"Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything."
James 1:2-4

The Gilland Family of 6!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Do Not Fear!

When Mary Mac was about 18 months old she would scream and complain that her back hurt when she was in her car seat.  At first I thought there was something terribly wrong with her back.  My mind immediately went to the worst possible scenario.  But she was fine; there was nothing wrong with her back.  She just didn’t like riding in her car seat!  For some reason she was not happy, maybe even scared of something.  One day, I remembered how when I was little my momma had told me that when I was scared to put my hand out and hold Jesus’ hand.  It was a wonderful gift she gave me.  So I told my sweet Mary Mac the same thing.  For the next weeks or maybe even months whenever she started crying about her back, I would just say, “Hold Jesus’ hand.”  She would immediately put her little bitty hand out as if she were holding it, with her palm facing up.  And she would immediately settle down.  She somehow understood that whatever was upsetting her to hold Jesus’ hand brought her peace.

In the past I have struggled severely with fear, both rational and irrational fears.  The fear would take over me, control me and even paralyze me.  Thank you Lord I am not walking that road any more.  Yes, I still struggle with fear sometimes, but nothing like I did!   A few things I did that really impacted and changed my life during that time were:
·        I prayed.  A lot!  I prayed over every room, door and window in our home.  I began to be in constant communication with God.
·        I poured over the word of God. 
·        I sought wise counsel.  I had friends and family that I trusted speak truth to me about my fears.
·        I had these same people pray with and for me.
·        I became very intentional about what I watched on TV or even what books I read.  Because I know I have a predisposition to be afraid I can no longer watch some of the shows I used to be a fan of.   I made a decision that R rated movies were not for me as well, really for a number of reasons.  In addition, I asked God to forgive me for my part in adding to my fear by what I had put into my head. 

Y’all prayer is huge!  It is the power source that can change everything!  While going through this I was attending a weekly prayer group with women who were older and wiser than me.  One day when I was feeling especially fearful for my 2 children at the time they prayed for me and one woman told me something I have since spoken to myself many times.  She said, “Ashley, you are not your children’s ultimate protector.  God is! And you need to get that burden off of you.”

Also, during this time in my life I remember reading all throughout the Bible where we are told, “Do not fear” or “Do not be afraid.”  I started to wonder if at some point my fear had become a form of disobedience. 

I know this from living it.  Fear is real and Satan will use it to keep us from really living the life God has called us to live.  Fear will also often keep us from moving into an area of ministry that God has clearly called us to.   

Today I challenge you to put your hand out and hold onto Jesus’ hand.  Is there somewhere in your life you need Him to remove fear from and bring peace to.  He’s completely trustworthy and faithful to do it!  If there is ever to be a common denominator to my blog posts, let it be Jesus.  He is My Everything…
My First Love
My Greatest Treasure
My Deepest Desire
My Provider
My Strength
My Hope
My Protector
My Defender
My Peace

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”  John 14:27


Tuesday, March 15, 2011


Last week my precious friend Joy and I were so blessed to get to attend the Hillsong United concert.  They are on tour for their new “Aftermath” album.  Wow…what an AMAZING time of worship!  I must confess, I am really a "worship junky"!  I absolutely love to worship Jesus!!!  Seriously, I think it was a tiny taste of what heaven will be like!  Hillsong was so transparent and gave ALL the Glory to God!!!  They sang a lot of their new songs but a lot of “oldies but goodies” too!  “Hosanna”, “The Stand”, “From the Inside Out” to name a few.  We were by far the oldest people there.  I am pretty sure I was the only pregnant person there too!  While we were singing the verse in “Hosanna” that says…
“I see a generation
Rising up to take their place
With selfless faith
With selfless faith
I see a near revival
Stirring as we pray and seek
We're on our knees
We're on our knees”
I was so moved to be surrounded by this next generation.  I think we are at the beginning of a time of revival.  I think God is raising up this young generation of people to speak boldly the message of the cross.  I believe this next generation of twenty-something’s are going to have a major role in revival in the U.S. and also the world.  I am blessed to know some amazing girls in this age group.  I am encouraged and humbled by the maturity of their faith and that their faith has feet.  It’s taking them places to share the love of God with a hurting world. 

Joy and I were not sure what the album title “Aftermath” was all about.  Once they explained it we loved it… “The aftermath of the Cross!”  Now it makes sense!  Are you living in the aftermath of the cross?  Or are you living in the aftermath of your own mistakes and failures?  You will find joy, hope, peace, love and life in the aftermath of the cross…you will find Jesus!  Love it!!!  Now, let’s live it!!!
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!
2 Corinthians 5:17


Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Happy Tears...Sad Tears

While singing with my kids the other day I shed some “happy tears.”  Mary Mac couldn’t sing the song because she didn’t know the words.  As I was trying to feed her the words to the chorus of Hillsongs “The Stand” I started crying.  Mary Mac said, “Mommy, are you crying?”  “Yes,” I replied.  “But they are happy tears.  Mommy just loves Jesus so much and is so overwhelmed by His love for me.”  She then replied, “Mommy…I love Jesus too!  But I don’t cry about it!”  It was one of the funniest things she has ever said.  Only a few minutes later I received a text informing me of the sudden death of one of my dear friend’s brother.  Tears immediately began to fall, this time sad tears.  Although, he had trusted Jesus with his life and he had met his Savior face to face, my heart still broke for my friend and her family.  I’m so thankful for the verse in Revelation that says, “He will wipe every tear from their eyes.  There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”  Revelation 21:4
Friday night Doug and I were blessed to get to hear David Platt, the author of Radical, speak at our church’s Missions Conference.  Wow!!!!  It was powerful and amazing, yet he was so humble and tender, full of the Holy Spirit.  He obviously realizes the holy anointing upon him right now.   His message was really the same as the book.  It was an encouraging, challenging and convicting message delivered by David, but totally the words of Jesus.  He talked about the 4.5 billion people in the world that do not know the good news of Jesus and how they are currently on a path to hell for eternity.  That place will be the exact opposite of the beautiful place described in the above verse from Revelation.  Now that is a reason to cry, to weep for the lost people of our world.  But it should push us to do more than just cry.  Sunday morning during worship I was so overwhelmed by emotion.  I want to do so much more than I am doing now to further the Kingdom of God.  I want to make myself and my family totally available to the work of the Lord.  However that may be and whatever it might look like.  I want to be radically obedient to my amazing God!
I love how Platt describes basic biblical Christianity in his book.
“The message of biblical Christianity is not “God loves me, period,” as if we were the object of our own faith.  The message of biblical Christianity is “God loves me so that I might make him-his ways, his salvation, his glory and his greatness-known among all nations.””
It’s not all about me…it’s all about Him!  I’m praying and asking God to open my eyes to ways I can have maximum Kingdom impact as I live my life as a wife, mom and friend in Marietta, Georgia.   I’m also praying that whatever God shows me and asks me to do I will trust Him and obey Him. 

So…I cry a lot, for lots of reasons.   Mostly, because of my love for Jesus and His love for me which drives me to look for ways to love others and share the Gospel with those who have not heard the amazing news of Jesus!  In fact I’ve already cried today…Happy Tears!  How about you?