Bye Felecia

WordPress friends,

i thank you for your time, your words, and your follow. However, because life has seasons, i must say goodbye to WordPress. Adventures in Grace has moved elsewhere.

i have moved to another domain, with the same title, writing style, and purpose.

Keep reading, keep writing, keep being wonderful.

Ashton

my new domain

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Thoughts on Twenty

It’s a Friday. This morning i took a test, a friend made me banana pancakes, and now i’m doing what i love most: drinking coffee and writing. Happy birthday to me; i am no longer a teenager. i am a twenty-something (for the next 365 days, that “something” just happens to be zero). This is, as people have said to me a million times in the four hours i’ve been awake, growing up.

Twenty years ago on some kind of Tuesday, i made my entrance. God said, “Ash would be a good idea.” and here I am. Twenty years, 240 months, 1,040 weeks, 7,300 days, and probably less than ten haircuts later, and I’m still here. I’m glad about that. My dad said some dad-ish thing about how i will “never have a one in front again” and how “i’m growing up and it’s a good thing.”

i don’t disagree.

The reality is that i am a person who will never really grow up but has been “becoming grown” for a long time. The only difference now is that I am no longer a teenager and I now fall into the category of a “twenty something” and that’s it. There is no big party, no gray hairs (if there were, i’m sure i wouldn’t be able to find them), no man at my father’s door offering him a sheep for my hand in marriage. i’m twenty years old. i’ve lived a lot a life, had a lot of bad days and even more good days. i’ve laughed a lot, cried a lot, and slept too much. i haven’t seen enough of the world and i’m anxious to see more of it. i’ve lived twenty years and learned a lot of lessons.

Because lists are fun, here are twenty things i’ve learned in these endless numbered days. I’ll only elaborate on a few, I promise.

1. Haircuts are overrated. // You don’t need to wash your hair as much as you probably thing you do.

2. It’s okay not to be okay.
Somedays, you have to skip class to sleep in. Some days, listening to a sermon and painting is what you need to do. Some days, you have to say “no,” and that’s okay.

3. i can’t do anything without Christ, but with Him, i can do everything.
John 15:5 // Philippians 4:13

4. Dogs are great. Cats are better.
example a:
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5. Calling my dad my best friend is always good.
Earlier this week, i called my dad. i wasn’t having the best day and he could tell, with 253 miles and five hours in between us, that i wasn’t myself. Three hours later, i had sunflowers and snacks waiting on me. He said, “You sounded like you needed a pick-me-up.” The man sent me flowers. i am thankful that my Heavenly Dad knew exactly what i needed in an earthly dad.

6. People need other people.
We can’t help this. Don’t fight it.

He’s given me really great people to learn this lesson with and i’m thankful.

7. Caffeine addictions are real.
As i type this, i’m on my second cup for the day. i love coffee something fierce.

8. Books are important.
Read one. Write one. Study one. Share one with a friend.

9. Find something you’re passionate about and do it.
i have a lot to say about dreams. Check it.

10. Guatemala smells bad.
i promise. take my word for it.

11. Adventure is necessary.

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12. American Eagle belts are forever (forever = seven years and running).

13. Sunshine fuels joy.

14. No one else can play my part.

15. You can never be “too happy”
i struggled with this for a while. Once i got to a place where i experienced real, genuine, smile building, laughter driving joy, i wanted more. That’s because that feeling is from the Lord and we were designed to crave it. However, sometimes i feel bad for being happy. i look at people who are struggling and feel bad that they’re sad and i’m not! But friends, we can’t let that happen. We have to realize that happiness is a gift, it’s not something we should feel bad about. We should take our given happiness and allow it to be the thing that inspires us to help those who aren’t happy.

16. i am worth, “Because i want to.”
My counselor said this to me last spring and it was so powerful. i used to have this habit of justifying every little thing i did. i thought i had to have a valid reason to take a nap, go home for the weekend, or buy myself chick-fil-a. i didn’t get that i was worth little happy things throughout the week; i would always treat others and encourage them to treat themselves, bit i didn’t understand that “because i want to” was a good enough reason to fuel an action. i was wrong. i am worth, “because i want to” and so are you.

17. “Learn to love yourself first and everything else falls into place.” – Lucille Ball

18. I can’t be all the things.
Jesus is all the things. Not me, not you, not your mom, not your best friend– Jesus. He is all we need. He is all the things we try to be to other people and to ourselves. You and i, no matter how hard we try, can’t be all the things. Don’t exhaust yourself by attempting to be.

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19. Speak truth to others, let them speak truth to you.
Everyday, i text one of my best friends and remind her of some easily forgotten truth and she reminds me. Whether it’s remembering that it’s okay to skip class, not wash your hair, or solid truth from the Word, it happens. We declare it over each other and ourselves. It’s becoming a sweet habit and i love it. Yes, sometimes truth is hard and almost unwanted, but it’s always truth. Sometimes the hardest thing to hear is the thing we need to hear the most. Let it happen.

20. Don’t build so many walls up that others can’t get in and you can’t get out.
i would like to think this is self explanatory, but unfortunately it isn’t. Earlier this week, i stayed up until 4am with two of my favorite people in the world and we let it all out; the fun things, the scary things, the things we hadn’t told anyone. There were no walls except for the four that made up the dorm room. Last spring, the Lord revealed that i had put myself in a box. An unhealthy box that i will eventually write about. Long story short, the freedom from this box is what has paved the way for me to live the beautiful free life i do today. Some walls are necessary, but you don’t need to build a frickin fort around yourself to shield from the world. Life isn’t a war of you against everyone else. Let others in. Do life. Share life. Live free.

One to grow on: follow your dreams.
Here’s to the mistakes, the successes, the “could be” and the “will be” that comes along with this one.

Twenty will be a year of adventure. A year of finding more of myself and living this crazy story that the Father has written me. i hope you’ll be a part of it. But for now, i have an informal to get ready for so i can go dance my face off with my best friends.

 

Stay wonderful.

Inspired by Brokenness.

Last week on the way to dinner, i was sitting in the passenger seat of my friend’s car and the title of this blog hit me. i tried to write on it earlier this week, but then i started writing about dreams and freedom and this came out. Now, i think i’ve gotten my thoughts together enough to write out why i live a life that is inspired by brokenness; it’s because i’m broken. it’s because brokenness is the gospel.

i’ve known for a long time that that i want to spend my life helping people. When i’m asked what i want to do with my degree, i respond, “i want to love people, help them, and show them Jesus” because that’s all i’m sure of. i’m studying Interpersonal Communication, which is one-on-one communication. i’m getting a degree in how to connect and communicate with people because all i want to do in life is love well. It wasn’t until i was in the car last week that i realized that i want to do the things i do because of brokenness. i’ve struggled a lot in life, making me outrageously aware of not only my brokenness, but the world’s. After spending my summer in Guatemala, i would be living lie to act like the world is alright because if it were, Kevin would have parents and Alexander and Darwin wouldn’t live in the garbage dump. The world is broken, but it’s okay! It’s okay because we have a Savior who came to fix it.

Talking to a friend last night, i said, “i was looking at my blog and i realized that most of what i write, if not all of it, are stories of ‘i was there and now i’m here. My first hand version of i was lost but now i’m found.'” She quickly said, “It’s the gospel. It’s your story, your gospel.” and it is!

i am inspired by brokenness because it is the gospel!

We were made in the image of God (Genesis 1:27). God loves people. God loves love. God loves service. God loves redemption, healing, miracles. He loves bringing us closer to Himself. So in praying that i look more like Jesus, doesn’t is make sense that i would love all of those things too? That i would not only want those same things for myself, but also for everyone around me? In asking Him to make my desires that which He desires, wouldn’t it make sense that He answers that prayer by putting a burning desire in my heart to love people well? In singing, “Break my heart for what breaks Yours” wouldn’t it add up for me to be inspired by brokenness to do something? i think the answer to all of these things is “yes.”

i live because of His grace. Every single day, i pray, “(Heavenly) Dad, my life is yours. My hands are open.” and every day, i fall more in love with Him and deeper into His grace. My heart is inspired by brokenness not to live a normal life. My best friend always says, “i want to live radically different, right where i am.” and because of my brokenness, and your brokenness, and his and hers and everyone else’s, i do too! If we live like we’re perfectly okay, we’re kidding ourselves! Jesus didn’t die for us to act like we’re okay! He died so that we may live an abundant life, one where we do things for Him and we love loudly!

Our brokenness won’t go away until He returns, but until then, why not let good things come from it? Let it inspire you. Let it drive you to change the way you live and love. Share your story with others. Heck, start a blog and share your stories with everyone! Look at your brokenness and allow it to drive you to do things for others that may be broken in the same ways. Because of your brokenness, buy someone coffee and make them smile. Love is louder than brokenness. Our God can fuel the drive we have to do great things in His name. It’s not “We’re broken. That sucks. The end, now we all die.” It’s “We’re all broken, but we don’t have to live like it! Let’s take our brokenness and let God us it!”

We are not coffee mugs. Being broken doesn’t mean that we’re finished, it means that we’re just beginning.

“Do small things with great love.” -Mother Teresa

Stay wonderful.

Freedom in Dreaming.

Today is Sunday. i woke up this morning with every intention of writing my thoughts. i’m sitting in a room by myself, light filling every corner and music slowly leaving the speakers of my computer. i’ve been awake for a a little over an hour and i’m already quite fond of today. The sun is shining, the weather is enjoyable, and my heart is full.¬†Today is a day where my dreams feel close.

i’ve realized lately that i have a lot of dreams; i want to travel across The States and around the world, i want to drink a lot of coffee, i want to own a corgi, i want more tattoos, i want to work for a nonprofit, i want to write a book, i want to climb mountains! i have things i want to do, stories i want to write for myself.

The beautiful thing about it is this: i can.

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i’ve spent a lot of time on this earth telling myself that dreams are impractical and risky. Because of the story our Creator has written me, i’ve experienced a lot of hard things. Dreaming to me was setting myself up for more disappointment, which is the last thing i wanted. For five years or so, i didn’t allow myself to want things. Wanting things scared me, wanting things meant allowing my heart to desire something that it potentially couldn’t have. i protected myself and locked myself in a theoretical box and closed the theoretical lid. No risky dreams. No big desires. Just safe, reachable, small, reasonable potential dreams that i didn’t let myself think too hard about.

Thankfully, that’s not a problem any more.

After last semester, after this summer, after this crazy season where i’ve grown and healed and experienced more than i could have imagined, i view dreams differently. Before this season, i knew i was broken, i knew that you were broken, that the world was broken, and that my favorite coffee mug was broken. i knew that i had a Savior that had fixed me (and you), that He had come to offer us a life that isn’t broken. It just took me a while to really get what it meant to walk in the freedom that He gives us.

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Liz and i were talking the other night and we almost got to the point of screaming because we were so excited about all of the dreams that we have. i loved sitting her car listing the things that the world makes seem out of reach and hard and risky, but that we want any way! Yes, going out there and taking risks is scary, but it’s what makes life an adventure, friends. We have a ¬†God who has given us grace, freedom, love, peace, comfort, and a million other things. He is there when we are chasing our dreams, He’s there to celebrate with us when we reach them, and He is there to hold us when we don’t. He has given us a life that makes going after our dreams possible. His grace is an adventure, so let’s explore!

Let’s stop telling ourselves that what we want is impractical and let’s go out there and do it! If it’s in the Lord’s will for it to happen, it will! So make a bucket list! Look up cities that you want to see, and go see them! Go hiking, adopt a dog, see the world! Take risks and experience things you’ve never thought you would.

We deserve to dream.

Stay wonderful.

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