Happy weekend, friends… Ashley here! It’s hard to believe that just about a week ago, I was walking across the stage to graduate college. For a day I prepared over the course of four years, it was one of the fastest days ever! It was such a special day surrounded by my closest people – – one I will treasure for a long time. I am incredibly thankful to have been recognized as Samford University’s Outstanding Entrepreneur and Who’s Who. Yes, the tassel was worth the hassle as they say!
This week before the “real” work begins, I took a road trip to Nashville. If you read my previous posts about Bethel and my last road trip to Nashville (read here!), then you’ll know that God always shows up on my solo drives. I love taking longer drives without any music or distractions because I am keenly aware of my surroundings – – which is not only safer for driving, but it’s refreshing for clearing cluttered thoughts and inviting for the Lord to speak. This drive was no different than before. It was my first trip since graduation, and my soul was yearning for a quiet time to process these college years and the times to come.
Somewhere along the route I saw a semi truck that stood out from the others. Huge letters on the back of the truck simply read Philippians 4:13. And that was all. To refresh my memory I looked up the verse when I got to Nashville.
For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength. -Philippians 4:13
My hand immediately went to the necklace I was wearing because it read STRENGTH on the front and Proverbs 31:24 on the back! A graduation gift I received last week.
She is clothed in strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future. -Proverbs 31:24
Wow. God was speaking strength over me on my quiet ride to Nashville as I drive into season of new excitement and adventure mixed with unknown – – one road trip and one stop at a time.
For the first time in 16 years I am no longer a student. From the day I stepped foot in my kindergarten class at Root Elementary School to last week when I accepted my diploma from Samford’s President, Dr. Westmoreland, I bore the title of student. Now I am no longer a student, but I am still me – – exactly who God made me. I am finding out more and more each day. This drive reminded me that God goes before me on the road. He’s my “ride or die” the whole way. His Spirit lives in me so I never go alone. He always shows up on the freeway, freeing me from whatever comes to entangle my path. He clothes me in strength and dignity so I can laugh without fear of the future. So I will fix my eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.
Yes, HE strengthens ME!
These words speak so much truth to this recent grad gal. I am over the moon joyful to be embarking on business ownership full time, and I truly believe the Lord will take this dream of mine to places only He knows. I’m along for the ride. Thank goodness I don’t have to know the entire route, let alone steer solo.
Maybe you can relate. You recent grad, new employee, city transplant, newlywed, empty nester, fellow entrepreneur, first time homeowner, fill-in-the-blank. Wherever you may be today. When seasons change the road may seem unclear, and seeing past the fog on the horizon can feel impossible. But we are not responsible for holding the entire map in our hands. What’s the point of knowing every turn? Following a map is safe maybe, but it’s mundane too. We’d miss the adventure along the way – – every pot hole, traffic jam, detour, sunrise, sunset, hill, and valley that make the route part of our story. And that is equally as important as the destination because our story becomes part of the greatest story of all. God tells His story through us! God is not a God who tells us to turn left in 500 feet or to take the first exit on the roundabout. He gives us nods and nudges along the way, bringing us closer to Him.
Bob Goff said something about points and how God uses points in our lives to bring us back to Him. I think he’s onto something there.
So wherever you may be on your drive, be fully present and engage with the God who guides, protects, provides, and encourages us through every turn. Delight in the plot twists and detours, too. I’m right here with ya, friend!
Thank you for keeping on this adventure with me. There are so so so many new + exciting things comin’ for Winnefred Austin. Fasten your seat belts!