All posts by BeLOVED

No. One. Asked.

cristian-newman-wGKCaRbElmk-unsplash
Photo by C. Newman

I was 17 the first time I married. He was the big man on campus and his attention made me feel special, important. We were married for just under 6-months – the marriage annulled, both of us going our separate ways.

My older sister was married at 17. Her marriage lasted some 20+ years, time devoured by mental and physical abuse. The cruelty ending with her husband’s death.

Our brother, the middle child, left the house at 17. A life of drug and alcohol abuse. He struggled until cancer took him home.

I look back at my 17-year-old self and wonder why my parents never asked, “Why are you getting married?” Actually, why didn’t anyone ask?

I’m not trying to shirk my responsibility but I was a naïve 17-year-old. I had no worldly experience. In fact, my ex-husband was my first love. I could have used some guidance, wisdom, a little direction.

If anyone had inquired, if anyone had questioned my decision, I would never have married. Even on my wedding day, I was confused and questioned if this was the right decision but…

NO. ONE. ASKED.

I recently talked to my sister about her experience. I wondered if our parents offered her advice when she decided to marry. Her response, no – not a word!

The pattern repeats.

Unfortunately, I was not able to pose this question to my brother. But observing the interaction between my parents and him, there was no counseling, no tough discussions, nothing as his abuse consumed him.

Today, I have the opportunity to mentor young people. It is one of my greatest joys and honestly a source of significant heartbreak. I have learned to probe. Even when it’s hard, I ask.

You never know how one conversation, or the lack of, can influence a person’s life.

Janice was excited about the birth of her second baby. She had been clean and sober during her pregnancy and commented often that this little one gave her a reason to stay clean. This baby saved her life.

For months following the baby’s birth, Janice was the model of motherhood. She read all the childrearing books, attended baby development classes, and safety proofed the house.

She adored her baby!

When her little one was nearing their first birthday, Janice shared with a friend she wanted to have a little fun. She was confident that a few days of drugs and partying wouldn’t hurt. She was convinced that she was strong enough, in control – returning to her addiction would have no effect.

Janice packed up her little ones, took them to a friend’s house, and left in search of her preferred drug.

Janice’s fun ended in an overdose.

No one asked. No one challenged her reasoning.

Please consider asking those you love, those you are close to, those you mentor, coach, and share life with the hard questions. Risk the possibility of rejection and embarrassment, lives are at stake.

And when you are brave and speak into another’s life, make certain you do so without judgment. Please don’t shame, demean, or devalue the person. More than likely, they have already placed themselves in a prison of guilt and remorse.

A hand on the shoulder, a gentle touch when the tears arrive, they need you present, engaged, available. They need you to listen, really listen, and present questions that help direct them to what they already suspect.

At 17, in my young adult years, even today, I need someone to ask. And if you are being honest you probably need someone to ask. Someone willing to love you enough to hold you accountable, challenge your decisions, comfort you when you’re confused.

Please be open to their love-filled enquires – no defensiveness, open, willing to receive.

And remember just as you remain open to the input of family and friends, stay sensitive to God’s whisper. He longs to gently direct. He petitions us to consider His ways, His thoughts, His motivations and when we do, He provides the clarity we need to navigate our journey.

I will instruct you (says the Lord) and guide you along the best pathway for your life; I will advise you and watch your progress.

Psalm 32:8 Living Bible (TLB)

BeLOVED, find the courage to ask those you love, those that cross your path, the difficult questions and as you walk through life, find the courage and humility to respond to the direction you receive.

Be Blessed,

Signature - Allison

Thankful

cayla1-C5nJ0GhmLAU-unsplash
Photo by Unsplash

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday!

There is no fan-fare, no gifts, and no pressure to out-perform last year. That’s probably why I like it so much – a simple holiday that asks us to take time to reflect and consider our blessings.

Thankful is defined in the Merriam Webster dictionary as,

Conscious of benefit received, expressive of thanks, well pleased.

To be thankful is practicing an acute awareness, recognizing the benefits we have received from our experiences. And then, expressing thanks, resting in the outcome.

It’s easy to be thankful when life is moving along effortlessly. But expressing thanks and resting in the outcomes is more difficult when there is a bump in the path and life is jolted off-course.

This year my life has been filled with bumps and being grateful for outcomes seems a little much. But at the same time, this year has deepened my appreciation for the small things – time spent with my husband, a cup of tea with a dear friend, a telephone conversation with my sister, a river walk with our fur baby.

Priceless gifts I’ve often taken for granted.

That’s the funny thing about adversity, the bumps we encounter in life, it brings perspective. With each new challenge, a new opportunity to trust God, reach out to loved ones, and wait for the thankful (the blessing will be revealed).

I challenged myself to take time and reflect on the year. Look for the blessings that resulted from this year’s bruises.

I am thankful for:

  • Jesus – He willingly sacrificed glory to occupy our world, die for my sin, and gift me eternity
  • A husband that is kind and gentle, a man that loves me unconditionally
  • The heartbeat I feel in my chest
  • Family, extended family, chosen family all filling me with joy, holding me accountable, and challenging me to listen for God’s leading
  • The ability to see the morning sunrise, smell the woody pines, ear the birds’ wings as they fly overhead
  • Retirement – a pace of life that allows me to just “be”
  • Writing, sharing words that hopefully inspire and challenge

Thanksgiving is a few days away. I encourage you to take time over the course of the week to find a quiet place and reflect on your year.

Perhaps you’ve had a few bumps, some major challenges, or maybe life has been simple and kind. Wherever you find yourself, look for the blessings, identify why you are thankful and then write it down. Consider sharing your list with those that mean the most to you.

Wishing you God’s blessing this Thanksgiving.

Be Blessed,

Signature - Allison

Jesus on Demand

greyson-joralemon-dDvR7eD6pf8-unsplash 2
Photo by G. Joralemon

My husband and I started our Christmas planning this week. We thought it was about time given it is only 5 weeks and a few days away.

The stores have been stocked since September and the reminders are starting to hit our email inbox – online stores asking us to shop again.

One of our favorite things to do is to decorate our home. We decided this year we would go big and have a company hang our lights. We have a steep roof pitch and neither of us wanted to risk a fall or a broken something – just easier to have the professionals tackle it.

My husband called around and you probably already know this – it is EXPENSIVE! They try to soften the blow by telling you that subsequent years are cheaper but we decided to do it ourselves.

So, I’ve had this bright idea for a few years to build a manger. I love the manger scene. During the Christmas season, I have them scattered all around the house. Some are rustic – hand-carved, others are intricate sculptures but all tell the story of our Savior’s birth.

Well, I convinced my husband to build a manger. Honestly, it didn’t take much arm-twisting. He likes a challenge.

We collected some scrap lumber from a nearby construction site and we built a manger. I have to admit it turned out pretty nice, life-size, sturdy, worthy of hay, and…

Oh, what am I going to put in this manger? I hadn’t thought it through to that level. So, of course, I started looking online for a baby Jesus – Amazon, Hallmark, Hobby Lobby and then I came across the most interesting ad. The ad boasted,

Baby Jesus on Demand!

I clicked the link and sure enough, there He was lying innocently on the page. The ad went on to say I could have Him here in just a day – Jesus on DEMAND today.

I wonder if that isn’t how we think of Jesus. His sole purpose, to respond instantly to our requests. On-call Jesus, at the snap of our fingers.

I don’t know about you but sometimes I get comfortable. If honest, I get complacent going about my business and pushing Jesus to the back of my mind, my heart, my attention. But when life gets complicated or my plans fail then I want Jesus to show up now, help me now – at my disposal.

During the holiday season, the pressures to do more, buy more, visit more, attend more, can press Jesus to the margins of our hearts. He no longer is the focal point of the celebration season but a mere decoration – placed in the manger neatly displayed on the entryway table.

What would happen if this Christmas we invite Jesus to be the center of our celebration? What if we slowed down this season and spent time with King Jesus. And perhaps after December 25 comes and goes, we ask Him to stay the focal point of our lives?

James 4:7-8a reminds us,

(7) So give yourselves humbly to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. (8) And when you draw close to God, God will draw close to you.

As you prepare for this celebration season, I encourage you to draw near to the most precious gift you will ever receive, Jesus. Please don’t push Him to the periphery of your mind but invite Him near.

He waits for you.

He longs for a relationship. He loves you!

Blessings,

Signature - Allison

I Was Blind but Now…

autumn-mott-rodeheaver-SPd9CSoWCkY-unsplash
Photo by M. Rodeheaver

The sun was casting a shadow through the canopy of leaves. Slivers of light falling onto the path in front of my feet. The leaves were brilliant -red, orange, and a yellow that shouted, “look at me!”

I‘ve walked this path many times over the years. But this year, this year the leaves – I don’t remember them being this beautiful. I don’t remember them feeling this warm and comforting.

Had I missed it in prior years? Perhaps I had moved too quickly along the trail. Or maybe, this year was different. Maybe this year I was different

Priscilla Shirer, in her Bible study, Breathe – Making Room for Sabbath, discusses a condition called inattentional blindness, sometimes called perceptual blindness. She shares,

Inattentional blindness is the trick our own brains play on us – keeping us preoccupied with one thing while rendering us unaware and oblivious to another. So while we are concentrating somewhere else, another more critical action could be occurring within view, but without our conscious knowledge. Then, shocked and bewildered, we realize we missed something-or someone- who really deserved our full attention.

That was me.

I suffered from blindness that kept my mind focused on things that seemed important, that occupied my time, kept me driven and distracted. But all the while, I failed to look up and see the beauty, the spectacular beauty that lined the trail – that enveloped my life.

I think we can experience this same blindness, this same lack of attention when it comes to our relationship with Jesus. We keep Him at the fringe of our visual field, just close enough to check the box – faithful Christian. Yet, far enough out of sight to maintain our control.

In the book of John, Jesus heals a man that had been blind from birth. You may remember the story; Jesus spits on the ground, makes mud, and wipes it across the man’s eyes. He then instructs the man to go wash and the man returns – his vision restored.

When questioned about his healing, the man said,

(24) So for the second time they called in the man who had been blind and told him, “God should get the glory for this, because we know this man Jesus is a sinner.”

(25) “I don’t know whether he is a sinner,” the man replied. “But I know this: I was blind, and now I can see!”

John 9:24-25 New Living Translation (NLT)

This man was physically blind; we suffer from spiritual blindness.

But Jesus offers healing for both.

Inattentional blindness, taking our eyes off the most important, keeps us tripping, bumping into God’s will and our wants. It keeps us from fully enjoying the beauty of our journey and appreciate the richness of true intimacy with God.

Priscilla again reminds us,

… bring to the center stage of our minds and hearts the Person (Jesus) who we have placed at the periphery for too long.

Breathe

Jesus brings healing. He restores our sight, allowing us to experience the full beauty of His love, His grace, His creation.

Dear Sisters, don’t allow your attention to be diverted from the One who brings clarity of sight. The One who heals our blindness, aligns our priorities, and restores our purpose.

I once was blind but now

I am forgiven,

I am healed,

I am free.

Blessing BeLOVED,

Signature - Allison


To learn more about John 9, visit the Devotions page.

Love is…

ms-jemini-photos-rlX9tRWhISA-unsplash
Photo by Unsplash

Theresa and Jason have been married for a few years. But if you were to meet them, casually watch their interaction, you would think they were newlyweds. Both are widowed, have grown children, grandchildren, and a passion for service.

It has been a difficult year. Theresa had multiple surgeries, leaving her physically weak, a little anxious about what was next, and occasionally sad – too many physical insults for one person to endure.

They both share an amazing faith in God and if given a chance they will share the miracles He has worked in their lives individually and as a couple.

It had been a week since Theresa’s last surgery and Jason had to go out of town to help his daughter move. He had orchestrated coverage for his night away – early morning injections, lunch and dinner cooked and tucked neatly into the refrigerator, evening injections, and visits from friends to keep her company.

You can probably guess, Jason pays great attention to the details when it comes to his bride. He conducted calls with those participating in her care, reviewing the details, and answering questions. The care plan was in place. He would pack and be on his way.

Theresa had a follow-up doctor’s appointment on Tuesday afternoon, the day Jason was scheduled to return. He had it covered – the driver would arrive at 1:30 PM for a 2:30 PM appointment, and he would make it home that evening.

Theresa and Jason had been communicating as he made the 8+-hour trip from Northern California to Oregon. However, he had left a little detail out of their conversation.

It was 1:30 PM and the driver arrived, Theresa finished dressing, climbed into the car, and headed to the hospital. They drove up to the entrance of the building and then…

Jason stepped out from behind a support pillar, carrying a bouquet of light pink roses, smiling – the way a new groom smiles at his beloved bride.

Jason started his journey at 4:30 AM to make certain he was at Theresa’s doctor’s appointment. He kept the secret to himself during their conversations and the look on Theresa’s face said it all – I am loved, valued; I am special to this man.

Jason wouldn’t think of Theresa attending this appointment alone. He needed to, wanted to be by her side. Even when it meant he started his drive in the early morning hours, driving through the lonely miles– one goal in mind, his bride.

1 Corinthians 13:4-5 reminds us,

(4) Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud (5) or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged.

Jason and Theresa’s love is a wonderful example of God’s instruction on how to love – sacrificially, patiently, making the other the priority. They share in the hard times, support during the darkest moments, and love unconditionally.

I think this couple will always be newlyweds – excited about each interaction God gives them, knowing that each is an amazing gift from a loving Father.

These types of relationships are not everyone’s reality. In fact, some of us are in relationships that bring nothing but sorrow and pain. They tear us down and leave little room to see God’s loving example.

Others of us are walking through life without a partner. Whether this is by choice, death, or divorce, you do not share the companionship and support from a physical partner – life is lonely, nights filled with fears and anxiety.

Dear Sisters, I lived in all these camps. Bound to a man that was mentally abusive, single and fearful, and then contently, joyfully married.

There is hope.

The constant I found throughout all my circumstances, the constant you can find through your journey, is that God loves you.

And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.
Romans 5:5

BeLOVED, rest in God’s amazing love.

He will be your Husband, Brother, loving Father.

He will meet you; arms open wide, at the intersections of your life where your journey collides with the world.

He offers hope.

He offers unconditional love, trust Him.

Be blessed,

Signature - Allison

Covered by J.E.S.U.S

IMG_20191014_153706994
Photo by A. McCormick

My husband was 13 when he and a few friends decided to give themselves tattoos. This is what happens when you leave teenage boys alone together.

After searching through bathroom medicine cabinets, desk drawers, and sewing kits, they found rubbing alcohol, a bottle of India ink, and a few sewing needles.

Now the big decision, what type of tattoo?

My husband decided that at the old age of 13, he would tattoo a broken heart on his forearm. He outlined it in pen and started to work, needle in ink, needle to arm until the heart appeared. His arm red and swollen from the repeated stick and poke.

What boys don’t understand at that age is that over the years appendages grow – elongating and widening. And when boys become men their tattoos distort – turning broken hearts into acorns.

IMG_20191015_102352709
Photo by A. McCormick

My husband has worked with young people for most of his adult life. Over the years, he received countless questions from intrigued teenagers and confused little ones about the acorn on his arm. In fact, it was the question that I wrestled with when we first met – why does this very attractive man have an acorn on his forearm?

A few years ago, he finally had enough! He found a tattoo artist, shared his childhood story, identified the image that would replace his artistic endeavor, and it was done.

J.E.S.U.S covered his broken heart.

Take

a

DEEP

breath,

and think about that – Jesus covers …

Broken hearts,

Broken dreams,

The brokenness of life.

He offers unconditional love wrapped in indescribable grace. It covers our childhood mistakes, our adult dysfunction, and our tendency to be self-absorbed, prideful, and controlling.

My husband’s professional tattoo was a human attempt to cover the poor judgement of his youth. Red and black ink obscuring bad decisions, burying embarrassment, concealing youthful insecurities.

The solution came with discomfort but the outcome – JESUS covered the brokenness.

Do you ever feel like you need to cover the mistakes of your past?

Maybe it was an innocent childhood misjudgment, teenage rebellion, or an overt sin. The outcomes of these events haunt us, cause pain, chase after us, making today and each day we move forward unfulfilling.

We search for forgiveness but all we find is an internal dialogue that tells us – we are less than, unworthy, unlovable.

Fortunately, we don’t have to rely on our own attempts to right our wrongs – if honest, we probably get it wrong more than we make meaningful correction and positive change.

What we can do is stop the searching. We can stop our human attempts to cover up and confidentially approach God.

Hebrews 10:21-23 tells us,

(19-21) So, friends, we can now—without hesitation—walk right up to God, into “the Holy Place.” Jesus has cleared the way by the blood of his sacrifice, acting as our priest before God. The “curtain” into God’s presence is his body.
(22-23) So let’s do it—full of belief, confident that we’re presentable inside and out. Let’s keep a firm grip on the promises that keep us going.

The Message (MSG)

Jesus “cleared the way”; we are “presentable both inside and out.”

No more shame.

No more guilt.

BeLOVED, you are covered.

You are not what you have done in your past. You are loved inside and out – just as you are!

Be blessed,

Signature - Allison

The God Who Sees

I want to share this beautiful video that reminds us that God sees, He hears, He knows us. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Kathie Lee Gifford & Nicole C. Mullen’s modern oratorio telling the stories of Hagar, Ruth, David, and Mary and the promises God made to them.

Change

guilherme-stecanella-smCn7Cbhk_c-unsplash
Photo by G. Stecanella

I sat reading a magazine in the lobby of our local hospital, waiting to have my labs drawn. Over the intercom, a page rang out “Code blue emergency room. Pediatrics. Room 1.”

I didn’t pay much attention the first time it aired but the second and then the third announcement made me stop.

Code blue indicates a person stopped breathing. In this case, a child. Something was seriously wrong.

A child stopped breathing.

What came to mind next, lives were about to change – the child, their parents, family, friends.

If the child survives, life continues and there is a memory of the time spent in the emergency room. Stories will be crafted about the day and for a time the family will hold each other a little longer, take more time saying goodnight, and keep a closer eye.

But if…

If this little one slips away then life temporarily halts. The memories bring with them questions: did I do enough, should I have done things differently, why didn’t I say more – share more – love more?

In time, the stories will bring joy and laughter. But, the journey to get to a place of peace will be hard and paved with blame, regret, and shame.

Our lives can change in an instant.

A young woman attends a party. She dances in celebration with her friends, consumes a little too much alcohol, and then starts her drive home. At the bottom of the hill, she loses control and wraps her car around a large oak tree. Life shifts for her, the two girlfriends riding in the car, and their families.

Recently married, the young couple was excited to find out they were expecting. They shared the news with family and friends and started preparing for their daughter. Contractions started far too early. Their baby was stillborn. Their dreams distorted forever.

A small lump – no breast cancer. An asthma attack – no heart disease. A missed event – God’s divine intervention. Who we are, how we see ourselves, how we see the world – all changed by the situations we encounter.

Our lives are filled with moments that alter us. Some are devastating, others filled with joy, but all have the ability to transform.

The question is what do you do after – after the achievement, after the loss, after the change?

We have two options.

Option one; we blame our circumstances on Jesus. We know in our heads that Jesus loves us but if we are honest, we question if He really likes us. Because if He really liked us, cared for us – our children wouldn’t suffer, our lives wouldn’t be so difficult, our bodies wouldn’t fail. We become hardened, bitter, and our faith is clouded by our inability to see God’s grace enveloping our disappointments.

Our second option; surrender. Surrender to God’s plan, regardless of the outcome for our children, our situations, our health. Choose to trust God with all of it.

Cody Carnes, in his song Run to the Father, writes,

I run to the Father, I fall into grace
I’m done with the hiding, no reason to wait
My heart needs a surgeon, my soul needs a friend
So I’ll run to the Father again and again and again and again

What a wonderful reminder, we can run straight to God. We can fall into His open arms of love and grace. We can let him change our hearts, feed our souls, and use the situation to make us more like Him.

We can choose to believe that God uses everything we encounter for our good.

For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.

Jeremiah 29:11 New Living Translation (NLT)

Do you find yourself dealing with change? Are you facing a mountain you aren’t certain you can climb? Are transitions, challenges, doubts knocking on your door?

Sisters, don’t lose heart. Resist the urge to blame God. Run to your Father. Rest in His truth.

He has a plan to prosper you.

He has a plan for your future.

BeLOVED, trust God!

Signature - Allison

Life’s Delays – God’s Faithfulness

matheus-ferrero-KuGwl8e_FDo-unsplash
Photo by M. Ferrero

This weekend I had the opportunity to attend a friend’s wedding.

The ceremony was conducted at the edge of a bluff overlooking a beautiful valley. The valley was a patchwork of grass, tilled fields, and orchards. The bluff edge encircled the valley, offering protection for the farmers nestled on the valley floor.

The bride and groom were beautiful – antique white lace gown, burgundy wool tuxedo.

Flower girls ran around the grounds, baskets in hand – rose petals spilling onto the grass, their lacy dresses swirled in the wind.

The wedding party attentively welcomed family and friends.

I sat in a folding chair near the aisle in order to catch a glimpse of the bride and her father. Her excitement spilled over, tears cascading down her cheeks, she kept her gaze forward, looking at her husband to be.

The couple wrote the vows they would share. The groom spoke about his love for his bride and vowed to care for her forevermore. The bride wiped her tears, looked at her tiny vow book, and shared her heart.

You see, the man that stood before her had been the focus of her prays for more than 12 years. She had begged God to bring her a faithful, Jesus – loving man that she could share life’s journey.

Over those years, she encountered men she thought were right. But, the relationships proved unfulfilling and they would end.

She began to doubt that she would ever find someone.

She began to question God’s will for her life; she wanted so badly to be married. She reached the point where doubt, frustration, and fear where replacing her trust and faith.

God was not responding.

Her pleas were met with His silence yet her unmet longing lingered. Expanding to fill the quietness of her days and her dreams at night.

Twelve years and then…

Our delays are a mismatch between our personal desires and expectations and God’s purpose and timing for our lives. When this mismatch continues for months, years, decades our humanness cries out and in our disappointment and frustration, we blame.

We blame ourselves for not being good enough, smart enough, attractive enough…

We blame God for not meeting our needs, for not loving us, for not showing up…

So what do we do when our prayers go seemingly unanswered? How do we continue to believe, trust, move forward?

First, continue to pray.

Paul tells us in 1 Thessalonians 5:17,

Never stop praying.

New Living Translation (NLT)

We can be confident that God hears our prayers. He is attentive to our pleas.

Keep praying, keep sharing your requests, but be prepared that His response may be different than the desires of our heart.

My young friend prayed for years for a husband – her prayers were answered with a resounding wait.

I know women that desperately wanted to have children, they prayed for a dying spouse, they asked for that promotion – God said no.

Keep praying sisters, but understand God’s answer may not align with your wants.

Next, be willing to accept God’s answer.

The Apostol Paul asked for healing, God responded I’m enough, focus on me and my power.

(7b) Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. (8) Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. (9) But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

2 Corinthians 12:7b-9 New International Version (NIV)

Paul’s request was denied by God. He would live with his ailment, his thorn in the flesh. Paul did not blame, become angry, or fall into self-pity. He embraced his situation and recognized that God is still near even in the midst of his weakness.

Finally, remember that God uses the answered prays, the times of waiting, and the no’s to mature us, to transform us.

God consistently answers our prayers; He is faithful. His response may differ from what we think we want or truly need. But He is not deaf to your pleas; He hasn’t abandoned us.

He uses each situation to change our hearts, to transform our minds, to prepare us for His purpose and plans. He is using our circumstances to mature us, to demonstrate His power, and to touch those lives that intersect ours.

(3) We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. (4) And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. (5) And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.

Romans 5:2-5 (NLT)

If you find yourself wondering if God hears your prayers.

If you wonder if He is even listening.

I encourage you to let go. Surrender your desires, your plans, and your expectations to the creator of the universe. You can be confident that He hears you, He has a plan, your prayers will be answered.

Keep praying, keep believing, be faithful.

God’s response may take years, it may not align with your plans, loved ones may not receive healing, dreams may not be recognized, but you can be confident that God’s plan will far exceed your greatest expectations.

You are loved.

You are not alone.

God hears you.

You are God’s BeLOVED!

Blessings,

Signature - Allison

A Common Heart, Mind, Spirit

cornelia-steinwender-yE4oPeuwuTQ-unsplash
Photo by C. Steinwender

My life is blessed by a small group of amazing women. Some I’ve known for 30+ years, others are recent additions. All special and unique in their gifts and the love we share. All I call sisters.

These women come from varying backgrounds, are in different stages of life, some married, others widowed but all are lovers of Jesus. All offer unconditional love, life-sustaining support, and much-needed accountability.

During a recent illness, this group of women provided tangible support. Meals arrived at the door. The garden watered daily and weeds pulled. Our dog taken on long walks, river swims, and amazing car adventures.

The support would just show up. I never had to ask, they knew me well enough to know the needs. They knew how to intersect the discouragement, the pain, the frustration lifting my spirits and giving me the needed time to heal.

My sisters, biological and chosen, fill me in a way that my husband can’t. Don’t get me wrong my husband is an extremely loving and empathetic man, reared by a single mom and surrounded by older sisters. He knows women and he knows me.

But, there is something powerful about the love and relationship of sisters. We share a common heart, a common mind, a common spirit that feeds the soul.

As a child and young woman, I learned that you don’t ask for help. It may not come or if it does – it may not be helpful. I practiced not showing weakness or vulnerability – exhibiting either may make you susceptible to ridicule or worse unwanted intimacy with others.

A wall was a safe barrier protecting me from a world I did not fully understand and could not control.

But what I learned as a child, what I practiced as a young woman, I soon recognized didn’t actually work. Instead of filling me, the resulting isolation caused the wall to grow higher, stronger, impenetrable.

I am learning that our journey on this earth was never meant to do alone. This journey takes the nurturing love of true relationships. Found in the arms of our spouse, the loving words of our biological sisters and brothers, the accountability of our grafted siblings, the protection of community.

Solomon, in the Old Testament book of Ecclesiastes, writes about trying to navigate life alone. He shares in Ecclesiastes 4:9-12a,

(9) Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: (10) If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. (11) Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? (12) Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves.

New International Version (NIV)

As women, as humans, we were not made to do life alone. We function best when surrounded by those willing to walk with us through the challenges we encounter, the joys we experience, the pain we face. We need each other; we need sisters.

Solomon also adds in Ecclesiastes 4:12b,

A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.

NIV

Another way to state this verse, relationships founded in Jesus are not quickly broken.

We must learn that true relationships, lasting unions are ones that include the author of relationship – Jesus.

With Him, our relationships stand strong, stand against the erosion of time, stand uncompromised.

Sisters, I encourage you to look around your world and find a woman that needs a sister.

Take a few minutes to acknowledge her, see her – not the image she projects but the one buried under the burden of the day.

Take a few minutes to listen, absent your cell phone or your personal agenda, really listen and then respond from your heart.

Look around ladies, we need each other. We need to encourage each other, pray for one another, and serve the often unspoken needs of our sisters.

A friend (a sister) loves at all times…

Proverbs 17:17

Blessing His BeLoved,

Signature - Allison


I would love to hear from you. To leave a comment, go to Leave a Comment at the top of this post.

A new devotion has been posted to the Devotions page and check out the new book recommendation on the Favorite Books/Authors page.