Wednesday, July 27, 2011


What is love? Websters defines it as: 1. strong affection for another arising out of kinship or personal ties 2. attraction based on sexual desire : affection and tenderness felt by lovers. 3. affection based on admiration, benevolence, or common interests.

I disagree almost completely with this definition and truthfully was appalled by parts of it. What a world we live in where love is actually defined by something involving sexual intimacy. Love has nothing to do with sexual desire. How could it? Love began with the Creator of the Universe, and He most certainly does not desire anyone sexually.

I began thinking how distorted our world has made love. How ugly and demeaning it has become. Love is not based on common interests, because interests can change and love never changes. Love is not an attraction because attraction can change as well.

So I started to think, what is love to me?

Love to me starts with a love for God. Loving Him is the only way we can love someone else. When we are not in a love relationship with Him, we cannot begin to love someone else. Love starts with God, and was magnified with His sons death on the cross. The love that Jesus showed is what true, pure, abounding love means. Willingly giving yourself up for the welfare of those you love. Are we as humans willing to do this?

So many people say a mother's love is pure. That we will do anything for our children's best interest. I find this to be true, for the most part. But, the only way we can truly do what is best for our children is when we first choose to love God, Christ and His Spirit.

If we are not willing to put the kingdom first in our life, and thus, our children's life, we are not truly willing to do anything for them. If we are not willing to teach them God's commandments and put them on the path towards His righteous kingdom, than we are not willing to give them what is best for them. Christ is what is best for everyone, although the majority of our dying world does not see this.

I think this is where the misconception comes from with love. We seek what we "desire" with our sinful hearts. We seek what we "think" is best outside of our relationship with the epitome of love, Jesus Christ. Christ is love. That is His very nature, His character. Outside of Him we cannot experience love.

Sure, we can experience lust, a desire to do what we feel is best. But we cannot truly love if we do not truly love Christ. It is eternally impossible. For love doesn't occur outside of Him.

This is what love is to me; the love of Jesus Christ. Willingly giving up my life for His commandments. Willingly giving up what I think is best because I have no idea what is best for me.

Love starts and ends with Him.

"We love because He first loved us." 1 John 4:19

Friday, July 22, 2011

Lesson Learned-God is love

God is love

So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.

--- 1 John 4:16

The last 2 weeks have been trying, long and difficult. When I started feeling sick I simply kept pushing myself; not really resting to regain my strength although I was continuing to lose strength. In my mind I kept telling myself, “I don’t have time to be sick”, as if I actually get to choose when I do and do not get ill. As I continued getting sicker, as the rash continued to spread across my body, I asked God, “Why are you doing this to me? Do you love me?”

I immediately felt remorse for my thoughts; praise God for His Holy Spirit. How could I ever question His love for me? How could I allow this illness to make me believe that somehow my life was so important that I shouldn’t be ill? I then realized how often we as humans truly do that.

How often do we as humans say, “I don’t have time”? How often do we as humans put aside our love for Him and His commands because something is “more important”? And how many times as humans do we believe that God simply does not love us, or this world because bad things happen?

God IS love. Many scriptures affirm this for us, I chose to pray over 1 John 4:16. Notice that it does not say however that God loves. It says HE IS LOVE. That is His nature, His character. He loves perfectly and unconditionally, always. He never acts contrary to His nature. His kind of love always seeks His best for each person.

Now, how do we remember this when we are experiencing hard times? How do we look at situations and people around our world that are suffering and know that He is there and loving us? We must do one thing only:

1. 1. We must always compare our circumstances against the backdrop of the cross, where God clearly demonstrated His deep and abounding love for us once and for all.

We may not understand our current situation or how things will turn out eventually, but we can trust completely that Christ satisfied His unending love for us on that cross. In His death and resurrection, God forever convinced me (& I hope you) that He loves me always.

I choose to base my trust on what I KNOW—His love for me. I choose to trust that in time, possibly never while I am on this earth, He will help me understand the confusing circumstances I or others may be experiencing.

This is not to say that I blindly think that God has to give me account for the things that He does and allows. He absolutely does not and should not. But, He knows that we question things and He knows that we desire affirmation and He will help us understand the things that we are meant to understand.

So, why did I get ill? Well that’s simple, because that was His will. His will is perfect, therefore no matter what the outcome of my illness had been, it would have been a perfect outcome. For He is perfect.

He has loved me, uplifted me, kept me encouraged. What more could I ask for from the Creator of the universe? What more can I ask for then to simply have Him in my life?

He is my Sustainer, my Comforter, my Perfect Friend.

Blessings, Ashley

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The Trials of Life

And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.

James 5:15-16

I find myself in a neat, new place today. I’ve gone through a full range of emotions since I became ill. From anger, to frustration, to joy and excitement. I’ve asked God why this is happening, I’ve cried because of the pain. I’ve laughed at the names the kids have come up with for the illness and I’ve yelled at my husband for hovering too much.

The truth is: I feel terrible, infested with a disease that is shutting down many functions that I took for granted before this all started. My arms are weak, my legs give out on me, my head is throbbing, my body is riddled with the Lyme rash and my heart is beating far too fast

How many times I have picked up my little girl, kissed her cute little baby cheeks, and yet today, I cannot pick her up. Today I have to ask for assistance in caring for my sweet little miracle baby. My heart aches for her. My heart aches for all my children that I cannot even do things with because my arms are so weak that they often give out on me. Yet, somehow, surprisingly, I’m at peace.

I really shouldn’t say “somehow”, because I know unequivocally that it is by the grace of our unwavering God that I am at peace. To say things are falling down around me would seriously be an understatement. Since I became ill last week both of our vehicles have malfunctioned, possibly died on us. We have bills piling up around us; the medical bills for this illness have already skyrocketed to a few hundred dollars. Brian is unable to work long days because he has had to be home to care for the kids. And here I am, at home in the bed.

In prayer yesterday I found myself asking, “Okay God, what is it that you want me to see? What lesson can I learn from all of this?” The answer was simple, HIS WILL SHALL BE DONE.

I can have my life in perfect order, I can have our days planned out to the last second of the day, but if it is not His will, then everything will fall most certainly fall apart. And it should. Nothing in this life is worth living if He is not the reason we do everything.

I’ve found myself asking for help, something that makes me cringe. I hate going to people and asking for anything. But, this is a lesson I have learned. He works through His body, through the members that make up His body. I cannot begin to live this life without His body, and therefore I am having to rely on members of our Lord Jesus Christ to get me through this. I’ve had to ask for childcare help, prayers, and He has answered each request. He has shown me that He will not give up on me, He will not forsake me.

The last year has been the most amazing, eye opening year of my life. I have grown closer to our Lord and Savior each and every day. I have been willing to sacrifice things I never would have dreamed and it has been surprisingly easy. I have gained not only a Savior, a Redeemer, but my very best friend. He is my rock when I need strength, my fortress when my home is chaotic. And He will deliver me from the hole I have fallen into. I simply need to keep my faith and trust in Him.

This illness makes me think of Job. Job the faithful servant of God, one who was righteous yet tested. I will stand strong through these tests; I will not waver in my faith.

Lord, Father God, I need only you.

Blessings, Ashley