Wednesday, November 30, 2011

My Verse 14

The Beginning of the End
Two months ago,
if you had asked me what I wanted to do with my life I would have told you,
“I want to be a wife and a mom.”
I was the little girl growing up that would not play with Barbie
unless Ken was present. 
The little girl who chased boys around the playground…
who (now sadly admits) sang Disney love songs to the boy next door,
hoping he’d join in like they did in the movies.
It got worse as I discovered Nicholas Sparks novels,
the addiction of Chick Flicks and Prime Time Television.

My initial dream of romance was derived from pop-culture
but with God being my first love,
my dream was quickly diverted to scripture’s definition of romance. 
I discovered GOD is the Creator of love. 
HE showed me HIS written love story and truth.
How love is supposed to look between a man and a woman…
who are first in love with HIM.
I wanted it!
It was the author of Song of Songs that gave me the desire to be adored by her betrothed. 
Proverbs 31 that gave passion to a woman who lived a life of honor for her husband all the days of her life. 
1 Corinthians 13 that painted a picture of loving beyond yourself.
The list goes on.
I thought my worth and purpose for life would be found in a partnership of sanctification;
being united as one flesh to another…
having the closest (human) relationship the world could offer this side of Heaven.
To bring my King glory through being a wife and a mom,
captivated my dreams.

Problem is…I am NOT a wife OR a mom!

About two months ago I was in a relationship with the most stunning man I have ever met. 
To me he was all I had hoped for…
A man who would make me an adoring bride
and contribute to sanctifying me closer to Christ. 
I was SO close..
(or so I thought)
to my dream and life goal.

We spent a strong investment of time and emotions…
Discussing our life dreams, and dreams of fulfilling them together. 
We opened our hearts to one another…
confessing failures, fears, embarrassments…
successes, hopes, dreams…
our deepest thoughts and hearts desires.
We trusted one another, and became best friends. 
There was a closeness that sometimes made on-lookers blush,
my girlfriends say “aww” 
and my brother perform puking gestures. 
There was a true sense of adoration between us, and a shared love.

A love I knew was taking me from my first love, Jesus. 
I clung to this relationship because it was my dream since childhood,
and all I hoped for my whole life…
(or so I thought)

I would wince at the gentle whispers the Lord would give me…
“Dear child, he is not yours, and you are still mine…cling to me your Creator..
find your deepest hopes and desires in ME!”

His voice was a giant bubble that I popped with a needle,
foolishly thinking,
if I didn’t acknowledge Him,
His voice would go away and I could get on with
MY plans.

As time went on, the nudge became greater and not only on me,
but I could sense it in him
and our relationship as well.
“Lord, what are you doing?  Please don’t take him”

Despite my desperate plea, God had other intended plans…
trying to face God in battle =
God 1, me 0!
So here I am, single, broken hearted, and dreamless.

“Lord, Why do you put desires in my heart, an incredible man in my life,
then pull a rug out from under me?...
A rug that You created?”

Then came that gentle voice again…
“Child, you knit that rug on your own and were too distracted to see I designed you a rug intricately woven to match the depths of your heart.  I AM your Creator, I know you better! Trust ME, and let ME transport you to MY divine best!”

It was when I let go, and let God that I finally understood Psalm 139:14

“I praise you Lord for I am fearfully and wonderfully made..
I praise HIM, for wonderful are HIS works…”

 …after 12 years of starring at that Bible verse painted in my bedroom,
I can FINALLY say,

“My soul knows it very well!!!”

The relationship ending was the end to my limited view of romance
and the discovery of the love story my heart has truly longed for!
What I thought was the end of something great, was the embarkment on something marvelous.
Something Divine.
It was on the day my heart broke, that my Savior gave me His.
The relationship was used as a tool to discover my true purpose and design from God…
A gift the Lord created just for me.
If it wasn’t this past relationship..
It would be the next one, and the next one, and so on…
Until my sights were fully fixed on my Beautiful Savior and HIS purpose for my life,
God proved to be relentless until my heart and dreams were fully surrendered to HIM,
and all possible distractions were stripped away.

Past. Present. Future.
All have been His works….
The cornerstones that have brought me this far.
The lot I have been given for today.
The truths that will guide my tomorrow.

God gave me a story.
He gave me a revelation.
He gave me a gift.
I must share it!
I am not hiding anything…its not mine to hide.
My story is the Lords story…
Read it.
My prayer is through HIS story in my life,
the Creator reveals HIS unique story HE has designed just for

This Story marks the beginning of the end;
An end to thinking my way
And a start of listening to God
All of my past leading up to this moment,
So that I might continue to move forward as I switch gears to the Revelation I was about to embark on…

Somewhere in Between…
Fourteen months ago, had anyone
foretold what the past year of my life was going to consist of…
I’d tell them to go smack their grandma…

I moved to England
(or tried)
Spent 8 hours sitting in an enclosed room with two male porn-stars
with nothing to eat or drink
Waiting for my Customs Officer to decide he would not allow my entry.
I was given an X on my passport
and escorted onto the next flight back to JFK only to be picked up by people
I had never met.
I spent the next three weeks in Delaware fighting for a visa
with a woman who hardly spoke English
(even though she represented Americans to the British Consulate)
I finally made it to England!
I was only there long enough to become a local
get addicted to Candy King, cruise along the Thames River, discover my love for Top Shop,
and skip to France a few times….
…..that is until my visa situation went down the toilet
I jumped on the next plane headed to Arizona
at the risk of being deported

My first day home, I landed a summer job as a Ministry Director in Canada,
teaching children Gods word!
In addition to sculpting young minds for Jesus,
I lived in a cabin on the lake,
Learned how to start a fire,
and BBQ 80-100 hotdogs on that fire I built.
I instructed kayaking,
participated in weekly mud and clay pit runs,
while utilizing the lake as a bath afterwards.
I learned how to pee in a bush…
not to mention,
to live without make-up and a curling iron.
I spent my weekend’s wakeboarding and tubing
with the coolest college kids I have ever met.
I had my ear pierced “Parent Trap” style,
and I didn’t scream to the sight of  bugs
by the end of summer!!!

Somewhere in between England and Canada
I met my first true love.
Turned down a great job opportunity in CT to return to Arizona after summer…
to wind up single and jobless!
I spent two months rolling out resumes and applications,
only to be hired with the only
company I did not apply to, or even interview with.
I showed up on day one thinking it was temporary,
and now ten weeks later
am still employed with an extended amount of responsibility.

It was in all this mumbo jumbo
God used key situations to guide me..
to prepare me
For what HE was about to do.
It was HIS gentle whispers that spoke, guiding me through this years winding series of events…..
leading me to His Revelation for my life!

Lets Tie it all together!!!
So…. what do you do when you’re left with nothing?
PRAY.  a lot
SURRENDER.  whatever is left.
HUMBLE YOURSELF.  face it, there’s no pride left anyways
RE-EVALUATE.  all aspects of your life
STRIP AWAY EVERY LIMITATION.  more than likely it’s false limitations you placed in your life that have led you to dig your own grave
ASK FOR HELP.  its clearly needed!
I personally repeated this cycle enough to make your head spin.
I cried out to God; without withholding any frustrations, anger, emotional baggage I had with Him.  I pleaded with Him to hear my every hearts cry.  I remained in constant conversation with Him. Not allowing room for any “Amens”.
I surrendered all understanding I thought I became apparent that I knew nothing about everything.
I humbled myself to Gods will.  My will was clearly not getting a 5 star-rating.
I stripped all limitations from my life… I made a list of every limitation I had placed on my self.  I replaced the “limited” list with a “limitless” list… all dreams, goals, and aspirations could be met on this new list without a hindrance in sight.  
Then I called for help!

Miss Diana Elizabeth was that help ( My heart will be eternally grateful for the inspiration she was to me on that 6th day of October.  All I had was my measly list in hand and a prayer that God might use this woman to speak a word of guidance to my life.
I cannot account for all that was said during our 2 ½ hour breakfast meeting… but I can attest to a newly found confidence I was given and the hope I left with, knowing that something big was on the horizon. With insights to blogs, websites, youtube dialog’s and contact information; Diana set me up to the road for success.  I spent the rest of the day investigating, researching, discovering and entering this new season of life with an open mind.  I made many to-do’s of potential interviews, school scouting, internship possibilities….and much more.  But after 5 hours of the computer screen…it was time for a break.
 A long run to clear my head was in order…so I strapped on my trainers, set Britt Nicole on my playlist and hit the pavement!
 I prayed the Lord would use the run to clear up all the thoughts from the day, and use it to reveal the direction HE wanted me to pursue.  With so many options at my fingertips, I wasn’t in the market for another deportation or failed love story.
 It was the moment I finished my prayer that “Set the World on Fire” began to play on my ipod.
“I wanna set the world on fire,
until its burning bright for You.
It’s everything that I desire,
Can I be the one You use?”
It quickly became my prayer, as I repeated those words in my head…
Nothing in this world has worth, unless I am living to the utmost glory for my Savior.  I was created and designed for HIS good work, not my own.  So what is it that HE designed me for?  How could I set HIS world on fire?
So I asked HIM.
…YOU put full time ministry on my heart
….YOU have given me love and a burden for young girls
….YOU gave me a passion to teach and to mentor 
BUT what am I so passionate about that I could teach them? 
The trials of womanhood in a fallen world?
The lies of Pop Culture?
Ummm, maybe Psalm 139 VERSE 14?!?!?!?!?!….The very message the Lord has instilled though out my entire journey of walking life with Him.
It all became crystal clear as my thoughts were interrupted by my sweet Savior….

“Dear Child, take this message I have instilled in you of Psalm 139:14… Spread it to schools and church campus’, small groups, individuals, camps, retreats… anywhere/everywhere that I might place you.  Reveal to them the marvelous creation they are, because of how marvelous I AM!  I made you Ashley to be an inspiration…so go inspire them to seek ME, their creaTOR!

Most people spend their entire lives to find their purpose for living…and (HALELUJAH) mine just smacked me in the face!!!
For years, preachers have taught, if you are a child of God then Jesus defines you.  GREAT…what the heck does that mean???
All the disappointments, trials, failed relationships, heartbreaks…hopes, successes, dreams… implied social prejudices…everything I thought defined me really only pointed me back to my CREATOR.  I had to fully grasp the truth that “ I am fearfully and wonderfully made”, and that GOD “knit me together, inside and out, in my mothers womb” to finally comprehend that…
I am not defined by my past. My present. My future. 
No man, no job title, social net work, or Self Magazine Test has a hold on me. 
No longer am I in bondage to the lies, I allowed to define myself.
Yes, I am defined as a Jesus follower…BUT I, Ashley Zehring was created to be an inspiration.  I was given a gift, a passion, desires, and life situations that were formed unique to the LORDS precious design for only me!  A gift that no human or circumstance can take away… I was stamped with a seal by my Maker that is indestructible.
I now know in boldness the road my LORD has paved for me; He gave me a message to inspire every individual I encounter that they have been equally crafted as precious by our Marvelous Creator.   I am to challenge them, as my Maker challenged me: To leave behind the defining holds this world places on them, in order to seek HIS divine definition to their entire being!
It was in the moment of God’s revelation for my life that I was able to finish my run with the same song I started with and to pray it fully understanding how I was going to “Set the World on Fire”!!!

“I am small,
But YOU are big enough.
I am weak,
But YOU are strong enough.
Take my dreams.
Come and give them wings.
LORD with you….
There is NOTHING I cannot do!
My hands, my feet, my everything.
My life,
My Lord, please use me!
I wanna set the world on fire!!!!”