In the fall of 2013, I wrote a book called “A God-Sized Love Story,” sharing my journey through singleness and what God taught me about waiting in the process. We are currently working on getting a print edition of this book to encourage you in your seasons of waiting and longing. Ashley Abramson has partnered with us to edit the book! Today, I am thrilled to share a glimpse into Ashley’s heart for Jesus and the writing process. I know you will be encouraged by her story! Grab a cup of coffee and meet Ashley!
Introduce yourself like we are having a cup of coffee together. 🙂 What kind of coffee/tea would you drink?
Hi! I’m Ashley. If we were in person, I’d probably break the ice with a bad joke and an iced latte in hand. My husband Tim, my son Ollie, and I just moved from Minneapolis to Redding, CA for my first grown-up writing job at Bethel Media, the creative arm of Bethel Church. I was a stay-at-home mom for Ollie’s first year, then I started my writing and editing business and sent him to daycare twice a week, and now I’m writing full time and freelancing on the side. I get fired up about the marriage of soul and story, and how God refines our hearts as we write and also inspires us to write as He redefines us. I love empowering women to explore the deep parts of their hearts and learn how to apply God’s truth in those places. I spend a lot of time daydreaming about that, but most days, you can find me writing or editing content, which is totally my dream gig!
What is your definition of a “life lived beautifully”?
Such a rich question! To me, a life lived beautifully is a life fully submitted to Jesus, and I think that looks different for all of us. He speaks to us about Himself in the Word, but He applies His truth specifically and uniquely to our hearts because we’re His beloved daughters, each of us with our own wounds and needs. A life lived beautifully is a life boldly mining the depths of our souls with Jesus, storming the dark places with the light of His word. Salvation happens once at conversion, but Jesus enhances our beauty with His light and life each day–it’s our choice to partner with Him in the process.
When did you start following Jesus?
I knew about Jesus growing up, but I didn’t know Him as Savior and friend until I turned fourteen. A boy I liked invited me to youth group, where I eventually went on a weekend retreat and trusted in Jesus for the first time. But I always tell people it’s been an evolution of understanding grace and the Gospel. I went to a Christian college and learned about the Gospel for the first time–that Jesus wasn’t just a set of rules or a structure for me to live by, but Bread of Life for me to feast on and actually enjoy. He’s so faithful to stretch and grow me in new ways each season, and I’m beyond thankful He had His eye on me and rescued me almost fourteen years ago.
What are some verses you constantly cling to and bring life to your soul?
The book of John is my go-to in recent years–especially chapters 14-16. Right now I love John 16:21-22, because I can relate to the anecdote about giving birth and forgetting the pain because of the joy of new life. Whenever I’m in a trying situation and tempted toward discouragement, I call that verse to mind. I know that when I see Jesus, His beauty and love will wipe out any grief or fear or sadness I’ve felt. I can’t wait to be made complete in Him!
Isaiah 54 and 55 are also mainstays for me. When I’m struggling with understanding something the Lord is doing in my life, I hold onto Isaiah 55:8-9: His ways are higher than my ways. He’s the Creator, and I’m His creation, and I’m called to tell Him I trust Him even when my mind can’t understand. It’s so weirdly comforting to remember my small stature before Him. I don’t have to understand it all–He just asks me to say “yes” to Him.
How do you integrate sharing the Gospel with creativity?
The world desperately needs women alive in their gifts. I believe the most beautiful witness is women living boldly and bravely right where they are–influencing in their sphere by living fully in the story God has for them. It took me a long time to realize writing isn’t a hobby to reserve for a time when I have it all together, but a landscape for me to actively seek God in NOW.
I love connecting with others about art and writing. I often camp out at a coffeeshop to write or edit and end up talking to people sitting around me. I used to fear sharing that I’m a writer because I felt like an imposter, but now that I own it and with Jesus’ help tell my story fearlessly, I think I display Jesus more powerfully–no, I don’t have it all together, but I don’t need to. My fearlessness in Him gives others permission to be who He created them to be, and I think that’s really freeing.
Tell us more about what you do. How can you encourage others through your work?
I’ve been writing as long as I can remember, and editing came soon after. The process of writing is so different than editing, but the two are so intertwined for me–both crafting and shaping story mirror the process of sanctification in so many ways.
As for encouraging others through my work, I really think discipleship and sanctification are for all of life, not just some spiritual sphere on Sunday mornings. I love to mentor women through writing, helping them draw out what God might be speaking to them in their unique stories. The process of writing is such a reflection of the Father’s pruning work in us; we water the fruit that’s healthy and beneficial and cut out what isn’t. It’s such a gift to step into that process with women and help them cultivate bravery and beauty with pen and paper. Words and stories shape us, so when I edit, write, and coach, I always try to tune into what God might want to do in my client’s heart through the process, whether I’m writing for them or editing their work.
What life lessons did you learn in working from home with children?
A few months ago, when my writing business took off, I put my son in daycare twice a week. It was a difficult decision but a really necessary one. I was working full-time during my pregnancy with him and really struggled through the idea of working a job I wasn’t passionate about. I ended up quitting my office job after my maternity leave (oops!) and spent his first year and a half in the trenches of mothering. When I launched my business officially last August, I noticed myself distracted by work. I didn’t want to put Ollie in front of the TV all afternoon or try to squeeze writing into evenings with my husband, so we found a daycare that works for us, and it’s been the most freeing thing ever. Then I got the job offer at Bethel, and it just made sense. Ollie was thriving in daycare, and I was thriving working in the creative world, so we’re both ready for our new adventure.
I’m learning that God’s best for me often doesn’t involve my expectations. He surprises me all the time with opportunities to walk by faith, and being a working mom is no exception. I’m a better mom when I’m living in my gifts. I guess I thought I had to pick a role, mom or writer, but really, they feed each other. Being a mom inspires me to write and create, and being a writer inspires me to mother creatively, demonstrating to my son what it looks like to walk with God in all things. It’s so fun!
What are some books you are currently reading?
I’m finishing Scary Close by Donald Miller, and I adore it. He’s got such a casual, relatable style of storytelling that’s really shaping my writing. I’m also reading The Praying Hyde, a little book about a missionary in India who devoted his life to getting on his face before God in prayer–it’s rocking me. I always wonder what my life would look like, or what the world would look like, if I was 100% sold out on Jesus, always lingering in His presence. And I just bought the prettiest book, Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert, about overcoming fear in the creative process. I’m really excited to dig into that and apply it to my writing coaching sessions.
If you could tell every woman reading this blog one thing God has laid on your heart, what would it be?
The same challenge I’m giving myself: what would your life look like if you resolved to saturate every part of it in what Jesus says is true about Himself and about you? I think it’s worth the risk!