Transformation. It’s a word full of wonder, expectation and often fear. Change isn’t always easy, and honestly, not always for the best. At least it may not seem so at first. This post is about the most timely, ongoing and important transformation in my life.
As early teenage life goes, my experience was probably no more angst-ridden than most. Growing up as an only child (and a girl) didn’t help; my Dad was over-protective, to say the least. Though thankful for the few friends I had in junior high, they eventually had their own crowds to hang with. Uncomfortable in groups, I couldn’t help but feel increasingly awkward and unsure of myself. Many hours were spent alone, looking out my bedroom window, where I’d listen to music, draw, and watch the world go by.
The Gentle Whisper
God’s timing is impeccable: He gently drew me closer when I needed the stability of a truly supportive and loving Father the most. All that I’d been taught growing up in church became real and relevant during this formative time. I knew the Good News: God created us and loved us so much that he sent His Son Jesus to die on a cross, the free gift of salvation and new life made available to all through His resurrection on the third day.
Cocoon to Butterfly
On March 20th 1988, I made those beliefs personal – in my heart and not just my mind – beginning the single most important relationship in my life. There were still moments of fear and insecurity, but slowly the focus shifted away from my perceived shortcomings, onto God’s grace and unfailing love. I became a “new creation in Christ”, filled with new hope, joy and an indescribable peace. I’m still a work in progress — being transformed in big and small ways, every day.
Hope For All
Even more so than than the hope and inner strength, the peace of knowing that I’m accepted as I am…that I belong…is priceless. We all struggle with insecurity and fear at times; but peace, joy and much more comes with knowing deep in your soul that your true identity is best lived in following the One Who created you and loves you better than anyone on earth could! On rare occasions when my thoughts drift into an isolated funk, the Lord always guides me swiftly back into the light of hope. My prayer is that all who read this post will learn or renew the habit of basking in His light. (I’ll save that for another post!)
This simple poem is a prime example of how God always chases away shadows when we look to Him, turning even dark despair into shining joy.
I am just an artist – in the corner a lot.
I am just a person sent in to fill the slot.
I am just a body taking up some space.
I am just somebody who is commonplace.
But I am a child of God,
put here to do His work.
I am someone special –
not a genetic quirk.
I am not a total failure,
I can do some things right.
I am saved by Jesus –
I can do anything in His light!
© Ladeena Ashley
Nowadays, the tides of doubt are merely a trickle by the time I put pen to paper. For me, writing is less frequently a rescue from negative thinking and more so an affirmation of truth. The transforming grace of God is no less wonderfully relevant as it was when my younger, insecure self entrusted my imperfect life into His holy (and wholly) capable hands. And for me, there’s no better place to be.
© Ladeena Ashley
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