Peanut Butter

As I sit here scooping spoonfuls of Peanut Butter into my mouth after an exhausting 20-minute run, I have two things on my mind. One, I could really use a shower and two, I could really use a glass of milk.

Random thoughts… maybe… however they struck the cord of why I had decided to go for a run in the first place.

Health? Not quite…

Let’s try frustrative-release.

Is that a thing?

It’s a thing for me and my mental health!

You see, the past two weeks, while on Christmas break, I moved apartments, worked 40 hours and had absolutely 30 minutes of alone time with the Creator of this mover and shaker.  Something is wrong with this picture… How am I not crazy, bonkers, utterly driven mad?

Well, if you had witnessed my midnight run I just took, you’d know that I was driven bonkers, I just contained it well.

The type human being I am, when life throughs on the heaviest of loads on this pack mule and I have nothing but uphill mountains to truck up, I grow very still and quiet. Just as the spirit man grows quiet when we are not marinating it in the Word of God, Ashlee grows quiet when she is not marinating in the Word of God. So… I took a run. I had taken all I could!

Collapsing in the “big yellow thinking” chair in my new apartment, I broke out the old prayer journal and began scribbling out the happenings and emotional cyclone I had put myself through over the past two weeks. I began noticing a pattern and suddenly grew very angry with myself for allowing this.. this… this THING to encamp itself around and suffocate the fire of my soul.

The words fear and death sank in REAL deep as I re-read my mere 10-page journal entry. Fear and death? Fear? Death? What? How?

As we are approaching a new year of opportunities, my church likes to start the new year off with 21 days of prayer and fasting. This basically looks like seeking the Lord about the upcoming year for the first 21 days of the new year.

Now a back story on the past (2) 21 days of prayer and Fasting for Ashlee have included audible answers to pressing and life altering questions.

Without really realizing it, my spirit was remembering this audacious and radical happening that occurred in 2015 and 2016.

Thus allowing fear to creep ever-so-slowly into my heart and take captive every good promise of peace stored in my mind from the Good Book.

Death tightened its grip on the throat of my dreams disrupting the ability to voice the passions and purpose of my very creation.

Let’s just say, the realization of this having happened to me was very shocking.

A pending question tapped on my heart…

“When the assaulter of His promises seeks you and finds you, will he find a breathless feeble man cowarding behind their purpose? Or will he find a fresh air filled pair of lungs, a force standing in the field of the fruit of fulfilled promises reaped through the dutiful sowing and pursuit of the Maker’s purpose for crafting them?”

What’s it going to be House?

~ A.E.House

 

 

 

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Unity

1 Samuel 22:23

“Stay with me; do not be afraid: the man who is seeking your life is also seeking mine. You are safe with me.”

I think togetherness and unity are of the upmost importance in regard to protection from the common enemy; Satan. Having the same Savior is preached constantly. But what or from whom do we need to be saved from?

Maybe one who’s literally prowling about like a salivating empty-bellied lion looking to devour the lonely gazel straying from the herd. That’s the easiest target isn’t it? To risk plunging into a herd armed with hooves and antlers ready to jab and trample, or jump the unsuspecting stray?

Not such a tough choice is it?

  1. For our enemy is not physical but unseen; spiritual.

Cancer- just a name to scare us into believing God doesn’t love us or that he is finished with us.

Problems are not obstacles. They are opportunities.

You might say, ” Well, that’s easy for you to say you don’t have cancer. ”

No I don’t. But we have the same enemy. He’s just using different scare tactics. He knows that the big C doesn’t scare me as much as segregation in my family. There fore, he uses whatever weak spot in the fence and wiggles his bony figure in.

The only difference between where you are mentally, emotionally and spiritually and where God wants you to be is a decision.

You have to decide to stand firm on the promise that God is God. And he HAS won the victory. There is no battle to be fought. When Jesus died on the cross our fears, our worst nightmares, breathed there last as well. And when Jesus was placed in a borrowed tomb so were our fears.

But…

When Jesus rose on the third day, our fears did not.

When I speak of the church, I don’t mean four walls and a roof. I speak of a people with supernatural power inside of them. Unity in the church singes ties of the enemies reach. For where two or more are gathered in Jesus name there the Spirit moves in a dynamic and strategic wave. An impenetrable force field takes root around Gods chosen people. Take hold.

~ A.E.House

Coincidence

Coincidence: A striking occurrence of two or more events at one time apparently by mere chance.


On Wednesday July 13th, I was driving my usual route home after an exhausting day at work. My plan was to get home as quickly as possible, flop on the first horizontal piece of furniture I came to and not move until the next morning. Relishing in that plan, I received a phone call about half way home. It was from my youth pastor’s wife. She informed me that they were short-handed and wondered if I could help out with the youth meeting that night. Maybe it was the exhaustion speaking, but I said yes, turned my car around and headed back to the church. Committed? No, crazy is more like it.

Utterly depleted, I made my way back down the all too familiar road. Suddenly, I saw flashing lights up ahead. Policemen waved me around the scene of the wreck, and being a Police Officers daughter, I instinctively commenced in a 30 second investigation. A man had flipped his car into a ditch! The vehicle was a complete pancake and standing beside the car was the driver.

Yes I said standing. Not a miss-type.

He had one small hairline laceration on his forehead.

That’s it!

“Woah! Isn’t he the lucky one!” I thought out loud.

Wrapping up youth group night, the Youth Pastor’s wife caught me and asked if I was planning to attend this amazing event called Motion Conference. I told her no, maybe next year. She handed me a Leaders packet, told me to think about it and to let her know if I were interested by Friday. I looked over the packet when I got home and discovered that the conference was scheduled during our family vacation to the beach. I threw my hands in the air with the deciding evidence that I could not go. No way was I about to cut my trip to paradise short! I had worked too hard and too long for a well deserved break with my family. No!

Usually I wake up early and spend some time talking with God about the contents of the day and the agenda He has for me. But on this particular Thursday morning, I knew exactly what God wanted to talk about and frankly I did not want to hear it. So, I did what any God-loving christian girl would do…

I hit the snooze button.

Driving to work I passed by the wreck scene and thought about the incredible miracle that that man survived! “He must have some agenda from God!” I thought out loud.

That was it.

I broke the silence.

“God, I feel like Jonah. And, well, we’re going to the beach and I really don’t want to be swallowed by a whale!”

Friday morning rolled around. Naturally I woke up before my alarm went off and “coincidentally” I decided to listen to Church of the Highlands pod-cast from last Sunday. The title: “The Heart of a Servant.”

Coincidence.

As I listened to Pastor Hodges talk I began making a mental list of every reason I should not cut my trip short to attend this conference. Money, comfort, and self. Then something happened that I will NEVER forget. He started breaking down those excuses one by one!

What does a servant look like?

~Worship over wealth: A servant worships God through giving of time and money.

~Character over comfort: A servant chooses to leave his comfort to comfort the comfortless.

As he began to wrap up his teaching. I came up with my final excuse. “I’ll just sponsor someone else to go. That way I don’t have to leave my family and someone else will stand in my place.” As soon as the thought entered my mind, he spoke a sentence express mailed from heaven.

“If you have a vacation planned, postpone it or cut it short.”

The message from Wednesday night flashed back into view, “God doesn’t place you coincidentally in a random place with random people presenting you with random opportunities.”

My college’s motto, “You have a purpose.”

Each of these messages “coincidentally” and instinctively flowing together.

Once my parents woke up I told them all I had experienced.

Instead of looking at me as if I were crazy or rejecting the idea, they nodded and immediately started to help me plan and budget.

“Coincidentally” I received my payment from work that evening.

“Coincidentally” I had overtime. Which meant not only do I have enough to attend the conference, I had MORE than enough!

Coincidence.

Needless to say, I called up my youth pastor’s wife and informed her that I WOULD be cutting my vacation short, and I WOULD be attending that conference.

I do not personally believe in coincidences. Odd or random happenings that happen just because.

I believe in a God with an agenda.

Things coincide for a reason.

I do not know the outcome and needs of everyone’s lives.

Shoot I do not even know the outcome and needs of my own life!

But I know someone who does. And will follow him through fire, rain or coincidentally placed spurts of opportunities.

We are not called to be stagnant, we are called to be different.

~ A.E.House

How to know you’re in love…

” He saw her seeing him. And then he knew.”

 

Is love a rare happening that only happens once or a social gathering?

Love.

I think it’s on everyone’s mind at some time or another. While reading novels your heart aches when the two walk away from the only thriving chance to not have anything but one another. Movie scenes of hazel and blue eyes falling shut while smoothly placed lips part in the rain.

Moments occur throughout daily life that make a girl go, hm.

She rushes in the door five minutes late and wind-blown due to a thunder storm brewing outside. Gingerly she places her lacquered fingers on the wall acting as guide in the dimly lit room. On her right she hears angel voices belting lyrics heavenward. Usually she does not look at their faces out of discretion, however, at just the appropriate time her hazels flicker through her lashes and sees him seeing her.

Love.

Small and polite smiles exchanged daily in the work place. Friendly greetings and randomly asked questions that one could answer on their own, but your heart leans in hearing her musical words grace you with its’ presence taking in every second of the occation. Replaying the five seconds that she was directing her body language towards you, laughing, and shyly pushing her tandrels behind her perfect ears. Her pink cheeks indent as she smiles goodbye. and then the sound of her shoes fading. You replay until next time. “Next time,” you tell yourself.

Love.

Turning the corner bumping into a gentle yet firm and steady body. Apologies passed between the two. An extended hand allowing her to take the lead. Her cheeks flooding with color as she sees him walk passed the window smiling at his shoes.

Love.

Longing for a steady landing place to share your thought and ideas. Will he like me? Will he want me as much as I’d want him?

Questions that are so completely unforgiving and yet so repetitive one rehearses them in their sleep.

Awaiting someone to love and to be loved is exhausting and invigorating. Learning to take time and enjoy your own life and the people whom you create memories with is the only way to not go mentally insane.

I think I’ll always wonder where he is or what he’s thinking right now. I will pray for him and wait patiently. Because I know that in the process I am loved already and I am being taught how to receive that. And when the time comes and we shall meet in our own special way, I will want to retaliate everything I have been taught on the very crucial and wonderful subject of love.

Love is waiting. Love is now. Love is here.

~ A.E.House

 

 

 

Tempt

1 Corinthians 10:13

“No temptation has overcome you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.”

Temptation.

I hate it.

There are several different versions of temptation, but sadly they all lead us down the same all too familiar path. Destruction.

Whether it’s the one too many doughnuts that ruined your diet or that one bad habit that you swear you’ll never do again except this one last time.

You know what I am talking about don’t you.

Sigh.

But there is good news! You are completely and 100% what God expected.

Now, I know what you’re thinking, “God expected me to be a failure?”

The answer yes.

Hint: That’s where Jesus comes in.

God doesn’t want us to fail or to be miserable, but he knew that he had created an imperfect sinful people in dire need of an ultimate delivery from their bad decisions. He gave us free will which often results in indictment, curiosity, distraction, wrong turns and dark ally ways that funnel into the mysteriously placed cheese and snap! We get caught.

Anyone else been there? No? Just me? Well then I’ll give you a moment to hover over here and blind me with your spotlessness.

The world is full of temptations. There are LITERALLY billboards plastered all around us tugging on our shirt tails saying, “hey look at this!”

But there is good news. Yup, you know what I am about to say. Jesus paid it all!

I heard it said like this once; When Jesus was being beaten, spat on, whipped, nail-like thorns wrenched into his head and rail road spikes drove through his hands and feet gushing blood and reorganizing bones, He saw you. Jesus saw you lying, cheating, stealing, fantasizing , hating, shaming, de-humanizing, slandering, etc. And He STILL went through with it.

As an imperfect creation, we are seen perfect through the eyes of the Father. We don’t have to feel ashamed of failing. We simply have to realize, recognize and strategize.

  • Realize that you messed up. You have that twinge of guilt rush over you. It’s that feeling in the pit of your gut when you got caught with your hand in the cookie jar by Mamma or when you got called to the principals office.

 

  • Recognize who created you, that He knows you, and that you have potential far beyond even your best day. Jesus died knowing that you were going to mess up, but CHOOSING to love you. YOU ARE WORTH DYING FOR.

 

  • Strategize a new plan. Obviously the one before didn’t work. So now you need to hit your knees and start from scratch. Ask for forgivenss and guidance. And while you’re at it give the devil a piece of your mind! Tell him he may think he has won, but you are surrounded by an army of angels, and he can’t come near you, your family or your friends.

There is no fight to be won, because you serve a God who has already fought for you and won thousands of years ago.

And the next time you are faced with a temptation, tell that old Devil to back off! Walk with your head held high because greater is He living in you than he who is in the world.

~ A.E.House

 

 

Father’s Day

God is so cool.

Cool seems like a generic word to describe such an amazing and incredible Father, but honestly, that’s the word that pops into my brain when I think of Him. As I have stated before in my very first blog post, I grew up in a divorced home. I favored my mom mostly. Maybe it was because I was a girl and felt more drawn to her femininity or maybe because I lived with her the majority of the time and only visited Dad on the weekends. I’ll never know. I remember one weekend in particular when my dad came to pick my brother and I up. I begged Dad to let me stay home with Mom. I felt guilty for leaving her all alone in an empty house. Although as rowdy as my brother and I were, I am sure Mom loved having peaceful weekends to herself!

Dad caved. He had not seen me all week, but he allowed me to stay with my mom. As he and my brother drove down the driveway, I felt this tug in my heart. I started crying and begging Mom to call Dad and tell him I had changed my mind.

In my earlier blog I stated that having divorced parents had it’s advantages. Choosing which parent needs you more is not one of them.

Needless to say, Dad turned around at the end of the drive way and I spent the weekend with him and my brother. Dad’s house was always different. When I was seven or eight, I remember two things about my dad mostly. One was that he was always tired. He had dark circles under his eyes and ALWAYS fell asleep on the couch when we were watching tv together. And the other, was that he never missed a pick up time or an opportunity to see us.

As the years passed and things morphed into the present day, I learned why my dad was always so eager and so exhausted. My dad was working two full-time jobs to pay for college so he could get a raise at work! Basically a week in the life of my dad looked a lot like this: Mornings equaled daytime job, nights equaled night time job + online classes, and  then that left the weekends with the kids. I would not have blamed him for calling Mom up and explaining how exhausted he was, saying that he’d swing by later after a nap to pick us up. However, that was NEVER the case.

Looking back on that day, when I saw my dad driving away, I remember the lesson God has taught me.

That tug I felt as he drove off, that’s the tug God feels when we walk off the path He has for us. Those uncontrollable tears I cried, those are the tears wept in heaven when a child of God chooses death over life.

But, the joy and relief I felt when I saw my dad turn around to come and pick me up, that’s the joy and relief the Father has for us everyday.

No matter what situation you’re in. or how long the day, month, or year may seem, no matter the season you are walking through God is in full control.

Today our pastor gave us a quote, “When you understand that God is in everything then you realize that there is good in everything, because God is good.”

Jeremiah 29:11 states that God knows the plans He has for you. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.

Galatians 6:9 says to not grow tired of doing what is good because there will come a “Kairos” or propitious moment when God will stick His finger into our lives at the most unexpected time.

Father’s Day could be hard to swallow for a lot of people who don’t have a good relationship with there father or do not have a father at all.

But that’s the thing, we are not father-less. For who makes the orphan a son and daughter? Who’s love is mighty and so much stronger than all we may face? Who trumps our enemies? Who sent His ONLY Son to Earth to die for us and set us free from worry, shame and guilt just because He loves us?

God.

God did not create you on accident. When God formed you he didn’t go, “Oops, messed up on that one!” No. He created you with a purpose and a pre-planned life.

Now it’s up to you to believe it and to live your life originally.

~A.E.House

What Jesus taught me today…

 

  • Roller coaster: To move, change, or occur in the dramatically changeable manner of a roller coaster.

Yesterday was an average Joe day in the House household. I got up at 4:00 a.m, a sprint to the life spring that is the coffee pot, bible time, a zip through the shower and I am off to work. To say I am a work-a-holic would be an understatement. For starters, I absoutley adore my job and every aspect of it. Working at your home curch defo has its benefits. For instance, you’re having a bad go of it, always someone to pray with and vent to. Bonus!

Well on this particular Wednesday, everything was completely wonderful. It was one of those days where you wake up in a good mood, your favorite songs come on the radio as you commute, the sun is shining, make-up on point, outfit on point, your life basically is on point! Never had one of those days? We need to pray!

All joking aside it truly was a wonderful day. Something rare occurred around 4:00 p.m. I finished the days work early? What? That never happens! Never the less, I was out of there. I was headed home to do some tidying up around the house, maybe a bubble bath. Chick flick anyone?! Then the phone rang. Ah yes, the “twist”. You’re probably sitting there reading about how “perfectly” oblivious I am thinking, ‘there is no way she is that perky all the time”. The answer is… yes! I am. And here is why…

The phone rang. It was my Step-mother. My brother has been rushed to the hospital due to a rupturing appendix oh, and he is heading into a rushed surgery to remove it. Woah.

So, Ashlee turns the car around, perfectly completing a five point turn, I might add. As I arrive at the hospital, I find my brother on his back taking up every inch of this miniature gurney bed.

Side note: Imagine a NFL line backer with a mass of muscle packed on… now you have envisioned my brother…

Any ways, by the time I got there, the medicine had kicked in and the doctors had decided to hold off on surgery. Whew! Out of the woods? Not quite. They want to hold him over night to observe him, then run more tests in the morning.

Most would be worry-filled and pacing the floor. However, my family was surrounded by peace and joy. Honestly I don’t think we stopped giggling the entire night. Maybe it was my brother’s Morphine-filled commentary or our exhaustion, but I tell you what, there was not an ounce of fear in room 349.

The next morning, I awoke to a stiff neck, the sound of heart monitors and dripping IV fluid. Perfect…  I took a short stroll around the pleasantly quiet hospital to call my boss to ask off work. I filled her in on all the details. Being the most wonderful woman of God she is, she completely understood and even asked if she needed to zip down to the hospital to be with me. Blessed? Beyond measure!!!

As I hung up the phone, I started to cry a bit. I was some what embarrassed, so I dashed into the nearest powder room… so dramatic. Seriously though, I think after 15 hours the reality of it all caught up with me! I stood alone in the ladies latrine sobbing. Like heavy breathing, hot soaking tears, snot, the works…

Then a revolution came out of nowhere and swacked me upside the head like a two ton sack of bricks. Why was I afraid? Why was I worried?

A passage from Fervent by Priscilla Shirer, a book I have been studying recently, popped into my mind. Basically it says, “Nowhere in the bible does God say to fear or worry. In fact, He tells us over 300 times to NOT fear or worry. The enemy WILL use the Spirit of fear to take your focus off the problem solver and zero in on the problem.”

Double woah.

Another quote from the quote filing cabinet that is Ashlee’s brain flashed in bold letters. I am not sure as to where I came across this perfectly wonderful bit of truth, but a HUGE bundle of hugs and kisses to whomever you are!

“Worship gets us through the toughest parts in life because it shifts our focus from the problem to the problem solver.”

Needless to say, I came out of the ladies powder room blanketed in courage surrounded by an impenetrable forge.

Yes I m fully aware I had a complete ADHD moment, but hey, I am a mere girl finding her pre-planned way in the world.

Composed and ready to trust God whatever the outcome, I waltzed into room 349 to find my once helpless and pasty brother standing and packing his bag… What? Did you miss something? Mixed signal?

Nope. He went from “Major surgery needed ASAP” to “We have him stable, but not sure what’s wrong with him” to “I’m hungry, lets go eat”. All within 15 hours.

Honestly I feel as if God was awaiting my surrender in heaven. Of course I knew God had His hand in the entirety of the situation. Truly I believe He was being patient and waiting for Ashlee to have that “ah-ha” moment. The moment where I realize, hey, He is God with a big g. He is good and patient and perfect in all of His ways.

I know I know… Obvious!!! Duh! Everyone who reads the bible knows that!

Cool your jets for a sec.

Reading, believing and living it are different things. I think maybe that’s what He was telling me.

“Okay Ashlee, You’ve read it, you believe it with your whole heart, now it is time for you to live it.”

Ah.

All in all God is super. I love Him. And I have read that He loves me. I believe that He loves me. Now I am to live as He loves me.

~A.E.House