“Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin”
2020 has officially landed upon us. My last night of 2019 consisted of enjoying an annual thai tradition of lighting lanterns and setting them off into the wild, my poor little lantern set alight and frazzled to the floor in pieces. One can look at this as being somewhat prophetic or God’s way of saying that 2019 is in the past and it’s time to look to the future. No matter your perspective this was for sure a way to end things in classic Ashleigh style!! 🙂
THE EXAUSTED EXTROVERT
This week I am heading into a busy period on all ends of the spectrum. Crossfit Chiang mai hosted its annual throwdown over the weekend and it’s fair to say it was quite the event. Athletes from around the world came to our location to compete. Usually I would find myself participating in this event but this year I was on the other side of the fence in the way of judging and MCing for the event. It truly was a humbling experience seeing all the work that goes into pulling of an event of this scale. Getting down next some beautiful athletes and supporting them through the pain cave was so precious to me. I’ve been in their position and I know how important an encouraging word can be. I had a lot of love for these athletes bursting from me . So much so that the days after had me feeling a kind of lethargy .As an extrovert, it gives me great pleasure to be around people in these kind of environments but I am not always great at listening to my boundary. Once I go past that I can feel beyond depleted with nothing left to give to the world. As much as possible in these next few days, it’s important I seek rest and push deeper into God to restore me.
As 2020 develops, there is plenty of work ahead of us as we push deeper into planting Salt and Light Coalition. As always, when we have goals to achieve God is constantly teaching and growing us, I feel this on a daily basis. There is never a moment where I am not brought to my knees, the moments when I realise that I cannot do this on my own. So many times throughout these past months I have carried so much on my own shoulders instead of handing it over to the one who called me to this very mission in the first place .
There is never a moment where I am not brought to my knees
I am so thankful for the friends who love me enough to be honest with me and tell me what they see. Recently as people have been asking me about the development of Salt and Light, my response tends to be given on auto-pilot.. One could be mistaken for thinking that I had lost my passion. We are in this stage where lots of nitty gritty work needs to be tackled before the big stuff happens. In our prideful hearts we want to report the big miracles but right now I cannot give that and I am ashamed to admit that sometimes that stresses me. I feel that nobody wants to hear about the legal things we have to deal with. It;s not pretty and yet this is exactly the stuff that we should be celebrating as it all happens in God’s gracious timings.
I now have a beautiful new member of my team who has come to share the burden with me. After having been alone in this for many months, sometimes it can be difficult to open up, share the load and admit that there are days you are terrified. God has blessed me with amazing people to come alongside me and bring healing to women who have known pain. If I think for one moment that I can do this alone then I am deluded. We were never supposed to walk this journey alone. I have been truly humbled and have had to seek forgiveness from friends, from God and for myself as pride tries to eat its way into my heart.
Each day is a chance to start again, to hand it over and live at a pace of grace. How hard it is to find that sweet balance of surrender and work. Funnily enough my word for 2020 is surrender, this is so applicable to all areas of life. Ministry, personal, goals, desires. Every single area. Growth is a process and as I reflect on my weaknesses, it’s imperative that I do not use these to reprimand myself but allow God to turn ashes into beauty.
As we are midway through January,I am remembering to give thanks to so many precious things that have taken place .Angela and I were granted work permits making us officially legal to plant Salt and light, On top of this we have had some successful meetings with potential partners and will have our first meeting with some potential board of advisors to guide us on our mission. These things are absolutely worth celebrating and I can see God;s hand in every step! I am always reminded of the verse in Zechariah 4: 10 “ 0 Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin”
We may not be changing the world in a way that is evident to others but we are taking small steps to create something beautiful and for that I am thankful.
By the next month we aim to have all documents translated into Thai along with hiring a local Thai to deliver said program. We are believing for this and cannot wait to see this blow our minds because of course he always promises to do immeasurably more than we could even think of.
Small steps toward something beautiful
NEW YEAR NEW GOALS
This month marks the calendar for human trafficking awareness month. These are always pinnacle moments in the year for me as they help me to refocus my heart back to the why. So often it can be easy to lose sight of things. We get caught up in the stress of the tasks that need to be accomplished and we can almost idolise our to do lists. It is imperative for me to remember that all those years ago God broke my heart for what breaks his. When I moved to Bangkok to work amongst the most heroic, beautiful,broken women, it wrecked me and this is the reason I keep persevering. Human trafficking is one of the most horrific atrocities on this earth and as long as God has me here on earth I will walk alongside him to do my part. This doesn’t make it me a hero, far from it but nothing more gives me joy then to walk alongside those that need to know how precious and loved they truly are. I am thankful for the moments that I am reminded of this .I am thankful for the people that hold me accountable to my calling when there are so many days I could just as easily throw in the towel.
We are making our way through January and with that comes a month of reflecting, planning and getting our hearts ready for the month ahead. God continually asks me to partner alongside him on the journey that’s ahead. It’s up to me if I choose to walk with faith through the doors that have been opened for me or if I will live with a cloud of doubt around me. It’s so easy to make the goals and the second the passion starts to fade, we want to quit. This year I choose to travel at a pace of grace and give the best of myself that I can give. I have goals for ministry and personal goals that are deep within my heart. As an athlete I know I am far from the peak and I cannot wait to see what can be achieved if I only trust the process and continue to work upon those weaknesses. 2020 I welcome you with open arms. I cannot wait to see what is ahead and to push on with the growth that the lord so desperately wants from me. Remembering that with this comes love and a fresh abundance of grace.
This year I choose to travel at a pace of grace