Ashton Ray1 Comment

The Right Now

Ashton Ray1 Comment
The Right Now

i am sitting in front of my computer at the kitchen table. Kale chips are in the oven and my hands smell of basil scented soap (which is my favorite thing). Josh Ritter is dancing out of my computer speakers and my heart is full. Today is my Sabbath. i am living in shalom.

i am in the midst of a sweet season, where i am learning constantly and i feel really good most of the time. i have spent today in a nightgown and a flannel and i am probably too excited about these kale chips. Life looks so weird, so different than i thought it would. i have never been so aware of God's goodness in my everyday, which has nothing to do with Him and everything to do with me. 

i am writing without a serious purpose. Typically i sit down with my computer with words bubbling out of my brain with some killer tag-line or something. That is not the case today. Today i am writing because it is my delight. Words are my friend. They are rest and joy and peace for me, which is what today is meant to be all about. 

This is the first time since the 90's that my fall has not been spent in a classroom. i am not in school and i miss it like crazy, but i am at peace about that. This fall is meant to be one of rest and a different kind of learning and love and community. Next fall will probably be different and that is okay. i am watching the sun reflect off of leaves through the kitchen window and pine needles fall to the ground. Creation is aware that the seasons are changing. If only we were as willing as the trees to let go of the things we no longer need. 

In the past few weeks, i have not only learned that i can cook, but that i love it! Creating delicious things for the people you love is a gift (just like kale chips). i have learned that living with five other people is hard but wonderful, because the Body of Christ is a family. i have learned that 9-5 office jobs are not for the weak, but they can be a joy. i have seen God redeem parts of my life that i didn't know He ever would (silly me). i got to "wear" a baby and it was the best thing in the entire world. i've realized that i love to plan things and help people and make things happen. i have eaten a lot of healthy food and read a lot. i do not understand people who have a distaste for journaling because i think it is one of my favorite things. 

Our Creator made us all so uniquely wonderful and He loves us so freaking much! i just saw a quote that said, "Much of learning to follow Jesus is learning to unfollow myself." Some guy named Burk Parsons said that but i think that i'm living it. It's easy to learn to unfollow yourself when you only see ten other people on a regular basis and the nearest town is 30 minutes away. That isn't an encouragement for everyone to move to the woods, but whatever works works, right? Abiding in the Spirit is a lesson that we all learn in different ways-- that goes back to that thing about God making us all uniquely wonderful. Friend, embrace how uniquely wonderful you are! 

This time last year i was blindly anxious and depressed. i was emotionally unhealthy and headed into a season of intense healing and pain. Honestly, i never thought i would get past the pain. i thought that everyday for the rest of forever would hurt. i thought that the pulse of depression would haunt my everyday; that joy would always be hazy and distant. Today, i am so authentically joyful i feel like i could burst. There is an honest light that pulses through my veins; this light is the mark of our Creator and it is more real than anything else about me. There is always joy to be found, friends. Joy Himself is the One who designed the makeup of your bones. Do not let the darkness win. Fight for the joy that is yours. 

Remember Who made you, Who loves you, Who gave everything for you. You have been one. There is joy in the world and it comes in a lot of forms, like kale chips and golden hour and coffee and fall. Seasons are only seasons, but they have purpose. Pursue the purpose of whatever you feel-- if it has none, hand it over to God. We need to learn to be like the trees, to let go of what is no longer needed. The season you are in may be painful, but it is only temporary. There may be pain now, but the next season could be the best one yet. 

Live in truth and embrace the light in your veins.

And eat kale chips as much as you can.