February 14, 2011

Love, actually.

Photo courtesy of The Hope Movement.

DISCLAIMER: I've been thinking. And I should probably be more vulnerable in life. Because I'm more the type to not show all my cards at once and try to be Little Miss Perfect. But after all, C.S. Lewis said to love at all is to be vulnerable, and he is in my Top 5 Favorite Humans Ever.

So here I go.

It's Valentines or whatever, and I pretty sure the going trend for bloggers is do something Valentines-y on your blog. But I'm not in love. Never have been. Don't really wanna be right now. So this is my post about love.

This story starts two summers ago, when I got a little rocked--slight rejection by a guy (okay. Whatever. Rejection.), an internship at a well-known magazine that I couldn't figure out why I hated, etc. In my "Ohmigosh-it's-FINE-I-totally-always-can-fix-everything" mindset, I kept trying to repair situations. Band-aid it. But nothing. Was. Working.

At church, David Platt announces a 4-part series on what else, love. Awesome. TotesmyfavoritesubjectthissummerNOT. But the Lord led us as a church through a book named Ruth. A chapter a week for a month. Step by step...

And after each sermon, my songbird girl-crush Mandi Mapes would sing over us a song she'd written to correspond with that chapter. Fast forward: Week 2. She climbs up on her stool, and the guitar starts this haunting, rolling tune. Held captive, I could feel God speak: "Ashlyn. Listen to me." Tears started falling (I don't cry much, but I cry 2/10 church services I go to, I think). Every lyric pierced me. And still does, because this weekend driving back from Birmingham, I blared it and there I was cryin' all over again in the left lane on I-65.

You see, the first time I heard the chorus, I was thinking of the earthly love story I was certain God had in store for me. As in, guy-meets-girl. Maybe it's going to be written, but my Father tells me if he doesn't want to write that, whoa baby--his plan is even better. But the second time it all clicked. No one's ever gonna love this weird, stubborn, impatient, flighty, joyful soul more than the One who loved it so much that he chose me before my feet lighted on planet earth.

"I already know Who's gonna save you,
I already wrote the end of the story.
You were made for Me and I'll never leave you.
And in the end, it's all for my glory."
- Mandi Mapes, "I Already Know"

Just trust me and go listen to the song, or series of songs, or even series of sermons. They're spectacular. Because how cool is it that our heart can be won by a poor man born a baby refugee in the rough-and-tumble Nazareen neighborhood, who wandered his entire life, was murdered to display His love for His people and ultimately to rise back to life. And they have proof. I mean, who does that? Why'd he do all that? Oh, you know. Just for His glory. Just to show His power over literally every single thing we think is strong in this world: Death. Sin. Nations. Rulers. Romantic love, if we're honest...

I don't have it all figured out. I write to get things off my chest and to sleep better and always freak out about pressing "Publish Post." So I'm not saying I remember all this every minute of my life because I don't. But I know it to be true. I know Him to be true.

So yeah, maybe I am in love.

And if every girl Taylor Swift jammin' girl wants her love story, I already got mine.
And it is sooooo good.


  1. I wish I could "like" this post like on Facebook, because I do. In a serious way. Powerful, powerful words. How do you ALWAYS hit the nail on the head and encourage me with your posts...it's amazing. Again--as I've said a bajillion times, you are a blessing!

  2. This is so what I needed this morning after reading through facebook status updates. I dread this day BUT I really don't have to. Have a beautiful day! I'll spend the day reading "Crazy Love" as opposed to moping over some boy not giving me chocolates ;). Thanks!!!

  3. I love this post. You have such beautiful insight. I feel like I get mini-sermons over at Miss Magnolia. Love it.

  4. beautiful, just beautiful. thank you for this today girlfriend. I'm linking back to it :)

  5. I was struggling with a Valentine's day post and I think I'll just link it back to you. You always find the perfect words to say and I love seeing God work through you, such an encouragement! :) Happy Love Day!

  6. Thanks for the encouragement! Can you tell me the names of the sermons on itunes? I see "the risk of love" is that one of them? If so, what are the other three in the series? Really want to listen to the podcasts! Thanks!

  7. I found your blog through a link on another that I follow and I must say that this post is such an encouragement. I love finding blogs that express such a love for God, and today that is even more special! I'm your newest follower!

  8. I've been reading for a while now, and this post finally gave me the little push I needed to comment. Such beautiful, true words. And speaking as someone who has managed to have a little bit of a love story here on earth, I have to say: Nothing -- absolutely nothing -- compares to the love the Father has for us, to the love we find in Him.

  9. I love this post. You express it so well. Happy Vday and thank you!

  10. Linking to your post because A. you nailed it, and B. you're awesome and people need to hear this message.
    Happy Love Day. :)

  11. Great post! Such sweet, true words! I love this!

    Happy V Day!

  12. Best post I've read in a VERY long time!!!! Love it and will continue to read what you write!!! A girl after my own heart!!!

  13. So, so good. You've got it. Linked back to this. You always make me think girl, and I L-O-V-E, love it.


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