I can't breathe.

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Breathing is a natural occurrence. We don’t think about our breathe until we feel like we’re losing it--an experience I know very well. One day in the middle of having one of the most intense workout experiences, I started to say to myself, “I can not breathe. I can’t breathe.” I was slouched over, coughing, and panting for breath. My gym buddies standing in close proximity to me began to tell me “don’t quit, don’t give up, keep going, you got this Ashley.” I said again, “I can’t breathe.” Their response was, “you are breathing and you will be just fine.” About two minutes after that pep talk from my unrelenting gym partners, I got my second wind. Just enough energy to take me through the remainder of the workout. A second wind is defined as an a person's ability to breathe freely during exercise, after having been out of breath. In this moment, I rested, relied on God, and received the energy I needed to continue.

How many times in life do we feel like we are out of breath? Not just physically but, mentally and emotionally. We feel as if we lost energy, or we’re at our wits end, ready to quit in the middle of our difficulty. I have dealt with those moments many times in my life. Typically, we become anxious, worried, and fearful. I have learned that those feelings don’t change the circumstances and that when I rely on Jesus He can provide the comfort, peace, and wisdom needed to continue. In moments when I feel I can’t catch my breath or life gets challenging, I have a few strategies I use to help me get my second wind:

Rest

Sometimes when we can’t breathe we need to rest, not quit. Resting in God, who is able to carry us through life circumstances. There is nothing you have gone through or will ever go through that God can not bring you out of. Quitting is not an option! You must continue because your destiny lies on the other side of this fight to breathe.

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Matthew 11: 28 -30

Rely on those stronger in the faith.

When dealing with challenges in life we don’t always have the answers but when we rely on God He can guide us. We not only need to rely on God but He also puts people in our lives to help us in our moments of weakness. Just as I had to rely on the team of supporters that had already completed the exercise regimen of that particular day--we can rely on the wisdom of others who have gone before us and completed the task already.

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.

James 1: 5

Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.

1 Thessalonians 5:11

Receive

Receive the strength of God. You may not have the strength to continue but His strength is made perfect in our weakness. I know for a fact that when I have been at my weakest moment God came through and provided the strength I needed to continue. He will give strength to those who are weak and have low energy.

He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.

Isaiah 40:29

Today receive the strength of God and the courage to move forward!

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Ashley Ramsey,

Author, Evangelist, Educator, Mentor

The "Good Mom" tells the Truth

"There are a lot of crazy people who have children and I have always been interested in how children maneuver and decide how to live, it's hard. I've always had a deep respect for children and how they solve complex problems, by themselves... I think through shrewdness, fantasy and just plain strength they want to survive. THEY WANT TO SURVIVE".

~ Maurice Sendak (author & illustrator of Where the Wild Things Are)

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I found this video in the early part of 2015 and it has sat with me since. When I tell you God always, and I mean ALWAYS has a way of connecting the dots and revealing ideas and messages to me I sometimes find it hard to articulate. I have really been reflecting hard on motherhood for the past couple of years (four to be exact). Specifically, on how I've changed, grown as a woman and most pressingly; how do I become the type of mother I want to be to and for my sons? I am often left with the burning question, of how do I raise happy, whole, god fearing men, when I myself am so broken? How do I, instill enough love in them, so that when they go out into the world they know how to discern unequivocally the difference between what is real and what is a facade? Then the realization that I am grossly lacking the skill set to accomplish these things begin to set in , because I do not by any stretch of the imagination have the tools necessary for such an immense task.

Nevertheless, I know that in order to achieve these goals. I need to unpack my baggage so that I can be a better mother, a more affectionate and attentive mother. See I want my children to want to be around me when they are teenagers and adults. How do I get there? I mean I am a yeller and I am sometimes deficit in the patience necessary to deal with two rambunctious little boys. I can literally scream at the top of my lungs bringing myself within seconds of a heart attack and they will just ignore me and be in there own little worlds. And when I sit back to reassess my responses, I often realize I should not have reacted the way I did.  Just the same it gives me joy that they can have and find peace in spite of me.

Although motherhood can at times be hard and overwhelming. I will not by any means allow my stuff to become theirs. So I am training myself to push through the fog. As it is only when I stop looking at this assignment as a burden and I truly connecting myself to God; that I can fully take in the beauty of my babies, their different personalities and talents. "For I am merely a vessel that was used to get them here. Their purpose on this earth is far greater than me. My job is to help shape and guide them into realizing the path that God has set before them and encouraging them to walk in that."

My children are so beautiful; they are becoming real little people. Everyday is an adventure and they are super intuitive and observant. My oldest always asks me "mommy are you happy?" They are four, why do they know, better yet why do they have to ask me this? My response is always "Are you ok baby, are you happy? That is all that matters." I've got to watch my emotions and how I project them. As far as my shortcomings, all I can do is sleep on them, wake up and try again in the morning.

Mason and Micah force me to strive to be the best version of myself. While I am still trying to figure out whom that is and what that looks like. I have to remind myself daily that I am worthy of Motherhood. It is such a gift.

I AM ENOUGH #period

When I Shed The World's "I Am."

Why am I enough? Why am I worth it? Because God says I am.

-Mic Drops

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It’s really that simple and easy. God made me (and you) in HIS image and because of that alone I am more than enough! Though it is that simple, getting to that realization was not. If I am 1000 percent honest writing this wasn’t at all an easy task. I know that I am enough NOW, but for a long time I didn’t.

“So God created man in His own image, in the image and likeness of God He created him; male and female He created them.” Gen 1:27

When we are young we often are told to know our worth in hopes to not settle for less. I remember being told that, and not understanding what it meant completely and questioning why I even was worth it. This started my quest for worthiness, and often along the way --faking it. For a long time I had a warped concept of what worthiness meant and looked like. I thought my worthiness was dependent upon degrees, hard work, career, and character. I thought the more I gained, the more I was worth.

I clearly had a false sense of worthiness, and as I maneuvered through life faking like I had it together, trying to prove to everyone else that I was worthy… I never felt full, I never felt enough. I was empty, and was stuck in a state of discontentment and sadness. For years my prayer was Lord give me peace. Lord fill my heart with joy. When I finally let go of the false idea that my worthiness was based on what I had and realized it had everything to do with whose I was I stopped... Stopped trying to gain with intents to prove, and started living, started loving, and started to get to know God and myself.

I had been faking it for so long, I didn't know who I was. As I shed false pretenses and made up ideologies and adapted to God's word my "I am" changed. It used to be I am my degrees, my career, my relationships, my status... now it's I am blessed, aware, strong, loved, imperfect, weak and strong, healing, and continuously growing. And greatest of them all I am His, and I am more than enough.

I had to die to my own ideas of worthiness and live by God's word.

“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”

‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭2:10

SECURE.

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I sat to write this blog, the first thought that came to mind was “before I formed you in your mother’s womb, I knew you; I had plans to prosper you not to harm you, plans for good and not evil.” This reminded me that as I journey through my life God has and will always have a plan for my life, that I was formed with a for a purpose.

Growing up I always had a knowledge of God although I wasn’t in the church, I knew there was a Divine Being, something bigger than me; and I wanted to be a part of whatever it was they were doing. I dabbled in and out of the church as my parents transitioned in and out of new marriages, I remember going to the line in church multiple times because I wanted to receive the Holy Spirit as a young girl, around the age of 8. As a little girl, I would read the Bible and re-write the scriptures every night and store them a way. I whole-heartedly believe this saved me, to this day. It’s also the reason I don’t deny small beginnings or the power of sowing seeds, and allowing God to do the rest in His time.

My journey would lead me away from the congregation and into the fast life. And even while I was out there, I never discounted my relationship with God. But even though I knew of Him, I still did not have a relationship with Him for myself. Looking back, I understand that I was searching for something that was right inside me the whole time. I searched for Him in many places – the streets, the church, men, relationships, drugs, accolades and education. And while each of these brought gratification in the moment they could not provide or fill the voids I wanted so desperately to go away.

I remember being in my early twenty’s sitting in my car getting high, talking to God and asking Him if there was more to life than this? Knowing that I was gifted, smart, beautiful and so many other things I knew He had to create me for than the life I was living and if He would just take me in, I would surrender and submit my all to Him. And He did, in that moment he saved me and changed my life. But the change would take many, many years to manifest. So often we miss the work of God because it doesn’t look like we expect or happen when we think we should.

I wish I could say everything was perfect overnight, but that is furthest from the truth. It was an ugly process. I had to really be transparent with myself and every facade I was wearing. There were so many layers that had to be peeled back, and ten years later I can say they are still falling off. The struggle to tell myself (and believe it) that I am Beautiful, that I am worthy, that I am more than enough wasn’t something that came easy. Some days I would cry profusely while looking in the mirror and saying, “Jasmine you are beautiful,” because I didn’t believe it but I thank God for His patience with me.

It wasn’t until I allowed those scriptures I wrote as a youth to get into my heart that I realized that I am indeed more than Enough. That I am Beautiful, that I am Worthy and I am whole. I stepped away from the various crowds and just spent time with God. We would meet in the mountains, he would speak to me through His word, different songs and interactions. It was so unconventional, radical just like me. And that’s how I knew it was Him because I didn’t have to pretend or wear any masks – just allow the Spirit to minister to me. He continually meets me daily to help erase all my insecurities, but I have to avail myself to Him daily.

It amazes me how God has taken the shambles of my life to show me that I am More Than Enough. Every one of my mishaps has been used to draw someone closer to Him. There is so much Beauty in brokenness, and it is through our cracks that His Light prevails. Sometimes our mistakes and our past, make us feel like we’re not good enough, or worthy, able or confident. But trust that God will make beauty from your ashes, I know He did it for me. Do not be ashamed of the very things that make you, you. Trust that God will use what you’ve been through to draw someone else. No matter where you start, you are more than enough.

The journey to accepting the thought that you are “More than Enough,” is something we must be intentional about daily, which means we must be in relationship and conversation with God daily.

Each day brings a new challenge, thought, issue or obstacle that causes me to question and sometimes doubt if I am indeed, more than enough. But it is in the moments that I realize that I am because God is, and if I rest in Him then there will always be enough – especially when I lack. We are more than enough not because of how we present ourselves, our how we show up. We are not more than enough because we can wear many hats, or because we dress to the Tee. It’s not our degrees, relationship statuses, roles or titles.

We are more than enough because we are Daughters of the King. We are fearfully and wonderfully made in the image of God, marvelous our His works! Once I understood God has placed everything I need inside of me before I was even formed it removed the pressure of trying to conform or be like someone else. It allowed me the freedom to know God beyond traditional constraints. Understanding my “enough,” doesn’t come from me but from my relationship and fellowship with God it created a God-confidence because it is truly in Him we have our being and our liberty. My perception of myself shifted and I fell love with who I am because I accepted the Love God has for me.

Once I realized it has nothing to do with what I do or don’t do, but simply because my Daddy loves me and has a plan for my life regardless how I feel, then this journey became so much easier and the burden disappeared. Once I connected and rested in my relationship with God, I understood I am everything I am because of who He is. This gave allowed me to just be and to walk in the freedom and liberty knowing God brings. I am a Masterpiece of the Greatest Creator, marvelously made for His glory with freedom to just be who God created me to be. And in those moments, that I feel less than I am reminded God thought so much of me that he sacrificed His only Son, and for that reason I am More Than Enough.