Raise your hand if you’re from the South.

Raise your hand if you grew up going to church more than once a week.

Raise your hand if the main concept  you held onto was to avoid hell at all costs.

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Here we go. The awkward stuff. Haha. But trust me. It won’t get too deep. This post is dedicated to the in betweeners/walk the liners/the juuusssstttttt enoughers. Basically, tight roping the line of sin. I used to be that way. Honestly, when I find myself not praying and reading regularly, I end up back in that area. I am just thankful that now I am able to snap back with the HELP of the Holy Spirit, and not in my own doing.

MY INTERPRETATION OF A GOOD CHRISTIAN

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DON’T SIN.

DAS IT.

And when I say sin, I mean don’t have sex and get pregnant. That was the big one. The unredeemable sin. I felt like I was doing great if I was making all A’s and avoiding boys. I hit the mark. The Lord will definitely honor my sacrifice right?

EHH. A LITTLE SIN WON’T HURT

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But just like any other sin, it became difficult to just avoid. Especially if it’s just sitting in your face taunting you.

So I indulged in other things that I felt wouldn’t condemn me forever you know?

The “typical Christian college student” things.

Get drunk. Party. Get high a few times. The experimental piercings. And push the line of sex. Meaning, be all kinds of sexually immoral without intercourse.

I was at the point of where I wanted to be dedicated to the Lord but I wanted to “live the college life” too. So I did everything that satisfied my flesh. I would hear of my friends’ wild adventures and feel torn. How can I stay that “church girl” and have fun?

That question. That thought. It is what keeps many younger people from fully giving themselves to the Lord. It is what kept me from fully giving myself away.

FOMO- FEAR OF MISSING OUT

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After a while, the parties got old. I hated getting to the point of a “situationship” with a guy and knew the topic of sex would come up and I would have to end it. It was weird that the only way I could enjoy these social events, I had to be under the influence. I knew that I would have to exchange things for temporary happiness, and I got tired of it.

I thought that giving my life to Christ meant saying good bye to all of what I knew and made me kinda happy. I didn’t know what was on the other side, so I was scared. There were plenty of older people who seemed “fake happy” in the church and I thought that’s what I was signing up for. I knew it was the good thing to do, but I didn’t want to be sad doing it. I didn’t want to get in the swing of traditional Christian lifestyle then end up coming out of it because I wasn’t happy or fulfilled. I especially didn’t want my decision to essentially flip flop affect those watching me. I was just…lost and confused.

So.

I leaped. And I was scared out of my mind.

THE UNPOPULAR DECISION

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Some people thought I was radical. Some people applauded me for my “bravery”. Some people thought I was unreasonable and close minded. My family thought I was going to be a nun.

Despite what everyone thought

That leap was the scariest and most beautiful jump in my life. I gave Him all of me and honestly saw things with new eyes. It felt like I breathed new air. Jesus offered me an invitation and I took it.

No more straddling the fence. No more “well, this sin isn’t that bad”. Or “He knows my heart”. I was all in. And my life has been forever changed.

Now some can read this and argue what the Lord says biblically about certain acts or if something is sin or not. I’m not here to condemn or judge. I only changed with the intimacy of my relationship with Jesus. We can argue the Bible all day (which should not be done). But there are certain things that just didn’t feel right after I was changed. And what that meant for me is probably or probably not the same for you.

So if you’ve ever been or are at this point in your life. Just leap. Everything that’s happening to you is not a coincidence or you even reading this is not by a mistake. You will be surprised at how much the Lord wants to reveal to you and you only. Be encouraged. It won’t be the easiest. But it’s all worth it.

 

To God be the Glory

 

 

 

Growing up, you had those friends who would always smother people with hugs, strangers or not. These friends would go out of their own way to touch you and let you know how much you meant to them. “I love you” rolled off of their lips just as easy as the next breath. And if we’re being honest, these people are still the same way today lol.

It is fair to say that we put these people in the “affectionate” category.

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But then you have those friends who just didn’t like to be touched or loved on at all. Rarely do they ever show too many signs of emotions either. It had to be a big deal, such as graduations, someone leaving for a while, those sorts of things. It is done when it really means something to the other party.

We put them in the “unaffectionate” category.

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My category. Or shall I say, former but most familiar with category.

If you have been keeping up with my posts, you can concur that I am a pretty friendly person, social, talkative, and love getting to know people. So how is it that someone so social did not enjoy being touched or loved on by others?

If you don’t deal with it, it will deal with you. The IT ladies and gentlemen isssssss…..INSECURITY! I know I bring this up a lot, but I am a living testimony of how insecurities and low self-esteem will blind you and make you think something is there, that is not. The two things that I am typing with right now, the two things you’re using to hold your phone, is something I have hated about myself for a long time. My hands.

Wait, did I read that right? The girl don’t like her own hands?

YES, you read it right unfortunately, and NO, I did not like my hands for a very long time. The size of them. The fact they would get sweaty when someone held them for too long. The fact I was labelled as “heavy handed” when I really tried to be gentle. These hands have broken so many things growing up. They have accidentally hurt people close to me.

Ok, so it’s okay to laugh now. I know I’m describing myself as Godzilla or something, but that is what I felt like. A monster with these huge things.

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Let me remind you of who I am. 5’10” plus size female. My father is 6’4” , played basketball, and as you would guess had very large hands and feet. Guess who inherited those things from their dad =]

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I am not sure why, but it was always a thing for my peers growing up to measure their hands against other people’s hands. I quickly noticed that girls were associated with smaller hands and feet and men were associated with larger hands and feet. Whenever anyone randomly wanted to measure their hands to mine, I snatched my hands away, folded my arms and made up some excuse of “Ion know where yo hands been??!” or “Personal space, please??”. This usually made them back off for a while. I just got tired of hearing the gasps of people watching to see that my hand was the same size or even bigger than some of the boys’ hands in the class.

MY SHAME GOT REALLY BAD..

I remember in class we were doing popcorn reading with one of our assigned books. I was probably in 9th grade at the time. It was a book discussing the descendants of slaves in Mississippi and this particular scene was about the family’s grandmother who cooked everything. Before I would have to read anything out loud in class, I preferred to skim over it so that everything would flow out naturally. I was so annoying haha. But my part happened to be the portion of the author describing the grandmother’s characteristics, including her big and rough hands from always peeling food and doing hard labor.

I froze.

What if they laugh? What if they look at my hands and think that was the perfect description of me?

Yea it was bad. I switched my paragraph with a friend to avoid embarrassment.

Even if a boy liked me and tried to touch me, I would do anything to distract him from holding my hand.

I feared that a boy would stop liking me because I was man-lier than he had previously assumed.

Sounds ridiculous and extreme, but it was the truth.

FAST FORWARD TO COLLEGE..

I was pretty comfortable with myself, but I had made it up in my mind long ago that I would not be forward with affection so that I could avoid rejection. At the time, I really didn’t know that that’s what my body was doing. I thought I was just wired to love through words and not the physical.

THEN WHEN I ACCEPTED CHRIST TO REIGN AS COMPLETE AUTHORITY IN MY LIFE….

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It felt like another person was released through me. IT WAS SO HARD NOT TO HUG PEOPLE. What was happening?!! Ashley was now giving people hugs, telling them she loved them, and just all other crazy affectionate things. Seriously, you can ask my friends haha. The affection that I was trying to suppress all of those years had no choice but to burst forth when I accepted the Lord’s love for me. In Him, I felt/still feel accepted and loved completely as I am. So it did not matter who rejected my affection from that point on. I knew that they were simply shying away from what/who was in me. I didn’t take it personal anymore. But the process of truly submitting all of my life to Christ transformed me. Being stand offish was no longer my defense mechanism. It felt good to finally show people love and allow people to love me. I relinquished control and let the Lord show His love through me. Although the devil intended for me to stay in this bondage of hate for my hands, the Lord placed His hand on my life and broke chains I didn’t even know existed. “I love you” is no longer taboo for me. I thank God that I am not the same person. Do I still have times when insecurities flare up? Sure I do. But I am a witness at how His love can change your direction and make you see yourself towards how He created you to be. Fearfully and wonderfully made.

To God be the Glory