Monday, January 7, 2013

The Next Step

I feel like in the last week, God has taught me so much. So many tidbits of wisdom. So much to think about--growing, stretching, expanding and eyes opening. Sometimes it's things  I’ve heard over and over again, and other times, I'm able to see things through a different lense. But my heart right now is like dry, cracked dirt...and it needs water. Everything right now seems like drops (or an ocean) of water. It’s so good! I’m soaking up everything...and my heart is slowly starting to feel like a well-watered garden. Refreshed. Ready.

Ready for what, you ask? Ready for all that God has for me! The last six months or so have been a huge wrestling match. I wrestle with myself and God on almost a daily basis. Is it strange to say that I think I wrestle with myself more than I wrestle with God? With a new year, and deeply rooted hopes and dreams, there are new things on the horizon.

[This is where it gets difficult]

I have been holding those ‘new things’ very close to my chest. They’re personal and important, and I haven’t been ready to put them out to the rest of the world. At first, I wasn’t sure if it was the path I should take, and I didn’t want to recant, back out or let people down. Ultimately, it’s a pride thing...I didn’t want to seem like a failure. The truth is, even if I fail...at least I tried! I wouldn’t be able to stand myself if I didn’t try. And the rest of the truth is that this is very. hard.

So, it’s time to begin to share my dreams...God’s dreams...with the masses (or to the three of you that regularly read this)--even if it’s just to give you a glimpse at how you can pray for me. 

[deep. breath.]

My hope and dream is to return to Liberia. God has put a dream in my heart to return to Liberia and minister to my neighbors an the people that God puts in my path. What does that look like? It’s hard to say, but the one thing that I know is that I want to serve and love people and ultimately just live life with them. It’s going to be difficult. There will be laughter, pain, joy, tears, struggle and grief. I don’t feel fully equipped. I don’t have all of the answers. I’m not a counselor. But I am called to love and listen and embrace and encourage and pray.

My deepest dream [heart beating fast now.] is to have a community center in Liberia. What does that look like? Again, it’s hard to say. Bottom line: I want a big empty indoor space. A space where people can come and share life. A place to learn and grow and laugh and be safe and feel loved. A place where lives will change. A place where my life will change. A place where the Holy Spirit dwells and moves and works and heals. A place of hope. Hope in an everlasting Father who loves us so deeply and unconditionally. A Father who forgives, restores and makes us alive in Him. 

There is so much dreaming, planning and praying that needs to happen. It’s time to share my dream with others, and ask them (YOU!) to come alongside of me. It’s time for you to get involved. I desperately need you and your prayers! I need fresh vision, clarity and guidance. I need partners--prayers, dreamers, givers, encouragers, creators...all of the Body. You can also be praying against the enemy--he can so easily distract, discourage, divide and destroy. There is NO place for him here! Ultimately, this is God’s dream. I want all of this to be about Him...I am only the hands and feet.

This past year was beautifully difficult, but SO WORTH IT ALL. In case you haven’t heard, there's this guy Jesus, and He is kind of worth it all. But it makes me so excited for 2013! (Don’t get me wrong, I am still very anxious, scared, overwhelmed, confused...) This year is going to be an even more incredible year--I am anticipating great things and expectant for all that He has for me!
Thank you for your continued prayers and support! Wishing you many blessings in 2013, and I am so honored that you have joined me on this journey!

2 comments:

Centripetalcycling said...

Ashley, Jeff here from NJ. It is awesome to hear of you seeking to continue to follow God's path for your life. Our Church juts got behind a young couple and sent them to Liberia to start a Health Clinic as a fist step to rebuilding of a community in Po River. Would love to dialogue with you about the culture they are entering into. Pastor Jeff

Ashley said...

Hi Jeff! How are you? Thank you for your encouragement. I would love to talk to you about Liberia, and how you can help support your friends. I'm pretty sure I have your email address. Blessings!

 
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