What’s weighing you down?

As I read my In Touch ministries devotion God spoke deeply to my heart. I read the above verse in Hebrews and was excited….”Yes God! This is what I want!” I exclaimed. “I want to run that race!”

Yet, I believe I was overlooking an important part of that verse. A little part about something weighing me down maybe? But I read on to the next Bib verse, Timothy 4:9-11. Here I read about Paul and his request for Mark to visit him. He said Demas had deserted him “because he loves the things of this world.” At one time Paul didn’t allow Mark to join him on a missionary trip because he had left previous trip. Demas has been considered a close friend and worker of the faith but at some point lost his way for the things of the world.

As I studied the commentary for the verses in Timothy I was asked a question, “Do you live the world as it could be if justice was done, the hungry fed, and people loved one another? Or do you love what the world has to offer-wealth, power, pleasure,-even if gaining it means hurting people and neglecting the work God has given to you?” (2 Timothy 4:9-10 life Application NLT Study Bible)

Sadly my answer was not what it should be, if I’m being honest. When posed with the question, I have to say on a daily basis I think more of the later. It’s so easy to do. So easy to allow our hearts to follow the world and what the world says is happiness. I’m not saying I don’t ever do for others, I do. I work hard at my job, take care of my family, volunteer at Church but overall my heart is more in the world.

I believe this is how Christians can be so easily “lost,” still entangled in sin. Sin that “weighs us down,” as Hebrews says. It doesn’t really look like sin. When we are more worried about our next vacation than the friend that needs a prayer. Or when we think of growing old, it’s filled with money plannig and visions of lounging around, instead of serving God then we need to check our hearts.

Now, don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with a vacation, being smart with money, or enjoying retirement. What is sin, is when your heart thinks of the things in the world more than God. I want my heart to be broken for the lost. I want to see a future where I’m loving others in Christ; praying for them, helping them, giving my life for His message. Daring to break away from the comforts of the world to do His work. And this doesn’t have to mean I move to Africa, it can be as simple as giving up my time for His glory-leading a Bible study, cleaning a neighbors yard, visiting eldery family members, cooking a meal for someone in need, when on vacation praying to be able to be a witness to someone, turning off the phone and really listening to someone who needs a friend. The list goes on and on. The sin that weighs as down isn’t always this big thing, sometimes it’s simple.We as Christians have to be willing to see that.

So I implore you today to think about the sin that may be weighing you down and keep you from running your race to the fullest. Ask God to reveal it to you and to help you grow in Him. Pray you can be a Mark instead of a Demas.

With Love,

Alissa Marie


A Daily Choice

As I read this verse and studied it today, my heart was questioning what this means for me. What do I need to lay down to serve Him? I told God, “this is what I want….to fully serve you.”

Then for some reason I pick up my phone….maybe I got a text? Yes I’m thinking that’s what it was. From there I’m on facebook. Then I’m reading posts and watching a video.

And there it is….my laying down. I saw it clear as day when I laid my phone down physically. I’m in the middle of time with God and I pick up that phone.

I saw a light flash, so I picked it up and it became the center of my universe, not God.

You see, turning from our selfish ways takes one step. One moment to see what that means for each of us. It is a process. It won’t happen overnight. Daily I will have to choose to lay down my phone. Daily I will have to ask God to reveal other areas I need growth or change in. It’s a daily action.

The beautiful thing is God has grace with me. He knows I’m human and flawed. He knows we are each selfish and He knows we are easily distracted. Yet He teaches me and allows me to learn and grow as a person. I asked forgiveness and thanked Him for showing me this and then I continued to read and study. Grace.

This shows me areas where I can show more grace to my husband, my kids, friends and family.

And there it is, more growth….more taking up my cross. Living my life not for me but for Him. That means grace to others and serving others.

I pray each of you will see what selfish ways you need to turn from. I pray each of you will take up that cross with joy. ..serving our Christ, our Savior fully. Please, pray the same for me.

Much love,

Alissa Marie

Freedom to Be Changed

I was obedient to God today….I got up at 5:30! I’ve been craving that morning time with Him and for months have prayed for God to help me. I’ve felt defeated because I’ve been so tired and haven’t gotten up. But He has been faithful, waking me at 5:30-I just had to be obedient and actually get up.

I’m so glad I did. It has allowed me to me with Him. Time that has taught me, time where I’ve felt His presence and love. Time that’s brought true freedom in Christ. I see in His word I’m not walking this alone and I can’t look with a worldly view…..my focus, my view must be Christ-like.

2 Corinthians 3:12-17 says,

12 Since this new way gives us such confidence, we can be very bold. 13 We are not like Moses, who put a veil over his face so the people of Israel would not see the glory, even though it was destined to fade away. 14 But the people’s minds were hardened, and to this day whenever the old covenant is being read, the same veil covers their minds so they cannot understand the truth. And this veil can be removed only by believing in Christ. 15 Yes, even today when they read Moses’ writings, their hearts are covered with that veil, and they do not understand.

16 But whenever someone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.17 For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.

People who do not know Him don’t understand, so in that I must press on. Not listening to human and wordly wisdom but opening the Word and following the voice of God.

I like what Priscilla Shirer says in Discerning the Voice of God,

“The spirit is the difference. By God’s grace, His Spirit is fully yours. Delight in Him, rest in Him. Believe that He will speak clearly to you, order your steps, and cause you to desire what brings Him pleasure. No longer must you frantically search for God’s will. Frantically search for God.

He will be found. And you will be changed.” (P.67)

That phrase…no longer must you Frantically search for God, sent my heart a- flutter. Because too often I do it in my own strength. It’s freeing to know I don’t have to!

My prayer today is for you dear friend, that you will find this same freedom.

With love,

Alissa Marie

Not our Strength

I wrote this a few days ago, February 18th to be exact and I forgot to actually post it. I pray it brings peace and hope.

Today I learned something valuable. Something that’s so simple, yet, has escaped me in my walk recently.

We cannot change the outward alone. We try so hard to fix ourselves. For me I say, “I’ll watch what I say. I won’t snap at my husband. I’ll exercise and eat right. I’ll be kind, gentle, and loving.”

And each time I fail. Then I feel broken yet again. I beat myself up. It a never-ending cycle.

In my study today in Discerning the Voice of God, Priscilla Shirer states,

“Using your own grit and personal resolution to force changes in your behavior is not only exhausting to maintain but always proves to be nothing more than a temporary fix.”

That,to me, brought an awakening to so many areas of my life. I’m trying to do it on my own. I’m trying to be a a good Christian,wife, mom, daughter,sister, friend. Oh the list goes on and on. I’m trying to make changes that do need to be made but I’m doing it in my power, not His. I’m not taking a step into Him, like I should be.

This allowed me to look back over my walk with Christ and to see the times I have simply trusted Him and spent genuine time with Him. In those times I realized, I’m more me, more alive, im free! And the changes came naturally.

The focus can’t be on fixing ourselves in our own strength. That’s not His design or way. He loves us so much more than that!

Priscilla Shirer states,

“Lasting change- the kind that frees you to walk in the rhythms of grace, fueled by the power of God must stem from the inside, not the outside. Trust Him to fashion your behaviors in the image of Christ.”

He will do that work in us, if we will let Him and seek Him daily-it will come naturally.

So dear friend, if you are struggling today-Stop-breathe- and give it to Him! Praise Him, spend time with Him, and soon you will grow and see those changes. Not overnight but in time they will come. He will do that work, He will transform you.

Doesn’t that remove such a burden? He does the work if you allow Him, if you are obedient to studying His word and spending time with Him.

And as you daily seek Him and have that growth and change, you will have peace and freedom in Him, our Savior, Lord Jesus Christ!

With love,

Alissa Marie

Roman’s 12:1-2

Self-sufficiency is a Lie

One of the biggest lies of the enemy is that of self sufficiency. Thinking you are strong enough on your own, that you don’t need anyone. I hear it a lot from women, especially after a break up, “I don’t need a man. I can do this all on my own.” While it is true you don’t need a boyfriend or husband to make you whole and compete, it is not true that you need to do it all on your own or even really can. There are constant day to day interactions that involve others. 

So why do we torture ourselves by trying to do everything on our own? I am so guilty of this. I was raised by a single Mom who taught me to stand up for myself because I was shy and she didn’t want me picked on. She worked,went to school and was our young Momma. I watched her “do it all.” I was determined to be strong like her. So determined that I didn’t want help. I work myself to the bone. I pick up others slack and I get things done. I’ve been told by several people they sometimes don’t do things because they know I will. It’s an unhealthy cycle. One I battle with daily. And it’s a lie. 

Nowhere in God’s Word does it say….walk it alone, you are better off just being one, you don’t need help. 

But the scriptures are filed with words like these

For where two or three I am there among them. –Matthew 18:20

Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. 10 If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble.11 Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm. But how can one be warm alone? 12 A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken. -Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate who will never leave you. -John 14:16

….because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” – Hebrews 13:5

So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the Lord your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you. -Deuteronomy 31:6

Those are not words of self sufficiency. We are a body; the body of Christ. We are not meant to walk it alone. 

Even if you’re single….don’t go it alone. I was single and I lived alone for several years but I wasn’t alone. I had God, friends, family, church members. I asked for help when I needed it and I made a choice to hang out with family and friends. 

Self sufficiency  is not God’s landlords, so whether you are married or single remember we are called to relationship, we are called to work together. 

This may mean you singles need to stop saying you don’t need a man cause you do, his name is Jesus and He may see fit to lead you into marriage. So stop cursing your possible future. 

Married couples, work with your spouse. Communicate, help each other. Men….dont put so much on your wife…help her. Women don’t nag so much. Work together. 

 Also reach out to a single friend. Do things with her, check in on her. Invite him over for dinner. Include the singles in your life. 
And finally keep God first. He’s always with you. He loves you. And He has so much better of a plan than your dream of only self sufficency. 

I leave you with this quote: 

Much love, 

Alissa Marie 

Perfectionism vs Love 

In reading the passage above during my time with Jesus today I was heart struck. Struck by the love my Father has for me. A love I can’t even begin to comprehend. A love that is everlasting. It’s not dependent on my actions, my choices, my works. It’s a love that loves me through it all. I can not comprehend this because my human mind doesn’t have that type of love. The closest I can come to is the love I have for family, my children. But still it’s no where near the love He has for us. 

I’m a doer and I tend to work for my salvation. Voluntering at church. Overworkibg myself. Trying to be the momma who never looses her cool, the best wife.  Trying to have it all together, the perfect pintrest life. But that’s not real. That’s not what a God expects. We are called by His love, His sacrifice, not by our own need for perfection. 

As Christians I feel we try to hard in the wrong ways. We push for the perfect “Godly” family yet miss the broken and dying souls. We argue  and bicker over what version of the Bible to read, or say certain devotionals are not of God. We argue over music, theological beliefs and say you can’t truly be saved if you utter a cuss word. We fight to be a people of perfection, instead of a people full of love. 

We are called to be salt and light….not perfection, judgement, and hammer bearing. Think of salt…it flavors the food we eat, but too much and it’s overbearing and we won’t eat what it’s on. In a cut a lil  stings but it can heal the wound….too much and it burns and leaves a mess. But not using it causes it to become worthless, tasteless.  Light is the same. …..it helps us see, opens our view and vision but too intense and we are blinded. Hidden under a covering the light does not good as well, if it’s hidden why even use it? (Matthew 5:13-16) It’s balance. It’s truth in love….not too much and not too little. Think of Jesus, He spoke truth coupled with love. He healed on the sabbath, he ate with tax collectors, he drew a line in the sand but was honest with the woman at the well. He is our example of how to be salt and light covered in love. 

Oh my dear sisters and brothers if only we could learn this lesson. If only we could find that balance. If only we could stop trying so hard and forcing that bandage upon others. If only we could love as He has loved. To see we will fall down and to know it’s ok. To be a helping hand to another brother when they fall, instead of another shove down. 

He loves each of us with an unfailing love. A love that calls us to him ….the love that hung on a cross. The love that drew us to our Savior. Let’s venture to be more like Jesus. To love in spite of. To not seek perfection but instead seek to be salt and light sprinked with love. 
Much love, 

Alissa Marie 

That I may have life abundantly….fat or skinny. 

I wrote this last about 1 year ago today. I edited it to fit more of today but I had a burden on my heart to share it. I’m not sure why I never did share it. But I hear God telling me to share it now and so I’m choosing to. I pray it blesses someone out there. 
I’ve been living a lie. I’ve been pulled into the world and it’s ways. I’ve be thinking that if only I was skinner, I’d be hapier.

I don’t pig out. I eat basically healthy. I did stop exercising because I let life get in the way and the fibromyalgia that racks my body with pain, doesn’t help. But I’ve started yoga and water aerobics again and I can feel the difference they both make. I have great blood pressure, low cholesterol. And my husband, he loves my body, all 200lbs of it. Yes, I’ve hit 200lbs.  But guess what? He loves my butt and boobs, haha!

So why do I think, if I was skinnier I’d be happier, I’d be pretty? Why do we praise people for losing weight, saying “you look great,” but not telling them that when they were bigger? Being big doesn’t equal pigging out or being unhealthy. Being bigger doesn’t equal ugly or unattractive. Being big doesn’t mean I don’t take care of myself, even though I’ve had people, people close to me, say that.

A few years ago, I lost weight, in a healthy way but it didn’t fix me or make me hapier after a separation from my then husband. I was drinking a lot after the divorce and I stopped spending time with God. I was angry with God. I was angry with my ex and best friend. I was broken. But on outside I was skinny, so apparently I had it together and took care of myself. No one had anything to say about my body then. Or my health. They only were mad I was drinking. But I didn’t have comments about needing to see a dietician or that I just had let myself go. 

I take better care of myself now. I don’t drink. I love my husband. I’m happy. I spend time with my awesome Savior every morning. Again, skinny doesn’t equal happy and healthy.

I’m grateful for God showing me how my heart hasn’t been in the right place. How I’ve allowed the outward appearance dictate how I feel. For showing me this through articles and stories of others, a plus size, amazing and beautiful yoga instructor. She’s healthy, strong, and so beautiful. She finally realized it and look where she is now.

Last year when I found out I was pregnant I was l ecstatic but what is sad is one of my first thoughts was, “I’m not gonna be a cute pregnant woman, I’m just gonna look huge.” I said this to a couple close friends and they disagreed. It breaks my heart, that in that joy I was letting my weight, steal the joy. Then came comments from well meaning family telling me not to eat in between meals, telling me I’m severely obese, and telling me I need to not over eat and see a dietician. Again, joy stolen.

But today I realize what Satan is doing, he is doing what the word says he does, he is coming to “steal, kill, and destroy,” (John 10:10) my joy in my Savior. He is using those I love to do this and he has seen my weight and body is a weakness to me. I’ve allowed him to do this is the sad part. I’ve allowed him to make me think my worth, my joy, my hope is in myself and my weight. And for that, I repent. I ask my Savior to forgive me and I put my eyes back on Christ. I see the beauty my Savior sees when He looks at me. I see the heart He has given me. I celebrate the beautiful life growing in me and I declare I won’t let Satan steal anymore from me.

I’m clinging to my Savior who, “came that I may have life and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10) That my friends is beauty. That my friends is what I want my children to know. That my friends is what we all should remember and live in.

Whatever your struggle is, whatever you are going through, whether it’s weight, depression, or family issues, don’t forget that you are created unique and special by an amazing and loving God. Don’t forget He came to give you abundant life. Don’t forget that the thief is ever lurking wanting to steal all God has given…don’t let Him. Rise above! Don’t listen to the words of the world…listen to His word. You are a beautiful creation in Christ!

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. -2 Corinthians 5:17

You are loved.

Much love,

Alissa Marie

*I’m not saying we shouldn’t care for our bodies. After this article was written I found out my sugar is high. So yes I need to take care of my body, this temple God has given. But no matter the size… God loves us all where we are. It’s about finding our worth in Him where we are…..not needing to lose weight to be happy. I’m not saying I’m not happy for those who do lose weight by whatever means they need….surgery, eating healthy, work out, etc either. Just know I love you where you are and think you are beautiful! 

And if I lose weight please don’t tell me how beautiful I am, unless you can say it now. 😘