“Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” ~ Psalm 51:10 NIV
Ashley Petallano is a writer. As a professional content writer by day and a creative fictionist, poet and prose writer by night, a huge chunk of her life is all about writing. Her insights about her personal challenges, the events happening around her and music are some of the things that drive her creativity in penning down words that will make up her next writing piece. For her, words are beautiful, especially when used to express a thought or tell a story about something or someone. When used properly, it impacts a number, if not a soul. . God, being her primary source of inspiration, helps her in accomplishing much in her writing.
She tries to keep her quiet time with the Lord a regular part of her day because she understands that this is how she is empowered to do the many tasks she needs to finish daily. She would sing worship songs; read the Word of God and journal her thoughts about what God has revealed to her through her reading. Keeping this spiritual discipline helps her perceive her circumstances properly, reveals her faults to confess them to the Lord, and guides her to live the life God has set out for her.
Ashley is also actively involved in Elevate (CCF’s student movement that aims to take students to the next level in their values, excellence and leadership) and mentors young women through her D-group (discipleship group). She guides young women to know Jesus Christ and to follow Him in their lives.
Ashley herself values the importance of discipleship because it is through this that people understand the relationship they have with Jesus. She learned this the hard way because in her experience, she realized that being in a Christian family does not exempt you from sinning nor automatically make you a Christian. You will need to be guided into knowing Jesus and growing in Him.
And here begins Ashley’s love story that even she cannot write.
She thought being a good girl—excelled in her academics and no vices whatsoever—made her a Christian. But in private, she struggled with insecurities, jealousy, pornography and manipulation of others. She has always known who Jesus was in Sunday school, but has never encountered Him personally—until Jesus became real and personal to her during a youth camp she joined.
However, she really did not fully surrender her life to Jesus. In her early twenties, she got involved in a relationship that compromised her faith and values. She carried on with the ungodly relationship even if she knows the consequences of her disobedience to God’s Word. She neglected the counsel of those who truly cared for her and was willing to cross boundaries for this person even if it caused her greatly.
She was trapped in an ugly relationship but God was at her rescue.
In His goodness and irresistible amazing grace, God never let go of Ashley and wanted her back to Him. God exposed the truth about the person she was in a relationship with and revealed the person’s infidelity and twisted dark side. This led her back to the Lord. Though she was completely heartbroken, she realized that if you are truly a child of God, God will keep calling you and you won’t be able to resist it when He does. He will redeem you and totally heal you from your heartbreak.
Through consistent prayer, reading of God’s Word and counsel of other committed followers of Jesus, Ashley has learned how to handle stress and be wiser in her struggles and relationships. This is the reason why Psalm 51 will always be special to her because it spoke to her so powerfully after a long time of being away from the presence of the Lord. She believes that it is only God who can renew her heart and keep her spirit steadfast in Him.
Ashley may have been trapped in a relationship with a person she thought was her Prince Charming, but she was rescued and redeemed by the King of Kings to be loved for all eternity.
Ms. TM says:
My coffee date with Ashley was really fun. I learned a lot and enjoyed talking with her. She is a BA Communication Arts Graduate and a content writer at a leading Online Solutions company. Ashley is also the discipler of my daughter. She has been my daughter’s big sister for 5 years now.
Sadly, her story is not uncommon to women—falling in love with the wrong kind of man. I realized that this kind of story happens even to the best of women, young and old. Many men are deceptive and deliberately hurt women. Ashley got trapped in a relationship and was deceived by a guy she thought loved her but cheated her with other women. I felt sorry for Ashley but then I can be as vulnerable as her. There are really men who would take advantage of your longing to be loved.
In Ashley’s story, I have seen how God works in the lives of people. He will always pursue us even if we run away from him. God’s love is so great that no matter how far we have fallen, He will always take us back. God did not allow Ashley to totally fall into this guy’s schemes and has exposed him so Ashley was able to get out of the relationship quickly. Her discovery made her also warn the others and prevented them from being deceived as well. God is really amazing and His timing is always perfect.
Because of this experience, Ashley is now wiser in getting into relationships that is not God-honoring. I am amazed how God is now using Ashley’s experience in ministering to other teenagers through her D-group, as well as reaching out to her co-workers in the office.
Dear Jesus, teach me to seek love from You and not from other people. Give me the grace to focus my eyes on You and experience the love that is unconditional and eternal which only comes from You. Protect me and other women from being trapped by the scheme of men trying to derail our path away from You. May we always remember that you are ultimately the Lover of our souls and that no other love can satisfy but Yours alone. In Your name, I pray. Amen.