The Created Mag Story

the created mag story

Listen to the Episode here or if you like to read, read on!

Living created is a podcast here to bring girls together for one reason to discover our passions and our purposes in life. God created us individually for reasons only we can discover and live out.

Right now society is trying to tell us how to live and who to be, but we must stop listening to them and start seeking answers together. In this post, I’ll share my passion behind this project, what the three steps to living created are, and what’s to come.


I am so excited to start recording this podcast. It’s been in the back of my head for months and honestly it’s taken me this long to start it and I am so excited, so excited. My tagline for this podcast and my website is this, discovering what we are created for together.

I’ve been in a season where I’m trying to discover and just learn more about who God created me to be and what he created me to do. And I know other people are looking for the exact same thing. I have a lot of friends who asked me the same questions. We’re kind of all in the same boat trying to discover this together. And I figured why not start a podcast and have a blog where people who are in the same season can come together, ask each other questions, encourage each other, and just do this together.

Who is this Podcast for?

It’s for the girl feeling a little lost in life. The girl trying to discover why guy created her, the girl needing a next step to take life is crazy.

And I don’t care what season you’re in, whether you’re graduating high school soon or you’re trying to navigate what college is like living at your school, making friends, going to class, trying to figure out what you want to do after school. Or if you’ve already graduated and you’ve thought that when you chose a major that would be what you did for the rest of your life and it would be an easy step into a career and it turns out it wasn’t that easy of a step into a career. The job is not what you were thinking you would be and you don’t seem to have any community in this season of life and it is super hard.

That is exactly the season I am in. God has taken me on quite the journey. This is not at all where I expected to be when I was making my flat plan for graduating college. It did not include moving back to where my parents live and buying a house and just try to navigate for different jobs to pay the bills like this was not the plan, but I know and I have peace that this is where God’s called me to be right now.

Why? I do not know, but we are going to discover that together. So I just wanted to share a little bit about myself.

My name is Ashley and I became a believer when I was 16 which I’m going to share just a little bit of my testimony because it will make sense with my blogging story, which is crazy how that all comes together.

I grew up in a Christian home and I became a believer when I was 16. I went to a church camp and of course, that’s super cliche. I know, I know, but it was life changing for me. There was a bunch of us, probably a few hundred kids at the camp. They had us get on our hands and knees and just pray to God. I did and he spoke to me. He convicted me of things. He spoke over my life and it was a very, just a life changing, which I already used, but life changing moment because in that second my all the head knowledge, everything I knew about God became part knowledge and I believed at all and it kind of just set me on fire for the Lord. And ever since then I’ve been seeking him.

I’ve been loving him and just honoring him with my life as best I can. And that is kind of how I became a believer. And then in that same weekend we had different mentors and there was one in, her name was Natalie and she was 18 and I absolutely adore her to this day.

And we had to sit down and just speak with her about what was going on in our lives and just share what God was teaching us on that week, during that week and everything. And so I sat down with her and she was asking me what I felt like God was telling me to do. And at that time I told her I felt like God was telling me to use my gifts and to make a blog. So when I was 16 and I went home and I started learning a few things about what blogging looks like.

I learned a little bit about coding, I learned a little bit about writing and everything. And so I started that blogging journey when I was 16 a lot of that I wrote for myself. I wrote on random subjects like DIY projects. And how to make friends and all that stuff. And so as I grew older, as I went to college, I continued writing and continued blogging.

And it changed over the years. I developed more of a voice and I started sharing more about topics that other people would ask me about and things that other people were searching for. And so I ended up getting inspired to start writing for others more. And so when I was about to graduate college, I was what? I was 20 years old when I graduated.

I became a missionary in the country of Ukraine as soon as I graduated college. And so right before that I was starting to fundraise and I had to fundraise all the money for an entire year so that I could live abroad. And so for my fundraising process, I bought these black tee shirts and I hand stitch the word created over where like the pocket would be. I adore that word and it’s just been something that God’s kind of spoken over me, that he created me for a purpose and I was created to be creative. And so it’s kind of just my favorite word. When I was thinking about shifting my blog from Ashleyjobruce.com which was a little bit more focused on me, shifting it to other girls, I decided to go with created as my main word.

And then I decided to call it a magazine because I wanted it to have a broad number of subjects talked about and have multiple writers. So it’s not just about me. And so that’s Kinda how my shift turned from my personal blog to a blog that I shared with others and started focusing on collaborating with others and all that jazz. And so I ended up moving back from Ukraine in the end of last year. And I had been living in Georgia, in the north Georgia mountains, and lots of things have changed, but is a okay. And this is where I’m at in life.

I finally got to a point where I realized every single plan that I had made for myself was not working out. I discovered my passion for mission work through college. And I really felt like that was what God wanted me to run after, which was fulltime mission work.

And then I ended up going there and I actually got sick physically and it was just a very, very difficult seven months. But I learned a lot about who I am and who God created me to be and who he is.

But he still flipped everything about my life upside down. Literally all my plans were now wrong and nothing was working out. Now I live in a city I never wanted to live because it’s like in the middle of nowhere. And I live near my parents, which was also not in the plan, but I love them and I’m just in a season of discovery and I want to do it and experience it with others. And so here we are.

Welcome to my mess.

Okay. Now that I’ve shared a little bit about my story and who I am, I want to share a little bit more about created mag in the vision God put in my heart for this online blog in podcast.

What does it look like to live created?

I was thinking about what it looks like to live created because living created looks like fulfilling our passions and purposes set apart for us by God so that we can make a difference on earth, love others and love God and just, you know, bring him glory, which is what we’re all called to do. And so when I was thinking about that, I was trying to figure out, okay, so how do we go from point a not knowing what our purpose is, not knowing exactly what we’re supposed to be doing with our lives to point B fulfilling and living our lives as God created us to live. So I started brainstorming about what I learned and there are three steps that came about out of my asking questions and seeking answers.

Step 1: Passionately Pursue God

So number one, passionately pursue God because when we discover what our purpose is, we also discover what our passions are.

It all is rooted in our relationship with God because he will reveal those to us. He will develop us into the person he needs us to be, and he will speak truth over us and guide us in the entire process.

If we don’t have that relationship with God, if we don’t pursue him daily, then we’re gonna miss out on finding our purpose because we’re only going to get a fraction of what he created us for because we’re missing out on him who is ultimately the point of life to follow him. He’s it.

Step 2: Be Faithful Daily

Now, step two looks a little bit more applicable, a little bit more of like a daily action. I believe step two in finding our purpose in living out our creative life is to be faithful daily.

I think that we need to be faithful in a lot of different areas of our lives, not just the one areas that we really struggle with, but also all of our relationships and the way that we manage our money and spend our money the way that we love others.

The way that we serve in the church, the way that we just live our daily lives, the way we work are all opportunities to serve Him well.

Each of us step into different places in the world every day. So some of you might step into a classroom and are there for multiple hours or maybe you’re in college and you go to one class and then you go to lunch with friends and then you have to work in the afternoons. We all end up in different places, but we’re all called to be faithful to the Lord and to be faithful to what he’s called us to do in those places.

The thing with being faithful daily is it builds on itself. The more we show God that we’re pursuing him today and we’re trying to honor him with our actions, our words and the way that we love others, it will build on itself.

He’ll see that and he’ll give us more responsibility and he’ll just reveal more to us because he is seeing that we are choosing him and so being faithful is just a single step that may look simple today. It could be praying with a friend, it could be choosing to serve someone, it could be slowing down and taking a few minutes to sit with someone who is grieving.

There are so many different ways that we can be faithful today, but it all builds on itself.

Step 3: Impact the World

And my third step to live in created is my personal favorite one, which is to impact the world. When we are passionately pursuing God and when we are being faithful to him daily, then we will naturally be impacting the world. Impacting the world will look differently for each of us and in the seasons that we’re in. And it might not seem so grand, it could be very simple and you could be really faithful and loving that one that’s hard to love and you could end up impacting their lives even if you can never see it.

And down the road they ended up bringing all these people to Christ because you love them very, very well. So impacting the world is kind of a result of our actions and it’s not something that we need to be striving for. It will just kind of happen. And I think that’s so cool because God can see all that and the results of all the hard work that we put into the different areas of our lives.

One day I’m hoping in heaven we all sit with God and he’ll show me the results of small faithful actions I took and he’ll show me all the lives that were impacted by me being faithful to him and loving him. I think that is so cool. I really believe that impacting the world is the third step to living created and all three of them kind of work together to reveal to us and to reveal to the world why we were created.

What to expect

So back to what this podcast and blog will look like. We will explore these topics in very applicable ways. I hate listening to podcasts that are just clearly lacking a way to apply them because I could hear all the stories and all the great information and then walk away being inspired but not sure how to take the next step and live those things out.

So what to expect. There will be episodes/blog posts every Monday released and they will be on different topics that we will explore including how to grow with God, how to be faithful with your money, how to be faithful in your relationships, how to be faithful at work and in serving and in all the ways of life. We will also be sharing stories in answering questions.

Have a question you want answered in a blog post or podcast episode? Ask here!

Subscribe to the podcast and share this with one friend so we can get the word out!

2019 Summer Reads for the Christian Girl

HEY! Just so you know this post includes affiliate links, which means if you click through and purchase, means I can make a small commission at no cost to you! Thank you for supporting Created Mag!

I am so excited to bring you this book list! I absolutely love to read all year long but there is just something relaxing about reading in the summer. I always picture myself with a book in my hand on a sandy towel at the beach (probably getting sunburned). Here is my 2019 recommended summer books for the Christian girl!

These aren’t all Christian books, just books I’ve loved! I’ll add a little note if I remember if it had inappropriate words/scenes.

Ashley’s Secrets Revealed!

Real fast before we dive into this awesome list I want to share how I read so many books for cheap! There are a few ways I buy as many books as possible with my $25 book budget every month.

1.Scribd

I could talk about this company for hours! I just discovered them in the last year and I have used them ever since! They have a HUGE library full of ebooks and audiobooks for only 8.99 a month. Seriously.

Let me clarify their wording. They say it’s unlimited books & it is essentially. You have unlimited access to the ebooks but they have special deals for the audiobooks. I tend to listen to 4-5 audiobooks before I have to wait until the next month. They work it out with publishers to make it best for you! It’s still the best service I’ve found by far! Audible just seemed a little expensive for me because I read so many books in a month.

Wanna try it for a month for FREE? Sign up here!

2. Thriftbooks

I personally LOVE used books. Of course they are cheaper and I can buy more for less but also they smell so good! Thriftbooks is my favorite online used book retailer. Seriously they are the best. I often find good used books around 4-6 dollars and it’s free shipping over $10. It typically takes around a week to receive them but that’s their only downside!

Go buy some used books here!

3. Amazon’s Used Books

I buy books from Amazon all the time (I know, I am trying to shop local but I am limited!). When I am looking at buying several books I click to see other purchase options. Look and see if there is a reasonably priced one (don’t forget to calculate shipping!) then buy more books!

4. The Library

Always the first place I look but I live in a small town so it has a very limited selection. I still put books on hold all the time! You should go in your local library with an open mind to find something fresh. Show your appreciation!

How to Shop the Summer 2019 Must Reads List

Instead of linking every book, I compiled a shopping list/wish list so you can look through and purchase any books you want on Amazon! They are in the same order on this blog post and on the Amazon list!

Here is the wish list: Shop!

Christian Series

Christy Miller Series – Robin Jones Gunn

I originally started this classic teen girl series when I was 14 years old and there are still new books being released. Definitely a must read!

Christiansen Series – Susan May Warren

These are romantic contemporary stories by one of my all time favorite authors. This is the series I started with and have been buying each new release as they come out. LOVE!

The Broadmoore Legacy – Tracie Peterson

This is a historical Christian series I read last year. This author blends fun story telling, strong female characters and historical time periods. Check out her other series too!

Mystery Books

I love a good mystery book. Whether it’s a young adult mystery or an adult thriller, I absolutely LOVE a good twist! Here are a few good mystery reads.

Truly Devious – Maureen Johnson

All the Missing Girls – Megan Miranda

And Then There Were None – Agatha Christie

This was my first classic book for the year and I loved it. A must read.

YA Contemporary Books

These are all different young adult contemporary books that I couldn’t put down.

My Life Next Door – Huntley Fitzpatrick

The Sun is Also a Star – Nicola Yoon

The Summer I Turned Pretty – Jenny Han

Until Friday Night – Abbi Glines

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before – Jenny Han

Inspiring Christian Books

If you are more of a non-fiction reader, here are some good books!

Gay Girl, Good God- Jackie Hill Perry

Come Matter Here – Hannah Brencher

Dance Stand Run – Jess Connolly

Start with Amen – Beth Guckenberger

Light Reads

Crazy Rich Asians – Kevin Kwan

*** I do remember this book has some language/ maybe some sex scenes (I don’t remember) but this was one of the funniest book series I’ve ever read. Love it!

The School for Good and Evil – Soman Chainani

This is a middle grade series that I’ve loved over the past few years! Before fairy tale characters end up in their stories they go to a school to learn how to be good or evil. Such a unique story line!

Dear Mrs. Bird – A.J. Pearce

Books I am looking forward to reading this summer

Own Your Everyday – Jordan Lee Dooley

Almost done with this and I highly recommend!

The Rest of the Story – Sarah Dessen

I am also almost done with this one and it’s such a great summer read!

Tate – Susan May Warren

I’ve preordered this book and I am counting down the days!

I Love you So Mochi – Sarah Kuhn

On hold at library ?

I want to hear what your summer reading looks like this year! What are you looking forward to reading? ??

How I Bought my House at 22

It’s been four months since I bought my house and that is absolutely crazy to me. If you had told me that by 22 I would settle down and commit to one house in one city I’d laugh. Through high school my family moved across states several times and college was constantly changing too. I learned to like the changes. They brought new experiences and people into my life, there was always an adventure around.

Then I graduated college, moved to Ukraine as a missionary, God changed my plans, brought me home and settle me into this little town in the North Georgian mountains near my parents.

It is NOT a place you move to before you are married. It has many similar qualities to a retirement community, but here I am! Cutting my chance of getting married soon real low (I am just kidding, promise!).

I’ve always wanted my own home. I am creative brained so any chance to make something my own, I am all for it. Every time we moved I loved the chance to decorate my bedroom and space. College was the same. Every year when I moved in it was like Christmas with four white blank walls just waiting for me to get creative.

I’ve always had the desire to have a home but I was not expecting it to be this soon.

When I moved home from Ukraine in October of 2018 I moved in with parents and I asked God a lot of questions. I was, of course, wanting quick replies but He pretty much said “wait” over and over again.

So I waited and watched. I watched for open doors, opportunities and His leading. Everything said “you are staying for a while” so I started looking for where to go. I was NOT able to live with my parents for much longer. Don’t get me wrong, I have awesome parents! This girl needed more freedom so the hunt began.

There were NO rental properties! All the ones I had found were overpriced and would require me to find a roommate. I started looking at the actual cost difference from buying vs renting.

Ultimately I decided buying was best for me. I could invest money and resources into the property and potentially make a profit off of it in the long run. Renting would have been easy if it was only short term but that’s a lot of money going into someone else’s pocket.

Queue the obsession with realtor.com.

I scoured the online house sites for months, four months to be exact. My dad had a realtor friend and a home builder friend who shared advice. The home builder said to look for 3 bedrooms & 3 baths, these have the best resell value. The realtor friend told me which zip codes to stay away from and to wait. Spring has many more homes for sale than winter time.

This is where my impatience and obsession blew up too big.

Everyday I was on the sites, I looked at houses over and over again. I grew impatient. I went and looked at a few different homes that had potential but were a stretch. They were overpriced and not worth it, but they were my only options so I started to justify them in my head.

I kept asking God about them, I am sure if He was human He would gotten irritated with me. One day He asked me “do you trust me?”. That wasn’t exactly what I wanted to hear. I was ready for a yes to something not this question. I didn’t answer the first time, I thought about it. Then He kept asking and eventually I let go of my personal desires and impatience and said “Yes”. This went on so long I eventually said my “Yes” much stronger.

I finally reached a point where the stress and impatience had practically eaten me alive. I was so restless and anxious I hit a wall. I FINALLY let it go into God’s hands. I finally told God “Yes I trust you” before He even asked me.

The next day I got a phone call & was going to look at a house at 1pm. Turns out it was my dream home.

3 Bedroom with 2 baths, 1500 square feet, a screen in porch looking out over the neighbors rolling hills, 102 years old in the downtown historical area of Demorest.

It is a dream and it’s a miracle. I knew it was the house but I didn’t have enough money for the downpayment and I didn’t have a way to finance it. I couldn’t get a loan alone because I didn’t have a full time job (I am self employed). I had someone willing to personally finance it for me for a price but he looked at it and said no. I cried that whole day because I was so upset! That was something because I am not a crier.

But God was SO GOOD!

The older man that owned the house did two things. He offered to finance it for me and he let me pay 5% down and 5% in three months. This was a miracle. He needed the money from this property to rebuild his Mexico home but his wife heard my story and encouraged him to sell it to me. She said they had enough money, the wanted to help me.

Isn’t that crazy??? Man, we have a good father! I write this as I sit in my bed in my home which I feel blessed with everyday.

Looking into buying a house soon? Here are my top tips!

Work Hard & Save for the Downpayment

I had been saving money for three years before I could afford a downpayment. This was not full time employment either, I was a student. I worked as a babysitter through college to pay for the essentials and set a little aside. Then in my last summer I got a job doing social media management for a local business. I continued (& still work with them) through the years and set that money aside as well.

In one summer I worked hard and put away $3000 which was a great start! I continued saving intentionally especially when my expenses were really low as my parents helped me when I moved back to America.

When you are buying a house typically the downpayment amount is 20% unless you are a first time home buyer. Many states have deals so first timers only have to put down 10%. A Note! You can buy a house without 20% (or 10%) BUT you will have to pay PMI which is insurance that does not for you but cost. This insurance is a monthly fee you will pay until you’ve paid off 20% of your house cost.

This can take a long time especially because each monthly mortgage isn’t just paying the principle! In the beginning you are paying much more interest than principle! Make a monetary goal to save at least the 10% or 20% you need to avoid paying the PMI.

Need help managing your money? Check out my new Money Well Managed Workbook! It can help you see your financial status, build a budget, set goals and make a plan to achieve them! It’s only ten dollars!

Be Building your Credit Score

Yes, you need to have a good credit score! This score will impact the amount of interest you will pay for your loan. This can be an increase of thousands of dollars if you haven’t started building credit! Need some ideas to get started?

Check my ultimate money guide article for tips!

Shop around for Financing Options

I was so blessed to have an owner willing to finance the house for me. Sometimes this is an option. If it isn’t displayed in the description of the house don’t forget to ask if Owner financing is an option.

If it isn’t an option check around. A few mortgage places I’d check are:

Plan for the Extra Costs

I am not going to lie, I was not prepared for all the extra costs that came with buying my house. I currently have a few high credit card bills because I scrambled to make it work but don’t worry, I have a plan to pay them off!

The closing costs of my house were only around $1300 which are low but I wasn’t prepared for this. Some of it is attorney fees, insurance, taxes, etc.

THEN when I moved in and owned no furniture and one pan, my parents helped me pay for toilet paper and seasonings (they are great).

Then I had to get the house sprayed for carpenter bees and replace the hot water heater.

Know there are MANY costs to buying a house so have cushion in your savings plan!

Look at the Neighborhoods History

This is important when looking at purchasing a house. You need to look at the chance of this purchase being profitable in the long run. Has the zip code and city been increasing or decreasing in population? What does the ten year trend look like? Does it seem like it’s thriving or surviving?

If you aren’t sure about this ask a realtor! They can see all the trends and tell you if its a good investment area or not.

Let God Lead the Process

This is my top tip! If you are looking for a house invite God into the process then actually allow Him to lead it. It will be a MUCH easier process when you allow God to show off His love for you which is ALWAYS a blessing. I couldn’t have dreamt of a better home than this and I would NEVER have found it! It was never even on the market!

Good luck on the saving and house hunting process! Want to see a video tour of my house? Comment below!

The 2019 Christian Swimsuit Guide

Am I the only one that hates swimsuit season? Finding affordable, cute, and appropriate suits is always a hassle for me, especially because I am so tall! That’s why I have pulled together a Christian girls guide to bathing suits for the 2019 summer.

If you are looking for high waisted, one pieces, patterns and classic, this list has something for you!

Places to Shop

Kortni Jean

A few years ago before high waisted everything came about, I discovered this brand and have LOVED them ever since! The first piece I ever bought was a pair of leopard print high waisted bottoms. I still have them!

These are amazing quality pieces too. They design all their tops and bottoms so you can mix and match them!

Here is a few pieces I love.

The classic High-Waisted Bottoms

Flower Cutout Bottoms

Tied-Up Top

Old Navy

Old Navy is always a classic store to check. They have fun classics that can be mismatched. I bought a black high waisted bottoms from them last year and love them!

Here is a few cute suits I found!

Textured-Stripe One-Shoulder Swim Top

Peplum-Hem Swimsuit

Scoop Neck Swimsuit

Aerie

Aerie has been a front runner on the cultural march towards body positivity for all types. They have diversified their models and their advertisements. I love them for athleisure and bathing suits!

Aerie Cutout One Shoulder One Piece Swimsuit

Aerie Strappy Back One Piece Swimsuit

Aerie High Neck Bikini Top

Summersalt

Summersalt swimsuits have a little higher price tag BUT it’s worth it! They designed their swimsuits by analyzing 10,000 different women’s body types and they are eco-friendly (even their packaging!)

The Sidestroke

The Swan Dive

The Causeway

Amazon

In a crunch? Amazon primes two day shipping can really help pull through. Here are a few high rated bathing suits under $35 that I think are cute!

The Marinavida Two Piece Bathing-suit

Temp Me Women Two Piece

B2Prity Women’s One Piece

Love this list? Share it with other girls like you! ??

Dear Future Husband / How I Write & Pray for my Future Hubby

*Reposted from my original blog: Ashley Jo Bruce

Listen to my recent podcast that expands on this topic here!

Can I tell you a secret?

I am 21 and I have never been on a date! ???

If we are being completely honest I know I don’t fall into the ‘average’ category but its never bothered me. I’ve been more focused on my friends and community then on pursuing someone. As an introvert (yes I can be alone for days & 100% content) with BIG DREAMS I’ve always felt like I wanted to wait to get married until after I accomplish some things on my own.

My friends call it stubbornness, I call it independence.

But this doesn’t mean that I don’t have my days of wanting a relationship. I want someone to text me, pick me up from the airport, check up on me, bring me my favorite food on my bad days, take me on creative dates & do life with me.

We were built for community! Our beautiful God created us for one another so it’s within our making to desire this deep love and connection. 

It’s my heart’s desire so I decided to use that longing & hope in a creative way.

>>> You might like this too: How to Find Purpose in Your Single Years

I started writing letters & prayers to my future husband.

But mine don’t look like the filled shoe box under my bed. I actually use Evernote. A folder called Dear Future Husband. I type mine & I put dates on them. 

One day I am doing to print them off and bind them as a beautiful gift on our wedding day but right now this place is safe. 

I just open a new window & type. I tell my struggles, passions, day’s events, favorite foods… I just unload. It will be a way for him in the future to glimpse my past. To see my heart before we ever met. To hear about how God’s been working and orchestrating all this time. 

One day it will be a beautiful collection,
until then it’s a messy file folder.

dear future husband

Grab the free printable list of 50 prayer & journaling prompts here!

I AM NOT SAYING THIS IS FOR YOU. 

But if you want to try using this creative outlet to pour out your heart in a healthy way here is some easy steps to get you started!

1. THIS IS NO PLACE FOR PERFECTION.

It’s not about the right words, the romantic thoughts, the perfect love letter. It’s about your true life. It’s about what’s really happening, how you really feel & how excited you are that all of this is building you into a better person for him. It’s raw emotion into a true representation of who you are. Don’t overthink it.

2. SPEAK LIKE YOU WOULD TO YOUR BEST FRIEND!

Keep it intimate. This person that you are writing to will know you better than ANY other human! They will already know about your imperfections and your little quirks. Just write like you would to someone you know deeply.

3. CHOOSE YOUR METHOD. 

Handwriting letters? Typing more your style? I give you permission to buy a new notebook at Target! ?Just choose one place for these letters to be collected. A box under the bed, a file in Evernote or the notebook!

4. JUST WRITE

Need some ideas of what to write to get you started? Here are 20 prompts!

  1. What happened today?
  2. What God is teaching you.
  3. Why you wish He was already in your life.
  4. Why you are grateful God’s timing is perfect.
  5. Fun quirks about yourself.
  6. What season of life you are in.
  7. What’s your favorite tv show/movie and why?
  8. What’s your biggest dream?
  9. How do you want to grow to become more like Jesus?
  10. Your favorite childhood memory.
  11. What couple do you admire most and why?
  12. Your biggest current struggle.
  13. Why you have hope.
  14. What your strengths & Weaknesses are.
  15. What your love language is.
  16. What you really want your future husband to know about your current self.
  17. How you are intentionally preparing yourself for marriage.
  18. Your dreams about your wedding day.
  19. Your thoughts on God’s creation of marriage.
  20. Why you are content waiting for Him.

5. SPEAK TO GOD ABOUT HIM

I don’t know how you feel about the word prayer but I know it can pull around some negative baggage. So let’s not look at it as this awkward one-sided conversation where we talk to this far away God about problems.

Let’s just meet Him for coffee. Share your heart. Ask questions. Sit in silence while listening. Then ask Him to strengthen your future hubby. Ask Him to mold Him into the leader you will need. Ask Him to remind Him how much He is loved.

There are two different methods I use to pray for my future husband. One is specific topics I just want to talk to God about on His behalf and the other is praying Scripture.

Here are 15 Prayer prompts!

  1. For Him to be gifted with Godly friends & mentors.
  2. For Him to find joy in His work, as we were created originally for.
  3. For Him to embrace the hard situations as a chance to grow!
  4. For Him to realize He can’t do life without God & people.
  5. For the cultivating of wisdom.
  6. For Him to deeper understand how He is loved.
  7. For Him to learn the difference between being in the world & of the world.
  8. For Him to stay strong in the fight against our enemy!
  9. For Him to be a BIG dreamer.
  10. For Him to realize failure doesn’t exist, life lessons are everywhere.
  11. For Him to realize the need for forgiveness, for Himself & for others.
  12. For His pride to be shaken.
  13. For Him to find the fun in experiencing everyday life with God!
  14. For His heart to be molded to be more like Jesus.
  15. For Him to choose courage in the face of fear.

Now 15 Bible Verses to pray over him!

  1. Proverbs 13:20
  2. 1 Corinthians 10:13
  3. 2 Peter 3:18
  4. Deuteronomy 31:6
  5. Mark 11:24
  6. Psalms 37:4
  7. Ephesians 5:1-2
  8. James 1:22
  9. John 8:12
  10. James 3:13-17
  11. Ephesians 6:13
  12. Proverbs 28:27
  13. Romans 8:28
  14. 2 Peter 3:18
  15. Proverbs 4:23

I DON’T recommend using these all in one letter, or day but if this is something you are interested in doing consistently, I made a printable + check boxes with these prompts so you can see what you’ve done & other prompts to use!

The Ultimate Money Guide for the Christian Girl

Hey friend! I’ve got to be honest, I love talking about money. Maybe it’s the business in me or the love of organization but I like to know exactly what money I have, where it is and what goals I am working towards. 

I was blessed to grow up in a home where my parents regularly talked about money and taught me different principles. Sure they taught me how to use a check register (?) but I learned how to be aware of everything coming into the account and everything going out (even though at the time it was my pretty piggy bank). 

Now I am 22 years old, I still have some school debt I am tackling and I bought an 102 year old house. Overall I am in pretty good standing and I want to share all the life lessons I’ve learned along the way.

TOPICS TO BE COVERED:

Money Mindset

Where in the world to start

Do I need to be tithing?

How to Budget (& stick with it) 

How to get rid of debt

Goal Setting

Do I need to be building credit?

How to be saving for a home

Where you at?

Okay to really kick this off you need to ask yourself a few questions.

  • How do you currently feel about money?
  • Are you aware of your financial status?
  • Is your money working for you?
  • Are you a saver or spender? (first reaction to this is typically correct)
  • Are you working towards money goals?

Great! Now that you know where you are, you can see what areas you need to be working on first.

How we approach money, especially as Christians, is what’s really going to set us apart. To honor God in our money management might not look like worldly wealth. Being rich shouldn’t be our life goal.

Having a desire to work hard and make money is not bad. Some people are natural entrepreneurs. They were created to build businesses which when successful make money. The world needs these creative people!

The world also needs school teachers, Michaels employees, nurses and everything in between. 

Here are three healthy money mindsets for Christian girls:

1.My Father is my Provider

You may need to sit in this, I often do. I get anxious about my money situation especially when it looks like the numbers don’t add up. I often forget God is working even if it doesn’t look like it. I can choose to trust or I can choose anxiety. 

And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. Phil. 4:19

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,  to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever!  Eph. 3:20

I am the LORD your God, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt. Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it(Psalms 81:10)

2. I am in control of how I manage the money God’s entrusted me with

We can let money manage us or we can manage it. God has entrusted us with HIS money. He has purpose for the money we have and we can willingly give back to God and bring Him glory through it or not.

Sticking your head in the sand about your current financial status is not going to allow you to see Him working or allow you to be used by Him to bring Him glory! I am not judging or condemning simply trying to encourage you to see your money as a gift!

3. I will not be more happy if I make more money

Sure a few things could be easier. Sure you could have paid off your school debt. Sure that 1 million dollar home you toured on Youtube looks really nice.

BUT money will not bring you happiness. In fact happiness is fleeting, joy is what we should be working towards! 

If you chose to find joy right now, today, your whole life will be an adventure. If you chose to be unhappy until you get another raise, I am afraid that raise won’t satisfy you!

Chase Joy!

4. I can’t spend money I don’t have

If you start developing this mindset you will be in much better shape in the future! If you spend money you don’t have then you are simply cultivating debt. Sometimes emergencies come up, yes, but that is why we need to be working towards building an emergency savings account.

Where in the World to Start!

Starting can be the hardest part especially if you haven’t been detailed in your past money habits. It can seem overwhelming and near impossible but it’s not! I promise! No matter how much debt, no matter how many credit cards, no matter how many negative numbers you look at, it is possible to get it a grip on your money.

The best place to dig your hands into first is your current financial status. When I use that phrase I mean to have a big picture of what your debts, assets, bills, and savings are.

Another word for this is Net Worth. Your net worth is all your assets (cash, value of your car, money in checking and savings, anything of monetary value) – your liabilities (outstanding debts, school loans, credit cards, money you owe your parents, money left to pay on car, etc) = your net worth!

*** If you want pages where you just fill in the information to find your net worth grab the money well managed workbook! It’s only $10! 

Grab a piece of paper and write out all your assets. Look at your current bank account amount, look at your savings, look at any larger assets like your car, house etc. Write their total value not just what you’ve paid on them.

Next draw a line to separate and list all your debts. Look at your credit card bills, school loans, personal loans, outstanding medical bills, how much money you owe on your car or house, etc.

Lastly draw a third line and take your total assets and subtract your liabilities and BAM you have your net worth! Good job!

Don’t fear if this is a negative number. We just need an honest view of where you are so we can move forward and make it a positive!

Do I need to be tithing?

This has been a question I’ve been shaking down with God. There are different interpretations of Scripture about tithing but I do believe that we are to be giving some of our money back to God’s house! Our churches are doing God’s work and when we tithe specifically back to them we are building the kingdom of God. 

The amount is something you need to decide for yourself. I do believe you should start with 10% and I recommend it be the first ten percent!

I know if I wait until late in the month I get a little panicky. I start to feel like I won’t have enough when in reality I will and I still need to give God His money back first.

” But Ashley I don’t make enough to tithe!”

I’ve heard this before, I promise you’re not the only one that feels like this. I want you to do this. For one month I want you to tithe. I want you to ask God to show up and show you why you should be tithing. I want you to look for the blessings that always come when we live according to how God has called us to.

He gives us life and life abundantly. 

Sometimes following God doesn’t make sense. Sometimes it seems smarter to save the money to give it away but we are called to be servants to God! We are called to give in every aspect of our lives!

Do you remember this story from Mark 12?

Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts.But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a few cents.

Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.”

Wanting to dive into this subject more? I highly recommend reading the book Plastic Donuts by Jeff Anderson – Buy it here!

How to Budget & actually stick with it!

This is one of my favorite parts of the process and I sit and look mine over monthly! There are several different ways you can do this and I will show you my process.

Let’s start with what is a budget?

A budget is a list of categories that you typically spend in a month. These can include food, gas, eating out, clothes, etc. With each category there is an amount that is how much you are allowed to spend that month in that category. All of these categories added together should equal the amount of income you make in a month.

You need to have a budget. If you don’t you have a high chance you will spend more than you make which YOU CAN NOT DO. If you spend more than you make every month you will have debt which we don’t want.

So how do we build a budget? We first look at what and where you already spend.

How to Observe Spending Habits

1.Look up your statements from the last month on every card you have. Now take out another piece of paper and write out common categories and how much you spent.

Be completely honest with yourself! When you look at your spending habits you can build a better budget for yourself. You wouldn’t like my budget because it was created for me! I like to spend more money on books than clothes and you might be the other way around. Be true to yourself!

2. Now that you have all the categories written out analyze them. Where are you overspending? Where do you need to be using self-control and saving? Are there any categories you know will be added soon? Like will your rent be going up soon? Or electricity because of summer?

3. Next you need to build a new budget using the information about your spending habits you have collected. See below!

*** I have all this ready for you to fill out in the $10 Money Well Managed Workbook – Here!

How to Build a Realistic Budget

1.Grab another piece of paper and start listing all the categories. Try to start with the most important ones at the top, this will allow you to prioritize well. 

2. When you have all the categories written out fill in all the fixed categories meaning all the ones that are around the same amount each month. Like I typically use 60 in gas each month and my mortgage is $539.60. 

Estimate and fill in all the rest of the categories

3. Add all the totals together. Does it equal your income? If not tweak and try again!

This budget will change. You will make it through this month and some categories will work and some won’t. You just need to keep moving forward!

? Look at you go! You’ve already created a personalized ready to use budget which is half the battle!

Now let’s look at how to stick with it!

You should use this app

An awesome app that I use to stick with my budget is Mint. I use the Money Well Managed Workbook to create and analyze my categories. Once I’ve built my budget I use mint to follow it digitally. They allow you to create all your own categories and amounts. They will sync with your banks information and your school loan! You can track everything in one place. 

Read this article for more information on Mint!

Ask these three questions

Besides checking in on mint often, I use a mental process of questions before I make a purchase that isn’t absolutely necessary.

  • I say do I need this/have purpose for this?
  • Is it in the budget/can I save somewhere else to buy this?
  • Is it investment/will it last?

After answering these questions I’ll purchase or I won’t. I am naturally a saver so it’s easier for me to say no then yes. Know yourself. If you tend to over spend shopping for clothes, limit the shops you go into. Be purposeful.

Ask God for Wisdom

On bigger purchases we should be going to God for wisdom! James 1:5 says “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” God gives wisdom if we ask Him for it. 

This may seem weird to you but the more you invite God into your daily life, the more you’ll see Him there. He wants to be doing life with you. He is a gentleman. He will wait for you to invite Him.

If discipline is something you really struggle with I totally understand! I created this course to help you develop discipline in an are of your life! Check it out here!

DEBT DEBT DEBT

Everyone’s least favorite subject. I get it, I have it too. It can be overwhelming and seem like it’s never ending (hey interest!). You can get rid of it if you have a plan of action to do so.

First you’ve got to look at what you have and how much it is.

How to Analyze Your Debts

1.Pull out ANOTHER piece of paper ? and write down all the debts you can think of. Look up exact totals if you need to.

2. Now look up their interest rates. How much in interest are you paying?

3. Prioritize based on which one has the highest interest. Start to tackle that one first.

There are many different methods of doing this like the snowball method etc. 

There are two ways to pay this off faster. Lower your spending or raise your income.

If you chose to lower your spending go back to that budget category and cut again. If that isn’t possible then consider raising your income.

This can be another part time job or a side hustle. I am not going to dive into these categories in this post but I can if you are interested! 

Many people have different opinions on debt even all looking at the Bible. There are different interpretations of Scripture. I personally want to get rid of my debt as quickly as possible. I consider my school loan of higher importance than my house loan. Why? Because I can sell my house and pay off my debt. Unfortunately, I can’t sell my college degree to get rid of my school debt.

“What happens if I refinance my loans?”

Refinancing your loans looks like this: consolidating them into one loan with often a lower interest rate. That means if you are paying for three different school loans from three companies you can apply to get them refinanced. This can be a great option especially if you are paying an outrageous amount of interest. I can’t tell you to refinance or not because I can’t see all your loans but ask around for advice on this and shop around to different companies who refinance. You can ask questions and tell them you aren’t ready. Gain all the information you can!

You have to make a plan of action that is best for you! Ask God for help. Ask Him to come in and help you honor Him with your finances. It’s crazy what he can do when you invite Him into different areas of your life.

Let’s Set Some Goals

Getting the right mindset and building a budget are important stepping blocks to help you reach your goals. 

This works into that saying I mentioned earlier. Either your money works for you or you work for your money. When you set goals and make action steps to attain them, your money is working for you.

What are examples of money goals?

  • Being debt free (on my list)
  • Purchasing a house
  • Going on vacation to Disney World, the Bahamas, Thailand etc.
  • Starting my own business
  • Building my Savings to be equal to 6 months of my salary 
  • Investing 
  • To stop living pay check to pay check

There are so many different things you can working towards but don’t choose too many, that can be overwhelming.

Two good goals to begin with are 

  • Save $1000 for life mishaps
  • Pay off my debts

Once you choose your two goals you need to build an action plan to accomplish them. For example if you saved $200 every month for five months you’d complete your first goal!

This is specific to you. There is no right or wrong way of doing this. If each month you are only $1 closer to your goal, then you are closer to your goal.

Do I need to be building my credit?

The answer is yes! Think about it. When you are ready to move into your first apartment you’ll need some credit. If you need a loan, you’ll need credit. 

It’s important to start early because then you can get better rates! 

“What is a credit score?”

A credit score is a number that represents how trustworthy you are for financial institutions. This number is impact by many things some of which are paying your bills on time, managing your credit cards well, how long you’ve been building your credit, etc.

How can I start building my credit?

Do you have a credit card/are you responsible enough to manage it?

I am going to repeat myself: Do not spend money you don’t have.

If you can’t follow this rule, don’t get a credit card. If you can use self-control, get one! I recommend Discover or Capital One because they are great credit card companies, especially when just getting started.

Use this card but do not use more than 30% of your credit limit. This will drop your credit score. I personally pay mine off every month and this is the slower way of building your credit. If you want to build credit quickly leave $50 dollars on it monthly, pay the interest and watch your credit score go up!

How did you buy your house?

This is a long story, one I want to make a video about but in a simple steps I did this:

1.I Saved a lot for years. It took me a while but I started saving my last summer before I graduated college. I started working for a friend and it became my side hustle. I managed his businesses social media presence. Each month I put most of that income into my savings.

2. I researched the market. I looked at my area and I looked at prices. I was looking for a decent house around $100,000. Understand I live in a small town in the North Georgia mountains, this was hard to find but our cost of living is relatively low. I was saving for a downpayment for 10%. Check your state sometimes low downpayment options are offered for first time home buyers BUT watch for extra “insurance” or PMI. You do not want to pay for this, it does nothing for you. The normal downpayment amount without PMI required is 20%.

3. I saved for the closing costs. These are the attorney fees, insurance, etc. My closing costs were $1300.

4. I gave it to God. It was a four-month process but God provided the PERFECT house for me and it was such a blessing through everything. God’s hands were all over it. More to come in a video!

If you are convinced you are ready to tackle your finances grab the $10 Money Well Managed Workbook Here! I created it specifically for those really trying to grasp their financial standing and create money freedom in their lives.

Have a money question? Ask me below! ??