Letter To A Broken Heart

Hey Friends,

So, a good friend of mines, who I care for dearly, even though we have never met in person, is suffering from heartbreak. This pain is so familiar to me and I’m sure to you as well. There are very few people, if any, walking this planet who hasn’t experienced a broken heart. Whether it was from a breakup, betrayal, or even loss of a loved one (literally or figuratively).

Heartbreak has been known to claims lives. According to the American Heart Association, Broken Heart Syndrome can resemble symptoms that of a heart attack due to stress-induced cardiomyopathy aka a broken heart.

Personally, the last time my heart was broken, it felt like death had both of his hands wrapped around my heart, squeezing so hard that every breath that I took was unbearable. Every tear that ran down my face was that of physical and emotional twinge. I begged for relief, at one point, even hoped for death to finally claim the pieces of what was left of what used to pump life throughout my limp, lifeless body.

As my friend described her pain, I couldn’t help but be reminded of my own grief. I felt helpless on how to tell her ways to overcome such horrific agony. Honestly, I barely remember how I made it through myself.

Then, I prayed and asked God to reveal to me the right words to say which prompted tonight’s post.

My Dear Friend,

I know that you are hurting right now. The pain that you feel is unbearable. It feels as though life cannot possibly go on for one more minute of agony surrounding your mind. I do not have the answers that you seek, nor the cure for your discomfort, but one thing is for sure. The love that Jesus has for you will get you through this difficult time. Our Creator designed us to have needs and wants. He has designed us to love and take care of one another and you were betrayed by a person who promised they would protect you. There is only one person who can fulfill your need and desire for unconditional love, Yahweh. Even saying his name…Yahweh, allows you to create a new breath with every letter.

He created your needs and wants to match up with his. Your desire to be loved lines up perfectly with his need and desire to love you like your hand fitting into a glove. It is natural to try to find our desires here on earth in things and people other than God. So, it is not your fault. Please forgive yourself, friend. No one saw this coming, including you. But you know who did? Jesus! He knew that the world would break your heart. That is why is he waiting with his arms open wide, awaiting you to climb into his lap like an infant so he can comfort you that way a Father should comfort their child.

God promises that he will satisfy all of our needs and wants, including our need and want to be loved. He also promised to never break your heart as the world has. We will never be fully satisfied here on earth because the earth is not our permanent home. His kingdom is. We will find contentment for which we were created when we let our desires become fulfilled by him, and him alone. During times of suffering, he says, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” (2 Cor. 12:9). Take this opportunity to draw closer to him. He is waiting for you, friend. I promise he will give you more love and joy that this world has to offer. His word says, So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor. Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.” (1 Peter 5:6-7). 

I love you so much, sis. I will continue to pray that the Lord makes every day easier to bear. Until then, know that I and our Abba Father are here for you.

Sincerely,

Ashley

If you are experiencing heartache, this letter applies to you also. Please know that I am here for you. You can email me, and I will be more than happy to pray for you and try to give you the best advice that I possibly can without judgment. I do not have all of the answers, but I know who does. Jesus and I are tight like size 2 underwear on a size 20 bear.

 

Love you guys with all my heart. Stay safe!

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“…but God, I Don’t Wanna!”

Hey Friends,

It is becoming abundantly clear that I whine to God…a lot. Not just a little, but way too much for my comfort. Here I am thinking, “Hmmm, I’m pretty mature. I got this being 32 years old down, pretty well.” Ha! That couldn’t be furthest from the truth when it comes to Jesus. I find myself being more child-like than anything, but then I think that it’s kind of the point, right? How do we try to obtain perfection in the eyes of the only true perfectionist?

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In the morning, I try to spend time with God for two main reasons: 1. To set the tone for the rest of my day and 2. To check it off of my “to-do” list. As the day progresses and I haven’t spent time with him, I become more nervous because I know my chances of actually doing it becomes very slim. Not because I am extremely busy, but because I begin to whine to God as to why I unable to do it.

For example, imagine a very whiney Ashley saying, “…but Lord, I’m so tired. I need sleep. I have to spend time with the kids. I have to make dinner. I’m so tired, Lord.”

Then here comes the bargaining. “Ok, ok, God, give me like an hour to get my body together. Let me put something on my stomach, first, Jesus. Ok, ok, really, I haven’t forgotten about you. Lemme just watch this show real quick.”

Then, all of the sudden it’s midnight and I’m saying, “Oh Jesus, I will definitely spend time with you in the morning.” Then morning comes and the process starts all over again. You get my drift, right?

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For me after a few days, guilt begins to set in. I’ll feel guilty that I’ve promised God my time and haven’t given to him. I’ll feel like a child asking for forgiveness, pleading and begging for another chance of redemption. Not realizing that he already knew that my lazy butt was going to make excuses and he has already forgiven me when he sent Jesus to die for me…and you. Pause and let that sink in, but come back cause I have more to say.

Related Post:

We sin all of the time. Even we are whining and crying like children at 32 years old, we are forgiven. Once I allowed that that to seep into my brain, spending time with him has become more of a pleasure than a chore. Now, I look forward to it. And when I miss the opportunity, I no longer beat myself up. Instead, I pray that I get another chance to hear his words and adhere to his glory and grace since it has already been gifted to you and me.

Plus, it’s a win/win because I always feel so much better after I open my bible. Me, personally, I love having a book to open and read, take notes, and highlight. But if you’re not like that, there is always the free digital bibles online. It’s literally a click away.

Spend a little time with God. He will give you the sustenance to get you through the next day. For Yahweh says, “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.” -Matthew 6:34. 

And if someone tells me not to worry about it, you guys should know me well enough to know my whiny butt is not going to worry about. Think of it like this…if someone tells you not to worry about paying the check for dinner, are you still going to pull out your wallet? I think not! I don’t know if that analogy fits, but oh well. I put it in there anyway.

I love you guys! I pray that you are having an amazing start to your week. I pray that your bellies are full, your beds are warm (or cool) and that your minds are at peace. I thank that Lord each day for all that read my thoughts, cause Jesus knows that they are crazy. Amen.

“Reading the Bible will help you get to know the word, but it’s when you put it down and live your life that you get to know the author.”― Steve Maraboli, Life, the Truth, and Being Free

Related Post: Stop Whining, Ashley!

 

 

 

 

Mental and Physical Illness Is My Thorn

Hey Friends,

Today I want to talk about something that has been on my heart to share. So I decided since I am kidless for the next couple of hours, I would take this opportunity to allow the Holy Spirit to use me to speak to you. That’s if you have time to read it, of course.

So, here’s goes. Self-pity is a very real entity in my life. It is for a lot of people, but very few will admit it. I’m sure everyone has gone through a moment of despair and uncertainty and have asked, “Why me? Why is this happening to me? I’m a good person. I don’t deserve this.” Whether it’s a loss of a loved one or possession, job, or when dealing with an unexpected unfortunate event, such as mental and/or physical illness.

There are so many times, I have asked God, “What did I do to deserve this?”  I originally anchored my illness to the idea that it was punishment for all of the horrible things I have done over the years. And it seemed that he would never answer me back. He would only give me tools to get through whatever “crisis” that I was experiencing to get through it, such as, bible scriptures, support from my family and friends, and as of lately, support from my church elders.

There are two scriptures that I have learned to “lean on” during times of self-pity, just in case you’re feeling pitiful right now…

Jeremiah 29:11

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”

Proverbs 3:5-6

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding.
Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.”

One day, last week, during a moment of “why me?”, I felt God said, “Baby, stop whining and come here. Let me tell you why this is happening.” Or at least that’s how I interpreted it. I’m sure God was so much kinder and gentler, but it was almost like a smack upside the head.

The Holy Spirit lead me to 2 Corinthians 12, where it talks about the visions and revelations that God gave to Paul about heaven (2 Corinthians 12:3-4). Paul says, “…that I was caught up to paradise and heard things so astounding that they cannot be expressed in words, things no human is allowed to tell.” 

Heaven is also described in Isaiah 6:1, which states, “It was in the year King Uzziah died that I saw the Lord. He was sitting on a lofty throne, and the train of his robe filled the Temple.” and also in Revelation 4, which John describes seeing “a throne in heaven and someone sitting on it. The one sitting on the throne was as brilliant as gemstones…and the glow of an emerald circled his throne like a rainbow.” In verse 6, John also described “…in front of the throne was a shiny sea of glass, sparkling like a crystal.”

Paul then goes on to say that God gave him a thorn in his flesh to prevent him from becoming too proud, or full of himself. In other words, Paul was forced to be uncomfortable to remain humble with all of the wonderful blessings that he was receiving (2 Cor. 12: 7-9). Paul even states that his visions are worth boasting about, but he doesn’t want to do it because then it would take away from the fact that it was because of God’s grace that he was able to have such beautiful visions in the first place. Talk about humility.

In verse 8, Paul states that he asked God three times to remove the thorns. And do you know what God said…

2 Corinthians 12:9

“Each time he said, ‘My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.'”

When I first read this, I was like, “wait, what?” I need a little bit more than that Lord. I need money, I need health insurance, I need peace of mind. But then I learned the meaning of God’s grace.

The Old Testament word describing God’s grace is chesed. This word speaks of deliverance from enemies, affliction, or adversity. It also denotes enablement, daily guidance, forgiveness, and preservation. Grace means God moving heaven and earth to save sinners who could not lift a finger to save themselves. Grace means God sending His only Son to descend into hell on the cross so that we guilty ones might be reconciled to God and received into heaven. –AllAboutGod.com

See 2 Corinthians 5:21, Romans 3:22-24,Ephesians 2:8-10

And that’s not even to the tip of the iceberg. So then I was like…

Then our Abba Father hit me with his Tsunami-sized grace that had me like…

I was weeping like a baby, shouting, “Yes Lord, thank you, Jesus!!” Like Paul said, “That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Cor. 12:10)

So in conclusion (if you’ve made it this far down this extremely long post) I no longer see my mental and physical illness as a punishment, but yet the thorn in my flesh to draw me closer to our Abba Father and help further his agenda of drawing you closer to him as well. To be extremely honest, I wouldn’t have sought an intimate relationship with Jesus if I weren’t sick. I would still be living a life of sin…that good ole nasty, sticky sin, too. You know what I’m talking about.

My friends, if you are going through trials, hardships, loss, persecutions, and troubles as Paul describes, do not fret. Use this opportunity to draw closer to him. He will give you his grace on a platter. He will not only help you through it but restore you and heal you during the aftermath. He promised to never leave, nor forsake us. (Hebrew 13:5)

I love you all. I pray that each and every one of you is having a great start to your week. Happy Memorial Day to all of my United States followers. Stay safe out there.

“So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the LORD your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you.” -Deuteronomy 31:6

Funny Friday: Why You Should Make Love Once A Year

Hey Friends,

So, I’ve been M.I.A (missing in action) for the past few days due to a Lupus flare and a couple of other health issues, but the Lord has been good to me the entire time (as he promises) and your girl is almost back to 100% tip-top shape. Just in time for…

Funny Friday!!!

 

 

 

So, please enjoy today’s joke brought to you by www.RD.com. I pray that each and every one of you is having a wonderful start to your weekend and please don’t forget to have a Funny Friday! 🙂

Why You Should Make Love Once A Year

A therapist has a theory that couples who make love once a day are the happiest. So he tests it at a seminar by asking those assembled, “How many people here make love once a day?” Half the people raise their hands, each of them grinning widely. “Once a week?” A third of the audience members raise their hands, their grins a bit less vibrant. “Once a month?” A few hands tepidly go up. Then he asks, “OK, how about once a year?”

One man in the back jumps up and down, jubilantly waving his hands. The therapist is shocked—this disproves his theory. “If you make love only once a year,” he asks, “why are you so happy?”

The man yells, “Today’s the day!”

 

Funny Friday: The Man and Ostrich

Namaste Friends!

Is it Friday already? I guess it is cause I have a joke for you! I hope everyone is having a wonderful start to their weekend. Please enjoy today’s Funny Friday by SunnyDayz.com

A Guy Walks Into A Restaurant With A Full-Grown Ostrich Behind Him…

The waitress asks for their orders. The guy says, “A hamburger, fries, and a coke,” and turns to the ostrich, “What’s yours?”

“I’ll have the same,” says the ostrich.

A short time later the waitress returns with the order. “That will be $18.40 please.” The man reaches into his pocket and, without looking, pulls out the exact change for payment.

The next day, the guy and the ostrich come again and the guy says, “A hamburger, fries, and a coke.”

The ostrich says, “I’ll have the same.”

Again the guy reaches into his pocket and pays with exact change. This becomes routine until one night they enter the restaurant and the waitress asks, “The usual?”

“No, this is Friday night, so I will have a steak, baked potato, and salad”, says the guy.

“Me too,” says the ostrich.

The waitress brings the order and says, “That will be $42.62.”

Once again the guy pulls the exact change out of his pocket and places it on the table. The waitress can’t hold back her curiosity any longer. “Excuse me, sir. How do you manage to always come up with the exact change out of your pocket every time?”

“Well,” says the guy, “several years ago I was cleaning my attic and found an old lamp. When I rubbed it a genie appeared and offered me two wishes. My first wish was that if I ever had to pay for anything, I would just put my hand in my pocket and the right amount of money would always be there.”

“That’s brilliant!” says the waitress. “Most people would wish for a million dollars or something, but you’ll always be as rich as you want for as long as you live!”

“That’s right. Whether it’s a gallon of milk or a Rolls Royce, the exact money is always there,” says the guy.

The waitress asks, “But, sir, what’s with the ostrich?”

The guy sighs and answers, “My second wish was for a tall chick with long legs who agrees with everything I say.”

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The Walking Dead: Ashley Edition

Hello Friends,

So, I’m a little frustrated, to say the least. I made the “mistake” of letting my psychiatrist know that I was having trouble sleeping. So, he did what most psychiatrist would do and prescribed a medication to help with not just depression and anxiety, but insomnia. Its called Sertraline, or commonly known as Zoloft. Right now, I am taking 50mg and he would like for me to increase that to 100mg in two weeks.

I’m frustrated because I am so tired. No, no, no…more like exhausted. I’m walking around like a freaking corpse. I feel like I’m an extra on The Walking Dead.

Right now, I would win an Oscar for best zombie performance in a series. I’m dozing off typing this right now.

I called my doctor today to let him know that I can’t do this. Like, come on man. I have things to do. I have a blog to run, kids to take care of, a house to clean. I can’t spend 20 hours of my day sleeping. It’s so bad, I’m having my husband drive me around because I am afraid I will fall asleep at the wheel.

He originally told me that it could take four to six weeks for my body to become properly adjusted to the medication. So, I just have to hold on strong until then. For now, please pray that I have the energy and strength to get my daily task done and not fall asleep while washing dishes or doing laundry or anything for that matter.

If you are taking medication to help with a condition that you are having, most likely, you are dealing with side effects. I encourage you to be patient during the process of your body adjusting. Some medications come with some pretty severe side effects, so I recommend talking to your physician about them.

The worst thing you can do is to just stop taking them. For anti-depressants, if you immediately stop taking them, you are subject to psychosis and that is a big no-no. Although I am extremely annoyed and frustrated by this process, I know that it is going to help me in the long run. I just have to be patient. If not, I plan on working closely with my healthcare team to make sure we come up with a plan that works for me. I encourage you to do that same.

Thank you so much for reading my thoughts. I pray that you are having a wonderful evening (morning for my overseas friends). I appreciate every like, comment, and share. Stay blessed!

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May is Mental Health Awareness

Hey Friends,

So, last week I blogged about how May is Lupus Awareness Month, but many of you may know that it is also Mental Health Awareness month. Fortunately, I struggle with both Lupus and mental illness.

Yep! You read that correctly, I said “fortunately”. Why would I feel fortunate to have both a physical illness and a mental illness? It doesn’t make sense. I must be plum crazy right?

We are confident that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in the comfort God gives us. -2 Corinthians 1:7

Well, if it weren’t for my current circumstance, I would have never found a reason to draw closer to the Lord. Some people like to call it “hitting rock bottom”. I became so depressed, I had no other choice but to seek God’s grace and beg for him to either take the illness’ away or help me cope with it.

Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. -1 Thessalonians 5:18

Related post: Seeking God

In seeking the Lord, I’ve been able to develop a relationship that I can only describe as intimate, gratifying, and purer than any relationship that I’ve ever experienced here on earth.

To read my story about my Bipolar Disorder I diagnosis, please click I’m Coming Out, I Want the World to Know. You can also go to the links on my website HarotianEssentials.org to read my mental health journey.

Late last year, I was on my death bed. Depression and anxiety had such a grip on my life; I was ready not to have one. My reasons for living weren’t outweighing the pain that I carried around anymore. My heart was breaking, my mind was in turmoil, and my soul was craving redemption. Every day I felt this way and I was unsure why. I didn’t want to die, but I wanted the pain to stop. The enemy convinced me that suicide was the only way out. On the outside looking in, my life wasn’t bad at all. Yea, I had normal life problems, but none of them were detrimental to my family’s lives. It just felt that way.

For I have given rest to the wreary and joy to the sorrowing. -Jeremiah 31:25

Related Post: Feelings? How Many Of Us Have Them?

Then, during a moment of vulnerability and weakness, the Holy Spirit cried out to the Lord on my behalf (Romans 8:26), asking to comfort me because I was barely hanging on to any meaning of life I thought I knew. Please read Letting Go, Letting God on how God saved me from the enemy.

I said all of that to say, mental illness is very real. Our society likes to use the phrase so loosely. When you see someone who is emotional, we like to call them Bipolar. There are people who like to use mental illness as an excuse to receive government assistance because they are too lazy to go out and find a job. (Don’t get me started down that rabbit hole!)

There is a difference between having a mental illness and being a psychopath. Society would like you to think that they go hand in hand. Thus, causing the world to assume that everyone with a mental illness is violent and incapable to love themselves and others.

Well, I’m here to tell you that they are wrong. Just like a physical illness, mental illness is a serious condition but can be maintained with proper therapy and medication. In my opinion, one would have to have a close relationship with our Father in heaven to successfully live with the condition. But there are plenty of non-believers who live successful, productive lives while having a mental illness. I can only speak on what has worked for me.

Before becoming closer to God, I’ve never felt like I’ve had a handle on my mental illness. It has been through God’s strength alone that I am alive today. Now I am happier than I’ve ever been with not only hope for my future but for my kids and husbands future as well. So, Happy Mental Health Awareness! Don’t be apart of the problem, but apart of the solution.

Love you all and thank you for reading my thoughts. Thank you for endless support that I receive on each article that I post. Have a wonderful day! God bless!

“Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.” -Matthew 7:7-8

 

Liebster Award 2018

Aye! So one of my favorite bloggers, SheSpeaks Blog nominated me for another Liebster Award. How do I say, you are awesome-sauce in Patwah, sister girl?

Please visit her page by clicking the green link above to read her awesome, intimate God fearing articles. I am truly honored by your nomination, sister. Thank you.

Let’s get to it!

6 Rules for Liebster Award:

  • Thank the blogger who nominated you. √
  • Share 11 facts about yourself. √
  • Answer the 11 questions the blogger gave you. √
  • Nominate 11 bloggers who deserve the award. √
  • Create 11 original questions for the nominees to answer. √
  • Let them know they’ve been nominated. √

11 Fun Facts About Myself:

  1. I technically I have (4) children, one of which is in heaven
  2. I’ve never traveled outside of the country
  3. My grandmother named me after a movie classic “Gone With The Wind”
  4. Everyone I meet thinks I’m under 25 years old (I’m not complaining)
  5. I love all genres of music except for hard metal (only because I am unable to connect to the words)
  6. I have approximately 24 brothers and sisters combined on my moms and dads side.
  7. I love Jesus
  8. I am apart of (4) small groups at my church
  9. My toes look like fingers
  10. I’m afraid of man feet
  11. I used to have an imaginary friend from age 10 to 16

(11) Questions Asked

∗What is your favorite trait about yourself?

I would have to say my creativity. Although sometimes I doubt how talented I am, I always have people reminding me to continue to nourish my talents.

∗What is one silly moment you’ve had that you’d like to share?

One time, I was in such a rush to drop my kids off at school and make to work on time, I sped down the driveway and knocked the trashcans over into the neighbor’s yard, which made me even later.

∗What has been your biggest blessing through blogging?

Meeting you wonderful people and growing closer to God by being obedient to his will

∗What is your favorite dessert?

Anything cake!

∗What is your favorite genre of books to read? Or TV shows/movies to watch?

Fantasy

∗What is the number one thing you want to experience before you die?

Hang gliding

∗How do you like to spend your downtime/time off?

Blogging and spending time with the Lord and/or my kids. Both are always so amazing and fun to be around

∗What do you love about where you live?

That I’m black and still alive

∗Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

Hopefully, ministering to the mentally ill

∗Who is your biggest design inspiration and why?

Not sure, never thought about it.

∗What do you do to motivate yourself on days when you just don’t want to get out of bed?

My children and their need to have an active, productive mother.

I would like to nominate all of my followers! All of you guys are so awesome and I love that each one of you takes the time out of your lives to blog about your passions. There are so many people in this world who wish they had the courage that you have.

(11) Questions for my nominees/followers

  1. If you didn’t have to sleep, what would you do with the extra time?
  2. What’s your favorite piece of clothing you own/owned?
  3. What hobby would you get into if time and money weren’t an issue?
  4. What would your perfect room look like?
  5. How often do you play sports?
  6. What fictional place would you most like to go?
  7. What job would you be terrible at?
  8. When was the last time you climbed a tree?
  9. If you could turn any activity into an Olympic sport, what would you have a good chance at winning medal for?
  10. What job do you think you’d be really good at?
  11. What skill would you like to master?

You’ve been nominated! You’ve been nominated! Everybody’s been nominated!

Who Prays When You Can’t?

In yesterday’s post Prayer Is The Best Medicine , I spoke about the importance of prayer.

Although prayer is important, there are times where we feel like we just do not have it in us to pray. There was a time when my heart was so broken, all I could do was cry out, “Abba Father, help me!” 

I felt so helpless and alone because I was once told that when praying to God, I had to be specific about what I wanted, needed, and craved. So, if I am unable to verbally express my needs, then how would he know what I need prayer for? How would he be able to answer my prayers if I am unable to articulate my heart?

In scripture, it says, “And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words.” -Romans 8:26

This is so refreshing because there are many days where I feel that I do not have the words or even the strength to utter the appropriate words to says to our Father in heaven. So knowing that the Holy Spirit is like, “No worries girl, I got you!” is truly amazing.

So, if you are unsure what to say, how to say it, or even if you should say it, the Holy Spirit knows your heart and he will pray it for you. Lean on the Holy Spirit to carry you when your feet or too tired to carry you the rest of the way.

God bless you all and I hope you all are having a wonderful start to your week.

“So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.” For his spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children. And since we are his children, we are his heirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering.” -Romans 8:15-17

 

Prayer Is The Best Medicine

Have you ever complained about chaos or pain happening in your life and someone responded with “Just pray about it.” 

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I don’t know about you, but my response would be, “I don’t need prayer, I need help!”  Little did I know, prayer was exactly the help that I needed.

Prayer is the most powerful tool anyone could have. I am proof that it truly works.

God says, “The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.” -James 5:16

I used to think that when I prayed, it had to be formal, otherwise, the Lord wouldn’t accept it.

But then I learned that prayer is just having a conversation with our Father. So, I did a little experiment. I began praying to God like I was talking to one of the homies. Here’s a fictional example:

Dear heavenly Father. How’s it been, Lord? I’m not doing so well. Today was such a hard day and I’m really upset about it. Kelly said something that hurt my feelings and I just wanted to smack her upside the head, but I’m trying to get right with you, Jesus. It says in your word to forgive those who trespass against me, so please, Lord, help me forgive her. Cause you know I struggle with tolerating foolishness.

There is absolutely nothing formal about the above prayer, but he still hears us AND answers us. I love to tell new Christians to not get caught up in the formalities. Concentrate on developing a personal (intimate) relationship with Jesus and the rest will follow.

Once I began my prayers like normal conversations, I noticed that I felt more relaxed. I didn’t say, “Ummm” so much, nor did I feel ashamed praying out loud in front of other people.

Here is an example of a prayer that I wrote in my journal a few weeks ago:

Abba, Father. Please throw me a bone! Please give me some kind of relieft from the constant tragadies in my life. Please provide a break through.

After this prayer, our Father didn’t say, “Girl, what kind of prayer was this? Get it together and come back later.”

Instead, he said, “Yes, baby, I got you. Just hold on a little longer.” I mean, that’s how I took it…and guess what! He answered my prayer. Not only did he throw me a “bone” AND provide a breakthrough, but he also continued to bless me beyond what I deserve.

God is so good! And there is no one that can tell me otherwise. He continues to bless me and provide all of my emotional needs. And do you want to know why??? Because I talk to him like he is one of the homies…I pray!

In scripture, it says, “You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day has passed.” -Psalm 139:16

This means he knew he that I would struggle with prayer. He knew that the enemy would try to convince me that I didn’t know how to pray, therefore I shouldn’t do it. I say, not today, nor any day, Satan.

Joy is prayer; joy is strength: joy is love; joy is a net of love by which you can catch souls. - Mother Teresa

Funny Friday: Funny Church Signs

Hey Friends!

Welcome to another edition of Funny Friday! Please enjoy these hilarious church signs I found on Google pics. I do not endorse, nor recommend the churches in the photos. I just thought they were funny 😄 And you guys know me, I love to laugh, so please enjoy!

God bless and have a wonderful start to your weekend

Lupus Awareness Month

Hey Friends!

This month is officially Lupus Awareness Month. Until I was diagnosed 2 years ago, I really never knew what Lupus was. I’ve heard of it here and there through conversation, like, “Hey, so and so has Lupus.” The only thing I knew about it was that it made you really sick. Now, since it is a struggle that I am now facing, I’ve had to educate myself about it. Ways to live with and cope with this illness, and how to overcome it.

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So first, What Is Lupus? If you are a new follower and have never heard of it, Lupus is an inflammatory disease caused when the immune system attacks the healthy tissues in your body.

Lupus can cause:

  • Organ damage/failure
  • Inflammation
  • Swelling
  • Damage to Joints/Skin/Kidneys/Blood, Heart/Lungs
  • Other illness’ such as Von Willebrands disease (blood clot disorder), Fibromyalgia, Raynaud’s Disease (numbness in fingers and toes), Cardiovascular disease, etc.

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There are 4 different types of Lupus:

  • Systemic lupus erythematosus, or SLE, is the most common form of lupus.
  • Discoid lupus erythematosus causes a skin rash that doesn’t go away.
  • Subacute cutaneous lupus erythematosus causes skin sores on areas of the body exposed to the sun.
  • Neonatal lupus affects newborns.

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Lupus is known as the silent killer. Why? Because most of the time, you become extremely sick before you know anything is wrong. Most times, there are no warning signs. For me, one day, I didn’t feel well. I gradually became sick over a 3 month period. Until finally, I became so ill, I had to stop working.

Please read my Lupus story When It Rains, It Pours

Unfortunately, there is no cure for Lupus, but fortunately, there are ways you can ease your symptoms.

How can you support a loved one with Lupus?

Annoying things to say to a Lupus warrior?

  • “But you don’t look that sick…” – Looks can be deceiving
  • “Have you tried…” – We love your suggestions, but trust me, we’ve tried everything
  • “…but everybody’s tired.” – I get that, but not everyone is “lupus” tired.
  • “I wish I could spend all day in bed.” – Uhhh, no you don’t!
  • “You’re STILL sick?” – Uh, yea, bish, it’s Lupus.

Now, when my loved ones say these things, I know they are coming from a place of pure and utter love. Also, it is coming from a place of confusion. Honestly, doctors aren’t even able to fully comprehend what Lupus really is and it’s origin. There are so many unknowns, it would be unfair for anyone to “blame” others for not understanding themselves.

So, here are helpful tips on things you can say to a loved one with lupus

  • “I understand you couldn’t make it…” – This helps with the guilt we carry for always missing important events and parties
  • “I’ll be praying for you…” – We sure need it
  • “What can I do to help…” – I’ve found that most Lupus warriors don’t like accepting help. It hurts an already fragile pride, but knowing that you care helps tremendously.
  • “I’m going to educate myself more on the topic.” – Just offering support and understanding will lift our spirits. It’ll help us feel less alone.

Lupus is extremely expensive. All of the medications that I take equal up to about $300 per month. If it is in your heart, please donate Ashley’s GoFundMe Medical Expenses. Thank you all in advance for your prayers and well wishes.

Thank you guys for reading my thoughts. Have a wonderfully blessed day.  And if you see one, hug a Lupus warrior today!

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Seeking God Part 4

Happy Sunday Friends!

This journey of seeking God has not been an easy one, but it has been worth it. I have seen God’s power, love, and mercy so much since I’ve taken my journey seriously. If you haven’t noticed, my blog has turned into God’s blog. A couple of months ago, the Lord told me that he wanted me to use my blog to spread his word. I was hesitant. I didn’t want to lose my non-Christian followers and I didn’t want to offend anyone. After a while, I could no longer deny his request.

Whenever I posted an article that he didn’t put on my heart to post, my numbers were down. You guys weren’t messing with me. Then, when I began to post content that he put on my heart, the number of views and followers increased tenfold. Don’t get me wrong, I lost a few followers, but I gained many more.

So, I have no choice but to trust him. He has shown this undeserving sinner more love and mercy than I expected. That is what’s so awesome about God. When he blesses you, he blesses you in overabundance, forcing you to do nothing but fall to your knees and cry out, “Abba, Father, thank you!”

If you are stubborn like me, the Lord will use your circumstances to bring you closer to him so he can mold you and strengthen you. In my case, I would say he has used Lupus and mental illness to get me to surrender to his will. Surrender…what a strong word. A lot of people think it is an insult to surrender, when in fact, it is a blessing. A Christ believer will tell you that surrendering is not a sign of weakness, as some will make you believe.

Surrending to the Lord requires more strength than people would like to acknowledge. Yet, once we surrender, we are able to get out of our own way and allow God to work. And, baby…when God works, he works wonders. His wonderful blessings are always more than we wanted for ourselves. Miracles happen. Please Letting Go, Letting God read how Jesus showed up in my bathroom and saved my life. True story 🙂

I no longer see my illness as a punishment, yet an opportunity to grow. Kind of like job training. I ask the Lord to allow me to be a great mom to my children. The Lord responded, “So be it my child, but first, I must prepare you.”

Think of a block of clay. When you purchase it from the craft store, it’s bland, boring, and ugly. But once the artist purchases it from the store (in God case, Jesus purchased us with his life), the artist then begins to transform it into a beautiful masterpiece.

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The tools that the artist use are sharp and plentiful. If clay had feelings, one would think that the artist is torturing the clay, being unfair. But the sharp tools are necessary in order to mold the clay with precision and accuracy. Jesus paid the price. God uses our circumstances as tools to create a wonderful masterpiece within us. More times than often, it is going to hurt. But while he is sculpting us, he has given us resources to help us through the process, such as the Bible, elders of the church, prayer, and other Christians.

“Are any of you sick? You should call for the elders of the church to come and pray over you, anointing you with oil in the name of the Lord. Such a prayer offered in faith will heal the sick, and the Lord will make you well. And if you have committed any sins, you will be forgiven.” -James 5:14-15

Most importantly, he gives us his love and promises to be with us no matter what through the process.

The Lord says, “For I have given rest to the weary and joy to the sorrowing.” -Jeremiah 31:25. To me, this means, during my sorrow, he will be there to give me comfort.

He also says, “…I will rescue those who love me. I will protect those who trust in my name. When they call on me, I will answer; I will be with them in trouble. I will rescue and honor them.” -Psalm 91:14-15

Personally, I can’t speak for every Christian. I believe in Jesus because he was the only one that showed up when I cried out for help. Not Buddha, not Deity, not money or sex, but Jesus himself. The only thing I can do is give my life to the one who saved it, to the one who continues to bless my children with a mother.

Yesterday, I was blessed with mood stabilizers. As many of you may know, I struggle with Bipolar Disorder I. I have been unmedicated for some time now, which is dangerous. But, the Lord was so gracious and he heard my cries. So, I was able to receive a 90 day free supply of Depakote. I’m excited and scared at the same time. My biggest fear with taking mood stabilizers and anti-depressants is that I will lose the best parts of me; my creativity, my bubbly personality, my love of all things Life. But this is where trusting the Lord comes in.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” -Jeremiah 29:11

“Trust the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.” -Proverbs 3:5-6

My faith, my trust in God’s plan (cues Drakes “Gods Plan”) for me is the only reason why I’m still alive. If I followed the world’s thinking, my kids would be without a mother.

Thank you all for reading my thoughts and for sharing this journey with me. I truly hope that I am able to inspire someone to trust that God has a plan for your life, and the struggles that you are facing are NOT it. God bless you!

“If the stars were made to worship, so will I. If the mountains bow in reverence, so will I. If the oceans roar Your greatness, so will I. For if everything exists to lift You high, so will I. If the wind goes where You send it, so will I. If the rocks cry out in silence, so will I. If the sum of all our praises still falls shy, then we’ll sing again a hundred billion times.” -So Will I (100 Billion X) by Hillsong Worship

To catch up, please read:

Funny Friday: Preacher’s Wife

Hey Friends!

Praise the Lord it’s Friday…and a beautiful Friday at that. Here in St. Louis, the sun is shining, the birds are chirping, and everyone that I love woke up this morning. Thank you, Jesus!

Please enjoy today’s Funny Friday joke brought to you by LaffGaff.com. Thank you all for your continued support. Jesus and I love each and every one of you. Have a wonderful start to your weekend.

Preachers Wife

A couple were going on a vacation together but the wife had an emergency at work. So they agreed the husband would go as planned and his wife would meet him at the hotel the next day.

When the husband got to his hotel and had checked in, he thought he should send his wife a quick email letting her know he’d got there ok.

As he typed in her email address, he made a typo and his email was sent to an elderly preacher’s wife instead. It just so happened that her husband had sadly died just the day before.

When the grieving preacher’s wife checked her emails, she read the one from the holidaymaker, let out an awful, loud, piercing scream, and fainted on the floor.

At the sound of her falling, her family rushed into the room. They tended to her and then looked at her computer and saw this email on her screen:

“Dearest Wife,

Just checked in to my room. Everything is prepared for your arrival tomorrow.

P.S. It sure is hot down here.”

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Happy National Day of Prayer

Hey friends!

Prayer has been a huge part of my life. I haven’t always been a prayer warrior, but after it saved my life (along with the love of Jesus, of course), I’ve been talking to God all day, every day. There is so much to pray for, nowadays. We pray for our finances, we pray for our children, and we pray for each other, but it seems our nations need prayer more than ever before.

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The National Day of Prayer is an annual day of observance in the United States, held on the first Thursday of May to come together and pray for our nation. If you don’t live under a rock, I’m sure you’ve heard about the countless murders and suicides happening all over the world. This is a sign that people are hurting, more than ever before, and the only solution they seem to have is to hurt someone else or themselves.

So, please join me in praying for our nation and our fellow sisters and brothers.

This prayer was sent to me by a sister in Christ from my church. It is so powerful, I thought I would share it.

Our Dear Heavenly Father, while we come to You in complete humility, we also come to You with boldness in the authoritative name of Your One and Only Son, Jesus Christ, who is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. In Jesus’ name, fill us now with Your Holy Spirit and lead us as we pray in Jesus’ name for America.
Oh God, we are burdened for our nation today. We turn from the sins that we have committed against your Word and your Name. We turn away from our contentious words and ways toward one another that has led us to division and polarization. We turn away from our disrespect and lack of dignity toward each other, and we turn away from our continual devaluation of all human life from the womb until death in this world. We also turn away from and refuse to participate in skepticism, criticism, and cynicism in our nation. We turn away from anything that divides us, and we run toward the gospel of Jesus Christ that is the only thing that has the power to unite us together.
Lord, in this critical hour in our nation, we pray for unity in America. Only You can bring unity, harmony, and oneness in America. As your Word calls us in Ephesians 4:3, “Making every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace”, we ask You to empower us to make every effort to live in unity, to call for unity, and to forward unity in America continually.
We pray for the churches in America to unify in Jesus Christ and to pray as one unified spiritual family for America. May Your Church pray for America passionately, perpetually, privately, and publicly.
We pray for God’s power to unify families, workplaces, communities, and cities in America. By Your Spirit, lead us to forgiveness, reconciliation, healing, and unity.
We pray for people of all ethnicities and races in America to come together as one, living in peace and unity together. Oh Lord, because each of us is created in Your image, please give us the courage to stand against all racial and ethnic division, denouncing it as evil and sinful, while simultaneously coming together in unity with all persons knowing this is God’s will for us.
We pray in unity for the security of our nation. We ask You to preserve the United States of America from the forces of evil that are threatening our lives and our future. God, please guard all persons in public and private settings from anyone or anything that desires to harm us or take our lives. Our future is in Your hands.
We agree clearly, unite visibly, and pray extraordinarily for the next Great Spiritual Awakening in America. Oh Lord, wake up Your church spiritually and convict Your people to agree clearly, unite visibly, and pray extraordinarily until the next Great Spiritual Awakening occurs in our generation.
Oh God, we stand together upon Your words in Psalm 133:1, “How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in harmony.” Through Jesus’ name and by the Holy Spirit’s power, we pray for all Americans to unify and to live together in unity.
In the mighty and majestic name of Jesus Christ who is the Only Savior and the Only Hope in this world, we pray. Amen.
If you don’t live in the United States, you can pray this prayer for your country, or even better, for the world.
I also pray that everyone who is reading this is blessed with Your love and comfort, God. I ask you, Abba Father, to be with those who need you, those who are crying out for you. Your love is more precious than anything of this world, and I pray that you show your unconditional love to all of your children during this time of confusion. Amen
“Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land.” -2 Chronicles 7:14