Esther saved her people.
Hannah made a vow.
Mary birthed the Kings of Kings.
Ruth was a loyal friend.
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.
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!