Jesus’s Luxurious Love

The older I get the more I understand and can appreciate the word Luxurious.

When we are younger we don’t pay much attention to the details. Whatever makes us happy or feels good, out of ignorance and youth we indulge, and we are just fine. As we age we gladly exchange comfort for the extra cash. Honestly 20 year old me would have been ecstatic to book a hotel that had a swimming pool. Mid 30’s me is all about that Jucuzzi bath tub and KING SIZE bed. Oh, and you better believe I am reading the reviews to see if this place is COMFORTABLE.

Luxurious to us is heated and cooled seats, extra fur in those house slippers, a silk robe, a big comfy couch we can melt into, or maybe even upgrading to the next package weather it be a spa day, bedroom suit, car, etc. In a nut shell when I hear luxurious I know it is the top of the line, maxed out, all bells and whistles, and I will benefit the comfort and enjoyment it brings to me.

I was reading Psalms 23 today out of the Passion Translation and what really caught my eye was the word luxurious attached to the Lord’s love. The scripture actually reads:

2 He offers a resting place for me in his luxurious love. His tracks take me to an oasis of peace, the quit brook of bliss. 3 That’s where he restores and revives my life.

I stopped and closed my eyes for a moment. I imagined being in a true place of rest. A true surrender to my savior who offers me and welcomes me in to his luxurious love. I imagined the whole room was softly light, the smells were only the finest aromas of luscious flowers, the room had a huge couch that was covered in red silk. Honestly my mind can’t really perceive just how amazing this place was. Classy, fine, sophisticated, and a safe place created just for me. A room with all the upgrades; the bells, the whistle, and Jesus himself giving me his full attention as I just rested beside him.

That is our Jesus. He is so loving, so kind, and so luxurious. I imagine he has BIG swagger, and all the mansions he is building for us up in heaven makes the worlds most expensive luxurious mansion look like a Polly pocket home in comparison. I imagine there are technologies, fabrics, and “comforts” we have never seen, heard, or felt.

His love is so rich the closest word we can get to in our human dictionary is luxurious. His love is so soft, so enjoyable, so comfortable, so peaceful, so valuable, so powerful.

So, the next time your sister or your friend says you need to go rest, remember what opportunity is being presented to yourself. Really rest in his goodness. Rest in his love for you!

He is waiting to restore your soul in his luxurious love!

What are you waiting for?

It’s Your Choice, Life or Death

It amazes me that no matter what our circumstances are in our lives we actually get to choose how we are going to navigate through them. Like seriously, that seems almost imposible to comprehend to me. With so many decisions that have to be made on the daily, we are in control of our actions. Notice I said our actions!

Depression is a black misty fog monster. It swallows you up in the depths of it’s belly and it wants to keep you there hidden from the outside world. Depression doesn’t care if it’s your loved one’s Birthday, or vacation time. He usually comes with out warning, and over stays the uninvited welcome.

I know Depression, and because of my autoimmune disease and childhood trauma, I am extra sensitive to being snatched up by it.

If you are not familiar with it yourself, it can make you feel lifeless like a zombie, uninterested with life, emotionless, sad, afraid, hopeless, empty, angry, the list goes one, and it can manifest itself differently each time.

For me I have noticed a Cycle. It will start with extreme anxiety and panic attacks which make me feel helpless and out of control and them BAM…the Black Mist, and my emotions are high jacked, I can’t process words to describe what is going on in the inside, and then….. hope defered.

Last night I had hit that bottom of the rope. I was getting aggravated with myself. “Ash, you have already been healed of so much trauma in your life, why are you taking us into the deep end? We wont be able to keep our chins above water, and I don’t see any life savors floating out here.” I kept trying to remember how did I get to be mentally sound minded like I was just 12 months ago before this ms diagnosis?

And wouldn’t you know it, it all started with a surrender heart and a yielded spirit to the Lord. Joyce Meyer’s Battle Field of the Mind was the second book I read, Beauty from Ashes was the first.

Then it hit me. If I want to get well, if I want to be healed, if I want to be back to joyful me I WOULD HAVE TO MAKE A CHOICE.

Dueteronomy 30:19

19 This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against youthat I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live 20 and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the Lord is your life, and he will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

Seeking the Lord for his grace and strength is part of choosing LIFE. Jesus is LIFE. His Word is Life. His Spirit is Life. Apart from him we are spiritually dead. Did you know you have a Spirit, Soul, and a Body? Did you know you are to align your Spirit to lead your Soul (mind, will, emotions)?

When we make the choice to be lead by our emotions, we are actually out of alignment and we are being lead by the flesh; our souls.

Depression is a Lying Spirit. Depression thrives on our emotions, our will. That is why it feels so real, because it was a weapon designed to smite us at our weakest part -the soul.

When you are saved, you get a new heart and your spirit is reborn with Christ. But, unfortunately you don’t get a new soul. However God didn’t leave us without help, and he tells us to renew the spirit of our minds. This is where discipline and self control come into play. Also where receiving salvation in Christ through grace and working it out through fear and trembling becomes priority. The Bible tells us that we are being transformed from Glory to Glory in Christ. So being human, and having this human experience has it’s cost. Sure we can bow down to the flesh and give it what it wants, but its a choice, and apart from God it is clear it leads to death.

What I realized was this was my formula I used in the past. 👇🏻

My surrendered heart, my faith and trust in God + God’s love and mercy over me, God’s sufficient Strength = Freedom to Heal

You make a choice then you let go of the fear and trust God to walk with you every day with this choice you have made. This choice means every day you get to walk with a Savior who is relational- a person- not just a statue on a shelf. Every day you get to walk in the Spirit, be lead by the Holy Spirit, and fellowship with the Holy Spirit through prayer and worship.

To not choose to Trust God to be your Sufficient Grace for the Hard things in life means you are Choosing yourself, trusting yourself, and your own strengths. I don’t know about you but I am glad I am not a God because I would be letting myself down all the time. Don’t even get me started on trusting my own flesh to make the right choices for all of us! No way Jose!

What negative circumstances have you been dealing with in your current season of life?

Father I pray that the person reading this would have faith the size of a mustard seed because that is all you require to trust you with their life and release their burdens to you. Renew their minds and strengthen them. Release them from the temptations to navigate life on their own! In Jesus name I pray, amen.

Say Something

Blank Page

So empty
So calm
So peaceful.
Endless possibilities
No expectations
No disappointments
Nothing
Spotless
Clean
Free from impression.
What will you mark?
What will you say?
Something positive?
Something negative?
Something exciting?
Something daunting?
Something beautiful?
Something ugly?
Something colorful?
Something glumly?
Will you write?
Will you doodle?
Scribble scrabble?
Lie or tell the truth?
Pour out your soul or
joke around?
Your the creator, make it yours.
Don’t sell out, don’t be a fake or a phony.
Just be authentic, transparent.
Be true to yourself always.
Never compromise for acceptance.
Be you!

He is in the Waiting

Think about what transformations could be made in our hearts if we could just wait upon the Lord in our difficult seasons. What if we could really take him at his word and trust him? What if we could become closer to him in friendship, what if we could draw strength we never knew existed? What if we could experience joy in our sorrows for real?

WHAT IF WE DID or Do??

Like for real- not just what the psalmist sing about?

I am ready to trust deeper and love deeper. I’m ready to be willing to surrender my control over and truly be in the blessing of the waiting. The blessing is the transformation, it’s the victory of overcoming what the enemy tries to throw on us- depression, anxiety, and fear.

Doodle Inspiration from 🎼the Song🎤Take Courage by @bethelmusic #propheticart #trustgod #waituponthelord #sharpieart

❤️Ash’Leigh Harris

Habits for 2019 and beyond

10:44am Friday, January 4th

(Note to self -this is for me)

God is so awesome that he made my jaw drop when I read the first line of my devotion for today!

Let me back up. Every new year I obsess over becoming better then I was the year before. Weather it be more healthier, more intuned with the Holy Spirit, better wife, better mom, better daughter, the list goes on. So it was only natural for me to start figuring out what I would work on for 2019 and habits seemed to surface my mind. Apparently we as humans are habitual creatures who do most of life on habits we have unknowingly created weather good or bad. I was asking my husband if he had finished his habits book at work because I remember him sharing some of the things he was learning from it a few months ago.

Last night I was asking him more questions about it and he was quite taking by my new founded curiosity for this book. I could tell by the face he made as in like I was asking things way too late for his mind to process right before he shuts his mind down so he can sleep and get up early to go to work. However, I’m a chatter box and just carried on with extracting all my thoughts I had been thinking yesterday. “Did you know God is like way bigger then I think I can even comprehend!” I blurted as he snuggled tightly under his weighted blanket and 15 pillows. (He is a tall big muscular man, I get the 1500 pillows, I do! )

I hurried along to join him and I drifted off to sleep.

Each morning I wake up and I read my devotionals, so this morning was no different then before.

Now back to the jaw dropping….

A giggle and a smile swept over my face as I pressed in with my ears wide opened for what he was about to speak directly to me through the fine print. “Okay Lord, I’m listening!”

So 2019 what will it look like for me? Well let’s just say I will adopt God’s habit first, I trust you Jesus, then I will sprinkle on top of that some loving others and finding ways to bless them daily, combined with changing my eating habits to more Whole Foods/ less processed junk!

Lord Jesus thank you for your ways of teaching me what is important for my present time here on earth, help me to develop good habits this year Lord that will bless my mind, body, and soul, and bless others. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

-❤️ Me

2019 The Year of Endless Possibilities

7:03am January 3, 2019

I am laying wide eyed awake in bed this morning listening to nothing else but the sounds of my stomach gargle and the ceiling fan whirl. The sun has not made its grand appearance for today, and for whatever reason my subconscious knew my husband had to go back to work after a weeks vacation, and the sounds of his rumbling exhaust woke me.

It’s okay I am not bothered by this. I know we have a connection that desires to be in each other’s presence so I know deep down I was just reacting to his disappearance for today.

I wanted to take a few minutes to blog about what 2019 means to me. I went in prayer and asked the Lord to give me a hopeful word or words for his heart for me in 2019, and he whispered, ” Endless Possibilities!”

Although this phrase wanted to make me feel like I was about to become abundantly rich, as if I would win the largest lottery jackpot this year, deep down inside I believe it’s actually going to be far greater anything money can buy! I believe he is going to create endless possibilities to be a facet of his love to others. Maybe even endless possibilities to pray for others? Endless possibilities to be creative? Endless possibilities to serve?

The list goes on because after all He did say endless!

I want to allow my mind and heart to be consciously aware and remember these words each day this year. Especially when trials and tests come and I start to let my feelings dictate a hopelessness or defeat. (Note to self- work on feelings this year and STOP LETTING THEN RULE YOU!!)

The truth is we serve an endless infinite God who tells us in his word he is able to do exceedingly abundantly beyond anything we can dare think, ask, or want.

“Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.”

‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭3:20-21‬ ‭ESV‬‬

I believe he gave me this phrase just to specifically remind me that my hope is in an endless God. I can put my trust in Him.

Have you ever thought to ask God for a word to speak over you for 2019?

If you haven’t I want to encourage you to ask him! We know we can ask him for anything if we are willing to believe he will answer when we ask and receive by faith.

Maybe you won’t hear a word but he will bring attention to a word or a phrase through a devotion, a song, or a book.

I don’t actually hear his voice audibly, I hear my thoughts that I know I didn’t just think on my own. Some people call it intuition or coincidence, but it is actually the Holy Spirit communicating with our Spirit through our thoughts! 💭

How cool is that!!??

Well I am going to end this now, but I want you to know if you are reading this I am praying for you! I am praying that your heart would be receiving of just how awesome and powerful our God is and I pray he blesses you with endlesspossibilities for 2019! In Jesus name I pray! Amen!

💕-Ash’Leigh

Your Compliments Are Desperately Needed

Sunday December 2, 2018

Listen up!

Your words, they have power!

Your words can break through lies and deception.

Life these days are busy, hectic, anxiety filled, and short.

We are stuck in the rat race trying to mark our check lists off and get things accomplished so we feel like we living up to the worlds standards of success. In the mean time we are forgetting to slow down and love one another with our words.

I experienced the beauty of honesty and the power of lies being broken in a record time of 4 seconds.

My nine year old daughter has a knack for being impulsive and speaking her mind at any given moment. When she was a toddler this could leave me mortified as to what was about to escape those precious tiny lips. However today she teaches me the beauty of simplicity in a word that has become infested with man made complications.

Last week we had to take her in to see a doctor because her body was fighting a virus hence her elevated body temperature. Our regular family physician was booked up and I was desperate to get her seen that day so we went with a doctor she has never seen before.

During the exam the lady doctor was very graciously answering all of her worried nine year old questions about what all was going on on inside of her little body, when aburtly out of no where her impulsive colorful words filled the room as she said as honestly as can be, “You are so beautiful!”

The doctor gasped in these vibrant color words in shock as she covered her mouth as to keep them safe inside, then she paused for a moment almost as if she were about to cry as she said, “It has been close to 30 years since I have been told that.” She collected herself, smiled and resumed the exam.

I was frozen in my chair in amazement of the fact that this beautiful woman who had dedicated her life to helping others has not heard the words every woman loves to hear, needs to hear, should be entitled to hear in 30 years!

Her reaction made me feel the emptiness she must have been feeling up until the words were spoken to her from my big hearted daughter.

In this moment she paused long enough to let some love come in. She felt a little lighter I am sure and I pray she will remember those words when the days beat her up and she is glaring at her reflection in the mirror believing anything less.

I was then convicted in the harsh truth that I could have been one of those daring voices that could have spread beauty and color into others who have needed to hear it, too many God given opportunities in the span of my life, but never did out of fear of sounding silly or fake.

We need to slow down and we need to appreciate the privilege we have to share love with our words and not waste moments being to busy and so self consumed to compliment each other.

I am going to do it, the next time the opportunity presents itself to me. I am going to just blurt it out for all to hear the color words of compliments out of love to others.

My new slogan I’m adopting for 2019 is this: Don’t Hurry, be Happy!

Slow down and appreciate and acknowledge the beautiful people in your life along the way. 💖

Ash’Leigh Harris

A Slap in the Face Lesson on Grace

3:47 pm 11/20/2018 Tuesday

One would describe what I went through this past month as a hard blunt slap to the face. You know the kind of slap you see on the movie screen as the pompous jerk gets a very deserving SMACK across his face as his present girlfriend catches him making out with another chick.

The kind of slap that was warranted because I was flat out being a spoiled brat, arrogant, and puffed up with pride.

Someone whom I love dearly in my life and whom I won’t name for the confidentiality of their sake had a come- back-down-to-earth talk with as we were getting ready to spend some time together.

The come-back-down-to-earth talk stung painfully as if I had literally just been slapped across the face. It smacked some hard core anger and confusion inside my heart.

I felt the anger whelp up inside me as my heart raced and the heavy lump caught in my throat. “Don’t you dare cry, don’t do it!” I yelled at myself inside my mind. It was my pride blurting out this command.

Pride. He is always the ugliest and meanest inside my head. He makes me act my complete worst! He makes me act stupid, selfish, childish, you name it.

I took the come-back-down-to- earth talk as an attack. Of course pride is the one who takes most offense to this, after all pride is very selfish. Selfish had become my new middle name.

I decided I was going to shut it all down then maybe I would be loved and accepted. Maybe then I could get something, anything right with relationships with the opposite sex.

The next day instead of going to the gym at my routine 4:30am time I skipped and found myself wide awake in my husband’s big comfy recliner in our living room. I knew there was something waiting in hiding for me to discover, like a ruby in the sand. It was there and I was going to find it. All the answers to my problems. At some point the enemy had convinced me I didn’t even know how to love others. He mocked and ridiculed me and used the smack down to drill it into my soul that I only loved myself.

I started searching scriptures when I stumbled across an article on self righteousness.

For years I had been striving and preforming and obeying God but for all the wrong reasons. My heart was pure at first but then I became sucked into the lie that if I measured up to this list of laws I gave myself then I would become a “really good” disciple of Christ. He would be the proudest of me and he would want to shine his glory and works through me because I was on top of my Holy Spirit “A” Game. Finally, I was special.

What I didn’t realize was during this striving for perfection I was ignoring those around me in my pursuit to be the best godly woman. I was loving feeding my insecurities with what I thought to be things God needed out of me to accept me and do his work in my life. I was in love with how I felt. For you see I was a forever lost and insecure girl who turned into a rejected and insecure woman. In my pursuit to be my best for God, all those insecurities were not lying on the surface of my heart anymore.I was feeling good and I didn’t want to let go of the happiness I found in my performance, in the striving in Christ of course. At least that’s what I truly believed. The danger with this behavior is that it’s detrimental to yourself when you fail because then you feel low and defeated and unloved again; not good enough.

When I read that list of bullets that fell under a self righteous person, heavy wet tears filled my checks as they dripped off my chin and onto my lap. To my unpleasant surprise my actions and thoughts were a perfect illustration of each bullet.

I had turned into a self righteous monster.

“I don’t want to be that person anymore, but how can I not be?” I thought to myself.

It took a lot of time, energy, and effort creating my godly woman character I had designed and slipped on like an expensive glamours party dress. If it comes off I will be naked and exposed.

How could I just do this, it would ruin me and my burn my safety net of feeling good enough. Most importantly what would God think? Would he call me a fraud, insecure, ridiculous? Would he choose not to use me anymore? Would he be angry that I was trying to manipulate him with my striving to answer my prayers and feeling accepted by him?

I didn’t know what to think or how to fix this so Numbness became my best friend.

Numbness made me feel like the loneliest person and most far away from God. I would cry myself to sleep begging him to talk to me, begging him to let me sense his presence, begging him to lift the numbness but numbness was robbing me and controlling my thoughts.

See when numbness becomes your friend, you no longer feel, therefore you don’t even know what or how to feel. You become cold and isolated, and it’s the worst feeling I think I experience as a human. Numbness accompanies anger because when I can’t feel, I get angry.

So there I was as numb, angry, confused and felt like I completely screwed it all up with my creator, on top of that I felt undeserving of God’s love and the come- back -to -earth talk person’s love.

I needed to let go of control.

I needed freedom from the unverbalized agreement exchange that I had made myself with God: perfection and performance in exchange of his acceptance and approval.

I needed to pop all my pride like a bright yellow balloon flying high with a pretty white streamer attached to its base. Inflated by deception from the enemy. Inflated with my own selfish pride to be better then what God calls us to be.

Then it hit me like a ton of bricks!

God wasn’t mad at me, he was so in love with me that he didn’t want me to continue my journey with him on the terms it set upon, the standards I created for relationship with him. So he allowed what should have shut me down to reteach me his design for relationship with him.

I needed to learn and experience his grace.

Interestingly enough my blog and Instagram name is Absorbing_Grace. I guess if the Lord has willed me the freedom to blog about absorbing grace, I needed a real life lesson on the subject!

This is what I learned.

The true exchange is my doubts and fears, insecurities, pride, perfection, need to be approved, envy, strife, control all of it for God’s love, mercy, grace, and forgiveness.

I will never be enough, but that’s okay because Jesus was and is, and Jesus made the ultimate exchange for me and you, when he bore all sins of humanity on the cross and laid down his life for us.

It was in that beautiful moment in time his exchange became enough for us all if we would just believe it, accept it, and confess it.

I told God I’m sorry for my foolish ways, sorry for my rebellion, my pride, and for believing I could control him in my life. I repented of that thinking and I told him I couldn’t live one day with out him in my life.

In this exchange his grace and love flooded my heart and Numbness was driven out of my soul. I could feel again! Love, excitement, peace, hope, it all came back to me!

Grace is an undeserved gift God gives us, his children.

Grace does not expect perfection, Jesus is our perfection.

Grace is not a sentence, grace is a comma.

Grace is continual.

Grace is a symptom of God’s love.

Grace can not be earned. It’s freely given.

Grace enables us to get back up after we fall or fail.

Grace is not a license to sin.

Grace enables forgiveness through Christ.

Grace enables us to be redeemed and saved through Christ.

“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”

‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭12:9‬ ‭ESV‬‬

http://bible.com/59/2co.12.9.esv

“But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works; otherwise grace would no longer be grace.”

‭‭Romans‬ ‭11:6‬ ‭ESV‬‬

http://bible.com/59/rom.11.6.esv

“and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,”

‭‭Romans‬ ‭3:24‬ ‭ESV‬‬

http://bible.com/59/rom.3.24.esv

Grace can be extended to others through us.

Grace allows us to forgive and love those who have hurt us.

Maybe it’s time for some self-reflection. Are you living under God’s grace, or are you trying to be a control freak like me and earn brownie points? We can’t earn them, lol!

❤️Ash’Leigh

You are Hand Picked by God

FLOWERS CAN’T PICK THEMSELves!!!!!

“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.”Colossians 3:12 NIV.

You are special, unique, set apart, chosen-handpicked by God to live a life that serves him and brings him glory and honor!

Monday Motivation 

  
Monday’s bring newness, opportunities to be intentional, opportunities to start over, and start fresh!
Hebrews 13:16 presents each and everyone of us with a challenge to share with those in need! 
Maybe it is something as huge as your pocket, but maybe it’s just your time, your smile, your hug, your extended grace, your forgiveness, your love, an ear, your encouragement, your support, your help; whatever it may be I challenge you to go out and be a blessing on this beautiful MLKJ Monday! 
Xoxo

Leigh 

Follow me on Instagram @Absorbing_grace