About Ashley

Ashley is very happily married and the mother to a beautiful little girl and sweet baby boy, and she is the main voice behind Embracing Grace.

Encouragement for the Emotionally Weary Mom

Encouragement for the emotionally weary mom

Sometimes I feel like I have to have it all together.  Actually, since that’s the goal I feel like I should all the time and consequentially I feel like a failure because I don’t.  My house isn’t perfect.  My form of discipline is constantly needing tweaking.  I don’t have the perfect come back to the snide remarks people throw.  Speaking of the upcoming election, I don’t understand how our country got to this point.  It would be laughable if it wasn’t true.  SNL doesn’t need to do a parody of the debates because they’re funny on their own.  Funny and simultaneously disheartening.  I don’t know if I’m going to homeschool for the rest of my children’s schooling lives.  Some days I don’t know if I can make it through the week.  I don’t know if I will ever lose those 20 pounds I promise myself I’ll lose before the next family picture day.  I don’t know what to do with the jute rug I bought that sheds all over the place.  I hate it but it wasn’t cheap.  I don’t know if we’re going to the beach as we had planned because there is an impending hurricane coming to the coast.  Actually, maybe I know that one but I don’t know if we’ll reschedule before it gets too cold or hold off till next year.  I could go on and on and on but you get the point right?  There is so much that I don’t know.

I don’t know as many Bible verses as I wish I did but I’m working on that.  I wish I remembered more from my theology classes from college.  I wish everything wasn’t a debate these days so I don’t have to win these arguments…even if they are only inside my head.  Is smoking bad?  Should Christians drink alcohol?  What kind of music most honors God?  Is kneeling during the pledge wrong?  Matt Walsh stirred up an old question, can a Christian be pro-choice?  Ahhh, I think I know the answers to these questions.  I’ve spent hours and hours and hours thinking about them and others like them.  You know what dawned on me today?  It’s not a new revelation but it felt new today.  I don’t have to know it all.

I don’t have to have it all figured out.

I don’t.  The end.

It’s good to know what I believe and why.  I believe in teaching doctrine from a young age.  It’s important.  Everything else though, it’s okay if I don’t know it all.  I’ll never know all there is about God but I don’t think that yearning for knowledge should ever stop.

I don’t have to win every breastfeeding/bottle feeding debate or cloth diaper/disposable diaper debate.  I don’t have to have the debate in my head when I read one going on on the internet.  I can scroll on.  I don’t have to know the pros and cons of CIO/attachment parenting methods.  I’m past that stage now and I don’t need to stay up to date on those debates.

I don’t know what the future holds but as cliche as it is, I know Who holds the future.  I do.  I’m intimately connected with Him.  I can talk to Him anytime I want.  No appointment necessary.

So what if my house isn’t completely clean?  I have kids and I’m pouring my life into them right now.  They’re constantly growing which requires me to change discipline methods sometimes.  That’s a good thing and it doesn’t mean I’m doing something wrong.  I’m just adapting to the situation before me.  …and it’s okay if I do mess up.  We’re human, right?

We don’t have to have it all figured out.  We’ll learn as we go.

Let All That You Do Be Done In Love

Let All That You Do

“Let all that you do be done in love” – 1 Corinthians 16:14 ESV

I often need to be reminded of this verse.  If I’m being honest, sometimes I don’t feel like responding in love.  Especially to my family…and when I’m tired…and it’s raining…and I’m hungry…and I’ve already answered the same question a few times.  Sigh.  We’ve all been there right?  When the day seems never ending and it’s almost comical how many things have gone wrong.  It’s on days like that when I need to remember this verse and choose to respond in love.  If I’m going to respond in any way I might as well take a second to breathe and give a kinder response than I feel like giving.  Talking ugly doesn’t change the circumstances but it could crush my daughter’s spirits, make me feel crummier, or damage a relationship I’ve spent so long building.  I’ll never regret being kind but I always regret when I don’t.

I ran across this verse today, on a day that’s going particularly well actually, and I made the image above to help me remember to be kinder and show love on days that are bit harder to get through.

What ways do you do things in love?  Maybe it’s not just about how you respond to difficult circumstances.  Maybe it’s about going out of your way to show love to someone who could use it.  A friendly note or an email just because.  A frozen meal to a grieving family.  A bouquet of flowers and a pizza to a family that just moved in down the street.  A thank you card to someone who was there for you when you needed it.  There are endless ways to show love to others.  Let’s try and let all that we do be done in love.

In The Word

In The Word

On my down time sometimes I scroll through Pinterest (ha! I’m sure I’m not the only one 🙂 ), and there I find all kinds of inspiring ideas- ideas on cooking, DIY crafts, décor, etc…the list goes on and on. Applying these ideas to my actual daily life?…a hit or miss. To be honest, most of the things I  “pin” I don’t actually do in real life. I’m afraid that’s how I’ve sometimes treated the Word of God as well. When I’m actually able to sit down and open the Word, too often I skim through it, “like” it so to speak, and go on my merry way without another thought of it. So I’ve thought through some things that actually have helped me apply the Word to my very real, day-to-day, ordinary life. I hope it’s an encouragement and help to you as well! So here goes!

  1. Taking the time to read without distraction. Whew…this is a hard one as a mom & wife. My wise and godly mother once told me- “It doesn’t have to be first thing in the morning. Find a time that works well for YOU, but make time for the Lord.” This is helpful for me as I’m NOT a morning person at all. Instead, while my babies are napping, this is when I open the Word and read. Find a time that works for you!
  1. Have a plan: read through a specific book of the Bible or purchase a book study over a specific topic you’re wanting to grow in. Pray before reading the Word, and start small (example: don’t overwhelm yourself with trying to read 5 chapters at a time. Start with 1 chapter and grow on that.) But, whatever you do, have a plan!
  1. This is where the applying part comes into play. Here’s some super practical things I do:
  • –  Keep a journal and write down thoughts and verses that stick out to me each time I’m in the Word.
  • –  I write a verse of the day or the week on a note cared and hang it on our fridge. It’s ALWAYS there to remind and encourage me throughout the day.
  • –  Talk to others about what I’ve read that day. My husband and I are trying to get better about asking each other what we read in the Word that day.

Hope that encourages you in your own personal time with the Lord!

Applying the Bible

Free Ebook: Pilgrim’s Progress

pilgrims progress

Right now you can download a free copy of Pilgrim’s Progress from Amazon (originally $5.99).   The price of this ebooks is currently $0.00, but that could change at any time so be sure to verify the price before checking out.

If you haven’t read this before you’ll want to snag it while it’s free.  I often think of the illustrations from this book that I haven’t read in many years.  It’s a fabulous book!

Free Ebook: Just Us Girls – Bible Study

Just Us Girls Devotional

Right now you can download a free copy of Just Us Girls: A Bible Study on Being God’s Girl in Middle School from Amazon.   The price of this ebooks is currently $0.00, but that could change at any time so be sure to verify the price before checking out.

Content With my Portion

A couple of months ago, one of my closest friends sent me a book for my birthday. Being a wife and mom, it wasn’t until a couple of weeks ago that I finally was able to sit down during the baby’s naptime and delve into it. Very quickly I realized that the theme of the devotional book was on the topic of contentment. To be honest, I knew I needed this. I KNOW I need to be reminded of this today. Every. Single. Day.

Discontentment Robs Us
Discontentment slips into the heart so quickly- so seemingly innocently- and loves to set up home…. I think in women’s hearts especially. Get on Facebook for any amount of time and you’ll find someone taking a better vacation than you, losing more weight, styling a new haircut, wearing nicer, more expensive clothes, or enjoying a bigger, more beautiful home, etc….the list goes on. And if we’re not careful as women- seeing other’s seemingly perfect lives/bodies/children/homes in front of us- we can easily, so easily, slip into the mode of discontentment and envy. Discontentment at its heart robs us of our joy that should be found in Christ and all the blessings He has given us. It takes a choice, with God’s grace, to speak truth to ourselves in moments of discontent. It takes saying along with the Psalmist, “Lord, you have assigned me my portion and my cup; you have made my lot secure.” Psalm 16:5.


Contentment is a RESTING and an ACCEPTING of what God has specifically portioned to me, knowing and firmly believing that He is always good, and therefore what He has portioned to me is GOOD.

I’m learning that discontentment leads directly to a lack of joy and a heart of envy, but that contentment is a beautiful, sweet grace that leads to a peace and joy no matter what my circumstance may be. It causes me then to be happy, truly happy, for others and the portion He has given them. It is my prayer and my desire, by God’s grace, to be a woman with a true heart of contentment. I want to be able to say along with Paul, “…for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret…I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:11-13.

Abide in the Lord

Abide in the Lord

The Mission of Being a Mom

The mission of being a mom

Some of my earliest childhood memories is from going to church with my grandmother.  I remember the red buttons on the pew and how I would neatly stack the quarters my grandmother gave me for offering on them each week.  I remember how my aunt would always share a half a stick of gum with me.  I remember how proud everyone was of me that I could recite the Lord’s prayer from memory.  I can still sing the songs that I was taught in Sunday School there even though I haven’t heard them for years.  I can vividly remember hearing the story about the woman at the well and how my little ears heard the “woman and the whale.”  Oh, how I wish there was flannel graph that day!  That story perplexed my little pre-school mind and it stuck with me.  It was years later before the real meaning of the story stuck out to me.  To this day, when I hear the story about the Samaritan woman I pause for a moment and think back to my mental image of a woman and a whale.

It’s a funny story to look back on now but at the same time it terrifies me.  It’s paralyzing to think of how much little minds can remember.  That whale is etched in my mind.  Oh, how I desire to train my daughter and son up right.  Being a parent is an enormous responsibility….and opportunity.  I don’t want to squander it.

Deuteronomy 6:6-7 says, “These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart; and you shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up.”

Teaching children about God and His Word is a non-stop, 24-7 duty.  As I’m reminding myself again that I need to be intentional about what I’m teaching my children I want to encourage you to do the same.  We’re teaching them things every day by the way we live and behave.  Let’s make sure we’re teaching them spiritual truths too.  What a blessing it is to be a spiritual guide to our children!

A Confident Heart Only $.99

I absolutely adore Renee Swope’s book A Confident Heart.  I feel like she wrote it just for me.

Now that it’s currently on sale for only $.99 I hope you’ll pick it up too!

You can buy it on Amazon here.

A Confident Heart BookYou don’t have to have a Kindle to read it either.  You can download the Kindle app to read on your iPad or PC.



Who You Are – Free Printable

The Difference Is

“The difference between who you are & who you want to be is what you do!” I love that quote so much because it’s true.  Painfully true.  Inspirationally true.  {So inspiring that I made up a word for it – inspirationally!}

If you like it too you might enjoy this free printable I’ve made.  You can grab it here and print it out to frame, mod podge it to a canvas, pin to a cork board, or stick on your refrigerator.  If you don’t have time now, you can always pin it on Pinterest to print another time.