Iraq Journey

Compassion Bloggers: Guatemala 2010


Young Ladies Christian Fellowship

Recent Posts




July 19, 2010

It is clear.


The name of this enemy. The thing that holds me back.

The one thing, keeping my soul in a pit, a black hole, this mud-filled place, these slippery wet walls. This place where roots press through the watery soil: roots named bitterness, arrogance, judgment, contempt. I find myself grabbing, clinging to them, in a hopeless effort to keep my feet underneath my body in this muck and mire.

Confusing, painful, dark. Not knowing which way is up, which is down. Such darkness, this place.

This place I’ve been unable to name.

I know, I know, there must be a way out. I know, because I’ve heard, that there’s a God, a Creator, a Lover of my soul, bigger, stronger. More powerful than the depths of this hole.

I say I believe it.

But I don’t.

Not really.

I think I know what life is, then. If I believed it. That life, in which I allow Him to pull me out.

I think I know. Because I think of what it was before this pit.

And it’s something I don’t want.

But neither do I want the bitterness, the ache, the condemnation I heap on the ones who helped create this fall, this darkness. I pour it, with vengeance, on my former self, on the ones who caused the wounds, and any who appear to be like them.

I don’t want this, either. The roots might suffocate me. And the pain? It’s still there.

They peek over the edge, the ones who have gone before. The ones who have climbed out. Those who know how it ends.

They tell me, it’s okay. They say, He will carry, hold, embrace you. He will heal. He will keep you close.

There is no need to fear.

And then, in that moment, I see it.

The name, written on the walls of this dark hole.




Fear put me in this pit.

And fear holds me in.

I’m so afraid.

Afraid of what daylight brings.

Will it be what it was… back then?

Will I be hurt, all over again?

Fear paved the way for this grasping, this endless hole. My fear, their fear.

But the mud caking at my ankles? Its very name is fear.

And so, because of my unbelief, my doubts, my wonderings, my hurt,

He pours Love, true, beautiful, pure Love,

down, down, down.

I don’t even know to expect it. But it is there.

Cascading down the walls of my self-made pit. Breaking loose my hold of the roots.

Causing me to fall.

And I land in His arms.


I fear.

I’m petrified of intimacy with Him. Because the reality of truly knowing Him, who He says He is, it is an unknown. Laying my heart bare, letting Him guide, control, teach, remove lies and replace them with truth… this frightens me. I don’t want it to be what it was before. Because that, that wounded, so deeply.

With weeping, in desperation, without anything held back,

I’m falling.

Back into His arms.


I’m thankful for a Jesus who is willing to grow His child, even when it looks like starting over.

I’m thankful that not all is lost, even after the wounding, the pit.

And I’m thankful for the ones who give grace, even when they don’t understand.

Because who hasn’t spent time in the hole, grasping the roots around them?

I’m thankful for Jesus.

Related Posts with Thumbnails


  1. Virginia Knowles says:

    Ashleigh, I’m enjoying your blog. After reading this post, I think you might like my poem “It Became to Me a Dark Thing.” You can find it here:



    Ashleigh Reply:

    Beautiful, Virginia. Thank you so much for sharing… your poetry and use of scripture was a balm today. You said it better than I could. Thank you.


    July 19th, 2010 at 5:09 am

  2. Melissa says:

    Leaning on the everlasting arms..that hymn always stays with me when I know I just need to fall into those arms and trust…thank you for this beautiful post!


    Ashleigh Reply:

    I love that one. Thank you!


    July 19th, 2010 at 5:55 am

  3. jAne says:

    broken. mercy. healing.

    He allows us to become broken that He may have mercy then bring healing and restoration to our hearts, minds, very being. Bask in His presence and the working of His Holy Spirit – the pure truth of His grace.

    “I love thee, Lord,
    but with no love of mine,
    For I have non to give;
    I love thee, Lord;
    but all the love is Thine,
    For by Thy love I live.
    I am as nothing,
    and rejoice to be
    Emptied, and lost,
    and swallowed up in Thee.”

    ~ Madame Jeanne-Marie Guyon ~

    bless you dearly,


    Ashleigh Reply:

    I’m writing this in my journal. I lovelovelove your wisdom, always.


    July 19th, 2010 at 10:43 am

  4. Kelly @ Love Well says:

    Have you ever said to God, “Lord, I want to know you, more than anything!” and then wished you could take back those words?

    I have.

    But I also know there is no place like the darkness to see God’s glory on display. I know Him now because of the pit in a way I never would have without it.

    And remember: Perfect love cannot co-exist with fear. Our Abba has perfect love. His is the only untarnished agape. I pray He will continue to hold you, pursue you and carry you, Ashleigh. My own faith is always strengthened as you honestly share your journey with us.


    Ashleigh Reply:

    Thank you, thank you, my sweet Kelly. You always speak balm. <3


    July 19th, 2010 at 10:44 am

  5. Melissa Brotherton says:

    Thank you for your honesty in where you’re at. Can I just encourage you by saying that although you might feel that you’re held back by fear I view you as one courageous woman! The sacrifice you & your family are making as your husband is away takes courage. Trusting God to get you through each day as you care for your children takes courage. Your trip to Germany took courage. That’s just scratching the surface, but don’t let the enemy lie to you and tell you that your failing. You might be afraid, but I see you standing firm and looking to Him in the face of that fear. God bless you today as you boldly follow His plan for you and your family.


    Ashleigh Reply:

    “Enemy lies.” This is what I fight. I know it.


    July 19th, 2010 at 10:49 am

  6. To Think Is To Create says:

    Truth is such beauty, the world tells us to fear that secret place, but when we ignore that and let go — oh how He blesses.

    I love this more than words, more than my soul could ever say…


    Ashleigh Reply:

    YES. And your heart is so intertwined with all of this… I love you like a crazy loon.


    July 19th, 2010 at 11:27 am

  7. Laura says:

    Ashleigh – I’ve been reading your blog for a few months now, but don’t think I’ve ever commented before. I would add to Melissa B.’s words that it takes courage to write with such vulnerability and humility as you do. In reading your post today, the song “Much Afraid” by Jars of Clay came to mind.
    “I’m thankful for a Jesus who is willing to grow His child, even when it looks like starting over.” – I relate to that so very well these days. Thanks for your insight.


    Ashleigh Reply:

    Just before this comment arrived in my email inbox, I told a friend that I felt like Much Afraid herself, from Hinds’ Feet, wanting to go up, feeling held captive my her own Fearings, but when The Shepherd places that seed of Love in her hand, she becomes ready for the journey.

    I’ve listened to this song five times now, today. Thank you.


    July 19th, 2010 at 1:23 pm

  8. Jenny says:

    “I’m petrified of intimacy with Him”

    you are so in my head right now. its so convenient to skate around the thin places where our fingers touch Gods fingers and we know and are known.

    I have kept my hands in my pockets for so long. So I’m not touched. Not touching.

    Its safer here.

    *breathe in*

    More convenient

    *breathe out*

    sitting with you friend… thank you for being vulnerable and fearless in your sharing


    Ashleigh Reply:

    Safer. Exactly. Absolutely. The vulnerability required for intimacy with our God leaves us open and bare before Him. It’s safer to build a wall around ourselves, our hearts.


    July 19th, 2010 at 4:53 pm

  9. Jennifer says:

    Such powerful words! I just started following you on Twitter, and today is my first time visiting your blog. You write beautifully and honestly, and I look forward to reading more.


    Ashleigh Reply:

    Thank you!


    July 19th, 2010 at 6:52 pm

  10. Elizabeth in Alaska says:

    I think, to a certain extent, we are all terrified of intimacy with Him… we wonder what it will cost us, how it will change our comfortable lives. Some days I am prepared to die for Him, but others… I’m not. And so, every day is the day of salvation; every day He rebuilds the table of communion that we are so good at tearing down…


    Ashleigh Reply:

    Yes. YES. To all of it. How thankful I am that He builds up what my hands, my heart tears down.


    July 19th, 2010 at 8:09 pm

  11. Holly Hochstetler says:

    The scripture that came to mind as I read your post was…..

    “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, of love and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7

    I refer to this verse often when I sense fear is hovering, trying to take hold or I am tempted to allow fear in. What this scripture does is remind me of several things. First, fear is of the enemy, satan, and if I allow fear in I am allowing him to win. And I absolutely HATE to allow him any ground!
    Second, God has equipped us with power from and through His Holy Spirit to overcome fear. Third, God has given us His love to rest in. Fourth, He has given us a sound mind. Meaning He has given us wisdom and understanding of Him and His love and we are to use that sound mind to trust in Him.
    As I think upon these things fear is quickly cast down. And often all I say is “In the name of Jesus, fear I command you to leave!” And it leaves because of the renewing of my mind through this one scripture.

    Blessings to you,



    Ashleigh Reply:

    This verse was key, KEY, in my time with the Lord last night. This was the verse closest to my heart, the entire night, into the wee hours. Thank you, a million times, for this comment.


    July 19th, 2010 at 9:38 pm

  12. Tweets that mention Heart & Home » Falling. -- says:

    [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Arianne Segerman, Ashleigh Baker. Ashleigh Baker said: Falling: (Crazy amounts of transparency today… i.e., the kind of post I almost don't publish) [...]

    July 20th, 2010 at 3:14 am

  13. Kelly Langner Sauer says:

    This journey I know. I know it real. And the fear is only swallowed within that love that draws us intimate to Him.

    Thank you for your real here…


    July 20th, 2010 at 9:02 am

  14. Julie Todd says:

    I’ve been walking in the intimate waters of His heart… after over 40 years of living a “religious” life…. This love, this other worldly love takes my breath away.

    Never have I known a love so deep, and wide.

    Just as you calm the fears of your children, so He will calm yours.
    Just as you run to your children, so He will run to you.
    Just as you gather them up in your arms, so He will gather you.

    He love you so!


    July 20th, 2010 at 9:23 am

  15. Katie says:

    Oh, you speak true words, my dear. It is so strange to know the remedy and be terrified of it at the same time.
    I *know* the truth.
    But what will it look like, what will it do to me if I LIVE like I know the truth?
    Lifting you up.


    July 20th, 2010 at 11:58 am

  16. Gretchen Acheson says:

    Powerful, beautiful words, my friend.


    July 20th, 2010 at 9:36 pm

  17. Charissa Steyn says:

    mmmm… fear… keeps us back from so many things, but most of all it keeps us back from our One True Love. Well said girl. Keep on falling back into His arms. Love this picture.


    July 21st, 2010 at 1:28 am

  18. alece says:

    this resonated with my heart so deeply, my friend. so deeply…

    falling with you…


    July 22nd, 2010 at 4:27 pm

  19. Amy says:

    Thank you for posting this, Ashleigh! Fear can hold me back from so much…I just need to be open to His plans and trust Him to make something good out of what could look like a hopeless situation. I love 2 Timothy 1:7, too! What a powerful verse to encourage us that we can make it through. :)


    July 22nd, 2010 at 7:41 pm

  20. Heart & Home » Dreamy Days says:

    [...] Falling. [...]

    July 23rd, 2010 at 1:34 am

Leave a comment