“That’s a bummer.”

Growing up in the church, there wasn’t a whole lot that I didn’t already know about the Bible. You could say that I was emersed in it daily. My dad was a part-time preacher and had been a missionary, I went to a private Christian school, and went to church every time the doors were opened. Most of my childhood we lived as a house family at the local Children’s Homes. So misbehaving was completely out of the question. I had to set a good example, be the girl who never questioned authority, etc. That’s not to say that I didn’t sometimes go out of line or hold my own. I was and still are very independent and as my mom would say, “Aynsley you sometimes speak your mind too much.” All in all to say is that I was very much the goodie two shoe growing up.

When you grow up in the church, you aren’t really exposed to what it’s like not to know the story of Jesus. You kind of are brought up with the perspective of who He is and what He would be like. You’re told that Jesus and our Heavenly Father sometimes act like our parents. That when you do something wrong, there are consequences because, like our parents, God loves us and wants us to learn from our mistakes. We are told that Jesus is like our brother, but I feel as though He is also put in that disciplinary role and so it is hard for us to comprehend that He could ever understand the struggles that we face.

Honestly, it has been a long while since I have been able to feel that love from God or Jesus. I haven’t lost complete faith that They are always with me. I always have this sense that no matter where I am or who I am with that they are watching over me. But, for the most part of my 20s, I have felt that They are needed somewhere else. That the struggles I am facing are minimal compared to what the rest of the world is facing. And, this is very true. Some of the “problems” that I feel are big issues in my life are minimal compared to what starving children, homeless people, and terminally ill people face daily. So, with all that I had just grown numb to church and everything I had grown up to believe in. More or less, I had taken what was a part of me and tied it up and locked it away until I needed to be the Christian that people expect me to be. I would only open a little bit up just to get me through Church, social gatherings with my fellow Christians, and anytime I was around people who are struggling with their own Christianity. Cause you can’t show weakness. You had to be strong no matter what.

So, with all that I had just grown numb to church and everything I had grown up to believe in. More or less, I had taken what was a part of me and tied it up and locked it away until I needed to be the Christian that people expect me to be. I would only open a little bit up just to get me through Church, social gatherings with my fellow Christians, and anytime I was around people who are struggling with their own Christianity. Cause you can’t show weakness. You had to be strong no matter what. I felt that if I showed weakness people would judge.

Then something changed for me. No, it wasn’t a light that shone down from Heaven and a voice speaking to me. What happened was that I was listening to a YouTube interview of John Crist, and in that interview, something the person being interviewed said struck a chord in my heart. He started talking about a time when he was at a real low and what would happen if Jesus were to see him in the state he was in. Would Jesus be proud of the actions that he was taking at the time? (Watch the interview for the full story, for it is his to tell not mine) The answer is no, but the real question is would Jesus approach him with a judgemental spirit? And what this man said was profound. He said that Jesus would not, and instead He would pull up a bar stool, sit right beside him, and say, “Aww that’s a bummer that you’re doing that, but I get it.”

I had NEVER, in my life thought of Christ that way. That He would just pull up a chair look at what you’re doing and be like, “Dang that sucks that you’re doing that, but I get it life is rough.” He doesn’t like it, but He understands. Does He want you to continue down the wrong path? Goodness no, but He’s not going to come to you with a judgey spirit. That is something that is going to continually stick with me. Like this is something that has been on my mind all weekend long.

Nothing in a long time has touched my heart like hearing this. For a long time, I would go through the motions at church, get excited here and there, and then go home feeling numb. This Sunday, I was still the same way, but then I remembered what this man had said and then the song we were singing, “Magnificant,” started and I felt an overwhelming peace flood over me. It was the feeling I had when I was like 12 at a youth rally. That feeling that you are one with the Spirit and that God was right there with you singing. I started tearing up in church and had to hold back the tears because of how wonderful of a feeling that is.

So dear friends, if you are struggling in your walk or you feel like you have to hold it all together, let me be the first to tell you that you don’t. God is a loving God, and Jesus, He will always be there to sit and talk. It’s a wonderful feeling to know that He will be there to listen, pick you back up, and help you walk down the road of righteousness.

Love you, sweeties! If you ever need to talk just let me know. You are definitely not alone!

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For the Right Reasons: A Book that You Should Read

I don’t know about you, but I LOVE watching The Bachelor or The Bachelorette. It could be that I’m a romantic at heart and I just love, Love. It could also be the fact that I come from a small town, and NOTHING ever happens here, and so to find drama in my life I watch this show. Sounds sad? I know! It could also be that my own love life is in the pits right now and so I watch it to take notes on “what-not-to-do”, how not to be that “crazy girl” or take notes on how to flirt. Whatever my reasoning is, I just really like watching the show. However, this post is not about the show essentially, rather it is about a bachelor who was on the show and then wrote a book.

If you remember the contestant Sean Lowe than you already know what kind of a guy he is and what he stands for. I, however before reading his book, knew nothing about him. I actually didn’t get a chance to watch his season. I don’t know what happened I just didn’t watch it. Anyways, I heard about him and his wife Catherine, and started to follow them on Instagram and Twitter, and I absolutely admired their relationship! They are my what you would call #relationshipgoals.

Sean in his book describes how he was in a rough part of his life when he finally prayed every day for something more to happen to him. It was then that his brother in-law and sister secretly signed him up for the Bachelor. It was there that his, as the show would say, journey began. He went on to be a contestant, lost and then was The Bachelor. What was truly inspiring about his story was that he relied on making decision in love based on biblical terms and the advice of his friends and family.

As a Christian woman who is seeking love in a world that seems to be lost, I think that is what inspired me about Sean and his relationship with Catherine. He prayed that God would send him a woman who would push him as a Christian and who he could live life together with. God did just that. Maybe for us “normals” it won’t happen on a TV show, but it will happen.

Many of us who feel like love has skipped over them forget that God has a perfect plan for our lives. The word that has been constantly said to me these past few months with all my friends getting married is patience. We have to be patient and just enjoy life.

In Song of Songs 8:6-7 it says, “Place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm; for love is as strong as death, its jealousy unyielding as the grave. It burns like blazing fire, like a mighty flame. Many waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot sweep it away. If one were to give all the wealth of one’s house for love it would be utterly scorned.” We need to have a love for someone that cannot be blown out like a small flame. We want a “blazing fire,” and that big of a fire doesn’t come from rushing love. It comes from taking things slow and continuously building that fire so that it is something that is all consuming.

Sean and Catherine from what I can tell have this kind of love. From reading his book, I can tell that Sean stands strong in his faith. Of course, he hasn’t been the best Christian all his life and he knows that. There’s a part of his book in which he talks about this. He has fallen, but he has also gotten back up. That is what is truly amazing about this book. It’s a story about sin, redemption, falling in love, and finding love in God. If you ever have time be sure to read this book! It’s a great book to encourage you on your walk in faith and finding true love.