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Traipsing through transition

Transition –“  Mid 16th century from French, or from Latin transitio(n-), from transire ‘go across’.” Oxford English Dictionary

It’s fair to say I have entered a period of transition . I have found myself waiting for an exact moment where I feel I have entered this period, but truth be told I’m already in the depths of it. Not a day goes by where a peer doesn’t ask me how I’m feeling about the change or my current state of emotions. I’m never quite sure what the right answer is. It’s almost like I have tried to instil a particular emotion upon myself. I try to imagine the last day of my work here in Bangkok and I’m waiting for the tidal wave of tears to come but if I’m honest none appear. There are days where the reality of the situation doesn’t sink In. There are other days when my soul is so on fire for the next season that I can’t wait for what’s to come.

Today is a day where I find myself being irritated at the slightest thing. I get frustrated at the smallest hint of someone patronising me. This morning I spilt a ton of coffee over myself and I spoke to myself like you wouldn’t speak to your worst enemy. I will profess to taking myself to the toilet, so I could be alone for 5 minutes resulting in giving myself a pep talk to pull myself together. Ever get those days where you can’t quite put your finger on what specifically is bothering you? Perhaps this all falls under the emotional umbrella of “Transition “

In a matter of days, my work here at Nightlight will be done and I shall be heading up to Chiang Mai for a Soul Care retreat. 5 days to spend working through the baggage of the past 2.5 years . I think at times it’s been so easy to keep my head down and get the work done. To pour out to those who I so desperately want to love. To walk into the brothels and ignore the stares of prying eyes. To work with those who have known trauma beyond others imagination and to admit that I am not enough to heal the pain that runs through the veins of those around me. I am merely a broken human who chooses to show up every day and to give myself as a vessel knowing that I cannot rescue, and I cannot save.

Its finally time for me to take these past few years and make some kind of sense of them. I need to put the striving aside and listen out for those words my heavenly father wants to whisper to me “ well done good and faithful servant”  (Matthew 25:21) The painful thing to admit as that sometimes my heart is scared. Scared to sit in the quiet space and here a narrative that tells me that I did not do enough. I could have worked harder. I could have loved more. That voice has constantly hounded me as I have tried to do the work I felt called to do. My soul’s desire for this week of retreat is to shun that voice and to hear the words of my Abba father giving me the permission to lay it all down and to rest.

Rest can be scary because it allows us that space to sit with our emotions. Still to this day, it is a daily struggle for me give myself permission to enter into that space. To let the tears come and to allow myself to be loved. Having battled with a destructive eating disorder, I remember days of sitting in the quiet and letting lies wash over me, telling me that I was not enough, that I need to restrict more, to do more, to be more in order to receive that validation. It was in the silence that the burning temptation to binge would come. Needless to say, those fears still arise from time to time making it  difficult to want to be alone.

I know my God has claimed the victory over the past and he wishes for me to push deep into him before he opens the gate for my next season.

Saying goodbye to those around me was never going to be easy. I am blessed to have made some beautiful friendships in an array of different arenas. My friends in my gym who share a passion to lift heavy things above our heads and climb up ropes in the name of fun. The international and Thai women I have had the absolute joy of watching grow like flowers in the spring. Every day my heart bursts with excitement as I see new skills being learnt and old lies cut clean from their lives. I couldn’t be any prouder of the strength and resilience these women show on a daily basis. Leaving a church that has allowed me to be my most vulnerable self and loved me more than I ever deserve. A church full of people who passionately love the Lord and refuse to be put in a box for their gifts to die. I will forever be grateful to my “church of the misfits” for never apologising for being its true self. Lastly the friends that have a special place in my heart both in and outside of work.  The ones who let me in to their stories, who trusted me enough to let me see the broken parts of them as well as walking with me on my own journey. A journey that has been equal parts painful and joyful. To every person that has graced me with their presence. You have pieces of my heart that are forever yours.

It’s been quite the couple of months as I prepare for what’s ahead and focusing on gaining closure on the present season. I have found myself going into meetings with a feeling of fear. It really is true what they say about “imposter syndrome” I sometimes catch myself playing the leader and wonder what the heck I think I’m doing. As these meetings progress, my soul alights, and I feel on fire for the topics of discussion. As I continue to walk into the places that God has called me I can’t help but feel that childlike excitement. It’s a daily battle to keep that passion bright. It can be just as easy to allow the fear to cripple me. To crawl back into bed and bask in what Brene Brown labels a “Vulnerability hangover” I have to give myself permission to  feel the fear and do it anyway. Its ok to be scared but we cannot give fear the authority in the high places we are stepping to.

When I rewind my thoughts back to the girl who boarded a plane at London Heathrow 2.5 years ago,  Im astounded by the change. I was insecure in the person that stood on the cusp of something beautiful.  I knew God had planted a seed in me that was waiting to burst forth and yet I was so weighed down with pain and lack of knowledge of who God was calling me to be .

There is a tendency to put leaders on pedestals. I spent my life admiring those who were above me and what I’ve come to realise is that when God calls you into a position of leadership he doesn’t take away your weaknesses. He uses you in spite of them. Just like Paul with his thorn in the flesh, I think when we admit we are broken, it’s then that the leadership truly begins.

“It takes humility to name our narcissism, and we’re too married to our image to come clean about how messed up we are. This focus on self strangles authentic confession.

When we at last admit our flaws and failure, we gain a stronger personal center and greater peace.” Leading with a Limp- Dan B Allender

We are far from perfect but that should not stop us from walking into to those places that we know we are called to. We keep on keeping on and agree to love those who we chose to lead, no matter the cost.

I pray that many of you would chose to come on this journey with me because I cannot do it by myself. I need those I love to surround me. To fight for me in prayer and to ask me the difficult questions. I want to walk into this season with those that have the desire to set the world on fire and to stumble along with their mistakes and baggage. Together I know that we can create something truly special

As I transition out of Bangkok, my heart is full that I have strong women like these two ready to meet me up in Chiang Mai ❤

1 Comment

  1. Ruth Whitworth says

    Hello Ashleigh,
    We may have been in the same room, at HBC, at the same time, but I don’t think we have ever spoken to each other.
    But one thing I am sure of.
    Our Father God would never say that what we did for Him was inadequate, however little it might have been. He would, I’m sure, just put His arms around you, and tell you how much He loves you.
    So don’t listen to Satan’s lies.
    Ruth.

    Like

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