31 Days of My People

31 Days of My People: Ashley {25/31}

We are now in the final week of 31 Days of My People! Whoohoo for the home stretch! If you need to catch up on any of the posts in this series, you can find them all here. I’d be honored if you’d share your favorite one so far. Thanks for reading! Now, it’s time to meet another one of My People!

Gosh, we were just born to do stuff, weren’t we? God truly built gifts into our lives. Everyone is good at something. Some make a living with their gifts and others just bless the world. I am thinking of several women who are really, really good at friendship. They are such spectacular friends to me that it isn’t even fair. And others whom I constantly admire for being such good moms. Two friends threw creative, fun, adorable parties for their daughters last weekend, and I was in awe because I am not a Fun Party Mom. (I just do not have this particular gear, but when I witness it, I’m all, “Well done!” and “Thank you for inviting [my daughter] Remy so she can have some childhood memories of fun parties and maybe time will dull her recollection and she’ll think I threw some.”)

-Jen Hatmaker, For the Love, Page 31

When I first read this, I immediately thought about my friend Ashley. I have a ton of amazing moms in My People, but I’m pretty sure Ashley is the chief  Fun Party Mom. She’s the one who pins a ton of cute-themed party ideas on Pinterest then actually uses them. I’ve been at her house the night before she prepares for a party for one of her girls. She doesn’t just have a cute Minnie Mouse cake, she has individual Minnie Mouse flags for cupcakes. She doesn’t just serve popcorn, but color-coordinated chocolate covered popcorn snack mix.

I love all these adorable things. I just don’t have any little kids around to throw these parties for. If I had some, I’d like to think I’d be Fun Party Mom, but more likely I would be Order Pizza and Have Two Friends Over Mom, perhaps with a balloon or two. I’d have good intentions, I would probably just dilly-dally and not be able to decide on a theme or some such thing. But Ashley goes all out. And soon after she wraps up one adorable party, she starts pinning for the next one.

Now some people might roll their eyes at this kind of thing. Some might think that we don’t have to “go all out” and have color-coordinated anything for a kids’ party or whatever. And you’re right. We don’t HAVE to. Nobody HAS to have that. But when I see my friends digging into things they love with their gifts, nothing makes me happier. Ashley is creative and has an eye for design and she loves memory-making with her kiddos. And being Fun Party Mom meshes those things perfectly. So run that race, girl.  

This is just a start. My girl Ashley is a joy. One night when my divas and I were getting together, she showed up. It was her first time there, and I’m sure it’s hard to come into a group of ladies who are already established as friends, and already have stories and background and all that. And it was a particularly interesting evening.

One of our divas was feeling very stressed. She had just found out that she was pregnant again, which was of course a happy thing. But right at this particular time she was feeling more overwhelmed than happy, since she had two little ones already and #3 was going to be here SO much sooner than they’d planned. Instead of staying silent on the sidelines in the midst of this moment where we were trying to rally around one of our friends whom she had never met, Ashley shared her own personal struggle with difficult feelings after her first child. Her words comforted our friend in her moment–and in a way that none of the rest of us could—and showed us all that she was indeed, Our People.

And if sharing her own struggles wasn’t enough, her baby girl Ellie sealed the deal for us that night. At one point amidst tears and attempts at encouragement for our distraught friend, we looked over and Ellie had her hand stretched out toward her, intently staring right into her face. It was if she was praying for her and willing something amazing to happen. It was quite a moment for us all.

This is what I’ve loved about Ashley from the very start. She’s been open and honest about difficult things, and she jumps right into a situation allows God to use them to help others through whatever they’re going through. Yes, it’s tough to do. Yes, it can get uncomfortable. But it’s the only way to do life together. To be there to celebrate the amazing stuff and to sit holding hands through the crappy parts. It’s bearing one another’s burdens. It’s the stuff Your People are made of.

Ashley loves natural foods but also eats Chick-Fil-A on Thursdays. She’s beautiful wearing yoga pants or her skinnies and a cute new scarf.. She doesn’t mind talking about makeup or God’s grace. She can laugh one minute and be serious the next. Just some of the things I love about her. But there’s something I don’t understand about our relationship…

Why, exactly, do I keep hanging out with people who have all the gorgeous hair? I gotta work on that. Ashley’s another one of those women whose hair always looks good, even in a messy bun or weekend ponytail. It’s kind of necessary though, since she is a hair stylist by trade. Her hair always looks healthy and shiny and full. And it could not be more annoying. Hello again from over here with my plain old regular hair. Did someone at the Awesome Hair Department forget about me?? I’m filing a complaint.

Recently Ashley has been helping me through some rough spots. She keeps speaking truth to me even when I didn’t ask for any. She keeps reminding me of the Good that is on the horizon. She’s that ray of sunshine when I desperately need one. She is definitely gifted at encouraging. The last time we had our one-on-one date where she was piling on the uplifting words, we were out pretty late closing down one of our favorite restaurants. Her mom sent her a text, a little worried that it was getting so late and she was still out and about. It’s possible she thinks I’m a bad influence or something 🙂

I promise I'm not a lush, mom!
I promise I’m not a lush, mom!

This year, she and her husband Jonathan have taken over the leadership of our home group. I love how they’ve taken an extended time to pray about their vision and have been sharing much about where they believe we are headed as a group. It’s been lovely to watch their transformation as a couple over the past year, and how their individual personalities function well together to share the responsibilities of leading a group. I’m excited to see what happens going forward.

Ashley and her man make a great couple. And they make gorgeous babies, ones who are growing up fast. She’s taking her beautiful hair and her Fun Party Supplies and making the most of every, single second of life. She’s showing Jesus to those around her along the way, and all of us in her path are better for it. Even the next generation gets the benefit, since those little feet are following their mama duck around the house 24/7 and soaking up everything she says and does.

When life gives your lemons, you make lemonade.
When life gives you lemons, you make lemonade.

When you have People like this in your life, keep them around. Everyone you know will be better for it.

I love you, Ash! Thanks for being My People!

Good readers, don’t forget about the $500 shopping spree giveaway from Dayspring!! Just a few quick clicks and you can be entered to win! It’s just for readers of the #write31days challenge, and that’s you fine people! You only have until the 30th to enter, so go get it done!

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