Wednesday, June 17, 2015

New Website

Thank you all for following on this blog! It started out as a way to record family happenings, then at time became my journal, & then Jesus started turning my journey into many different directions. With His guidance I have taken the next step & I'm excited to announce


My website is still a work in progress as I'm trying to figure the ends & outs of it all! Please follow me there & subscribe! 

You can also find me on:

Facebook

Twitter
@ashleysigrest

Instagram
ashley_sigrest


Thank you all once again for joining me on my Jesus Journey! I hope to connect with you at http://ashleysigrest.com

Blessings friends!!


Friday, March 6, 2015

Peace in the midst of Pain: my miscarriage story


I was absolutely elated when I realized I was pregnant in December 2014 & bought 3 different kinds of pregnancy tests to be certain before I told Brad! He was surprised & possibly more excited than I was. We waited til after the boys opened their Christmas gifts to tell them & like us they were overjoyed! 


The week before my first dr's appointment I had a sinking feeling something was wrong. I asked my close friends & prayer warriors to pray because the feeling was deep & I knew it was God preparing me for the news. Just as I had known, the sonogram showed an empty sac...no baby, no yolk sac...empty.

I was only 6 weeks & was told to do a blood test & to come back in two weeks for another sonogram because there was still a chance a baby was there, but too small to see. I wanted so badly to believe this was true & I scoured the Internet & found oodles of stories with happy endings for other women in the same situation. So I hoped, I had faith, & I believed anything was possible with God!

Four days later I began cramping & having back pain & I knew something was wrong so I went back to the dr & my new blood test showed my progesterone was low & I began taking pills to help me not miscarry. My pastor & many prayer warriors were praying life over my womb & during the wait for our next sonogram I was completely covered in peace. The Lord gave me wonderful Scriptures to soothe my worry every time I opened my Bible. 

I didn't just want a miracle for myself, but for others. So many struggle with their faith & desire to see a miracle & I wanted to see a baby on that sonogram for them to see a miracle & know without any doubt our God still performs miracles!


The Lord kept repeating this verse to me, at first I thought it was because we didn't see a baby & He wanted me to believe a child was there, but as the days went on I knew it was because there was something else I wasn't seeing. I knew deep down I was once again pregnant without a child. We experienced this before & didn't find out til I was 13 weeks & I had to have a D&C. Everyone kept telling me it would be different, I had to believe, have more faith, but I knew the Lord was teaching me something & I also prayed & I truly had faith that if He wanted me to have a child in my womb He would & He could...that wasn't my story though.

My next appointment showed no baby, just an empty sac, & my blood work indicated exactly what we saw. Once again, pregnant without a baby. 

The cool thing about God is that He uses our sorrow to help others, to grow us, to do things bigger than we can imagine. Because He called me to be public about what was going on three other women confided they were going through miscarriages as well. One actually had a blighted ovum just like me...no baby. Others messaged me, thanking me for being open & honest because it was helping them deal with their feelings or helping them come to terms with a miscarriage they had in the past, & knowing I was helping other women helped me!

At first I thought that not losing the life of a child would keep me from falling apart. I left the dr's office full of peace! I was bummed, but not heartbroken. My prayers then became focused on not having to have another D&C & hoping I would miscarry the sac on my own. 

Things were fine at first, I was ready to move forward & on with my life, but then God told me I had been trying to control my life & I wasn't letting Him be the pilot. I was so convicted & repented & knew He was right! I was heartbroken that I had let Him down & though I had confessed, I was in such a funk, beating myself up. Then a precious friend brought me my favorite flowers (not knowing they were my favorite) & she & I had such an uplifting conversation! As she left I checked the mail & another sweet friend had sent me the PERFECT card!!


The Lord reminded me that He knew all along what I was going to go through. He knew I would disobey, He knew I would be hurting, & He used these two women to be His hands & feet & to remind me that He loves me! His mercy & grace NEVER ends! That He had plans far beyond what I could dream or hope! I just had to trust & walk by faith!

A few days later I began spotting & the miscarriage process began.

(Graphic details below)

My dr told me it would be painful, but I had no idea the extent of it! My cramping intensified so I took a pain pill that was prescribed & my husband took our kids to a Super Bowl party so I could be alone & rest...but there was NO rest! Even with the pain pill my pain was an 8 on a scale of 1-10, clots were passing, big & small, & tons & tons of blood!! Then my pain soared to a 12! Off the charts! I was crying & begging, pleading with God to help me!! 

I called my friend who is a nurse & she told me to take another pain pill & to call her back if it got worse. By the next morning the pain was down, the blood & clots weren't so extreme, but my emotions were. 

Even though a child's life wasn't lost, my hopes & dreams of adding a precious blessing to our family was. I was angry at myself for being so sad. I just wanted to go forward, but I was in limbo. Even with the sadness & anger mixed in, the peace of Christ covered me! I could feel His presence with me, working within me, drawing me close to His side. In the midst of the pain, there was PEACE! An unexplainable, comforting Peace that let me cry & yell when I needed to.

Then a package of baby leggings I had ordered in hopes we would have another girl arrived & I couldn't take them out of my car. Every time I thought about bringing them inside my house I got teary eyed & just left them sitting there.

My next dr appointment showed my uterus lining was still thick & parts of the sac were still there. I was also still testing positive for pregnancy & if my body didn't finish the miscarriage I would still have to have the D&C. I left crying. My body was holding on to what was left of the pregnancy like I was holding on to the hope of another child.

What if this was my last pregnancy? What if life would never grow in my womb again? Was I ready to be done having babies? Was that season over?

All those questions ran through my head & instead of being overwhelmed by them, the Peace remained. 

With all of my inner turmoil going on I was speaking at a purity conference for teens & planning a baby shower. I had been doing ok & thought I was over the emotional part. Then I went to Babies R Us to buy shower gifts & hit me again...& I cried again...& again...I was stunned by my reaction! I didn't expect to feel the loss of not having a baby to hit me so hard.

That night I checked Facebook & a sweet friend tagged me in this picture, not knowing what I was going through at that very moment. 

I wept! The moment I saw it I knew it was from God! He reminded me that He sees me. He sees my hurt, He sees the tears, He sees my love for my friend & her baby & He is El Roi! 

The day of her baby shower I went to my car & grabbed the baby leggings & gave them to her. I knew I could let them go & have faith that someday I would get a chance to use them, but for now I just had to let go. And I cried! Like bawled. But it was healing! Beautifully healing & full of Peace...

Today I finally got the results I had been waiting for...blood work is normal. I'm not pregnant. The miscarriage is physically over & now I let the Lord continue to heal me spiritually & emotionally.

I don't know how people live their lives without Christ! Without the power of the Holy Spirit working in them, comforting them, talking to God, digging in His Word, & knowing beyond a shadow of doubt no matter what's going on...He's there & He is PEACE!


Blessings! 





Monday, December 15, 2014

Homeschool Moms Secret Pals

As homeschool moms we can get burnt out before we realize our flicker became a flame! Sometimes it's hard to stay encouraged especially if you don't have other homeschool moms around you rootin you on. So my sweet friend Kim & I have decided to host a Homeschool Moms Secret Pals group!

All you have to do is fill out the questionnaire below & email it to me. Kim & I will split them up, pray over them, & give each mom her secret pal & the rest is in your hands!

So what's expected of you?

Each month you need to mail your secret pal a note encouraging them, maybe a prayer, inspiring Scripture, & every so often a little happy like a gift card to her favorite fast food place, a coffee cup, her favorite magazine, dry erase markers...it's totally up to you! You don't need to spend a lot of money. As homeschool moms we know that funds can be tight, so don't let this be a burden! 

Pray about whether or not this is something you can be a part of. This session will run from January to May & the last thing you send in May you will reveal your name to your secret pal! If this goes well, we do it again starting in August with new pals! 

When filling out the questionnaire, be sure to be detailed so whomever gets you has a clear picture of who you are & what you like!

Anytime you get a note or a gift, be sure to post it on Instagram with the hashtag #HSmomsSecretPals. 

The last day to enter is Friday, December 19.

***********************
Full name:
IG name:
Mailing address:

Favorites-
Color
Fast food
Restaurant 
Drink
Snack
Shopping store for yourself

Others likes-
Styles: home? Fashion?
Things you collect
Hobbies


How many kids?
Ages/grades
How long have you been homeschooling?
What homeschool style do you use?What curriculum do you like?

When is your birthday?
Anniversary?

Any other random info you want to ad?�� like books or bible studies you like? Do you do ministry work? Are you a vegetarian? Follow THM? Anything else you want your secret pal to know about you add it! 

Bless you all!!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

How do we love those in open sin?

The two greatest commandments Jesus left us with “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:37-40

How do we love God? Again Jesus says in John 14:21 Those who accept My commandments and obey them are the ones who love Me. And because they love Me, my Father will love them. And I will love them and reveal Myself to each of them.” 
1 John 5:3 Loving God means keeping his commandments, and his commandments are not burdensome. 
1 John 2:3-4 And we can be sure that we know Him if we obey His commandments. If someone claims, “I know God,” but doesn’t obey God’s commandments, that person is a liar and is not living in the truth. 

So to love God first is to put His commands first. Not just the famous 10, but all of them. We know that it's impossible to keep them all, and we praise Jesus that He offered us His Life that through faith by grace we can be saved (Ephesians 2:8)! However our freedom doesn't mean we are to continue living a life of sin (Romans 6).We are to fight, wage war against our sins, not embrace them. (Romans 7)

The second commandment Jesus gave us was to love others. Scripture tells us love covers a multitude of sins (1 Peter 4:8), but in loving others we are not to condone their sins, we are to go to them in love (Galatians 6:1-2).

So how do we show love to those living in open sin? Live our lives as Christ. He loved them, was kind and yet He called them to repent. To go and sin no more. We cannot truly love those who live in open sin if we do not share the truth of God's Word and lead them to repentance. This is a tricky thing because we are human and we all sin and we get our feelings hurt when someone disagrees with us or criticizes us. 

The Bible is clear that living a life of homosexuality is a sin as is any sexual sin outside the constutes of Biblical marriage which is one man and one woman. 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 

We cannot live in open sin as if it's completely acceptable and be in right standing with God. If we know a person is an alcoholic it would be unloving to buy the person alcohol and not help them see their sin and offer them help and deliverance through Christ. So how is it loving to tell a gay person their lifestyle is is ok and they should be able to marry someone of the same sex? We can't tell them these things and show them the love of Christ because we would be going against the Word and Commands of God. We are to love them by telling the truth of God's Word, share with them the love of Christ that while we were deep in sin He loved us, died for us, He bought our freedom so we don't have to go on sinning, but can be born again! A new creation! (Romans 5)

In John 8 Jesus showed great love for the adulterous woman by saving her from being stoned, but He didn't tell her that her sin of adultery was ok, He told her to go and sin no more. As the Body of Christ we are to love everyone, be compassionate, and kind, but we are never to tolerate sin! We should hunger to see people set free from the sins that bind them, to see them delivered, and sinning no more.

When I confessed my abortion and abuse of alcohol to my pastor he didn't tell me my sins were alright because God loves me. Instead he showed me love by telling me that Jesus loved me and died for my sins and to be forgiven I had to repent. And I did! I gave my life to Christ, but once I moved away and no longer had fellow Christians to hold me accountable I turned right back to alcohol to cope with my pain from abortion instead of turning to God. I knew what I was doing was wrong, but I was deeply entangled in my sins. After many years of wrestling with them I surrendered my life to Christ and began pursuing Him for healing. 

I still struggle with food addiction, but I have accountability partners that I can turn to. Would it be loving of them to offer me cheeseburgers and pizzas when I go to them? Of course not! They would be sinning by feeding my sin! Instead they speak life to me, give me Scripture, encourage me, and pray for me. That is LOVE!

Theres a huge misconception that if you disagree with the gay lifestyle, you hate gay people. That's simply not true. You can love people without condoning their sins. It is possible to stand on the truth of Scripture and not be condemning. 

Romans 8 tells us that IF we are in Christ there is no condemnation in Him because He frees us from our sins. It goes on to say we have an obligation to live by the Spirit not by our flesh. We cannot truly love people if we don't share the Truth of Scripture and Scripture is clear on the sin of homosexuality. We cannot love God first or most if we give into a worldview of marriage instead of a God view. We must look at this as any other sin with our spiritual eyes, not our fleshly eyes. 1 Corinthians 5 gives us clear instructions on how to deal with all sexual immorality in the Church. Paul clearly talks about it in Romans 1.

So what happens if we give our lives to Christ and yet keep on sinning?

Hebrews 10:26-30 says, "Dear friends, if we deliberately continue sinning after we have received knowledge of the truth, there is no longer any sacrifice that will cover these sins. There is only the terrible expectation of God’s judgment and the raging fire that will consume His enemies. For anyone who refused to obey the law of Moses was put to death without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 
Just think how much worse the punishment will be for those who have trampled on the Son of God, and have treated the Blood of the covenant, which made us holy, as if it were common and unholy, and have insulted and disdained the Holy Spirit who brings God’s mercy to us."

Continue in reading all of 1 Corinthians 6 and the book of 1 John. Study the Scriptures, pray, and discern. We cannot love this world to salvation if we don't first love God. We cannot love God if we ignore the commands we don't like. We can't make this world understand their need for Jesus if they first don't understand their sins. 

I plead with you my brothers and sisters in Christ stand firm on the Holy Word of God! Love Him first and He will show us how to love others without caving into the sins of the world.

Much love and many blessings to you all!!




Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Interview on Teleios

Last week, the awesome Matt Friedeman had the kids & I over for lunch & during that time he also interviewed me for his Teleios podcast. It's about 40 minutes long, but you can listen while you clean ;P 

Hope you are blessed by it!


Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Mommy Had An Abortion


I knew this day would come & I've dreaded it. How do you look at your children & tell them you killed their big brother? 


Once The Lord began pressing on my heart to have our kids involved with our prolife ministry, I knew it was a matter of time before I had to confess my deepest, darkest secret to them. It was hard telling family & friends because deep inside you still fear their judgement & disappointment. I know Christ has forgiven me, healed me, & made me new, & I don't worry any longer about what others think of my past, but I have feared looking into my children's eyes & seeing the hurt & confusion of why their mommy killed her baby.

For the last few years we've taken them to the abortion clinic to pray & told them what abortion was. Very simply we stated that it's when a mommy chooses to have her baby taken from her tummy before it's time & the baby dies. This has always hurt their sweet, sensitive hearts, but it's driven them to pray for an end to abortion even at such tender age. Any time they've had questions we've answered them in the simplest, most appropriate way for their maturity. 

God has told me I need to stand outside our local abortion clinic with sign that says, "I regret my abortion." I haven't been able to do that with them around because Brady can read. So yesterday I sat them down & confessed to them. I told them something very bad happened to mommy & I got pregnant & at 18, I was scared, confused, & even though I knew it was wrong, I had an abortion.

Brady told me he was surprised, but he wasn't mad at me. Rylan was excited to learn that he was named after his big brother Joshua. They asked a few questions, "Where would Joshua sleep if be were alive?" "Would you homeschool him or would he go to high school?" It made me giggle & brought me comfort, but I told them we can't focus on the "what ifs" because they can end up making us depressed or angry & doesn't change the past.

Instead we will focus on Christ. He's redeemed mommy & He's called us to speak the truth about abortion & to help others come to know the saving grace of Jesus.

Then Rylan looked right at me & exclaimed, "We will see Joshua in Heaven!" To which Brady responded, "Yes! Because he's safe with God!" I asked them if they forgave me & Brady so gently answered, "I'll always forgive you for anything." And my heart beamed as my tears flowed.

It wasn't nearly as hard as I imagined it would be. I'm glad I told them now rather than waiting til they were teenagers. They know they can always ask me questions & we don't have to keep Joshua a secret. He is real. He exists. He is loved!

Sunday is the 16 year anniversary of my abortion & it's sad & weird to think I would be getting ready to take him to get his driver's license! I will always miss & grieve him. Joshua is as much a part of my life as his 4 siblings are. I don't have to let depression & self hate eat me up, I can cry out to Jesus when missing Joshua hurts too bad & I can hold my head up high & talk about my son & give his life honor. I can do this only because of Jesus & the redeeming Blood He shed for my sins.

If you are struggling from a past abortion, please contact me! I would love to help you! 

Ashleysigrest at hotmail dot com

Blessings!


Monday, August 4, 2014

Share Sips & Socks Giveaway!

If you've joined the Sips & Socks swap on IG you can also enter the giveaway!

Share this pic & tag #sharesipsandsocks to enter. You can enter once a day til Wednesday, August 6. 

Prize includes the 14x11 painting pictured, a $10 Target gift card, cute socks, & other goodies!!

Now go share & invite your friends to join the swap!

Blessings!!

Ash