Ashley shares how God gave her a heart for serving two years on iEDGE.
I entered the fall of my senior year at school feeling, quite honestly, like a spiritual failure - burnt out after a long year abroad, a painfully broken romantic relationship, and a sinking feeling of being stuck, spinning my wheels, in the frustrating struggle for sexual purity.
In short, when I heard from my best friend about the iEDGE program, my reaction was mostly one of wistful regret: "I wish that my failures – especially those in the fight for purity – had not disqualified me from this opportunity to follow Christ into the nations," I thought.
From my times in prayer with the Lord, however, I became convinced that He wanted me to apply. I felt sure that, if I did apply, I would be facing hard, shaming conversations and eventually rejection, but I applied, thinking ultimately that God perhaps wanted to humble me in the process.
What I discovered was that the Lord is indeed "near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit" (Psalm 34:18). While the iEDGE application and interview process was thorough and even probing at times, a spirit of love – God's own Spirit – dominated the process.
I could tell that the questions asked were asked from a perspective of trying to discern how best to help me live in intimate relationship with the Lord and, from that, be a productive laborer in His kingdom. It was clear that the staff who were forming the various teams were for my good even as they were Kingdom-minded in their long-term vision.
Since joining The Navigators as iEDGE Staff, I have found them to take the charge to spur one another on in love to good works (Hebrews 10:24-25) very seriously. I have had both help and accountability, both loving encouragement and hard conversations, in good measure, and I am grateful to be walking in the light of truth with them to advance the gospel of Jesus and His Kingdom into the nations.
If you are unsure of whether to apply for iEDGE because of your struggles, past or present, with sexual sin, I would encourage you not to allow the shame associated with that sin to make you feel disqualified from the Great Commission. Rather, first talk with your discipler, your campus director, and the Navigators iEDGE team about the state of your spiritual health – they are for you! – and trust that God will use you in exactly the context He has for you, no matter what, to your good and to His glory.
Author: 2014 iEDGEr
My thoughts are being challenged every single day
What I think, what I do, and even what I say
Although I want to fight for what’s right
Old issues once buried are now shed in new light
What should I do with these issues anew?
I am lost and confused and don’t know what to do
How can I know that what I believe is true
When I struggle day-by-day with simply knowing You
I can do all these things that look so great
But what does that matter if in my heart there is hate?
You said that the Law and the Prophets hang on love
But I can’t love on my own, I need help from above
Lord Jesus, help me to see others through your eyes
Give me your wisdom to discern your truth from lies
And above all else, O Lord, may this I pray
Give me your grace to make it through today
Author: 2014 iEDGEr
In Matthew 16, Jesus makes it very clear that His true identity did not come in revelation to Simon (Peter) because of any human effort but because our Father in heaven ordained it to happen at that moment. I didn't start to really grasp the sovereignty of God over the heart of man until my time overseas.
I had my first taste of evangelism in college and God encouraged me by using me in the lives of others and allowing me to see very tangible results. During my first six months overseas I couldn't even make friends, much less share the Gospel. No matter how many lunches I ate with strangers, how many hours I spent on event flyers, or even how clearly I shared my three-minute testimony - I had no control over the hearts of those I was trying to minister to or over their response.
God allowed the word "manufacture" sit in my heart. He taught me in those two years I do not have the power to make anything happen. I will never be able to manufacture anything when it comes to His children.
It honors me to know that God invited me to share His love with my friends overseas and allowing me to see more of not only His heart but the amazing power only He holds.
Author: 2012 iEDGEr
Before I went through iEdge I thought of myself as a great person. There were a lot of ways I was faithful to God and to those around me. I looked forward to my time overseas with naively high expectations of myself.
Immersed in the pressure of pioneering a ministry in a foreign culture and closer relationships than I had ever experienced, I saw a more raw and honest picture of myself and I didn't like it.
The sin, the great selfishness I saw in myself was a painful but necessary dose of reality. I held my teammates to impossible standards of understanding me. God showed me that this wasn't new but the way I had approached relationships my entire life.
Two years with my team meant I was forced work through rough patches and both give and receive forgiveness for hurt. It's not hard to be grateful for that now knowing that my pattern of relating to others is transformed for the rest of my life!
Author: 2012 iEDGEr