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I'm not a writer.
(Don't judge my grammar/spelling, I do what I want.) :)
I'm not a blogger.
I am a sharer. (If that's a word.)
I shared my journey through living in Nicaragua.
I shared bits and pieces here and there as life unfolded post Nicaragua.

This post is coming from something deep. Something that is deep in my heart and has been a major part of what God has been teaching me through my year and a half back in the States.

Loss. {def. : be deprived of cease to have or retain.}

What is loss?

Loss can take on many different faces through our lives.
"I lost my car keys."
"I lost my teddy bear."
"I lost my glasses."
"I lost my grandmother."
"I lost my home."
"I lost my wife/husband."
"I lost my child."
"I lost my childhood."
"I lost my friend."
"I lost my ________."

So many different emotions arise as I read those statements. Some bring up a lightness in helping a young child find their teddy bear or a desire to help a friend find their car keys. Others, others bring up this deep ache in the pit of my being. It's the emotion of knowing what that loss feels like. It's being so close to that loss and feeling as though a piece of you is missing because of that loss.

One thing these losses have is common is the sadness that accompanies the loss.
The depth of sadness and grief varies however.

Something that has plagued my thoughts for weeks/months now...the reason for this that sometime you lose something and it's right there.

Here's what I mean. You lose your husband/wife to divorce but, they are still here. You lose your home that you made beautiful memories in but, you can still drive past it. You lose your friend of many years, yet you still see them in town. You lose your happy marriage for a season to hardship, yet you see the happy photos taken.

Those loses can be some of the most painful and bring up deep anger for me. Misplaced anger but anger nonetheless. (Honest)

In these type of losses, the ones where you can see that things can be different and not lost, is where my heart has been through a profound and painful change.

In these losses I've learned an attribute of God that I took for granted.

He is forgiving.
Really forgiving.
Not just a "it's ok" kind of thing.
A, "you are welcomed back into deep relationship with me" kind.

This is a dark part of my hear that I pray will continue to look more like Jesus. Oh, I want it to look more like Him. In my ugliness I want justice. I want to make it right...whatever it is.

Justice and making something wrong right is NOT a bad thing. I'm not saying that. After all, God is just.

For me, it's my heart motive behind it. I made it about me. About me being right. About me making it right. About me making it look the way I want it to look.

In learning these hard lessons I've learned how to choose love. How to choose forgiveness.

God has continued to bring up situations and circumstances where I get to share this part of my journey with Jesus with others who want justice, who are angry, who want to wait until they are ready to forgive, and who are just in feeling some of the ways they are feeling.

Choosing to love. Choosing to forgive. Daily. Even when the loss is not made found.

This is what is looks like when Christ followers say following Christ is not easy.

In the day-to-day.

In my ugliness and the darkness of my heart I want to be angry first then forgive, I want to get justice and then love, I want to make the loss found the way I think it should be done.

Yet, Jesus calls us to love. Calls us to forgive.

How could I not forgive when he paid it all?
How could I not allow Jesus to pour his love through me to the one who hurt my heart when he loved me when I was his enemy?
How could I not choose love when He chose me first?
How could I not?
I can't.
Not anymore.

This has been one of the hardest and painful lessons I've learned in relationship with Jesus.

There are moments I've been really great with it. Have truly loved inside and out those that have caused hurt known or unknown.

There are also moments that I come home and crumple to the floor in tears because I feel as though I just can't choose to love any more. It hurts too deeply.

There are also moments that I get ticked off and dial the number of the person I want to get justice with.

The moments that I am opening the door back to the darkness of my heart, the part that still looks like Ash, those are the moments that I hear the soft whisper of the Holy Spirit.

I am gently and kindly reminded of the love and forgiveness of Jesus. Then I am filled with love for that person. Deep deep deep love. A love that sometimes even surprises me.

I'm constantly reminded that I have to choose love, I have to choose forgiveness, because I am a Christ follower I can do this with His love and grace.

So, if you, dear friends, find yourself holding onto a loss, a hurt, a "justice needing" moment, and you are a Christ follower, I beg you... choose love. choose forgiveness. Choose it and live it out.

And when life slaps you again choose love again, choose forgiveness again.

Keep choosing it until you see Jesus face to face.

This is how we show others our Jesus.


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.I. don't really know how much time I'll need to fully process and think through these past six months. If you don't know this about me...I am a thinker...sometimes it's my greatest downfall. I remember it seeming so surreal that I was leaving Nicaragua up until I landed in Miami. I told Dave, one of our elders/pastors, that it just felt like the team was going to leave and I was going to say goodbye to them once again. Just weird to wrap your head around leaving somewhere like Nicaragua...more precisely...House of enter into the world of the States.

.Two. totally different worlds.

.It's. hard to believe that I have been back in the states for a week now. Thinking back to life at House of Hope and just how much can and does happen in a week my heart aches knowing that I am not there walking through those changes with those precious girls and women. (Right about now is when my eyes fill with tears...hence the reason why I have not made it through this pos…