My name is Ashley. I grew up in rural Missouri with my 3 siblings and 2 parents. I was fortunate to always be in an environment where my needs were met both physically and emotionally.
My home was rooted in Christian values. Respect your elders. Go to Church. Love Jesus.
I prayed ‘the prayer’ when I was 5 with my dad in his old brown beat up Chevy pickup. Went to church (nearly) every Sunday. Involved in small groups. My dad was a leader in the church.
We left my home church (non denominational) to serve in our own community when I was 13. We got plugged in to a new church that actually had a youth group and children ministries (something our former church didn’t really have). I got to go to youth group with kids that actually went to my school and fit in to my friend group.
My high school was predominantly white Christians. To say it was pretty easy for me growing up is an understatement. Of course there were bullies and typical high school drama, and people who didn’t go to church, but for the most part, it was smooth sailing.
I went to College in Missouri where I got plugged in to a campus ministry right away. I was accepted in to a small group and we all loved Jesus. College was the first time that I started to question what MY faith was and what it looked like now that I was ‘on my own’.
I dropped out of college after 3 semesters and moved back home. After that, I struggled for years with defining my faith and my relationship with Jesus. I knew what I was taught. I knew what I learned in church. But always wrestled with questions like “Why is the Old Testament God so different from that of the New Testament?” “How can I so readily believe in a God who sees and knows everything, but immediately dismiss things like Greek Mythology?” “Why Christianity and not other religions?” “How accurate is the Bible?” “What is loving about a God that allows suffering?” “If God isn’t real, what is?”
It wasn’t until years later that I was able to start looking for answers to these questions. Up until that point (and still sometimes even now) I wrestled with shame and guilt. For questioning, for being unsure, for feeling like a failure. But for me, I needed that desperation. I needed the despair. I needed a reason to keep searching. And from there, I’ve slowly started to find the roots of my faith and my relationship with Jesus.
I’m still questioning. I’m still growing. This blog is just one piece of that. But now I find freedom in the opportunity to grow and evolve my thinking rather than the fear and shame that came from questioning.
Welcome to my place. It’s imperfect, incomplete, and likely inadequate at expressing all that God is laying on my heart. But this place is mine. I’m sharing my heart, my experience, and my understanding of life as we know it. I’m glad you’re here. I hope you’ll join me on this journey.