I Have Found The Path To What Truly Makes Me Come Alive..

Esther saved her people. 

Hannah made a vow. 

Mary birthed the Kings of Kings.

Ruth was a loyal friend. 

& Me. 

This year has been a year of unmasking, unbecoming, undoing and a unspeakable revelation that I am not "that girl." Nope, I'm not her. And really don't care to be anymore. I've lied to myself and to many of you for so long. I've been fighting to be known for what I do instead of who I am. I've been more concerned with my reputation than my character, my followers than my friends, and my idea of what I believe people wanted me to be than who God actually created me to be. 

I believe in that today's generation, there's a lost appreciation for authenticity. We want instant gratification, applause and recognition and there's no boundaries we wouldn't cross to be "that girl" that God never intended for us to be. To have that ministry, business or husband that God never intended for us to have. And like many others, I lost my way. I pimped my gifts. I distorted my calling just to sit at the table with them; just to be seen and heard without really being true to my higher self. 

 

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Years ago when I was 23 years old,  I launched my blog, distinctivefemale.blogspot.com, and I wanted to encourage others while I encouraged myself. I wanted to talk about the social issues that plagues our country and communities. I wanted to be a voice for the voiceless, hope for the hopeless and a representative of what it looks like when a community lovingly wrap their arms around a girl and believe in her dreams. What I never intended to be was the majority. I never signed up for the brand. I never wanted to make money doing it and NEVER wanted to lose myself in the process. But I did. I woke up one day at 28 years old not knowing the essence of my true glory; not knowing who Ashley Joy was without titles. And I hated that with a deep passion. I resented it and I resented myself. I became "that girl" I said I would never be and I so desperately wanted me back. The Jesus-loving, justice-fighting, coffee-drinking, book addict chick who's from everywhere but nowhere. She loved, she lived and she was unapologetically her. So, I decided to do the hard work. I took off the mask and started with the woman in the mirror. I cried. I forgave. I let go! I repented and I vowed to my heavenly father that I would never disrespect this calling over my life. I understand now like never before that some else’s destiny is dependent on my purposed life.

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So allow me to re-introduce myself. I’m just Ashley Joy, a daughter of the king first, a wife, a daughter, a friend and sister. I am a non-profit communications and business professional, an author, writer, speaker and small business owner. I encourage, empower and coach women to live and operate in their full purpose and potential. I have not arrived. I am still becoming. I am layers. I am potential. I am passionate. I am powerful. I’ve never been so clear about who I am and where I am going. I am confident that I have found the path to what truly makes me come alive. Oh, what a time to be alive!

Meet me on Social Media and hashtag #AndMeCampaign. I want to hear from you about your journey of becoming. Also, follow my sweet sister-in-christ Kellee L. Dawkins @Klmevent! 

Running Your Race

Sister, why are you comparing your life to another woman? Do you know what you are saying to God when you envy, compete, and show jealousy toward another woman’s portion? Just as you would not go into an art gallery critiquing an artist’s work in front of her, why do you constantly critique yourself in the mirror in front of God?

It is so easy to get caught up in the social media frenzy and start looking at another woman’s highlight reel (the good things they highlight through social media) and get discouraged about our lives. We think, “Wow, they have a perfect marriage, a lovely home, beautiful kids, great friends, and an amazing social life,” but the truth of the matter is that no one’s situation is perfect. You don’t know their private struggles. You don’t know what they went through in their marriage. You don’t even know how many miscarriages they may have had.

We must stop envying and showing jealousy toward other women. Let us instead start celebrating and learn to stay focused on the road God has given us to walk. Even if you have to “unfollow” or “unfriend” people on your social media, do it. It’s not healthy nor is it good for your self-worth if you’re constantly comparing your situation to another’s. Sister, you are unique and wonderfully made. If you only knew the freedom we have in Christ. He has called each and every one of us to experience this freedom. We are tailor made in the image of God and, as a member of the body of Christ, each of us represents a unique part of Him. There will never be another like you. He died for you so you could live.

There’s nothing wrong with admiring another woman and looking at the steps she took to get where she is today. But there is everything wrong when you emulate her life and try to be her. Rest, Sister. Life is not a marathon. You do not have to compete with anyone. The only thing you should be comparing your life with is the Word of God and the woman you were yesterday.

 Prayer

Dear Heavenly Father, teach me how to appreciate my portion. Give me the ability to run my own race and not be envious or jealous of anyone else’s. Teach me to encourage and uplift other women and not compete or speak any negativity. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

 Meditation Scripture

“I have seen something else under the sun: The race is not to the swift or the battle to the strong, nor does food come to the wise or wealth to the brilliant or favor to the learned; but time and chance happen to them all” (Ecclesiastes 9:11).

Excerpt from "She Laughs Devotional" By Ashley Joy..Purchase Here! 

Have you ever struggled with comparison? If so, How did you overcome?

Pursuit of Being

Hey Lovely!

I want you to understand that your name does not have to be great in order for you to be a powerful in The Lord.  Although, we live in a performance-based society that makes us believe our identity lies in our “doing.”  You must always remember you are more than enough, just as you are.  By being first, recognized, praised, rewarded or regarded, you may still not fulfill your life’s purpose or live up to your true identity.  We live in a generation that is obsessed with “popular” culture, and people go to extremes to fit in.  You must remember God’s acceptance is based on your standing with Christ, not popularity, promotion, applause or position. Although, instant gratification is tempting, God commends appropriate character.

Ask yourself, “What type of leader would I be if no one was following me?” “Would I still make the right decisions?”  “Would I cheat or steal?”  There are so many successful people who are dysfunctional, because they publicly succeed but they are private failures. They have degrees, impressive resumes and qualifications.  They are CEO’s, pastors, doctors, millionaires.  You name it!  However, when it comes to their private lives with their families, they are cheaters, abusers, and they have distant relationships with their children.  They are so busy pursuing status that they often forget God.  It is vital that you understand that your identity is found in Christ alone!  Your purpose is not in your position, and your identity is not in your title.  Who you are is not defined by what you do!

One of the reasons why I was so lost and confused for such a long time is because I was looking for something to define me.  I was searching for something I could identify with.  I have embraced so many roles in my life—as a sister, daughter, friend, aunt, speaker, writer and now author—but now I realize that I am first:

 

·      A child of God12” But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: 13Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God” (John 1:12-13, KJV).

 

·      I am a royal daughter9“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light” (1 Peter 2:9, NIV).

 

·      I am saved by grace8“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—9not by works, so that no one can boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9, NIV).

 

·      I am a new creation17“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” (2 Corinthians 5:17, NIV)

 

·      I am an overcomer11“They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death” (Revelation 12:11, NIV).

 

·      I am never forsaken 5“For God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I leave you; never will I forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5, NIV).

 

Excerpt from "Dream of Joy: Encountering an Unfailing God and His Unfailing Love" by Ashley Joy! Purchase Here

 

5 Books Every Single, Christian Woman Should Read!

Hi Lovely! 

I was single for five years before I married my now husband, Michael! During that season, I learned so much about my purpose, convictions, faith and most importantly what it truly meant to be SINGLE! 

Despite what the world says, being single is not a dis(ease)! It is a meaningful season if you allow it. It is the foundation for marriage, the preparation for purpose and the season where you can spend an immense amount of time in the presence of God without distraction. 

I thought I would compile a list of books I read when I was single that helped me learn so much! 

1.    Waiting and Dating by Myles Munroe

This is one of my favorite books by one of my favorite ministers in the world! Dr. Myles Munroe gives you the clear, biblical meaning of dating while Christian. He breaks down the purpose of dating, the myths of finding the "one," discerning the right life-partner, courtship and more. This is my top book for singles! AND I found a free PDF online. You. Are. Welcome. 

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2.    The Meaning of Marriage by Timothy Keller

I honestly can't say enough about this book! Pastor Keller breaks down the vision of marriage according to the bible. Michael and I read this book together when we were courting. Every single, married couple, skeptic, or longtime married couple should read this book! 

3.    Set-Apart Femininity by Leslie Ludy

I love this book and I absolutely love Leslie Ludy’s ministry! This is a powerful, candid, conversational book in which she gives you a vision for what is contrary to what we see in today’s society as femininity. This book is not the same old mediocre message you’ve always heard. It’s radical and convicting. When I first read this book, I was offended and those are the types of books I continue to read! 

4.    The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman

Whew! I can’t say enough about this book. Each person has a primary love language that we must learn to speak if we want that person to feel loved. It truly prepared me to understand the differences in love even before I met Michael. I love how Dr. Gary Chapman combines his faith and years as a relationship counselor to help men and women understand the differences. It’s a book everyone should have in their library. 

5.    Having a Mary’s Heart in a Martha’s World by Joanna Weaver

This book has nothing to do with marriage but everything to do with YOU as an individual. The tools I read in this book are helping me now as a married woman.  Like Mary, I long to sit at the Lord’s feet but demands of a wife won’t leave me alone. Like Martha, I love Jesus and really want to serve Him...yet sometimes struggle with weariness, and feelings of inadequacy. I recommend this book for all women! 

Share below some books you’ve read!