August 06 2014

Ashley’s Story

In the Spring, I had the privilege of going on the Chi Alpha Women’s Retreat. Going into the weekend, I really didn’t have many expectations other than to grow and expand my relationship with God. I arrived in West Virginia with all of my stuff for the weekend, including some excess baggage that I was unaware I was still carrying around.

Coming into college, I found as a Human Nutrition, Foods, and Exercise major that it was difficult to not get caught up in the current of this culture as far as what is considered beautiful. I struggled for the majority of my freshman year comparing myself to others, feeling inadequate, and honestly, living without freedom. Throughout the year, I continued to seek prayer from others and find some solace for what I was going through. All that time, I thought I was surrendering these burdens to the Lord, when in fact I was holding on more tightly than ever and wanting control. I looked to my health and my image to satisfy me, rather than the One who satisfies.

Flash forward to women’s retreat months later. The first night we were there, I could tell God was going to teach me something vastly different than what the sermons were teaching. Those three days we were there were unlike anything I have every experienced before. I could feel more than ever the open dialogue between God and I. Not only was I speaking to Him, but also He was speaking to the deepest part of me.

That weekend, God wrecked everything in me and opened my eyes to how although Jesus died on the cross so that I would have freedom, I was indeed not living a free life; I was comparing myself to everything but Jesus. That weekend, the Lord revealed my identity to me like I had never seen it before. Also, he healed me of the brokenness I had been ignoring and refusing to let go of. Finally, he changed the way I perceived and desired beauty and showed me that apart from Him, we are all lacking.

“For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” -1 Samuel 16:7