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 

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.
imageimage

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.
image

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.
imageimageimage

image

image

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.
image

imageimage

image

Much love,

Alissa Marie

You Are FREE

Man, I’m just wanting more….more of God. More of my Christ. I so want me out of the way so He can reign in me. So the Holy Spirit can do a mighty work in and through me.
I began reading in Colossians 2 today. As I first read verses 6 & 7, I read about letting my roots grow deeper in Him, allowing my life to built on Him. Growing strong in His truth and allowing my thanksgiving to grow in Him.

“Let your roots grow down into Him and let your faith be built on Him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught,and you will overflow with thankfulness.”

All I could think was, ” Yes!!! Amen!!!” Thankfulness was filling my soul!

Then it only got better from there. Yeah, I know how could it get any better?
Well here it is,
That sin we struggle with, the enemy that we fear at times and let have too much footing…yeah that one. Well, grasp this, he’s already been defeated! How easily we forget.

Verse 15 says “in this way He disarmed the spiritual rulers and authorities. He shared them publicly by His VICTORY on the cross!”

AMEN! How amazing is that!?! It’s awesome…he only has the power we allow him to have over us!
And finally as the chapter comes to a close I was just ecstatic to read about not being condemned by others, for not following legalism. It’s so easy to fall into the trap of do’s and don’ts. It’s so easy to push it on others. Yet we forget we are set free! Yes I said FREE! this doesn’t mean we stay in sin, rather it means we allow Christ to change our hearts, we stop trying to do it on our own! That right there got me more excited than anything! Because sometimes I try too hard. I work in the flesh to serve Him, instead of the Spirit.

I leave you with Verse 20 today. Ponder on it…..let it fill you up! You are FREE, so live like it!!!!!

“You have died with Christ, and He has set you FREE from the spiritual powers of this world.”

Amen dear friend! You are FREE!

Much Love,
Alissa Marie

And how fitting God gives this message to my heart on a weekend when we remember those who died giving us our freedom. My prayers for all those who have lost loved ones for my freedom. They are truly heroes!

image

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,

image

“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

Faith and Refinement

image

Acts 3:16- “Faith in the name of Jesus, this man whom you see and know was made strong. It is Jesus’ name and the faith that comes through him that has completely healed him, as you can all see.”

As I read the verse above I think about my own faith in Jesus, I can’t help but wonder if my faith is that strong. Strong enough to believe I could be healed in the way this crippled man was. So many times I awake and praise His name…I feel alive, on fire, and hungry for Him. Then I go on my way, without another thought of that glory all day. 
Faith is defined as, Complete trust or confidence in someone or something.
COMPLETE trust, COMPLETE confidence..
I want to live out my faith, that complete trust and confidence in Jesus, in all that I do. To let prayer be my first response to all situations. Too many times its not. Too many times I turn to worry, doubt, and fear; my ever faithful companions. I can count on them to show up everyday. And I always invite them in and allow them to stir up disaster in my heart. So that to the world I am down, broken, sad, and grouchy.
Who wants Jesus when His followers look like me? Where’s the change, the victory?
In this season of refinement, through the 5 Habits of A Woman Who Doesn’t Quit study, I am grateful Jesus has been showing me these things. Showing me there is more. Showing me I make a choice daily to have complete trust and  confidence in Him daily or to choose doubt, fear, and worry. 
Slowly day by day, as I’m learning and listening to Him, I am choosing that complete trust over the other junk. I’m getting there one day at a time.

And you my friend will too, if you “accept that assignment of refinement, ” from Him. Will you join me on this awesome journey to the heart of the Father?

Broken Vessels

image

Let this sink in a moment….

We are broken vessels, yet he loves us all the same.
He wraps His arms around us time and time again and mends us.
He puts us back together again.
Our Savior, our friend, our mighty King.
He doesn’t leave us to sink, to fall, to become nothing.
No he pulls us from the mighty waves, he catches us as we fall, he mends together our broken pieces.
Day by day, anytime we fall.
All we have to do, is simply turn to him.
All we have to do is call upon His name. He is waiting, willing, his tears fall like a cleansing rain.
Day by day. Moment by moment He is there.
He’s ready to heal, to forgive.
I fail him daily and I want to beat myself up but then I realize I’m a broken vessel being pieced together with His loving hands. And so I repent, I feel His love wash over me. I hear His voice tell me to “try again” and I’m set free from the burden. I smile, lift my head high, and begin again.
So take this in…..
We are broken vessels, yet he loves us all the same.
He wraps His arms around us time and time again and mends us.
He puts us back together again.
Our Savior, our friend, our mighty King.
He doesn’t leave us to sink, to fall, to become nothing.
No he pulls us from the mighty waves, he catches us as we fall, he mends together our broken pieces.

You are a broken vessel, yet Your SAVIOR LOVES YOU all the same.

Influence for Christ

image

“The world’s sin is that it refuses to believe in me.” John 16:9

That verse in John 16, really grabs at my heart. It is heartbreaking to hear Jesus speak this….the number one sin of the world is, it doesn’t believe. How many souls are perishing daily because of unbelief?

And the bigger question…how many of us Christians are doing anything ? How many of us are saying we believe but are  living like we don’t?

I know I don’t always live like I’m saved. I gripe, complain, worry, gossip, and the list goes on and on. If my life doesn’t look different to the outside world then why would they even want Jesus? How can I make a difference if I live like the world?
God is really growing me and helping me see areas I need to refine, areas I need to change, things that need to be done. And in this process I’m praying I can be a person of influence for Christ. That others will look at me but see Him. I want to go out among the lost and dying world and be a light of His glory.

I think about our NYC trip in December and how we felt lead to bless the homeless. It was simply amazing to give to others in that capacity. To pray for them and to still be praying for them. I felt so alive and excited, my husband said “look how happy you are in that picture. It’s like your meant to do this ”
I do still feel a calling to the streets of NYC. I’d go now but I know it’s all in God’s time. And in that waiting time I can still be blessing others here, I can still pray for others, give to others, and love others.
That’s the key….serving Him no matter what…helping the world to let go of the sin of unbelief. To be a light to this dark world no matter where we are!

Are you shining God’s light where you are or are you waiting for that special calling that may never come? Don’t wait! The world needs you today!

Jesus, thank you for all you are teaching me! Thank you for these truths. Help us each to go out into the world and shine your light in the dark. Help us to help us be set free in your name, oh Jesus. We love you, thank you , and praise you!  In Jesus name amen!