Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Woman of Faith

One of the sermons that Pastor Maria preached at the Prayer Conference still has me thinking.  It touched on one of the great ironies of my life and the baggage that I carry around.

[I am telling this story with complete humility . . .]

Faith.  It's one of my spiritual gifts.  After the last service of the conference two complete strangers came up to me (at separate times) to tell me what a great "woman of faith" I am.  They could just "see it in my face."  I just "radiate" with love for the Lord.  And I have had many comments left on this blog during trying times about how "strong" I am, how in awe people are of me and how I handle it all.  So after the other night and those two ladies, I got in the van and just cried.  Seriously?  If people only knew the REAL me!  The REAL me struggles daily to keep my path straight.  To remember to lean on Him and not myself.  To keep my anger in check.  To reign in my jealousy.  To not totally drown in sadness!!!

I have lived a truly special life.  I have always felt unique and "chosen" in a way.  But along with that feeling comes extreme self-doubt when I fall by the wayside.  It's so amazing how I can feel so confident in some ways and then turn around and feel so cowardly on the inside.  Just shows you how the devil works on your deepest insecurities!  He can pick out the smallest thing, bring it to my attention, and then BAM!,  I've blown it into a full-fledged attack of complete despair.  But even in my despair, the one thing I'm sure of is My God.  Totally, completely, utterly unsure of myself--but totally reliant on Him.  And maybe that's what saves me every time.  When I'm in the pit, I always choose to look back up.  To look back up full into my Father's face and remember that He does indeed love me as far as the east is to the west!  He loves me despite my weakness, loves me despite my shortcomings.  He wants me to forget all that extra baggage, and MOVE ON.  Move on FULL IN HIS GRACE AND MERCY!  

Maybe it is this continual choice to get back up and dust the devil's dirt off of me that makes me a "woman of faith."  He has never forsaken me, so I will continue to shout and sing his praises, letting his light shine bright enough to carry me through still another day.  

These are the things I go over and over, 
emptying out the pockets of my life.
    I was always at the head of the worshiping crowd, right out in front,
    Leading them all, eager to arrive and worship, 
Shouting praises, singing thanksgiving—
celebrating, all of us, God's feast! 

                                               Why are you down in the dumps, dear soul?
Why are you crying the blues?
Fix my eyes on God—soon I'll be praising again.
He puts a smile on my face.
He's my God. 

                            When my soul is in the dumps, I rehearse everything I know of you,
From Jordan depths to Hermon heights, including Mount Mizar.
Chaos calls to chaos, to the tune of whitewater rapids.
Your breaking surf, your thundering breakers crash and crush me.
Then God promises to love me all day, sing songs all through the night!
My life is God's prayer. 

                                               Sometimes I ask God, my rock-solid God,
"Why did you let me down? Why am I walking around in tears,
 harassed by enemies?" 
They're out for the kill, these tormentors with their obscenities,
Taunting day after day, 
"Where is this God of yours?" 

                                              Why are you down in the dumps, dear soul?
Why are you crying the blues?
Fix my eyes on God—soon I'll be praising again.
He puts a smile on my face.  
He's my God.
(Psalm 42:4-11 The Message)


Pop said...

you make me proud

Amy said...

Whew, this really touched me. Thank you. I can totally identify with so much of what you are saying here. I admire you and your faith. I really do. It is refreshing, and I am glad I ran across your blog.

Patti H said...

beautiful post Ashley.

Kelli said...

I certainly have been one of the people that has told you how strong you are...and you know, I think it's because of post like these. Strong women are those who are honest and real with their weakness, they cry out when they need help, and they visibly rely on the Lord...even when it feels like you are in the pit. I love this. Thank you for being real, for taking the mask off, I completely understand.

Leslie said...

this is exactly what I needed to read right now. I'm struggling deeply with many feelings; a lot of them towards my family. I needed the reminder that MY GOD is able and all I need is to rely upon Him. I am forever blessed that we were brought together as friends through scrapbooking and that we have been able to meet on a couple of occasions in our lives. I love you Ashley and cherish that we are friends...even over the miles ;)