Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Extended Grace


I don't know why I am so discouraged and worried, but the date of my DTS has been "pushed back" to start in September instead of June. The staff in Wylie has prayed and feels that a Fall DTS will be better for everyone, I'm so grateful that they're making decisions that they feel will be the absolute best.

Though at first I felt like it was just another road block, I'm beginning to think that it's an answer to a prayer. My last night in Mexico I was having trouble sleeping. Tossing and turning all night, laying awake in the very early hours of the morning, stressing about my job situation...or lack thereof. In the midst of my worrying, I stopped myself and chose to pray. I prayed for peace and a solution for my job situation. (For those of you who didn't know, I am no longer a nanny. The family found a better fit for their life dynamic.)

 Fast forward to yesterday afternoon, I received a message from Kayla letting me know that there would no longer be a DTS in June, but instead in September. At first, my heart was in my stomach and I was discouraged, but God slowly reminded me of my prayer the night before and it felt like He was extending me grace. I now had five months to work and save/raise more money for school, instead of three. While it originally felt like a set back, now it feels more like a blessing.

 One of my initial worries was that I would lose support because yet again, something was changing. But Kayla reminded me to trust in God's plan, and my dad reminded me of Proverbs 16:9 || The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps. || If it is God's will for me to attend this DTS, no set backs, no hurdles, no date change will prevent His plans from becoming whole and complete. 

What a journey this has been and will be.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Crazy Good



Leader. Prepared.

Two words that I would never in a million years use to describe myself or my life.  I am the most unprepared, shy, reserved, follower, that you'll ever meet.  Until recently I would have never done anything that required me to step outside of my comfort zone and be the "center of attention".  I never speak my mind, I rarely stand up for myself, I don't typically join in group conversation, I keep to myself and have never been interested in being a leader, nor do I think I would be a good leader.

I knew God brought me home from Texas because my heart wasn't in a position of surrender, I wasn't willing to let Him work in and through me because I am a naturally stubborn person and I wasn't about to give that up.  So when I'm told that God says he has prepared me and that He has plans for me to be a leader, I'm in absolute disbelief.

This past Wednesday I went to lift group again for the first time in weeks, the topic was Identity and finding ourselves in Christ.  It spoke to me as that is something that has been on my heart lately, I've always been one to struggle with identity and worth, continually "finding" it in the wrong places.  God has placed a sense of overwhelming worth and purpose in my heart these past few weeks and I almost can't grasp it.  It came time for prayer requests and the room filled with voices and requests, we prayed and as the prayers quieted Caitlin's dad spoke and asked to cover Caitlin and I in prayers.  He explained Caitlin's outreach in Cambodia, and how I would soon be leaving in June.

The first thought in my head when he made the request to pray over us, was one of undeserving.  I thought I don't deserve prayers, I came home, I didn't stay, this second shot doesn't deserve this. But as he came to an end with his explanation, Melody asked if they could lay hands on me, and if she could anoint me with oil. Of course, I accepted and sat at their feet.  I've never been anointed with oil before, but they explained the significance and began to pray for me. My head, hands, and feet were anointed with oil, and God spoke through these leaders directly to my heart.  God wants to use me in grand ways, and he assured Melody that I was prepared.  Which is humorous to me because I feel like the most unprepared person, especially when it comes to my DTS.  I'm stressed and worried about so many of the details, but God laughs and says "No, honey.  You're prepared."  God says He wants to build me into a leader, but I have trouble speaking out and being bold.  I would say I'm excited, but in all honestly I'm a little nervous of what He is going to bring me to and through to get me to the place I need to be.

I don't have the slightest clue how any of this is going to play out, but what I do know is that I love seeing God work in my life.  He has been continually faithful, I trust that His plans for me are plenty and grand.

Because God is crazy good.

With Love,
Alyssa


Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Gentle Truths




Finding my identity in Christ has been the biggest milestone that I have reached. For years I've struggled with the opinions of others and who they said that I am. I let their words stick to my life like labels, I tried my hardest to live in ways that I thought were pleasing to other people. It was exhausting, and some days I still struggle with this. Feeling like I'm not enough, or that I don't have purpose, or worth because I'm 20 and single, I haven't gone to traditional college, I live with my parents, I work part time as a nanny, to the average eye I don't have anything of significance to give me worth.

But over the last 3 1/2 months I've come to learn that who I am as a person is enough.  Which sounds like a cliche quote that you'd see on Pinterest, and it is. Though I've taken time lately to think deep on those words, while they may be cliche there is much truth attached to them. I am enough, because Christ says that I am enough. As a young person I often feel like I need to do or be something that gives me a place in this world or makes me standout in a crowd of confused 20-somethings.

God has opened my heart to the truths He continually speaks, that I am enough, just as I am.  Without a relationship, without a big shot job, without a 4 year degree, without my own house, I am enough. As I am. I do not need to add or subtract anything to give my life meaning, purpose, and worth.  Even with my struggles, shortcomings, and sometimes bad decisions, I am still enough.  God relentlessly pours these words into my soul, and every morning I believe them a little bit more.  Regardless of life's circumstances we are enough just as we are.

God picks up our broken pieces and mends them together, gently whispering to our hearts that in Him, though we may fall short, we are always enough.  This life has a way of wearing us out, and essentially kicking us when we're down.  It's easy to give in and believe that we'll never be enough or that we don't have anything to offer, but those are lies.  Since learning to hear God's voice, I hear Him almost every day.  Not in an audible voice, but in song lyrics, texts, and little thoughts that are full of truth, He reminds me daily that I will always be enough.

"Jesus came to announce to us that an identity based on success, popularity and power is a false identity-an illusion! Loudly and clearly he says: 'You are not what the world makes you; but you are children of God." - Henri J.M. Nouwen

With love,
Alyssa