, and experiencing failure.  To know that His love is unfailing despite any circumstance or failure I might encure, I am free to rely on Him and ditch my flesh! 

In my weakness, He makes me strong!