I know you’ve heard a lot about She Is Blank Space and our app on the way, but I want to talk about how we got here, why this is so important to me, why it’s so needed.
One day I woke up.
No, not by the beeping of my alarm clock or my kids poking me in the eyeball, but I WOKE up.
My innermost being was so lost, confused, and just flat out blah.
It was as if God tossed a bucket of ice cold water in my face and said, “Ashley, my dear, whom I love so hugely…what are you doing?”
I absolutely could not answer that question. Sad, right? Yeah, I thought so too. This started a downward then upward spiral. It was a lot of questioning and addressing things I was holding onto before I could start moving forward. I dug in deep, cried a lot of tears from past hurts, anger, and whatever else I needed to face. This was hard for me, a person that seemingly had it all together, to admit defeat and that I was failing at “life.”
In general, nothing about life was bad. I have a wonderful husband, three beautiful children, a good paying job and by God’s grace, we’ve always had everything we needed. Something was missing though. That spark--I lacked passion and zeal. I allowed my light to be dimmed. Yes, there were things that contributed to this, the grind of life, experiencing the loss of our Emmy, becoming a new mom, then life with twins, exhaustion…but mostly going through the motions and convincing myself I was ok where I was. At my worst point, I guarded myself by avoiding going to church completely at times and when I did, fleeing as soon as service was over to avoid a breakdown when someone asked the “are you ok?” question. I guess I knew if I allowed myself to truly process, it would hurt too bad, so I just kept going. The saddest part of all of it, is I knew better, but the enemy loves to isolate you in the times when you need people the most. Ugh, he's such a bully.
Things were different last year when all this started, and although I remembered those feelings, I needed to discover what God wanted for me right now instead of clinging to my past and those coulda-woulda-shoulda thoughts. I had a new perspective and needed to filter through what that all meant.
After the air finally cleared for me, it seemed like everyone I knew was fighting against things in their health, marriages, kids-- anything and everything.
And then it happened, this pivotal moment that caused everything to collide. I remembered. I remembered what it felt like to be a part of something bigger than me, I remembered the things that were spoken over me as a teen that I wondered how they would happen, I remembered what it should mean to be a great friend.
Out of the normal for this fairly quiet individual, I posted a random video of encouragement for others as I was also speaking to myself. Out of my own path I was still walking, God opened this door to my heart for others again even as I pleaded with him to pick someone else, because surely, I was in no position to do this. After much prayer, it became evident God wanted me to jump into something REALLY out of my comfort zone. As someone with a supportive family and amazing church, I knew that we were very blessed and not everyone had this. What better place to do this than on a website that could reach far beyond what I could physically.
So, what to call this new venture? I was drawing a blank (see where I’m going?). How do I categorize this when I want it to reach all women in different phases of life? It was impossible to put a label on it, and one morning while changing one of the twins’ diaper, it came to me…”She Is Blank Space.” No, not the void kind of blank space, but the blank space gets filled in with something. She is…a college gal, rocking at mommy’ing, learning to be whole, confident ... you get the idea. This name allows us to talk about things in the present, but also towards the future and what we are striving after as we walk the oh so many shoes we fill as women.
I knew I couldn’t do this alone as we all have a story to tell and I asked around fifteen other women to join alongside me. Some of us are married, mothers, others in college still finding out what we want in life, some love to exercise, some love fashion and so on. Can I just point out how amazing they all are? I'm sure you've noticed, but I just love them!
While you could give me all the fun parts of what we share like food and DIY all day, my hope for She Is Blank Space is for each woman to find community and encouragement from other women who have been there or are there. Although I wanted this to happen right away, we had to build our foundation and I also had to transition out of my full time job to devote the time needed. I knew it would happen, but in the meantime, remained faithful to my job as a nurse, staying up super late to prep things for the next day for posts and social media so I could use my break time to get them published. We started to bring in a steady stream of income between working with other companies and our shop, but it wasn’t quite lining up to my salary. Keep in mind, I was completely clueless about web and graphic design, traffic flow, utilizing social media for things other than posting pictures of my kids!
Around the nine month mark since our launch, it became clear we weren’t going to grow any farther until I had more time to give. With three kids five and under, being a wife, full time nurse and being involved in ministry, the only thing that could change was my job. After much prayer, I handed in my two weeks notice, which they were not happy about losing me, but understood. That leap was hard y’all; I knew the hubby and I could survive on Ramen noodles if we had to, but our kids could not. However, I had such peace knowing that God would not have given me this dream without making a way.
And boy did He prove to me that He had us covered. Money came in from a random account I had with my old job equivalent to a month's pay, one of my husband’s pay checks that never got deposited was discovered, our mortgage went down and so on. I remained baffled by this whole process, but it’s amazing to see seeds that have been planted over the course of my life blooming into something I never would have imagined for myself.
So here we are, right in the middle of this amazing venture, and it’s time. It’s time to dig in a little deeper, truly bringing realness, vulnerability, love. In a world full of perfect social media pictures, we are going to those places that are hard, but necessary for growth. As a person with a love of gardening, it’s easiest to explain it this way: before new blooms can be achieved on a tree or plant, you must trim back the branches. It seems like it doesn’t make any sense to “hurt” the plant, but it triggers it to say, “hey, I’ve got work to do, I’m stagnant, I’ve stopped growing, I’ve wilted, I need to wake up, I need to grow again.”
So how about we bloom together, ok? Life is far too short to be walked out without purpose or in dry, empty places. For you, your friends, your family-let’s jump into the word together and allow ourselves to be willing to hear and act upon the tugs of our hearts.
read the app details here or download below!
a few big thanks!
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