Holly T. Ashley

Oh? Did I type that outloud?

Lay down!

English: Lush Grass Ahead Coming down from the...

Psalm 23

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters (Ps. 23:1)

Such a beautiful verse. I read it this morning and had visions of lying down in a beautiful meadow with the sweet aroma of fresh blooms…

I could hear the bubbling brook as it made its way through the rocks and into the pond below…. Such a quiet happy place…

Then the phone rang and my day began. My vision immediately changed after I got off the phone and returned to Quick Books… I ..I.. I  mean my devotionals…. The Psalm of the day – Psalm 23…. Oh yeah, that’s where I was…

I continued to read as my mind wandered about advertising for the grand opening, the caterers and how the heck to reconcile my accounts in Quick Books….

The Lord is my shepherd… I shall not want…

The Lord is my shepherd – I don’t want anything – but I seem to need everything!

He makes me lie down in green pastures;

He makes me… He literally has to push me down and hog tie me … but I do… eventually… lie down…

He leads me beside the still waters…

When I’m done griping about my grown kids, our new business, cleaning the house on my weekends, laundry galore, the book that is still waiting patiently to get finished, with the gentle reminders from my publisher

No pressure…

I realize that I am blessed with not just 2 of my own children, but 2 step-children who are absolutely, wonderful blessings that are too far away, out of control and  a pain in the butt…are perfectly healthy, wonderful, intelligent and super-independent children.

That are safely tucked in the hand of God and He will never let them go.

And then there is the one perfect grand baby in which there is no flaw.

We have been blessed with every blessing you can imagine with our business starting with my husband’s first hesitation:

“Lord if you would just give us the equipment at a reasonable price.”

 Done.  

Three gyms went out of business we got the call within 24 hours of that prayer request and bought the equipment for 20 cents on the dollar.

Then there was the second hesitation:

“Lord, we need to remain where we are in the Scottsdale Airpark – but we have to get our own place for what I pay now…” (yep, we were asking for $3 UNDER the asking price per square foot, and we needed 2000 SF, minimum!) I thought for sure we were done – so did our Real Estate agent, who refused to work with us after that.”  (Christian too)

Done.

We found a family owned building whose owner simply wanted a full building with good, long-term renters for a good, reasonable price.

AND THEN Believe it or not! My husband had a third hesitation and said:

“Lord, if I could just get a month or two free rent, so that we can catch our breath…”

 How about 3 months… and some free flooring, and some free equipment, and some free office furniture… and… on and on the blessings flow…

After a very brief “Come to Jesus” meeting I had with my husband…. We opened in 10 days.

Amazing, Sweet, wonderful grace.

This morning I was reminded how short life is – a friend of mine who is getting married to a wonderful, sweet man found out that his mother has lung cancer.

Another client who has become a wonderful friend came in today to tell us that she could no longer afford to come – she had lost her million dollar a year income after what looks like an SEC set up by the company and now she’s about to lose it all – the house, the husband… everything.

He restores my soul.

He leads me in paths of righteousness
For his name’s sake. (Ps. 23:3)

 Sometimes we forget that it’s not about us and what we do. It is all about Him and what He does through us.

I am a joker. I really don’t gripe and complain as much as I write about it – I want women to understand our nature given to us by our Lord – we do it all because He says we can and we can laugh about it later, after the exhaustion wears off, or when we catch our breath after finding out we are not alone in our quest for virtuous womanhood.

Truth be known, I have been married and divorced 4 times and I’m on my 5th with the one I left at the altar and I should have married when I was 20… I have lived with the worst of the worst, alcoholism, pornography, adultery, and that was just them – I was no saint!

But it was a season. A long season, but it was a season – temporary.

 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death

I will fear no evil, for you are with me;
your rod and your staff, they comfort me. Ps. 23:4)

 God doesn’t leave us in the valley – we go “through” it. There is no fear in God, the Bible says: “Perfect love casts out fear.”

And Jesus loves you so much that He thought you were worth dying for.

No fear.

You prepare a table before me

in the presence of my enemies; 

you anoint my head with oil; 

My cup overflows.

 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me

all the days of my life,

and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

(Ps. 23:5-6)

 Hang in there! Life is good – Short. But really, really good!

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