Monday, January 31, 2011

New Zealand!!!

Hey Circles,
I am off for New Zealand tonight at midnight. I will be gone for two weeks but may have access to internet so I will try to blog. I can't wait to get to dive into relationship with you all when I get back. I am praying for the group. See you all in two weeks!
Ashley

Encouraged

I was so encouraged after our meeting on Saturday. I felt so blessed to be a part of Circles. I have longed for community where people want to be real and open with each other and  help one another grow closer to God. Even from the short amount of time we have had with each other I already get the feeling it is going to be a great community.

I thought a lot about what we talked about yesterday in the fact of engaging with people and being intentional but at the same time listening. I made a point today while I was at work to be more intentional with people and to try to be present as well. It made me realize how much I go throughout my day missing how people are feeling because I am not present. I attempted to ask people at work that I don't normally talk to how they were doing. It was cool to see their faces light up in the fact that I was interested in how they were doing. This thought process today led me to be able to engage conversation with someone I didn't know. She was recently diagnosed with cancer and had a lot of complications occurring as a result of the chemo. I attempted to be intentional and engage with her. She started telling me how she was feeling and started crying. She shared how she didn't think she could be strong any more in getting through this and was afraid of what was going to happen next. I knew God wanted me to pray with her. This time I listened and got to pray with her. I shared with her that God is the only one who can get her through this difficult time. I then got to share with her my brother's story to offer encouragement.

My brother Sean was diagnosed at the age of 17 with a brain tumor. He was a wrestler and very active but started to feel off balance and was getting severe headaches. Then they did a MRI which showed the tumor.  About two weeks later he had surgery. Before he went into surgery, we all thought it was non-cancerous which the tumor itself was already scary enough but after the surgery we come to find out that it is cancerous. This was one of the worst days of my life when I found out my brother had cancer. He then had to have a grueling year of chemo and radiation treatment. It was hard watching my brother suffer but I am so grateful for what this experience brought about. Many were praying for healing for my brother and God first brought it about in his heart. We all grew up Christian but my brother made the decision to finally give his life over to Christ and became a Christian during this time. He now is is in remission and going to nursing school to be an oncology nurse :) I learned so much through this time. Some of it was learning that God is the only one who can give true peace and joy and strength. He taught me to lean on Him and to receive His love through others. God truly turned an awful thing to be used for His good in bringing my brother to Him and teaching my family valuable lessons.

Here is my brother with a couple of friends during his treatment in the hospital


Here are both my brothers. Sean is on the left and his twin Brett is on the right.



So anyways,  I have been very encouraged in Circles and the lessons I am already learning. I look forward to getting to know you all!

Ashley

Friday, January 28, 2011

Introduction :)

Hey Circles,
I am so excited to be starting this journey with you all and to get to know all of you over the months. To start off here is a brief introduction of my life. I am twenty-four years old and currently live in Costa Mesa with two amazing roommates who also go to Rock Harbor. I had been attending Rock Harbor for two years on and off.  Last February I moved up to Costa Mesa partly because I wanted to be close to work and  a huge part was to make Rock Harbor my home church. I love Rock Harbor for their worship and for their passion to teach the church to go out into the community and the world to be the hands and feet of Jesus. One thing I have been seeking this last year is for community at Rock Harbor. I have made some amazing friends but still seek for what community really looks like. I desire a community that looks like Acts. I wonder why our churches look so different from those in the Bible and why it is so hard to find a deep, real community that keeps one another accountable and encourages one another as they strive to share the gospel. I was so excited to have this opportunity to be in Circles and look forward to becoming a community together. :)

I come from a family of six. I have brothers that are twins that are three years younger then me and an older sister who is seven years older then me. I grew up in Lake Forest for most of my life. I was home schooled from third grade through high school. I know most people do not have a good view of homeschoolers but I feel that I am not the stereotypical homeschooler. I am not socially awkward and love to be around people ;) I was involved in sports and different outside classes so I don't feel that I missed out. Actually I am grateful to homeschooling for bringing my family together.

I am currently a nurse in the Emergency Department at Hoag Hospital. I have been a nurse for two and a half years. I am going back to school actually next month to start getting my bachelors in nursing. My passion for nursing is to be a global missionary. I don't know where God wants me to go but for now I do know that He has me here. He has been teaching me to trust Him with my life and to be at rest in knowing that He has a plan for me that is better then I could plan. The reason I named my blog 'Beautiful Feet' is that it is what I hope my life will portray. I want to bring good news and peace to the lost. I definitely pray for God's boldness to do that.

Anyways, that is a little snapshot of who I am but I look forward to sharing more of who I am with you all and getting to know each one of you in Circles.

Ashley