For those of you that don't know, this is my dear friend, Ashley Miller.
Ashley and I have grown up together, and over the past 23 years, we have maintained a strong friendship. My first memory of Ashley is playing on the same t-ball team (Go Mets! Coached by none other than James Miller!), and playing Little Mermaid on the floor of her bedroom in the small white house on Gallatin Street. We then conquered (or survived I guess I should say) our awkward stages together as little youth group tag-a-longs, and then onto jr. high students where we wasted literally hours a day in her mom's classroom at school. Then eventually, she became cool in high-school, and I was still awkward, but somehow we were still friends. Over the years, we've shared family beach trips, road trips, Auburn games, dozens of Saturday Night Live episodes, and even one unfortunate visit to the principals office in 11th grade (haha). Ashley is one of those friends that I consider family, so needless to say, I was thrilled when she decided to move to from Auburn to Nashville after she graduated from college to be a nurse at Baptist hospital. And now, a little over year and a half later, I can say that it has been an absolute joy living in the same city as her again, and getting to share in things like watching Auburn games, running random errands, or meeting for dinner at the Local Taco. We don't talk or see each other every day, but when we do, we pick up right where we left off. But the best part is, over the past year and a half, I feel like I have truly seen Ashley grow up, despite the fact that I have practically spent the past 23 years of my life, physically growing up with her. When she arrived in Nashville two summers ago, she was different, and I think it's safe to say that God was beginning a work in her life then that He is now making a reality. Tomorrow, Ashley moves to Honduras, where she will serve as a missionary and a nurse, working alongside an organization called Mission UpReach. Making this decision to move to a third world country, leave all her friends, family, her job, and her material possessions, was no doubt unbelievably difficult for Ashley, and I think I can say, pretty shocking news to both her and her friends and family. But I love her story, because it is such a beautiful testimony to what God can do when someone truly gives Him control of their life. I heard Don Miller speak recently, about the kind of people that change the world, and he described them as being "completely over and done with themselves", and I love that so much because that is who Ashley has become and who she is choosing to be. She is done with herself, and she is now giving up the next two years of her life (at least) to serving God and serving others in Honduras.
So Ashley, thank you, for listening and responding to God's call even though it wasn't easy. Your selflessness and sacrificial heart are truly an inspiration to us all. You are, and always will be a constant reminder of what God can and will do in our lives if we truly turn things over to Him. I could not be prouder of you for the wonderful person you have become, and I am honored to call you a friend and a sister in Christ. You will be in our thoughts and prayers daily. We love you, very much! Now go, change the world!
(To stay posted on Ashley's adventures and ministry in Honduras, or if you're feeling generous and want to contribute to her cause, please click here ! )