Saturday, April 9, 2011

me and jesus

(okay - so i kind of stole this off a friends blog - but as i was reading it, it struck a note in my heart and made me start thinking.... )

what would it be like if i did everything to show love to someone that i knew would think it was the best?

does that make sense at all?

my friend told this story - she was making dinner - a new recipe - for about 30 people... and while she was making it she kept thinking about how excited she was to make it for her husband because she knew that he would love it, and tell her how awesome it was... she didn't really care about what the other 29 people who would be eating it thought, she only cared about what her husband would think of it... and then she heard jesus ask - "what if that's what it was like between me and you?" she went on to talk about how she would speak the truth in love without worrying what the other person thought and other things like that... and it got me thinking - what would that look like in MY life... what would it look like for me to do stuff for jesus and not worry about what anyone else thinks - to be excited about doing things that i know he'd love...

i would (as my friend would) talk the truth in love without worrying wether i sounded too "churchy" or too "spiritual"

i would tell truth - even if it hurt.

i wouldn't waste my time as much... when i'm helping others, or doing something for someone else, it's amazing how much my procrastination disappears.

i would spend more time with him. (there's the kicker - the reason this pulled on my heart)

do i even know who jesus is? have i spent enough time with him to call him my friend? do i know his character? or do i just know "about" him?

we just did an intro discussion in my interpersonal communications class (which i'm taking online - ironic hey?) and one of the latter question was - did this help you to feel like you knew your classmates more and feel like you weren't alone ? everyone was all "yeah, i feel like i know these people", "i learned so much - made a connection with my group"  - and to me, i felt like i knew about these people (the things they liked, what they did, where they lived, why they were in the class) but i had no idea who they were... something you really only get a grasp of over time. one of my favorite things to do is drink beer, smoke hooka, and sit around a fire and talk - if i were to tell a stranger that they could come up with some very wrong assumptions of who i am... is that what i've done with jesus?

i don't know the answer yet - i know i havn't spent near enough time just hanging out with jesus - but i also know that i'm not completely lost on who he is... but still - there's a lot to think about... get my brain a churning...

well - that's something to sleep on.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

the first day...

Well - my thoughts from the last post are still floating around my head - how can i run more after jesus? how can i live my life better - to be more of a Godly woman... how can i be more real, vulnerable, and authentic to my world... and how can i show people jesus more....

easy right?

whatever :) but, one thing that i know i need to do is to get into better shape. My desire is to do adventure ministry - going on backpacking trips, rock climbing, rafting, ropes courses...whatever the case may be - in that industry to be well respected as a leader you need to be in pretty good shape and you DEFINITELY need to be able to do whatever you're asking the people you're with to do - and better than them.... just as a safety thing, if nothing else. But that's part of leadership too - you can't ask people to do something you're not willing or able to do yourself. That's not good leadership - at least i don't think so...

so - i've kind of turned our garage into my own person torture chamber - uh, i mean gym. We have a punching bag (zebra print! awesome!) and i got a set of lil hand weights and some push up bars, i got a cinder block that i can do calf raises on and a whole bunch of old moving boxes on the ground so that i can workout barefoot - i just like it better. Since we moved in and put the punching bag up i've spent a lot of time out there, but it's gone in phases... a couple weeks has been the longest i've stuck with exercising on a regular basis. it's usually two or three days worth of getting bottled up energy out and then i kinda fizzle out as life gets busy again...

well - that's gonna change. I need more self-discipline and commitment. things that are hard to learn in your 20's - and i'm sure it's hard for everyone, but i feel like i have a steeper hill to climb since i grew up never being taught disciple or commitment. I was taught that i wasn't able to commit to anything and i would never be able to follow through on anything - so i was never given any responsibilities so i could try and learn. SO, here i am, 24.5 trying to teach myself commitment, responsibility, and follow through...

So anyhow, there's this commando workout that i've been reading about for a while now. i keep going back to it everytime i get excited and want to start getting in shape... blah blah blah - i've never done it... i've tried a few times, gotten a few rep's into it and then decided i was tired and quit. well tonight i completed the stupid thing the whole way through (minus the running part at the end - cause a. i can't run still on my foot and b. it was after dark and my neighborhood is kinda sketch).

it was hard. i wanted to quit. but i just kept going. i kept myself thinking about the bigger picture. being who God created me to be. being able to do something with the desire of my heart instead of having to sit around and be restless wishing i could be out doing awesome things...

tomorrow is going to be a rough start - i can tell already. but i'm excited, it's worth it, i hope that this time i'll actually be able to follow through. So, maybe ask me how it's going - shoot me some encouragement, or some advice on how to keep going when it gets hard. that would be cool - small reminds to know i'm not alone - even on what seems to be a silly little journey... it's nice to know there's others fighting with me.


Sunday, April 3, 2011

to live a life worthy...

last night as i wrote my blog i was shocked and surprised at the tears that burned my eyes as i wrote about the memory i had from Tony and Laura's memorial service... then it hit me. April 5th (tuesday) marks 2 years.

2 years ago today i was down in texas visiting rob and carolyne and had no clue that my life was about to be changed forever. I was stuck in texas while my family in Oregon was hurting - grieving the loss of two friends, siblings, spouses, children, and a father.

Today i sit in my room and try to hold back the tears as thoughts bounce around in my head - i wasn't BFF's with them, i barely knew Tony, why is this still so hard, so that's why this last summer was so hard, how could this have happened, i wonder how bobby is, i miss them so much, i just want to give rebecca a big hug, i never want to go to that spot - the thoughts just keep coming.

As i went to bed last night with tears running onto my pillow my heart was heavy. And yet - like i talked about yesterday, there was a peace - and something more.

When i woke up, my heart was still heavy, i fumbled my way through the morning after sleeping through my alarm and made my way to church. I actually got to go to service today and Del's sermon was about living a story worth buying into. What kind of story am i living? Is it what the Lord is calling me to - or is it boring and dry? What about Tony and Laura's story caused it to be such a HUGE deal to me? How can i live a life to honor them? What do i need to change? Could i live a story worth buying into - or will i forever live a boring story?

As i sat in service the tears welled up inside my heart again - and so did the peace - and that other feeling... it's like a fire burning on the inside... small and trembling, but i could feel it building and getting ready to explode. But for what? As i sat and listened to Del - memories of Tony and Laura kept flashing in my brain and the fire inside me kept growing. I was challenged by Laura and Tony's lives cause they both lived a story worth buying into. They lived a life that oozed jesus. It was exciting, raw, humble, and beautiful. I started thinking about Laura - the things i knew of her and the things that were said about her at the memorial.

I want to be like Laura. a gentle spirit that has the strength of a lion - loves truth and runs to Jesus - fights for others and doesn't back down when life get's hard - rooted in scripture and founded in Love. When she walked into a room everyone knew there was something different about her - she was real - completely content with who she was - humble - and had an impact on everybody that she did life with - her and Tony truly lived each day as if it were their last.

Here's where some people would start jumping in and saying - "Ashley, you can't base your life off people, you need to strive to be like Jesus - you need to base your life off Jesus - you can't make choices off of someone here on earth... that's silly".  Yeah, i know that... and that's not what this is about - but it is about seeing someone who seemed to have gotten it. even just a little bit more than i do - and using that example to become more like Christ. Its like reading Rob Bell's new book and being challenged by that - but this is a friend, a normal girl - not some super star pastor that everyone knows.

There's something stirring inside my heart - something challenging me to grow and become a better person - to look up to Laura - as a hero, if you will - as a little bit of Jesus (with flesh on). Laura and Tony only lived a short time - but they impacted more lives in the short time they were here than more people do with a full long life - and they continue to shape lives from Heaven. now that's something.

*We all miss you - and Love you so much. Have fun with Jesus. Thanks for being such an inspiration and living your lives to the fullest.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

hallmark is kryptonite

I just spent a couple days up in PDX visiting some great friends. it was an amazing weekend - in so many ways - and a very emotional weeekend - in so many ways. which seems to be the story of my life right now ... awesome and hard and emotional - all wrapped up in a nice crispy burrito. uh - not sure about the burrito - but the rest of it. :)

i got to hang out with a friend that i have a very sweet friendship with. It's a friendship based in truth and authenticity and love. we hang out - and in the same breath can be talking about heart breaking/gut wrenching things going on and bring tears from laughing so hard... i cherish that friendship and the growth it has brought me. (so that was the amazing part - here comes the emotional part) that friend in moving to alaska in T-minus 74-ish days. Bummer. The story of why she's going to alaska is amazing - and i'm so freakin stoked for her and all the adventures she'll have (and for another reason to visit AK) but it is still heart breaking news (selfishly) for me.

Today i went to a baby shower for a friend that was told repeatedly she wouldn't be able to have kids - and after multiple miscarriages - is now pregnant with twins! such an amazing time to go see her little preggo belly and get to see her beaming with joy. i'm so excited for her and her little family.

After the shower me and a friend went up to Paradise (Agape) cause i needed to make a list of stuff we need to make some upgrades.... A, it snowed like crazy up there... and i was wearing chaco's.... B, i fell in love with that place once again. Every time i go up there it stirs my heart to long for more... more growth, more challenge, more freedom, more jesus, more truth... it's one of few safe places for me - (that was the awesome part - here comes the emotional part) because i got a job (another awesome part) working at a church in salem - i had to step down from being the lead on the challenge course up there... my time up at paradise this year is going to be limited to about 4 days. Bummer.

So as i sit here thinking through the last couple days my heart feels like an emotional roller coaster. And yet somehow - i'm completely content.

I don't understand this at all, but somehow there is a very sweet and very cherished relationship between deep pain and deep peace. I can be crushed in spirit and alive in hope all at the same exact time... EXACT SAME TIME... there's not a switch - simultaneous bi-polar emotional health.  i think that's what i'm going to call it. :)

Today while i was driving out to sandy to pick up my friend i had a surreal experience. I was driving out 26 and i came around the first corner before you start on the straight away towards Good Shepherd.... and i could see the quarter mile of flashing police lights that had once lit up that stretch of road - a family giving the highest honors to a dear friend. Monday will be the 2 year anniversary of 2 friend going to see Jesus. As i drove out 26 today my heart sank as i remembered their lives - the strength, passion, and true joy that oozed from them as they lived their lives... my eyes teared up as my heart started beating faster and i thanked my papa for giving me the chance to know them and be a part of their lives - to have learned from them, to have been priveledged to experience life with them, and look up to them...  i was crushed and thankful at the same time...

This "simultaneous bi-polar emotional health" is so sweet. Cherish it. don't fight it. sit in the uncomfortable feelings of pain and joy - and let Jesus come wrap you up in his arms... holding you tight and safe...

i use to feel weak when i felt anything - and was scared when my emotions were so conflicted. sometimes those lies pop up still... but i'm learning that there is strength in being weak. there is strength in being able to be broken in spirit and find joy and peace in the Spirit. The more i feel, the more i'm letting jesus into my life, the weaker i'm becoming, and the stronger Jesus is becoming in me... Jesus oozes out of my pours while i sit in the uncomfortable question provoking feelings of my conflicted soul. And now - instead of running from these moments - i'm going to cherish them... and let my papa wrap me up in His arms.