Article being posted first week of December….
helllooo friends! I have been completely MIA on here, and so today, I am going to update you on where I have been and what I have been up to the past 2 years 🙈. Yessss, 2 years!
Here are 10 updates of my life and from my heart from the past 2 years to catch y’all up, and from here, we can move forward together as I will update y’all with a blog post monthly with biblical truth and insight into what the Lord is speaking to me and what He’s placed on my heart for you! 💜
First of all, I’m sorry. I am sorry for neglecting this blog and neglecting you as a loyal reader. Let me say I am glad you are still here. Yes, STILL here, because it’s been since the glorious year of 2020 since I’ve written a blog post on here. Thank you for those loyal readers who are still here and thank you for the new readers who have joined in the last 2 years with no content to follow.
Second, I’m still writing. I am still here, I am still pursuing writing, in fact, I have still been writing on multiple platforms with multiple articles I’ve written over the past few years. I have neglected this personal blog, however. Stay tuned, because I will be sending out an email with my top articles published with other publications in the last 2 years.
Third, I moved across the country. In the past 2 years, we moved from Charlotte, North Carolina to Scottsdale, Arizona. And this leads me to my next blog post coming soon on “how to know when God speaks to you”, because I have never in my life heard God speak so clearly and loudly about moving to Arizona in the middle of a world pandemic. Stay tuned for this article.
Fourth, I fell in LOVE with ARIZONA! I will elaborate on this more in the article coming soon that I just mentioned. But I never expected to fall in love with Arizona because I resisted this move with every fiber inside me for almost 4 years until God’s voice about moving here became louder and louder to the point where I couldn’t ignore it. And now that I am here, I can say with all my heart, I absolutely love it! I love the people, the weather, yes, even the 115 degree weather, I love the desert, the hiking, the food, the cacti (my phone case had cactus on it as well as my day planner), the mountains, the neighborhood we live in and the friendships we have built. My husband and I have lived in 4 states in the past 6 years of being together, and Arizona is my absolute favorite place (with Texas being a close second).
I can’t believe that I almost forgo’d and missed out on so much happiness and blessing and favor from the Lord with our move here because I resisted it and almost didn’t move here. I have learned that the things I most often resist in life, are the things that God most likely is calling you to walk through. And the beauty of it is we don’t have to walk through it alone. God gave me a verse when He first started speaking to me about moving here, and that was “the Lord, He is the One who goes before you, He will be with you, He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear or be dismayed” (Deuteronomy 31:8) And friends, God is faithful and kept to His promise. He paved the way for my husband and I to move to Arizona. He went before us and He was with us and is still with us every step of the way.
Fifth, I checked an item off my bucket list. I have 3 things on my bucket list that I wrote in my 20’s. 1. Have a baby 2. Travel to Europe. 3. Write a book. My husband spoiled me this past year as I checked an item off my bucket list. We went to Europe not just once, but twice. We explored France in August of last year, and Italy this past April. I have never been out of the country except to Mexico and Canada, but those don’t count haha. We went to Paris, and then drove through the wine countryside of France down to the French Riviera exploring Marseille, Nice, Cannes, Monaco and St. Tropez and it was a dream come true. In Italy, we stayed in Rome, traveled down to the Almafi coast visiting Positano, Capri, Sorrento, Florence, Venice, Lake Como, and Milan. Parts of me feels like I belong in Europe LOL, and I’ve been traying hard to convince my husband we are due for a third trip to Europe, so it might make sense for us to just buy a home there since we have yet to buy our first home haha. He looks at me and laughs, but everything inside me is serious 😉
Sixth, I teach and serve on the women’s ministry team at my church. The first time we ever visited Arizona back in 2019, we drove by a church called Scottsdale Bible Church, and I heard the Holy Spirit say to me “that’s your church”. This was long before I knew we were moving here, nor did I want to move here as I’ve mentioned, nor did I ever think we would actually be living here and nor did I think I’d be writing this blog post sitting with my laptop in Arizona. So, I quickly dismissed what I heard, and went about my visit here.
But when we eventually did move here, I remembered what I heard that day and reached out to the director of women’s ministry at Scottsdale Bible church on the drive across the country, and within a month of moving here, I was planted in their teacher’s program. Last Spring, they asked me if I had a message on my heart to teach. Each teaching is for one semester which is 12 weeks long with 12 weeks of material to be taught. I knew God had been working on a message on my heart for the previous few years, so I said YES. They asked me to teach it – and I committed every waking moment to it.
Not only did I teach it, but I wrote the entire Bible Study. I had to write the material for each week, create a power point to go along with the teaching, create a handout summarizing the teaching for notes for the attendees, create questions to be discussed after my teaching as the attendees broke out into small groups after each teaching to discuss. Not to mention, I had to fight the enemy who was coming for me and maneuver between his fiery darts each week trying to being me down. It was the most amazing hard experience I’ve walked through. There were around 50+ women who signed up for my class, and there have been friendships formed from this class to last a lifetime. This was the first class I ever taught, and the ladies in this class will forever hold a special place in my heart with opening their arms and support to me and trusting me to guide them closer to the Lord through Biblical application.
Seventh, I almost gave up on my calling. After I taught my class, I was on a high, but fell to a low shortly after. The week after my class ended, I spent an uninterrupted week with the Lord while my husband traveled for work as I spent the time praising Him for showing up week after week as I taught my class and reflecting on all the Lord did. During this week, I heard so clearly, I was to now turn that Bible Study I taught into a book and starting writing a book on it.
This is when the enemy creeped in and started chipping away day by day little by little bringing me to a complete place of defeat. The enemy was telling me I was an imposter whispering lies to me such as “who are you to write a book, you’re not qualified, you’re the last person on the planet that should be writing a whole book because you’re not even whole yourself…nobody is going to read your book and it’s going to be a joke” …the list of lies could go on for days and day by day I started believing these lies. I went to a place of total defeat and discouragement.
I kept writing for my freelance jobs, since they were after all jobs that I didn’t want to give up. But I neglected my personal blog, personal accounts, and my heart and passion for my calling diminished daily. Thanks to the encouragement of my hubby and God never giving up on me, I keep pushing through and have now come out the other side.
What I did learn during this time, however, is partial obedience is still disobedience. Delayed obedience is also still disobedience. I was not obeying the Lord knowingly after He told me to write my book. I noticed my prayer life and my clear hearing of the Lord’s voice was muffled. My disobedience was causing a rift between God and I and an unsettling feeling within me. God doesn’t hate disobedience because He is mad at us, He hates it because it keeps us from Him and keeps us from feeling at peace. Through it all, I learned in the end, the Lord takes me back with open arms with the simple act of turning my heart back to Him in true repentance. He wasn’t mad at me, He wasn’t about to abandon me, He was actually just waiting for me. And that leads me to my next point.
Eighth, I SORT OF checked another item off my bucket list. When I decided to dismantle each lie I had believed since my class I taught ended, I decided to re-commit my heart to the truth of God’s purpose for me. Within a week of me turning my heart back, I met with a very well-known international speaker, bestselling author, and book agent associated with a well-respected book agency. I wasn’t prepared for this meeting as I had emailed her one random day asking for her to meet as I know she is a local Arizonian. She responded right away and wanted to meet the next day.
I spent that entire night preparing as much of a book proposal as I could in the limited amount of time which is a proposal of all the details pertaining to a book idea. It’s quite detailed and lengthy. I showed up to the meeting with what I had, and that meeting was full of deep conversation, vulnerable stories, and tears being shed. But at the end of the meeting, with a huge smile on her face, she told me she wanted to SIGN WITH ME, and work with me as my book agent and get my book in front of publishers in hopes to get me a publishing deal one day. She believes in me and believes in my book idea. So, I have sort of checked off another item off my bucket list mentioned above and that’s to write a book.
Signing with a book agent and agency is one HUGE first step in this direction. I am about to be done with Chapter 1 this next week and I will do everything to guard my heart for the enemy’s discouragement. I know with full confidence that the enemy is threated and doesn’t want the message on my heart that the Lord has given me to get out to the world. But get ready – IT IS COMING!
Ninth, I joined a community of gals. A church community, a community I work out with, and a community of friends – both non-Christian and Christian. The term community is a cliché term, and I didn’t realize just how important community was until I had one here in Arizona. I wouldn’t consider myself an outgoing person unless I am already out haha. But prefer the comfort of my home, as my home is my sanctuary. I tend to handle things on my own, and don’t ask for help from other as I tend to be a homebody. But like I said, when I am out, I do love talking and can talk to just about anyone. My love for talking had in fact turned into my love for writing since I have a lot to say haha!
Since moving to Arizona, I was determined to create a true life here, and a lot of that life has involved around the community we have built here. My husband is also a homebody, and I could easily have no friends and just hang out with him 24/7 LOL I love love, and he’s truly my best friend and we have a lot of fun. But community is so important for so many reasons but remember earlier I talked about how I fell into a place of defeat? Part of the reason was because I isolated myself from sharing what I was really struggling with. While I was still socializing during that defeating season, I isolated myself from opening my heart to what I was really going through with anyone. One of my favorite author’s Lysa TerKeurst said it best, “if the enemy can isolate it, he can influence us. And his favorite entry point of all is through our disappointments.” We need community and friends to walk through life together.
I would encourage you to find those friends, and specifically Christian friends to walk through the hard things of life with that will always encourage you and point you back to Christ giving you Godly wisdom and not worldly folly. A wonderful book was recently released by Jeni Allen, called “Find Your People” that talks about building your community in a lonely world. Community is a true blessing and I’ve never been so involved in one and wish I would have started earlier in life with it.
Tenth and lastly, I turned 40. WHAT! I know, I don’t look it 😉 but really, I can’t believe I am 40. I don’t act like it, I certainly don’t feel it, and 40 always felt like the F (Forty) word and had a bad connotation to it. It always seemed so “old” to me. I always thought my parents were old and they were always 40 to me LOL. Now that I am here, I realize age really is just a #. I have friends from in their 20’s to friends in their 50’s. I am excited for what is ahead in this next decade and also extremely grateful for the life I have lived up until this point. I thought something magical was going to happen the morning I woke up on my 40th birthday (September 14th), but I felt exactly the same LOL. My husband says I get younger with age with regards to my immaturity at times and I’m ok with him saying that as I want to always be young at heart. Life is meant to be enjoyed and it’s all comes down to what kind of mindset we CHOOSE to focus on. So, here’s to 40!
These are the 10 updates for you – a snapshot of what has happened in the past 2 years, what I have been up to and where I have been. I can’t thank you enough for sticking around and for my many readers than have reminded loyal and even checked on me in the past 2 years. It lighted my spirit when my spirit was down. I truly love you and I’m excited to get back in touch with each and every one of you.
You can follow me on my social media accounts (with links on the side of this page) with fun pictures of these trips and everyday life and stories with me 😊
So, what’s ahead for me now?
I do want to say with regarding future plans, I have learned that I will never make a decision in my life again, without first seeking the Lord first and foremost. Afterall, He encourages us to do so in Matthew 6:33, saying, “Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” Often times, I feel like we make all our plans and decisions for our life, and THEN we ask God to bless them and join along for the ride. Rather than FIRST seek Him and what HIS plans are for our life, and then add to it with our plans to help get us there. We tend to sprinkle God into our life, rather than sprinkle life into God’s ultimate purpose and plan for our life. Every decision, big or small that I have done in my own wisdom, in my own strength, and my own logic or feelings, tends to cause me more stress and more importantly adds a lack of peace to my life. Of course, God will call us to do things that are out of our comfort zone (like my move to Arizona), but He will always guide and lead us and always give us a peace that far “surpasses our understanding” (Philippians 4:6) of whatever it is He has asked us to do. I don’t get that same kind of peace when I walk my own path.
So, what’s ahead for this next year to end 2022, and start 2023 that I am prayerfully walking towards it?:
- To start a family and try for kids – would love the prayers friends 😊 this would also knock my 1st bucket list item off my list. PS – I’m really praying for twins!
- Finish my book (my second bucket list item 😊).
- Buy our first house for our hopefully-prayerfully- God-willing-soon-to-be-growing–family with future kiddos on the way.
Thank you all again for following my journey and this blog and I can’t WAIT to catch up with y’all! Next blog post coming soon: “How to know when God speaks to you”.
Last month in Part 1 of the “Who am I” series (Who Am I That A King Chose Me?), I discussed how most my life I felt unworthy to be chosen for a calling, let alone chosen by a King. The truth is we are all unworthy, but YET, God chose us anyways to partner with Him in advancing His Kingdom here on earth. Just as He chose the unworthy heroes in the Bible whose stories involve them being used in extraordinary ways; He also chose me and you. Broken, unworthy: all of who we are.
But what if the season we are in looks NOTHING like any sort of kingdom heroic work or looks at all like we are being used by God in any substantial way?
It feels like the everyday mundane life you are living is rather…BORING, providing no value and significance right now.
What’s your calling in THIS season?
We tend to use the word “calling” and correlate it to something BIG. Many of us think we are not living in our calling YET, because we haven’t reached that high mark yet. Such as writing a book or being a well-known influencer with a large platform or picking up and moving to a foreign country to do mission field work, or leaving your successful career to work in full time ministry for your church.
But what if you are exactly where you are supposed to be in your calling right NOW, in the EXACT season you are in, for a specific reason?
- Are you in a career right now where you are bored and have no passion for?
- Are you a stay at home wife who left your successful career to tend to your husband?
- Are you in pursuit of your God-driven dreams, but nothing is taking off right now?
- Are you in a season of singleness, wai
- Are you in a season of momhood, of toddlers, or homeschooling children where you have no time to do nor think of anything else for yourself?
Embrace whatever season you’re in
Friends – hear me when I say this: you are EXACTLY where you are supposed to be in the season you are in. I want to encourage you to EMBRACE the season you are in and TRUST the Author who wrote your story. God knows the beginning from the end, and every single part of your story is for a larger grand purpose. You are exactly where you need to be and this somewhat exhausting, unfulfilling, non-rewarding, insignificant feeling sometimes boring season you may be in, will be used one day for His glory. This season is all a part of the STORY – God’s story. And the role you are playing right now in this season, is a starring role. Don’t try to dismiss the season you are in NOR try to wish it away. God is working in you, preparing you for what’s in the coming season.
THIS Season is preparing you for the NEXT season
Whatever your season you’re currently in, it’s preparing you for the next one. Thankfully, we have the Bible that gives us examples of others that walked in a somewhat dry or desolate, maybe what felt like irrelevant seasons. But ultimately it was to prepare them for what was NEXT.
Let’s take a look at David, Joseph, and our beloved Savior, Jesus, in the Bible.
- We may all know David with his story as the hero who killed Goliath. Or refer to him as King David who ruled the nation as one of Israel’s greatest kings. But do you know that he never started out as a hero and king? He started out as a shepherd boy where even his very own family neglected to invite him to the party the current King was having. Before he killed a giant by the name of Goliath, he killed a bear. He didn’t try to network his way into the Kingdom to take over the throne when the current King was in town. He spent time with God in the field and sowed seeds serving as a shepherd boy that later carried on with him when he was ready to sit on the throne in the next season. (1 Samuel 16-31)
- Joseph knew that He was going to rule the nations one day. It was revealed to him in a dream. He knew his 11 brothers would one day bow down to him. But he spent 13 years elsewhere, partly as a slave to Pharaoh in Egypt. He knew his future calling, yet he was in opposition far away from his loved ones and spent a few years in prison under Pharaoh as well. But God was preparing for him for what was to come. What he was doing serving Pharaoh may have seemed insignificant and unfulfilling but it was ultimately preparing Joseph for what was NEXT. (Genesis 37-50)
- Jesus himself, spent his first 30 years which we know little about in the Bible perfecting his skill. He didn’t go into his future calling aka his ministry until he was 30 years old and then He was crucified on the cross at age 33. That means he was only walking in his what one might perceive has His calling for as short 3 years. But that’s just it, the 30 years prior, even though it may have seemed irrelevant or a waste of time, He was a student and not a teacher. Walking in the season He was supposed to be walking in. (Luke 3:23)
God wants you to be excellent in the position you’re in
God doesn’t want you to be excellent at the position you’re going to be at, He wants you to be excellent at the position you’re at right now. Just as the three examples just mentioned in the Bible, we are to be excellent at where we are NOW. Whatever season you are in, you are an answer to the problem right now. Perhaps you see no end at sight to ever pursue a passion or calling God has on your heart because you are at home taking care of your young kids. But God wants you to embrace that season as you are shepherding your kids to the knowledge of Jesus and serving them in this season. And what you are doing in THIS season, you will take with you to the NEXT season.
That small thing that you are doing now that may seem insignificant, just remember God is watching you handle what He’s given you NOW, to make sure you are ready for the thing that’s NEXT. He loves you enough to not allow you to go face a Goliath when you’re not ready to face what’s in front of you now. For Colossians 3:23 says “and whatever you do, do EVERYTHING whole heartily, as to the Lord…”
Who am I in THIS Season?
I’m a WIFEY and a WRITER.
The season before this, I was only a wifey, and it was after I left what I felt was a successful career. Being “only” a wifey, seemed insignificant at the time. My husband supported me staying at home as we both feel like it was best for our family, but yet I was always chasing for more as I felt I had to contribute more. I felt I had this BIG calling ahead of me. But what God revealed to me, was I needed to perfect my life at home and with Him in the quiet, preparing me for the next season. I was to rest in my new role as a new wifey and rest in God. Not working in a high demanding career and being able to be home and love my husband, gave me the quiet time to seek God like never before.
In this season that lasted 24 for months of being a stay at home wifey, God was pruning me from the inside out. I have journals and writings and things the Holy Spirit placed on my heart in these 24 months that ONLY God could have done in this season of quietness.
I am far from an excellent wife as I’m not sure I’ll ever perfect that role, so I believe the Lord is always perfecting me in that. But now I add WRITER into this new season as God has placed it on my heart to not only write for online publications I freelance for, but to now write my first Bible Study book. My outline is ready, and I’m starting it this fall. (hold me accountable ladies) However, if I would have never embraced the season prior of being at home and being nothing but a wifey, realizing that I was EXACTLY where I was supposed to be, I’m not sure I would be writing this Bible Study I’m about to embark on.
Serve in EVERY season
So, friends — be encouraged. Embrace exactly where you are. Because one thing is for sure: You are a co-worker in the kingdom. A present-day disciple. Whatever season we are in, we are called to serve. To make Jesus known. So, who are you in THIS season? Just a wifey? Just a mom, an aunt, a grandma, a widow? A career title that’s boring to you? A single gal living alone? A mom turn teacher homeschooling your kids for the first time?
Remember — David was just a shepherd boy, Joseph was just a slave, and Jesus wasn’t even known until the last few years of His life before He became our Savior.
Take some time to ask the Lord WHO you are in THIS season, and then be the student learning everything you can in this season. Ask the Lord what He wants to reveal to you in THIS season, and then take one step at a time walking side by side with him knowing that this irrelevant, dry, boring season is for a very specific purpose and it will be used as part of the God’s amazing story one day.
Comment below and tell me what season you are in and what God is showing you.
Join me for Part 3 next month on the “Who Am I” series.
Next post –> Who am I as a soldier for Christ?
Most my life, the lie of never feeling worthy enough screamed louder than this truth:
a King chose me for a purpose.
I knew that God loved me, and always felt I was uniquely created. In fact, He tells us that we are all “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14) and there is absolutely “nothing that can separate us from His love.” (Romans 8:38-39) But I never quite felt worthy enough to be chosen to help God advance His Kingdom in a mighty way. I never felt good enough to be given a purpose that could change the lives of others. Afterall, who was I to be used by God in big ways when I felt so inadequate myself? I felt too broken to be destined with a purpose. I had too much of a mess from my past to ever be used in a powerful way. I always lived with these lies that I wasn’t worthy enough, let alone worthy enough to be chosen for a purpose, let alone from a King.
Therefore, who am I that a King would choose me?
Not just any King, but the Highest King. God Himself. The Maker of this Universe, the Prince of Peace, Lord of Lords, King of Kings, the Alpha and Omega — He CHOSE me and has a purpose for ME…Alisha?
God’s Relentless Pursuit of Me
The fact is this: I am unworthy. And so are you. This is what makes the love story between us and God so beautiful. We are all unworthy of His grace and forgiveness as we all fall short living in a fallen world. BUT He loves us anyways. He chose us anyways. He has big plans for us anyways. His purpose prevails anyways.
The Lord had been pursuing ME my entire life and didn’t stop until I gave Him all my heart, all of me. What a love He has for us to never stop chasing us! While I had been running into the arms of lesser loves, He never gave up as He was relentless chasing after me. I was broken, desperately craving attention and acceptance in misplaced affections. I searched the world for my purpose. I sought out empty treasures that quenched my thirst temporarily, but that left me still thirsty for more….
and then God stepped in.
The day I surrendered my life to Him is that day He began to put the broken pieces back together. Every crack filled. Every shattered piece molded more like Him. Every thirst satisfied.
Despite any mess in my life, He still calls me daughter. He still chooses me. He saw my weaknesses. He still loves me. He healed me. He gave me BEAUTY for the ASHES of my life. He turned my shame into His glory. He has turned my weakness and mess into my greatest message that I’m committed to spending the rest of my life sharing with the world. He has a plan and purpose for me, as He does you.
God’s Purpose Is To Use All That You Are
When I accepted the truth that God has a plan and purpose for my life, the Holy Spirit revealed to me that the calling ahead of you is far greater than all the experiences behind you. So it doesn’t matter how broken you are, how imperfect, or what you’ve done in your past. His purpose is to use all that you are. What you see as a mistake, He sees as an opportunity. What you see as pain, He sees as a purpose. What you see as scarred, He sees as a beautiful masterpiece.
He promises to use EVERY experience for good. Romans 8:28 says “all things work together for good to those who love God, to those are called, according to His purpose”.
Hear this ladies – God is the ONLY one that can fill those broken cracks in your life. Those shattered pieces He can put back together. The ONLY one that will accept your weakness and your brokenness for you. ALL OF YOU! And He will use every ounce of your life for His purpose. It doesn’t matter how weak or broken you are or anything that you’ve done in your life. He will redeem them for His good.
Do you know the GREATEST heroes of the Bible all had major weaknesses and brokenness too? They too, felt unworthy of a purpose. Yet, God chose them anyways.
- Abraham was old (Genesis 17:17)
- Elijah was suicidal (1 King 19:4)
- Joseph was abusive (Genesis 37:12-36)
- Job went bankrupt (Job 1:13-22)
- Moses has a speech impediment (Exodus 4:10)
- Gideon was afraid (Judges 6:11-27)
- Sampson was a womanizer (Judges 14-16)
- Rahab was a prostitute (Joshua 2)
- The Samaritan women was divorced 5 times (John 4:17-18)
- Noah was a drunk (Genesis 9:21)
- Jeremiah was young (Jeremiah 1:7)
- Jacob was a cheater (Genesis 27:1-35)
- David was an adulterer and murderer (2 Samuel 11)
- Jonah ran from God (Jonah 1:3-17)
- Naomi was a widow (Ruth 1-4)
- Peter denied Christ 3 times (Luke 22:54-62)
- Martha worried about everything (Luke 10:41)
- Zacchaeus was money hungry (Luke 19:1-10)
- The disciples fell asleep while praying with Jesus (Luke 14:37)
- Paul was a Pharisee who murdered Christians before he became one (Acts 22:1-21)
- [Insert your story here]
God will use YOUR story! Don’t let the enemy fool you into thinking anything less. Friends – the GRACE of God covers you so stop covering up your weaknesses and instead expose them as you allow God to USE them. I John 4:4 says “Greater is the ONE who lives and moves in your than the one who prowls around you [the devil], the one who seeks to destroy the perfect plan that the greater ONE has for you.”
The One who we will live with in eternity has chose to PARTNER with you, with me, Alisha, to accomplish His Heavenly purposes. He is using ME and MY MESS to help spread His MESSAGE here on this earth. He did it was Moses, David…Peter, Paul, all those mentioned above, and many more. And He wants to do it with YOU too!
Your purpose is about your UNIQUE STORY
Your unique story includes your mess of a life. Your inadequacies. All those things that make you feel unworthy of a purpose is what makes you have a unique story that ONLY YOU can tell. ONLY you have walked the path you have walked. What a unique story to share with others! Let Him into the broken cracked places of your inner most parts and sink in His love molding the brokenness of your story into HIS powerful story.
YOU, my friend, are CHOSEN by the KING Himself. Step into your royal chair girl, as a daughter of a King. And partner with the ONLY one that was meant to satisfy your every thirst, that has already handpicked you and chose you from the very beginning as He says in His word, “I chose you before I formed you and knit you together in your mother’s womb (Psalm 139:13), I set you apart before you were born, I appointed you, I selected you…” (Jeremiah 1:5)
So who are you that a King chose you?
Nobody. Not deserving. Unworthy. But guess what? He STILL chose you, set you apart, appointed you, selected you, and formed you and only your unique story for a PURPOSE.
Join me for Part 2 next month in the “Who Am I” series. Next post –> Who am I in THIS season?
When problems arise in our lives, is praying about the situation your first or last resort?
We tend to do the opposite of praying by thinking about out problems, worrying about it, or talking about it with a friend. Some of us research answers or solutions to our problems online. We even read Christian blogs and books for an outcome or help to fix our problem. Maybe we even ask our mom or sister to pray for it, but neglect to do it ourselves. Or we grab our journal, and write about it.
But why at times don’t we actually pray out loud about it?
Maybe we just don’t understand the importance and purpose of prayer. I confess, my biggest misconception of prayer most of my life, was what’s the point of prayer, if God already knows the answer? Can anyone else relate? I thought, If He already knows the beginning from the end, then what difference will my prayers make?
This led me to dig into Scripture in a new way determined to find out the true meaning of prayer and its purpose. Prayer is mentioned all through out the Bible. Jesus himself often withdrew himself from groups and his disciples to go spend time in prayer.
Prayer is part of the daily armor we are to put on to fight our days against the enemy who is just waiting for us to wake up. The enemy has the same goal each day of “roaming around seeking someone to devour”(1 Peter 5:8).
In Ephesians 6:18, we are taught to “pray in the Spirit at all times on every occasion.”
I Thessalonians 5:17 says to “pray without ceasing”.
Paul says to “devote yourselves to prayer”(Colossians 4:2).
James 5:16 says “the effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.”
We all know prayer is a part of the Christian walk. It goes hand in hand with being a believer. Allow me to take it deeper and share with you three powerful findings the Holy Spirit revealed to me as the purpose of prayer. I hope it encourages you in your prayer life as it has profoundly changed mine.
Purpose of prayer
- First and foremost, prayer is how we develop a relationship with God. It’s aligning our heart with His and His purposes. Just like a relationship with your spouse — how are you supposed to build a life with your husband, set goals, partner with to make plans for the future, or discuss your concerns and admiration for each other if you two don’t speak to one other?
In the same way, how are you to get close to your Maker, your Father, the God of the universe and walk alongside Him in your purposes for your life if you don’t speak to Him?
One might argue that they don’t enjoy speaking to someone who doesn’t speak back. But I would counter-argue that with saying – our God DOES speak back, and I challenge you to consistently try it. It might not be audible, but He WILL speak to you in your spirit the more time you spend talking to Him in your prayer life. He’ll speak to you through other people, books, worship music, podcasts, sermons, most definitely — the Bible. He just wants to hear from His precious daughter and it starts with prayer.
- Some things won’t happen unless we pray. YES, God knows the outcome of everything already, but He could quite easily use someone else OR allow His plan to be accomplished in another way UNLESS we step in and pray for something different.
Have you ever wondered why He says in His word, “ask anything in my name” (John 14:14)?
Of course, some of what we ask for, God has a better way as He knows what’s best, so He doesn’t always give us what we ask for. But the Bible actually has countless stories where God was going to accomplish His plans one way, but someone stepped in to intercede and pray on behalf of the situation to change things, and guess what? God heard them, and He changed things.
Moses is an example. In Exodus 32:11-14, Scripture says Moses “pleaded with the Lord” asking Him to not bring His wrath on His people as God had said he was planning to do, due to their corruption. The Lord heard Moses so He “relented from the harm which said He would do to His people.”
God hears us ladies. We have prayer so easily available to us. I’m not sure what you’re going through right now, but we can intercede ON BEHALF of our current situation. On behalf of our families, our husband, our children. Remember —some things won’t happen UNLESS we intercede. So start praying for your people, just as Moses did!
- Prayer is a powerful offensive weapon we have. Do y’all know we are fighting a spiritual battle? Ephesians 6:12 says “for we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.”
Perhaps, your marriage is falling apart, and you are constantly battling your husband. Have you ever thought about how it’s really the enemy behind the chaos? It’s the enemy just using your husband as the vessel. The enemy will do everything to tear down a marriage and destroy families.
Hear this: your husband is not the real enemy. It’s time we take our position as a prayer warrior as wives and fight for what the enemy tries to steal from us every day. For he comes to “steal, kill, and destroy.” (John 10:10) Stop battling your husband (or whoever you are battling right now) and turn your attention towards prayer. Prayer will keep the enemy at bay.
Making prayer a part of your daily life
Friends – prayer is vital to our life here on earth. It is the only thing that connects us to God. It’s the tool we have to know His will and purpose for our life. It’s the tool we have to fight the enemy who comes after us daily. And it’s the tool we have to intercede on behalf of our people just as Moses did.
God hears us. Even when you don’t see him working, trust me, He’s working. It might not be done in the way we ask for, but God knows what’s best. He just wants to hear from his daughter. YOU! And prayer provides an avenue directly to Him.
Perhaps you’ve never experienced a moment of prayer. That’s ok. There is a first time for everything. If you’ve never really prayed, I encourage you to give it a try. The Bible tells us that our prayers will be met with “God’s delight” (Proverbs 15:8)
Throughout the New Testament, we are told that Jesus “often withdrew to lonely places and prayed” (Luke 5:16). I encourage you to actively carve out time alone to meet your Father who is just anxiously WAITING FOR YOU in prayer. He’s so excited to hear from you!
Let’s stop thinking about it, talking about it, worrying about it, and become prayer warriors in our daily walk with the Lord! You’ve got this sister.
[quote from picture is from Lysa TerKeurst’s book “It’s not supposed to be this way”]
I love looking back on a year and rather than look at how awful (or great) a year was, I look back to reflect on how much I grew and what were the life takeaways.
2019 transformed me in more ways that I could have ever imagined.
In all my 30-something years on this earth, 2019 (next to 2013 when my older brother passed away) was the most difficult year I experienced. AND the craziest part is it had nothing to do with anything outside of me. Thank you, Lord, for a year of good health, no death, no broken friendships, no financial losses, no betrayal, divorce, or major things most of us equate to a bad year.
No, none of these things.
What made this year now my second hardest year of my life was the transformation done INSIDE me, not what was occurring outside of me. But sometimes the internal battles can far outweigh what’s going on around us.
THIS WAS A YEAR OF BATTLE WITHIN MYSELF.
In 2019, Satan tried to flex his power. He showed up. God’s called me to something big, I know that. Just as He has called you as followers of Him to something big. He says in his Word “many are called, but few are chosen.” (Matthew 22:14) What does this mean? Some of us get trampled on by Satan and never step into our GREATEST calling or we try to do it all yourself which is a tactic of the enemy. Just as Saul did in the old testament. Saul was called to be king. King over all of Israel and rather than wait on the instruction of the Lord, he tried to do it himself. (1 Samuel 13:1-15) He therefore was overlooked as future king, and that’s when David took his place on the throne.
I don’t want to be overlooked for my major role in this life – my calling.
Sometimes God allows Satan and his army in our lives just as he did in Job’s story in the Bible. God actually “gave permission” (Job 1:12) to Satan to have his chance with Job. He allows things to happen to us to grow us. To strengthen us. To make us stronger than ever before preparing us for something bigger.
In the battle against the enemy, the key is to get stronger and to grow your faith muscle. Not to let the enemy take you out entirely. And for many of us, going through hardships end up discouraging us and taking us out before we ever had the chance to step into our calling. James 1:2-4 encourages us saying “when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow.”
In order for me to step into something bigger, I needed to go to battle and fight off things from my life that have been hindering me. To RELEASE them from my life. It was torturous. It felt at times very defeating. It felt like my whole world was taking a step back from all that I knew to be my comfort. But sometimes you must take a step back in order to plummet you that much further forward.
THIS WAS THE YEAR I FOUGHT THE LIES HOLDING ME BACK.
Lies from the enemy that I wasn’t good enough. Lies of the unknown. Lies that every time my husband would walk out the door and travel for work, that he might leave for something better and never come back and abandon me. Lies that I needed status clout from others in order to feel loved and purposeful. Lies that in order for my life to be satisfied and complete, I needed things to look a certain way. Lies that I should just go back to the way things were and forgo my calling because the way things were, were safe and known. Lies that just because other gals have found what I deemed as success, that there was no room for me at the table. Lies that I had nothing to offer.
These lies affected every area of my life.
In recent years, I left my career as a VP finance boss-babe to pursue God’s calling on my life to write and speak to women. A calling I felt on my heart from the time I was young. I’m blessed to have a husband who provides for me financially and supports my dreams and is consistently inspiring me and encouraging me to live them out.
My husband knows what I’m capable of and has believed in me from day 1.
However, Satan knows what I’m capable of too.
Therefore, he was active with distracting me, discouraging me and ultimately attempting to destroy me. He knows that once God’s power takes over me, that I can leave him trembling in fear and damage his plan for destruction. He knows the impact I can have on women and some women are just waiting to hear from me. The enemy knows that I am the kind of woman that when my feet hit the floor each morning, it will leave him saying “oh no, she’s up.”
Because of the calling on my life, the enemy tried taking me out this past year. And as I drew closer to God, Satan drew closer to me too.
This was a year of RELEASE.
But day by day, the more time I spent with God and in the truth of His word, the more confidence and wisdom I gained. Instead of believing the lies and having them dictate my actions, I began replacing those lies with the truth. I began filtering everything that came my way through the filter of truth not the filter of my hurt. And as I began replacing those lies, I began to experience more freedom.
What happens when you become free, is you become everything God has called you to be for Him.
Remember – Satan is already defeated. He is a defeated foe. When all is said and done, and our short life here on earth is over, Satan loses. Not us. This is why Jesus died on the cross for us. To give us the option of salvation. When God comes back one day to grab His followers, Satan will spend eternity in hell. But his mission while he is still roaming this earth is to “kill, steal, and destroy us”. (John 10:10)
He tried to destroy my dreams, my well-being, my relationships, my self-worth, and most importantly my trust in God. He will try every tactic to get me away from the Lord where he knows that with the Lord’s strength in my corner, I will have the most power and can make the most impact.
Do you know you have POWER and authority to break ANYTHING from your life?
Friends – God gave us authority and power to overcome ANY stronghold, anything holding us back. To break them, to master them, and walk in true freedom and victory. He promises us this in Luke 10:19 – “I have given you authority over all the power of the enemy, and you can walk among snakes and scorpions and crush them. Nothing will injure you.”
This year was the most challenging yet most defining. Most painful, yet most overcoming. Most defeating, yet most victorious. Satan is still out there to destroy me, but the wisdom the Lord has bestowed on me – I strive to apply to my life daily. Make no mistake, some days I still lose, but thankfully, God’s “mercies are new every morning” (Lamentations 3:23) and we have the power and authority at our disposal whenever we choose to fight in any battle.
OUR GREATEST WEAPON IS THE BIBLE. BECAUSE THAT’S WHERE THE TRUTH RESIDES.
All the lies that consumed me this year, dictating my actions or reactions, controlled me, and stole so many things from me was because I didn’t know how to fight the lies. But now I do. The only way to fight lies is with TRUTH. The very first temptation in history started with Adam and Eve. And do you know what caused the fall of man and sin to enter our world? A lie. A lie from the serpent, Satan himself.
What lies are you telling yourself? What are you believing from your past? What strongholds do you have that are binding you up “choking out the life of God in you?” (Matthew 13:22)
Let this be a year of RELEASE ladies. Trust me, there is freedom on the other side.
Many of us have been trying to go to the next level and trying to do the next thing, but we are tied down to things the enemy has strategically placed in your way to prevent you from taking off. Things that have grounded us to the ground. But God is trying to launch you higher. Those habits, lies, beliefs, insecurities, fears, unforgiveness, scars from your past…they are holding you back from where God is trying to take you.
God isn’t just calling us to fly up in the air and go from one place to the next place. He is calling us to launch us into a whole new atmosphere.
So, it’s time to release what’s holding you back. It might be painful as you face it, but I encourage you to go THROUGH it, not around it, not ignore it, nor try to manipulate it. Rather go through the pain of releasing what is holding you back. Why did Jesus spread mud all over the blind man’s eyes in order to heal his eyes? (John 9:1-12) His healing was MESSY (literally), just as mine was. Don’t let the method or pain of release prevent you from the miracle and freedom of release.
A year ago, today, I would never have believed the freedom that I feel in this moment. But I had to go to battle. I received some battle wounds and bruises along the way, but came out stronger. Girl, you’ve got this. Don’t let the enemy trip you and rip you to shreds any longer. You’re beautiful. You’re brave. You’re a chosen soldier in this horrific battle with a glorious ending.
I recently celebrated my birthday. And it was on my birthday years ago, that I was given one of the best gifts I have ever received. The gift was a Bible. The only other gift that compares is my beautiful custom-made rose gold diamond wedding ring. I still admire it daily as I’m proud to wear the title of a wifey and proud of my hunk of a husband. My ring is my symbol to show my daily choice in choosing him. I cherish these two items more than any other. If my home was on fire, these would be the two things I would grab on the way out.
I received this Bible from my brother for my 30th birthday. Little did I know that that would be my last birthday with him as he passed away the following year from cancer. I can’t give all the credit to my brother for buying this Bible for me as his wife was most likely the gift buyer haha just as I am in my household. But I will never forget what my brother said after I opened the gift. He said “the Bible isn’t something to just look at, it has power when put to use, so promise me you’ll use it?” I hesitated, nodded with confusion, and then promised him I’d put it to use.
Power? A book of 66 chapters of stories that I’ve heard countless times in Sunday school is supposed to be full of power. Adam and Eve, Noah and the Ark, Jonah and the Whale, David and Goliath. This book of stories has power? It wouldn’t be for a couple years before I fulfilled my promise to my brother.
I was no stranger to the Bible. I’ve read it many times. I know a lot of Scripture from having to memorize it as I attended a private Christian school most of my life and it was required of me. Most of the Scripture had a few good takeaways and values I could add to my life, but I also didn’t understand a lot of it so I’d just skip over many of the passages. Where was this power that my brother was talking about? To me, the Bible was more of a history book with good stories we could all learn a little something from.
Over the next few years, I began to really dive into this ‘book of power’, and what I discovered was that the words started to jump off the pages and sink into my heart. I spent time trying to understand the passages that I seemingly passed over years before. It began to change my heart, change my mind and change my perspective. The Bible became my everyday guide to my everyday life, my everyday path, and my everyday steps.
The Bible was no longer a storybook or a history lesson with the occasional nuggets of wisdom. It now became my everyday book full of limitless power.
Allow me to highlight some of the continual and influential power the Bible has revealed to me and radically inspired in my life:
The Bible guides me: Just like when you are in a dark theater room, and you are looking for your seat and there are little foot lights to guide you to each row to eventually find your seat. God has provided footlights for your life in the Bible to guide us as we walk and to keep us from falling and tripping in this dark world. But just as this world is ever changing, we don’t just read the Bible once, and then boom, we have all the light and guidance we need for life. Even the light you received yesterday, is not enough light to guide you through today. That is why we need to read the Bible DAILY for daily light and daily guidance. Psalm 119:10 says “The Word (the Bible) is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path”.
The Bible gives comfort: I can call my family and girlfriends to encourage me and uplift me. My husband is my best friend and would do anything for me. But when you still feel hopeless and all the wisdom given to you just isn’t enough, God’s Word will shed light on your situation and bring you comfort that no human being can. It will give you a kingdom perspective versus the worldly perspective we live in. The Bible will burn hopelessness out of your life and give you a “peace that surpasses all understanding” (Philippians 4:7). God’s word promises comfort as Jesus says “come to me all you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest”. (Matthew 11:28)
The Bible is our greatest weapon: The Word of God is Truth. We live in a world full of lies. Whether its lies others tell you, or lies that you tell yourself. Lies keep us from living in freedom and keep us from pursuing our dreams using our God-given talents. They hurt ourselves and often hurt our loved ones. Do you know where those lies come from? The devil himself. In fact, “there is no truth in him…for he is a liar, and the father of lies”. (John 8:44) And the only way to defend against the lies, is to know and combat them with the truth. God left us with the greatest offensive weapon of all to tackle the lies that keep you hostage in this life. That weapon is the Bible. For the Bible is the opposite of lies and is the “Truth.” (Psalm 33:4, 119: 142, 160) Knowing God’s word (aka the truth) in our mind, in our heart, and speaking it out of our lips will defeat the lies being thrown at us everyday.
I now hunger for God’s Word like food. I thirst for it like water. I soak in it. I lose myself in it. I put it on like it’s my favorite accessory. And I weave it into my soul so that it becomes part of the fabric in my life. I’ve seen it change my life, my marriage, and my perspective with everything I face in front of me for the day. It is wise, it is a counselor, it is satisfying. I strive to “meditate on it day and night” just as Joshua 1:8 encourages us to do so.
Along with my brother, Martin Luther experienced the power of the Word that later led him to write “The Bible is alive, it speaks to me, it has feet, it runs after me, it has hands, and it lays hold on me.”
Remember, when you are holding the Bible, you are holding the actual Word of God in your hands. It is a precious treasure that we all have access to. I challenge you to just dive in. And if it doesn’t make sense, keep on diving in. God will speak directly to you as he promises that “if you seek me, you will find me when you search for me with all your heart”. (Jeremiah 29:13) Seek Him in His Word and as He promises – you will FIND him. God’s purpose isn’t that we just get into His Word, but that His Word gets into us. That the words that are printed on the pages of His Word would become permanently written on our hearts. Go after it girl!
Taking the first step into something new can be terrifying. Especially when it’s something completely unfamiliar and out of your comfort zone. Its easy to doubt yourself during these times. But did you know that even heroes of the Bible doubted themselves before they stepped into something new? Allow me to share with you my own story of taking steps of faith as well as share a hero’s story from the Bible.
This past month, I had the opportunity to attend the She Speaks Christian Women’s Writing Conference right here in my backyard in Charlotte. It was 3-day writing, speaking, and leading conference full of 750+ other like- minded gals all pursuing their passion. Like me, most were new and unfamiliar to this.
I’ve mentioned in previous posts about how I left my VP corporate career in finance 2 years ago to pursue a passion on my heart for women. A passion that’s been on my heart since I was a little girl. That day two years ago, I was full of excitement, yet even more full of fear, because I had NO IDEA what I was doing. I had NO IDEA where to start. But mostly I thought WHO AM I to step out of everything I’ve ever known and influence women?
It was roller coaster of emotions. Some of the questions I wrestled with myself:
- who is going to listen to me?
- what exactly do I have to give that is unique enough to share with other women?
- where do I even start?
I have always been blessed with a lot of amazing girlfriends, as I am without a doubt, a girl’s girl. I’ve always had girlfriends confide in me with issues they were going through. And I’ve been able to create a space of no judgement able to give sound advice. But yet I still wrestled with wondering what business did I have speaking to them about LIFE and encouraging them with my not so perfect decisions I’ve made in my past? I didn’t feel I had the qualifications to step into this new calling.
I felt unequipped, unqualified, and inadequate.
I can’t tell you how many times in the past 2 years, I said myself “this new chapter in my life was too unknown and too unfamiliar, so I was just going to go back into the finance industry and pick up my career where I left off.” But then every time this happened, God divinely and intentionally pulled my heart back in. I KNEW without a doubt I was to pursue this passion of working with women. Not to mention, I had a husband that gave me a wide open canvas of freedom to do whatever my heart wanted. And I’m not just talking about him working hard and providing for me financially in order to do so…which I’m forever grateful for. But bless his heart, he has listened for countless hours about all the new ideas fresh on my mind and then me changing my ideas week after week. And every attempt to take a small baby step usually involved tears like a baby too. And my sweet husband was along for the ride. (I love you bubba)
My first actual step was posting my first blog post. I know this may seem simple for some of you. But ladies – it took me 18 months to do that. 18 MONTHS! I remember my hand was shaking when I hit the publish button. And I’m pretty sure only 3 people read that first post. My husband, mom and dad. HA!
That first step of obedience into what God was calling me into, was an important step because I realized God was with me even in the small baby step of posting my first blog post. Sometimes we wait and wait for a sign or hope that God will roll out a red carpet from Heaven to tell us what to do next. That He’ll lay it all out in an organized way. But what if God is just waiting for us to take the first step? And then the next step, and every step after that with Him by our side? And the areas you feel weak or scared, what if He gave you ALL that you would need to accomplish the work for Him?
An example in the Bible of one who doubted taking the first step was Moses. Moses didn’t feel adequate enough either. Yes, the hero Moses. He felt insecure and didn’t think He was the person for the task God had called him to. When we think of the life of Moses, we think of the parting of the Red Sea. Leading the Israelites through the wilderness. Receiving the 10 commandments. Just to name some of the few significant things he did for God.
But before Moses started his ministry, he questioned his own ability. He had no idea the Red Sea was going to part or that he was going to be one of the pillars of faith in the Bible. He didn’t know that for generations and centuries after him, that we would know his name.
When God met Moses at the burning bush and told him He had called him to lead the Israelites out of Egypt, do you know what Moses responses was? Exodus 4:10 says that Moses pleaded with the Lord saying “Oh Lord, I am not very good with words. I never have been, and I’m not now, even though you have spoken to me. I get tongue-tied, and my words get tangled.”
Moses was doubting his own ability. God replied to him in Verses 11-12 “Who makes a person’s mouth? Who decides whether people speak or do not speak, hear or do not hear, see, or do not see? Is it not I, the Lord?” Now go! I will be with you as you speak, and I will instruct you in what to say.”
WOW! The Moses we all know as a hero of the Bible doubted himself too asking God the same questions I wrestled with, “why me?” He didn’t feel qualified. He even goes a step further in Verse 13 and says “Lord, please send anyone else.”
It’s so easy for us to think these characters of the Bible just went out with courage and confidence easily and never had any doubt in their mind because we know the end of the story. If we look at this scenario from the eyes of Moses, we realize that he didn’t know all those things were going to happen. Just like myself, all Moses knew is that God was calling him to do something. He didn’t know how it was going to end up.
Where in your life do you feel God is calling you? Where do you feel inadequate? Maybe you are a new wife and a new mom and feel like you don’t know what you are doing? Maybe you don’t feel like seeking that promotion at work or switching careers because you don’t feel like you’re qualified. Or perhaps you are settling in a relationship where you know God has called you elsewhere, but you’re too scared to take the step to get out.
I spent far too long feeling this way. Letting the lies of the enemy dictate me not taking steps. I let fear hold me from taking the small first step. It’s about taking each day and giving it to God, and taking each step with him. I realized as I began taking each step. God met me right there leading me and guiding me through every small step, every fear, every wall, every doubt, every lie, every moment on this journey.
I know that the conference I attended was God’s preparation to have me step out into my calling. I was nervous, but also felt like God equipped me for it the past 6 months as I’ve been taking baby steps leading up to the conference. Yes, God knew my brokenness, my imperfect life, my bad choices, my hurts, and all my weaknesses.
God kept saying to me, ‘Alisha, I’m going to use every single aspect of your life and use it to help others. What the enemy meant for evil to hurt you, I am going to turn it around and use it for the greater good and for my glory. “For I have plans to prosper you, and not to harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11). Scripture promises us in 2 Peter 1:3 that “by His divine power, God has give us everything we need.” Isaiah 41:10 says “don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.”
Ladies, do you hear what God says in His word to us? We are called to His purpose. It might not be without trials and a fight along the way, but He has big plans for us, He has equipped us, giving us everything we need, and will strengthen us and be with us, and we WILL be victorious. These are God’s PROMISES to us! It’s time we STEP into these promises.
I stepped out in faith last month to attend a conference I’d never been to, in an industry I’ve never been a part of, with a group of women I’ve never met. I was welcomed with an overflowing amount of open arms. I met amazing influencers, authors, speakers, publishers, editors, agents and Bible teachers. I gained so much knowledge and new friendships that I’ll keep in my pocket for a lifetime. Through the conference, I was given the opportunity to became a freelance writer for three large Christian sites (www.iBelieve.com, www.Christianity.com, www.Crosswalk.com). And my very first published article as a writer went live this past week. (click on this link to view published article)
If I never took the step, this opportunity would have never opened up for me.
God knows the plan, even though I don’t. He knew the plan for Moses, even though Moses didn’t. Our job is to just follow Him in obedience ONE STEP AT A TIME. I can’t wait to see God continue to move in my life and part the sea for me as I continue to take one step at a time into what He has called me to do. And although I have NO IDEA what I’m doing, I’m just going to do the next thing. Because thankfully, our God sure knows what to do!
Be encouraged if you are struggling with the feeling that you are called but unequipped, unqualified, inadequate, that you would let God meet you exactly where you are and that He will make a way for you. Trust him in the next step girl. You got this!
(below are a few pictures from the conference including some of my favorite authors who were speakers at the event: www.lysaterkeurst.com, www.jamieivey.com, www.wendyblight.com, www.biancaolthoff.com)
Grief. I hate that word. But grief is something we have all experienced or if you haven’t yet, you will someday. Afterall, death is the only guarantee in life.
Grief comes in many forms. From saying goodbye to an old friendship or relationship, to closing a chapter in an old career and pursuing a new one. We grieve many things through out our lives. Webster’s dictionary describes grief as: sorrow, misery, sadness, anguish, pain, suffering, heartache. It’s a heaviness in heart and most of us have felt it in some way.
Pain is pain, and all pain hurts. But the worst kind of pain was the pain and loss I felt when I lost my older brother Benji. He was the young age of 33 when he died.
His story is definitely that story you hear or read about. A story about how a good person is gone way too soon. He lived a great life. He married his high school sweetheart and was always madly in love with her. He had two beautiful healthy boys. He helped start and build a tech company that was just months away from going public before he died. Not to mention, he was just an amazing guy. They say ‘only the good die young’, and I can say from the bottom of my heart, Benji was one of them.
Cancer got a hold of him. He was not feeling well and after a couple months, was diagnosed with a rare form of lung stem cell cancer found in his stomach. He was gone 7 months later. Did we know he was going to die? No. He did the chemo treatments and we came together like a family and all had the high hope that he would come through healed on the other side.
It was this same week in July of 2013, the week of his birthday, that he was forced to have an emergency surgery to get his colon removed. However, removing his colon would mean he had to quit chemo and therefore there was no cure for his cancer. The doctors told him they were sending him home, and there was nothing else we could do for him. They were sending him home to die.
I’ll never forgot the call I received from him. He called me to tell me the news. All I could do was cry. And the crazy part about it, all he did was listen and tell me that he’s here for me and I could talk to him about anything I was feeling. He was asking me if I was ok, and how I was handling it all. He was the one dying, the one who had to say goodbye to his wife of 13 years and his sons, yet he was so worried about how I was doing? Somehow, he was all our strong rocks when he was the one suffering and physically weak in pain.
How do you prepare to say goodbye to someone you love for the very last time? I was living in California at the time so I came home every weekend to be with him. We all watched him slowly deteriorate in a short 6 weeks. We spent his last birthday with him in the hospital after he had his surgery. We had nights where we would stay up and talk all night about life, and how much we loved each other. We laughed, we cried. At one point, we even got into an argument where I was the dramatic little sister that felt bullied by my older brother and so I did what any mature woman about to turn 30 does, I deleted him as my friend on Facebook. HA! But that only lasted a few hours.
I cherish those final moments with him. But throughout those final weeks, it wasn’t sitting well with me. I couldn’t make sense of it all. Why would God take him away? Why wouldn’t God heal him right then and there? Afterall, he was God. And Benji was a devout Christian. How cruel of God to do this to our family. Benji was intuitive and a man full of wisdom. He knew I wasn’t ok and I’ll never forgot one of the last conversations we had. I was telling him my hurt and confusion. My confusion around this God that he spoke so highly of. At this time of my life, I knew who God was, I knew Scripture. But I didn’t walk with the Lord or have any personal relationship with Him.
After voicing my confusion, Benji answered me saying “Alisha, it wasn’t God that gave me this cancer. Cancer, as well as sin and many other diseases, entered the world during the fall of Adam and Eve. In fact, God cries with me every night. He tells me He’s so sorry I have to go through this and sorry I have to say goodbye to everyone I love. He’s sitting right here with me through this all and he loves me”. WOW! at the time, I didn’t understand the whole Adam and Eve comment. My brother is dying and he’s talking about an old school story in the Bible? Whatever. But this is what started my journey to studying the Bible and turning my heart to the loving God my brother was talking about. This is where I found hope in in this pain.
Why does God allow pain? Why does God heal some cancer and doesn’t heal others? I don’t have that answer. But I do know there is purpose and promise in the pain. And its ok that we don’t have the reason as to why. God knows the bigger picture. And although losing my brother was one of the hardest things I had to walk through, I do know we have a God that has a plan. and taking my brother early was part of the plan.
Allow me to summarize the main story of the Bible in a few short paragraphs. It helps paint the picture my brother was describing that night. The world was perfection in the beginning. Adam and Eve sinned and brought the evil and death into the world. However, God promises perfection in the end. It starts with perfection in Genesis, and ends with perfection in Revelation. God sent his son, his very OWN son to die on the cross for us to alleviate us from living in a sinful world forever. I’m not sure I could give up my favorite outfit or favorite pair of shoes, let alone a child haha. Oh, how I love my clothes. But God loved us so much, that he gave us His own son to die to save us from living a life in this perishable world. Now that’s love. In fact, the whole Bible is just one whole love story for God fighting for us back, fighting for the perfection that the enemy stole from us in the beginning. John 3:16 says “ For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish, but have eternal life”.
We are not stuck in this cancer-filled, brokenheart-filled, sadness-filled, sin-filled world forever. We have perfection waiting for us on the other side. WOW. Let that sink in. God promises in Revelation 21:4 that He will “wipe away every tear from your eyes…there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain.”
I miss my brother so much. And today, he would be 39 years old if he was here. But God called my brother home because He has a different job for him, fighting a war. As Ephesians 6:12 tells us “we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rules and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.” I think about my brother daily. I often think about what he’s doing. I know he’s got a job. He finished his life here on earth to completion and is helping God and His army finish a job in the Heavenly realm too. I know he’s with the same God I pray to every day and I find that pretty cool. The last thing Benji told me is that he’ll be busy and that time flies by and he’ll see me soon.
God still has me here on earth fulfilling a purpose, just like my brother fulfilled his purpose here too. Remember – God sees the bigger picture. He knows how this story ends and is using you as a character with a purpose. I’m not sure what sort of disappointment you are facing today, but just remember to TRUST the Author. To trust our God who sees the bigger picture. Trust the Author because he wrote he story. And He knows the beginning to the end, so we can rest assured, we are in good hands.
To everyone who is reading this, I hope this helps whenever you go through are faced with anything painful. And don’t forget to raise a glass for my brother at some point today. To Benji, Happy Birthday from the other side. Your little sister misses you.
Yes, you read the title correctly. I am writing about the PERKS of being single. All the benefits and joys of living that single life. This picture above was taken the weekend my husband and I officially became boyfriend and girlfriend. It was three years ago on 4th of July weekend. The title boyfriend and girlfriend lasted all of 94 days before he proposed to me and became my fiancé. But It was the last weekend we were both “single”.
Let me start of by saying that I love my husband and I love being married. I am so grateful I found my teammate who always has my back. And as cliché as it sounds, it came when I least expected it. I am grateful that I get to have a sleepover with my best friend every night. I am grateful that I have someone that asks how my day is and that I get to share all my crazy ideas and dreams with. I’m grateful that I get to build a life with someone and not to mention that someone is a good looking fella that I get to look at daily. There are many perks of being married as I just listed a few.
But what about that single life leading up to dating?
When I was single, every book on the shelf about this topic was all one-in-the-same. There were countless books on how to get over an ex, or how to get that perfect guy. One classic book that was passed through the hands of most of my girlfriends was “why men marry bitches” by Sherry Argov. The book talks about how being extra nice doesn’t necessarily mean the guy you are with will be more devoted. The book teaches you how being a “bitch” will get a guy to propose to you. That was just many of the books that I came across teaching you to be a certain way in order to land a guy. Oddly enough, my husband said one of the things he was looking for in a future wife was a gal that was sweet as he said those are hard to come by. Sweet AKA nice AKA not mean/bitchy like that book describes. Although I read that book along with countless other women, my husband ended up choosing me for the complete opposite. I know all men are different and to each their own, but there are so many books and advice out there on how to either win the next guy in the future or how to overcome a breakup from the past.
But where was all the advice on just being in the present moment of being single? And why does all the advice need to focus on what you had or what you don’t have yet?
For all my single ladies out there, what would life look like if you EMBRACED being single? Rather than feel left out, lonely, or behind all your friends who are engaged and getting married?
Every journey is different. But one thing I did when I was single was I viewed my single years as a once-in- a-lifetime experience. Trust me, a wedding is a once in a lifetime experience too and I loved every detail about my wedding. But if your goal is to be married for the rest of your life, then that means you only have this small window to be single. So why wouldn’t you EMBRACE it to the fullest?
What does that look like? Lets discuss both practically and Biblically speaking.
It’s going to look different for everyone, but for me, one of the many most basic perks was I only had myself to focus on. A relationship or marriage takes a lot of selfless action. Being single, it’s all about one person…me. I could eat whatever I wanted for dinner without asking what the other person wanted. I could go on vacations wherever and spend all the time in the world with my girlfriends and family because I had nowhere else to be. No one else’s feelings and desires to worry about. I could work on any venture and in any career not worrying about how it would affect another person or a family at home. I could spend all my money on clothes, and I did just that. All of it! Ha, oops. I could move to any state I wanted to without caring about anyone else’s feelings, and I did just that. I truly focused on ME, and not what anyone else was doing. And that time was priceless.
Remember, one can still be happy, and a husband is not a prerequisite to that. My husband compliments my life in ways I didn’t know possible, and I wouldn’t trade him, nor our love story for anything in the world. But he (and all husbands) are not the key that makes one happy.
If you are in a season of not loving the single life, I encourage you to rethink the way you are looking at being single. Being single is a season one should embrace as it’s a season you are able to live “without distraction” as stated in 1 Corinthians 7:35. Earlier in the chapter, it highlights that “the unmarried woman cares about things of the Lord and her aim is to be holy in her body and her spirit…but a married woman has to think about her earthly responsibilities caring about the things of the world – and how she may please her husband.” I still have a beautiful relationship with God, but now I have a family (my hubby and pup) that need my attention and dedication as well. Being single, your sole focus is God and living for Him and Him only.
For most of us, this is the ONE time you can live a life solely for God and yourself without any distractions. Be encouraged that it’s not permanent. Thank God for this season as it’s a gift with no distraction. So make the most of it for as long as you have it. Ask God what it is He wants to do with you during your season of singleness. Create a list of all the things you want in a husband and then hand it over to God. “Keep your eyes fixed on God” (Hebrews 12:2) until the day you meet your husband. And don’t forget to pray for your future husband as God hears every prayer. 1 John 5:14 says “ Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us”.
In addition, focus on what makes you happy, learn new things, try new passions, spend time doing the things that make you happy and make you ‘you’. There are the times to be selfish with your time and energy. Focus your time on what makes you happy in this present moment because until you can experience happiness by yourself, how can you experience it with another person?
Both being single and married has it perks. Both challenge you. Both strengthen you. Both discipline you. Both grow you. Both teach you. And both change you. Being single and being married do all of that. However, the one perk of being single that sets this time apart, is it’s typically just a short season in the grand scheme of life. So embrace it TODAY. You have a forever fairy tale for the rest of your life ahead of you, but only this moment in your life to be single. EMBRACE it to the fullest.