Ashley


My grandma used to say, “Every time you make a plan, God laughs." I cannot think of a better quote for my twenties. So far I have watched every single plan I have had for myself shatter into little pieces while I watch from the sidelines. Its frustrating, scary and some days can cause a breakdown like no other. When my life takes a dramatic turn it is almost impossible for me to remember the incredible plans God has for me. Looking back right now as I write this story I can’t help but smile at the big moments in my life where I doubted His plan. The nights I stayed up crying and honestly angry with Him because I could not understand how my life could take such awful turns. But all of those painful moments – the rejection, the embarrassment, and the failures have led me to where I am right now.

Leading up to graduation last may, I had a plan. I was going to land a job and live at home in D.C. to save some money. God laughed. I was offered a job in Raleigh, North Carolina, which I accepted on the spot after never even stepping foot in the city before. I was terrified and anxious. I remember going down to visit with my mother and sister. I seriously had a stomach ache the entire trip. I questioned my decisions and most importantly I questioned my ability to be resilient and handle whatever life threw at me.

I had another plan though. I was going to excel at work and find a great church while maintaining a social life. God laughed again. Actually I laughed at just typing that out. Your life after school is going to be a balance, a much more difficult balance than you’ve handled before. Something no one really prepares you for, how exhausting the 50-60 hour workweek is. Notice how I didn’t say 40. That’s because if you get a job in a fast-paced industry like I did, if you’re not working or learning you’re falling behind. There will be so many late nights in the office where you are kicking yourself for not working out or having time to get dinner with the new people you met in your apartment. Breathe. There’s a balance. Slowly before I knew it I became a morning workout person (ew I know). That way I have time to go home at night and unwind with friends or a great tv show and a glass of wine. I learned to enjoy my coworkers and the incredible things I’m learning during my days.

This is the part in the story where I tell you everything in my life is perfect and I figured it all out. Wrong. I’m still scared. A coworker once told me if you’re not scared or nervous you don’t have enough passion for what you’re doing. So I try to embrace the fear. After several months of trying to find a church I gave up. And honestly I felt it. There is a noticeable difference in how fulfilled I am during my day when Christ is actively in my life. I was feeling down - maybe I just wouldn’t have a church family down here. That same week my car was making a weird noise, the scary kind not even your dad can help with. I was exhausted and overwhelmed while Ubering to the car shop so the dealer could tell me how much I’m going to have to put on my credit card that I am still afraid to use. Surprisingly enough my driver and I got into a conversation about my faith. He recommended I try out a small church I had never heard of before. Before I knew it I was at the front door on Sunday morning. What my Uber driver didn’t tell me was that he was the pastor of this small church. He leads a group of people every Sunday to talk about the Bible and a relationship with Jesus. I couldn’t believe how humble and welcoming everyone was. I knew I had found a spot I wanted to come back to.

I don’t want the young women reading this to think I now have it all together. That’s not how life works. What I am trying to accomplish every day is putting more faith in God and myself to overcome the fears I have constantly. I want everyone reading this to stand in front of the mirror and seriously tell yourself you can do this. Whatever uphill battle life has for you, you’ve got it. I’m not saying you are going to find your dream church through your Uber driver. I am saying that God has a plan for you, and even when it doesn’t feel like it, He is working miracles in your life.

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