Wednesday, August 28, 2013

I'm Going to the Influence Conference!

Y'all...I am so pumped. I got my ticket when they were first available but now it's starting to really hit me - in a month I will be at the Influence Conference in Indianapolis! Ahhh!


InfluenceConf


"If you’ve ever wondered how or why the Lord was going to use you in your home, work, community, or online – Influence is a fantastic place to connect and learn. We believe that God has given you influence right where you are, for one purpose: to make much of Him. At Influence we’re going to dig into the common thread of all of us – the Good News. We plan on doing a little teaching, talking, sharing, and celebrating concerning the ways He might want to use you on the individual platforms He’s given."

I remember seeing all of the posts and pictures from last year's conference and wondering what it was and if it was something I should look into. My blog friend (soon to be real life friend/roommate!) Megan told me that she is going this year which inspired me to join The Influence Network to see what it's all about.

And this is where I have to admit something...looking at the message boards and visiting the members' blogs, I felt overwhelmed and unsure. Everyone seemed so IN YO FACE or something. There was so much Tweeting. So many relationships already formed. So much....Jesus talk. 

I know I make that sound like a bad thing, but I'm an introvert for real. Very much an introvert. (We'll expound upon that at a later date.) This network with all these passionate ladies constantly communicating with one another can be intimidating. 

But the awesome thing is that we share a common bond: sisterhood in Christ. True desire to make much of Jesus and share His love with others. Passion for the gospel.

So although I have yet to actually post in the forums or really make my presence known in the network, I am so in. And I am going to the conference. And I am nervous/excited/overjoyed/thankful. And so ready to meet people who I've been stalking on the interwebz forever! Ahh!

There is still time to get your ticket. Go explore the site and pray about it. And by all means LET ME KNOW if you're going! I want to get to know as many attendees as possible online before seeing all of the beautiful faces there. :)


Ashley

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Feeling Inadequate.


I'm leading a small women's retreat this weekend. 

It feels weird to even type that out. My friend Brittany (who played basketball for me and was my assistant coach with JV) is a senior at NC State University and president of the Christian sorority there. They have a retreat for their executive board at the beginning of each school year right before they welcome their new members.

Brittany asked me to lead it and my first thought was - wait, how old am I? She's 21...am I not just 22 still? No? 25? Really? Well then.

(I'm stuck at 22 in my head. I don't know when that feeling will go away. I'll keep you posted.)

My second thought was yay! Another awesome opportunity! Thank You, Lord! So I responded with a "yes!" after I talked to Jordan of course and received his encouragement.

Then came my third thought....what in the WORLD am I doing?
And I had a mental panic attack. A huge sense of inadequacy. I tried to think of all the reasons I'm qualified to do this: I just worked at camps with girls that age, I've led multiple Bible studies, it's not that big of a group, I help Jordan lead our youth group, I've coached girls for years, blah blah blah. Didn't help.

Because guess what? None of that matters! 

I'm feeling inadequate because I AM inadequate.

The awesome thing is that I serve a Savior who is absolutely, completely beyond adequate. I will never be fully prepared or feel "worthy" to teach His Word to others. I fail Him daily. But He showers me with grace

I claim this amazing passage of Scripture:

 "And He said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong."
2 Corinthians 12:9-10

You know how people always say, "God will never give you more than you can handle." 

That statement is misleading and NOT accurate. It is commonly taken from 1 Corinthians 10:13 where God promises us we will not be tempted beyond what we are able to withstand - there is always a way of escape from temptation.

God will and has absolutely given me more than I can handle many, many times. 

Things that have brought me to my knees or even to my face on the ground crying with no words. No way to humanly express the hurt, the pain, the frustration other than just repeating over and over, "I can't. I just can't."

Because I truly can't handle it as a broken, sinful human. But...JESUS can. The HOLY SPIRIT can. 

God will never give me more than HE can handle.

God will never assign me a task that He won't equip me to do for His glory. Through His strength. Since I have been redeemed and have surrendered my life to Christ, I have the power of the Holy Spirit in me! Ahhh! That brokenness and sinfulness has been replaced with Jesus' power and righteousness.

Just thinking about that makes me want to jump for joy! I have seen it proven over and over. So that's the promise I rest in every day. He must increase, I must decrease. (John 3:30)

"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." - Philippians 4:13 (I bet you've heard that one before.)

I still struggle with inadequacy (obviously) but that's the wonderful thing about having a relationship with God. I can read His Word and be reminded of His promises to me. I can pour my heart out to Him and be comforted, knowing I have the peace that passes all understanding. (Philippians 4:7) I can talk to other older, wiser believers about it. I can look at godly examples and see that they struggle with the same thing and look to Jesus as their strength.

I love how Beth Moore literally gets on her knees and prays, giving her sessions to the Lord right before she speaks. You better believe that's what I'll be doing this weekend!



*Disclaimer - that is a cardboard cutout of Beth Moore. At her conference. Haha.*

Ashley

Monday, August 19, 2013

30 Years and Going Strong!

Last week my parents celebrated their 30th wedding anniversary!

The lovebirds in 1983:

She had just turned 19, he was 21 (almost 22).

Doesn't my mom look like a Native American princess?? :) And that veil is the one I wore in our wedding! Minus the lovely headband, haha.

And now in 2013:

I know - they are extremely good looking. :) 

The best part is that they are still completely IN LOOOOVE. 

I'm so grateful for their commitment to each other and how they keep their relationship fresh after 30 years. Even through changes and struggles they have continued to show each other love and respect and stay centered on Christ. What an amazing example to me!

Some things I really appreciate about their marriage:
  • They are constantly laughing together and teasing each other.
  • They can disagree without raising their voices or losing their tempers.
  • They have a weekly date night to Moe's.
  • They share in each other's interests - my mom watches baseball with Dad and he joins her in antique stores.
  • They have kept their relationship strong regardless of whether there are kids living at home or not.
  • I've watched them go through some REALLY tough stuff and stay united through God's strength.
  • They are so good to me and Jordan - always ready to help but not too overbearing.
  • Mom is extremely attentive to Dad's needs/wants, especially after a long day of work.
  • Dad treats Mom lovingly even when he's tired or stressed out.
  • They are still affectionate and lovey-dovey.
  • They take time to hang out with their friends but put each other first.
  • They love the Lord and are prayer warriors!
I could go on and on and not express my thankfulness for my parents' marriage enough. I have been amazingly blessed by them and their example. Jordan and I both have incredible examples of Christ-like love when we look at our parents' marriages. Praise the Lord for that! 



Ashley


Sunday, August 4, 2013

The Camp Collector

I'm blogging from my phone. At camp. Because it's been WAY TOO LONG. 

I've been a counselor at Mountain Top Youth Camp for a week, then went to the  beach for a week, and now I'm in Michigan at Bair Lake Bible Camp for a week! Ahhh!

My brother called me "The Camp Collector" in a freaky death voice. It's only been two but has seemed crazy because I decided to go to Michigan the week before. And I'm leading a small retreat Labor Day weekend so it's just all mushing together. But I love it. 

What I don't love is being away from Jordan - I miss him all day all night 24/7.  But he is so sweet to want me to go while I can and when the Lord has presented these opportunities! 

I'm so thankful to be here and already had one of the BEST weeks of my life at MTYC. I have no doubt this one will be awesome too. Thank you to those who are praying for me and the campers and staff!

Here's me with my aunt, honorary aunt, and cousin at Bair Lake. 


And I'm definitely not in North Carolina anymore! Pop?! And I couldn't get grits at breakfast this morning! Weirdness. 


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