My youngest child is obsessed with McDonald's. She's tried to convince me that she loves the food, but my mama sense knows better. She really just wants the toy. Every time our family goes out to eat, she refuses to enjoy the restaurant food along with us. She wants McD's. And I cave because I don't want to fight the battle. At least she's eating, right?
Yeah, I know. Ba da ba bad mom.
Today, though, was a special treat. I was going to my big girl's school to have lunch with her. (Although I had the wrong schedule, so my timing was off...but that's another story.) Her choice? Of course. McDonald's. I couldn't bring myself to eat there, so I packed a salad before heading off to the drive-thru.
Now...my child's obsession means many trips through the drive-thru lanes. I've become familiar with some of the regular workers. One of them is a sweet German lady who is missing some teeth. She always has a smile and a quippy little saying for me. We love her.
The smile wasn't there today. Instead, when she saw me, her shoulders slumped and her face fell. She looked sad and tired. She told me her husband is ill, that he has a pacemaker and he's not well. She said she's scared for him and for herself.
I promised to pray. I even took hold of her hand before driving off...kind of a hand hug. The best one can do in a crowded drive-thru. I don't know her, but in that moment, I felt so close.
As I headed to my girl's school, I prayed for this couple. Then the ugly human side of me bubbled to the surface. I started thinking about the people who approach me to tell me their problems. Me. Just one of the millions of people on this earth who may look like she has it all together, but I really, really don't. In fact, I'm a total mess. Why would anyone want to come to me? And then God spoke these words into my heart:
"They're not coming to you. They're coming because they see Jesus in you."
Please don't misunderstand me. I'm not claiming any greatness. But He reminded me that His love reaches through me (and you) to others. Through a shy smile. Through a kind word. Through a gentle hug. 1 John 4:19 tells us, "We love because he first loved us."
That thought blew me away. That God might be able to use this craziness named Ashley to give others peace just by allowing them to unload their troubles. And all I have to do is listen and love (even though my heart may want to fix). All I have to do is be open and willing. And in doing so, I'm sharing God with others who truly need Him.
I hope you'll join me in praying for this sweet lady and her beloved husband. And I hope you'll be encouraged the next time someone comes to you with their problems. They aren't coming to you...they're coming because they see Jesus in you.
Be the light, people.
Wow! Five years ago today, Asylum was released for the very first time. I can't believe it! So much has happened since then...and here, I am, six books later. Isn't that crazy?
I'll never forget that moment in July of 2012, when I read my name as the grand prize winner of the WestBow Press/Munce writers' contest. Someone actually considered my story worthwhile! What a feeling!
It's been quite the ride to get from that point to where I am now. I've also been given a strong dose of reality. From dealing with a vanity press (who traditionally published my book, but still tried to suck me into their "package deals". Um...no.) to contracting with a super unprofessional small press (that is thankfully now defunct, saving other writers from heartache) to venturing into self-publishing... I wouldn't trade it for anything. Well, except a twenty book contract with a major house and corresponding movie deals. But that's where the dose of reality comes in.
While I have a handful of dedicated and loyal fans, I've learned that I really write for my own enjoyment. I love exploring the worlds in my head. I love learning the ins and outs of the characters that live there. And the stories...while I may not have a movie deal, I can see them all in my head on the big screen. It's just my job to translate that to paper (or the computer as the case may be).
I'm proud of Asylum and its five years. I released an updated version under my own imprint a couple years ago. If you haven't read it, I recommend it! It's a face-paced medical sci-fi thriller. Grab it from Amazon today by clicking here.
Award-winning sci-fi author * Christ follower, wife, and mom * broadcast content producer. And yes, I am a real duchess. http://amzn.to/2eLTlH3