Introduce yourself! Share a little bit about who you are, what you do, and what makes you YOU!
I’m Ashley! I’m a wife, mom, and writer, and my natural habitat is any combination of words and people. My family and I live in Minneapolis, MN, where I stay at home with my 18-month-old son, Ollie, and work from home as a freelancer. My dreamiest day would include equipping and empowering women to share their stories, preferably over some sort of novelty beverage. Wine if I can mention wine here, or an iced latte if I can’t.
Share your story–how did you come to know Christ? What have been some big milestones, both good and difficult, of your journey?
I always knew about Jesus, but I never actually knew Him. I grew up in a house where curse words and slammed doors were more common than nurturing words and family dinners, so I hungered for a safe, stable place my whole life. I remember crying out to God as a kid, asking Him why He didn’t intervene, begging Him to change things in my home. At fourteen, I was invited by a guy I liked to a youth group, and over the course of a few months learned that in Jesus I’d find the love, acceptance, and nurture I had been looking for.Over the course of several years, God gently led me from the law to grace. I think I subconsciously wanted the order and discipline of legalism, almost looking to “religion” as the parents I didn’t have. Grace felt too disorderly and chaotic than a stern set of rules, so it took me a while to grasp it. Now, thanks be to God, I swim in the stuff.
How have you seen God at work in the hard moments of your journey? Where has God made beauty in the broken and unexpected places in your life?
Like I mentioned, my childhood was turbulent. My parents divorced from each other a few separate times in my grade school years, and my mom had a chronic illness she ended up dying from when I was 21. Growing up basically parenting myself wasn’t normal or okay, but I honestly thought it was until a mentor in college told me how messed up my childhood was. At that point God invited me into a really sweet healing journey where He showed me how He was present with me as a kid, advocating for me when no one else was. I always tell people I get to be parented by God as both Father and Mother so intimately, which is a gift not everyone gets to experience.
Why do you think it is important that we share our stories?
I think sharing our stories–both the broken and beautiful parts– gives others permission to come out of hiding. If my mentor hadn’t shared her story with me, I wouldn’t have felt safe to open up about my own. Vulnerability begets vulnerability, and that’s where healing starts and thrives–in a community of safe authenticity.
Have there been any specific Bible verses/songs/soundtracks/books etc. that have made a big impact on your life and your journey?
Yes! Lately, the song “No Longer Slaves” by Jonathan and Melissa Helser is my anthem. I lose my mind sobbing at the line “you split the sea so I could walk right through it.” The book Redemption by Mike Wilkerson also rocked me– I’ve read it so many times it’s falling apart. It’s about the correlation between sin and suffering, and it really opened up my eyes to the weight of my anxiety and fear. Yes, I have anxiety because I experienced trauma, but I can choose to take God at His word and experience healing in spite of others’ sins against me. I love that freedom! Henri Nouwen’s Life of the Beloved always reminds me of God’s affection for me and my identity as a daughter. And for scripture, Isaiah 54 and 55 are written on my heart. Can’t read them without weeping. Go look them up!
What is one thing you would like your readers to take away from your story and your experiences?
God came for you because He wants you close to Him. You’re not just seen and known, but wanted and pursued–God’s beloved child.