Today, Ashley, from The Honey Scoop, speaks to us about how she admires David’s hope, why she reads two specific types of books at a time, what surrender has looked like in her life in this season, and a book recommendation that you will add to your list. She is refreshing and witty. You will want to check out her site after this!
Inspiring biblical passage of the moment: “So fear not, for I have redeemed you, I have summoned you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.” Isaiah 43: 1-2
Spiritual growth focus at the moment: I’m in a huge time of change, right now. It’s the first time in my life where I’ve really needed to trust God with my future. A couple months ago, I could’ve said word-for-word what my life was going to look like. What I would do, who I would be with, where I would live – the whole nine yards. But just recently, I have felt God calling me to give all my hopes and dreams to Him and trusting Him with them. I have been learning how much He delights in me surrendering everything I want my life to look like, and trusting Him with the outcome. I have really learned the power of surrender and saying, “Okay, God. I will go wherever, and I trust that it will be good.”
Profession: I am a student, blogger, podcaster, and always aspiring to do more than I have time for *laughs*.
A one sentence bio of yourself: My name is Ashley, I love me some Jesus, learning, kindness and people – and especially, a good book.
When did you first encounter God and how did you encounter Him? I first encountered God when I read the book The Purpose Driven Life, by Rick Warren. I was really lost in my life and was searching for my true identity. I was used to putting on masks according to who I was with, and didn’t know who the real Ashley was. I didn’t know who I was, and I knew that because I felt like a fraud with all of my different identities. I just wanted to be whatever would make people happy, but I found that being a people pleaser was not fulfilling.
I didn’t grow up following Jesus, and I had no idea what a relationship with God even looked like – and that you could find your purpose in Him. So when my best friend told me she was reading a book about finding your purpose and true self, I jumped at the opportunity. It’s interesting that I found God through a book, but it’s also not a surprise to me, at all. With each page that I turned, my life was changing more and more.
What has helped you grow spiritually in this season? The Lord is really teaching me to find my worth, comfort, purpose, in His hands. I’ve realized it’s a whole lot easier to trust God when everything is going well, but a lot harder to put into practice when life is hitting the fan. I’ve learned to look at him with open hands – about my career, future, where I’m going to live, and even future husband. I’m trying my best to release control and rest in His love and care for me.
Just read/currently reading (and what has it taught you?): Anne Lamott’s Traveling Mercies was a book I literally couldn’t put down. Anne Lamott is funny and authentic, and she has such a beautiful friendship with Jesus.
Through this book, I learned the power of prayer. It’s so cool how you can ask God for help in any situation, and he will come through. She taught me that if you seek Him, you will find Him. I’m pretty dramatic, so I ask God for help a lot. Whether it’s for wisdom, or comfort, or just help in the way He knows best. When I started asking God for help in even little situations, I started to see Him work in my own life. I saw Him show up in little ways, giving me more of His grace, and revealing that He is with me, everywhere I go.
“I’m pretty dramatic, so I ask God for help a lot. Whether it’s for wisdom, or comfort, or just help in the way He knows best. When I started asking God for help in even little situations, I started to see Him work in my own life.”
Top three essentials: A good cup of coffee,a book, and Google search.
[Editor’s Note: This is the first time someone mentions Google. I have been waiting for this one. *wink*]
How did God speak to you recently? Recently, God has been asking me to focus on Him. So much of myself wants to plan out my life and control everything. But God has been showing me to focus less on the plans, and more on Him. Because all things flow from trusting in Him first.
Hobby: Writing, reading – and I’m currently trying to learn how to cook (it is quite a funny process).
Top three practical tips for staying spiritually strong:
Get yo’self a mentor. One of the best ways I am able to see more of Jesus in my everyday life is by having a mentor in my life. It’s nice to have an outside perspective about what you’re going through, and to have someone encourage you through the season you’re in. It makes me think of Proverbs 11:14: “Where there is no guidance, a person falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety.”
Talk to God about everything. I can’t even tell you how much this has changed my life. At first, I thought talking to God had to be this orderly thing where I would say a quick prayer about something and close it quickly with an amen. But now, I’m learning to talk to Him like He was my actual friend, whether it’s about my day, my issues, or something I’m worried about. I especially love to talk to God in the shower, which is weird, but we all have our quirks. It reminds me of Anne Lamott’s quote: “Some people think God is in the details, but I have come to believe that God is in the bathroom.”
Have a quiet time in the morning. As a student, this is hard. I for so long did not have a quiet time longer than 5 minutes, and I would find myself rushed throughout the day, easily frustrated, and feel scattered. I then started to give myself 30 minutes for spending time with Jesus in the morning, and it has made a world of a difference. I read my First 5 app, and recently I’ve been reading the Psalms through their “When Words Fail” reading plan. I really recommend this app for the mornings.
Favorite person in scripture? Definitely, David. He was so emotional, and I just love it. David is so honest and real, and he had to muster a lot of courage to beat that big ole Goliath. I have always connected most with the Psalms, and I admire his perseverance through all the adversity that came his way. I also admire how he hopes in the Lord, even when life isn’t going too hot.
“I also admire how he hopes in the Lord, even when life isn’t going too hot.”
What do you want people to learn about God when they look at you? What I value most is kindness, and I believe we have such a kind God. Who is accepting, loving, and doesn’t want you to change anything about yourself to be a part of his family. I hope to accept and spread kindness to others, so they can see that they are ever so accepted by Jesus. I want to make people feel like they belong before they believe.
Favorite season? I used to love spring, because it was right after winter, and I don’t particularly love winter. But recently I’ve decided my favorite season is fall. The leaves, the crisp air, and the candles are just too hard to resist.
Favorite holiday? Christmas (I used to believe in the Polar Express, so you can imagine my love for this holiday).
A dream you have? My dream is to be able to speak words of wisdom and encouragement to women through an online space.
A special tradition you and your family engage in or keep: I love traditions for some reason, and I dragged my family into a lot of things that I thought we were supposed to do. One of them is watching “What A Wonderful Life” on Christmas Eve. If my family ever didn’t want to watch it, I genuinely would get upset.
Question you will ask when you get to heaven? I feel like I’m going to sit him down and ask him like a million questions, like, Why were dinosaurs necessary? Or how was free will and your plan for my life intertwined? That one drives me nuts.
But I’ll probably ask him if he was proud of me. Which I guess is a cute question to ask.
Thing you want to raise awareness about: I want to raise awareness for poverty. I have always been interested in ways for people in impoverished areas to have better jobs and a chance at success.
What do you usually do before 9 a.m.? If I am lucky, I actually manage to wake up before 9 a.m.. If I do, it’s around 8:30, and I do my skincare routine and brush my teeth, and then I get on my outfit for the day. I usually don’t put on too much makeup for class, so that’s a quick routine. I make myself a cup of coffee and eat a granola bar, and then start my quiet time.
What is on your nightstand? I just love my nightstand. I have my journal, Bible, and two books I’m reading all stacked on top of each other (I try to read one Christian book and one fiction book at the same time, thanks to some good ole C.S. Lewis advice). Next to that is my hand lotion, and then I have a mug for pens for annotating my books. And then, I usually have a candle to accompany me for some nighttime reading.
“I try to read one Christian book and one fiction book at the same time, thanks to some good ole C.S. Lewis advice.”
Define Christianity in a sentence: Having your best friend around you all the time, and being able to love people together.
For more Ashley:
Until next time, keep witnessing!