Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Love Wins: Always Ashten


Good morning ya'll! 

Today I get the joy and pleasure of introducing you to my dear blogging pal and Happy Hour Hangout cohort, Ashten, who blogs (and VLOGS LIKE A BOSS) over at Always Ashten. Do yourself a favor and immerse yourself in her wildly outrageous tweets as well as her ridiculously adorable pictures of her precious boxer, Warner. 

I'm thrilled Ashten agreed to share a hard, but beautiful story of the way love has changed her life as the second post in the Love Wins Series. She'll prove to you the redemptive power of love in the hard and the beautiful. How the process is not at an "end", but is growing and challenging for her sweet soul. 

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Sitting down to write this is hard. I usually pride myself on my ability to be vulnerable in most of my writing but with this one my heart is conflicted with how much to share. There is a lot of pain that comes with this one; pain that I don’t know how to express to those who know me best let alone to a cruel and sometimes unforgiving world.

The thing is I still struggle with forgiveness. And redemption. And how redemption brings forgiveness. And how to forgive.  I struggle with how to move forward, how to trust again.

I have not had a hard life. I was raised by two parents who love each other, who loved my sister and me. We took vacations, we had holiday traditions and I was given many opportunities that others were not. I was raised well. 

All happy stories do not have happy middles. Mine does not.

The heart is an interesting organ: it can break a million times, in a million ways, but never heals the same way twice. In the last two years my heart has shattered into what felt like a million unfixable pieces. I lost my identity, my direction, who I felt I was. I was drowning in grief; I was living in a shell of my former self. I scared the people who knew me best: the people who watched their vibrant, boisterous and silly Ashten turn angry, bitter and silent. Truth was I was scaring myself too. I just didn’t know how to stop the cycle of sadness and anger in my heart.

Slowly, I started to find my way out of the darkness thanks in part to many people’s unfailing love. As my heart began to heal, I noticed it was colder; harder and less prone to act with love. It’s like I’m missing a piece that allows me to trust, allows me to open up to anyone, the piece that allows me to forgive. I was living with one foot in the darkness and one foot in the light. I was holding on to the anger, the bitterness and the grief because I had grown comfortable there.

I still struggle. Sometimes it’s hourly, sometimes it’s daily. Sometimes my struggle is silent, because I can’t find the words. Sometimes I slip back in to bitterness, anger and my words become sharp blades that will cut anyone who steps in my path. Sometimes I just hug my dog, Warner, and wait for the moment to be over just so I can get to the next one.

In moments when I cannot go on, when I feel like I’m completely alone, I remember God does not give us anything we are not strong enough to handle. Love wins. For years, I didn’t think I deserved love, or to be loved. Most days I still don’t. But, I have people who believe otherwise, people who force love upon me when I don’t think I will ever open that part of my heart again. People who remind me that after darkness comes light.  These people are my safety net, my great loves and the missing pieces I lost when my heart broke so many moons ago.

God has made me strong. He knows my faith waivers. He knows I am not perfect. He knows I fall often, and without much grace. But, He is forgiving when I am not. He is redeeming when I find myself unable to find redemption.

He loves me when I don’t think I deserve it and His love wins. And with that, I know I will not always be ok, but I am forgiven when I am not. I will be loved, always. 

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Always AshtenSpeaking of love... Don't you feel that way about Ashten? Do yourself a favor and connect with her on one or all of these social media spots! 


18 comments:

  1. girl your words are rocking my world right now. what a beautiful post! words I'll never forget: He is forgiving when I am not. so. true. have a great day and know that you will be touching so many souls today with this post.

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  2. Ashten is always a bright spot in my day! If blogging has brought me nothing else, it has brought me her friendship and that is certainly above and beyond anything else I could have expected! Great post Ashten!

    -Kate
    www.theflorkens.com

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  3. Thank you, Codi. It was a tough one to write and a scary one to publish but I am reminded daily that love wins. Especially in this blog community. If even one person is touched by it, the fear was worth it.

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  4. Oh my girl. You are a bright spot in my day. Your friendship has brought such sunshine and joy to my life I am thankful you and I found each other. Thank you for being one of my missing pieces. You are so special to me.

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  5. fabulous job lady friend! this is a wonderful post, so honest and touching.

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  6. Kathy@Vodka and SodaOctober 29, 2013 at 7:34 AM

    i love the honesty and rawness of this post. forgiving can be hard, especially when you've been hurt so badly but sometimes, we need to forgive in order to move on. i'm so glad you gave us the opportunity to share this with you. hugs xoxoxo!

    -kathy Vodka and Soda

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  7. Thank you, darling. I appreciate it so much.

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  8. hang in there girl ... we all have days and we all need help, that is why we surround ourselves with good people ... I hope and wish for your happiness and that you can trust again to love again!!

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  9. Thank you, Kathy! Forgiveness is hard but i have good people by my side who remind me how loved I am!

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  10. Ashten, I feel like you spoke the words perfectly to me and for me. I've been feeling the same way lately. I have to remember daily God's love and promises. It still gets hard but I'm trying to break through. Hang in there. You ARE loved my friend!

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  11. Ashten -
    I'm glad I read this today :) I think it's so honest of you, and I'm glad to see people admit to there 'colder, bitter' side of themselves. I think we all have that side, but it's somewhat 'taboo' to talk about so I really applaud you for speaking up.


    I love the idea behind this "Love Wins" series, because it is so true. Love will always beat hate, always. I believe that so strongly, so I love this.

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  12. This is beautiful Ashten, so honest and open. You're wonderful <3

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  13. Thank you Zauni! I really appreciate your kind words!

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  14. This is such a beautiful post, Ashten. I kinda fail with my own words here as recognize a lot in this. But your words are so honest and pure. Thank you for sharing this. Also, thank you for the reminder that even though things get dark, there's always a little light shining, making sure you will get through it. :) xo!

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  15. Although I have no idea what shattered you so deeply on this time of a broken heart, many moons ago, I had to force my tears to keep quiet.


    I'm glad you shared this, knowing we're not alone in that uncertainty, knowing somebody else is out there hugging the shit out of a pet as if it were a life buoy, makes it somehow more bearable. It reminds me we're all the same in the end... Kudos to you for sharing something painful.

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