• Call in the Wild…Why Wilderness Moments Matter

    Being led to a place of physical and mental pain does not sound fun but it may be necessary in preparing you for the future. Do soldiers walk out on a battlefield with no training? No! Painful training is passed before entering. I believe the same is true in life. Preparation is a must. I want to take a look with you at the Life of Jesus. Hebrews 4:15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weakness, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are- yet he did not sin. We will never face an obstacle or temptation that Jesus has not already walked through. He understands our weaknesses.

    Matthew 4:1 Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted there by the devil. 2 For forty days and forty nights he fasted and became very hungry. 

    God knew what was about to take place. Jesus was being prepared for His purpose. I cannot imagine the intense hunger and thirst He must have experienced. I was 18 when I finally surrendered my life fully to the Lord. As a new follower, I was learning all I could to be pleasing to the Lord. After learning about prayer and fasting, I was pumped to jump in with both feet and do some major damage. My friends and I declared a fast! It was ON….until about 3pm and I couldn’t take the hunger pains anymore. After swinging in the next drive-thru, the fast had been broken. Oh the guilt I felt. Sigh! The Lord knew how immature and weak I was. My faith grew stronger and I eventually learned how to get through a fast but it is never easy when the physical body starts crying out.

    Not only did Jesus experience extreme hunger and thirst leading to physical exhaustion but also loneliness. 40 days in the middle of nowhere, I’m assuming would lead to incredible loneliness.  Did he feel forgotten, abandoned, maybe put in  the wrong place? Being alone for one full day is sometimes difficult. The thoughts you must deal with can be heavy. I’m sure you have said, “Um God, are you hearing me? Please don’t leave me alone.”  If you are in a wilderness, God has not made a mistake. He is a God of purpose, not wasting one second of your life, pain or joy.

    At the end of this ultimate weakness, the devil comes along to tempt him with food to meet his physical need and power to meet his mental and emotional need.Satan is waiting for an opportunity to take you down. Don’t be unaware of his schemes. I see this happen so often today in our spiritual walk. We all come to places of extreme exhaustion and weakness. Like a lion waiting to pounce on the injured or weak animal, satan is waiting to pounce on us. Seasons of weakness are inevitable in our life if we are pouring out as we should be. So what do we do? Jesus, the ultimate example, combated the temptation with the truth of the Word. We must know the word and speak the word over our feelings.  Be ready to say, “This is how I feel and this makes sense but God’s word says it will cause me harm” . Matthew 11:28 Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” Go to HIM, Go to HIM!!!!

    If you are in a wilderness season now I would like to share some encouragement. In the New Living Translation vs. 11 says,”Then the devil went away, and angels came and took care of Jesus.” The next title is The Ministry of  Jesus Begins. The power of his ministry began after the hardest season he had faced at that point. Hold on through this difficult time and know that God has something big in store for you. Maybe you are being prepared for a ministry God is calling you to that must have this specific strength. If I’ve learned anything through my wilderness season, I’ve learned that God has THE plan. I trust Him and know that His ways are higher than mine. Even though not everything is understandable, it is all good because it is from a loving father. Find rest from your weariness today my friends and know it’s not a waste.

    with love,



  • Jesus My Comforter

    God’s Word has recently revealed something that will change my outlook of Jesus forever. Jesus became flesh to live among us, give us an example and ultimately die for our sin and become the only sacrifice for our forgiveness and freedom.

    It seems that every time Jesus walked into a situation, His reaction was compassion. Compassion for the hurting and compassion for the sinner.

    Durning my healing process the story of Lazarus was brought to my attention. Jesus was with His disciples and received word that Lazarus was sick. He immediately told them that it would not End in Death. When Jesus arrived in Bethany, Lazarus had been dead for 4 days. Martha met Him with such faith. She ran to Him to tell him that he had already died. He asked her if she believed Lazarus could be raised from the dead. She thought He meant when we will all be raised with Christ to join together in Heaven. Jesus clarified that He meant now. Her response was, You are the Messiah and I believe what you say.

    I found it interesting that Mary stayed home. I’m thinking she was so grief striken that she didn’t want to get out of the house. I have been Mary! I can almost feel her pain. I know the feeling of having so much hurt it’s difficult to function. Mary didn’t run to find Jesus. Jesus came to her. He knew the degree of her pain. When she saw Him, she fell at His feet and said “If you would have been here, this wouldn’t have happened”. I relate to Mary so much. I have been in a situation that I trusted and believed Jesus and His power. I never doubted what He could have done. When it came down to it, He didn’t stop the situation as I had asked Him to and even believed He would. A form of death occured in my life.

    I know these women prayed for Lazarus to be healed and believed that he could be, but he died anyway. Jesus didn’t swoop in and stop the life altering death in my life or theirs. He allowed this pain. He allowed my pain and I’m sure you have had a pain of your own. It wasn’t lack of faith on Martha and Mary’s part. They loved and trusted Him. That is why Mary was so hurt. “Where were you Jesus?”

    As Jesus went to the tomb with Mary and the other mourning Jews, they began to weep. When He saw Mary weeping, he was moved with compassion and began to weep with her. The interesting part of the story is the fact that Jesus knew He would raise him from the dead and had even told his disciples this would happen two days earlier….So the question is, “Why did Jesus weep?” Jesus sees the people in pain, gets down into their hurt and hurts with them. Even though He knew the outcome, it was important that he show compassion to the hurting. His comfort is the very thing that heals our hurts. What an example!

    Romans 12:15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 

    Jesus didn’t have to weep. He could have said, “Stop crying Mary and watch this!” but he didn’t. Instead, he felt her pain and wept with her.

    2 Corinthians 1:3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. 5 For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ. 6 If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. 7 And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort.

    This example will forever change my life and my perspective. Jesus knows the outcome. Ressurection is coming for my life, the old has passed away and the new creation has come. If you are facing a death of some kind, Jesus has not ignored your cry. He wants to comfort you, weep with you and heal you. Your ressurection will come. Believe as Martha did and come out of your place of mourning as Mary did. He is calling you and wants to comfort you. This is where healing flows, at His feet.

    with love,


  • hold up judge

    Hold Up…Are You a Judge??

    I am at a place in my life that it’s pivotal that I know the characteristics of Christ so that I may navigate through the waters His way. I must know what the Word says about every situation. Jesus came not only to be the one and only sacrifice for our sin but also to live as an example by experiencing every feeling, emotion or hardship we will face. He got into our pain out of compassion but also to give us an example of what we must do. I’m sure many of you reading this post at some point owned a WWJD bracelet. As corny as it may seem, we should actually keep that on the forefront of everything we do. He is the example. He knew what we would endure and experience in this life.

    I’d like to share with you on the subject of Grace and Judgement and what the Word says about it. I hope, at this point, we all know that our aired opinions mean nothing. It is the Word of God that we judge things by. Sorry facebook commenters that think they hold the keys of wisdom:) One particular morning the verse of the day happened to be John 3:16-17. Of course, I didn’t even have to glance at it because I have known it since I was a child. It was verse 17 that I had never paid too much attention to. “God sent His Son into the world NOT to judge the world, but to SAVE the world through him.” Hmmm, specifically not to judge? I think this is a pretty important key. If you also look at Matthew 7, it is clear on the what and why. “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” It clearly says DO NOT JUDGE and if you do, you will be judged to the same degree.

    In our own personal situation we were shown the overwhelming response of grace and forgiveness. There have been the few who want to call down the judgement and wrath of God. I want to tell these people, STOP!! Not for my benefit but for yours. You are setting yourself up for pain. As much as we loved and appreciated the love and grace, it’s still easy to ask the question…”Why would they so freely be ready to forgive me instead of crucify me?” It was clear for me to see what was happening. We served as Lead Pastors of a church that held to the standard, “Love, Acceptance and Forgiveness”. I had never seen a man accept people like my husband did. I had never seen anyone see the best in people like he did. He never stated, “There’s no hope for that guy”. He only saw what they could be. It sometimes amazed me at his ability to show grace and see the best in people. He was planting seeds into his own life without even thinking about it. He is reaping what he sowed into people for 15 years. Are you thinking, “wow, he got off the hook”? Not at all! Other truths must hold true too. Romans 6:23 The wages of sin is death. Galatians 6;7Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Hebrews 12:6 Also the Lord disciplines those He loves. Judgement must come for your sin but we should never think that we are to be the administers of the judgment. Let’s let the righteous Judge handle it. He doesn’t need our advice or help on the subject.

    God is a good father that knows what we need. He knows our hearts better than we do. I have had this blog for months. I know that there are people who need to read it because they feel they need to administer justice to those who hurt God. Let me release you today and tell you that God will be the Father. Put it into His hands and let Him judge and discipline. Freedom comes when you release the offender with confidence. Prepare for your own future. It’s not “if” it’s “when” you will need grace and forgiveness. No man is beyond falling. I hope you have planted grace and forgiveness in others because you too will need it and want it. If you have preached and pushed for the judgement of God, it is clear that this is what you will receive to the measure in which you gave it. Let’s think about it and leave the judging up to the judge and do what our example, Jesus Christ, did for us. I’m so thankful He came to save us!

    with love,


  • why friends...

    Why Friends?

    “Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art…. It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things which give value to survival.”-C.S. Lewis

    Today, I would like to write a tribute to FRIENDS. You can live life without them but why would you? Friends have been instruments that have made my life sweet when life wasn’t sweet at all. This was an area that I had neglected but now see the full benefit and blessing of it. Don’t get me wrong, I have always loved people and loved being around people. It’s just that I had never put forth effort on friendship like I had on other relationships in my life. I’ve now experienced the power of friendship.

    I would have to say that it was friends that pulled me out of the pit of despair. When I think back on tough times, it wasn’t answers or cures that brought healing to me, it was people who listened and comforted. It was friends that reminded me of who I am.

    “When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives mean the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares.” ― Henri J.M. Nouwen

    Now through many life lessons, I realize that it is friendships that make life better and even more so, ME better. When I am able to sit down with a group of friends and laugh, my soul is restored. Proverbs 17:22 says, A merry heart does good, like medicine,but a broken spirit dries the bones. Many days I need a good dose of laughter with friends. After a night with the girls, I can come home refreshed and ready to be the best wife and mom I can be. Proverbs 11:25 A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed. Refresh yourself!!

    God never intended for us to live in solitude. He also never intended on “my 4 and no more” living. Life should be shared. Each friend can add something different to your life. I have some friends who are nuts! Fun and laughter is the goal when we are together.  Other friends are the rocks that I go to when I need some straight advice or a lending ear without announcing it to the world on a loud speaker. When you have a true friend, they are not inconvienced with your life. Galatians 6:2 says that we are to bear or carry one anothers burdens. That can be a heavy task but more hands make the load lighter. I will treasure and cherish the times that I have sat on my couch thinking, “Ok God, what next?”, only to have someone walk through the door and tell me how God is going to use me. What Life Givers!!!!  It was friends that lightened my life and brought joy. I am a better person surrounded by my girls:) Friends add so much to my life. Proverbs 27:17 says, As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend. I pray that I can be a blessing to a friend like others have been to me.

    I say take care of your friendships like the treasures they are. They are gifts that have been entrusted to you.


    with love,


  • The Sin of Unbelief

    As we know, life is about seasons. Through the ups and downs God gives us direction and promises in His Word. Many times in my life I have been reminded of the promises or instruction that apply to my situation from Gods Word. It is not enough to receive the promises, I have to actually believe them. You would think it’s pretty common sense…”Why would you believe the enemy when he is the father of lies instead of the God of truth?” I asked myself the same question. The enemy can track our weaknesses and struggles. He takes the truth and disguises it. He will try to convince you that you are not capable of victory, nothing has ever changed or that’s just the way you were made. If you bite the hook on this he wins. He takes a truth and twists it into a lie. Doubt can destroy. Have you heard the statement, “Hold on to God’s truth”? Cling to the truth like a life raft. It will bring life to you. I have held two truths in my hand before and had to chose which truth is life-giving. Maybe you are also holding two truths. We sometimes get impatient in the process of what we are going through and begin to  believe “maybe that doesn’t apply to me or maybe I heard wrong”.  I came to a road block in my healing process and wondered what I was doing wrong. It took a friend pointing me to James 1 to open my eyes.

    I had been fed a line. I had gotten distracted on my circumstances  and the things around me instead of looking forward to the future God had for me. I had turned aside from all of His promises and focused on everything else. You see, I had been given specific truths for my life. Instead of highlighting them, I marked the existing circumstances in BOLD. I focused so much on the present that I couldn’t see the future, nor did I even believe it was still my future. I’m thankful for the conviction of the Holy Spirit. I had become like an Israelite murmuring and complaining in the desert. I had gotten stale and ungrateful in the process. I had become double-minded and tossed.   In James 1:6 it is clear 6 But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. 7 That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. 8 Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do. 

    OUCH! Decide what you will believe.  It may not be that you don’t believe God. The unbelief comes when you elevate the circumstance above what God says about it. Example: “I’m hurting from the situation.” This is true. The other truth is Psalm 147:3 He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. Yes, you may be in pain but you have to make the choice, “Do I want to focus on the pain or focus on the Healer that binds up my wounds?” Whatever your circumstances are, you must choose to look to the Giver of Life and believe what He says about the situation.

    You must stand against the enemy. There is nothing worse than seeing a child bullied by another and refuse to stand up for what is right. Sometimes we can become bullied.The fear and control will paralyze you. You must stand your ground! Romans 8: 37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. The enemy will not get weary and leave you alone. He knows what is at stake. You have the opportunity to lead others to Christ and build the kingdom. Let me encourage you… YOU CAN STAND! God has given us everything we need to guard ourselves and be victorious. You have been promised a hope and a future. You are a child of Christ. Hold onto that and don’t be double minded. Believe the truth of God’s Word and make your focus that, not every “fact” that you know.

    Unbelief is sin. It is a subtle weapon that can paralyze you and keep you from the promises you have been given. Let’s highlight the Truth of God over our circumstances and live a fruitful, victorious life!

    Mark 11:24  Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.

    with love,


  • love wins…the end

    How Deep the Father’s Love for Us

    How Deep the Father’s Love for us, How vast beyond all measure, That He should give his life for us,To make a wretch His treasure

    His love for us is so deep, I will never know it’s depths.I want to spend my days boasting of His goodness. Without pain and suffering, I don’t know if i could have experienced the loving comfort of His arms like I have.  I had an experience at the beginning of August at a conference in Birmingham. At this point I was so exhausted from battling thoughts, dreams and feelings. In the end I realized it was the Holy Spirit giving me revelation. My prayer through this season was “God, take these thoughts from me or bring to light the truth”. For months I prayed this. I just couldn’t shake the constant daily thoughts about the unthinkable. As I stood in the sanctuary  with a thousand others the band played. There was a different feeling.At one point I think I  leaned over to someone and told them how great the sound was. It seemed so full and perfect. As a pastor’s wife I thought “They are really annointed and have a great sound system:) As the song began (I don’t even remember what song it was), I began to tell God, “I’m so sorry that I haven’t been strong. I’m so sorry I can’t stop having theses thoughts. I know I should  have more control than this. I know I have disappointed You”. While I hung my head in shame because I wasn’t casting down thoughts,  I heard God so clearly speak to my heart and say “I’m not dissappointed in you. I love you and am proud of you”. I then felt someone tall and strong in front of me and as I barely lifted my hands close to my chest and bowed my head, I felt a strong embrace. I was held and comforted as I wept into His chest. I have felt God’s presence before but never so physically. He was willing to physically comfort me. He knew the time was coming that would reveal the truth of all I had felt. I had to know that He was there and had never left me.

    He has been a guide, comforter and a strength like I have never known before. Because you go through difficulties doesn’t mean that He has taken His hand from you. This is the refining of our faith. It’s almost like a surgery that is removing things that do you no good, like pride and insecurity and replacing them with trust, faith and security in Christ.  He is the real supplier of all my needs (spiritual, mental, emotional, physical). When I felt alone, He was there speaking to me. When I felt like I had to do something but didn’t know what to do, He was there working it out for me. When I felt beaten up from the battle, He reminded me that He sent angels on my behalf to fight for me. He binds up the wound of the broken hearted and carries the weak. That is not the end of the story. I have been strengthened by flexing muscles I never knew I had. My dreams are bigger, my trust is stronger. Ever time I had a doubt through this, the Lord sent me a promise. If you are wondering if God is personal or if he really cares about you….. Let me tell you that He does! He is not some far off god. He is the comforter, the strong arm lifting you.

    Psalm 119:50 My comfort in my suffering is this: Your promise preserves my life

    Isaiah 51:3 The LORD will surely comfort Zion and will look with compassion on all her ruins; he will make her deserts like Eden, her wastelands like the garden of the LORD. Joy and gladness will be found in her, thanksgiving and the sound of singing


  • 9184942_s

    All Is Not Lost

    As I lay in bed I am reminded of my life and how much it has changed from this time last year. My mind wants to say, “I’ve lost so many things that I dearly loved”. How could it be God’s plan to lose a life that I loved and a ministry position that I felt made for? I genuinely loved people and loved serving. This is one of those moments that God’s still small voice gently spoke to my heart. All was never lost Ashley. Then I was reminded that those who lose their life save it.

    Matthew 16:24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 25For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it. 26What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?

    I always saw this as, leave your life of sin behind and follow Jesus. Well, I was following Jesus and even serving in ministry. This is not about going from darkness to light. Don’t hold any life too tightly that you are not willing to release if God asks you to. Even if that life is noble and giving. I have lost the life I knew to find another.  His words are life! I could have never known what this scripture truly meant without losing my life. The life that I loved. The life that I thought I would have forever. I had already made plans to retire in that life. Am I willing to lose that life to gain another? Yes. It is not God’s way to short change anyone. I believe He has plans in store for me that I could have never imagined.

    Heb 10:35 So do not throw away your confident trust in the Lord; Remember the great reward it brings you! 36Patient endurance is what you need now, so that you will continue to do God’s will. Then you will receive all that he has promised.

    Matthew 16 Verse 26 also hits home. I’ve told the story before. A day or so after realizing I had been deeply hurt and betrayed by those I loved most, I shut my bedroom door, jumped onto the bed and screamed and cried into a pillow. Why God?! Why did you allow me to lay on my face and beg you for months to reveal truth to me only to let it go on? Didn’t you see my pain? Didn’t you hear me? Why?? I felt so abandoned for a moment. Then I stood over my husband and the Holy Spirit spoke to me… His heart is more important than your happiness. This my friends gave me a new mission and a new hope. This pain was no longer about me. This pain was allowed to reach into my husbands soul and heal him. He told me that he believes now that he had to have everything stripped away for God to get to his heart. He was gaining so much on the outside with a successful ministry but the word says, what good is gain if he forfeits his soul? We lost our life to save it. Our happiness is not the goal. The goal is a soul right with the Father. If that means stripping things away, so be it. I will bare scares and I will fight battles but I will do so knowing a soul was saved. Not only a soul but a life was saved. As I said earlier, happiness is not the goal but the crazy thing is, we are happy. Being right with God brings such a peace and blessing. God can do wonders with a mess. Does he not take the weak things to confound the wise?

    I did question at one time, “Have all promises and blessings been forfeited because of sin?” I was gently reminded of His character. He is not a harsh father. He loves us and wants good for us. The word says in Chronicles 7:14 and Acts 3:19 that if you repent and turn to God, a time of refreshing will come and He will restore you and your land. This says that you can make a really bad mistake but your loving father will not only forgive you but wipe it away AND restore you and your land.  All is NOT lost. Lose your life to find it.

  • When waves come crashing 2-3

    When Waves Come Crashing Part II


    During this last “crashing wave” on my life, so much was uncovered. I always knew and even spoke about how I would handle situations if I ever had to face them. “If that ever happpened to me I would….”  By the grace of God, I didn’t handle it the way I had always imagined. I thought I would handle it with hate, shame, no forbearance, rejection and weakness. Guess what… I didn’t. The grace of God allowed me to see some things that were hidden inside of me. I know they were planted  by the Holy Spirit, but it was by the painful trial that they were extracted. There will be times in your life that you think you “know” how you will handle things. Or maybe you may  think, “I could never get through that”, but let me just encourage you… God has a power that we cannot even comprehend or understand. It’s not natural and it’s not our ability to stay composed. I have been carried by this grace in my weakest moment.

    2 Corinthians 12:9-10 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.  That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

    In your darkest hour, God will give you a front row seat to His grace. He will carry you in His strength and give you strength that you didn’t even know existed.  Do I struggle daily with wanting to throw some sand on top of the beautiful jewels found through this trial…. YOU BETTER BELIEVE IT! It is a choice my friend,  you have to allow the waves to refine you and keep you refined. Don’t get bitter, allow God to reveal beautiful things buried in you.

    1Peter1:6-7 “In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 7These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith-of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire-may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed”.

    with love,
  • Welcome to the Journey :)

    I’d like to welcome you into my life. The good, the bad, but most of all the redeeming love of my Savior! One of the highest compliments I have cherished is being called “real” by my closest friends. I feel that is the most productive way to help others. Why sweep things under a rug when others can be helped and healed by your own journey? Join me in uncovering the character of Christ through the ups and downs of life.

    with love,


  • When waves come crashing

    When Waves Come Crashing… Pt 1

    I live on the Gulf Coast where I get to enjoy beautiful beaches. Everytime me and the kids walk along the white sand, we collect seashells. The gulf is vast but there are always unique finds under the sand. The waves crash on the shore and pull away bringing in new creatures and uncover hidden jewels beneath.

    I would like to take a moment and compare life to our experiences on the beach. The word tells us that God’s love is vast and deep and wide. Ephesians 3 And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

    I want to know this “fullness” that He speaks of. There is love and there is fullness of love. That tells me you can go deeper in the love you already know. He always loves us, but there are moments in our life that are breathe taking by the extremes He will go to to show His love for us. It may be in times of joy, in times of need or in times of sorrow, but He will always show His love.

    Like the oceans crash on the sand, life sometimes crashes on us. I believe this is a time for pulling away of the surface and revealing whats hidden underneath the sand. We have jewels inside of us that sometimes take pulling or uncomfortable trials to uncover. to be continued…..


    with love,