My Family

My Family

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Find You Here : A Birthday Reflection

      Last year on my 30th birthday  after a long family fun day at Sea World, I tucked in my sweet boys, kissed my husband goodnight and journaled about how I looked forward to my 30's. I wasn't upset or dreading that birthday like some friends of mine. However I embraced my 30's because I looked with expectation that this decade would be one of stability, security and self discovery. I had hoped that the constant identity shifts, seasons of suffering, discouragement and uncertainty of my 20's were things of the past. Little did I know that my first year in my 30's would actually be the complete antithesis of what I had hoped for and journaled about. In fact this was the most uncertain and most unstable year of my life.
31st Birthday with Jude and Luke

    As I turned 31 yesterday, I looked back in reflection upon what this last year held for me. It wasn't pretty. In fact most days I still wake up pinching myself to see if this is real life, just hoping that this nightmare that I have been living isn't true. This year was supposed to be the beginning of something great, a fresh start to a new decade of life. My 30th year started out alright. In fact last fall, I was getting all kinds of inspired and feeling like I may have finally found my voice. I was dreaming dreams once again and laying out action plans on how to pursue them. I was filled with hope and expectation that was building and turning into something exciting. Until life came and hit me like a ton of bricks. It was all too familiar to me. I had once been running after vivid dreams and beautiful ministry only to be stopped dead in my tracks. In 2012, life crashed down on me and I lost nearly all of what I had been striving for and putting so much energy into. One minute I have great purpose and identity, and most literally the next minute its all taken away. Here I was in 2016 experiencing those exact same feelings and emotions in a completely different scenario. Different story yet very similar outcomes. How did I go from being a pastor's wife, with a beautiful family and thriving ministries to a single mom with no income, no ministry with a bleak future living 1000 miles away from the life I had been building ? Those birthday expectations and hopes for stability and peace went out the window real quick last December.

       This year has been as heartbreaking as they come. Yes, I have experienced suffering before, but this was something different. Nothing can prepare you for pain inflicted on you from the person who you thought loved you the most. Its a new kind of ache, desperation and confusion. However it just cant be for nothing right? There has to be hope. There has to be redemption. There has to be more to this story. Rebekah Lyons says " It's not your story of struggle, but His story of rescue." This is where I try to land most days. On those days when all I want to do is pity myself and focus on all the hardships that have come my way, I must remind myself that it's not about me. There's a much bigger picture here. God is always at work, and even when I cannot see his face or hear his voice, I trust that he is a God who makes beauty from ashes and redeems the impossible. I trust that he is a God who cares for me and fights for me. I trust that He is a God who hears me and isn't intimidated by my questions, doubts and outbursts of raw emotion.
Thanksgiving Week 2016- Our Last family photo

      The truth is that all of us can relate to broken dreams and shattered expectations. Most of us have had hope that for some reason or another has been snuffed out. Its hard to understand why things turn out the way they do. I wish I had all the answers for what to do when life takes an unexpected turn in the direction that you feared the most, but I don't. The older I get, the more I understand just how much I don't know. I keep waiting for all that wisdom to kick in. I'll let you know if it ever does.

In January, I was introduced to Ellie Holcomb's album "The Red Sea Road".  Its been 6 months and I literally listen to this album every single night as I go to sleep. This song "Find You Here" has become my anthem for this season of life. There are so many nights when I cannot see his face or hear his voice, when I question his kindness and goodness. There's a line that says " I find you here - here When the healing hasn't happened yet"" Truly, I am still smack dab in the middle of this trial. My healing has yet to come and the wounds are fresh. There has been no resolution. Redemption and beauty has yet to come.   So then what are my expectations for Year 31? I should know better than to expect the physical blessings of safety, security, and worldly riches. We are never guaranteed those, just ask my refugee friends!  But lets be real here, I do hope for better things and a more peaceful year. I hope for joy and it wouldn't hurt to have a bit more certainty in my life. So what do I do? I must learn to focus on relationship over results. No matter how I feel or what circumstances come my way in my 31st year of life, I CAN expect that God will be there. He has always and will always show up when those darkest moments of life creep in. In those moments when I call out saying I can't hang on anymore, I am literally so done". He is there whispering to me, "I got you beloved. I will take care of you and work this out for your good. I hear your cries and know your pain. You can let go because I am holding on to you, not the other way around." Now I just need to listen and trust. Easier said than done!

Find You Here- Ellie Holcomb"
t's not the news that any of us hoped that we would hear
It's not the road we would have chosen, no
The only thing that we can see is darkness up ahead
But You're asking us to lay our worry down and sing a song instead

And I didn't know I'd find You here
In the middle of my deepest fear, but
You are drawing near
You are overwhelming me, with peace
So I'll lift my voice and sing
You're gonna carry us through everything
You are drawing near
You're overwhelming all my fears, with peace

You say that I should come to You with everything I need
You're asking me to thank You even when the pain is deep
You promise that You'll come and meet us on the road ahead
And no matter what the fear says, You give me a reason to be glad

And I didn't know I'd find You here
In the middle of my deepest fear, but
You are drawing near
You are overwhelming me, with peace
So I'll lift my voice and sing
You're gonna carry me through everything
You are drawing near
You're overwhelming all my fear

Here in the middle of the lonely night
Here in the middle of the losing fight, You're
Here in the middle of the deep regret
Here when the healing hasn't happened yet
Here in the middle of the desert place
Here in the middle when I cannot see Your face
Here in the middle with Your outstretched arms
You can see my pain and it breaks Your heart

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing Ashley! Even though we haven't connected in a while, please know that I think of you and pray for you often. You are not forgotten!