I am not ashamed

Over the past three months I’ve been working on this blog post. I’ll be honest when I say that I’ve deleted and re-typed the words below over and over and over and over again in efforts to “censor” my very real and raw life. I feared being vulnerable behind a screen, but my prayer is that my words will minister to your heart.

I have a huge heart and passion for encouraging women–young and old. I’ve been praying for a message that will encourage women, and over the past few months that message became so real in my own life.

In October I was sitting at my computer drinking coffee while attempting to update the biography on my website and social media sites.
As I struggled to find words to describe who I am I began to hear the Lord whisper to my heart.

“Who do I say you are?”

I sat in silence and reminded myself who I am in Christ.

Friends, I’ve struggled with my confidence and identity for years. I let the lies of people I loved define who I was. I let my past define who I was. I let abuse define who I was. And if I am being completely raw and vulnerable–I allowed the enemy to define who I was instead of searching who God calls me to be.

As women I truly believe that we struggle with our confidence and identity day by day. We are constantly being reminded of the perfect workouts, the perfect diets, the perfect skin care products, the perfect swimsuit body, the perfect makeup products, the perfect secret to living a younger life, the perfect marriage, the perfect friends, the perfect life on the outside. We compare ourselves to the life of the ones we call our friends. We live in a “what if” mindset. We regret the things we didn’t do. We regret the things we did do. And if I’m being honest, we sometimes feel like we’re carrying the weight of the world on our shoulders. Trust me, I GET IT! *sigh*

Ladies, today I am here to tell you that the world does not define who you are. The things above are temporary and external. I’m not casting stones and saying that there’s anything wrong with these things. I desire many of the things above, but I stopped letting these external things define me. I stopped obsessing over my external being and began focusing on the damage it did internally.

I don’t have this magical secret fairy dust method that’s going to bring you to a perfect place of confidence. I don’t believe there’s such a thing. We are human. Trust me, I’ve searched for this “secret method.” The only thing I have to offer is a lot of prayer and a lot of truth seeking. Breathe life into yourself. Breathe confidence into yourself. Find your identity in Christ. Seek Him and the promises He has for you.

The enemy wants to let our shame and comparison silence our voice. For eight years I blamed myself for the sexual abuse I encountered as a young girl. This blame and the lies of evil led me to slide razor blades down my body to experience the internal pain that was bottled up in the very depths of my heart. This pain led me to taste and stand at the edge of suicide. Do I hate what happened to me? ABSOLUTELY! No one should ever have to experience the pain I went through. No one should have their innocence robbed from them. What the enemy meant for evil in my life 13 years ago was turned into good when I decided that living in my pain was never going to bring me to a place of freedom. The Lord reached down, rescued and untied the rope of pain that suffocated my ability to breathe. I was done hiding in the shadows. I was done being silenced. I decided to get up and use my voice to proclaim freedom. My mess has been turned into a message—a message of hope, grace, forgiveness and freedom. I am done being ashamed.

Five years ago for the very first time a friend was able to talk to me about the pain of sexual abuse in her life. Three months ago I stood in front of a microphone and poured out my heart to a group of college students about the love of Jesus in my life. Seven months ago I stood in front of students in another country and shared about the grace of God in my life. Two months ago I sat with my teenage brother and led him to a prayer of salvation. And today here I am sharing my story with you. I don’t say any of these things to boast. I say these things, because I was created on purpose for a purpose. I am not going to spend one more day of my life allowing the enemy to rob the lives of my friends and family!

Eight years ago this was not who I was. I was born a shy girl who was afraid to speak.

My past tried to silence my future. Today my confidence is found in Christ. I’m no longer standing in the shadows of others. I have a voice and the enemy will not silence me.

Today I hope that you will rest in knowing:

  • You are created in the image of God (Genesis 1:27).
  • You are known by God (Jeremiah 1:5).
  • You are chosen (1 Peter 2:9).
  • You are a new creation. The old has passed and the new has come (2 Corinthians 5:17).
  • You are loved (John 3:16).
  • You are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalms 139).
  • Nothing can separate you from His love. (Romans 8).
  • You are free to live a free life (Galatians 5:1).

If we go through the hard times with Him, then we’re certainly going to go through the good times with Him! Amen and Amen!

“God uniquely created your DNA and knit your frame in secret so he could surprise the world. He authored how your heart expresses itself; he was the architect of your smile and the melody of your voice; he made all of your features with the fondest thoughts of only you in mind.” –Lisa Bevere

Love,

Ashley

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4 thoughts on “I am not ashamed

  1. Thank you for sharing from the most intimate of your life.
    Thanks for being sincere.
    I know you are touching many lives.
    You have surely blessed me.
    Many times I have shared so much of my life experiences and sometimes I think, maybe I’m sharing too much.
    But hearing you share, I believe it’s not too much.
    And people have told me, I have blessed their lives.
    But sometimes I feel maybe I shouldn’t.
    But you remind it that I will be helping someone.
    Thanks so much Ashley.
    God continue to use you and bless you.

  2. Ashley everything about you, and what you have made it through, is and will continue to be a blessing to women and girls of all ages. Keep on faithful woman of God! Keep sharing the good, bad, ugly, and beautiful things put in your life’s path ❤️

  3. Wow Ashley you defenently are a reflection of so many other women or men that have gone thru this or are going thru it now….We sometimes feel we don’t have a voice but it’s always been there waiting for us to make that connection to him our heavenly father who will never let us down…I love you and keep making this beautiful transformation within yourself and not only externally but internally…I know just reading this has made so many changes and making changes on people lives….sometimes we need to hear it see it and learn to believe it thank you….Amen God is good

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