Learning To Rest In His Unforced Rhythms Of Grace…



Resting and surrendering takes discipline. It’s so easy for us to get up and go. It’s even easier to take the reigns of our life and drive us forward. Yet how often does our Good God, our Heavenly Father, the Lover of our Soul require and inquire of us to wait for Him? We are always in such a rush to get onto the next place… the next destination… the next level. Sometimes it’s in the in between that God wants to whisper into our hearts the plans and purposes He has for us, next. We struggle and strive and force our way through life, when the Father just wants you to sit and wait, resting and being still in the presence of the King. Recently when I was seeking God, I was restlessly asking Him what my next steps were, almost in fear of missing the boat. I have felt Him tugging at my heart about Seattle and making it clearer and clearer that His plan is for me to make a BIG move soon. But when? How? Where? Why? When???!! As I was immersed in worship I began to feel Him quiet my heart. He reminded me…

Matthew 6:33 But seek ([z]aim at and strive after) first of all His kingdom and His righteousness ([aa]His way of doing and being right), and then all these things [ab]taken together will be given you besides.


He stilled my heart, slowed it down to an even reassuring beat, while reminding me of His unforced rhythms of grace that He longs for me to walk in. He arrested my soul, quieted my spirit. He caused me to quiet the storm around me, slowing me to walk in step with His. He reminded me that He has everything taken care of. He assured me that everything was being worked out, everything being worked on behind the scenes. He pointed me back to the simple truth that it’s ALL about Him. It’s ALL about HIM. He gently pointed out to me that I was worrying unnecessarily and that my only job was to worship and focus on HIM. He is setting and settling everything together, into place, like a well planned gathering. All the decorations are being set up, the table is being prepared… just trust, just trust, just trust Me, Alicia.

It’s interesting how when we feel the need to make difficult life altering decisions we are so inclined to just decide. I think God secretly wishes we would slow down enough to allow Him to hold us in those decisions. He truly wants us to be ushered right into His very calming presence, only for Him to show us exactly where we need to be. Right now, I am practicing this art of slowing down and allowing Him to lead, guide and direct. Whenever circumstances are moving faster than your ability to hear God that should be an indicator that you need to slow down, and get in step with the King. No decision must be made in haste. You shall go out in joy and be led forth in peace. God’s will and provision are always abundantly clear, and effortlessly available. You need only to open your eyes, ears & heart to hear and see what He has to show you. I feel myself writing as if the Lord is just speaking directly through my heart, leaping upon this page. You will not miss the will of God, IF you wait for Him. Key word is wait. I don’t have a statistic of how many times the word “wait” is in the Bible, but as I perused the Word today, it was every where. He blesses those who waits. He works on behalf of those who wait. Wait upon the Lord. He renews those who wait upon the Lord. He honors, gives grace & promotes those who wait before the Lord, humbling themselves. There is a grace principle here. There is a fountain of special provision and favor that flows when we truly slow down to wait upon the Lord. We don’t need to move a single step until He speaks, opens the door, closes the door, shows us a hallway or opens a window. We truly have an expert tour guide, driver, and leader that goes before us. He will level the way for us, and all we need to do is take a step upon the path and begin walking. He will truly lay down the road before us and all we must do is take the first step. He will be faithful and just to show us the way we should walk. And how do we know that we are walking upon the correct path? Well He lights the way for us through His word! It shall be a as a light and a lamp unto our pathway, lighting up the road in which we are to travel. No decision is too big or too detailed for God. I am preaching to myself! It’s so easy to get caught up in the details and in what is right before your face. Sometimes our circumstances scream at us, vying desperately for our attention. Never let the circumstances lead you as they are never to dictate you. Pour out your heart to the Lord, laying yourself and all your dreams before Him. Don’t move. Don’t rush. Don’t force. Don’t strive. You just don’t need to! He is too good to fail you. He is too good NOT to speak to your decision, your situation. He will tell you what you need to know, when you need to know it. He will show you the way in which you are to go. He is our faithful Father! He will give us every good and perfect gift, withholding no good thing from those who walk uprightly. This is our promise!

So what are you worried about? What decision is screaming at you to make? Just take a deep breathe and press pause. Everything can wait. Everything can fall to the wayside while you seek out the Lord and His plan and purpose for you in your next step. Trust and rely on the Lord, let Him lead you. If you find yourself leading the way, maybe it’s time to put the reigns back in the Kings hands. He is a better guide for your life than you ever could be. I know it’s counterintuitive as we all want to KNOW and have a say in what’s next, but believe me…He doesn’t want to lead for the sake of TAKING AWAY control from you. It’s because His destination is such a blessing for you, that only He knows the way in which you should go. He wants to bless you and give you favor and honor in life. Don’t take that gift away from Him. You are only robbing yourself. Allow the Redeeming King to take you on a journey you will never forget, and could never get to on your own. Let Him lead you to the place of exceedingly and abundantly ABOVE all you could ever ask or think or imagine!


xoxo Alicia Barkley


You ARE what you CHOOSE!


Deuteronomy 30:19-20

19 I call heaven and earth to witness this day against you that I have set before you life and death, the blessings and the curses; therefore choose life, that you and your descendants may live

20 And may love the Lord your God, obey His voice, and cling to Him. For He is your life and the length of your days, that you may dwell in the land which the Lord swore to give to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

They say that insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. I guess I’m insane. No, I’m kidding. However, I must confess making the “hard” choices in life is not my strong suit. It’s true. I struggle with the volition of my will and purposing it to a set standard of living. What I mean by that is I know in my heart that God’s best is for my best interest and will truly lead me down the best pathways of life, yet I far too often find myself not trusting God at His word. It’s so much easier to walk the road of independence and self-sufficiency because it seems we would know what it takes to make us happy, right? In most cases, wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Guess what, I’m not the only one who has ever dealt with this dilemma. I’m not the first and I am certainly not the last. You want to know what I’ve realized lately? I’m realizing more and more that what is preventing me from walking out my FULL calling lies in the choices and decisions I am making on a daily basis. I was listening to Andy Stanley’s podcast series titled “Guardrails” and within one of his messages he mentioned we are to “Face up to, accept, embrace what you know in your heart is the Lord’s will for your life. Stop deceiving yourself stop playing games.” I’d say I’m a good game player, if I was to be completely honest with myself. I am a skilled edge walker, reasoner, and expert justifier. If I were to be honest with myself, I know the purposes God has for my life. I know what He is calling me to do. Yet, with ease I far too often find myself as a guppy swimming with the stream and not against it, as I know I should be. When you swim with the stream, you are as good as a dead fish. There is no skill required to go with the flow. Think about it, if you were a fish in water and the stream currents pulled you along, would you need to exercise any discipline? Yet how often do we find ourselves likened to this metaphor? Living a defeated life doesn’t require much of anything, except a broken will. So what then do we do with this? The first step is to acknowledge the problem. I’ve been awakened to this realization most recently. When I look at the pieces of my life and the gap between who I am now and the woman I am to become, I see only a few KEY things. The first and most important key is in my decision making repertoire. It’s so simple. Make the right choice. Why is it so hard? Why does it feel so complicated? Why is our flesh at such odds with God’s perfect plan? Nobody is immune to it, we all face the same temptations and struggles. For me, my emotions tend to drive my decision making, which is a lethal combination. Emotions+decisions is a path to disaster. Sometimes our feelings are our most valuable asset, as they are like the wind in that they can often be a guiding force. However, when our emotions drive us to places we should never go, we often will find ourselves in compromising positions we were never meant to be in. The first step, perhaps, is taking the emotions out of our decision making process. Emotions can be a guide, but our head and heart must never be disconnected. The Bible says our heart is deceitfully wicked and who can trust it. I don’t like that verse. Something in me doesn’t WANT to believe my heart can be wicked, but it’s true. Sometimes the truth is ugly and in your face. Our heart can be very misleading. I think as a woman, emotions are particularly difficult. Emotions and feelings are powerful influences in our lives that must be stewarded wisely. I wrote most recently about “sitting” with your emotions. I really encourage you to read my piece about “Patience in Pain” it’s a powerful revelation I had about how pain can truly be a key in propelling us on to victory. I think there is power in our ability to sit with those uncomfortable emotions and experiences. For one, I think in doing so you can accurately see them for what they are worth. Just that, feelings. And for another, I think when we can slow the process down and just let things BE, we are able to clear our head, separating it from our heart, to make the best wisest choice. What separates winners from a fool is in their ability to choose wisely. Yet with all this head knowledge, it still does not make for an easy road. You can know that something is or isn’t right for you, but when the rubber meets the road, you may still find yourself in over your head with the blare of an alarming decision that must be made. So what’s the answer? How do we solve this unavoidable dilemma? It’s simple. Make the RIGHT choice. Why is something so simple, so incredibly difficult? I think the biggest principle in making wise choices is your faith, trust and BELIEF that God is who He says He is. You must first acknowledge Him in all that you do. When you have a strong awareness of God and His character– which is faithful, just, loving, gracious, and benevolent, you can begin to trust Him with your mind, will and emotions. Simply put, if you do not trust God is good and has good for you, you will not choose His way. It’s the plain and simple truth! Do you take Him at His word when He says

Ephesians 3:20 Amplified Version

20 Now to Him Who, by (in consequence of) the [action of His] power that is at work within us, is able to [carry out His purpose and] do superabundantly, far over and above all that we [dare] ask or think [infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, hopes, or dreams]—

Do you not think that the dream maker of our hearts would have a better plan to accomplish these dreams than our very own ability or imagination? What I mean is, the Creator of EVERYTHING you see has placed dreams and desires in your heart. The same God who has brought all these things together in your life, is the same God who promises to do more than the imaginable in our lives. We have to align ourselves with this Plan and that requires a relationship and a trust in God. I know for many, including myself, trusting is a sore spot in our hearts. It’s difficult to trust in what we can not immediately see. We feel a sense of power when we control our destiny, but that same sense of control really takes control away from ourselves because we are not trusting in God’s divine ability to bring every dream to pass. So where do you begin? There is this book I’m reading by Rebekah Lyons that is called Freefall to Fly. She talks about how that it’s in the free fall is where your rescue comes. We all must fall in order to fly. What is it that you are holding onto right now? It may be a person. It may be a dream. It may be an idea. God is asking you to let it go. You know this is true, because it’s speaking to your heart of hearts right now. I’ve heard it said that we are far too often like the child with a small toy firmly grasped within it’s hands, while God is standing by with something far greater in His hands. We can not grab a hold of what God’s best is, when we are holding tightly onto the reins of our lives. I know for me, I have for too long had one foot into the future with my other foot stuck in the past. I’ve grasped onto the life I want to lead, while I know God desires to usher me into this glorious future He has planned and prepared for me. For too long, I have flailed in my emotions and in my wrong decisions and it’s held me back from everything God is showing me that He and only He can and wants to give me. This life is far too short. God says we are but a vapor here today and gone tomorrow. Our life is a speck in the grande scheme of things. We only have here and right now, and it’s all in what we do with it. Are you going to let another day go by? Are you going to stay stuck, wheels spinning, on the path to nowhere? Or, do you want to risk it all and start your free fall so that not only God can rescue you, but redeem your life and set it on a broad path leading to grace, favor, and unfailing love that pursues you for the rest of your life? I don’t know about you, but I want to have an unimaginable life, filled, bursting at the seams with the dreams and desires that God sets into motion and brings into fruition. It all starts right here and now, with making the hard choices. Let’s be a people that believes for what we can not see. Let us trust God for the little bit that we can not see, so He can do more than we could ever imagine on our own! Let’s live a life of purpose, not just our purpose, GOD’S fulfilling purpose that He’s planned before we were ever a thought.

Love you, believe in you & know that God’s got His hand on your life. You wouldn’t be reading this if it were not true!

xoxo Alicia Barkley

Patience in Pain


Let me open this by quoting Rabindranath Tagore

“Let me not pray to be sheltered from dangers, but to be fearless in facing them. Let me not beg for the stilling of my pain, but for the heart to conquer it. Let me not look for allies in life’s battlefield, but to my own strength. Let me not crave in anxious fear to be saved, but hope for the patience to win my freedom. Grant that I may not be a coward, feeling Your mercy in my success alone; But let me find the grasp of Your hand in my failure.”

Where do I begin? I’ve had an interesting run with life, lately. I can’t even begin to elaborate. We all have our private inward struggles. Sometimes people look at me in wonderment and find themselves bewildered at my positivity. It’s hard for most to fathom how someone can be so “happy”. It’s almost as if they for a moment suspect I am superhuman. It is my role through Adored Above to inspire, uplift and encourage, I get that. However, a lot of times, I am preaching at myself or speaking from brokenness. How can that be? How can someone remain positive, while inwardly broken? That’s a great mystery to me, which I most accredit to Jesus Christ and the exceedingly powerful force at work within me. This is not just a Jesus Answer, I assure you! There truly is a force beyond my control that works on my behalf to help me. But Jesus Answers aside, what happens when you deal with the ugliness of pain? You know, the kind that wrenches your gut? What about the ugly parts of life, the ones nobody wants to talk about or admit exist? Guess what, and I sincerely hope this doesn’t come as a shock to you, but I experience PAIN. And not just sometimes. Life can be a mystery. From out of seemingly nowhere, you exist. Nobody asked for it. Nobody put in a request to submit themselves to quite possibly the most difficult yet rewarding journey on the face of this Earth. And now what? What do you do with this gift of life? And what happens when you aren’t enjoying the ride? I don’t have all the answers to these questions or yours, I promise. This may sound like an entirely depressing post, but I promise there’s a value to it that will soon be yours.

So often we have pain and our first response is to shove it down, deep down. We want to get rid of it, pretend it doesn’t exist, not show anyone, and hide from it and everyone else. Our response is sometimes of fight or flight, isn’t it? You might as well call it fright and flight. Fear seems to always hold hands with pain, doesn’t it? Shifting gears here, I spoke to a dear individual today about pain and how pain causes us, myself, to make decisions that sometimes move me away from the things that are most important to me. We sat and simmered on that thought. Why do I do this? Why do I, or anyone for that matter, make choices that causes inner conflict and turmoil in the long run, in order to for a moment ease pain and relieve loneliness? Loneliness is a pain that I have endured my entire life. If it had a shape and a substance it would be inconspicuously hidden, but have a large shape with an even larger shadow. It would hide itself neatly, tucked away on a pristine shelf but rear it’s ugly head when nobody is around. It stands there tall and lofty, casting its ominous shadow over me until I succumb to it’s demands. But let me ask you something, something I have never considered until more recently. What would happen if I didn’t engage it? Really? What if as it slowly climbed down from it’s shelf to take it’s stance by mine, that I watched it for just a moment? What if I let the uncomfortable feeling sit just a while, as I size it up for what it really is? FEAR. PAIN. LONELINESS. So be it. What if rather than seizing the opportunity to jump and run in any available directions, if I just let…. it….. be…..

There was a powerful realization that I had today…

There is beauty and purpose in pain.

What if it were okay to have pain, loneliness, anxiety, fear… all in one place. They exist and show up anyway. I don’t have to call them out from their pious palaces. They always know where to find me and sometimes in the same places. So what if I let them exist in and of their own? Could it be that then I have power and mastery over them? If I am able to let that moment sit with me, with the good and bad of me, could it be that they would have only the effect I allow them to have? If this is true, than could pain not be a teacher? Could pain not be the catalyst for many beautiful things? What things are most important to you? Write them down if you can. For me it’s God, Growing my Spirit, Inspiring, Encouraging and Loving people. Then write down what things you struggle with, that tear you up? Write them down…As for me, things that I struggle with? Pain, Fear, Loneliness and Anxiety. Now, If I were to write them on a paper for you on two different sides and fold them in half, I’d hand the paper over to you and tell you to get rid of the things you don’t like. Like any person, you’d begin to destroy the paper. Or maybe you are just really smart ;). Maybe you’d be a crumbler, but for me, I tore up that paper. At first slowly, as if needing permission, but towards the end with confidence and assurance….


I realized I was destroying the good things on the other side of that paper.

It dawned on me… Could it not be that both of those beautiful and scary things exist and support one another? Maybe there is purpose in pain. Maybe pain is what can either motivate me to run further from or closer to the things that matter most in my life. And I believe it is.

Then I realized…. PAIN is something I know very well. I know it intimately and intricately. I’d get lost in all the facets of pain that I have come to understand. But I realized as I held the ripped up pieces of paper in my hand, that I had found a key to one of the first ever books I’d begin to write. I’m not sure how to land the plane here, but I do know that as a rose can grow through concrete, so can a story arise from the cement block of pain. I believe God is going to use my story, the pain I’ve experienced and my JOURNEY to set many lives free in God. BUT the test must be passed first. And with that is the uncomfortable process of allowing pain to be what it is… the catalyst for change.

I could end that here, but that wouldn’t be realistic would it? Such a pretty way to end a piece of literature, right? Well guess what. I still don’t have all the answers. I am just one step closer to figuring out how to deal with the pain and to allow it to have a POSITIVE impact on my life. The first step is to become aware. I became aware today. However, it’s what you DO with that awareness that makes a tangible difference. I can see it now, ten years from now… conditioned through the pain and teaching others how to let pain set you free. Now I’m not talking about SITTING in pain and letting your whole life be about pain. I am ALL about freedom, but what if your freedom is on the other side of dealing appropriately with pain when it does occur? Remember, everyone will experience pain, disappointment, anxiety, fear, loneliness… But what makes someone stronger? What makes someone really victorious in all things? Perhaps it involves the way we are patient through pain? Perhaps it requires action on our part when it does come, to ensure we make wise decisions when that familiar foe comes knocking at our door. I know I have a nice little homework assignment ahead of me. I am aware now that I have to truly sit with pain and from that uncomfortable place, DECIDE how I am going to respond to it. What a powerful realization. Too good not to share.

xoxo Alicia Barkley

When the night is darkest your praise must be its loudest…

When the night is darkest your praise must be its loudest...

That’s right. Because, I, your God,

Have a firm grip on you and I’m not letting go. I’m telling you, ‘Don’t panic. I’m right here to help you.’

Another late night, and another night full of thoughts and concerns. You know, you can’t really miss something that wasn’t truly there. Most of the things you worry about, never happen. Worry is a funny thing. It’s a thief in disguise. The worrier feels a sense of control because they are busy worrying, but not a single thing is being accomplished. Nothing has been done except time has been wasted, truly unproductive aside from robbing you of joy and peace. What is it that you are worrying about? Honestly, life just happens. You have very little control over some of the things that happen, or are about to happen. Even in death, we know we are on a countdown till it’s arrival but we never truly know just when it’s moment shows up. We are unaware until we are in the midst of it and even then, there is nothing we can do to change it. A lot of people are worried about the end of the world and honestly, I’ve given it some thought. It would be a terrible time to happen now, there is so much I have yet to do. I am not who I know I am meant to be and and nowhere near where I know I am bound to be. There is simply too much life to live, and yet even still time feels like it’s running faster than I can catch her and seemingly spinning beyond my control. A thought occurred to me, when I was pondering the thought.

…Am I going to believe the Mayans or believe God? Am I going to believe a calendar made by people who are dead and gone or am I going to believe in the Word of God?

That’s not to say that their ancestry hasn’t continued on. I’m sure Mayan’s still exist today. What I am referring to is the fact that, where is their representation? Where are the Mayans of today? What is their response to the interpretation of this calendar? I don’t know, but I haven’t seen any recent ABC News or CNN headlines. I haven’t heard of any Mayans coming forward, today, agreeing in this prophecy. But I do know of people who proclaim the truth of God’s word today. I’ve witnessed first hand the truth in His Word. And when my life has gone haywire, it’s the anchor keeping my vessel firm while the waves rage on.

So when He tells me not to panic, that He is right there— I take Him at His word.

So few things in this life are worth counting on. So many things, people, fail us. They disappoint us. They let us down. They aren’t reliable. They aren’t consistent. God, I’m not even consistent. I am honestly currently working on that in my own life. If I can’t trust my own self to be consistent, than how can we truly say that others can be consistent for us. Think about that? If you can’t even keep your own agreements— your own new years resolutions, your very own promises to yourself and to others, how can we ever trust others with that? Or even things? How can we look to inanimate objects or people to be our source for consistent happiness, joy & fulfillment?

It’s funny how you can think you know someone so well, and when you remove yourself from the middle of being in relation with them, that you can see that they are people who have qualities and behaviors you yourself didn’t even really recognize. I’m sure you are reading this now, thinking, who is this girl? How have I never seen this side of her before? I didn’t realize she talked like that, or related in that way, or thought that way. You just really never know. And some people bring out great things in you and you are the realest version of yourself around them, and other people bring out other aspects of you and you kind of meld to who they are and who you are around them.

One thing that is the same, and never changes is GOD. The same God of the Old Testament, to the new. He always brings out the best in others. He truly knows us, the deepest parts of ourselves. He created us. I said it. Honestly, the fact that you can read this and comprehend it is not a random act of chaos. Name one thing on Earth that is completely purposeless? Everything has it’s proper place, even if it’s just a place setting.

Your life is nothing short of a completely mind-boggling miracle. Thank GOD. Thank God that there are things in life we will never understand, like why we have tailbones. I mean really. I think I can thank my tailbone for sheltering my spine when I have fallen many times snowboarding, but who would have thunk?

I say all this to say, that there is validity in God. I don’t care what you think, what you believe, or how ridiculous this may come across. I get it. I was there before, and I’ve found myself there many times since. But something happened one day, and it wasn’t something I really chose or asked for, although I guess in a way I did. I accepted God into my heart and maybe that time I really meant it, but I haven’t been able to get rid of Him since. It’s not like I try to get rid of Him, but He has this all consuming way about Him. He quite simply will not leave me alone. I really can not deviate from the path I feel He has set out for me, and His love follows me— even when I try to run away. I always think I can do better without His input and always try to do things alone. When things don’t work out the way I plan and I find myself in a desperate and unknown place— I always go back to Him asking Him for some sort of direction and of course I experience His amazing love and peace and presence, and wonder why I ever wandered from it in the first place.

Wow, this has to be the most random post ever, but I don’t believe in chance. I believe in purpose behind even the simplest things. In fact I was just told last week that something I said last Spring has been buzzing in this very accomplished person’s head. I didn’t even honestly remember telling her what she remembered, but I don’t doubt it. I’m always sharing something, for better or for worse. Let it be known that the simplest of actions, the smallest of sayings, the silliest of utterances are heard. They are noticed. You never really know what may come of it. In this case, it was an inspiring thought that she hasn’t been able to get out of her head. What a beautiful thing that life is. It always has it’s way of pleasantly surprising us.

Well, this is the best I’ve got for 2 AM.

Side note:

I’m not perfect, I don’t have all the answers, and I certainly am not GOD Himself. So take these thoughts with a grain of salt. Know that I, too, am a work in progress and I hope my honesty and transparency are well received. For now, Goodnight & rest well. Or good morning & sieze the day! xoxo Alicia

Message of Hope

Message of Hope

Have you ever had a moment where in desperation you needed to find some sort of sign of hope? I must admit I’ve been very needy lately in that regard. I’m going through a lot, and most of which I can’t adequately express. However, I have been at a loss as to what to do. I really honestly don’t even know what’s next or even what’s just around the corner. I’m in a place where I’m living second by second, minute by minute and taking everything one hour and one day at a time.

You know those moments in life where you get an unexpected curve ball when you’ve been batting above average? Those moments in life that take the wind out of you and the mountain you’ve been standing on suddenly becomes a plateau and you see an uphill climb, worse, battle before you? That moment where you think you’ve arrived, only to find out that you are so much farther than you thought. It’s almost as if as soon as the snow has settled in your snow globe, so to speak, then someone comes and violently shakes your entire world up— and you’re encroached in a whirlwind of flakes that blind your vision, making it entirely impossible to see? Well, I’m walking in that blizzard.

Life is interesting, and you never really arrive. You have highs and lows, and sometimes even funks that seem as if you are completely stuck. Regardless, I have been going through the emotions of trying to recalibrate myself, assess the damage, and determine a course of action and some semblance of a plan. I almost feel as though Gretel did, when she got lost in the woods and realized the birds have eaten her crumbs. No landmarks. No remembrance of which way she came from.

Tonight, I cried out to God. A lot is on my mind. My future. The future I want compared to the present I’m living in. And the vast expanse in between. I want so badly to get right, to be completely whole and of course strong, beautiful and conqueror of my world. As I wait, sometimes impatiently, I sometimes get caught in the thicket of thoughts that push me deeper into the pit of despair. Fortunately, I’ve had this reoccurrence of undeniable examples that have shown me to turn that despair into thanksgiving. Things are never as bad as they seem, and others are always facing much more difficult battles. Of course, it’s learning to live in joy no matter what you feel like or what is going on around you. I’ve always been a positive person, but when it comes to myself I can be my worst critic— cynical and even presuming the worst. Somehow I’ve had a little strength in the weakest of moments, where I’ve been able to declare to myself that I am blessed and that I have everything I need to become who I’m meant to be as well as get to where I belong.

Tonight, I needed hope. I haven’t felt a need for hope like I have in the most recent months, probably ever in my life. I’ve faced more difficult times emotionally, but when the world seems to be short on goodness and generosity and rich in all the wrong things— hope is hard to come by. And even harder to come by amidst of the trials I am facing.

Tonight, in near tears, I cried out to God. I prayed from the deepest part of my heart for an answer, a sign, anything to show me that things would be okay. I wanted to know that God was hearing me, that He was working things out, that He was there. It was a moment of panic—sheer panic. It was like a fission of despair but a moment of violent hope and it came thrusting into my room, through the Word, and hitting straight into the very nerve of my heart. I opened the Bible, which I haven’t done in a while honestly, and it opened right up to this page. I almost think I half closed my eyes in fear that I would see something that wouldn’t directly relate to what I was inquiring. Doubting I could find what I was looking for.

And then something miraculous happened. God answered me. Clearly, specifically, and directly in the way that I was seeking. I saw the title “Messages of Hope” It was as if He was reading my mail. Before I even opened the pages, I said aloud “I NEED HOPE” in an earnest cry, and the first words I saw on the page were “Messages of Hope” It was in that exact moment the fission of fear, doubt and panic was met with a fusion of faith, hope and encouragement. I’ve honestly had many moments where I’ve encountered God, but this was a direct answer to a prayer, at precisely the right time—when I needed it most.

I continued to read …

Isaiah 56:1-2 “Guard my common good: Do what’s right and do it in the right way, For salvation is just around the corner, my setting-things-right is about to go into action.”

It took my breath away. In that perfect moment, God answered my prayer.

I’ll leave you with one of my favorite quotes, which just so happens to be fitting.

“There is no medicine like hope, no incentive so great and no tonic so powerful as expectation of something better tomorrow.”

And as a result, tonight, I’m going to bed with hope. And great expectations. xxoo Alicia

…The First Step

...The First Step

I might be down, but I am not out. I might have fallen, but I will rise again. I might be discouraged, but I know where my HOPE comes from. I may not know the future, but I know who HOLDS it. I may not be where I want to be, but I’m not who I once was. I might not be there yet, but I’m closer to there than I ever have been. I might not know where to go, but I know who is leading me. I may not feel like I have much to give, but I have THE POWER OF THE LIVING GOD in me. I may not feel like smiling, but I have the strength needed to smile. I may not feel like encouraging, but I AM an encourager.

Sometimes in life, you feel like you have the World at your disposal. Everything is going right. Everything is going great. You feel like you are living in a dream, one that is truly too good to be true. Doors seem to swing wide open, petals fall at your feet, the red carpet is being rolled out and the lights, camera, action are all directed your way. The World is your oyster. You are like a kid in the candy store, with a bottomless pit for a stomach and an unlimited budget. Good news is around every corner. Everyone is smiling, loving you, encouraging you. YOU have arrived!

And then….

Something happens. The goodness momentum starts to wane, as it comes to a slow, slow, slow screeching halt, as if a cog has been stuck in the gears of LIFE. It’s that moment of shock as you watch the expensive vase, in seemingly slow motion, fall to the ground. As it falls, you experience sensations of loss of control, vulnerability, fear. And then comes the crashing sound, as shards of glass fall in pieces like a pile of mosaic chips. Except these pieces don’t seem to find their counterpart and certainly can not be combined together to make beautiful art. But that is only how it feels in that moment.

That metaphor leads me to where I am about to bring you to. The moment where you feel like your world has stopped turning. You get the call. The pink slip. The bad news. The bad report. The hopeless diagnosis. The divorce papers. The unaffordable ticket. You get the warrant out for your proverbial arrest. You hear and see the door slamming shut in your face. You brace yourself as that sinking feeling in your stomach settles into your heart. If not carefully dealt with, it can come seeping into your soul.

Let me tell you, as honestly and transparently as I possibly can… I am well acquainted with that all to familiar feeling. I have lived days, weeks, months, & years in this pool of struggle. Like tar sticking to your feet, it feels like every step forward is an uphill battle. Believe it or not— I know this feeling well.

If anyone knows what it means to overcome, It’s me. My whole life has been an uphill battle. I have faced loss of every imaginable kind. Even at my birth, I started out with overwhelming challenges ahead of me, from learning disabilities to an absent father. Through every stage of life, I have been faced with daunting mountains of tribulations which I have had to learn to skillfully climb and scale. I believe these moments have shaped me intricately and have allowed me to experience many things for the benefit of all who I come in contact with. This is the beauty of my story. It has become my testimony.

Sometimes in life, we face those moments where the tides begin to turn. The churning leaves us feeling very uncertain of what may lie ahead. It’s not so much what is going on around us that matters most, but in how we handle those interruptions. I firmly believe everything, every season, every trial, every mistake, every bump of turbulence in life has a purpose and occurs for a reason.

For me, I count myself fortunate to say that I have an unshakable belief in God. During these times, I have nowhere to turn but to look up. In this picture this girl is looking down. She is withdrawn into herself and holding onto herself. It’s not a coincidence, no. It is not uncommon to withdraw when the storms of life come billowing in. It’s not uncommon to self-protect and focus on yourself. But the challenge is to position yourself to looking up, looking unto God. No matter what you are facing or where you may find yourself on this spectrum, you can be sure that with great persistence and endurance during trying times that something good will come of every situation & circumstance. Remember, ALWAYS, this too shall pass.

It’s interesting how we are always asked to Trust God over and over in the Bible. It’s not mentioned repetitively to ensure we don’t forget. In fact, how can we forget this mandate? Yet, time and time again, we often do. I think God knew we needed that constant reminder and reassurance.

Yet, What happens when everything starts to fail us? Imagine you are on a plane, and the pilot comes on to tell everyone to assume position, that the plane is going down. What is the first thought that would come to mind? For most it would be to call out to God. Yet what about when something less traumatic happens, yet we still need help and immediate direction? Yet again, some of us turn to God. It’s easy to do that when we are in duress, but what I am learning is in ALL things, I need to RELY on God. It’s easy to sing when the sun is out, but learning to dance in the rain is the tricky part. Learning to have faith in trying times is the true test. Trusting God comes easily when everything is going well, but what happens when everything comes crashing down? You know, that moment in life where those tides change and the floor underneath you is being threatened to come out from under you are the moments when I throw myself at God’s feet. THOSE are the moments in life where you have nothing else to rely on but the belief that everything will somehow be okay. It’s those true to life moments that are true tests of the grit of our faith. Like the moment when your paycheck is jeopardized. The moment when you might not have a roof over your head. The moment where you have no idea where that next meal is going to come from. The moment where your health and very life are hanging in the balance. These are all very real scenarios that too often present themselves at one time or another through out our lifetime. What are you going to do? Who can you run to? What can you fall back onto?

What happens when you are standing at the cliff of who you once were, while being able to see the other side of who you know you are meant to become? Looking down over the gaping chasm of space between and wondering if the risk is worth the reward. You can peer down into the abyss and stand wondering, waiting, paralyzed in fear. Trust me, I’ve been standing there for a very long time. In many ways that is what my relationship with God has looked like. He has stood just a few centimeters off the edge where I have been standing. His hands are outstretched, an open invitation to trust Him. His eyes full of love and grace, looking intently into me, seeing through the deepest parts of me. There is a fire and a peace in His eyes and his sturdy hand has no fear of failure of this invitation. His hand has endured many things for many people, yet it stays steady, outwards stretched to me. He wants me to join him and hold his hand so that he can lead me to the other side. Fear grips me tighter than a boa constrictor devouring his lunch. So much is at stake, though. What about the fall? What about the ground I will walk on? I don’t see it yet, can’t see it clearly. The jump looks like an imminent death. Yet He is calling me. Will you just launch out into the deep with me? Will you trust me just for the centimeter you can’t see? Will you trust me with the first step? Years I have stood, looking past him, looking past his invitation. I’ve played charades with him there watching me, waiting patiently for me. I’ve thought I’ve reached out to grab for him, but again it’s been a mime act. It’s almost like I’m in prison looking to him, talking to him on the telephone, separated by the thick glass of my enslavement. My many walls of fear are ever keeping a great distance between us. Again, I have stood here, waiting, watching, wondering. But at this very moment in my life, I am watching the floor fall out from underneath me as I hear Him calling me. Will you trust me, Alicia. Will you believe that I really do have the best plan for your life? When I tell you that I will lead you through the best pathways of your life, do you really take me at my word? And suddenly, rather than looking past him, giving him lip service, or playing the part… I look into His piercing eyes. And He sees me. And I see Him.

And with great fear and trembling, with uncertainty and adrenaline rushing through my veins, I reach out and touch Him. And I take the very first step…….



“When you are content to be simply yourself and don’t compare or compete, everyone will respect you.”
― Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching

“Amid a world of noisy, shallow actors it is noble to stand aside and say, ‘I will simply be.”

― Henry David Thoreau

2013. The New Year is always a time of reflection for many. A lot of times people think of all of the things they’d like to change about themselves. I won’t bore you with a laundry list. You probably already thought of a few as you read. One thing that’s been burning on my heart and truly becoming a gritty conviction is the act of truly being myself. It’s funny how without accountability, the monologue of your mind can lie to you over and over recklessly. I have a confession to tell you, my friend. I have been lying to myself for as long as I can remember. In fact, I lie to myself on an almost daily basis. I have a running tape of ongoing thoughts, a slow and steady barrage. If you can imagine a bubbling stream of subtle thoughts, moving quickly, strategically, and pointed. They are thoughts that are injected into every situation. I overhear a conversation, and immediately my thoughts start in. I watch someone walk by, and yet again another stream of thoughts. I almost want to just shine a light, to put my finger directly on this concept, and hopefully somewhat eloquently describe something I’ve recently become very aware of….

It’s funny how you think a half million things a day, yet how often do we take inventory of our thoughts? Really, have you ever stopped to think about your thoughts. I know I have, but not in the way that I have been doing lately. My thoughts are almost becoming a pair of clothes that no longer fit me. It’s an uncomfortable agitation I never really thought that I had any control over how I feel about myself, really. Sure you can use “behavior modification” or “work harder” to be positive, but who really thinks you can completely reinvent yourself? Can anyone truly reinvent the wheel of your entire existence? Who is as bold? Who is nearly as strong? I am not talking about changing who you are. I’m talking about the lies, the doubts, the voice in your head that tells you that things will never change because they haven’t changed yet. The sneaky, subtle, underbelly of a current that runs through your mind picking apart everything creating an undertone of self-loathing. Come on, don’t tell me you don’t have an insecurity or don’t struggle with a train of thought that deceives you! If not, feel free to eject yourself from this conversation. I’m here to talk real talk with you. I have realized some very ugly parts of me. Things that I wish I had realized a lot, lot sooner. Sounds depressing, right? However, I assure you there is a silver lining and a sliver of undealt with truth. The best part? Those ugly things aren’t ME. They are lies I have bought into somewhere along the line and have truly and so, so subtly changed the entire course of my life by paying the admission price. It’s a weird, weird feeling when you wake up to it. Let me tell you, it’s like the day you realize Santa Clause doesn’t exist. After all those years of living with the myth of a jolly being who delivers toys ever 25th of December, you wake up to realize that it simply was never true. I’ve lived my entire life thinking things about myself that simply do not line up with the truth. They aren’t true, they never have been, but yet I’ve lived MY WHOLE LIFE bought into it, believing it’s true. I’ve been like a woman with shackles on my feet, hands constricted behind me cuffed to the wall. Like the moment in Plato’s The Allegory of The Cave, where the prisoner sees the shadows dancing on the wall, knowing nothing of a real world outside, as I of my own prison. Well the lights have been turned on. And the lights aren’t just on. Beyonce said it best when she wrote, Ring the alarm. It’s as if an alarm is beginning to blare inside of me, and there is this uncomfortable constriction that is just reaching it’s tipping point. Something has got to give. And this isn’t a pretty little saying. This isn’t some short term epiphany. No, this is a life altering realization. They say that when you know the truth, it will set you free. Well guess what, every lie I have bought into, has robbed an area of my life. There are things I have chosen not to do, out of fear of untruths. I have had time stolen from me. Not only stolen, but I have given— surrendered, given up, handed over, poured out, willingly— my life over to these lies. You must know what I’m talking about. Surely if you stop and be still, you too might sense the rushing flow of the stream of thoughts that write your perception. You may take notice, as you quiet yourself and allow yourself to be conscious of this very thing, that you too may have mistaken truth for a lie. You may find yourself upset to the existence of such things. Kind of like the monster that’s always been under your bed. You’ve always told yourself that such things do not exist, but what if one day it really did? Let me tell you one thing. I know a little bit about being different. It’s been my curse all my life. I’ve hated it. Almost like a tattoo you try and try to scrub off. That’s often how I’ve felt about myself…. If only I could just scrub this off…. If only I could just cover this up, conceal this, put this back into the box, shove this over into the corner, put this back into an unused room, throw this out with the trash… You know what. Enough. I don’t know how to tell you this, but I’ve began to let myself be free. I think this drop of truth has already contaminated the batter. It’s beginning to permeate every part of my being. This time it’s different. This time the weight I’ve been carrying, the guilt, the remorse, the shame, the embarrassment, the feeling of being too much, not enough, not begin good enough, not being what others expect, not fitting the mold, not looking like everyone else, not thinking like everyone else, etc., etc., YOU fill in the blank. Don’t act like you haven’t ever felt that way before. I’m speaking on general terms. Those thoughts, those beliefs equal tons and tons of pressure and weight that I have carried on my back for years and years and years. It’s almost as If I have realized that I do not have to carry this weight. I do not have to, nor am I responsible for, nor must I carry this around with me everywhere I go anymore. It’s as if I have slowly set it down. And with a sense of pride, I am okay with not picking it back up. I almost look down at it with sheer disbelief that I could have ever possibly carried it for all this time. Who would have ever thought. Who would have ever known what I had been carrying around all this time. This is what I mean by time lost, freedom stolen. You’ve gone deep with me, but can you come out a little bit further? Let us launch out into the deep, and I will land this plane. You are unique. Your dna is unlike any other on the face of this planet. Your individual features, physically, emotionally, mentally, and every other way possible are completely unique and prescribed to you! Maybe you too, have carried a weight you were not meant to bear. We all chase after similar things, but are those things ever what truly make one happy? When you get the top of the mountain of accumulation of “things” “money” “success” at the expense of losing yourself, have you really accomplished anything worthwhile? There is a hunger and a fire in me. Maybe I should be more careful about what I pray for. Let me make it plain and simple for you. You have right now, and nothing more. You aren’t promised tomorrow. You could be here today and completely gone tomorrow. There are over 6 billion people on the face of this planet, and all of them are striving for similar things. We all want to be happy, find true love, accomplish great things and become successful. So many do so at the expense of losing themselves. Instead of making a new resolution to change something about who you are, what if you radically decide to be more of who you really, truly are? What if you put the mask down and got vulnerably honest and transparent with who you really are and where you really are at? Guess what, there are so many people who will never catch that, and die FULL of unused greatness and originality. I’ve heard it said that cemetery’s are the richest place on earth. They are full of buried treasures that were never discovered. I know one thing, I’ve spent enough time in chains. I have a treasure chest rich in loot that I have yet to unleash and unload. This world has yet to see my greatest days. I have yet to come into the fullness of who I truly am. What you’ve seen up until this point has only been a glimpse of the magnitude of what’s underneath the surface. I may have been hidden for some time, but in that season of hiddenness, I have grown in depth below the surface— like an iceberg where 90 percent of its mass is completely submerged. I look forward to evolving on the pages of this blog. I know this is just scratching the surface of things to come. There is no way to sum everything up—but I will tell you this… You will hear and see more of me in the future and I won’t be apologizing. I won’t be shrinking back in fear. In fact, I wont even be as conscious of how I might possibly come off less than perfect. I can’t tell you how many times I adjust my personality to come off the way that I think is best perceived, while in doing so I lose a little bit of myself. Let me tell you, in doing so, I have forsaken my originality. I have curbed my mannerisms, my sense of humor, my kindness, my generosity, my extravagant love, my own personality. I’ve tried to make myself fit into a mold that I was never simply made to fit into. In fact, I truly believe the greatest gift we can give to the world is to be who the most accurate version of who we are, while you are growing into the person we were always meant to be. Movie stars, actors, writers, big thinkers and dreamers don’t come into influence and great admiration by being like everyone else. In fact, it’s what sets them completely apart from the pack that makes them the bright shining stars that they evolve into being. Would you be so bold as to break away from the status quo and explore the deepest parts of who you are and release yourself into the world to be that most organic version of yourself? I think embracing the truth by loving and accepting yourself are the most rarest forms of beauty when it comes to self expression. Those people that embody that Je ne sais quois? are the people who fearlessly remain true to themselves. I’ll leave you with this, when you arrive to the day that you exit this world and you stand before your life and all the ways that you’ve lived it… Will you be spent? Will you have nothing left to give? Will you have explored every possible dream? Will you look back and be able to say that you’ve truly given yourself to the World and left it with an in exchangeable gift? I know when I arrive on that day, I am going to make it absolutely certain that my grave will be completely empty, leaving no stone or leaf unturned. Every treasure in my cache will be adorned to the World by being bestowed upon others and put into action through my dreams. I dare you to consider the same. I challenge you to accept an invitation of a lifetime that may just take you further than you ever thought possible and lead you down a path that you never imagined in your wildest dreams you could ever travel upon.

Until next time,

xxoo Alicia