Constant One Series | Part. 1

For the Christian in need of change,

I do not have steps to guide you out of what you desire to leave behind. However, what I do have––life experiences and a transformative God––I share with you.

LOSE THE FEAR THAT THIS IS ALL THERE IS.

Recently, I was reflecting on my past experiences and to my surprise I recognized a pattern of fear-stricken faith when it comes to my walk with God. Not the good kind of fear… the kind that instills terror in your eyes and tells you that this is all there is.

Face to face with this pattern, I brought my concerns to the LORD.

He told me that my breakthrough resided in child-like faith.

My response to Him was immediate.

“LORD, You know my hesitations with child-like faith. Is it not a call to be naive?” For years I had been convinced that child-like faith was simply a beckoning to blindly trust every word I interpreted to be God’s voice. I’ve been wrong before, why wouldn’t I be wrong again?

Gently, the Spirit of the LORD spoke…

“Remember when you were a teenager?”

“God… What?”

Suddenly, the Spirit brought to remembrance all the times as a teen I truly believed I had reached the end of the world due to difficult situations or new circumstances I hadn’t yet encountered before.

Experiences like my first heart throbbing break up or moving from Kansas City to Chicago––away from my life, school, dearest friends, church family… ultimately, my entire world at the time.

You see, what it means to take on child-like faith is to have faith despite not knowing the outcome. As children, it is impossible for us to even conceive what the other side of a new circumstance looks like.

Quickly, the term child-like faith began to unravel before me in a new light. Spiritually speaking, I am a child. Still learning and growing alongside my heavenly Father. He is the God of the impossible, He has and He will take me through experiences I can’t possibly predict the outcome to.

So if you’re like me, when Jesus calls you to new trials and dreams that look impossible to achieve, you probably have the tendency to stand face-to-face with impossibility and say, “Well, I suppose this is all there is. There is nothing more for me here.” Or, if you’re on the dramatic side (also like me), you’d probably cry out, “It’s the end of the world!”

It is at this point where child-like faith in our loving Father must come in.

Steven Furtick says it this way,

“Faith is believing BEFORE what will only make sense AFTER.”

Like a child, unable to look back on past experiences to conceive a future outcome but who puts complete dependency and faith in care of the Father, we can overcome feelings of despair and the lie that this is all there is. 

With love,
Olathe Ashley


COMING SOON!

The power of depression is broken by joy. Here’s how I found it…

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Hidden Pieces

The best part of writing consistently in a journal is being able to look back on who you were and what you wrote a year ago. I can’t stress enough how vital I believe it is to remember, to reflect and feel and strive. Remembering where I was a year ago was difficult, but today I couldn’t be more grateful.

Last year my faith and love for God began to grow dry. After reading a journal entry from Oct. 20th of 2016, I was brought to tears. Though this year has been filled with trial, I am able to look back and see how my God has been faithful to revive my dormant faith, to fill and satisfy my cold heart, and to bring my very own written words to pass.

The entry reads:

10/20 –

I want to learn, but not what is offered here. 

I want to write, but not about what is asked of me. 

I want something more, but I cannot find it in the room I sleep in. 

The thing is I know I am in temporary discomfort, I know what I feel will fade
––and in due time, passion will warm my cold eyes. 

I am not at peace when my father lacks it. 

For now, the only comfort I find is in the warmth of a blank page. 

Though it took a year for my barren passion to burn once again, it’s exciting to recount this year and to see in focus,

Hidden pieces of my Father’s heart.

Hope wedged in pain, placed by the lover of my soul.

 

Begin

Such a beautiful post. I’m so thankful for this woman of God who writes words of vulnerability and power, dripping with the presence of the Spirit.

mybestfriendjoe

Beginnings are hard. Especially the beginning of beginnings.

First, there’s the fear that accompanies one door closing.

I’m standing in a dark hallway that stretches farther on either side than my eyes could see. I’m staring at a door; most of my being longs to be inside that room, through that door once more. Sure, my mind knows that with one door closing, another should be opening, but excitement for possibility is not the dominant emotion raging inside me. Instead, fear and remorse are in control, rumbling around in my tummy and deceiving my heart, telling it that something is wrong. This door shouldn’t close. I was so happy inside that door.

It was a good door, why would it close? It’s not fair. I’m not ready.

My arms lurch forward and my fingers grasp the edge of the door, trying to stop this process. It doesn’t slow down…

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behind every exquisite thing

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“Time creeps its way into our souls,

Working, working tirelessly to mend the pain

That we keep hidden in our hearts

We paint beautiful colors,

Breathed with depth and detail

And the world stares, either with wonder or ignorance

Unaware that our image was painted with blood splattered ink,

Drawn from cold, aching bodies

Unaware that we sucked beauty out of our pain and called it a day,

Still left just as lonely and empty and broken as we were before.

 

And oh, how we craved intimacy, infinitely reaching out with our eyes

And words we carefully crafted with our bare hands,

Hoping with just enough faith, that someone would reach back

With a hand we can touch, but it never comes

We may be heard, but we aren’t found.

So we save ourselves…

With beauty dripping with our own brokenness,

And the world stares, either in wonder or ignorance.”

 

There is a remark I recently read in “The Picture of Dorian Gray” by Oscar Wilde that puts into words everything I have encountered this week. It reads,

“Behind every exquisite thing that existed, there was something tragic.”

I wrote this poem because I was inspired by four very different people I was delighted to have conversation with this week. All were strangers. Hard working, passionate, joyful, and patient. But the deeper our conversations carried, the more I began to realize that they were all broken, in one way or another.

They were all scarred with pain, from the past or present, yet all had found some way to push through. Their lives: beautiful. And what made me think was, while many would agree their lives are beautiful, not many understand or know their stories of painful persistence. Not many push through the beauty to the gut wrenching core of what made them who they are today.

So shout out to those who’ve endured unknown hardships. Those who have pressed on past throat gripping pain.

I know it hurts.

But every breath you take, breathes life into something so much greater than you can image. A purpose that takes tragedy and turns it into exquisite beauty.

Keep going.

Create

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As I sit here listening to my latest obsession, Twenty One Pilots, I cannot help but want to do the very thing they encourage their fans to do: create.

Quite honestly I’ve been wrestling with this urge for several weeks now. But the strangest thing happens. My mind goes blank. What could I possibly create that’s meaningful?

It seems to me that the limited time my mind allows me to get excited about an idea is in the restless panic during a final or in the middle of a church service.

My thoughts will feed on possibilities as my mind indulges on the execution of my brilliant plans. Skits, book ideas, blog topics, ways to show my parents I love them, logo concepts, words to bring a spoken word to life, and beautiful sounds that would glorify the creation of the guitar. Haha, at least in the vibrant echoes in my skull.

But now? Now that I am on break and finally have the somewhat quiet space of my room (apart from my sister’s constant music and video making) for my personal use? My mind is dead. My thoughts have scurried into the shadows.

FORTUNATELY, I keep a journal and wrote all my ideas down. This blog post will now be accompanied with a drawing straight from my journal, a poem, and words of wisdom.

Poem:

May 8th, 2015

With the sins and brokenness of my ancestors strapped upon my shoulders, I cry to You, oh God. Test my faith and restore intimacy. Break down the barrier my fathers built up against You. Move freely as you wish.

Can love arise from freedom?

I believe that from the ashes, from the rumbling of songs,

It can.

Words of wisdom:

Record your ideas. Take time to flesh out the things you want to create. In the end, it’ll be worth it.