No Man Left Behind

A few months ago, I found myself steeped in one of life’s realities—a reality I did not actually want to accept. In an endeavor to escape what was a reality I now realize God desired for me to process through, I became very preoccupied with finding solutions. This preoccupation was a means of trying to make myself feel better about, well, me…because things weren’t going my way. Quite honestly, my challenges were in great contrast to what people perceived. As such, I allowed these perceptions to apply pressure to me—so I struggled to find solutions. What a mess!

While trying to map out my little “escape route,” I realized that I had forgotten I was on this journey with someone—my husband. Devin is not pushy or super needy, so it was the Holy Spirit who really helped me to see that I was lacking in this area. He helped me to see that since Devin and I are one, I needed to engage as a team player. Of course I love and care for my husband. But, it is possible that we allow the stresses of life to distract us from the fact that our spouse has goals, desires, struggles, victories, and a need for love and support as well. So, although I wasn’t doing horribly in the way of support, I needed regain focus.

Proverbs 31:11-12 is a good example of what happens when a wife is aware of her role in the marriage unit.

“The heart of her husband safely trusts her; so he will have no lack of gain. She does him good and not evil all the days of her life.”

This passage implies that: (1) she remained emotionally available to her husband, (2) the husband could trust her to come to him in times of need, (3) she remained present—not distant or unnaturally introverted, (4) she wasn’t unpredictable—didn’t make rash decisions or lash out, and (5) she did not leave her husband behind—trying to find solutions and make things happen on her own.

When was the last time you made a conscious effort to remind your husband that you are in “this” together? No matter our goals, hurts, insecurities, desires, or victories we must not leave our husbands behind emotionally, spiritually or in any other way. Let’s commit to focusing less on what we want and need. Instead, choose to engage in meaningful conversation with your husband about what his needs are. Don’t automatically think all of his needs are sexual/physical. He will surprise you when you open the door for honest communication. This does not mean that your needs do not matter or that you all should ignore the realities of your challenges and desires (that’s unhealthy!). What this does mean, though, is that we must make conscious, consistent efforts as wives to pour into our husbands.  Since God has joined us to our spouse, we must remember that we are in this life-journey together!

Cheers to no husband left behind.

Xx,

-AMG

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Disciple Where You Are

It is no secret that after a woman has a baby things change. Our bodies change drastically, our hormones rage for control, our little bundles put new demands on our time over and above the demands that were already placed on us, we have to share our husbands with another human (or another human if you already had little ones)…EVERYTHING CHANGES! This includes our ability to continue to serving in the Kingdom in the exact same way we did prior to having babies.

As moms and Christians, I think it is so easy for us to get hung up on what we aren’t doing for the Kingdom of God. It’s so easy for us to put undue pressure on ourselves by comparing what we are doing in versus what another person is doing. But God doesn’t ask us to focus on what we can’t do for the Kingdom. He doesn’t even require that we stress ourselves out endeavoring to force our lives to mirror the quantity of service we carried out before having children. Colossians 3:23 validates this point of how the Lord values quality over quantity (although some of us will have more full schedules than others). It says, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters” (NIV).

This means whether you serve as a leader in your church, home school your children, serve as a vocalist on the worship team, manage a team for a company in corporate America, provide a home for foster children, go to school full time, or teach in the children’s ministry once a month, you should do it with all of your heart as unto God, not to please people and gain their approval. We are all called to serve God’s Kingdom in some way.  Whether we bring God glory as we work in the secular or sacred arena is irrelevant. What matters is that we obey Him by bearing His image properly wherever we are.

I am not saying that it will be easy to serve as a wife, mother, leader, etc…What I am saying, though, is this: as we prioritize efficiently and ask the Holy Spirit to show us what we should be doing, God’s grace will help us to accomplish all we need to accomplish! Second Corinthians 9:8 says, “And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.” As such, we must learn to rely on God’s grace, sisters. Never demean, underestimate, or despise the role you play in  God’s Kingdom. It may not be what another person is doing, it may not be as visible, it may not be as much as what you used to do, but it is valuable! The only exception to this assertion is if you know that you should be doing more and that you haven’t allowed the Lord to utilize your gifts at full capacity.Otherwise, continue offering yourself to God, bringing your gifts and roles and callings and responsibilities with you.

I can most definitely relate to all that I have shared up to this point! After I had our son, I had a hard time accepting that I couldn’t be as flexible as I wanted to be for the ministry. I also felt like I was not adequately carrying out the Great Commission or shining the light of Christ as much as I wanted. I thought, “Who am I reaching if I am in the house most days bound to the demands of a a little person? What can I do with a screaming baby in a cart in Target?” The Lord has spoken to me several times about these thoughts and perspective. Here is the summation of what He has been saying:

Disciple where you are. Serve well where you are. You are raising a little boy who will soon be a young man living in a culture that disregards Me. Train him to love Me, to honor Me, and to live in the world but not like the world.

Sometimes we get so focused on what we are doing for the Kingdom, rather than who we are grooming to take our place in the next generation. As Andy Stanley put it, “Your greatest contribution to the Kingdom of God may not be something you do, but someone you raise.” I couldn’t have found better words for this myself. Be encouraged, mamas! You were made for “this.” And only you know what your “this” is!

Cheers to serving well!

Xx,

-AMG

 

 

P.S. If you would like to help donate to get me into the mission field of Ecuador this summer to help disciple others, please visit gofundme.com/ashleymariegray

Honey Sriracha Wings

Honey Sriracha WingsSo, the other night I was craving wings so badly…specifically sweet and spicy wings. I didn’t want to buy any wings (just off of vacation so I had had enough take-out), and I didn’t want anything too complicated to make. So, I remembered a headline I saw a few months back for honey Sriracha wings. That was all I needed to begin my quick culinary adventure!

They came out super crispy, sweet and spicy. Yummers! While you can fry these wings naked and sauce them or fry them breaded and sauce them, they are just as tasty  (and healthier) when you bake the chicken then sauce them.

If you would like a healthier version of blue cheese, there is a quick recipe under the H. Grey’s Kitchen category of posts.

Cheers to eating well and loving what you eat!

Xx,

  • AMG

You will need:

  • 12 wingetttes (you may need to double the sauce recipe for more wings)

  • 1/4 c. low sodium soy sauce

  • 1/4 c. Sriracha hot suace

  • 1/8 c. honey

  • lemon pepper

  • sea salt

  • 1 tsp. cinnamon

  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg

  • 1/8c. brown sugar

  • 1 tbsp. fresh basil or cinnamon basil, finely chopped

  • parchment paper

Method:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Cover baking sheet with parchment paper.

Season chicken generously with lemon pepper and a dash of sea salt.

Place wings on baking sheet and bake for 25 to 30 mins.

While wings are baking:

In saucepan, combine soy sauce, Sriracha, brown sugar, honey, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to low.

After wings are finished baking.

Once wings are as crispy as you like, remove from oven.

Set oven to BROIL.

Dip each wing in sauce until well-covered.

Return to baking sheet with parchment paper.

Place sheet in oven and let broil until sauce is a little sticky and wings brown and crisp a bit more.

Garnish with a little extra Sriracha, honey and chopped basil, with a side of blue cheese.

Enjoy!

 

 

Sing the Song He Gives

Two weeks ago my husband surprised me with a trip to Cancun, Mexico for my birthday. For months I thought we were going to Florida for a few days of fun in the sun. I never saw this surprise coming, so BIG kudos to hubby for such a special trip 🙂 While we were in Mexico, I took care to observe things closely because I enjoy having vivid memories after an experience is over.

We stayed at cute little place near the neighborhood where the locals lived. I loved this area because we were able to experience Mexico in a completely different way than we would have if we had stayed in the resort district. While on our trip, I took notice of:

  • The uniforms the children were wearing as they left school for the day.
  • The housing conditions of the locals in under-developed communities.
  • Stray dogs on several streets.
  • The abundance of white compact cars used for taxis.
  • Shoe-less children who walked through restaurants to ask for water and to sell little trinkets.
  • The beautiful reef replete with colorful fish.
  • The generic store names.

I noticed many other things while in Mexico, but what stood out to mewas the song of the birds. They sang quite uniquely to the birds I hear in the states. Where the birds in the states sing more sweetly, softly and intermittently, the birds in Mexico were more boisterous, consistent and deliberate with their songs. In both cases, the birds sing the songs they were created to sing—the song God gave them.

I highly doubt that the birds in Cancun are apprehensive to sing their song because they esteem the sweet, melodic songs of American birds as better than theirs. Additionally, I don’t believe that the American birds take a vow of silence because they don’t have the vocal capacity of the birds in Cancun who sing boisterously.

There are times as worship leaders when we can question the value of our gift on the basis of the strengths of another worship leader’s gift. This decision to compare ourselves to another can prove detrimental to the development of our craft as well as our ability to confidently complete the assignments we are given to lead worship. When an assignment is given to you, only YOU can complete it the way God intends. It wouldn’t matter if Chris Tomlin himself walked onto the stage. If it is your assignment, if God has given you the prophetic or spontaneous song for that moment, it wouldn’t matter if Stephanie Frizzell or Jenn Johnson came to take the mic.

We must learn to cherish the gifts God has given us. We must take ownership of the songs and melodies He has given us so that we can steward the moments He provides for us to share them. Yes, it is important for us to have mentors and coaches and models in our worship leader ministry function. However, when it all boils down to it, there is no one who can reproduce the sound God has placed in your heart. It’s time to start believing that He wants to use YOU for His glory! What a privilege!

Cheers to singing the song He gives us.

Xx,

-AMG

Finding Your Destiny

A friend of mine and I were speaking with a young lady not too long ago who communicated to me how she was facing a dilemma. She was sure that God was leading her to surrender more of herself to Him. She was also sure that she desired to have more of God, more of His presence. However, the dilemma was found in that she did not know what this looked like—or how she would reach the destiny God had for her.  After all, there were so many options to consider. Would her destiny take shape via traditional means of college and a career in the secular arena? Would she end up in full time ministry? If so, would her ministry function be what she currently enjoyed doing in the ministry? How could she reach her destiny with fears, insecurities, and perceived sense of inadequacy? Would God give instructions openly or in the personal time spent with Him? She wanted all of the answers, all of the gifting, all of the prophecy, all of her destiny right in that moment.

Don’t we all?

Well, as my friend and I were sharing insight with her, a profound truth was brought to light. I can’t remember whether my friend or I shared this truth (which isn’t all that important)—but it resonated with me. The profundity was this: As believers, our lives are not about reaching one destiny on earth. There are several destinations along the way at which times God will give us assignments, prune the fruit of our hearts, use us in big and small ways, and show us more of who He is. As He is our Guide, our responsibility is to respond with an affirmative, “yes, Lord.” The truth is that we will not reach our final destination until we see Christ.

It is also true that God will give us glimpses into our calling and the work He has for us to do in the earth. Still, we must be careful to follow Him, because the ideas we sometimes have about our ultimate destiny on earth is much smaller than what God has in mind for us to do. Thus, we must remain open and willing servants so that we can experience the God of Ephesians 3:20! Also, as you journey with Christ, don’t forget to celebrate your arrival at each destination. I know I am sometimes guilty of being a big-picture person so much that I do not celebrate each season I have entered and exited by grace.

So, let’s make a new commitment today to give thanks for every destination along the way—great or small. Remember, our final destination is found in the hope of Christ’s appearing. So, rest in His grace, keep pressing into God knowing that your steps are ordered! Not one step will ever be wasted, friends, even when you don’t understand the season you’re in or the path you’re on.

Cheers to trusting God and remaining patient.

Xx,

-AMG