Real Deal – Meet Ashley Nolan
I want you to meet my friends, the contributors of this blog. They are the real deal. I didn’t ask them to be on here because they have the biggest following or the biggest book deals – I asked them because they are the real deal. Enjoy meeting Ashley today! – Courtney
When Courtney sent me a list of ideas to jump start my thinking for this blog post I was overcome with so many different thoughts….I am not exactly sure where to start? My thoughts have been incredibly jumbled lately, so this is going to be more of a bullet point post, and less of a dreamy thought provoking challenge.
Courtney’s heart for this blog and for YOU as a mom is so big. She thinks about you all day everyday. She wants you to know that you are doing a great work. If she could, she would be standing next to you, waving pom poms, and chanting, with sparkle fingers,
Shouting over and over in your head, until you stood up a little straighter, and your shoulders rolled back a bit, and you sort of glided through your day as if you knew you were doing your job well, even if imperfectly. She loves you and I hope you know that!
Encouragement For New Mommas
If you are a new momma you must read this post that my friend Amber wrote to herself. She said everything I would tell you, momma of a newborn, if I could sit down with you for coffee. Even if your baby is no longer new, you will love her heart on this matter.
I do not have any thread of OCD in my body. This is what my kitchen looks like for 90% of the day. I have delegated the role of unloading and loading the dishwasher to my eight year old – BEST DECISION EVER!
So I leave the kitchen sink a mess until my son gets home from school at which point he will load and unload the dishwasher. I rarely do dishes now, and he has begun teaching his younger sisters the task of helping him with his job which I think is great!
God is refining me
The thing that God is teaching me right now is that I am incredibly precious to him. I wrote about my Easter here, which was the catalyst for a huge spiritual shift for me internally. I have not “re-committed” my life to Christ or anything, I just have a relationship with Him. He loves me and I love Him and we connect most days. Sometimes, we connect while I am driving around in my car pretending that three people are not talking to me at the same time, and sometimes we connect in quite moments.
The last year and a half has been quite rough for me, from a personal health perspective. I have always struggled with my health, and these struggles have appeared like shifting sand to the medical community, never quite being able to put their finger on why I feel so crappy so often. The reason I mention that here is that in the years of struggle and particularly the last 18 months of acute issues, I had not hit my bottom, my desperation. I still had this feeling like I gotta handle this, I gotta be strong and just get through it.
I have looked in the eyes of people suffering and while I have given myself the freedom to experience my own suffering without guilt that I happen to be on my cushy bed in my air conditioned home with my running water and gatorade with ice, I STILL did not allow myself to not be enough.
It’s clear that I don’t hold my health in my hands, he does, but it has taken me so many years to realize I can lay it down. I can praise him even while I am hurting and in fact I almost can’t praise him while I am still trying to gut it out on my own. The difference is subtle. I have prayed all these years, but I have not surrendered. That old, or maybe it’s still current, Campus Crusade for Christ, (now Cru), pamphlet of showing Jesus being the bridge between me and God. His death paying for me. That surrender is what has happened this Easter for this part of my life.
This is my story but it could be your story too, that weight that won’t come off, or that kid that just won’t listen or that thing that just won’t change, financial, relational etc. The surrender is what brings freedom, not a change in circumstances. God sent Jesus for freedom, not for good behavior and not for striving. I am learning this right now, to get out of the desert and into the promised land. He’s already given it to me it’s just a matter if I choose to live there-I’m claiming that this year. When I see the playroom all looking like a tornado hit I choose freedom, it’s just ten minutes away from peacefulness again. When my kids are screaming in the car I choose freedom, this moment will pass, it’s just that, a moment, not the whole story or the definition. I will be defined by the way that I live and I choose freedom.
I love being free.
I am not healed, the process of healing is happening, but we/I will never be in our glorious bodies until we are home with Jesus, oh and how I long for that beautiful body. My journey has not been in vain.
I am dreaming, always dreaming big
Today, I am dreaming about the center that my family has recently committed to sponsoring through Care for AIDS in the slum area called Kariobangi. There is a pastor there named George. He and his wife pastor at Word of Life Church. Their community has an unusually high number of single moms, who have an unusually large number of children in their families, on average six! So many people in their community have been affected by HIV/AIDS. Through Care for AIDS, George and his wife will be able to love on, encourage, give dignity and hope to the lepers of their society.
I am dreaming about this fresh breath of air that is going to leak out of that church and impact that community in a huge way. I am dreaming about the children, who will not be motherless or fatherless because through CFA they will receive their medication and the nutrition they need to not only survive HIV/AIDS but live a long full life where they will see their children grow up and maybe even their grandchildren. I am excited to hear the stories of how Jesus will become known, because of his great love, and how so many people will not feel alone in their pain and in their sickness. I can not wait to hear the stories from the counselors who will visit their homes, hug and pray for them and let them know that they are God’s favorite child. It’s a lonely place to suffer by yourself and still try to keep your family going. You see I know this because this is my story too. I don’t have HIV but we are the same. We are both His favorites.
To learn more about this center or to get involved contact me for more information.
so beautiful ashley xoxo
Love that you are doing this, Courtney. Great post from Ashley. 🙂