As time has gone by, refusing to slow down, as it insists, there are a lot of memories swirling inside this twenty-eight year old brain. I could tell you a few from childhood; like when I 'ran away to my Grandma's house' because I was so upset and angry. Or the time I sprinted down our dirt road insisting that I would 'never go back,' because I didn't want to accept that our very old border collie wouldn't be coming back. I can remember some pretty painful experiences from break-ups, lies I had told, mistakes I had made, and friendships that went sourly awry. But as I've grown and aged, it's almost as if those things at this point seem silly--minuet, tiny, not so large in the grand scheme of things.
As adults, we most often remember and dwell upon the 'worst day' in these present years. I won't ever forget mine, and I'm 100% sure that no matter how big or small, YOU can remember yours. Though it was years ago, it's also practically yesterday. The night out that I had, the very split second that I allowed another man to bump his way into my mind and heart... when the bomb went off, the sirens exploded, and my heart shattered into a million pieces. In that instant, when my brain screamed, "Ashley! This is NOT okay!! What are you going to tell your husband?!"
For months after the emotional garbage that took place, I was a panicked wreck. Comparing myself to other women, even women on TV shows, swearing at myself and snarling, "They would never do this. Not in a million years. NO woman has ever screwed up like this." You see... growing up I was convinced that women don't screw up. Men do. Women don't think about leaving their marriages, running the other way, being with someone else--MEN do. The wives, the mothers; no, never. Not in a hundred years, or a million. It has to be the husband who causes havoc.
Except that's NOT true. Not even a little bit. Did you know that females can screw up too? Some of you know my story, our story. You may be wondering from this post, 'What in the WORLD happened?' No, I didn't ever physically cheat on my husband. I didn't even ever come close. But the day some other guy told me that I 'looked cute,' was the day that I started to slide very fast down the relationship avalanche. When I started to care about my appearance, and not for the man that I took vows with. When I started to wonder, 'Did I get married too young? What would it be like if I just left?'
You see, friends? I REMEMBER MY WORST DAY.
And while recently listening to Bob Goff speak at church (how blessed am I!?!) I was reminded of this perfectly refreshing truth:
"Even in your worst moment, when God looks at you, he whispers, Beloved."
'Who ARE you?' Bob asked. And the answer is this: Yes, I am a mother. I am a wife. I am a teacher, photographer, blogger, and whatever else. But most importantly, I am a daughter of GOD. And I am His beloved. At the end of my WORST day, He was still whispering, "Ashley, you are my BELOVED. Will you please accept and embrace this?"
I also want to mention that at the end of this worst day, my husband stared deep in to my eyes and said, "Ashley, I will be here tomorrow when you wake up. I choose YOU." Honestly it was so hard for me to hear that; I felt guilty and worthless, useless, and like a screw-up. But that wasn't because anyone who genuinely loved me was making me feel that way--that was because I couldn't quite yet hear the powerful truth and message that my Creator was speaking through the man I married.
Do you have a 'worst day?' Maybe yours isn't as severe or emotional as mine. Honest to God I hope and pray that I never have to endure something as painful as this [as does my husband!], but I know I will continue to have bad days as the years proceed. And maybe you think your worst day is so much worse... Sisters, Friends; I sit here behind this screen and am praying for your heart + soul. May you hear His voice tonight, may you know the Truth that you are worthy. You are beautiful, radiant, valued, worthy, and beloved. Sinner? Yes. Absolutely, because we all are. No matter our fight and chase to the Cross, we STILL screw up. But He is always there, and always waiting. Ready to pick you up, catch you, embrace you, and love you. And, who is there calling you Beloved at the end of your worst day?
**Whoever you are, wherever you are--may you know that I will pray for you. Send me an e-mail or just simply post a comment that you are ____ and that you need some extra prayer. Thank you for reading, and thank God for His grace; right?!**
Photo by: Jana Glass