Come on over and let me introduce you to Ashlee Eiland! She’s a writer and Bible teacher, serving at Mars Hill Bible Church in Grand Rapids, MI. She and her husband, Delwin, have three kids, Brooklyn, Myles, and Journey.
I’ve only recently had an opportunity to become acquainted with her in person. Before then, I just stalked her on social media. Her words are rich, poetic and reflect the heart of Jesus. I’ve been so blessed by her life and ministry and I’ve loved watching her walk in her purpose. In 2020, she authored her first book, HUMAN(KIND), where she expounds on how reclaiming human worth and embracing radical kindness will bring us back together. Such a timely read!
Ashlee is authentic and loves to build bridges! You can connect with her on Instagram @ashlee_eiland, but before you go, please leave her a comment of encouragement right here!
PS . . . She and her husband are gearing up to launch a new church campus of Mars Hill Bible Church in Grand Rapids. Your prayers are appreciated!
- If you could describe this season of your life in one word, what word would it be? Why?
Refining. In some ways, the heat of this season has been turned all the way up and I’ve found myself wondering if I was going to be able to navigate a unique challenge at home, work, or personally. Our family moved into a new home, finalized an adoption, and I’m stewarding a new leadership role within our local church. We’ve also navigated personal loss and grief. But I sense that Psalm 66:12 is also true in my life, that God has brought me into a place of abundance: abundant trust, abundant hope, abundant reliance on Him. All my solo resources seem to have proven to be lacking in some way or another – but in the refining, I’m increasingly finding my worth in Him.
- In terms of your career, before you knew you would be _______________, you almost . . .
Before I knew I would serve the local church as a pastor and preacher, I almost stayed in Corporate America as a Human Resources professional. (My last job was supporting the Wonka factory at Nestlé USA!)
- In what ways do you ensure that your career path serves the purposes of God and encourages His people?
Three things come to mind immediately: a discipline, an invitation, and a question.
The discipline: Daily Scripture and prayer. I spend almost every morning in the Word, asking God’s Spirit to search me and speak. This discipline helps me ensure my leadership and teaching are sourced from a vessel filled with living water and not a majority of other inputs. I love reading, podcasts, some tv shows – and I believe God can speak through anything or anyone God chooses. But especially in this season, I want my main source of encouragement and wisdom to be the Word of God.
The invitation: I’ve made a habit to invite a handful of people in my life to tell me ’bout myself! In one word: accountability. I know how prone I am to think more highly or negatively than I should, and as a leader, I don’t want to be my own barometer. The gift of the Body of Christ in community is that we get to spur one another on in our good works [Hebrews 10:24]. To have trusted friends and co-laborers hold me accountable and lovingly turn the mirror is such a gift!
The question: I ask why I’m doing fill-in-the-blank. Why am I telling that story in my sermon? Why am I making that phone call or texting that person or posting that thought on social media? If I can’t answer, “Out of love for God and God’s people,” then I reconsider. I truly want everything I do to be motivated by the love of Christ. Everything!
- Fill in the blank. I am not a very _____________ person.
I am not a very picky person when it comes to food. I love exploring new cities and cultures through my taste buds and will eat just about anything for the first time. One of my favorite things to do is to invite a chef at a restaurant to surprise me – whether it’s on the menu or off. I’ve had some spectacular meals that way! [The only flavor profile I don’t really enjoy is fennel/black licorice.]
- When is the last time you laughed so hard that it hurt?
- Name your biggest strength and your biggest weakness? How has each served you as you’ve fulfilled your purpose?
I asked my husband his opinion so I could make sure to tell y’all the truth! 🙂
I think God has gifted me with a disproportionate amount of faith and resilience. It’s truly a grace. I remember identifying faith as a spiritual gift years ago and thought, “Well, isn’t that a given for everyone?” But what I’m realizing these days is that there’s a difference between having faith – and having the spiritual gift of faith that believes God wildly. I really identify with Abraham in Genesis 12:1. When God told Abraham to “Leave…and go…” without any details? That resonates with me. I’ve left and gone to where I believe the Spirit of God has directed and it’s looked crazy at times: to me and everyone else. But I’ve also witnessed some equally crazy faithfulness on God’s part as He’s come through time and time again.
My greatest weakness is that I overthink pretty much everything. I like to say that it’s me being “thorough” or “appropriately cautious,” which is true sometimes. But what it can lead to is a deep distrust: in myself and in other people. Sometimes my tendency to overthink can also be paralyzing when it’s time to make a decision, which can be frustrating for myself and others.
- What has been the most difficult season in your life? How did you get through it?
This one! [See? Refinement!] Parenting three kids, 6 and under, in a pandemic while pastoring a local church in a new city – whew! First and foremost, I’m getting through it by the grace of God! But I also have been really focusing on taking care of my body, [what I call a ‘vessel’]. Currently, I’m trying to drink 72 ounces of water a day; I’m going on daily morning walks with our dog to pray and clear my head while moving my body, and I’m trying to stay connected to close friends v. drifting into isolation. I’m also reading a wide variety of books that are challenging and instructive, but also purely enjoyable. I have a difficult history with mental health, so over the years I’ve learned to recognize and intercept my “downward spiral.”
- If you could make three wishes and there were no limitations on what you could request, what would you wish for?
The realization of God’s peaceable Kingdom here on earth. [Isaiah 11]
In retirement, to be able to turn our family’s Texas farm into a retreat center for ministry leaders.
A lifetime supply of Jeni’s ice-cream. [Last time I was there, I legitimately wondered how much it would cost to purchase and maintain my own personal Jeni’s freezer at home.]
- If this were your last year on earth, what would you want to spend your time doing?
Loving and equipping my kids with as much as I could give them; traveling and seeing God’s amazing handiwork and creativity in the world; relieving as much suffering as possible and being as generous as I could be; helping the Body of Christ see the true beauty of His Church.
- If you could tell your younger self anything, what would it be?
That to overly numb pain, sadness and grief in order to self-protect was to also numb gratitude and joy. As a young girl I was hyper-responsible, in some cases, and I really missed out on a lot of joy.
*These blog interviews are designed only to be fun, informative and introductory. While GB Ministries has some level of familiarity with each participant, their presence here does not equal our endorsement of or full alignment with theological doctrine or political perspective.