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 

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. 😘  

Sunshine Amidst the Rain

The last week has been a whirlwind of emotions. I felt as if life was flashing by with all we have had going on. And in  every single moment, God has been present. He has been there with His hand upon us, his arms around us, never letting us go.

We were blessed last week to go and visit my Father for Father’s day and take my stepson Nick. It was such a wonderful trip but all we could think of is how we missed our dear sweet boys, who were still kidnapped and in Mexico. We enjoyed time in Chicago, time chilling with family and made wonderful memories.
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While there I began to not feel well and on the way back home I was cramping badly. I toughed it through and went to the ER after the long 15 hour drive. In the 3 hrs at the ER I found the devastating news, news I was prepared for because I had an instinct and had been praying to God about it. But still it was heart breaking news,  I was having a miscarriage. We were heart broken and we cried but we knew God has a reason for all things. And we were being blessed in a bigger way because on the way home, we had gotten the call that our boys had been found in Mexico! Yes our boys would be home!

We had a few hours sleep and I had to go back to the doctor. I had an ultrasound already scheduled and I am blessed I was able to see my little “nugget.’ Even more blessed my husband asked them to print the picture off for us. We saw our little nugget’s head, no heart beat but still we saw our baby. In the midst of sorrow, I am thankful I have a Father who loves me and holds me close and blesses me with something like that.
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The next day, Wednesday of this week, we were able to drive to Atlanta to pick up our boys. So many emotions ran through us. It felt like a dream. We were prepared by the FBI Counselors for all the different reactions. And I didn’t care what reaction I got because I was going to see my sweet boys again! They were timid at first but soon warmed up. They were brought back with their sweet baby sister and we were blessed to spend time with her and her father for a few days before separating. Its only been a few days but it is like they have never left. My home is filled with chaos again; boys running, nerf guns shooting, and lots of giggles. I am blessed.
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There were times I asked God, “Why?” I wondered why it was taking so long to bring them home. 19 months to be exact. But as with the miscarriage I know everything happens for a reason. We can’t always see why. We don’t always understand, yet we must trust no matter what. We must worship Him and love him no matter what. Because He is for us, not against us. He loves us and has a bigger plan than we can even imagine.

It is seeing the sun amidst the rain. The blessing in the sorrow. My husband and I are not the same people we were 19 months ago. We have grown, we had to lean on God. I personally know it drew me closer to him, it made me rely on him, trust in him. With that comes “a peace that surpasses all understanding.” (Philippians 4:7)

Yet our learning, our growing is not over. Now our boys are home and we must deal with forgiveness again, as we look at scars, ribs from starved bodies, hear of broken bones, neglect, and hear comments like,”Man it feels so  good to eat.” Or hear prayers, “That I will eat good today and have food everyday.” I have to hold back tears several times a day. And in the midst of the heartache we feel for all they endured I pray; I pray their mother comes to truly know the Lord. I hope she does the time for this horrible crime to her children and I hope from that she is able to finally see her mistakes and see she needs the Lord. She may not see the boys again but I pray her heart changes. It is all I can do so the anger and bitterness do not take root in my heart.

Those of you hurting in the world, know He is always there, waiting on you to see Him, to want Him, to call out to Him. Never think you are abandoned in your hurt in pain. It is okay to cry, it is okay to say, ” why?”  Just don’t let it consume you. Instead be consumed by Christ, he will carry you though. There is sunshine even in the rain.
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Much love,

Alissa Marie

No Condemnation in Christ!

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I love that writing helps me process what God is teaching me. That as I begin to write my mind can make sense of all I have flowing and tumbling through it.
Today as I begin to study I was feeling bad for not praising him right away instead I was on yard sale pages on facebook.
As I was asking God to forgive me, I heard the Spirit whisper, “you are forgiven, not condemned.” I needed that, as I tend to condemn myself, beat up on myself. Then in typical God fashion, I open my Jesus Calling devotional and today is about having a new mind in Christ. About how he doesn’t condemn us.
I read the first part of Romans 1:1 and the first thing I read is, “there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.” What?!!? Can I get an Amen!
I love how my Savior works and teaches us. How He loves us.
As I continued to read through, (8:1-17) I realized I don’t have to let my sinful nature take over, all I have to do is keep my eyes and heart fixed on Him. Have his mind… not mine!
My prayer is we will see how He loves us, how He doesn’t condemn. If you are feeling condemned, that’s not of Christ! Don’t listen to that…instead pray, read his word, praise Him. The more you do this, the more you will have His mind, the mind of Christ!!

Much love,

Alissa Marie

Welcome Wednesday

I’m excited to announce that I will now be doing guest posts on Wednesday’s….Welcome Wednesday!

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A great friend of mine has written us an amazing first post. Please take a moment to welcome her and to let her inspiring words soak in!

    A few weeks ago I began a journey through the One Thousands Gift Devotional by Ann Voskamp. I started working through this particular devotional because honestly, I was struggling with finding not only grace and thanks in what was going on in my life but I was also having trouble finding God’s will. My health was starting to fail, my oldest son’s school was on the brink of closing, my daughter had multiple things going on with her health and I’m sure there was more although now it all just seems to be running together. I was in God’s Word everyday, I prayed multiple times a day, I journaled my thoughts and feelings. I needed more though. I was missing something. I wasn’t feeling the peace and contentment I wanted to feel. Why was I not feeling like I was connecting to God like I should? Like I wanted?
   
    I had heard so many speak highly of this devotional and how it has helped them connect on a deeper level with God. It was helping them recognize grace and give thanks for even the simplest things. I realized that I had gotten out of the habit of thanking God. It is so easy to remember to thank Him when things are good but what about when things are not going well?

    The first few days I would read little bits here and there that would speak to me. I was starting to open my heart and mind to looking at things in a different way. Then it happened. I got to Day 9 and it all clicked in my mind. I finally saw what He was waiting for me to see. Here is what hit me like a ton of bricks:

What if I woke to now and refused to hurry because I didn’t want to refuse God?
What if I didn’t discount the moment but counted it for what it is-God here?
It is only the present moment alone that holds the possibility of coming into the presence of God. Look around, breathe deep, enter into this one moment.

    I suddenly became very aware of how much of my time I was spending rushing through life. Rushing through my children’s childhood, rushing to find answers to my health issues, rushing through this amazing through this amazing life that God has blessed me with. I have a husband who loves me and has been there walking this crazy health journey with me, I have 5 beautiful children, I have a home and food to take care of my family. As I thought about this I started asking myself how many times I gone to Him in praise and thanks? How many times have I slowed down to simply enjoy this life and these moments?

    I looked at my oldest son and no longer saw my little boy. My first born son that would crawl into bed with me. The little boy always so eager to show me something new. I look at him and I see a young man who is traveling through his teenage years just trying to figure out his place in life and who he wants to be. A young man that in just a few short years I will be seeing off to college.

    I look at myself in a 32 year old body that is wearing down quickly. I am watching my body give into the effects of living with an immune deficiency. It makes me reflect because I can never get those lost moments back. What if God is using my illness to teach me to slow down? What if He is using it to show me how to take each and every moment and just be present? To open my eyes and see the blessings. What if I start looking at my health not as a burden but as a blessing in a way?

    I may have rushed through so much in my children’s but that doesn’t mean I have completely missed everything. I can stop and enjoy helping my olders navigate those hard teenage years. I can start savoring and enjoying the firsts of my littles. I can start living in the moment with my husband and enjoy simply being with him. I can embrace my condition and let it bring me closer to God and the things He is trying to teach me. I can stop rushing and just be thankful.

Cassondra is a wife of 13 years to her high school sweetheart James and momma to 5 amazing children. She has a passion for growing closer to God and is enjoying following the journey He is leading her on. Struggling with the effects of living with an immune deficiency, she has had to lean on God like never before and learn how He is using this to teach her about how to let go and trust His path for her. She enjoys living simply, baking/cooking from scratch, reading, journaling and spending time with her family. Cassondra blogs over at https://onewifesjourneyblog.wordpress.com/ and she would love to have you join her as she blogs about this journey God is leading her on!
 

Filling Yourself With the Word

It’s been so long since I’ve been here. Life has felt hectic and busy. I’ve been getting up and spending time with Him but I’ve been so tired, it’s been hard to keep my eyes open! So today I knew I couldn’t put it off anymore.
I’ve been thinking about how easily I fail Him. How I let anger and frustration take over at times. I don’t trust Him like I should or give things to Him like I should.
This happened last night as I got frustrated with my husband. I let anger take over. Earlier this week I let someone hurting my feelings open the doorway for hateful, smarty texts.
As I was praying this morning as I poured my coffee, and was thinking about the choices I had made and telling Him I want to do better but I don’t know how, then I heard the Holy Spirit whisper, “Remember my word. Put it in your heart.”
Scripture memory….. reading those words over and over again until they are deeply embedded in my heart, my mind, my soul. That’s the key, not only reading the words, His word, but letting it sink into my innermost being. I remember a time I did this and it’s amazing the verses that would pop up when I needed them. They allowed me to make better decisions, they calmed me, they gave me peace.
Soon I’ll be starting a study called Master Life, The Disciples Cross with some dear friends. I can’t wait because it focuses on scripture memory and I’ll have friends to hold me accountable. I’m ready to let God have all of me, to reign supreme. I want me out of the way; my selfishness,my brokenness, so He can fully fill me and it can spill over onto those who need Him. I want to understand as He does. I want to give as He does. I want to love like He does.
Until the study starts in a couple of weeks, I’m gonna still start some scripture memory.
I hope you will begin to make scripture memory a part of your walk with Him, as well. I pray as you do that you will know Him in a deeper way, I pray your life will be overflowing with His grace and love.

I leave you with the verse He lead me to today,

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“Actually I was born and came into the world to testify the truth. All who love the truth recognize that what I say is true.” -John 18:37

Much Love,
Alissa Marie

The 5 Habits

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Well, I finished The 5 Habits Of A Woman Who Doesn’t Quit today. I’m sad the book is done but so excited about all I’ve learned through this study! And that I actually finished it!
The habits, outlined in the book, are something I will need to keep working at. I’ll never be perfect but if I remember these habits when I’m ready to quit, to give up, to throw in the towel,  I will find the strength to keep going on. And the best part? It’s not strength in myself, it’s strength in Christ!
There are so many goals and dreams I’ve given up because it gets hard, I’m tired,  I’m overwhelmed, or I just don’t know what to do. But I’m challenged now, by this book and the example of Ruth’s story, from the Bible (outlined in the book), to keep trudging on.
I’ll leave you with the 5 Habits but I encourage you to read the book…I think it’s a good read for women and for men! And I encourage you to not give up today!

5 Habits:
1. Accept the assignment of refinement.
2. Follow through with your commitments despite how you feel.
3. Stay open to the movement of God.
4. Give others what you need.
5. Move forward in faith.

Be blessed,
Alissa Marie