Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Oh what a prayer

John Piper wrote a prayer that gave me great encouragement and brought me to a place of awesome humility. I would like to share it knowing it will do something for you because it glorifies The Lord 

"Yes, Lord, we do take heart 
from Your New Covenant promises.
They are the sweetest ones of all.
And from this side of the cross we see 
That they are all blood bought and secure.
Thank You, Father, for sending Jesus Christ
To be for us, by His blood, the yes and AMEN 
To all Your promises. He is now the great ground
Of our hope and joy. Don't let us despair
In the battle of this brief life.
In Jesus' name,
-John Piper "Life as a Vapor" 

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Where did the time go...

I feel as though it was just yesterday that I started my 1,200 mile journey to the HEART Institute. Yet, today marks that there are only 3 weeks until I start my journey back home. What do I share? What do I say? How can I put into words the moments of laughter, vulnerability, challenge, new experiences, pain, sweat, conversations, friendships....

At the start of the year I didn't even know that HEART existed. It wasn't on my map or in my head. But somehow I think it was in my heart. It was planted in a corner that I hadn't yet journeyed to. And finding that place within myself has opened up who I am in great ways. I have learned things about myself that I don't like. The more and more I find myself submerged in community I find more and more things about myself that are not healthy, productive, or furthering the Body of Christ. And I love it. Why?

Say you have a bookshelf. After years of filling this bookshelf you go through it and discover books that are childish, foolish, and not worth reading, in fact if you read it over again it may take you back rather than pushing you as a human being. So you clean out your shelves. You make room. You take a step back and realize that you have more room than ever to add insightful, life-giving, challenging books. Well that is how my life has been. While there may be pain, embarrassment, or possible shame it is absolutely worth it.

Community is a mirror. It reveals the beauty and the hideous secrets, bad attitudes, wrong motives, and all those areas you thought you were living into the fruits of the Spirit until they are challenged daily....

We as a community have canoed down a river and camped, traveled to Honduras, participated in Urban ministry, and lead a chapel service together. But these tasks and adventures did not come for free. We each learned things about ourselves that were ugly. Oh, but when surrendered the ugliness makes room for beauty. Our brokenness together brings a better picture of the whole.

I am thankful for these past months. I can't figure out how to share it all. My changes and transformations are not fully evident to me because they are my new normal in my new place. When I come home and am challenged to be as I used to be, then I will know the impact. But for now you need to know that I dread the day I leave. I love my home, but my home is becoming less and less a place I seem to be drawn to. I don't know where the Lord is or will take me. But I know that He is good and the life He leads me in will be full of adventures, deep breaths, laughter, tears, friendships, truth, joy, and more things than I can imagine.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012


I have completed phase 1 of my training here at HEART.

I have met and now know 8 other incredible students along with the staff and volunteers.
The beginning was full of laughter as we got a feel for one another. Surface level questions of where we live, how many siblings we have, what year in school, what we like to do for fun, etc.

First impressions are priceless. How often we are wrong, not because others put off a different imagethan who they really are, but instead because we carry too many assumptions based on our life and project them.

The surface was broken quickly though. After the first night followed a full day of sharing testimonies and prayer. We laughed and we cried. Knowing that we would be living together, working together, going to class together, and spending free time together we felt no need to felt the initiation of vulnerability. The way I see it: if I expect others to be vulnerable and desire for the to be then I myself must be just as if not more willing to do so. And rather than building a relationship on surface level laughter only to create awkwardness when you try to open up and be serious, why not start with vulnerability to create that atmosphere and attitude?

I have laughed with my lab group when the animals doing ridiculous things and I have shared some of my deepest insecurities with the very same people. It is so beautiful. I am learning, being challenged, and hopefully even teaching some. Last weekend we went on a two day canoe/wilderness trip. During this time I was able to be overwhelmed and calmed by God's wonderful creation all around me. I am speaking of the nature and people. There was life-giving conversation in the midst of so much life around me.

A few things I've come to conclude this far in my life:

-everyone has something to teach. Always. This teaching happens in two ways. 1. The Lord does something in your life, teaches, speaks, transforms, and the result of that is shared with others. You either teach the lesson, speak the words, or interact and live in a new way because of the transformation 2. You deny the Lord's doing and push your own way thus resulting in teaching others what it looks like to not live into God's desires for your life.

-vulnerability is crucial so we must be willing to share, but vulnerability without ears to listen is selfish and unproductive. Growing in community occurs when you are open and you allow others to be.

A reflection from my journal about living for others:

You created
By Your breath I was made
Out of nothingness You made life
Life that is not just for life
Life that was meant for lives
To reach, connect, expose
Your life, Your truth, Your way
To be one with You
Yet, You in others is what I am to pursue

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Our destiny is in...

"Our destiny is in a relationship to a person, not in a pilgrimage to a place.
Our purpose is in communion with the living God,
not in union with an impersonal idea or nameless Higher Power: Such categorization
is intellectual cowardice. Access to an abstract power gives
you no one to be grateful to in times of blessing and no one
to question and receive comfort from in times of sorrow.
The world was made for the body. The body was made for the soul.
And the soul was made for God. Not everything is actually as it is marketed to be, 
good or bad."
-Ravi Zacharias 
Why Jesus?

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Heart to h.e.a.r.t.

The Lord I serve is so incredible.
 He extended His mercy because of His unfailing, unwavering, all-sufficient love for me as His child. 
This Mercy brought my salvation and eternal justification with Him. 
 His Holy Spirit was given to me for teaching, molding, stretching, bringing about His fruits, guidance, etc. And all this while I am a sinner,
 yet He loves me. 
 not only did He save me, give me hope, change my heart, pick me and wash me pure, He said He wants to use me. 
 Throughout the years He has taken me to several ministries at home and around the world. He opened my eyes to see more and more of His Kingdom. All different people with different passions, desires, burdens, needs, expressions of love, struggles, joyful hearts, and cultures.
 But my God is not different. He is The God of the earth and He loves every child of His.
 business owner,
drug addict, 
gang member
fill in the blank... 
We see the differences while He sees those He loves and wants to bring goodness to.

This truth has been instilled deeper and deeper in my heart over the years of following Christ.
And learning this is in different ways, different places, and through different people
has opened me up to the world. 
Christ died for all people. and people live in all the places of this world. 
Learning about the things that dwell in Christ's heart has transformed  my heart. 
before i was 100% selfish and cared only about me. 
'how do i make people like me?'
'what's best for me?'
'why would i do something that doesn't benefit me?'
those filled my head.
while i am not perfect or even close to it now, i am different. 
the difference did not come through good hope,
wishful thinking, lots of practice, or other habitual changes.
The Lord transformed me. He opened my eyes to what goodness truly is in this life here.
i want others to know this. for some reason the Lord has given me a heart for other nations
sharing this good news of who Jesus is and the love He reflects from the Father. 

To those of you who have only known me in the recent years you know this. 
you know i travel often and love to do so.
but what you don't know is that i used to be the girl who got picked up early from sleepovers
or spent the whole night being homesick. even when i was with my best friends only down the street.
i heard of people who would study abroad and travel the world. 
i thought it was incredibly cool, but never thought it was for me. 
so the fact that i have been on several international trips, some for months at a time with either a team of people i knew for a few months prior or a few other people, is incredible.
like i said before i can only say it is of the Lord's doing. 

for my traditional college years i attended a small Bible school where i received training, teaching, hands on practice, and encouragement in the Word. 
my education has benefited me in so many ways i cannot begin to count. 
now that i am done with i have an incredible opportunity to do a 3 month training program at the
H.E.A.R.T. Missionary Training Institute 
Hunger Education And Resource Training

from the September 4th to December 15th I will be living at the H.E.A.R.T. village in Lake Wales, Florida
taking classes, living in community, learning how to adapt in different cultures, being stretched in new ways, 
having a blast, sweating, working in gardens and with animals, etc

this will include three phases: (read below or watch the intro video)
*Phase I, the first four weeks, emphasizes a simple lifestyle of labor-intensive activities. 
Students’ hand-pump water for animal and human consumption, wash their laundry by hand, 
and cook all meals outdoors using a variety of methods. All activities, including worship, Bible, 
and community life are conducted within the village.
 *During Phase II, six weeks in length, classroom/lab work is incorporated into the daily 
routine with about half of the day spent in theoretical teaching and the other half spent in 
hands-on application. Running water and electricity are restored to the kitchen and classroom, 
and students are free to travel out of the village to make phone calls, etc. Phase II also includes 
frequent church visitations to observe and participate in a variety of ethnic worship services. In 
addition, students develop a proposal for a semester project in an area of interest in one of the 
seven instructional areas.
 *In Phase III, the final four weeks, students complete their semester projects as well as 
assume primary leadership roles in the village. As a non-traditional college training program, 
the time commitment is intense. Efficient time management is essential to accomplish learning, 
classroom activities and personal needs.
(information from heart-institute.org)

my classes will include:
appropriate technologies
animal husbandry
sustainable agriculture
primary health
nutrition/food technologies
cross-cultural communication
spiritual development of missionaries

and we will also be taking a short term trip to Honduras to work along side a school. 

the reason i have pursued this training:
i don't want to be an American christian girl who went to Bible college that 
can't work along side the natives i want to create trust with
in order to share the gospel if Jesus.
when we suggest to them things in the areas of agriculture,animals,
nutrition, health care, etc
i want to offer something in practice not just theory.

there is so much more to be said about everything, but these are the basic details. 
i am excited, curious, intrigued, ready, pumped, a little nervous, and joyful about the opportunity. 
and i want everyone to be a part with me! 

i need people to be praying:
that my heart would continue to be open in order to be shaped into the heart of the Father
for communication with those i will be living in community with
for the people of Honduras that we will be working with
for the instructors and fellow students

i would also love for you to be a part of my Honduras trip financially. 
hate asking for money, but the reality is i need it. 
the trip will cost around $1,000 on top of the cost of going through training.
i know there are people who can't go but love to give so i love 
being able to be an avenue to give to. 
however, you are not just giving to me, you are giving to the Kingdom that God is building on earth
and to His story, not mine. 
to give you can either mail a check to the institute or give online through paypal
(make a note that it is for Ashley Carter and the Honduras trip)
 simply click here to give online and to check out everything about H.E.A.R.T.

please pray and consider supporting me in any way
letters while I am there
helping with tuition 

Monday, July 9, 2012

Who can dwell in Your tent?

Psalm 15 is not good. It is not a nice, sweet song of praise. It is not comforting. Psalm 15 asks an honest question, gives an honest answer. Honestly, we cannot do what the answer requires. "Lord, who may dwell in your sacred tent? Who may live on your holy mountain? The one whose walk is blameless, who does what is righteous, who speaks the truth from their heart; whose tongue utters no slander, who does no wrong to a neighbor, and casts no slur on others; who despises a vile person but honors those who fear the Lord; who keeps an oath even when it hurts, and does not change their mind; who lends money to the poor without interest; who does not accept a bribe against the innocent. Whoever does these things will never be shaken." (Psalm 15:1-5 NIV) Honestly, after reading this I was left with the initial thought "I can't" Immediately after that thought the Holy Spirit stepped in, "Good. You see, if you could do it on your own you would never know Jesus. Me and you would never meet. You can't dwell in the tent of the Lord, oh, but He can dwell in you!" This psalm points out our insufficiency and highlights His all-sufficient power. So instead of reading Psalm 15 and being discouraged I can read it and be joyful, thankful, confident. Even if for one day I could live up to those standards, just one day, I would be living under the Law. My relationship, standing, and justification with the Lord would be based upon my deeds. It would be dependent on me. How far off is that? How could I for one second believe that I could handle that? The creation determines how the creator sees, interacts, and values it? Not in this world. While the requirements in Psalm 15 will never be fully achieved by me I can still hold them as standards to reach for. But in my reaching I can rest easy in the results. When, not if, I fail I do not lose the dwelling of my Lord. Praise be to Him forever on high, even when my lips forget to bring it.

Monday, June 25, 2012

please you, judged by Him

i'm sure this is not an original thought at all. i am not the first to think of it or say it, but i also know that no one has been saying this to me recently. well that is except for the Holy Spirit.

and in that case, no thought is original because i, you , we are not original. we come from The Original.

here's the thought. i want it to be an encouragement for those stuck. i want it to be a reminder for those who already know. i want it to be a light for those who have not had the revelation. i want it to bring glory to the One who deserves it. Father, Son, and Holy Spirit glory to You and all that You are.

in this life you can live for others. you can please others. you can live up to the standards others put out there. you can strive for the approval of those above you, beside you, in your family, those you look up to, etc. you can try and satisfy the needs of others. you can do and not do things based on how you want others to feel about you. if you don't want others to think poorly of you, you may try to live by the standards you've made up in your mind that you think they hold. you can hold in hurt because you don't want to feel judged by others. you don't know what they will think of you after they hear that you....

but guess what?

all those people. all those lists. those standards. the rights and wrongs you lived by.

you will not stand before them at the end of this life.

those people and things have nothing to say about your eternity.
they do not determine how your eternity is spent.

if you are not living to please and glorify the Lord then you will suffer from major whiplash at the gates.
you won't even be able to remember the names of those whom you pleased on earth in the light of Jesus Christ the Savior.

so don't be stopped from doing the things you feel are going to glorify the Lord just because someone else may think less of you. and at the same time don;t discount others feelings because they aren't as high as the Lord.

balance. always find the balance of kingdom things within this world through your personality.

He is good. He has reminded me of these things. they are not my judge of eternity. they are those who get to experience Him trying to bring eternity here.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Jesus, stand behind

last Sunday i was blessed with a reminder. 
a reminder of freedom. 
a reminder of grace.
a reminder of love.
a reminder of new allegiance.

Romans 7:4-6 states:
 "Therefore, my brethren, you also were made to die to the Law through the body of Christ, so that you might be joined to another, to Him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God.  For while we were in the flesh, the sinful passions, which were aroused by the Law, were at work in [a]the members of our body to bear fruit for death. But now we have been released from the Law, having died to that by which we were bound, so that we serve in newness of the Spirit and not in oldness of the letter."

i was reminded about the freedom i gained through Christ's life, sacrifice, and Resurrection. through Him i was released from the standards the Law called me to. if you read the first 3 verses in Romans 7 you will be shown an analogy of marriage. 

we were once married to the Law. this husband held impossible standards for us to live by and offered no encouragement or help in attaining those standards. living under him is called legalism. 

through Christ's death we died to the Law. we were released from legalism. our new husband justifies us before the Father and offers the purist form of grace, mercy, and love. this husband is Jesus and living with Him is called freedom.

the problem comes when we try to please our new husband by turning back to our old husband's standards. this just doesn't work. what wife today would be pleasing her new husband by turning back to her old? none. and the same applies to us. Jesus is not the Law. the Law pointed to Jesus and opened our eyes to the fact that we need a savior because we can't do it on our own. but once you have chosen a life with Jesus you must stop living under the Law. 

this means when we accept our freedom we stop trying to earn it. it is a gift. one that is not earned. one that no one is worthy of. one that you can not live up to. so simply accept it. 

now the only thing i could pray and think about after hearing all of this...

"Jesus please stand behind me."

it is often prayed for Jesus to stand and go before us. we want Him to be the leader, the one making the way, what we look forward to. but the reality is that we do look back. we turn back to legalism and trying to justify our relationship with Jesus through our works and deeds. so while i fully desire for Christ to be before me, i need Him to stand behind me. 

for when i turn back and start thinking about having a Jesus-plus(acting as if Jesus' grace isn't enough and adding things to the list) kind of day i need Him to stand behind me and say,

"oh my bride, don't you remember. you have been released from your old husband's ways. he only offers death. i have given you life and will never stop doing so. turn around and stop trying to please death."

so next time you start falling into old ways. next time you find yourself feeling guilty because you didn't have a quiet time that day. next time you think the Lord feels any less love towards you. next time....

pray that Jesus would be standing behind you. 

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

thirsty roots

Jesus tells us that apart from Him we can do nothing. He tells us that His Father is the Gardner, He is the vine, and we are the branches. If we remain in Him we survive, we thrive, we bear fruit.

There's a saying- "I thirst for the Lord."

I never really questioned this saying much, It made sense to me. We get thirsty in our daily lives and we get a drink to quench that thirst. So using that in a spiritual sense translates well. We get thirsty spiritually and we need Jesus to quench that thirst. But I had never thought of that saying in light of Jesus' words in John 15.

He is the Vine,
     we are the branches...

Plants survive by being watered. A vine supplies the branches with water from its roots. The branches thirst for the nutrients that the vine gives them.  A branch cannot survive on its own. A branch cannot be separated from the vine and maintain life.

Neither can we survive on our own apart from Jesus. He is our supplier of life's essential nutrients. he is the living water, the well of life. We are not just craving a sip of Jesus, although a sip of Jesus provides enough life for the whole world. We are craving to be intertwined with our one source of life.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Death was simple, but getting there was an act of love

Naturally the Easter season has me thinking about Jesus: His life, death, and resurrection. I had a new thought recently. We always talk about how He died for us, His death, 'I can't believe He died for us'...but was it really a big deal that God died? Not really. He is God and He is not defeated or overcome by death. Death was not an end for Him. Dying wasn't the big deal. It had to be done, of course, to fulfill scripture, cover our Fall, and reconcile the relationship between God and man, but rising from death was a simple task for our God. 

What I see as the big deal is the fact that Jesus chose to leave His heavenly dwelling and enter the human world. He submitted to what it meant to be human and deal with temptation, anger, pain, sickness, hunger, etc. All while knowing what was ahead of Him. He didn't just die. Jesus took on humiliation through a friend's betrayal, walked in chains at the mercy of soldiers, was beaten to an unrecognizable state, nailed to a cross (the Romans truly knew how to inflict the most painful forms of torture), and then hang there till death came upon Him. 

Death was probably the easiest part. To leave all the pain, no longer face temptation, forget hunger, and every other human aspect that falls short of being God. Jesus was, is, and always will be a constant overflow of love from our heavenly Father. I am drawn back to this poem that somehow came from a pen I was holding one morning. Read it, soak it in, and thank the Lord for the perfect sacrifice of Jesus and the victory that came through His resurrection. 

In Your presence
    there is no comprehension,
                  no way to contain.
The words You spoke,
    the beating You took,
             the blood You shed.
All done by the authority
     in Your name.

You promised the temple
     to be destroyed.
       to be rebuilt in just three days.
The mocks were made
      with laughing loud.
But on the cross you revealed to the proud
      that pride comes
                  before the fall.

They thought they could defeat You
    by putting You to death
But after three days
    You breathed new life
            with just one breath.
The temple was rebuilt
      not of stone, of wood, or clay.
The temple was made new
     it was rebuilt in You.
The stone rolled back
   and from the grave You walked.
The Savior was alive!
    the man that they
                once mocked.

Before You walked this earth,
    winning was the enemy.
But through Your blood,
      the Truth and Life,
he has no victory over me.
You sent the Helper to dwell,
       dwell in my heart,
                my soul,
                      my mind.
So with all I am
      and all I have
  please let us be intertwined.

Your death and resurrection
       are not just a story
They are the proclamation  of victory!
       Victory over the devil!
       Victory over the flesh!
       Victory each and every day!

Thank You for reconciliation.
 I submit my life to be
       in constant admiration.
Though I may fail
       and I may slip
Your love will never fail
     and I will never be
           let from Your grip.

In Your presence is where
      I want to be.
Fear and trembling, joy and singing
All of this I get to share
       with You
Because I am not chained
   or held, but in You
           I have been made free.

You took my place on the cross
     so have Your way in me
On this earth let me be
    the lips that speak Your words.
In this place let every
     heart and saddened face
               be renewed in who You are
So that each new life
     may be of You
             a living memoir.

Thank You for Your grace
     and thank You for Your love.
Please be my guiding light
    when darkness closes in
So that from the hands
      of the enemy I may
            ascend like a dove
Let me be Your living testimony
    to tell of all You've done.
To share with the world
     that each and every heart
          has already been won.

The Lord is Holy,
     Pure, and Strong
And all my days I
     I will work
to make that
       my life song.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

The beauty of engaging

So I've been reading through the old testament since the start of the year. If I were to be honest I would have to admit that with this process comes some times when I have to ask the Lord to really make it stand out. It can get dry, or so I always thought. I have never read through the entire Bible from cover to cover and I decided to do so this year. You hear the jokes about how dry the sections are with all the commandments and sacrifice rituals. But for me it has only made me appreciate Jesus more. God and man were in perfect relationship. The fall brought sin. Separation entered the relationship. No longer could man freely interact or come before the Lord. Sacrifice after sacrifice, attempt after attempt to re-engage. What if that were the case today? You sinned, well go get a goat, or bird, and some grain. Repeat daily because we all fall into sin everyday. Praise Jesus Christ that we do not have to! We don't have to go to one certain place or have a priest step in on our behalf. Jesus was our sacrifice once and for all. Through a beautiful display of selflessness stepping in and taking the best the world could throw at Him, Jesus made an eternal way for us to come before the Father. Take a few minutes today to really soak that in and appreciate our savior. We take Him for granted too often. And the fact that we can engage with the Lord at any time, in any place, and in any situation... Let your heart fall to its knees and be humbled in His beauty. The way I see it, He took our place on the cross so we ought to take His place here. "Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship." -Romans 12:1

Monday, February 20, 2012

salty conversation

"Let your conversation be always full of grace, 
seasoned with salt,
so that you may know how to answer everyone."
-Colossians 4:6

everytime I read through this verse I am intrigued by the idea of seasoning my conversation with salt. what exactly does that mean? while I have always been intrigued I never really looked into it. I simply read over it and gave it importance in my mind, but i didn't know why. well as I read through the letter of Colossians today I gave more effort to the whole process. I pulled one of my New Testament Survey books off my shelf to see what was said about the letter. there were several things I learned and some old things were just buried deeper into my mind. and of course, the last thing that is said about this letter has to do with 4:6. the author wrote, "since salt retards corruption, speech 'seasoned with salt' probably means speech that is not corrupt or obscene." (Robert H. Gundry) 

salt is always associated with food. 
salt brings flavor.
salt turns the ordinary into the sensational.

Christ  calls us to be salt to this world. well, not ourselves exactly, but to use ourselves to be a medium which He uses to season the ordinary things of the world with the salt of His truth, beauty, and grace. with our mouths we have the opportunity to speak what is not ordinary. we can bring flavor to the conversation. 
through our speech the lost may taste and see that the Lord is good. when we hear something that is corruption of His truth we can throw some salt on it and preserve His goodness throughout the earth.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

pride&humility:ordinary friendship


a high or inordinate opinion of one's own dignity, importance, merit, or superiority, whether as cherished in the mind or as displayed in bearing, conduct, etc.


 modest opinion or estimate of one's own importance, rank, etc.

while these two characteristics may seem to be opposite i am convinced that they are better friends than we would like to admit, well at least in the christian circle. 

we say that those who are proud know not how to be humble and those who live in humility are practically allergic to pride. and because of this very reason the enemy loves to bring a friendship about between the two. 

i believe that when the Lord is constantly acknowledged and submitted to in one's life then true humility will arise in a beautiful way. when the Lord is absent, not acknowledged, or not even known at all pride makes sense. when you aren't living for Christ it makes sense that you should be living for self. but what about when Christ is known and the Lord is acknowledged, but not every day? 

the friendship between pride and humility begins to develop. 

the knowledge of Christ will keep us from being full of pride because we know better, yet because we are not acknowledging Him every day we will do things that aren't glorifying to the Lord. when that happens our pride steps in tells us to keep putting on a good face. 

our pride brings us to a place of false humility. 
we want to be humble. 
we want to be selfless.
we want to glorify the Lord.
but we have things that we are ashamed of. 
things we want to keep hush-hush.
things that might make others look at us differently.
we have weakness that we don't want to admit.
but if we were truly humble wouldn't we step into a place of vulnerability?
admit our faults, reveal our weakness.

you would think. 

however, i think i have been living in a place of prideful humility. 

my pride has built me up in my own mind to think that i have some sort of reputation. 
that others see me as someone who has it together. 
how prideful? 
i mean yes, i do desire to be someone that could be looked up to by younger Christians, but that should not take the place of being a truly honest, vulnerable, humble Christ follower who can admit faults, mistakes, and self pleasing acts. 

so as much as it truly truly brings me to nerves thinking about sharing i feel as though i must. 

i am human. i struggle. i am not perfect. yet Christ loves me with all the mistakes and scars that i bear.
seeing as how He is my only true judge,
the One i will take things up with in the end,
the only opinion that is worth living for,
i should be able to allow others to see me the same way that He does. 
while i know this is impossible because He sees what even i can not see of myself, i shall attempt to open the door to my humanness.
maybe it will inspire others to step out as well. 
i don't know, but i do know that i don't want to be fake. 
here is a little list of things that i know about me that many don't.
a list of things that i know others deal with, but that my pride has tried to convince me that i am alone in...

-on a daily basis i live into laziness. i am a creature of habit and my habit for 14 years of life was not to step into the presence of God through His Word, prayer, and worship. i struggle with fighting the laziness in order to step into spiritual disciplines.

-something that is not spoken of by girls in general is the topic of lust. before i came to know Christ i allowed myself to be in situations that weren't healthy. i had my average teenage relationships which led to the idea of sex. while i never went to that extreme my mind was open to the idea in a real way. if i don't avoid suggestive things within my day i have to give over to the Lord lustful thoughts.

-self-doubt is something i live into on a pretty regular basis. while the majority of my days are filled with ease and a strong personality that may give off confidence i easily find myself comparing to others and making a list of ways that i fall short. 

i'm sure that this is not a complete list of all my faults and shortcomings, but they are some of the major things i deal with. 

i'm not sure why i shared these things or if anyone will even read this, but there it is. 
whether you see me different in a good or bad way it doesn't matter. 
the ashley carter you know comes along with these things.
i am learning that in order for me to fight the battle of allowing pride and humility to become friends i need to acknowledge these things so i know what to fight. this is part of that. by exposing it i cannot let them live in the darkness that is provided by the shadow of pride. 

Lord, thank You for drowning me in grave and love. I know that I was not, am not, nor ever will I be worthy of the sacrifice that covers me, but You still covered me and called me Your child. I am sorry that I live for myself sometimes. I am sorry that I use gifts and talents You have given me for me and not You. I am sorry that I allow myself to live into lies. I want to give these things to You and ask for Your power and truth to triumph over the death that these things bring. You made a way for me to live life to the full and I intend on taking You up on that deal. Thank You for exposing me for the person I am. I should have no response but humility when I stand in acknowledgement of who You are and who I am not. Please take my life and have Your way. I want to taste and see Your goodness. You are worthy of more than I can give.   I don't want to waste my life living for something so insignificant as myself. I want to know You and make You known, but I can't do it without Your mercy and grace. Thank You for always being there for me even when I speak empty promises. You are Lord and You are worthy of all glory, honor, and praise. 

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

truth: God is good

at this moment in my life i don't feel as though i know too much. 
-i don't know where i am going next.
-i don't know what to do with all this new free time i have.
-i don't know what full time job i want to pursue.
-i don't know what each day will have in store. 

the list continues and it seems as though there will always and forever be an on going list of "i don't knows"

but there is another list. there is a list that i like to title "God is good." what's on the list? exactly that. an on going list where each line reads,
-God is good
-God is good
-God is good

-when i can't see the path in front of me, God is good
-when i feel as though i am an arrow with no direction to point, God is good
-when confusion tries to take over, God is good
-when i don't give God my best, God is good

God is good. it may be an overused phrase, it may be something that is said without thinking, it may be a statement that some choose not to believe, it may be a weekly church saying

but it is not false because our God is not false. He is ever living, breathing, moving, loving, and working for the good of those who love Him. so at the end of the day i get to proclaim the God is good. whether it be for the reason of overflowing joy, encouragement at the end of a hard day, sharing the good news of who God is to a searching soul.....at the beginning of the day, throughout each moment, and at the end of each day God is good. 

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Brokenness Aside

the last season of 2011 was one of brokenness for me. 

not the brokenness you may be thinking. the brokenness i am speaking of is that of living into the broken state of humanity. no matter how many scriptures i have read, how many prayers i pleaded, all the conversations about God's goodness and holiness, community worship, participating in ministry...at the end of the day i am human and i have a disease called brokenness. i was, i am, and i will always be in a broken relationship with my Creator God and Father. 

this disease seems to come in waves. days with no affects, so it seems. living in joy. telling stories of God's mercy. worshiping with an open heart. proclaiming the power of the Savior. speaking truth. living in love. and there are days where the brokenness seems to be the only option. waking to start the day, yet not intentionally speaking with Christ once throughout it. acting selfishly. doing things that Jesus would be ashamed of. not carrying His name with care, but instead dragging it through the dirt of life behind you. feeling hate towards yourself. 

but this disease will not defeat me. it can be beaten. of course, there will always be effects of it. there will be good days and bad days. there will be moments of pure brokenness. 

i recently purchased a new album put together by a group called All Sons & Daughters. the title song is Brokenness Aside. it has been speaking to me. through the entire album i have been encouraged, raw, and renewed. please take the time to listen to this song. soak it in. receive it and accept it. 

if you have the time or desire please continue to listen to this song Your Glory from the same album. i was proclaiming the goodness and power of God's glory versus living into the brokenness. it is truth. it is a prayer. it is beautiful.