Category Archives: Who am I in Jesus

I Once Was …

Photo by Bing Photos

I once was proud, self-assured, and ready to demand the world take notice and listen. I pushed and pulled my way through classroom doors, up corporate ladders, and through barricaded boardrooms. I wanted to demonstrate my value, leave a mark, and walk taller than my mother and grandmother.

And then, I noticed a coldness creeping up my spine. I had achieved the career, built structures of importance, purchased the house and car, life was good. But coldness, crept closer to my heart leaving me wondering if all that climbing had benefitted anyone other than myself.

I once was arrogant, so full of my own knowledge and wisdom that no one could speak into my life or add clarity. I knew what to say and had all the words to say it just right. I knew how to influence and how to intimidate. I knew how to make all the right moves to capture attention, to conquer my world.

But life happens, people die, others leave, dreams fall apart and all that arrogance runs in the opposite direction. I was knocked to the ground; off the pedestal, I had meticulously built, left to pick up the pieces that were so badly damaged that I feared I would never be able to put them back together again.

I once was selfish; my hands clasped into proud fists, stuffed into my finely fitting jeans. They never opened to serve, never reached for the hurting, never rebelled against injustice. Life revolved around personal wants and needs – egotism is a disease that is difficult to self-diagnose and even harder to find a remedy.

Until consequence walked into my life. It walked right up to the front door, knocked, and once the door opened, pushed its way in. Slapped by consequence – the lost dream, the lost career, a lost love – your hands open and you learn to conquer the insidious self, reaching beyond your ego.

I once was broken, soul, mind, and heart all scattered on the floor. Small pieces clung to my bare feet as I moved from room to room. I carried the brokenness everywhere I traveled, depositing fragments, losing myself along the way.

But God…

He took the broken pieces and sacrificially put them back together again. His grace mending spirit, soul, and mind – fragments made whole.

I once was forgiven. All the pride, arrogance, selfishness – the brokenness I had scattered throughout my life and the pieces I collected from others, judged faultless.  I no longer had to carry the burdens of my past or work to reconcile the sins from today.

I once was…

But not anymore.

Today I am secure. Held firmly in my Father’s unconditional love, valued beyond recognition, safe eternally.

Be Blessed BeLOVED,

ENJOY:

When I Lost My Heart to You (Hallelujah) – YouTube Music

The Gift

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Photo provided by Unsplash

It’s my birthday this month! But when you reach your 60s, birthdays often become an event you would rather ignore. Allowing the day to come and go without the fanfare and celebrations of younger years.

I’ve talked with others reaching these milestone events and they agree, let them slip silently away.

But this year, I am approaching my birthday with a different attitude.

You see, the year leading to this celebration was a difficult journey of refinement. Gentle revelations from God that my thoughts and behavior harbored unrecognized, unconfessed disobedience and selfishness. I’ve been prideful and controlling, not wanting to listen to God’s prompting and ignoring His direction.

There were times, flat on my back, when God had my undivided attention, reminding me of His sovereignty, His mercy, and the amazing grace He offers unconditionally.

He literally rerouted my heart by His loving care.

So this year, the celebration will be introspective – no parties or trips of a lifetime. I need to take time to reflect on all that has happened these past 365 days. Because, I am gradually, daily recognizing God’s hand in the orchestration of my life.

I see it.

I feel it.

And it is a little overwhelming to experience the depth of our Savior’s love.

I am grateful for another year, for family and friends, and the gift of a future altering salvation that blows me away daily.

The year leading to this birthday was life-changing, filled with demands, and stretched me beyond my comfort. Yet, there was a sweetness that wove its way through the days.

It was a year of rebirth.

An amazing gift.

Colossians 3:10 tells us,

“Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like him.”

New Living Translation (NLT)

BeLOVED, each year is a precious gift that God hands us. As we unwrap each day, every minute, look for the learning; seek ways to grow closer to God. And, if the time includes the demanding, the life-changing, some uncomfortable stretching, be confident that the gift remains perfectly selected for you.

Be Blessed,
Signature - Allison

True Value

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Photo by M. Henderson

Samantha sat crossed-legged in the middle of the bedroom floor. The closet doors open and everything that had occupied the shelves and clothes racks piled onto the bed, the adjacent chair, and the floor.

The image she had worked so hard to create now encircled her.

Samantha pushed her way up the corporate ladder. At 38 she made partner – she had arrived professionally.

And with the prestige of the position, she felt the pressure to look the part. To keep pace with the corporate culture. She lived for work, no time for life.

She had made it!

Yet, I watched as she arranged and rearranged the piles. The sorting and shifting were more than just a task to determine what would stay and what would be given away.

The process allowed Samantha to wrestle with her internal struggle. How do you define true value? How do you reconcile what the world tells you is valuable when you can’t maintain the standards and expectations? How do you embrace a criteria based on looks, status, power, and possessions? Because with time looks fade, status falters, power weakens, and possessions – they break or become obsolete.

Samantha continued to sort until all the piles were neatly organized. The piles on the floor given away and the collection on the bed neatly folded and hung on hangers – all placed back in the closet.

Yet, her struggle continued. How would she find her way forward?

I lived in this world, defining my importance by what I did, how much I could accomplish, my ability to perform. Work consumed me, giving me a false sense of worth. It gave me a footing in the world, and allowed me to make sense of my life experiences – it gave me purpose.

But life happens, I grew older and the pace of work, the stress of travel, and the pressure to take on more forced me to make a change. The thing that had defined me was gone. I was left raw and undefined, forced to look at what was left and given the opportunity to reimagine, redefining my future from a past that in retrospect did not fulfill or satisfy.

As women, we find ourselves facing these types of dilemmas several times throughout the course of our lives. For some, it’s when our children grow up and leave, when we find the first wrinkle, the first age spot, the first…

For others it’s when the career is replaced with retirement; when our ministry, volunteer work, a second career ends and we find ourselves wondering, seeking, and questioning our importance and purpose.

True value is not found in what we do.

It is not found in our possessions, our bank statements, a perfectly decorated home, or a professionally couture wardrobe.

True value is found in whose we are.

We find an interesting story about a woman’s worth in John, chapter 4. In this story, Jesus has an encounter with a rejected and outcast Samaritan woman. Samaritans at that time were a people to be avoided in fact many good Jews would go out of their way to avoid this region.

But Jesus intentionally ventured into this land. He had a critical encounter with a woman that other villagers avoided. She had multiple husbands and the man she currently lived with was not her husband. She was an outcast and knew her place in this society – drawing water from the well at midday to avoid the interaction with others from her community.

This woman had a reputation. Some would say she was unworthy yet, Jesus was determined to meet her, challenge her way of thinking, and offer transformation.

Jesus does the same for each of us. He goes out of His way to have an encounter with us, defining us as important, worthy, and useful. The Samaritan woman went on to evangelize her community – fulfilling her unique purpose from a renewed life.

Her value was found in a relationship with Jesus, not her status in her community.

And He desires the same for us, purpose grown from a relationship with Him, enhanced by our experiences and talents.

Value is not what we do; it is not what we have, or how the world defines importance.

True value comes from a relationship with a risen savior, a transformed life, the acceptance of a new definition that tells us we are valuable in Him.

The Oxford dictionary defines value as

The worth of something compared to the price paid or asked for it.

Jesus paid the ultimate price for you and for me – His life.

Our worth in Him is invaluable!

Be Blessed His BeLOVED,

Signature - Allison

Unexpected

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Photo by A. Romansa

The text message came across my phone, baby Jana had arrived. She came one day late and it took 13 hours for her to make her journey from the safety of her mother’s womb to the world.

I texted mom and grandma and was off to the hospital to meet this precious little one.

They say all babies are beautiful but Jana is B.E.A.U.T.I.F.U.L. She has the perfect shaped head, rosy red cheeks, and this amazing mohawk – curled just right at the top. Her hands are bigger than you would expect. Mom says they are a feature Jana shares with grandma. She will need to grow into those hands.

I held Jana as she napped, sucked her fist, and cooed. The moment couldn’t be any better, a precious blessing nestled in my arms.

After about an hour, I handed Jana back to her mom, hugged them both, and walked out the door. Such a sweet visit, a tiny glimpse of heaven. The peaceful presence of God wrapped in a blanket.

I unlocked the car and sat down – a single tear ran down my cheek, then another, and then more. Such a surprise, my heart ached and sadness filled the interior of the car. I thought I was way beyond the emotional impact my infertility had on my life. No babies from my womb but I know God had a plan.

It was OK because God had a plan.

I am OK because God had a plan.

But the tears continued and the sadness spilled over – creeping outside the boundaries of the car, following me into the house and relentlessly chasing me for days. I prayed, I shared the experience with my husband and close friend. I walked, listened to my favorite worship music, and held back the tears. Even as I write this, I hold back the tears.

It is an interesting dilemma. I know God really does have a purpose for my childlessness. I have seen Him use the sadness and pain to minister to others. I have witnessed His amazing restoration and deliverance in the midst of the circumstance. I know He heals, I’ve lived it. And way down, in the depths of my heart – that place where my brain, heart, and spirit connect to Him, I am at peace. So, why the tears? Why the sadness?

I am human, and my humanness desires my will, my way, my timing, my plan. This is a battle for my faithfulness.

In God’s paradigm, our hearts, our connectedness with Him is more important than our comfort or fulfilling our desires. In His economy – we triumph over evil, live with Him for eternity, and He will use everything, all our things, those things that break us to align us with Him.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Jeremiah 29:11 New International Version (NIV)

Jana, that beautiful little girl, was such an amazing reminder that God remains in control. He is still on His throne and He loves me more than I can ever understand.

Steffany Gretzinger and Brandon Lake sing a song titled Communion. It is one of the songs I played and repeated so many times after my visit. It reminded me of God’s goodness. The chorus says,

You are closer, closer than my skin. You are in the air I’m breathing in.

Here’s where the dead things come back to living. I feel my heart beating again. It feels so good to know you are my friend.

Tears offer cleansing and once you are washed clean – hope, perspective, courage return.

Dear Sisters, it is ok to cry, to let your fears, frustrations, and pain flow out. It is cleansing. And God waits, to bring life to all that is dead in your life. He gives you another chance, a new chance.

He loves you.

Trust Him.

You are His BeLOVED.

Blessings,

Signature - Allison