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Follow Your Purpose

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From captivity to purpose

Captive by Ashley Smith | Making the Most BlogWhen given the opportunity to read the book Captive by Ashley Smith, I was intrigued. The story of a hostage situation in which the hostage escaped alive sounded exciting. As the description read, Captive is “based on a miraculous true story that drew the attention of the entire nation, is a thrilling drama about the spiritual collision of two broken lives. When Brian Nichols – on the run as the subject of a city wide manhunt and desperate to make contact with his newborn son – takes recovering meth addict Ashley Smith hostage in her own apartment, she turns for guidance to Rick Warren’s best-selling inspirational book, The Purpose Driven Life. While reading aloud, Ashley and her would-be killer each face crossroads where despair and death intersect hope.”

Does that not sound exciting?

Just as the description led me to believe, the story was exciting. In fact, the movie releases today, September 18, and I look forward to checking it out. I’m interested to see how everything plays out on screen.

While reading the book I was particularly struck by the storyline surrounding Ashley’s meth addiction. Drug addiction can ruin lives which is why it is so important that people battling an addiction to illicit substances such as methamphetamines seek help. Rehabilitation programs can be tough though. The majority require patients to undergo a regular meth drug test even once discharged to ensure that they have not relapsed. Above all, where drug addiction is concerned, your health absolutely has to come first.

On the other hand, as I continued to read the story, it was evident that Ashley Smith is not a writer, nor does she claim to be. Ashley’s purpose for writing this book was to recall and share the events of her transformation during this important event in her life. I get that. So if I were to review this book as a critique of the author, I would say that it’s not well written. I found myself often irritated with the main character and the choppy structure of the story. On the other hand, knowing that she is not a professional writer while also understanding the purpose of her sharing her story, I would recommend reading the book just for the experience of it and checking out the movie as well.

We all have a purpose. Ashley’s purpose is to share the story of her transformation with others.

Finding my purpose

As a young woman who has been fighting depression since the age of 13, I often struggle with understanding my own purpose. Despite ongoing treatment, I still can get caught up in hopeless feelings from time to time (though my husband might say more often than not). It’s really hard to see where you stand when you feel lost in a sea of people, when everyone is doing their own thing, and when you feel like you’re floundering.

But the more I continue to press onward in my relationship with Christ and carry out what He has called me to do, the more I feel as though I have found my purpose. I truly believe that God has called me to this blog and to write my book. I believe God has called me to be home with my kids. And I think that when we finally see some of the rewards that come with following His calling, we finally understand our purpose. The difficulty comes when we can’t quite see the results yet.

I was talking to someone the other day about working through the hard things when you can’t quite see the outcome. It’s so true that “hindsight is 20/20.” Even though I sit down at this desk every day and type away doesn’t mean I immediately feel like my purpose is being revealed. It’s the pushing through even when it’s hard, parenting my kids when they’re sick or grumpy even when I want to scream–those kinds of things that really matter.

I believe that, even though God is calling us, we don’t always feel like we’re accomplishing His purpose. We may wonder if this is the right decision or if we really heard God right. It may be hard, you may be struggling financially, it may be exhausting. But what really matters during those tough spots is holding on until your knuckles are white, pedaling uphill even when you’re exhausted. Because until you get through that hard place, you’ll never get to see the view on the other side. It’s the purpose that comes at the end. The beauty is what comes after all the pain.

Take child rearing, for instance. It’s hard in the here and now. Sometimes I might see the fruits of my labor, but really I won’t know how I did until I let go of my children when they reach adulthood. If I give up in the middle of the journey, I risk complete failure. When God has trusted me with such an important job, I can’t just give up in the middle of everything. It’s better to risk failure and press on than to fail because you never tried.

Follow Your Purpose | Making the Most Blog

I do think that he gives us little glimpses of our end journey as we go along. I bet you have no idea how much it means to me when you share my posts or when I receive a positive compliment. Nothing makes my day quite like having someone thank me for my post or tell me how it influenced them. They make my purpose seem not so unobtainable. They are an encouragement that keeps me from giving up. They remind me of God’s purpose.

Ultimately, our purpose is to influence the lives of others for Christ, whether that means going to work and being a living, breathing example of how Christ lived on earth or staying home with the kids and teaching them how to spread the love of Christ to others. One job is not more important than another. We’re just blessed with different gifts.

So even if you’re in the middle of the hard place, if this is where God has placed you, press on. Follow your purpose. Beauty is just on the other side.

What barriers have you found keep you captive from finding your purpose? Have you found your purpose? I’d love to hear your responses in the comments below. I hope you’ll also consider sharing at

You can find more information on the upcoming movie on the following channels:

Audio excerpt from the audiobook format of Captive (Chapter 1), ready by the author, Ashley Smith

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This Post Has 9 Comments

  1. It does sound like an interesting book even if it’s not well-written. It’s something I think many people could relate to with feeling hopeless at times. I do feel like that every now and then as a parent but know it will be worth it and is worth it now. Great message to remind us to keep trying rather than not try at all, something I try to teach my kids when they find it’s hard to do something. 🙂

  2. I think we all struggle with finding our purpose, often multiple times during our lives. I remember this young lady and her story and I wonder how her life is today.

  3. I really enjoyed reading your review – it sounds like it will be a great story to read, but I appreciate the heads up on the writing style. I also really love the tie in to your life, such a great reminder to focus on your purpose and look at the big picture.

  4. I have been wanting to read this book since I recently heard about it. I don’t know how Ashley was able to remain as calm and collected as she did. I’m also wanting to read the book that is out about the pastor that went to heaven and then came back to life. I think he and Ashley both have a purpose here to fullfill. I believe we all have a purpose but sometimes it just takes longer for us to figure it out.

  5. This sounds like a great read & a book that I would really enjoy! I always enjoy books & movies that are based on a true story!

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