The Journey

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Photo by P. De Grandi

She stood motionless, clinging to a branch jutting from the edge of the mountain.

She had rounded the corner and all that provided security was gone.

She was trapped.

Both feet firmly planted on the 3-foot ledge. One side – sheer cliff face the other a drop to the bottom of the canyon.

No room for error.

No margin for miscalculation.

No railing, nothing to stop the drop but canyon-floor.

Fear would not allow her to move forward and pride kept her from turning around.

Her husband kept encouraging her,

You can do this! Just look forward – you will be fine.

But all she could do was run through the scenarios in her mind – falling, tumbling, pain.

Finally, fear gave way to pride.

One-step at a time, she turned around and made her way back to safe ground. A lookout point enclosed by a guardrail.

She leaned against the mountainside, tears formed in the corners of her eyes and then spilled down her cheeks onto the dusty earth below. The pounding in her chest was slowing, the spinning calmed, her breathing returned to a steady rhythm.

Through her tears, she looked out over the canyon floor. It was so beautiful but she knew she would not complete the journey today.

Pride had blocked her and the fear of failure consumed her.

I think we often find ourselves standing at a precipice in our lives. Toes inched right to the edge of the cliff, clinging to the handrail we peer over the side. We can see exactly where we want to go. Yet, there is hesitation. The path is partially visible as it winds down the hillside. Yet, we can’t see every step. The route is not exactly the path we had in mind. The mountain is so steep. The twists and turns are unknown. So…

We stand.

Too fearful to move forward. Incapable of asking for help. Paralyzed by the tape that plays relentlessly in our minds – you can’t do this, not today, not ever.

So, we stop.

But we have an amazing God that offers a solution to our condition. He offers His peace in place of our anxiety and fear and He will guide our journey if only we would ask.

Psalm 91: 9-16 reminds us,

(9) If you say, “The Lord is my refuge,” and you make the Most High your dwelling, (10) no harm will overtake you, no disaster will come near your tent. (11) For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; (12) they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone. (13) You will tread on the lion and the cobra; you will trample the great lion and the serpent.

(14) “Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. (15) He will call on me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. (16) With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.”

New International Version (NIV)

BeLOVED, when you find yourself facing the edge of a cliff, the anxiety of the unknown, or the paralyzing fear of failure, remember the Lord IS your refuge.

Please don’t allow your fears to cause you to stay in a perpetual state of looking over your shoulder and retracing your steps back to a safe perch. Trust the God of the universe to lead you, direct your steps, according to His plans to a place of refuge.

Be Blessed,

Signature - Allison


Have you considered?
• You do not have to do life alone. God waits for your invitation to join your journey.
• Because God loves you, He rescues, protects, brings satisfaction, and eternal salvation.

 

God’s Choreography

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Photo by J. Gerber

It is interesting how God orchestrates our lives.

Those times He delays an arrival, gives us a nudge to change a reservation, or perhaps encourages us to make the call.

Since the day of our birth, God has worked within the things we consider small or mundane.

For God, details matter.

It’s during these small mundane events that God invites us to open our eyes and look around. And when we are obedient, these events can unfold and become sweet insights into the character of our Father. They teach us that He is interested in the intimate details of our lives and the lives around us.

God’s choreography was apparent in the lives of my friend Beth and her husband, Daniel.

It had been a day of volunteering, followed by running a few errands, and a stop at the drive-thru. Daniel wanted to make a quick stop at the grocery store. But darkness had come, and Beth wanted to call it a day. Yet Daniel seemed certain they needed to stop. So, a short detour, a brisk walk through the store, and they were headed back to the car.

As they were unlocking the trunk, they saw a figure out of the corner of their eyes. It was an older woman, purse slung over her shoulder. She was bent slightly at the waist, struggling under the weight of her grocery bags. She made her way slowly into the crosswalk, adjusted her load, and continued to the parking lot.

Beth and Daniel watched the struggling woman as they began to drive in her direction. As their car came close, Beth motioned for Daniel to stop – she jumped out. Approaching the woman, she asked, “Do you need some help?” The woman looked up, shuffled her bags from hand to hand, and responded, “Yes, thank you.”

Beth took the grocery bags, the woman directed her to her car.

Once the packages were settled in the back seat, Beth asked, “Are you OK?” With tears forming in her eyes, the woman looked at Beth. No words were needed, it was clear the woman struggled with more than the weight of her groceries. Her face wore the sadness resulting from years of disappointments. Her eyes reluctantly made contact then quickly looked to the ground – reflecting the brokenness that controlled her life.

Beth reached out a hand touching the woman on the shoulder and then a second. She gently hugged her.

Tears now streamed down the woman’s face. She held onto Beth and whispered, “I’m fine now. You’ve made my day!”

Beth patted the woman on the back and then released her. The woman straightened her sweater and turned, moving towards her car. Beth walked back to her vehicle and watched as the woman disappeared through the driver’s door. Before the woman drove away she looked out the window and said, “God bless you!”

Beth wanted nothing more than to go home. Daniel obeyed a nudge to detour to the grocery store. God orchestrated an encounter that gave hope to a woman struggling and broken.

And by God’s grace, He has done the same for us. He choreographed His plan of salvation by sending His Son into this dark world to give hope and forgiveness to a people who are struggling and broken by the heavy weight of sin. With perfect timing, He coordinated every detail to make us His very own.

God is interested in every aspect of our lives in ways we could never anticipate. He coordinates the subtle nuisances of our days, weaving them into His perfect plan.

Romans 8:27-28 assures us that,

He (God) knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.

The Message (MSG)

I encourage you to look around. Listen to those little promptings. God may nudge you to participate in a well-orchestrated plan that brings relief to a person in need, a miracle in your life. And by your faithful participation, the love of Jesus can be openly shared.

You can trust His timing, His plan, His choreography.

He loves you.

You are His BeLOVED.

Blessings,

Signature - Allison

Jim, thank you for your amazing contribution to this post!

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

Satisfied

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Photo by J. Hoehne

Yesterday, I walked our dog, Titus, through the neighborhood golf course. A hilly course allowing him some needed running space and me a cardio challenge.

The snow was melting, the rain dissolving all the wonderful white stuff. But as we reached the backside of the course, some snow lingered in the shadows of the large pine trees and in the shaded areas where the sun had not reached.

We made our way up the last rise and to our delight found a beautiful blanket of snow covering the backside of the slope.

Titus loves snow!

So as we crested the top of the hill he saw the snow, ran directly towards the frozen sheet, and dove in.

The recent rain caused a thin film of ice to collect on the surface. Making it a slick crunchy combination. Yet, he wiggled and rolled, jumping to his feet and then diving again.

It was pure joy spilled over snow, grass, and icy glaze.

Standing at the edge of the slope, he took a plunge but this time he caught the edge of a patch of ice and slid down slowly to the bottom. Jumping up, with large brown eyes staring at me, he stood motionless for a few seconds. You could tell he was thinking and then almost like a light being flipped on; he ran to the top of the slop and tried it again.

Pure joy had shifted to exhilaration!

I spent several more minutes standing at the top of the hill. Watching the scene unfold – run to the top of the ridge, lay on your side, back leg gives a push and a slow slide to the bottom.

On the walk home, his stride had a little prance. He would look back at me occasionally, tongue hanging from his mouth and the faintest twinkle in his eyes.

He was satisfied, joyously filled.

Our culture would like to keep us distracted, longing for more, perhaps even envious of others’ lives. We don’t necessarily want to admit that we have fallen prey to this trap but the feelings are there lingering just at the edge of our consciousness.

But what if there was a way to be deeply satisfied, joyously filled every day?

And I’m not talking about being filled only in the good times. The times when life is easy, working out just the way we planned.

No, I’m talking about being filled with joy in the midst of the devastation that occasionally rocks our lives.

Isaiah 26:3-4 tells us,

(3) You (Lord) will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you. (4) Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the Lord himself, is the Rock eternal.

New International Version (NIV)

The Lord offers a solution, perfect peace, deep satisfaction, and indescribable joy. All the results of our willingness to be obedient to His will and to trust Him. This will require us to evade the distractions the world places in front of us and to forego our personal agendas.

We will be challenged to find the courage to surrender our wills to His authority, allowing our hearts and lives to be transformed into His image.

And when we have taken the steps to let go we will wake one morning and find in the place of our longing, deep satisfaction. In the place of our heartache, joy, unexplainable, perfect joy.

It won’t happen all at once, refinement takes time.

But as we grow closer, peace will fall over our lives, a steadiness that brings confidence – regardless of our circumstances, regardless of our brokenness, God is near.

BeLOVED, you can have a life of satisfaction, filled to the brim and overflowing.

Surrender.

Trust Him.

Lean into Him.

He is near.

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

Jesus Restores

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Photo by A. McCormick

Dominique stepped onto the expressway. The sun was starting to crest over the rim of the horizon. The dusty dawn casting shadows on the roadway. Headlights, shadows – so difficult to see.

He had crossed this section of the road hundreds of times. Moving from his homeless camp to the local convenience store, bus stop, and gas station bathroom just a hundred yards away.

But today…

Today would be different.

Dominique stepped onto the roadway, never seen by the oncoming vehicle. He was struck in the northbound lane, thrown into the oncoming traffic and hit a second time.

Dominique died at the scene, leaving behind the mother of his children, a little boy, and a baby girl.

The morning he was killed, the drivers were blinded by the morning’s darkness.

“I didn’t see him!”

A dark coat. Dusty dawn.

“I couldn’t avoid him!”

They didn’t see him – a blurry image in the roadway.

But that morning Dominique was also blind. Physically sightless due to the roadway conditions and the eyes of his heart blinded by the brokenness of his life, the emptiness that plagued him, and an ever-present sense of frustration and fear. A visual impairment that although sighted, prevented him from fully navigating life.

If we are honest, we also suffer from visual impairments. Impairments that force us to keep areas of our life hidden, out of sight from those closes to us – protecting our image, manipulating others’ perceptions of who we are.

We suffer from a type of blindness that in the quietness of our minds, enslaves us in destructive behaviors, blocks our intimacy with God, and isolates us from those that would support us and hold us accountable.

But just as the sunrise offers light, Jesus offers restoration.

The book of Mark shares a story about Jesus’ interaction with a blind man,

(46) Then they came to Jericho. As Jesus and his disciples, together with a large crowd, were leaving the city, a blind man, Bartimaeus (which means “son of Timaeus”), was sitting by the roadside begging. (47) When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”

(48) Many rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”

(49) Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.” So they called to the blind man, “Cheer up! On your feet! He’s calling you.” (50) Throwing his cloak aside, he jumped to his feet and came to Jesus.

(51) “What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked him. The blind man said, “Rabbi, I want to see.”

(52) “Go,” said Jesus, “your faith has healed you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road.

Mark 10:46-52 New International Version (NIV)

The blind man was desperate to be healed. And hearing Jesus was near, he called out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” Then he did something interesting, he stood up and went to Jesus. No hesitation and although blind, he found his way to the only One that could address his deepest longing, his greatest need – restored sight. During his encounter, he did not shy away from communicating his needs, “I want to see.” And Jesus healed him, immediately!

I wonder how many times we fail to call out to our Father? How many times do we avoid running to Him? How often do we fail to communicate our needs, our hearts, to the One who has the answers we are desperate to receive?

We reluctantly accept our sightless condition because we don’t want to surrender our wills, our desires, our plans. We want to maintain control.

But Jesus consistently restores. He offers sight for our blindness. Light for the dark places of our souls.

BeLOVED be assured that your Heavenly Father waits to meet you. He waits, at the edge of your heart, to bring light, meet your deepest needs, to illuminate His love for you.

You can confidently approach Him.

You can voice your needs and share the pain.

He waits to restore your sight.

(11) 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. (12) Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. (13) You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. (14a) I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity.

Jeremiah 29:11-14 NIV

Blessings,

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

God’s Greatest Gift – The Gift of Eternal Life

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Photo by Unsplash

I was so excited this Christmas about the gift I selected for my husband! It was something he needed, unexpected, actually something he never considered.

His home office chair was made up of bits and pieces from his previous chair and parts found at a thrift store. It worked and he was excited about his creation.

Yet I noticed that as he spent time in the chair, he slowly lowered. The hydraulics no longer worked. And at 6’2”, you need a chair’s hydraulics to work. Otherwise, you look like a giant sitting in a child’s chair – his knees creeping close to his ears.

So, his present was a leather desk chair. Of course, it came unassembled in a box – a very large heavy box! And when you are trying to surprise a person, a large heavy box is an obstacle.

The store clerk loaded it into my car, it was unloaded at a friend’s house to wrap, reloaded by the same friends, and then I made my way home. Once there, I had this large wrapped present and no way to get in the house.

Standing at the tailgate of my car contemplating my challenge, my husband stepped out of the house. He asked, “Do you need help?” I reluctantly responded “yes,” but added, “don’t shake it” – as if he could really shake this thing.

We got it through the doorway, rested it on the floor near the Christmas tree and stood back to take in the enormity of the box. My husband turned to me and with his boyish smile asked,

What is it?
Is it for me?

I responded, “You’ll have to wait for Christmas day and yes, it is for you.”

For the next few days, he made statements about his present, speculated about its contents, and commented about the size and weight. I would catch him standing and staring at the box and then…

Christmas morning arrived.

He opened the big box last, still no clue about what was inside. His anticipation and excitement broke as he ripped open the wrapping paper to reveal his new office chair.

He was surprised. It was a practical gift; something needed, and quickly became his “best” Christmas gift.

God, in His goodness, gave us some amazing gifts.

He created us in His image, in His likeness – the gift of life. And even when we disobeyed Him, wandering aimlessly through a desert wilderness, He was sovereign. He sent His Son that Christmas morning making a way to reconcile us with God – the gift of new life.

You must understand that from the day God created us, He knew we would reject Him. He was never taken by surprise, never stunned by our actions. He has always known our disobedience would lead to the ultimate sacrifice, the life of His Son.

Hundreds of years before Jesus crucifixion, Isaiah prophesied,

(5) But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. (6) We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

(7) He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth. (8) By oppression and judgment he was taken away. Yet who of his generation protested? For he was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of my people he was punished. (9) He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death, though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth.

(10) Yet it was the Lord’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the Lord makes his life an offering for sin, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the Lord will prosper in his hand. (11) After he has suffered, he will see the light of life and be satisfied; by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities. (12) Therefore I will give him a portion among the great, and he will divide the spoils with the strong, because he poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors. For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.

Isaiah 53: 5-12 New International Version (NIV)

Take a minute to allow that to sink in. God never had a Plan-B, He has always known – Christmas would lead to crucifixion. A sacrifice that led to the best gift, the gift of eternal life!

Roman’s 5:6-8 says,

(6) You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. (7) Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. (8) But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us… (21) so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

NIV

The greatest gift, our sins forgiven and eternal life with our Father.

As we close 2019, I encourage you to remember God’s great love for you. From the creation of the world and throughout history,

He remains close.

He loves you.

You are His BeLOVED!

Blessings,

Signature - Allison


If you’ve never received Jesus as your personal Savior. It’s a simple heart-felt prayer away (a conversation with Jesus). You can pray something like this,
Jesus,

I know that I am a sinner. Please forgive my sins. I believe you died for my sins and rose from the dead. I want to leave my old life and cling to you. Please come into my heart and direct my life. I trust you as my Lord and Savior. Amen

If you have prayed that prayer, please leave a comment and let me know. I would love to pray for you.

God’s Second Gift – The Gift of New Life

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Photo by Unsplash

Christmas is 2-days away and I am so excited about sharing time with my husband.

We’ve celebrated with family and friends and now we get a chance to slow down, light a fire in the fireplace, cuddle together on the couch, and reflect on all the blessings, the gifts, God has given us this year.

You see it’s been one of those years that cause you to take notice. It forced us to take a deep breath. It tested our faith and it drove us to abandon our pride and self-reliance.

This year, God gave us an amazing gift, the gift of new life. Wrapped in the hands of a skilled surgeon, a new artery replacing the one that had blocked my heart.

I am grateful.

We are thankful.

I am forever changed.

Some 2000 years ago, a new life was born in a humble stable. Wrapped in cloth and placed in a manger, a baby – the Savior of the world.

His parents hovered close; they had encountered the angels and listened intently when told about His purpose. What a life-altering gift that first Christmas.

I doubt anyone witnessing this infant fully grasped the enormity of the event. Jesus, God’s own son, taking on human form to offer a broken world new life.

(4) But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, (5) to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship. (6) Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” (7) So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir.

Galatians 4:4-7 New International Version (NIV)

Through Jesus’ birth that Christmas morning, we are heirs, sons, daughters, and a child of God. Our gift is a life transformed, becoming more and more like our Father. No longer enslaved by sin, controlled by our fears, confined to the world’s definitions, or imprisoned by unattainable expectations. Our faith and trust in Jesus bring newness.

This Christmas, I hope you take a few minutes to step away from the demands of the holiday and reflect on the gift God has given you.

You are loved.

You are a daughter of The King.

You are His BeLOVED.

Blessings – Merry Christmas!

Signature - Allison

God’s First Gift – The Gift of Life

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Photo from Unsplash

If we are honest, Christmas is hard!

The shopping, cooking, parties, cards, expectations, unmet expectations, and inevitable disappointments. All condensed into a 4-week period. There is just not enough time to make it all fit and sometimes not sufficient emotional capital to address all the needs.

Christmas can be challenging!

I think one of my challenges is finding the perfect gift. One that tells the person I have thought about you. I care about you. You are special to me.

Particularly hard is shopping for the young adults in my life and those that already have enough and have asked for “no more.”

This year, I tried to maneuver around the shopping trials and made most of the presents for family and close friends. And because family and chosen family live in other states, I placed my treasures in cute gift bags, packed them in boxes, drove them to the shipping store, and prayed they arrive before Christmas day.

During this season, I am drawn to the manger scene. Baby Jesus, shepherds, and that bright shining star. But long before the Wise Men offered their precious presents, before an untimely trip to Bethlehem, before Mary and Joseph, God gave us His first gift. The gift of life.

(26) Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and overall the creatures that move along the ground.”

(27) So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.

(28) God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”

Genesis 1:26 – 28

God gave each of us an amazing gift – the gift of life. He chose us to occupy space and time with Him. He offered us intimacy, relationship, a garden filled with His created beauty, communion with our Creator. And then He offered us purpose – multiply, fill the earth, and rule over it.

Genesis 2:7 shares,

Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.

Can you imagine the scene? God kneeling on the ground. He scoops dirt from the earth and forms a man. He then bends close and breathes life into his lungs. A creation of love – the first human. The origin of our lives.

And then,

(21) …God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and then closed up the place with flesh. (22) Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.

Genesis 2:21-22

God fashioned you and me (woman) out of the man he formed, a single rib – our life.

This Christmas season let us not forget that we are God’s creation, shaped in His image, bearing His likeness. He gave us life that creation day and He continues to give us life today, directing our paths, providing for our futures.

Please don’t lose sight with the busyness of the Christmas season, the gift-giving, the parties, the expectations, and inevitable disappointments, that 1000s of years ago, God gave us the most amazing gift – the gift of life.

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.
James 1:17

Blessings,

Signature - Allison

2 Corinthians 5:17