God Does Not Waste Our Pain

“The Lord’s definition of good and mine are not always the same, but I can live confidently knowing that I serve a God who makes beauty from ashes. I may never have the answer to why bad things happen, but I do know that my hope rests in something more than these “The Lord’s definition of good and mine are not always the same, but I can live confidently knowing that I serve a God who makes beauty from ashes. I may never have the answer to why bad things happen, but I do know that my hope rests in something more than these temporary circumstances.” – Ashlee Robert

“The Lord was gracious to save me from so many things in life,” said Ashlee Robert. “His rescue of me started early. When my mother was facing an unplanned pregnancy, she chose life for me instead of abortion. The Lord has continued to protect me throughout my life, even when I couldn’t see it at the time.

“My dad is a minister, and my mom is very involved in their church. They helped me understand the gospel at a young age. But I’m not sure I really ever understood that following Christ was more than a list of things you should and should not do. I didn’t learn how to truly walk with the Lord until I was much older.

“There have been three dark periods in my life that God has used to shape my walk with Him. The first came in college when I was sexually assaulted by a guy I knew from high school. I felt so ashamed, lost and alone after it happened, so I partied with friends to fill the void. I still went to church on Sundays just like everyone else. It was hard to understand why God would allow something like that to happen. I still read my Bible at times, but I had doubts about His goodness and love for me.

“A second dark period happened after college. I moved to Chicago for work and was far away from anyone I knew. The relationship I was in ended very badly and I became very depressed. As things got worse, I couldn’t eat, couldn’t sleep and didn’t really want to be at work. One night, I remember my Bible was on my nightstand, and I opened it to 1 Corinthians 6:18-20. That verse reminded me that I was bought with a price – Christ’s sacrifice. My actions weren’t lining up with the gospel I claimed to believe. The parties, the money and relationships – none of that satisfied me, and I didn’t want to live like that anymore. I asked God to help me, and I see clearly now that God did a powerful work in my life.

“I moved to Dallas not long after that. When I found out about The Porch, Watermark’s gathering of young adults, I decided to go. I immediately felt at home and at peace there. I’d never heard biblical truth presented that way or seen such vulnerability from other believers. I started meeting people at Watermark, serving at the Porch and got into community with other girls. Through Equipped Disciple and community with other believers, I learned how to study God’s Word and be vulnerable before the Lord with others.

“Both God’s graciousness to me and His work in my mom’s life when I was born led me to work at Thrive Women’s Clinic. At Thrive I had the privilege of loving and caring for women who were facing unplanned pregnancies and contemplating abortion. What a privilege to meet with women, share the gospel and walk them through exactly what an abortion procedure entails. After receiving a sonogram at the clinic, we talk about God’s desire for our lives and the authority of His Word. Some women were not open to what we had to say. Others felt pressure to have an abortion from a boyfriend, and there was an opportunity to tell her that she did not have to submit to any authority other than God. In many cases, those conversations were used to prevent an abortion, and I was able to follow up with women and get them help. That was really sweet.

“My husband Bryan and I got married in 2013. We ended up getting pregnant not long after that and welcomed our son, Caleb, into the world in October 2014. Caleb was a little miracle to us, and we were so thankful to God for giving him to us. We were also delighted when we found out we were pregnant with twins, who we named Arden and Nasa (we chose those names because they both mean ‘to be lifted high’) But last October, that pregnancy ended in miscarriage.

“The miscarriage was so painful. But this time of suffering was different from other dark periods in my life. I know now that I am made more like the Lord through suffering. I can grieve knowing that God is in control and that His timing is perfect. Whether we have one child or ten, God is the One building our house. He is working all of these things for our good.

“What I have learned from all these moments on this journey is that God does not waste our pain. God used my mom’s choice to give me life to allow me to reach out to other women who are considering an abortion. God used something as awful as rape to allow me to meet and counsel other women who have been through the same thing. The Lord’s definition of good and mine are not always the same, but I can live confidently knowing that I serve a God who makes beauty from ashes. I may never have the answer to why bad things happen, but I do know that my hope rests in something more than these temporary circumstances. God loves me so much that He sent His Son to die for me. I can trust in what is true and keep my hope in Christ, who is making all things right.”

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