Meet the Leadership Team: Ashley Blackwell
September 29th, 2016 | John Chandler
We couldn’t be more thrilled to begin integrating the Leadership Team into the life of Austin Mustard Seed. Each member was suggested by the community of Austin Mustard Seed as a recognition of the service they’ve already provided to our Church. We believe that God will use this team to help our Church community mature into who we are called to be.
For the next few weeks, we’ll feature brief interviews with each member. Stay tuned!
What’s your name and the name of your family members?
Ashley, Brett and Jack
How did you come to be a part of Austin Mustard Seed?
Google! After moving back to Austin from Denver, I searched for churches in the northwest Austin area online. After stumbling onto the aMS website, I was pretty much in, but what sealed the deal was getting to meet everyone, see the heart of the church and then being asked to serve Eucharist after our first Sunday 😉
Describe Your Spiritual Journey
I grew up going to church off and on and was generally pretty good at following rules. It wasn’t until college that I began to understand what it meant to have a relationship with God. This has continued to be a significant part of my journey: seeking to be in relationship with God rather than seeking to earn my value by being morally good. He continues to teach me that it is more about a dance that we do together rather than following rules that result in little dependence on Him. A big part of my journey has involved inviting His presence into some of my most painful, broken parts and experiencing his constant love and delight.
What book(s) has/have had the most influence on you?
I think my journey away from moralism began with The Importance of Being Foolish by Brennan Manning and Searching for God Knows What by Donald Miller.
These were coupled with a book that brought some pretty profound healing to my personal journey – The Heartache No One Sees: Christ’s Promise of Healing for the Woman’s Wounded Soul by Sheila Walsh.
After this I began to enjoy Henri Nouwen, Friedrich Buechner, and other theologians that seemed to integrate psychology with theology as well as psychologists that integrated theology with psychology. I continued to be interested in this throughout seminary as I pursued my Masters in Counseling.
Is there anything else you want Austin Mustard Seed to know about you?
As an attachment based therapist, I am passionate about creating safe spaces for people to go out from. In the same way that a child with healthy attachment goes out from his or her parents to explore the world, I think it is imperative to create a safe space within the church body to go out from. I believe that as we create this space, in which we love one another deeply, others will be drawn to that love and ultimately encounter God.