#YourStory: Ashley Shepherd

#YourStory_

Do ever struggle with your identity? Do you know who you really are? Ashley Shepherd shares how God helped her answer those very questions. Enjoy today’s #YourStory with with guest Ashley Shepherd. 

I will never forget in 2012 waking up one morning and looking over at the laundry and feeling like I couldn’t breath.

I remember as a little girl when I was swimming I dove down and as I came up there was a float, and I couldn’t get to the top. I panicked and swam around trying to catch my breath.

That random Monday, as a stay-at-home mom of 2 boys with a traveling husband, that same panick struck me.

I felt like a failure as a mom, cook, homemaker, and wife.

I felt like I had lost my identity.

People referred to me as Wilson and Levi’s mom, Ryan’s wife, the preacher’s daughter, and Keeli’s sister.

I felt a strong calling from God on my life as a little girl but found myself as a adult in survival mode.

I would wake up and count the hours until I could go back to sleep.

I had gained weight because of stress and let’s be honest – my love for brownies.

My pant size defined me, and I felt like no one understood me.

Women who had already raised their children would gently remind me how this time was fleeting and I would secretly scream YES, because I felt like I was drowning. I was drowning in dishes, the laundry, and the fact that I was an awful cook.

A friend of mine invited me to a MOPS (Mother of Pre-schoolers) group at a local church. The only reason I agreed was because they had child care and free food, but God had different plans.

He used the women in my small group at MOPS to WAKE me up.

I quickly learned that FEAR hates COMMUNITY and the reason I lived in fear and my insecurities was because I isolated myself.

God awakened my heart and I started to understand that I put my identity in so many things instead of the ONE who beautifully designed me.

I began to listen to the Father who created me for a purpose, and I started to live AWAKE.

You were created for a purpose. Click To Tweet

I believe we have a choice each day to walk in defeat or IN HIS LIGHT, and I am grateful for the group of women who encouraged me to rip the labels off and to find my identity in HIM. The Lord has blessed me with an incredible ministry of leading women in the Word and helping them rip off the labels that they allowed to define them and point them to ONE who beautifully designed them.

If you are struggling with an identity crisis go to Psalm 139:14 and remind yourself that you are “wonderfully and fearfully made.”

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. PS 139_14 NIV
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made... PS 139:14 NIV Click To Tweet

About Ashley ~

Ashley Shepherd headshot

I am a small-town girl with a dreamer’s heart. My husband, Ryan, and I raise our 2 boys in East TN; we have a huge plate full of life that we wouldn’t trade for anything. I grew up a preacher’s kid and have always had a heart for the Word. I am the type of personality that needs accountability, so when I launched an online Bible study with my friend Jamie last fall, God brought over 9,000 women to one community. We named it Beautifully Designed and now have over 14,000 women from all over the world reading the Word together, praying together, and giving each other HOPE. You can learn more about our community at www.beautifullydesigned.com. We would love for you to join us as we all fight to live our purpose for HIM.

 
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14 Comments

  1. What a beautiful and inspiring testimony Ashley. Thank you for sharing today Kristi. I cannot think of anyone better to find my identity in than in Jesus Christ. I am thankful for His grace and His patience as we find our way back to Him. Ashley, sounds like your community/ministry is helping and blessing so many women. May God continue to bless you and yours as you serve Him.

  2. I understand isolation. I am trying to break free. And I know all too well what it’s like to wake up and count the hours until it’s time to go to sleep again. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Ashley, I agree. Isolation is such a tool of the enemy. Years ago, I took the plunge and asked a friend at work if I could join the small group women’s study at her home that I knew she lead. I was going through such a rough time, and I needed to do something to combat the ugly thoughts. Bible study sounded like a positive way to deal with it, and that group of women embraced me and helped me get back on the road to well being. — What I learned is that sometimes community does not find you… you have to step out and pursue it.

    1. Thanks for reading, I pray my struggles gives Glory to God and helps women realize their identity in Christ. I struggled with anxiety for years due to isolation. I am grateful for community!

  4. Ashley, I remember that suffocating feeling when my oldest 5 were all little…even though I loved them fierce and was grateful beyond words to be able to have them and stay home. So glad you are leading women to the Word in Bible Study! There’s nothing better.

  5. I think we all have times where life feels like survival, yet clinging to the promise of who God is and who I am in Him defeats discouragement and doubt. He is my strength! It’s an ever learning process, but it grows and changes and grounds me.

  6. May the Lord bless your ministry, Ashley! Thanks for reaching out to other moms. We all have that panicked feeling. I sometimes STILL have it with teens although nothing like when they were littles.

  7. Beautiful Ashley! Your story is both encouraging and inspiring. What an awesome God we serve. I love how He showed you exactly what you needed, and He ordained every step for you as He prepared to use you for this great work! I pray your ministry will continue to grow and flourish. Blessings!