Jesus, my safe place.

woman caught in the act of adultery

Peace is something I can’t live without. I can go without a lot of things and learn to be content in many situations but having unrest in my life is a deal breaker. Peace can easily be taken for granted, but when it fails to show up, it is unmistakable. When you walk hand in hand with it, allowing it to lead and guide all your steps, it is a game changer. Simply, when God is at the helm of my life—when I walk with him, listen and look for him in all I do, I have an addictive peace I wouldn’t trade for anything.

Isaiah 48:22 states, “But there is no peace for the wicked,” says the LORD.” In Isaiah 57:20 it continues to say, “But those who still reject me are like the restless sea, which is never still but continually churns up mud and dirt. There is no peace for the wicked,” says my God.” Personally, I don’t like to consider myself wicked, but it simply means evil or morally wrong. In all honesty, we all fall short of God’s standard of perfection and miss the mark morally. That’s why Jesus could confidently say to the crowd anxious to condemn the woman caught in the act of adultery, “Let’s have the man who has never had a sinful desire throw the first stone at her” John 8:7 TPT.

He knew that every single person has erred morally and would not have the ability to condemn her—and neither did he. In the text it is written, “Upon hearing that, her accusers slowly left the crowd one at a time, beginning with the oldest to the youngest, with a convicted conscience. Until finally, Jesus was left alone with the woman still standing there in front of him. So he stood back up and said to her, “Dear woman, where are your accusers? Is there no one here to condemn you?” Looking around, she replied, “I see no one, Lord.” Jesus said, “Then I certainly don’t condemn you either. Go, and from now on, be free from a life of sin.” John 8:9-11.

Although there is no peace for the wicked, Jesus made a way to be our peacemaker, our fiercest defender and the one who’s love is relentlessly extravagant. God never designed us to be apart from him, yet he gave us the choice to decide if we would love him or not. For those who want a life with God, he made a way for us through giving the world his son Jesus. God in human flesh, born unto the world, came to be sin so we could live a life free of sin. This basic belief that Jesus Christ is our Lord and Savior offers us the gift of his holy spirit which is the tangible form of peace and direction that we so desperately need.

In this crazy life we need a beacon of hope—like a lighthouse sending out a reassuring light to let sea travelers know that they are near shore. I too feel like I am voyaging through the rough and choppy waters of life. It can be disorienting from day to day, even moment to moment with changing emotions and stressful situations. However, God, his word, and his holy spirit are my ever-present help—my light assuring me I am close to shore.

Lately my emotions have been overwhelming, and situations have seemed bigger than life. The temptation in those moments is to turn to something that will numb the pain or allow me to escape whatever I am facing, but I’ve found a better way to deal. I’ve taken my big and broken heart and I’ve opened myself to the Bible. I’ve taken myself exactly as I am, overwhelmingly big emotions and all, and have taken refuge in His words. I stay there until he heals my wounds and pours out his peace, which he always does.

It’s captured perfectly in Psalm 18:24 “God rewrote the text of my life when I opened the book of my heart to his eyes.” I have had a tight grip on my life and have never let myself be vulnerable with anyone, not even myself, never realizing how damaging that was! I always prided myself on being a truthful person but didn’t feel safe being honest with myself. How could I have lived my entire life loving God but never opened my heart to him, fully? I’ll never know every single why, but I do know that when the student is ready the teacher appears.

God doesn’t always reveal to us why he does certain things. God knows sometimes that it’s better for us to learn from our circumstances than to know the ins and outs. It says in the Bible that his ways are higher than our ways and I know that a lot of times our perspectives are what need changing. I challenge you to open your heart, His word and let the God of the universe in. He has a once-in-a-lifetime plan for you. He wants to take you to places you couldn’t imagine in your wildest dreams. There is a pathway of life he has for you, and it’s time for us to walk it out and see our future unfold brighter and brighter.

He left us instructions for this life in a hand written love letter, customized for you, known as the Holy Bible and the transformative life and love of Jesus are written in red.

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HEARING FROM + SEEING GOD IN EVERY DAY

The FedEx logo

It’s so easy to walk through life and miss some of the most beautiful moments and miracles. There is a hidden, secret layer of life that exists right before us. It’s God, plain and simple. He exists and he is before us. We often miss him completely. Here’s an analogy. Have you ever seen a Fed-Ex truck? Many of us, myself included, have. Have you ever noticed the arrow between the ‘E’ and the ‘X’? If not, would you have naturally noticed it? For me, I had seen those trucks a million times but have never seen the arrow until someone had pointed it. It had been right in front of me, right in front of my face, the entire time.

Similarly, hearing from and seeing God in every day life is a lot like that. He is like a magic eye puzzle. He is there either right in front of us or in the immediate background of everything. If we just settle ourselves, rest our vision and be still (key word, still) he and everything he wants to speak to us will come into focus.

I often think we make hearing from God more difficult than it is. I know I often create similar environments from the last time God spoke in order for him to move and speak in the same way, but God is not to be contained. He can speak and move however, whenever and wherever he wants.

God sometimes feels so far away but he is as near as our breath. He is in the sky, the snow covered hills, the clouds and stars in the sky– everything you can see and even don’t see!

It may feel like God is far away, but here is a metaphor. God can not directly touch us like we can, human to human; there remains a barrier. It’s as if we are fish in a big cosmic bowl. Yet, God looks over us and in moments of him speaking or moving it’s as if he put his finger in the water bowl, swirling the waters above. We can see the ripple effects of this and we can know he has spoken and is God.

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free pour

Let me start this out by saying this is not going to be like every other 2019 post about how I’m going to change the world and I’m going to start with my life—but actually, it just might be. I have a lot of things on my chest and I’d like to get them off and pour them into this blog post, starting here.
Insert witty title.
Sorry, but for today, I do not have one. Sometimes you have to have your entire self poured out, spent, burnt out, no reserve, bankrupt and completely empty before you can start over and build something epic. By the way, epic is still one of my favorite words.
Today was one of those days. I started by being out-of-the-way generous and kind, only to have my car battery drained at the gas station I was at getting something sweet for my sister. A stranger in line helped me jump start my car, in the cold—although I don’t know why he was in such a rush to get out of the cold. For some reason, older people have a harder time with the cold and as I’ve gotten older I’ve become better at ignoring it and pretending every day that it ‘isn’t that cold’. I don’t know why, but that is my coping mechanism.
Ok this post is titled free-pour because like at Starbucks when they free pour the foam you get some milk and some foam and it’s in no particular order. That’s kind of how my brain is working right now. I’m not going to spend too much time editing or pouring over this to make sure it’s perfectly coifed. This piece will be a hodge- podge of thoughts, but the main theme is 2019 and the changes I’m looking forward to making.
So I’ve never been too disciplined at keeping new year’s resolutions. I usually try to have a perfect seventy two hours, or until the newness glaze of the new year wears off and I’m back to blazing through my life sometimes lurching like a train, biting off more or less than I can chew. Right now, I’m voracious. I’ve had the craziest day. First it was my car… well let’s start over from the moment it struck 2019. The moments leading up to it were paradoxically paradise. But for the sake of the theme here, I’ll tell you what happened leading up to ‘Alexa’ notifying me that it was 12:00AM and directly there-after. FIRST, I had the best kiss of my life. Cole and I have been growing in what my friend B would call a ‘dizzying’ love. Although love changes, I’d like to think those magical moments can be kept alive when you ‘work your garden’ so to speak. This love is dizzying and it’s a ride and honestly I vascillate between the sheer panic and fear of trying to escape it, like that feeling you get when they push the button and the rollercoaster begins, to the exhilarating feeling when your stomach is in your throat and your body is experiencing g forces unknown on planet earth (at least when you’re living your life at normal speed 😉 Some days I’m drinking from a cutely patterned straw and other days I’m drowning in growth which feels much like drinking from a fire-hose. Regardless, at 11:58 or so, Cole began to kiss me and I got lost on earth for a good minute. Those sixty seconds or so were out of this world. As the 11:59 alarm hit we both grew in excitation, and he began to kiss me into 2019. It was epic. As we cuddled together holding the wine glasses my sister bought me, with two dollar and eighty something cent sparkling cider, wearing our robes from Hilton—I had not only had my best kiss ever, but I had celebrated my favorite new years and in the lowest key possible. This is life. This is what life is truly made of. But immediately after, things took a sour turn. The sparkle of the New Year had come and gone and my same me, with my same old problems surfaced immediately. Everything since then has been coming at me, being thrown at me, in lightening speed. It feels like I entered a black hole when I thought I learned to love myself—but really I was being sucked in and have been being shred to pieces at first slowly but now at rapid pace. It’s like even my atoms are shaking in their boots, because they know that they are up for destruction next. So it’s got me thinking. I believe everything happens for a reason, even the ugly things. I believe that God uses the bad things in our lives, and turns everything around for the good. I also believe in processes. I think I started a process and I believe that I’m in that process and it’s taking everything in me to go through it. I don’t know what happened, but I am starting to believe that its God’s doing—even though it is mostly excruciating. Note to anyone out there who says they will start to write a book—everything in you will rebel; to anyone who starts to actually write it—that book will begin to write you. In the words of my great aunt Verna, ‘So anyway..’ I’ve been in a 2019 warzone and I’m surprisingly keeping my head on straight. Every opportunity I’ve had to lose my cool, I have mostly stayed sane. I did however have a not so pleasant interaction with the library clerk, that ended in me screaming “I LIVE IN ROCKFORD” (apparently my apartment complex pays taxes to another city…don’t mess with librarians they are a special breed of je ne sais crois or whatever) I’m also typing this from the library where my apartment pays taxes because my laptop is deceased as of this afternoon, cause of death? Sprite. It’s visiting the medical examiner AKA rice, and the autopsy results are TBD. Haha. Have to add a bit of morbid humor, why? I don’t know.
So as I mentioned, my car battery died, my laptop is fried, and among other things I am at my wits end with the past few days. What I can tell you? I’m thirsty. For the past few years I’ve mourned the death of half of my life. I’ve realized that I’ve squandered half of it foolishly and have not stewarded my time circumspectly. It’s almost like my life has one of those cool old school sand timers and its huge and gold and made out of really expensive stuff and it’s been flipped onto the other side and I can feel the small sand pebbles going through the siphon. I have half of my life left if the good Lord let’s me have it—and the pressure to live it well is at an all time high. So that brings me to today… I haven’t had much time to sit and reflect because the holidays have been a whirlwind but by being at the library today (of which I love—there’s something about being surrounded by wisdom that feels amazing) I’ve decided it’s time to read again.
Among all the things I want to do with this year, reading is where I’ve decided I will start. Here are the books I have picked up. “You are a BADASS, how to stop doubting your greatness and start living an awesome life” by Jen Sincero, YOU DO YOU, how to be who you are and use what you’ve got to get what you want by Sarah Knight, Resisting Happiness, a true story about why we sabotage ourselves, feel overwhelmed, set aside our dreams, and lack the courage to simply be ourselves… and how to start choosing happiness again! By Matthew Kelly, BIG MAGIC, creative living beyond fear by (my personal favorite) Elizabeth Gilbert, You are a BADASS at Making Money, master the mindset of wealth by Jen Sincero.

Aside from that, I have decided I’m done being the underdog. I’m done allowing other people and their loud opinions to continue to drive my life. I’m done. I think reading these books will really help me get BACK INTO the right mindset for 2019. It’s time for me to decide who I’d like to become and go and start being it—and it’s always going to start and end with being myself. I think I was ahead of my time for a lot of my life as far as being unique and doing my best to own it. It’s hard to be yourself. It’s hard to know that you stand out and to let the pieces of yourself that others don’t like, get or understand—give them permission to exist willfully. It’s easier and more socially acceptable to conform. But that’s not right for me—it doesn’t sit right with me. I have to be who I am inside. I have to be all of me, even if it’s not the popular option—or the people’s first choice.
A quote I have been meditating on is that ‘to be great is to be misunderstood’. I am great, therefore I will continue to be misunderstood. It’s kind of like that Anais Nin quote
And then the day came,
when the risk
to remain tight
in a bud
was more painful
than the risk
it took
to Blossom.
Anaïs Nin
It’s like the pain of remaining the same is too much to bear. It’s too painful to let other people and other things lead and drive my life. I can feel the tension of this dichotomy and it’s too much to bear anymore. It’s a weight and it’s a weight that I’ve carried willingly for too long. I carried it for longer than I realized and it’s changed my entire point of view. But–This is my story. I am the author of it. I have a say in how I live it and the last half of my life is going to be epic.
It starts with deciding that circumstances and people aren’t going to rule my day, week and especially year. And a few good books* 😉

*my doable action step for my right-now + in the moment.

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‘C’ as IN CHARLIE

‘C’ as in CHARLIE

nato phonetic alphabet

artwork by François Henri Galland Watercolor is abstractly beautiful when it allows ones eyes to use imagination

i wrote this before i knew you, inspired by disappointment but love was birthed by fate into our lives–greater than we could have ever imaged. dedicated to the Co-alic-ion. 😉

I don’t want the typical love story. Those cliche expected things that people do together bore me. I want an extraordinary love story. Easy to say, but hard to find. The kind of love that’s worn in the creases of an old black and white photo you carry around with you until you are old and gray. That serendipitous, instantaneous meet cute that leads to the slow start of an unending flame—all consuming love. The star-crossed lovers who meet when their two lives intersect by fate kind of love. The kind of love that is ushered in by the hand of God. 

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you ARE a world changer.

My faith entered the dark room the first Wednesday in January of 2008. Since then I have been locked in on the wildest most exhilarating and excruciating journey of my life. There have been mind-blowing mountain top experiences and lows so low I felt I was on my spiritual death bed. I want to encourage you in a big way, today. You might be feeling emptier than the deepest part of the ocean without hope to hold onto. I’m telling you, everything you need is deep within you–but you will have to pull it out from wherever it is hiding. You might not be able to wrap your head around how you will heal. I promise you, with time and perseverance you will make it through whatever you are facing. Regardless of where you find yourself on the spectrum of life, I am going to tell you a few things I’ve learned in the last ten years and why you are going to be just fine. I promise you regardless of your situation, everything will be okay and here is how I can back that promise up.

  1. Being authentically yourself is the most freeing thing ever. There are few things I’m terrified of but letting my mask down and being vulnerable scares the mess out of me. The best thing I did was confront my fears head on, facing them with real vulnerability. Everyone says, “love yourself”. Cute, but it didn’t make sense until it made sense, and even now I have my insecurities! Sometimes I find myself holding onto things I must let go of. The truth is it feels good to LET GO of the RIGHT things. Don’t get me wrong, I am still far from the highest truths of self-love, which are being revealed day by day. It’s not until we can open this area of our life that we truly begin to feel free. Regardless of where this finds you, keep forging your way to this truth. I promise you; you will land on it if you seek it, and when you do, you will be forever glad you did.
  2. The more you love yourself, the more others around you will love you. The degree to which you can love and accept yourself is the degree to which you can give and receive love– and your relationships and friendships will reflect that life-giving truth. Drop fear, rebuke shame, and pursue peace in every area of your life, especially if it involves your mental health. You deserve to live in peace. Don’t believe the lie that everything should be perfect in your life. Social media is one of the greatest vehicles of deception. It’s so easy to compare yourself to others whether in insecurity or pride. Nobody will fight for your healing like you will, so invest in your health. Taking care of your mental health requires persistence, patience and stick-to-it-iveness. Lastly, finding peace of mind has made it easier to love and accept myself. (and that’s come with a lot of gratitude, prayer, and radical self-acceptance) I acknowledge I’m human and will make mistakes but if I run from them, I build walls. When I run towards them, I win EVERY TIME. I have found that I’m less afraid to look people in the eye. I’m not apologizing for every little thing. You can’t lose when you give yourself permission to take up space while making room for others.
  3. Listening is respect. Relationship with others must be selfless. I serve as a better friend and person when I’m listening and ultimately it is the highest form respect you can give someone.
  4. Being in a healthy, growing, romantic relationship is thrilling. I used to fear commitment and never gave myself to my relationships. Relationships were such a sticking point for me. I was always looking for love in the wrong places. It took a long time, but I came to the realization that I was accepting pain and hurt that I didn’t have. Learning to say no to myself and others was one of the best gifts I gave to myself! As difficult as setting and maintaining healthy boundaries may be, it is necessary. A healthy relationship can be a calming force while also a mirror which can reflect truth. Relationships are not easy, they are work, but love is choosing an imperfect person you wouldn’t want to journey through life without.
  5. I am a world changer, and so are you! WE have the power to change our sphere of influence with every breath we take, and every second afforded to us. Every choice is either making a positive or negative contribution. My goal is to be a conduit of grace, compassion, kindness and positivity. If I can use every one of my strengths for good, why wouldn’t I? I once heard it said that the richest place in the world is the cemetery, because of all the buried potential. Live your life to the last drop and don’t be afraid to dream BIG. Put your plans into action. Don’t get to the end of your life and realize you could have done things differently. YOU are a world changer.
  6. We truly have the power to control emotions by changing the way we think. Do not get it twisted, this is a discipline and will take a lot of practice. Joyce Meyers, in the book Battlefield of the Mind, states you should think about what you are thinking about. When you set your mind to possessing self-control over your emotions by changing your thinking, you can literally become a powerful force. Eleanor Roosevelt wrote, nobody can make you feel inferior without your consent. This is a powerful statement. This world needs YOU, and don’t be afraid to take a seat at the table! Raise your hand! Speak up!
  7. Sometimes you must do it alone. It seems like nobody these days likes to be alone with themselves. Think about it, a lot of people self-medicate so they don’t have to face themselves and sit with their reality. People avoid restaurants and movie theatres if they are alone! Sometimes in life the answers don’t come right away and the only way through it is to walk alone. Know that Jesus Christ will never leave or forsake you although love from others can be elusive. I remember a long stretch where I had trouble making meaningful connections. I had many dark nights, tear stained pillows, and moments where I couldn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. Those days I felt I was truly alone. You are strengthened through moments like these, embrace them the best way you know how and trust the process.
  8. Stop apologizing for your light! God created you. You are incredibly intricate and you are fearfully and wonderfully made. God does not make mistakes. He designed you, not mass produced you. Stand out, give yourself permission to learn and grow from your imperfections. Lastly, you SHOULD be different from everybody else, not because it’s something to do, but because you truly are unique, and blossom into all you can be.
  9. You made it through 100% of every bad day, moment, screw up, financial difficulty etc. etc. etc.! you will make it through this one too. If you pay attention to God and be on the lookout for what he is doing, you will see his hand in everything at work around you.
  10. God never took away my pain. He was with me, but also, he permitted it. I see those as blessings in disguise. Life is full of pain, but there is always opportunity for joy. Say yes to things that scare you. Say yes to dreams that are too big, they require more than just you. Say no to things that waste your time and use your life wisely. Don’t get to the end only to be surrounded by regret. Do it NOW.

xo with love, Alicia

IG: withlove.alicia

 

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of a triumphant people

Compassionate

Open

Lavish

Empath

  • If your form emerged from stone, it would be recognized as a masterpiece. Locks and doors, keys and latches, all open to deep waters–deep, dark blue. You’re a human iceberg with ninety percent of depth below the surface. Life is such a weird thing. One minute you are a stranger living in parallel worlds that never intersect and the next you place your hand through a heart and enter into a soul. Strangers become friends and memories last beyond seasons and I want to be remembered for reminding you of your exquisite and limitless potential the value you possess. Our worlds collided by fate, and now every day is a new facet of beauty. Life with you is colorful, unexpected and always something exciting around the corner. You’re brilliant, exercise the muscle of your mind–forever. It, besides your heart and soul, are your greatest assets. Be careful with your self. Soothe your soul and tend to it as a garden, making time for it to be washed clean and filled up again. Guard your beautiful heart and learn from your past. Use your emotions to benefit you but never to make serious decisions by them. Anchor yourself in Christ and learn to hear from Him and receive from the Word the truth you need for every situation. As you save, so be your discipline with spending time with the Lord. Let Him fill the empty and broken places in your heart and soul. We are always a work in progress and we will never fully arrive. Celebrate your successes and don’t be disappointed by failures and mistakes, let those serve as opportunities for you to get excited about trumping them the next time around. The world is not black and white, very few things are all or nothing–I promise you. Don’t be afraid to try new things that are outside of your comfort zone. Do one thing that scares you every day– even if it’s just putting your ideas out there. Don’t make excuses for doing things that are necessary and important to you. Always put your well-being before your career. Your health, life, family and close friends you get only once in this life. Money comes and money goes and we will always dance with it for as long as we walk this earth. Enjoy this life and get everything out of it that you can, but equally prepare for the life after this. The older you get, truly, the faster it goes. One day you will wake up and have lived almost half of your life, make sure when your eyes open on that day make damn sure you are happy with what you have set up for yourself, but remember you will never fully figure everything out. The best thing is when you let God lead your life, that’s where the greatest peace and joy is. Don’t be so quick to settle down and establish a life with someone. Commitment isn’t just an achievement or plaque to put on a wall. Who you enter into covenant with will become your entire future. The wisest thing is to take your time learning to love yourself and discover yourself inside and out, while letting God reveal to you who He has created you to be and His purpose He has for you. You will be blessed in all you do when you follow wisdom and get understanding. Find your perfect balance between making things happen and letting life come to you. Ride it easy. Like when I sit back on your bike and release my grip, so should we in life let things naturally fall into place. If today was my last day with you, I’d want you to know you are absolutely flawless like David by Michelangelo. There is nothing you lack, physically, mentally, emotionally and in every way. You are a wonderful, beautiful, gem. You are rare, valuable and worthy. I’d want you to know that you deserve what’s actually the best, not just what you think you deserve because I promise you they are two different things entirely–but once you fall in love with yourself and settle into your worth those two will align. I’d want to thank you for stepping up and being present in my life. I’d thank you for coming in at a low place and lifting my head and reminding me of the way I deserve to be loved, worshipped, cared for and treated. Can’t wait to ride your first roller coaster with you. Can’t wait to see what you say or the expression you make that makes me laugh next. I can’t wait to see what else you challenge and hold me to next. Can’t wait to share that bottle of champagne with you later. Can’t wait for our next six hour phone call, or the I’m late to work text. I’m kidding, about being late. You keep me safe, and I’ll keep you wild.

To be continued.

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note to self

Elation fills up my soul today. I’m happy because I always overcome. Pain comes in like a flood overtaking me, changing me. As it washes out, I am filled with a quiet peace. Intimacy has made itself one with me through standing strong against the storm. From it, I’m forged. Day by day, little by little. I’m tall, confident, imperfect but aware of myself in awe. I’m starting to remind myself, tell myself, encourage myself in all that I believe in. Good things will come to me. Love will find me again. I’m not what I think about myself. I’m more than what I think of myself. I’m noble and exalted, noble one of truth–my names DNA. Royally adopted, anointed, kind, generous, lavish, welcoming, compassionate, emotional, intuitive, often discerning, and full of love. I wear his initials.

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