Hello! Welcome to Journeying Whole!
My name is Ashley Willingham, and my heart for this space is to encourage, inspire and challenge women to continue growing to the most WHOLE version of themselves. I titled this website “Journeying” for a very intentional purpose – our growth is a journey that will continue our entire lives. It’s not a destination. We will never be perfectly whole until heaven, but we can pursue wholeness every day.
In 2012, I filled in for another leader to cover the topic of “The Importance of Personal Well-Being”. I felt so unqualified to talk about this, but I also felt a strong sense that I was meant to do it. I knew I would study for this, and there was a confidence in God that he would give me a fresh insight into this particular topic.
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.” – Matthew 22:37-39
This verse was my first stop, but God showed me that in this particular verse, we often misunderstand the second part. “Love your neighbor as yourself.” I felt like God showed me that we often look at this verse and think about others, which is valid. We need to love our neighbors well. However, he uses the word “as”, which is important here, and what I felt like I saw for the first time is that if we were to actually love our neighbors as ourselves, we may not be treating them very well. We aren’t taking care of ourselves well!
This may be because you’re a new mom who is figuring everything out and hasn’t had a shower in days, let alone a good night’s sleep! Maybe you’re in a busy season at work, and you’ve eaten terribly (or not eaten) and are continually running from one thing to the next. Maybe you simply don’t like the season you’re in, and you’re finding it hard to find motivation to take care of yourself. Whatever the reason, the busyness and chaos of the world right now can get the best of us, and we don’t always take good care of ourselves.
It’s so important for us to take care of ourselves in order to love and take care of others well, and I think it’s so vital that we are loving our neighbors! There are a million analogies for this, but my favorite is the flight speech – “please secure your mask before assisting others.” You won’t be able to help anyone in a crisis if you’ve stopped breathing! Why don’t we think this way in life – loving our family, our friends, our kids, our spouse, our church, our co-workers. We won’t do this as effectively as we could if we don’t take care of ourselves first.
There are five key areas for wholeness that I believe are broad enough and all-encompassing to cover all the areas we need to focus on. Those five are our mental health, emotional health, spiritual health, physical health and social health. If you think of these as pieces of the pie, they’re all so important. Or better yet, picture them in a wheel. When one isn’t functioning or getting the attention it needs, you get a flat tire!
This space is dedicated to talking about this journey. I don’t write from a place of perfection, far from it in fact. I am like anyone else on the journey, and I have my moments and seasons where some of these areas are stronger than others.
Who am I, you may wonder? I am a wife to Robbie and mama to Eleanor and Otis. I met my husband in Australia, when I signed up for a 6-months missions course. I loved it, and I stayed on board as a staff member. During my first year on staff, Robbie and I became great friends, and at the end of that year, he asked me to consider being his girlfriend. We got engaged exactly a year later and married a few months after that on St. Patrick’s Day. We had both of our kiddos in Australia, and we are a dual-citizen family…an incredible privilege and blessing!
In September 2016, God started stirring our heart, and we spent about 10 months praying, processing and considering a change. That change had us finish our time in YWAM and in Australia in December 2017, a few short months after welcoming our second child. We have been back in the States for over a year now, and it’s been a BIG transition in allllll the ways.
Eleanor is our 3.5 year old, and she is full of personality. She can memorize just about any song, loves ballet, loves her friends and makes us laugh all the time. Otis is just over 1 year old, and he’s such a joy. He is constantly smiling and making silly faces. He’s such a cuddler, too, which I really appreciate!
Thanks so much for stopping by my little space! I hope you find encouragement in these pages!!!