Start Small

Start Small

Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much…” Luke 16:10

I have got some big dreams. I might have mentioned this before but God has given me some big visions and big goals. Everything in my head is big. However, you don’t wake up one day with a book that you wrote placed in front of you, waiting for you to put your name on it. You don’t wake up as a speaker or a dentist or a doctor. There are steps to take in order to reach these outcomes. You cannot just decide to become a doctor, walk into a hospital and apply for a job. You have to get a degree, do a residency to be trained, and clinic hours and other things. (I might also be wrong on the order of these things, I am not a doctor.) 

Everything big and awesome and cool started out small. The bloggers I follow and admire did not wake up overnight with thousands of followers. They kept pushing out blog post after blog post even when they only had like 10 followers. The people I look to for inspiration did not wake up in the place they are now. There was work, growth, and learning done in the process. In fact, I didn’t wake up one day and be in the season I am in now. I wasn’t just handed these dreams, God developed them and grew me into them. If I tried to start this blog five years ago (which, technically, I did) it wouldn’t look like what it looks like today. I believe me this version is better (even if I do wish I had 5 years of work in this already, hahahaha).

All of us have to start small. We are not given the big things until we prove ourselves in the little things. We have to start with ourselves, what small step can I take today to make a difference? How can I do something internally to get to where I want to be? What small thing can I do right now? Well, for me, I can write this devotional. I can write the next blog post. I can record the next podcast. 

Just like trust takes time to build so does the big awesome God-given dreams we have. So take that baby step, and the next and watch what comes by step 10,000.

Write it Out

  1. What can you do right now to get started? What is your baby step?
  2. Write out the next 5 steps, make an action plan.
  3. Write how you are going to be faithful to these steps

Devotional Thursdays- Remembering Who Christ Is

Remembering Who Christ Is

Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved. Acts 4:12

A lot of the time, I forget who Christ is. I get caught up in myself, my day, my to-do list, the world, the negativity, whatever is it, I usually find myself caught up in it. I get panicked and scared and worried and all these emotions. I worry about things I have zero control over. I worry about what I’m doing- am I doing the right thing? Is what I’m doing enough? 

Truthfully, no. What I am doing is not enough to save me from my sin. The things I do will never get me into heaven. You don’t get to heaven because you’re a super, duper good person. Morals are great but morals don’t get you into heaven.

Christ does. Christ, who came down to earth, became one of us humans, and took on all our sin to cover the cost we could not pay. Christ bridged the gap we put between us and God. 

In my crazy need to be perfect, I think that Christ’s sacrifice wasn’t enough. There has to be more. It couldn’t be that simple. Christ died for me and just like that I’m covered? Really?

I am not trying to negate the significance of what Christ has done for us, but for me, believing in Christ and taking him on as my savior is simple. It’s a simple choice. It’s a choice I need to remind myself of daily. I need to remind myself that Jesus was enough to cover my sins and he willingly died for me. When Jesus was on the cross, he said “it is finished.” 

Not “it is finished as long as Ashleigh is perfect and does all the right things.” Jesus did not say “it is finished, just as long as Ashleigh keeps her cool.” 

My salvation is in Jesus, not in my works. I have to remind myself of that though because sin runs deep and habits tag along. It isn’t about me or what I do. It is about what Jesus has already done. 

Remember that. God sees you. Jesus choose to die for you. That is how deep his love goes.

Write it Out

  1. Where do you get caught up? Where do you start to lose focus on what Jesus did for you?
  2. How can you remind yourself of what Jesus did? Maybe try memorizing a specific verse. 

Bold(ER)

Bold(ER)

I feel like today’s culture is very “you must agree with me or you’re stupid”. Anywhere you look people are arguing over opinions as if they are facts. People talk about “their truth” and it almost appears as though truth is something that can be changed based on whoever is speaking. 

God says differently than this. In the Bible, God has laid out how we are meant to live, do marriage, be parents, trust in Jesus and everything we need to know. However, the world will tell us that God is wrong and God is bad. The truth is we live in a very sinful world where the enemy is running rampant. In fact, he has the world’s culture hating God and not believing he exists. All of the evil in the world is blamed on God because he “allowed” it. As Christians, we know that isn’t true and that isn’t how God works. “If God is all powerful, why does he allow -blank- ?” 

As Christians, we know the answer is Free Will and we know that even in the bad times, God works to make the evil good. Every bad thing I’ve gone though has allowed me to grow, learn or shape who I am today. Sometimes, the end of the bad ended up being better than before the bad. God is amazing and powerful. 

As Jesus followers though, what are we doing to proclaim his name? What are we doing to share the good news? I know I struggle with this. I am almost afraid to admit that I love Jesus because I’m afraid of what whoever I am talking to will think of me. I’m afraid I will lose credibility or that I’ll be thought of as intolerant or whatever else is thought of when it comes to Christians. 

I want to be bold. I want to speak my faith without fear because when you get down to it, the opinions of others do not matter. When I return home, I want to hear “good job good and faithful servant.” I don’t want to have to answer for my fear of what other people thought. 

There is a way to speak our faith and that is to speak it plainly, letting God guide us in our words. The bible tells us that He will give us the words when we speak. Let’s walk in boldness of our faith instead of fear of what others might think. 

Write it Out

  1. Do you worry about what others think?
  2. How can you put a bolder step forward and share your faith?

Devotional Thursdays- Redeemed

Redeemed

Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. -Isaiah 43:1

Google tells me the dictionary definition of “redeem” is: compensate for the faults or bad aspects of (something).

I can’t speak for you, but I’ve been consistently told a lot of bad things about myself by people who were supposed to love me. I was constantly told the same bad things by family on a daily basis during the years where my inner voice would be formed. My inner voice is mean to me. M-E-A-N. It’s really awful. It is something I have to battle daily because if I make a single mistake, it’s full out war inside my head. If I ever think that I am becoming a burden on someone, all the old things that were said to me play on repeat in my mind. 

You are lazy.”

“You will never do anything.”

“It’s always your fault.”

“You need to calm down, this is why we cannot have _____”

It’s enough to make anybody think they weren’t ever wanted.

How do I battle it? How do I battle the human flaws that remind me I am weak and need something bigger than myself? 

I start with Isaiah 43:1. God has redeemed me. Jesus’ blood is compensation for my sins. His blood paid the price I could never pay. I start there because it is the most important truth. I have been redeemed. I am a child of God’s. He has called me by name and I belong to him. 

It’s all right there in black and white.

Write it Out

  1. What bad tapes play in your head? 
  2. What truths can you use to battle the lies that play like records in your head?

The Change You Didn’t Ask For

I talk about change a lot. At least, it feels like I do. It is probably because my entire life has been about change and learning how to adjust. I’ve basically been wingin’ it since I was a child. It is probably why I fight so hard for control, despite the 20+ years of knowledge that tells me that I have absolutely zero control. 

This past year has been full of changes for my family. This past year has been full of changes for me personally. Every time I think we are in a groove, the tide changes. It is like every week has something new or changing or something. It’s been a very interesting year.

If you follow me on Instagram, you might have seen this post where I talked about how God dropped a huge realization on me. I am living a life I prayed for. I asked God for the parts in my life that weight on my heart and god provided them. All the change I was enduring was to be given the life I was asking for. The life I’m living now is allowing me to pursue my calling and I can help provide for my family. I have time with my son and my husband that I never got before. All these things I asked for and prayed for and didn’t believe it was possible for me.

Now I am living it. My prayers were answered and all these changes have been good. While it has taken me a while to adjust and accept it. Part of me still misses the old. I’ve let it go when God made me realize that I prayed for my life that I am living. Even adjusting to change I asked for, it was hard. It was not something I woke up to and said “okay, this is my life, cool!” 

If it is hard to adjust to change that you asked for, that you wished or prayed for, do you think it is easy to adjust to change you didn’t ask for?

Absolutely not. 

Two hours after I made my instagram post about what God was doing and how He answered my prayers, my husband called me and told me things were about to change again and it wasn’t something we asked for. This change actually goes against everything we wanted. 

My husband started a new job with a new company and now he is being moved to another part of the company. This change comes with a new schedule from the one we had just adjusted to. Plus it came with a pay cut, which means we needed to readjust our budget AND figure out a way to get childcare for Little Man. 

Never have I prayed for this. In fact, with the timing, I started questioning everything I was just thankful for. I asked myself, “Did I hear God wrong?” I wondered if I was really in God’s will and all the things I was just praising Him for. This new and the change literally had me questioning everything. I felt wrong and like things couldn’t just be right for two seconds.

Then the smallest thought, the smallest voice came from my heart. “What if something better is coming?”

What. Huh?

Then I let it sit around a little bit. What if God is moving us to something better? While we are currently at a pay cut and slightly stressed about childcare, there is a plan in place with this new position. A plan that is better than our original plan with his previous position. Then, after this news on Thursday night, I spent all day Friday getting everything together to enroll Little Man into a preschool, and it all worked out. I found one we could afford, there was room, I got all the paperwork I needed from the doctor in a few hours. It all felt right. I spent the entire day running around (Little Man also had an eye exam and needed glasses) but it all worked out and I felt at peace all day.

Peace that I never feel when I am running around like that. Peace that never really happens to me. Peace that didn’t match up to my understanding.

That’s the kind of peace that God gives. The kind that doesn’t make sense. That is when I knew I was in God’s hands and I was finally letting go of control over this.

So I’m going to trust God and His Process…

Even when I don’t understand

Even when I dislike it the current situation

Even when it is hard

Even when it hurts

Even when I feel like giving up

Even when I want to quit

God has never not shown up for us. God has never abandoned us. God fulfills his promises.