I promise it was just October and I only blinked once. Is this real life???
I have gotten so out of the habit of writing. Such is the case when I find my self spiraling, but that’s a story for a different day. However, I do tend to avoid writing when I’m all in my feelings, because that means actually facing them.
So here it is, April. I haven’t written about my word of the year, as I wanted to in January. But writing about my new word felt like maybe I would have to talk about last year’s word, and last year’s word was so connected to my Grandad, who ended up passing away in September, and well everything was just hard.
One day I will have something spiritual to tell you about 2018 and how God truly did bring rain for us in so many ways. But today ain’t the day.
Today, I’m just going to fast forward into 2019. 19 years since we had Y2K. Y’all. If you are old enough to remember that, it is insane that we thought our world might end because computers were going to be confused. Humans. I’m surprised the computers didn’t just take their chance then to takeover the planet.
Squirrel moment. Moving on.
At the end of December, we made our little trek to Alabama and back, and I spent my quiet car time with Jesus just chatting about what 2019 would look like for our little family. Still tender (not bitter but tender – there’s a difference) from the past few months, I wasn’t really in any sort of mood to be uber spiritual about much. This I knew, in 2019, I needed Jesus. I needed to know that he still walks with us, talks with us, and carries us when we need him to.
The past few years, I’ve spent the better part of my prayer time, at some point, saying to God, I just don’t know what we’re supposed to be doing. And if we don’t know, then how are we gonna do it?? We just need clarity, Lord. Or, in my more holy moments, we don’t have to know the whole plan, just the next step… we don’t have to know where we’re going, just the general direction. I’ve said it before, I have my master’s in Christian-ese. (I may not have been raised in church, but I was a fast learner, haha!)
Back to the point, basically, not understanding our current circumstances, and how it was all fitting into God’s grand plan, was consuming me and every decision I made for the past few years. Now, I feel the need to add in, this is all MY point of view. Obviously Stephen and I do life together. But this is me. This is alllllll my extremely type A personality. His perspective probably looks way different than mine, in case you’re wondering… Carry on.
So, during my car ride church moments, I told God I was just tired. Tired of trying to figure it all out, tired from all the Christian-ese, tired of trying to make lemonade when I just wanted to hold my lemons and cry. I just wanted more of God being with me in every moment, and less of me trying to chase big moments.
This became my prayer: Lord, I want a revelation of who you are. Not what you’re going to do. I want a fresh revelation of you in my personal life, in our marriage, and in my family. I want our kids to know who you are on a deep level. I want to look for you, not opportunities. I want to chase you, not dreams. Chase you, not ministry. I want to find more of you God, and let everything else flow out of that.
The words that came out of my own mouth stung. How many times had I chased opportunities to “do ministry” then prayed for God to be in the midst of it, instead of allowing “ministry” to just flow out of a good relationship with God. Not that we were on bad terms. I did all of the “right” things, but looking back, I know there have been so many times that ambition got in the way of what God may have really wanted to do.
Just typing all of that out, still stings, for the record.
I settled on a word for the year, Revelation, and let that become part of my daily prayer. Until about a week or so later. Lest you think I tied that up with a pretty bow so quickly, I ask you to hang with me here a bit longer because it was not a done deal.
Abbey and I had just got back form Mexico and we were back in the midst of every day life. I had started reading a new book, and had just begun our 21 days of prayer and fasting. I was still praying my Revelation prayer, and had started asking God to reveal himself in new ways to us, and a new theme began emerging. Pay attention. What? If you want to see me Ashley, all you have to do is pay attention. Yowza. Okay God. But really, he was right. It’s not like he left. It’s not like he was not around. It was not like there was some secret we hadn’t discovered yet. I just was not used to looking closer. So I started looking. And yowza.
Pay attention was definitely the word(s) I didn’t know I needed. It really and truly ought to be tattooed on my arm somewhere as a reminder. So that I never forget. Just open my eyes and see. God is everywhere. In the middle of everything. I have found him in so many unusual places this year that it brings tears to my eyes.
How many times have I missed seeing him?
There’s a quote that started floating around on social media last year:
“I believe churches are meant for praising God. But so are 2am car rides, showers, the gym, conversations with friends, strangers, etc. Don’t let a building confine your faith because we will never change the world by going to church, we need to be the church.” ~anonymous
I love church. This is not an anti-church thing, k? But man is it a true statement.
How many times have we missed holy moments because they happened in ordinary places??
All I know is, once you start paying attention, you can’t miss them. This year I have found holy moments in the grocery store, in a kids tv show, at the playground, at a concert, in our neighborhood, and many many more. And it brings me to tears every. single. time.
If you don’t have your word(s) for the year, or maybe if you feel a little lost, or maybe you just need a fresh revelation of the God who loves you. Pay attention friend, he’s there. And once you see him, it is wonderful.
Side note: I PROMISE, as I am writing this, Jude is watching some tv show and the song the characters are singing is “just pay, pay attention, every time”. Y’all! You can’t make that up. I’m telling you, God is all in my business, haha!