September 4, 2015

streams in the desert

a year ago, i thought i was dying. i remember sitting on the couch, feeling so weak from unintentional weight loss and so weighed down by anxiety, i wondered if i would make it through. my anxious thoughts were relentless, but that's when i clung to God's word like a lifeline, maybe for the first time ever. like curling pages of an old newspaper, i believe that God's loving hand burned away characteristics and beliefs that i didn't even know i had... getting to the core of my heart.

for the first time i began to question what i believed and what the bible said, rather than what i had been taught over the years. i submerged myself in scripture, studying and grasping onto the words of Jesus... it's like i had been covered in weeds without knowing it because the weeds looked a lot like legit landscape and God brought along a huge brush fire, clearing away misconceptions and pride and self-righteousness, making the soil rich for growth.

i didn't see it like that at the time. i just saw the blaze around me. i felt the heat and pain from the wildfire and couldn't possibly see what good could come from it. but as weak and as scared and as dry as i was, i asked God to hold me and get me through it even if i couldn't hold onto Him. He does that, you know? it's all over scripture, and i claimed those truths as my own -

when i am weak, He is strong.

when i am faithless, He is faithful.

when i am defeated, He carries me to victory.

when i am useless, He still loves me.

when i feel utterly alone, He's right beside me, and promises that nothing can ever separate me from His love.

gosh, i love that. it's not about us making some great dent in the universe by our faith and works, it's about us surrendering to HIS love, HIS faithfulness, HIS greatness. it's all about Him loving us! that's the gospel... that's why it's such good news to a weary soul - i don't have to abide by a long list of rules, all i have to do is accept His love, claim His grace over my soul... and attempt to introduce others to that same love and grace.

as the months went by, i began to see how much my thought life needed to change. it needed a complete turnaround - from thinking only of what bad things were happening and what could happen to thinking on things that i knew to be true and lovely and right and noble and praiseworthy.

slowly, the smoke began to lift and the fire ceased. i started gaining weight and laughing again. that might sound silly, but when you're in the deep pit of anxiety, you can't even remember the last time you actually found humor and happiness in something!! it's crazy.

fast forward to the end of the year and i felt like God was repeatedly giving me these verses -

streams in the desert.
a road in the wilderness.
trees from thorn bushes.
... tranquility + refreshment in a place that had been scorched by heat.
... a paved way in a place that felt lost and forgotten.
... new, restorative life where there was only pain.

an exact year later from that wildfire, i find myself sitting here, feeling our little baby girl kick inside me. the exact place of my pain - my weak body - is where God has chosen to bring redemption - a life growing inside me. God burned things away last year, but He has brought new, unbelievable, beautiful growth. He allows us to go through night seasons, but He always promises the joy and hope and redemption of morning. there's always grace to be found in the wild.

feeling extra thankful and in awe of Him right now and just had to share... in hopes that it might encourage you. :)



  1. Dear Ashley, your words and revelations of God'd life filling words are always an encouragement! You have a way of seeing and translating your words into clear and tangible pictures full of so much color and depth. I look forward to reading your posts and am blessed in many ways each time I do. The Lord bless you and keep you, the Lord make His face to shine upon you and be gracious to you. The lord grant you peace on this beautiful and wonderful day.

    1. thank you so much for your sweet, life giving words of encouragement! so much love to you on this lovely day. :) xo!

  2. What beautiful words. I'm sorry you had to go through such a difficult struggle, but what beauty God showed you through it! Praying for you in this exciting time of life!

    1. thank you so much for your prayers molly! you have no idea how much they're appreciated. :) love and blessings to you!! xo!

  3. Ashley, I don't know you at all. I navigated to your blog, somehow, by clicking through a bunch of posts on Instagram, ultimately arriving at your profile and the link.. In any event, I just want you to know that this post was, quite possibly, one of the most beautiful things I've ever read. You truly have a gift from God, and I believe He will use it in extraordinary ways! Always remember to allow yourself to be an instrument of His love and Grace and, in all that you do, honor Him with your gift of weaving words.

    God Bless you, Ashley..

    PS -- I'm possibly going to add you on Instagram after I eat dinner 😋 haha. Just a heads up 😁

    1. how uplifting to read your comment! thank you so much for your kind, encouraging words! xo! :)

  4. This is one of the most beautiful things I've ever read!
    Thank you for sharing! This speaks volumes to me!

    1. that makes my heart so overjoyed! thanks so much for letting me know and for the lovely words! xo!! :)