Friday Feature: Ashley Hearn

Who Am I When Everything Crumbles?

For the past 5 yrs I have been on a serious journey. In 2010 I found myself starting over. Along this journey called life I had lost my true self. I didn't realize it until God stripped me of everything when I say everything I mean everything lost my job, lost my home, lost myself, lost a long term relationship, lost my aunt and grandma three days apart, lost friends etc...When this journey first began I was like for real God? Why me? What did I do? I even went on a path of self destruction. I started drinking more, hanging out more, having a I don't care attitude and I even stopped going to church regularly. There where days when all I did is cry and sleep. I went from 200lbs to 140lbs, had to cut my hair short (of course I told people it was the new me/I was going for a new look) All this was going on while I was trying to raise my son. I began to block people out and shut down. I wanted to be left alone. I didn't want to be around people because I didn't want them to see my scars or my pain. Those close to me would try to get me to talk about what was going on but I didn't want to talk. I didn't want to talk because I didn't want people to see my flaws. I didn't want people to know what had happened. The person who is always strong and always seems to have it together didn't want people to see she was weak. I tried to mask as best as I could but then I realized you can only mask your problems for so long until everything comes to ahead. So, i finally came to my breaking point and decided to talk to someone. This person was a professional, a religious person, unattached and didn't know me or my family. Yes, I went to a therapist. At first I was hesitant because I am a very private person but I knew I needed someone who would not judge. The therapist helped me not only take of all the mask but she also taught me the importance of having a PERSONAL relationship with God, self-care and self-love. In this life we have so many roles. Roles that will pull you this way and that way but no matter what make sure to take time for God and yourself.

So let me fast forward to today although this journey was ROUGH and while in it I didn't think I would make it I am GRATEFUL. Why because I MADE IT!!! I am grateful because it has taught me so much. First it taught me to put God 1st in all things and to trust Him. "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11 Second, it taught me that there is a reason for EVERYTHING. Let me just put it in perspective losing my job, my home, my long term relationship and some friends pushed me to find myself. By finding myself I realized my purpose I went back to school to get my graduate degree, I met some people who are now my biggest supporters. Friends who I am ok with being transparent with, friends who pray for me. I would have settled and been unhappy in life. I learned the importance of and learned how to self love myself. I also learned the importance of self care. I would've continued living my life being what others wanted me to be and not being who God designed me to be. But most of all I would not have learned the strength that God has placed within me. The strength to keep on pushing when you want to give up. The strength to forgive those who have hurt you. Strength to forgive someone even when they haven't asked for forgiveness. Strength to rebuild. Strength to be me without any masks. The strength to not settle. Strength to overcome other people's opinions. So who am I when everything crumbles? I am strength.

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