When Ashlee Robinson first met Anna Rodriquez and Carrie Johnson, she couldn’t even look them in the eye. Reeling from what felt like a series of failures and the death of her best friend, she was a shell of her former self.
Ashlee woke each morning in a pit of pain, reliving hard moments in her life. She deserved this, she believed. She was unworthy of joy or pleasure. That’s a tough way to live. And a nearly impossible place to be the kind of mom Ashlee wanted to be.
She found herself in Carrie and Anna’s office at Buckner Family Pathways in Conroe, a ministry that provides housing, counseling and assistance for single-parent families so parents can accomplish their educational goals.
“When I came here, I had lost faith in the journey God had for me,” she said. “I had lost faith in myself. I felt like I had failed in so many things. I felt like I failed at completing my education. I was now a single mom, so that relationship had failed. I felt like I had started a lot of things and not finished them.”
Our circumstances may be drastically different, but many of us have felt like Ashlee. We might even feel like her today – reeling, our faith weak and consumed by a sense of being doomed to be a failure.
Even when we are at our lowest, God’s love remains steadfast. Our position in his kingdom as Christians is always constant. Ephesians 1:3-14 tells us:
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will—to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the one he loves. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.
In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.
God loves each of us. We are redeemed. We have hope.
Like Ashlee, our stories don’t end at our lowest points. They begin there.
Ashlee went through grief counseling and a class on prayer. Through prayer, texts and conversations, Anna and Carrie have encouraged her along the way. Her faith grew, as did her determination. Her eyes are bright, her voice full of energy. She’s put her past behind her and is forging a bright future – one goal at a time.
Ashlee’s confidence grows as she accomplishes what she previously thought impossible. Ashlee has become a leader among the moms in the Family Pathways program.
“She was broken and decided she wasn’t going to be that way anymore,” Carrie said. “When she speaks to people, she already knows what it’s like. She tells them we don’t have to do this anymore. And she lives it out. A few of the moms knew her before the program, have known her in the program and see the transformation is real.”
How do you view yourself today? Do you see yourself based on what you’ve accomplished? Or are you living out of how God made you?