Friday, June 15, 2012

I am not a king, I am a princess!

          I am a woman of vision. I love planning and dreaming for the future. Anyone who is around me for more than a day will find this out very quickly. I love to see what could be, what projects might be possible, or what dreams could be dreamed that are bigger than I ever imagined.

           One thing I have found a love for recently is writing. It is an interesting expression of who someone is, what is in their hearts, and what is important to them. People typically do not spend hour after hour writing about something that does not inspire them, challenge them, spark creativity in them, or change them.

            I have been wanting a writing project recently, but have been unable to put my thumb on what ‘the project’ is…until now!

            Before I go any further, my inspiration for this next project is to write out the entire Bible, the written and inspired Word of God…by hand! (Which is small and pointless in the eyes of the world, but great, and a deep challenege to the heart of a believer)

            It sounds like a simple but overwhelming project, however, there is so much more that I have hopes for in doing this…I think it could very well change my life if I allow the Words to.

            Most of you who know me know that I am not a girly girl, but I do like to get dressed up every once in a while for special events: a first date, birthday celebrations, parties, events, and nights out on town. I remember one night when I truly felt like a princess.

            It was prom of 2008; my senior year of high school. I was wearing a red dress, strapless, with a sweetheart neck. It was glittered with gems and diamonds that caught the rays of light as I walked through a room. The jewels seemed to laugh as the light struck them, which made my heart smile because I felt like I was in turn just beaming. 
             I spent the afternoon with my best friend Elisabeth as my Auntie Karen did both of our hair. 
By the end of our preparation process, we looked like two roses, one coral and one red, who were ready to be picked and given to someone as an expression of love.
            I truly felt beautiful: I felt like a princess. I remember always dreaming of being in a gown and having a chance to walk down a set of stairs just to have everyone gasp. That night, I did. It was overwhelming. Elisabeth and I danced the night away with great friends and I cherished every moment at that bedazzled night.
            A lot of times, I can forget that I am a princess. I am a daughter of The King of Kings. So what does that make me? Yes, a princess. I feel so silly and girly saying that, but it is the very truth as a believer and a woman. Someday, a prince of The King of Kings will come sweep me off of my feet. But for now, I am already off of my feet swept into the arms of The One who will hold me forever; Christ, my eternal lover.
            This all leads up to a story I read in Deuteronomy 17:14-20. The passage says:

“14 When you enter into the land the Lord your God is giving you and have taken possession of it and settled in it, and you say, “Let us set a king over us like all the nations around us,” 15 be sure to appoint over you a king the Lord your God chooses. He must be from among your fellow Israelites. Do not place a foreigner over you, one who is not an Israelite. 16 The king, moreover, must not acquire great numbers of horses for himself or make the people return to Egypt to get more of them, for the Lord has told you, “You are not to go back that way again.” 17 He must not take many wives, or his heart will be led astray. He must not accumulate large amounts of silver and gold. 18 When he takes the throne of his kingdom, he is to write for himself on a scroll a copy of this law, taken from that of the Levitical priests. 19 It is to be with him, and he is to read it all the days of his life so that he may learn to revere the Lord his God and follow carefully all the words of this law and these decrees 20 and not consider himself better than his fellow Israelites and turn from the law to the right or to the left. Then he and his descendants will reign a long time over his kingdom Israel.”

            I read this and was stuck on verses 18-19. Let me lay them before you separately: “When he takes the throne of his kingdom, he is to write for himself on a scroll a copy of this law, taken from that of Levitical priests. It is to be with him, and he is to read it all the days of his life so that he may learn to revere the Lord his God and follow carefully all the words of this law and these decrees.”
              Wow. Right after a king would take his throne, he would have to write out the law, the commands of the Lord, completely and fully! Now, I have already said that I am a princess, and am an heir to the throne of God. So why should I not do this? I realize that I am a woman and incapable of being a king for obvious reasons…but I am a princess. Should not I write out the entire Bible too? Not
because I have to, but because I love The King of Kings and because of the reasons on verse 19: (1) so 
that I may learn to revere the Lord and to (2) follow carefully all the words of the Lord.
            I know that I do not have to do this project because as an American Christian, I have Bibles all 
over the place. I am not needing a Bible to read because I do not have one available: I have more than 
enough Bibles to read.  I am able and blessed to read the word of God daily without persecution. 
However, I do want to learn more of  what it means to revere the Lord as I open the word of God and 
dive into it deeper and deeper and I do want to follow the commands of the Lord all the days of my life. 
Therefore I will take this challenge and accept it with great understanding that this will be long, it will 
be a lot of dedication and work, but I will know Gods word better and I will have physically hand 
written out the entire Word of God. If it brings me closer to knowing the Lord, I will do it.
              I have made a goal to finish it in a year and a half which is a long time, but I have begun! I 
have started in the book of Amos, since that is where my Pastor will be starting a new series in this
coming Sunday called 'Roaring like a Lion!' I know that it is going to be powerful. I am only 4 chapters
into writing out Amos and already the Lord has spoken so powerfully through the writing of His very
inspired words. Who said that I have to write out the Bible starting in Genesis anyways?!
          Therefore, as someone who sees writing in here future, I needed a first writing project to start it off. Now I know that it is my only option to 
have the first book I write out be the entire Word of God. That is the greatest work ever written and to 
be able to write it out completely would be humbling, it would be an honor, and I pray that it would 
draw me into a deeper relationship with my Father, my King! May whatever I write after this project be in line and conformed by the very words I write from His Word in this next year and a half!
            What challenege will you accept today to draw nearer to the Lord? Do not wait to start growing deeper in the most intimate relationship that you can ever have until tomorrow. Start today. Maybe you will join me in writing out the entire Word of the Lord by hand too! Why not?


Wednesday, March 28, 2012


Sometimes, being a girl is tough. Other times, being a Liberty student is tougher. One of my best friends Sally and I met up for coffee the other night at The White Hart. This little coffee shop has attracted a very specific group of people and I can smell the home brewed coffee beans as I step through the doors that I always forget push open, not the ones that you pull. The record player records sold at the front always bring me back a few years and it wells up a longing in my heart to curl up with a book that has real pages, not a nook or a kindle that smells of plastic and technology. White umbrellas hang from the ceiling creating an atmosphere that is warm and gentle; there is no rush and the world slows down just a tad more than usual.

            This is where I cherish long talks with friends, and where Sally and I met last Thursday to have a date. She has just taken a trip across the world down to Trinidad to work with the Trini people there to perform nursing clinics. I was ecstatic to hear about all that the Lord did in and through her in Trinidad, but also all the ways that He spoke sweetly to her heart through her time there. We began our conversation inside, but since the weather has been so sporadic, The White Hart had not yet found the temperature to keep the building at. We were boiling up and became really uncomfortably warm. We decided to take our conversation to the back porch where we could chat under the stars with small light bulbs strung around us revealing just enough light to see each others faces. There were only two others outside on the deck working away quietly on their laptops while our words spilled over their typing and our laughter drowned out the sound of the cars going by in the distance.
            As we were sharing thoughts of post-graduation, and our plans for next year, a man came walking by us and stopped to talk. He began asking little ‘here and there’ questions, nothing of great significance, mere small talk. Then he started talking about his life, what he thought of Lynchburg, and who he was. I then asked him a question that I thought, or that I had hoped, I knew the answer to. I was terribly mistaken.
            “What do you think of Liberty students?” I asked.
            (Head shake) “They are ignorant. They sit behind their fancy laptops and talk only to each other. They do not care about me.”

            I sat for a moment. The students of the largest Christian University in the world, the students who are ‘Champions for Christ, the students who are studying to go out and make disciples of all nations: these students are the ones called ignorant?! Have they, we, forgotten that America is a nation-a very broken nation?
            My heart ached in that moment.
            The man who had been talking to us, Greg, then began to talk about his family who still lives in California. He talked of how his family had shunned him, how his father had passed away many years ago in the Navy, how he loves working with people in hospitals and about his time as a CNA.
            I then asked him another question that I thought I knew the answer to.
            “Who do you consider family then here in Lynchburg?”
            Greg answered, “Well, I am still searching. You girls are really nice and I really enjoy talking to you. I suppose you are family. No one else stops to talk to me.”
            Again, I just sat there, unsure of how to respond, unsure of how to comprehend his response. There I sat, in a coffee shop in Lynchburg, VA, with a man searching for meaning in life right in front of me. I did not have to leave the country, the state, or even the town that I am in right now to do missions. There was a broken heart sitting right in front of me.
            However, he did not want to hear the gospel. He told me that he had had too many Liberty students talk to him ignorantly about the gospel before they even got to know him. He just wanted to be known and to be loved. Doesn’t every human being though?
            I dearly love Liberty and everything it has taught me, but my heart also desires to see every heart know the love of Christ, to know the transforming power of the gospel, to have hope in this life and security in where they will spend eternity. Knowing and believing and loving Christ is eternity and that is what my heart beats to share with everyone.
            So, The White Hart is a coffee shop nestled in the heart of downtown Lynchburg, but its people are nestled deep into the lies that this life is all there is, the lie that there is no love, no truth, no hope.
            Who will share with them?
            Who will close their laptop, stop what they are doing, and have a conversation with the people right here in Lynchburg?
            ‘Your Great Name’ by Natalie Grant just came through my headphones, and that song perfectly encompasses all of my emotions.
            Lost are saved. Find their way. At the sound of your great name. Hungry souls. Receive grace. At the sound of your great name….and it goes on and on and on.
            Worthy is the lamb that was slain for us.
            Son of God and man you are high and lifted up.
            And ALL the world will praise your great name.
            After leaving Greg that night, I sat with Sal in her car and I looked at her and said “Your mission trip has been extended.” She showed off that sweet smile of hers and I could see her heart smiling in the fact that the Lord has work for her to do here.
            My challenge: Drop your to-do list, shut your laptop, and love people through divine interruptions from the Lord. We can never plan for ministry-it is all around us. Simply look at people today and love them, just like Christ did. He is a beautiful example.

Matthew 9:36
“When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd.”

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


During these last three days, I have had the chance to meet and have dates with three of my girl-friends who I have not caught up with in a while. Two of these women are engaged to be married this year and one of them is deeply in love with an incredible man of God...of whom I greatly approve of. :) Each of these girls has a beautiful heart that is set solely on the Lord and the passions he has revealed to them in the quiet moments spent alone with the Lord.

They have inspired my heart greatly during this season of my life when the learning in college, working at a shoe store downtown, and just making it by with finances can seem so frivolous...or is it really that frivolous? Even these quiet moments right now as I type and sip my chai tea as I look out at the window-framed scene of college students walking across campus going about their moment by moment activities I must cherish and learn from. It is these moments, these conversations with friends, these times when I get into my car and sing the whole way to work, come back to school and read a textbook about Human Geography, go to bed, and then wake in the morning again to start a whole new 'today' all over again, that make up my life.

One thing that I love about each of the women who I met with these last few days is that each of them has reminded me that love is the greatest gift I could offer anyone. I can only pray that I notice people today, not the to-do list that I have. Jesus was the greatest example of stopping and giving love, even when it meant giving up time for Himself:

"The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to him all they had done and taught. Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, 'Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.' So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place. But many who saw them leaving recognized them and ran on foot from all the towns and got there ahead of them. When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things..." (Mark 6:30-34)

I think I am still trying to wrap my mind around the fact that each person that I meet and encounter each and every day, whether it be at school, work downtown, or even my own home, has a unique story of love, tears, joys, pains, hurts, fears, and let downs. I desire to look on people with compassion as Jesus did, and then give love to them by giving of my time, or whatever it may be. 

A friend once told me that he thinks that when Jesus looks at people, He sees souls with bodies, whereas we see bodies with souls. I just pray that I can see everyone I meet today as a soul with just an earthly body. Jesus saw the hearts... 

Be inspired today, and just love.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

He holds my world in His hands.

No, it is not yours to open buds into blossom.
Shake the bud, strike it, 
it is beyond your power to make it blossom.
Your touch spoils it.
You tear its petals to pieces
and strew them in the dust, 
But no colors appear and no perfume.
Oh, it is not for you to open the bud into blossom.
He who can open the bud does it so simply.
He gives it a glance and the life sap stirs through its veins.
At his breath the flower spreads its wings 
and flutters in the wind.
Colors flash out like heart longing, 
the perfume betrays a sweet secret.
He who can open the bud does it so simply.
-Indian poet, Tagore.

Sometimes, life can seem so complicated, so hard to sift through, and just like we are breaking everything we touch...well, alot of times we are. We so often try to put more power into our own hands than we really have. The Lords hands are gentle and His voice is sweet. His aroma overwhelms in the secret time spent with Him. His eyes capture the depths of hearts and His love has secured eternity in the  life, death, burial, and resurrection of Christ.

In the book of Job, God takes Job on a 'tour of creation' and asks Job 
"Have you ever given orders to the morning, or shown the dawn its place?" (Job 38:12). Well, if God were to ask me that, the only response I could give is 'I would have NO idea where to begin!'

Even if I tried, I could not raise the sun in the morning, I could not bring a flower to blossom with my breath or the touch of my hand. That is out of my control...but it is in complete control of the one who holds my world in His hands.


Sunday, January 1, 2012

Vulnerable & Weak.

I am real person. I have fears and weaknesses and am vulnerable. That is not easy to admit, but I do. There are days when I feel lonely and like I am doing life all by myself. I have a feeling I am not the only one...

After finishing one book that was on my list for break, I picked up my second. The first few pages of the 'Ragamuffin Gospel" by Brennan Manning were without a doubt written for Ashley Margaret on January 1st 2012!

"And grace calls you out: you are not just a disillusioned old man who may die soon, a middle-aged woman stuck in a job and desperately wanting to get out, a young person feeling the fire in the belly begin to grow cold. You may be insecure, inadequate, mistaken, or potbellied. Death, panic, depression and disillusionment may be near you. But you are not just that. You are accepted. Never confuse your perception of yourself with the mystery that you are really accepted. Paul writes: 'The Lord said, my grace is enough for you: my power is at its best in weakness. So I shall be very happy to make my weaknesses my special boast so that the power of Christ may stay over me' (2 Corinthians 12:9). Whatever our failings may be, we need not lower our eyes in the presence of Jesus. Unlike Quasimodo, the hunchback of Notre Dame, we need not hide all that is ugly and repulsive in us. Jesus comes not for the super-spiritual but for the wobbly and weak-kneed who know they don't have it all together, and who are not too proud to accept the handout of amazin' grace. As we glance up, we are astonished to find the eyes of Jesus open with wonder, deep with understanding, and gentle with compassion."
Sometimes, embracing our vulnerability and weakness gives God the most room to work in and through us so others see Him. Just look what He can do when He has the entire sky to paint! I know that He can handle me.

Thanks Brennan Manning.