The Beautiful Adventure Blog

Hey friends!

I’m still here! I have been going back and forth on whether or not I want to keep this blog, or just roll it all over to my new blog, The Beautiful Adventure Blog. I still haven’t completely decided. I’ve thought about the idea of keeping this one for “all things girly” or topics like I’ve been posting, starting a “Girl’s Corner” on The Beautiful Adventure Blog or just tying it altogether for simplicity’s sake!

A lot has happened since my last post here…. I got engaged AND MARRIED! I know, it’s really hard to believe! You can get the short (and I mean short) story here. I’m settling into married life quite nicely and enjoying every minute of it.

If you have any thoughts, ideas or suggestions I’m totally open to hearing them. Just leave it in the comments🙂

~Ashley

The True Prince

“For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38-39

Maybe it’s because I grew up on Disney Princess movies, but when I think about the love of God, I get a picture of Him riding in to save the day like a prince saving his princess. I think of Prince Philip from Sleeping Beauty; He destroys anything in the way to His Princess (the Church or us as individuals). Prince Philip is probably my favorite Disney Prince just because he is the total package. He pursues the girl, sings to her, dances with her and fights for her. He is loving and gentle with her, but when needed, he is a bold warrior. That is how I picture Jesus Christ; lovingly gentle with His Princess, but when or if anything comes against her, or tries to separate them, He is fierce and destroys everything in the way.

“The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness; He will quiet you by His love; He will exult over you with loud singing.” Zephaniah 3:17

“But the Lord is with me as a dread warrior; therefore my persecutors will stumble; they will not overcome me. They will be greatly shamed, for they will not succeed. Their eternal dishonor will never be forgotten.” Jeremiah 20:11

See, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands; your walls are continually before Me.” Isaiah 49:16

“For the Lord your God is He who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies, to give you the victory.” Deuteronomy 20:4

“The Lord will go forth like a warrior, He will arouse His zeal like a man of war. He will utter a shout, yes, He will raise a war cry. He will prevail against His enemies.” Isaiah 42:13

God is fighting for us. He fights every battle we face. When an enemy comes after us, He goes after them! We have a mighty warrior who attacks our enemies out of His love for us! He will NEVER let anything come between you and Him. He will break through every wall, uproot every weed or thorn, attack anyone or anything that tries to harm you, and then He quiets you with His love and gently embraces you in His strong, merciful arms.

Jesus Christ is the true prince. There’s no body like Him. You can search the entire world and never find another like Him, or even one who can compare. Like Snow White said of her prince, “There’s no body like Him. Anywhere at all.” And here’s the best part… Unlike Snow White, we don’t have to wish for the one we love to find us, today or tomorrow. Unlike Cinderella, we don’t have to wait for the prince to send someone else to come find us. Unlike Aurora (Sleeping Beauty), we don’t have to just dream about it! No, we already have it! Our Prince, the one we’ve been wishing for, waiting for and dreaming of has already found us! He has already broken all the barriers between us, defeated all the forces of evil, conquered over all and we can live happily ever after!

The LORD will go forth like a warrior, He will arouse His zeal like a man of war. He will utter a shout, yes, He will raise a war cry. He will prevail against His enemies. – See more at: http://bible.knowing-jesus.com/topics/Battles#sthash.aYBV4npY.dpuf
The LORD will go forth like a warrior, He will arouse His zeal like a man of war. He will utter a shout, yes, He will raise a war cry. He will prevail against His enemies. – See more at: http://bible.knowing-jesus.com/topics/Battles#sthash.aYBV4npY.dpufGod is fighting for us. He fights every battle we face, when an enemy comes after us, He goes after them! We have a mighty warrior who attacks our enemies out of His love for us! He will NEVER let anything come between you and Him. He will break through every wall, uproot every weed or thorn, attack anyone or anything that tries to harm you, and then He quiets you with His love and gently embraces you in His strong, merciful arms.

All The Single Ladies

This one’s for all my fellow single ladies out there! I know how hard it is. Your biggest dream, one of the only things you’ve ever ALWAYS wanted – to get married and have a family. However, you’re still single. I know sometimes it feels like you’re destined to a lonely life of spinsterhood; you’ve watched most of your friends have long lasting relationships, get engaged, walk down the aisle, and maybe now, a few of them are even daring to have babies! It’s not always easy to watch. We are happy for them, of course… but then you know everyone’s about two seconds away from telling you, “It’s your turn next!” It has been “my turn next” for the last 5 turns! Sometimes I wonder if my Prince Charming got knocked off his white horse and got ran over by a freight train. I’ve heard it all! The “God has someone very special for you”, “This is just preparation time”, “You still have time”, “Don’t worry. God’s got the perfect guy for you”, etc…. And I think my favorite, just because I never really know what to say, is:

Image

Enough said.

How do you possibly answer that?! “Why are you still single?” …”Oh, geez, I don’t know…” I feel like every “encouraging” word someone gives me just twists the knife a little deeper into my soul. I know I’m not married. You don’t need to remind me. I know that all of those “encouraging words” come from a caring, well-meaning heart, but it does not help one bit. It actually does the exact opposite. And it’s the worst when it comes from a married woman. We dread the bouquet toss because, if you’re like me, you’re usually shoved (literally) over there and now it’s down to you and the under aged girls… and maybe one more spinster. You walk away, without a bouquet, and it’s just one more frustration. We know it’s just a silly tradition and is only superstitious, but after someone else has caught the bouquet, you think to yourself, with a smile on your face, “I can’t even catch a stupid bouquet!” Ladies, it’s okay if you never catch the bouquet. It’s okay if “your turn” has passed 10 times. It’s okay if people feel bad for you. We don’t have to feel bad for ourselves. This life is some much more than catching a bouquet, or even getting married. God has a purpose for your life! Yes, I know… God has also called me to be a wife and mother, but that’s not all He has called us to do. Are we purposeless before we get married and after our children are grown? I don’t think so. Our Church Culture puts so much pressure on us to get married and make babies. Which, don’t get me wrong, there is NOTHING wrong with getting married and having babies. However, what’s wrong with living a life dedicated to God? Even if it is a single life for now. I want to live my WHOLE life, married or single, with God as the focus and Christ at the center. I know God has incredible things planned for me, and I don’t want to miss out on anything He has in store for me because I’m too busy feeling sorry for myself. I don’t want my focus to be marriage. My focus is Christ! “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? “So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” -Matthew 6:25-34 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding;In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths. – Proverbs 3:5-6 You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You. – Isaiah 26:3 God has great plans for you today! Don’t miss out on what God wants to do in your life today because you’re distracted. Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.” – Lamentations 3:22-24 Emphasis added on scriptures.

Where’s the Power?

One of the biggest reasons, if not the biggest, people don’t see the power of God is because they don’t know it’s already be provided for them. If you’re waiting for God to pour out healing, set people free, etc, know that God has already provided it for you through Jesus Christ. Don’t wait to be healed, know that by His stripes you WERE healed (I Peter 2:24).

God is not withholding His ability or power, He has already released it in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

“Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, as His divine power HAS GIVEN to us ALL things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who CALLED us by glory and virtue, by which HAVE BEEN GIVEN to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” – 2 Peter 1:3-4

The Desires of Our Heart

I just want to share something that the Lord put on my heart:

My grandma shared her concern with me about all my ‘boy troubles’. “I just don’t understand why you have such problems catching and keeping a guy!” she told me. Now lately I’ve been more concerned about other things God’s put on my heart to do instead of worrying about dating… but this did spark something on the inside of me.

Later that afternoon, I was just talking with God and telling Him that I want so badly to fulfill all that He’s put in my heart. “I want to get married, I want to have children, I want to be a good role model for young girls, I want to share Your Word and love with others, etc.” I began sharing with God. The Lord just softly told me, “I want you to do all those things more than you want to do them. I want you to marry a man after My own heart who will treat you like the princess you are. I want you to mentor young girls and share My love with them. And I want it for you more than you yourself could ever want it!”

No matter what you’re going through right now, God wants you to have that dream come true more than you want it! If you don’t like your job and want something with more purpose and better benefits, well God is the God of better! He’s the God of BEST! He wants you to have a job that you love with amazing benefits. Do you want to never let an offering bucket go by you again without your contribution? He wants that for you, too! God knows you have needs, and He’s already provided the means of getting those needs met. “The Lord will open to you His good treasure, the heavens, to give the rain to your land in its season, and to bless all the work of your hand. You shall lend to many nations, but you shall not borrow.” – Deuteronomy 28:12, “The Lord will command the blessing on you in your storehouses and in all to which you set your hand, and He will bless you in the land which the Lord your God is giving you.” – Deuteronomy 28:8

Do have a great desire to have children… Look at Hannah. She longed for a child so much that she would weep and would not eat, (I Samuel 1:7). The Bible says that Hannah prayed to the Lord and wept in anguish. “Then Eli answered and said, “Go in peace, and the God of Israel grant your petition which you have asked of Him.”‘ was Eli’s reply when Hannah told him that she “poured her soul out before the Lord”. And guess what… God gave her the desire of her heart. She did have a son she named Samuel.

I’m not saying that we should receive everything we want the instant we want it. I’m just saying we shouldn’t live in a “wanting” state of being. Yes, God has a time and place for everything, but I do not believe He makes us live in poverty,  sickness and be miserable for any reason. The desire to be married and have children, there is a time and place for that, so of course we need to be at peace with where we’re at. “You have given him his heart’s desire, and have not withheld the request of his lips.” Psalm 21:2 Abraham and Sarah longed for a child and God fulfilled that desire. Hannah, Leah, Rachel… They all had the desire to have children and God gave them children. I also am not saying that we should only serve God to get what we want. Receiving His blessings, good gifts, and being given the desires of our hearts is simply a byproduct of a relationship with the Lord. It’s not the main focus, but I believe we should be aware that God is a good god who loves to give!

God is for us, not against us. Start believing that and acting like it!

“Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” – Ephesians 3:20-21

My Beloved

*I posted this about 6 months ago on my other blog https://thebeautifuladventureblog.wordpress.com/ but thought it was very fitting for The Princess mentality.* “I’m the last one left.” This was the thought running through my head a few weeks ago. I was skimming through my news feed on Facebook when all of a sudden a relationship status had been updated. “So and so got engaged to so and so”. Great. I’m the last one left. (Okay, I do have one girlfriend left that’s not currently engaged.) I had been dating this great guy that I absolutely adored but we broke up about a week after this event . So, needless to say, we weren’t getting engaged any time soon. Every day and everywhere I went I’d get stopped by people looking at a certain finger on my left hand. The look was usually followed by a, “Not yet, huh?” or “It will happen.” This particular day, I had been asked if I was engaged yet about 5 times, three friends got engaged and I hadn’t seen my (then) boyfriend for almost a month. I wanted to cry. “Lord, I feel like the only girl not getting married, and who doesn’t have a ring to show off.” The next day I was at work and decided I would go into praise and worship. (I work at a Bible school and we have praise and worship 3 times a week.) One of the students, who I don’t really know very well, came over to me and said, “Ashley, I really feel like the Lord told me to tell you something. I told Him, ‘But Lord, I don’t really know her.’ He replied, ‘But I know her.’ He wants you to know that He loves you and that you are the apple of His eye. He thinks you are beautiful and special. He adores you.” She then handed me this little something that was wrapped in pink paper. She opened her Bible to Isaiah 54:5 which says, “For your Maker is your husband, the Lord of hosts is His name; And your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel; He is called the God of the whole earth.” When I got back to my desk I opened the gift she gave me. It was a beautiful pink ring! I started crying when I realized that God not only heard me the night before, but He fulfilled my desire! It was an awesome reminder of who God is. God reminded me that He is faithful, loving, caring and giving. His desire is to be in constant relationship with us. It wasn’t a life changing word or anything. I would have lived, and life would have gone on even if this would have never happened, but God’s desire is to love us and give us the desires of our hearts. My desire was not spiritual. It was a dumb desire I had, but God knew how much it meant to me. image Not only did I get a ring to show off, but God told me how much He cherishes me. He even took care of the little details. Pink is my favorite color and the ring is pink and was wrapped in pink paper. It’s the perfect size, too. I have always had a really hard time finding rings that fix just right and this one it a perfect fit! The woman who gave me the ring later told me that when she was getting ready for school God put it on her heart to go grab that particular ring and bring it to school with her because He was going to give it to someone today. Isn’t God amazing?!

The Dating Game

Dating. A huge part of life, and yet, the Bible does not really give any guidelines on the subject.  The Bible talks about marriage and family, but how do you get there?

RightWay_WrongWaySign

When I was in high school, I was OBSESSED with boys. I was a huge flirt. I’d flirt with any guy that was even the slightest bit cute, funny or popular. I would chase after guys and try my very hardest to get their attention hoping to dazzle them so much they could no longer resist. Pathetic – I know. I always had this “need” to have a boyfriend. If I didn’t have a boyfriend, or at the very least, a guy who seemed interested, I had no self esteem. I had no value without a guy wanting me. Needless to say, I went about dating in every wrong way possible.

Now that I’m an adult, and I believe much more mature, I want to date “the right way”. I no longer “need” a boyfriend. I don’t want to be in a relationship because without one, I have no self worth. I don’t pursue a relationship because I can’t survive without one, now. So, how do you go about dating the “right” way?

DominoI don’t believe in “the one”. I don’t believe that God made me for specifically one man in this world. That belief just does not make any sense to me. Actually, it’s terrifying! If each person in this world had only one person that God intended for them to marry, I don’t believe many people would marry the “right” person. If just one person misses God and marries the “wrong” one, then that affects everyone else! It’s like a domino effect; one person is off and it throws everyone else off, too.

What I’m about to say is my own personal belief. I’m not saying, “thus saith the Lord”, okay? And this is from one single girl to another🙂
It is my own personal belief after much consideration, praying, studying the Word and trial and error that the reason the Bible doesn’t give much direction in the area of dating is because it shouldn’t be a big deal. It should not be a main focus. Now, I’m not saying that the Lord will just drop someone in your lap and you’ll experience love at first sight. I’m saying that we should remain focused on our relationship with God and stepping into His will for our lives. I believe that ultimately we have the final decision. After all, we have the mind of Christ, the same power in us that raised Christ from the dead, the Holy Spirit who is our Helper, the Word of God, and so much more simply by being born again.

“You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in You.” – Isaiah 26:3

“Commit thy works unto the Lord, and thy thoughts shall be established.” – Proverbs 16:3

“For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.” – Romans 8:6

“Keep your heart with all diligence for out of it spring the issues of life.” – Proverbs 4:23

If we just go about life living it for the Lord, and not worry about dating, getting married, and starting a family, but rather, spend time cultivating who we are in Christ, it takes the “pressure” off of us to feel like we have to make it happen. Just enjoy living the life God gave you, spending time building a relationship with God, and follow God’s lead. The Bible says that God will not withhold any good thing from us (Psalm 84:11).

Marriage was originally God’s design anyway. It’s not something we came up with, but like most things, the world has distorted God’s original design. God knew that is was not good for Adam to be alone, so He created a helpmate for him (Genesis 2:18). Notice Adam did not have to go cry to God about it (no condemnation, I’ve cried plenty of times to God). He wasn’t worried or anxious about how, when and where he’d meet someone. He wasn’t writing out lists of what she would be like, what she’d look like, her likes/dislikes, what their relationship would look like, etc. He just spent time in the presence of the Lord, fulfilling the purpose God gave him. God is the same yesterday, today and forever and He’s not a respecter of persons! He doesn’t treat you one way, then someone else a different way. He is a respecter of faith, though, and is creative, so He won’t bring your husband/wife to you in the same way He does someone else.

Colo32 My point is simply this: If you keep your focus on God, then you won’t be concerned with other things like dating, because at the end of the day, the most important thing is your relationship with God. Just be willing to be obedient to His voice. If you follow God’s lead, He will never steer you wrong.

Knowing God

A teaching about knowing God by Ashley K. Bryant. There is a huge difference between knowing God and knowing about Him. I grew up in a Christian home with born again, Spirit-filled parents. I always knew about God, but never knew who God was. Funny isn’t it? How we can know about God without ever really knowing Him. We can quote every verse in the Bible, we know all the right things to do and say, we even know all the worship songs. However, it all means nothing without the love of God according to 1 Corinthians 13:1-3.
If we don’t know the love of God, we do not know Him because He is love. Do we really know God, or only about Him?

Who Do You Want To Be?

When I was a little girl, and even into my teen years, I would think about the man I wanted to marry. I started making out ‘lists’ in my head of what kind of man he would be, what characteristics he would have, he’d have a horse, sing me songs, he’d save me from the evil dragon keeping me locked up in my tower… You know, just you’re average Joe. All kidding aside, though, most of that was true (once I start mentioning a horse, it’s all jokes from there).

When I started growing up, though, I had the thought, “Am I the kind of woman the kind man I want to marry would want to marry?”. The very first thing on my ‘list’ was “someone who puts God above everyone and anything.” Was that who I was, though? Was I putting God above everyone and anything else in life? The things I was expecting from ‘my guy’ were all things he would look for in ‘his girl’, too. Would I even attract him with who I was?

I quickly threw out all of my preconceived notions and ‘lists’ and started making a new list… “My Husband’s Dream Wife”. I started thinking about the qualities and characteristics that would draw a Godly, spiritually-minded man to me.

I read through the obvious scriptures like Proverbs 31 and Ephesians 5, but didn’t stop there. Proverbs 12:4, 11:16, I Peter 3. I even started looking at women in the Bible like Ruth, Sarah, Esther, Rahab. They all had incredible faith and qualities I wanted to have.

As girls, it’s so easy to get distracted or worried about meeting the right guy, at the right place, at the right time, but if we don’t prepare ourselves and our hearts then we won’t be ready! I know that I am complete in Christ! I know that my Maker is my Husband. I don’t need to be concerned and carried away by worries in this life. That’s easier said then done, but I want to be the virtuous woman whose worth is far above rubies. I want my husband to read through Proverbs 31 and say with joy in his heart, “that’s my wife!”.

I implore girls/women of all ages, and at any point in life, to decide who you want to be. Don’t feel bad if you come up short. No one has the right to judge you but God alone and He won’t ever judge you. God is there with you every step of the way, guiding you to where you need to go. He won’t drag you, though. It will take some effort on our part, but it’s worth it🙂