That’s Not Your Story

Life is hard sometimes isn’t it? Sometimes life can be full of disappointments. Sometimes it can be full of hurt. Sometimes it can be full of why’s or why not’s. Sometimes I even feel as if God has just turned away and forgotten about me. Have you ever felt that way?

As I laid awake in bed last night I just couldn’t hold in the tears and the hurt any longer. I am a bottler upper (is that a thing??) I like to hold all of my feelings in until they explode. Super healthy I know.. I am working on it.

The questions. The dreams that are gone. The plans I thought would happen and didn’t or haven’t yet. The story of what I thought my life would be. The pain that comes with watching others live out that story that I so badly want to be my own… The disappoints, the feelings of failure and worthlessness… sometimes they all just come out and explode. But in the midst of these moments the God that felt so far away is ever so near.

In His kindness and mercy He chose to speak louder than my thoughts and feelings. In the midst of my questions and doubts His love was greater and steady. In the midst of my tears He chose to speak words of comfort, because that is who He is. Here is what I heard Him speak so clearly to my heart…

That is not your story…I am still writing your story and I am not finished with it yet.

Peace. Peace that is greater than all understanding. Because in my limited understanding there was still hurt, but when He spoke those words to my heart the Peace was greater.

I don’t know what you may be going through today, or this season of your life. Whether you are on a mountain top or down in the valley, know that your story isn’t finished yet. Know that His plans are greater than any that we can think of for ourselves. Know that everyday is a new page to your story. Some pages are harder than others… some chapters are longer than others, but the Author of the story is the same on the mountain as He is in the valley. Let His peace be louder than your understanding.

Here are some verses that bring comfort to my heart and season and I pray they do the same for you as well:

Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit away from me. Restore to me the JOY of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit to sustain me. – Psalm 51:10-12 NIV

The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; He delivers them from all their troubles. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Psalm 34:17-18 NIV

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil, for you are with me;
your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
Psalm 23 NIV

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”Jeremiah 29:11 NIV

I call on you, my God, for you will answer me; turn your ear to me and hear my prayer.Psalm 17:6 NIV

God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us.Ephesians 2:20 MSG

Finding Your Purpose

What a heavy load to carry right? Find your purpose. Find the one thing that you were created to do. Figure out what God made you for… WHAT IF I DON’T KNOW? Purpose and finding my purpose really got me off track for a long time. My intentions were good. I wanted to know exactly what it was that God was calling me to do so I ran and chased anything and everything I thought it could possibly be. I have to work in ministry. I have to be a worship leader. I have to work at a huge company and climb the ladder there… There was one thing in common about all of those adventures I ran on… “I.” I never stopped long enough to ask the Lord if this was the direction He wanted me to go in. I just knew in my heart that if I didn’t have something great to say to people when they asked “So what are you doing these days?” or something amazing to post on Social Media, that it wasn’t enough. I wasn’t doing enough. I wasn’t enough.


Over the last few years, I have walked around a big mountain. A big mountain of constant change and transition. Over and over and over again. Only to land back in the place where I started wishing that I would have never left. But in the circling of that same mountain, the Lord was faithful to teach me and show me so much about purpose and my purpose.

Our purpose is not about the place, it’s about the people.

It doesn’t matter where you find yourself right now. Our purpose in life as believers is to point people to Jesus. Whether you are a server or CEO of a company.

Our purpose is not our title.

It doesn’t matter what the little line under your name on your business card says… or even if you have a business card. It’s still about people.

Our purpose is not about being known by others

I am not going to lie. This was a hard one for me. I grew up in the spotlight and on the stage. Whether that was cheerleading, dancing or singing, I was always performing to get the approval of others or to win the prize I was competing for. My greatest passions are to write and lead worship and sometimes it’s hard to do that when you feel invisible and like those doors just won’t fully open for you. Like you get a taste of it and it seems like the Lord is opening that door… but then you wake up and it’s Monday again and back to the same routine…What if we could learn to not dread another Monday?


That may seem impossible to some of you and trust me I have lived many years dreading Mondays. But what if I told you and really believed it that you didn’t have to live that way? That you don’t have to wake up to your weekday alarm and dread the day ahead. That your entire goal in life is not to just get to the weekend. That the only way you are going to be happy is when you reach that goal, or get that job, or get married, or have kids or your dream comes true… whatever it is for you.


You don’t have to dread your life. When we can fully understand that our purpose in life does not depend on our place of work, our job title, or being known by others there is a supernatural peace and freedom there. When we can wake up and be grateful for where the Lord has us right now and ask Him to use us right where He has us today there is peace and freedom there. When we can make ourselves available to the Lord and be obedient and willing when He asks us to do something there is an amazing sense of purpose there. When we can fully understand that purpose is always about people and pointing them to Jesus there is true fulfillment there.


So as you start your week. As you are waking up on this Monday, I challenge you to thank God for where He has you and ask Him to use you right where you are today. Ask Him to open your eyes and ears to those around you that are searching for something… something you have and can give. Be available, Be willing and Be obedient. Step out in faith with the Lord and just watch what He will do.
I hope you have the best Monday ever.💜Ashley

Peace in the Process

Today I was excited to share my thoughts on Peace in the Process on Arise Daily’s Website. This is a wonderful and encouraging site with devotionals posted daily!
You can read my devotional Peace in the Process here.
While you are visiting their site, take a moment and subscribe so you can also receive daily encouragement every morning!
💜Ashley

From Bitterness to Beauty

I saw a quote from my pastor going around social media after this weekends message. This is a quote I am all to familiar with.

God doesn’t always change our circumstances. He sometimes changes us. -Pastor Phil Wilson (The Bridge Fellowship)

Have you ever prayed for something with such confidence that you just knew God would do it… that it was just a matter of time before He came through and answered your prayer? I have. I can remember waking up morning after morning praying the same thing over and over again for months. My prayer was simple “God change his heart to go, or give me peace to stay.” (I am not going to go into the details of what this prayer was regarding but I wanted you to get the idea of how simple it was, but also, it was NOT regarding our marriage just to nip that in the bud right away 🤣 we’re good… I mean have you seen that hot hubs of mine! Moving on…) I was fully confident that the Lord was going to change his heart and I waited and waited with full anticipation for Him to do so… but He didn’t, instead He changed mine. Ouch right?


Totally unexpected but completely amazed by God’s grace and mercy to do that for me. The Lord knew if we would have run away from the situation I would have never experienced the process of walking through a journey of bitterness to beauty and freedom that ONLY the Lord could have done. Trust me. I was determined and extremely stubborn in this situation to NOT change my mind.

There is no way to even begin to explain the beauty that is on the other side of bitterness if we are just willing to walk through the process with the Lord.

He is so kind to not let us stay there, because He has so much more for us. I will be the first to raise my hand and say that this is not easy, but I will also be the first to raise both of my hands and say “Thank you Jesus for not letting me stay in camp bitterness. Thank you Jesus for loving me so much that you didn’t answer my prayer the way that I thought and wanted you to. Thank you Jesus for wanting so much more for me than I could ever have imagined for myself. Thank you for being so good.”


I don’t know where you may find yourself today. But I do know if you find yourself in camp bitterness where I was living I can’t encourage you enough to give that to the Lord. I can’t encourage you enough to let Him change your heart, to walk through that process with Him. To let Him free your heart and show the unspeakable beauty, freedom and joy that is waiting for you. He wants so much more for you. Sometimes we just have to be willing to let Him change us, as hard and as humbling as that may be, it is so very worth it.


I am praying for you today. If you are walking through a season where you find yourself stuck in hurt, bitterness or something from the past, know that you are in my prayers right now as you read this. I would be honored to pray for you if you want to send me a message on my Facebook Page or email me at ashley@ashleylmcclain.com
💜 Ashley

Sadness & Joy

Those two words normally don’t make to much sense together right? But, in our Christian faith I have been learning that they actually can co-exist at the exact same time and when they do it is such a beautiful picture of Jesus in our lives.


This morning I woke up to some news that in the moment made me so sad. I sat there for a minute, I tried to go back to sleep but I just could make my mind stop wandering and questioning… ever been there? So I decided that instead of waking up Bobby and Todd (Todd is the dog….. 😁) I would get out of bed and spend some time with Jesus and in His Word.


There is something about His Word and intentionally seeking after His presence that immediately overflowed Joy into my heart. In the midst of my sadness there was great joy. In the midst of my sadness my heart just wanted to read the Psalms and praise Him just like David did… no matter his circumstance. In the midst of my sadness, His Joy is greater.


Does that mean that I am just fine and no longer sad? No. I am still a human… and a woman… so there’s that. We love us some emotions! What it does mean is that I can be sad but I can also have Joy, at the exact same time. Joy does not equal happiness. We are taught at such a young age that the opposite of happy is sad. We then somewhere along our journey begin to think that Joy and Happiness are the same. They are not. Happiness is based on our feelings, emotions and circumstances. Joy comes from knowing Jesus Christ as our Lord. There is not a circumstance that can change that.


If today maybe you find yourself feeling sad, stressed, anxious, lonely… you fill in the blank, I encourage you to take a moment and sit in His presence. Open the word, read a Psalm. Being praising God for who is. I promise you that His Joy will overflow your heart. His Joy will help you stand back up and face your day in the midst of your circumstances or feelings. He is good. He is good. He is always good. If you have no other words just repeat those over and over again over your situation. He has so much more in store for us than we can imagine. We just need to shift our focus from our feelings and circumstances and learn how to live in His joy & peace that He has given us! It’s already there and freely available to you right now! You can choose today to walk out the rest of your day being sad (or whatever feeling you put in the blank above) or you can choose today to walk in His peace and joy in the midst of whatever it is you are going through. Today I chose to walk in His peace and joy and trust that He is good. Because He is.

Here are some verses that encouraged me this morning: ” I know the Lord is always with me. I will not be shaken, for He is right beside me.” ~ Psalm 16:8 NLT
” We can make our own plans, but the Lord gives the right answer. ” ~ Proverbs 16: 1 NLT
” Commit your actions to the Lord, and your plans will succeed. ” ~ Proverbs 16:3 NLT
“Who stood up for me against the wicked? Who took my side against evil workers? If God hadn’t been there for me, I never would have made it. The minute I said, “I’m slipping, I’m falling,” your love, God, took hold and held me fast. When I was upset and beside myself, you calmed me down and cheered me up. ” ~ Psalm 94:19 MSG


In the multitude of my thoughts within me thy comforts delight my soul. ~ Psalm 94:19 KJV


I would love to pray for you if you have a need. You can email me at ashley@ashleymcclain.org or message me on my Facebook page.
Praying that you can choose to walk today in His Joy and Peace!

💜 Ashley

Give my Life Away

Give your life away. I remember the first time I heard my Pastor say this in a service. He said it as a statement but in my mind it became a question. Give my life away? What about MY dreams, and MY purpose and MY calling? What about ME? How does giving my life away get me any closer to the goals and dreams I have for my life? He went on to talk about invest in the next generation. At this point I was ready to leave! What about ME? What about MY generation?

Can I just say I wish I would have taken his words as truth all those years ago…


The chasing…the striving… the disappointments… everything I was facing and felt like I was failing at I believe could have been so different if I would have taken his words to heart the first time I heard them in that Sunday night service.

The focus of my life was on me. I loved the Lord (still do just to clarify 😜) but I was so wrapped up in my calling, my purpose, my destiny, my dreams and plans for my life…. all of those things that have been spoken to me for so many years and that I have worked so hard for… give it all away? How could I do that? Who would I be if not the girl with the big dreams? Who would I be if I laid down my dreams, plans and desires and JUST shared the Gospel and God’s love with others? I believe I would be the girl fully walking in the path and calling that the Lord has on my life.

I don’t know if maybe you find yourself today caught up in the chasing and striving in life. Nothing you do or try is good enough or fulfilling enough. If you do… I get it. I have lived there for a very long time. But I made a decision to not live there anymore and I am hoping maybe you will too. Am I saying that I am giving up on all of my dreams and things I am passionate about? Absolutely not. What I am saying is that the focus has to come off of me and onto Him.


What good would my dream be if it happened but didn’t bring any glory to Him? If it didn’t bring anyone who is lost and hopeless to Him? One word flooded through my mind as I typed that sentence… EMPTY. That would be an empty dream and a life I don’t want to live and I have to believe that it is probably one that you wouldn’t want to live either. In Matthew we learn about what we know as the “Great Commission.”

Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,  teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age. – Matthew 28:19-20 CSB

I love how the Message Bible explains verse 20

Then instruct them in the practice of all I have commanded you. I’ll be with you as you do this, day after day after day, right up to the end of the age.

Day after day….after day…. after day…. If we are truly followers of Christ sharing His love with others and what He has done in our lives will never get old. This is where life is best lived. This is where the fulfillment I have been looking for is… It is found when I give my life away. It is found when I take the lessons that I have learned and look at a younger women and tell her “Wait! Hang on. You don’t have to do that. I lived in that for so many years and there is a better way!” It is found in being vulnerable with our failures and transparent with our lives. It is found in pointing people who seem to have no hope left to the One who is the person of Hope.

It is found when my focus shifts from me and my to Him and them.

I want to encourage you today to join me. Join me in taking our eyes off of ourselves and looking around at the world that we live in. The people we work with. The friend group that we have. The next generation (yes I said it!) who is facing more than we ever had to face. We can make a difference and we can live a life that is full of amazing dreams, life-changing dreams, if we are willing to lay down our empty ones first, take our eyes off of ourselves and lock them in on Him.
💜 Ashley

Is God Still Good?

Our front yard has always been one of my favorite things about our house. It’s so beautiful. Our house sits back a ways off the road, there is a huge weeping willow tree, across the street, there is a beautiful white fence with horses and a barn, the sun comes up perfectly there, the snow covers it beautifully… it’s just beautiful. I remember sitting on that front porch before we even bought that house and looking at that front yard, dreaming about all of the life we would live there.


This morning as I sat on our couch looking out the window, there now sits a “coming soon” sign in our beautiful yard. That sign represents so much excitement in my heart about the future and our new home we are soon moving too. But that sign also represents dreams that are now gone. I always saw our children playing in that huge yard, sitting on our ugly living room carpet (if you know, you know!) I always thought I would have pictures to show them when they got old enough of Mommy & Daddy’s first house and that they would be a part of those pictures. But, now if my calculations are correct, there is no possible way for that to happen. Why God? I prayed for that. I asked you for that. Why didn’t you do it? Questions. I do have questions.


I wish I could sit here and tell you that my faith is so strong that I don’t ever question Him. I know that I say to myself that He is sovereign and His plans are the very best plans for my life! I DO know that to be true. I DO believe that 100% with my whole being. But, I still sometimes ask Him questions… and you know what I don’t think He is mad or disappointed at me for doing that one bit. Even in my asking I know He is still good. Even in my questioning I know He still loves me and knows exactly what He is doing in my life.


Maybe today you are not moving from your house and leaving behind dreams that didn’t come true. Maybe it’s a diagnosis, maybe it’s an unexpected death, maybe it’s the loss of a job, maybe it’s hurt, maybe it’s your past, maybe it’s plans that you had for your life that never happened or haven’t happened yet. Maybe it is a dream that you are going to have to lay down like me… but you know what He IS still good.


Gosh, I sure know that is hard to say, hear and believe in the midst of some of the challenges in our life. But I also know it to be true. I know that His Word tells me that He will NEVER leave me or forsake me ( Deut 31:6) and I believe it. I know His Word tells me that He has GOOD plans for my future (Jer 29:11) and I believe it. I know that when I feel like I have failed to many times, or messed up too much that His Word tells me that He has removed my sins as far as the east is from the west (Ps 103:12) and I believe it. I know that when I feel like I have no more Hope that His Word tells me I have a Strong and Trustworthy anchor of Hope for my soul (Heb 6:19) and I believe it. Do you believe it too?


I am sorry for the pain, the hopelessness, the frustration or loneliness you may feel today. I am sorry for whatever dream you may have had to lay down in your life. I get it. I am laying one of mine down with you today. But here is what I do know,

The plan that the Lord has for my life and yours is greater than any dreams we could have for ourselves

God is good. All the time. Every single time. No matter what you may have to face today, know that you are facing it with the Strong & Trustworthy Hope of Jesus Christ living in you. That means that the same spirit that raised Christ from the dead lives in us! (Rom 8:11) If that spirit is powerful enough to raise Christ from the dead I have to believe that it can raise whatever it is that I feel like has died in my life as well. Does that mean it is going to look exactly like I thought or wanted it to look like? No… unless I somehow become pregnant and have a child in the next week or so… it’s not gonna happen😜 But I have to believe that He does know the desires of my heart, but even more so He knows the very best plan for my life and yours too… because He is good. Always.
💜 Ashley