I am so excited to be visiting The Rosevine Cottage Girls today and share the new dream that God once gave to me. I’ve shared a lot of this journey already on my blog but for those of who are meeting me for the first time let me just say this – God didn’t just give me a new dream. He turned my entire life upside down.
It’s like that joke, “How do you make God laugh?” “You tell Him your plans.”
I had plans. They weren’t great and they weren’t going to build anything special but they were mine. I was living my life my way and no one was going to tell me any different (until God did).
At the time, six years ago, my life was nothing like it is today. At that time I was living in Florida, working in local government, getting high every night, partying hard every weekend, and often forgetting entire weekends at a time. I remember thinking to myself that as long as I was able to function at my job, which was paying enough to pay my bills, I was fine. I was miserable, lonely, and in a controlling relationship but I somehow convinced myself that it really wasn’t so bad. I had this dream of lounging on the beach every weekend, partying at night, and functioning as an adult (kind of) during the weekdays.
People would mention marriage, and I’d cringe at the thought.
People would mention children and I’d adamantly swear I was never going to be a mother.
People would mention sobriety, growing up, settling down, and I just shunned it all. I was 27 years old and I still wanted nothing to do with it. I just wanted to have a good time, travel, party, and pretend that life was a grand adventure.
It was all fine, until one day it wasn’t. One day I woke up for work and my heart and soul were hurting. I called in sick to work and I drove to the beach instead. I sat there and I just cried. I don’t know if it was the ocean, the loneliness, or the regret, but something hit me and I just wept. I remember telling God that I hated my life and I wanted something different. I didn’t know what I wanted but I wanted something…else.
What hung on my heart was Deuteronomy 31:6, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you.”
I knew I had to be strong and courageous if I was going to find a life of joy. I started taking tiny steps toward something different. I didn’t have a dream yet because I didn’t know what I wanted but I definitely knew what I didn’t want anymore. I slowly started to reach out and make new friends. I ended my toxic relationship, stopped drinking, stopped doing drugs, and stopped partying all together.
Within a year I moved to a new state and married the man who had become the love of my life. We ended up moving back to Florida and I changed jobs a few times. I was still searching…still seeking…still feeling desperate. I remember telling my husband that Florida was full of depressing empty memories for me and I needed out. I needed a new dream. I prayed fervently, pleading with God to please help me get away and find a new joy.
Two weeks later I received a phone call from a woman I had met at a work convention 5 years earlier. She was offering me a job, in Atlanta. My husband and I were both scared of the major change but inside I knew, “God is within her; she will not fall” (Psalm 46:5). I took the job, and we moved.
Moving to Atlanta changed everything. Since moving here, God has given me a new dream and He has transformed me in to a new person. I have a career (not just a job). I have a husband and we are praying for children. We’re planning to buy a home next year.
I find myself ashamed of the person I once was and the life I once lived. I no longer recognize that girl, nor do I understand her. God knew the pain in my heart, He heard my prayers and pleas, and He gave me a new dream.
Ashley LaMar is a faith-based lifestyle blogger from Atlanta, Georgia. She lives just north of the city with her husband and two adorable ankle-biting dogs (which you can see lots of if you visit her on Instagram). To read more of Ashley’s blog posts and get to know her visit her at AshleyLaMar.com.