Author Archive for: Ashley Cottrell

About Ashley Cottrell

Interested in reading more of her work? Check out her blog: www.ashleyamor.com With a B.A in English, Ashley Cottrell has written blogs for Virginia Bride Magazine, Bronze Mag, and has been a contributing writer for numerous other digital entities. Although a Virginia-native, Ashley resides in Puerto Rico fulfilling her passion as a freelance writer. She aims to use her gift of writing to inspire others and share the gospel of Christ. When she's not writing, you can find her nose-deep in a game of chess, Salsa dancing, or making homemade skin care products.
  • 21-Day Challenge: The New You Alright, ladies, they say it takes 21 days to create (or break) a habit. So, if you’re ready to kick a bad habit, or develop a new one, it’s time to challenge yourself. Whether you’re trying to become a vegetarian, quit smoking, or get in shape, determination and consistency are […]

    21-Day Challenge: The New You

    21-Day Challenge: The New You

    Alright, ladies, they say it takes 21 days to create (or break) a habit. So, if you’re ready to kick a bad habit, or develop a new one, it’s time to challenge yourself. Whether you’re trying to become a vegetarian, quit smoking, or get in shape, determination and consistency are essential. Here are 21 tips to help you stay committed to your goal over the next 21 days:

    1. Write it down

    Studies show that people who visually see their goals are more likely to achieve them. So write that vision and make it plain! [Habakkuk 2:2]

    1. Tell Someone About It

    It’s always good to tell a close friend or supportive family member what you’re trying to accomplish. This way, you’ll have motivators and supporters during your journey.

    1. Listen to a Podcast

    Shift your perspective. There are a lot of informative, educational, and funny podcasts you can listen to while performing daily tasks.

    1. Try a new entree at a restaurant

    Open your mind up to new tastes and get out of your comfort zone.

    1. Color or Draw a Picture

    Once again, a nice escape from reality that is a great stress reliever.

    1. Reorganize your Bedroom or Furniture

    Sometimes all it takes is a new perspective of your home to influence new habits

    1. Pamper Yourself

    Reserve a day during these 21 days to treat yourself, like going to a spa. .

    1. Journal Your Journey

    It’s motivating to see how much you’ve accomplished over the timespan. Track your daily progress in a journal or notebook over the next three weeks. You might surprise yourself.

    1. Surround Yourself with Like-minded Individuals

    This may sound like a given, but sometimes we’re not aware of the company we keep. Even if they’re your best friends, people who are condoning your bad habits (or not supporting your vision) with hinder your growth. Bad company corrupts good character [1 Corinthians 15:33]

    1. Read a Novel

    Books can be a nice escape from reality and very relaxing.

    1. Learn a New Recipe

    This list is definitely challenging you with getting out of your comfort zone, so why not try it with cooking?

    1. Host a Game Night

    Cook that new dish from tip #16, pull out some board games, and invite over a few folks for an evening of fun and laughter.

    1. Sell Old Items

    Out with the old, and in with the new. Get rid of things you no longer need or hinder you from moving forward (and get some money for doing so!)

    1. Don’t Look Back

    Even if you slipped up during this challenge, beating yourself up about it is not healthy or productive. Stay positive, reposition your focus, and keep going!

    1. Write a Poem

    This helps open your mind and release all of your thoughts and creativity on paper.

    1. Call a Friend

    When was the last time you had a conversation over the phone with a friend? Sometimes we have the “habit” of getting so busy, we don’t know what’s going on in the lives of people closest to us.

    1. Seek Alternatives

    Sometimes all it takes is replacing a bad habit with another one to maintain consistency in your regimen: eating popcorn instead of chips, using vapor instead of cigarettes, etc. No, the process isn’t always easy, but definitely worth a try.

    1. Remove every negative word from your vocabulary

    THIS is a given. Get serious about start thinking positive! Your actions will follow!

    1. Take a Dance Lesson

    Another way to get out of your comfort zone and introduce yourself to something new

    1. Go Window Shopping

    Keeping your wallet at home, take a trip to the mall or your favorite outlet. It might be hard, but this will help you practice controlling impulse and patience

    1. Share Your Accomplishment/Journey

    Whew! What a journey, right? Look over the last 21 days and see how much you’ve grown. Even if you didn’t reach your goal, you’ve accomplished so much more. Now, share this challenge with someone else. Like you, it can help build their confidence to do the same. Let’s encourage and support one another to become a better version of ourselves, one day at a time.

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  • One of the most renown descriptions of a godly woman mentioned in the Bible is found in Chapter 31 of the Book of Proverbs. This “Proverbs 31 Woman,” is now a popular coined term which many Christian woman (and men) of our generation consider ideal characteristics of a woman. Like any scripture, however, it can […]

    Unveiling the Proverbs 31 Woman

    One of the most renown descriptions of a godly woman mentioned in the Bible is found in Chapter 31 of the Book of Proverbs. This “Proverbs 31 Woman,” is now a popular coined term which many Christian woman (and men) of our generation consider ideal characteristics of a woman. Like any scripture, however, it can be misinterpreted. For some Christian women, The Proverbs Woman is not an aspiration, but an idol with burdening expectations. So, how should we interpret it? Grab out your Bibles, Ladies. Let’s dive deep into this scripture:

    The Speaker

    Before we digest what is written, let’s identify who is talking and to whom:

    [v.1] “The words of King Lemuel, the utterance which his mother taught him”

    The fact that a king, King Lemuel, is writing wise words (or a poem) about a woman, from a woman (his own mother) speaks volume. King Lemuel’s mother instilled in him at an early age the value of marrying a woman. Her influence in his life cultivated his decision-making and, eventually, his leadership over a nation.

    The Subject

    Now, let’s pay close attention to the word choice:

    [v.10] “Who can find a virtuous wife?”

    I’ve noticed that many people refer to this scripture as “The Proverbs 31 Woman,” instead of “The Proverbs 31 Wife.”

    The truth is, not every woman will be a wife.

    If the Lord has placed marriage and starting a family on your heart, then that’s wonderful! But for other women, that isn’t so. Some may feel led by the Lord to travel the world or dedicate their lives to full-time ministry as single women. The Apostle Paul explains this more in-depth, concerning marriage and those who remain single [1 Corinthians 7].

    So, yes, Proverbs 31 has great characteristics of a God-fearing woman, but more so on her role as a wife and mother. Therefore, we must be careful not to misuse this scripture as the “standard checklist” for a godly woman.

    The Characteristics

    Okay, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty! The key factors that stood out (to me) regarding the Proverbs 31 Wife that are aspiring:

    1. VALUE

    [v.10] “…For her worth is far above rubies.”

    God knew what He was doing when designed us, ladies. Know your worth.

     

    1. HEALTHY RELATIONSHIP

    [v.11-12] “The heart of her husband safely trusts her, so he will have no lack of gain. She does him good and not evil, all the days of her life.”

    Synonyms for trust are “confidence” and “reliance.” The scripture doesn’t just say “the husband trusts her,” but that “his heart” trusts, biblically meaning his mind, being, and conscience. That’s some serious trust! Just as our walk with Christ, their marriage is described as a lifelong commitment of kindness, support, and companionship. Talk about the real hashtag relationship goals!

     

    1. SKILLSET/HELPMATE

    [v.13-16] “She seeks wool and flax, and willingly works with her hands. . .She brings her food from afar. . .She considers a field and buys it; From her profits she plants a vineyard.”

    Instead of being discouraged on what she doesn’t have, she uses what she has, makes a profit, and decides to invest! Whether it’s for a job, or to take care of the family and household, this wife is praised for her ability to make wise choices and productivity.

    1. CHARACTER/MORAL

    [v.20] “She extends her hand to the poor.”

    [v.25] “Strength and honor are her clothing.”

    [v.26] “She opens her mouth with wisdom, and on her tongue is the law of kindness.”

    Selflessness, respectful, kind, and wise. Sounds like King Lemuel’s mother made sure he knew what to look for in a woman!

    1. ROLE/REPUTATION

    [v.28-29] “Her children rise up and call her blessed; Her husband, also, and he praises her.”

    [v.31] “Give her the fruit of her hands, and let her own works praise her in the gates.”

    That is the power of influence. How we carry ourselves, especially around our household and peers, leaves a lasting impression.  

    Last, but not least, the verse that I believe sums up what any woman reading Proverbs 31 should take into account:

    “Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.” [v.30]

    While we look to this scripture as the “perfect” woman, we are quickly reminded that our fear in the Lord is what makes us His own. The wife of this scripture is who she is and does what she does because she knows who she serves. Let’s allow that key point to govern our motives and shape our character.

     

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  • When Tragedy Strikes: How to Deal and Heal Through Life’s Battles

    “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.” ~Martha, [John 11:21]

    Tragedy [traj-i-dee]
    Noun
    A lamentable, dreadful, or fatal event or affair; calamity; disaster.

    Many of us have suffered from a tragedy in our lives.
    Many of us have felt this type of pain.
    Many of us have been angry with God.

    It’s okay to admit it. We’re human. We have emotions. God knows this, and while warning us not to act on our emotions, He does allows us to be angry [Psalm 4:4], [Ephesians 4:26].

    Life definitely has its trials and tribulations. While we’re fully aware that we’ll face difficulties, actually being in and dealing with the situation is a different story.

    It. . .gets. . .real.

    Death of a loved one
    Loss of a job or financial hardship
    Struggle in marriage or broken relationship
    Rape and abuse
    Disease and illness
    Accidents and disabilities
    Natural Disasters and destruction of property

    The list goes on. Yes, we’re Christians who love Jesus and serve the Lord, but sometimes, hearing an “I’m sorry for your loss,” or “I’m praying for you” doesn’t make the cut. Sometimes the physical, mental, and emotional pain is so overwhelming that nothing anyone says or does will help. Grieving is not an easy process.

    Where were you, God, when my mother died of cancer?
    God, why did you let that happen to our country?
    Why, Lord, am I being punished?
    Why, Father, did You make me die on the cross?

    Wait a minute. . . what?

    That last one was intentional. And just as you stopped in your tracks, I stopped when it came across my mind a few years ago.

    While praying, with tear-filled eyes and balled up in fetal position of the corner of my bedroom, those words fell in my spirit. Why? Because Jesus never said them.

    As the Messiah, Jesus was fully aware of His fate, knowing His death on the cross was in His future, yet doing nothing to avoid it. He, instead, prayed about it, endured it, and after all the pain, he rose from it. As Christians, we will also rise from our afflictions [Psalms 34:19].

    “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.” [Psalms 30:5]

    As Sarah was saddened of her infertility, as King David mourned the loss of his first son, as the woman with the twelve-year hemorrhage dealt with her health issue, as King Nebuchadnezzar lost his kingdom, as Job lost his home and family, as Mary and Martha mourned the loss of their brother Lazarus, and as the disciples lost hope after their Lord and Savior died on the cross. . .God restored them.

    Many things in life happen completely out of our control. Sometimes, God does not give us a reason for the pain we experience. But His ways are higher than our ways, and His thoughts are higher than our thoughts [Isaiah 55:8-9]. As God’s children, through Christ, we are called to be faithful, no matter what.

    Grieving takes time. Processing devastation takes time. Healing takes time. Yet, they make us stronger. Someone who has dealt with losing a loved one, knows how to console someone who lost a loved one. Someone who has had a life-threatening disease understands how to relate and encourage someone dealing with the same. Someone who has experienced trauma knows how to motivate and help someone who has dealt with the same (and possibly write a book that will do so for millions of readers).

    Although we don’t have all of the answers, we know that God promised in His Word that everything will work out for our good [Romans 8:28]. Tragedy does not mean God punished you; it means God chose you.

    “Even When It Hurts’ ~Hillsong UNITED

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  • If you’re a single, 20-something Christian woman with a family like mine, you probably get an ear-full at every holiday or family reunion: “So, anyone new in your life?” “My coworker’s son is about your age.” (hint hint) “Still looking for Mr. Right, huh?” We’re focused on Christ, and confident that the Lord will bring […]

    Saved, Single, and. . .Lonely?

    If you’re a single, 20-something Christian woman with a family like mine, you probably get an ear-full at every holiday or family reunion:

    • “So, anyone new in your life?”
    • “My coworker’s son is about your age.” (hint hint)
    • “Still looking for Mr. Right, huh?”

    We’re focused on Christ, and confident that the Lord will bring the right man along when the time is right. Our society, however, treats being single like it’s a disease and unfortunately can alter our perception of this season.

    Don’t let them.

    There is a fine line difference between lonely and alone. One person can sit comfortably at home all day enjoying quiet and solitude, while another can be at a party full of dozens of people and still feel lonely. Alone is a state of being; lonely is an emotional feeling. If you’ve accepted Christ into your life, you’re never alone. God informs us in His Word that He’ll never leave nor forsake us [Hebrews 13:5]. Feeling lonely is a trick of the enemy that, if you’re not cautious, can persuade you to surround yourself with bad company.  

    It’s okay to sometimes experience discontentment in your single season. If we’re being honest, many of us have felt that way from time to time. We’re humans, we have emotions. It’s important to understand, however, that emotions are temporary and can be deceiving. If you’ve been feeling lonely lately, don’t be discouraged. Here are reasons to enjoy your single season:

    1. Preparation  

    Remember back in college when you and a group of friends would get together to study for a test or exam, and how it somehow turned into a mini-party? Face it. Sometimes it’s hard to stay focused and get things done when we’re surrounded by friends and loved ones. Jesus kept His twelve disciples close, but even He often left them and went off to secluded areas, sometimes for days at a time. He was preparing for His purpose, and in this season of singleness, so are you.

    What is it that you need to accomplish that is difficult to do if in a relationship? Whether it’s college, your career, building your finances, or even strengthening your relationship with God, some things are easier to do while you’re single and still kicking. Take full advantage of it.

    1. Timing

    “To Everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven” [Ecclesiastes 3:1]. How many times have we rushed into something, just to find out later that we weren’t ready? I know I have. Society, family and friends, and even our personal desires may have ‘assigned time limits’ on where we should be at certain ages in our life:

    • Age 21- graduate from college with a secured job
    • Age 25- House and car
    • Age 35- Married with kids
    • Age 55- Retired

    Sometimes we have our entire life planned out from A to Z, and it may not even be God’s Will. When it comes to life, there is not a one-size-fits-all. We can’t rush God’s timing, nor should we try to. It’s great to have goals but make sure they’re not idols in your life, or we’ll miss out on enjoying life as it is.

    [Ecclesiastes 3:11-13]

    “He has made everything beautiful in its time. . .I know that nothing is better for them than to rejoice, and to do good in their lives, and also that every man should eat and drink and enjoy the good of all his labor–it is the gift of God.”

     

    1. You’re Priceless

    Let’s not overlook our value. God’s Word informs us that we’re fearfully and wonderfully made [Psalms 139:14], chosen [1 Peter 2:9], and given spirits of power and love [2 Timothy 1:7]. Just like the finest, most valuable jewels are hidden deep within earth’s core, so are we. Single doesn’t mean you’re not worthy, it means you haven’t settled. Don’t allow society or anyone else convince you otherwise.

    Spoken from someone who has been single for over six years, I can honestly say that it took time for me to become comfortable in this season, and I love it. I’ve taken this time to emotionally heal from my past, grow in my career, and even travel (and live) overseas. I’ve learned a lot about myself, and have developed a level of confidence so deep in God that I can easily brush off anything that opposes my faith. May this be encouraging and empowering for all the single ladies!

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