love letter inspired by isaiah 49

Before you were born, I called you—while you were in your Mother’s womb—I was there, with you. I long to reveal my brilliancy through your life. All the amazing works of your bright and blazing future are held in the palm of my hand. I am your greatest satisfaction. I have a great work for you to do. I want to use you as my servant to bring back many to the heartbeat of God. So many lives live in darkness, as though the lights have been turned off for as long as they can remember. Like you, they have a place in my heart and I desperately want to light up the sky in their lives. I make things shine like new again. I can restore anything. I want to make a light out of you. Your future will be one of influence, for you can reach those around you uniquely. I am faithful and I have chosen you for special purposes. I want you to know that not only do I hear your prayers, but I answer them. I’m as near as your very breath. I want to use your life, your story, to bring the broken to me. Your life and story can be used to set so many free, in my Name. I can make dead places alive. I can provide something out of nothing. I can and do meet your every need. Every mountain you face, I can turn to level ground and lead you out, if you only allow me to take you by the hand. I want to be your comforter. I know at times it feels I am far away, but can a creator abandon His creation?  Never. I will never abandon you. I have your name engraved on the palm of my Hand. Anything set up against you is not from me. No weapon formed against you shall prosper. The blessings I give are as beautiful jewelry—forever I have crowned you in beauty. I bestow upon you grace and mercy, with your every heartbeat. I want to make your life fruitful and flourishing like a beautiful garden. There is such a bright future for you. You will look back on your difficult days as blessings in disguise. You are worth more than silver and gold. Your influence will stretch to the nations. I will make even your enemies to be at peace with you. These will be ways you will know that I, the Lord, am God.

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Freedom & Selfishness

It’s funny how our worlds become so big to us. We look through the lenses which see through the filters we each possess. Our lives can become so overwhelmingly huge, almost unbearable. Then in an instance we experience a paradigm shift, something that unsettles us penetrating our core. Our foundation is tested by the trials and tribulations, yet every now and again we look to our left or our right and see someone trudging through muck we can not fathom. Their ankles submerged below a swamp of sorrow and unimaginable pain. In an instant, your life is put back in it’s proper perspective. You see your life through fresh and thankful eyes. You see the mundane as a blessing in disguise. You see the burdens of life as light satchels that you are privileged to bear. You see discord as petty disagreements which lack eternal significance. You see your mound of debt as a pile of beans. You see your own health difficulties as minor discomforts. You see your life through eyes of gratefulness. Why does it take such earth rattling instances to grip us back into the center of reality? Why are we always rushing from one place to the next, desperate for change? Why are we always clamoring and complaining about the mildest instances of minor annoyances? Why are we so quick to give our unwarranted opinion? Why are we so quick to defend our liberties with self righteous entitlement, when those around us are silently dying from injustices, sorrow & pain? It’s ironic how you toil your life away only to realize at the end you didn’t live it as you should have. That in the end, everything wasn’t really worth the worry, the complaining, the stress? That you really didn’t have it that bad, and that you could have always done more?

 

Today I stand at a new gate. I hear about an eight year old dying from stage four terminal cancer who is laying in his hospital bed right now fearing his own life. A life he has yet to live, who knows very little about the world around him. He’s kidnapped from peaceful and unaware childhood, and thrust into the throes of fighting for his life. His father has overcome obstacle after obstacle, barely catching his breath between each wave and breaker as it claws for him to succumb to it’s power. He looks at his balances and knows the heaping piles of medical bills that are to come, yet fearlessly places every last worth of his life into the hands of the doctors and medical professionals for a glimpse of hope that will save his beloved son. There is a mother whose heart is broken and lies awake at night with thoughts that demand her attention. Half of herself is far enough where he is out of reach, but so close she can touch his face as he cries in confusion.

Then I reflect back on my life. Some of my primary concerns are what I will do with my life, what time I will take my lunch, do people understand me, do they like me? How do I feel? What’s most important to me? What will I do when I get off work? How will I pay my bills? What are my next steps? I stress and struggle over solutions that are unsolvable in my life right now, but when I put them beside this family I am suddenly ashamed at my selfishness. I know I’m not a selfish person, and I certainly don’t intend to be, but it just goes to show how selfish we can truly be.

 

God, 

I pray that you’d make my life meaningful.

Let me be someone who lifts burdens off of others, with wisdom and discernment.

Let me be a light that floods others with hope, that what they see coming out of me is just a glimpse of your amazing goodness. 

God I ask that you’d be with this family and child. Lord you are the GOD over all. You can speak and mountains move. We ask in JESUS NAME that this mountain be removed. God I thank you for my wonderful and beautiful life, which you have blessed me with and of which I do not deserve on my own merit alone. Thank you for your favor & grace which surround me as a hedge of protection and bless everyone I come into contact with. I love you, Lord. You are great and worthy of all my praise–with every breath I take.

Amen.

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Walk The Line

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Psalm 119:1-5 You’re blessed when you stay on course, walking steadily on the road revealed by God. You’re blessed when you follow his directions, doing your best to find him. That’s right–you don’t go off on your own; you walk straight along the road he set. You, God, prescribed the right way to live; now you expect us to live it. Oh, that my steps might be steady, keeping to the course you set; 

There are so many choices in life and time is an ever faithful reminder–it is always ticking. Life is like a quick moving train, rolling on and stopping for no one and under no circumstance. There are so many things I want to do, yet I don’t know how to make them happen for myself. I want to be an author, speaker, world traveler. I’d love to learn the craft of make-up & hair, become a stylist, and become a certified life coach. I want to finish my 4 year degree. I’d love to find the love of my life and raise an amazing family. I’d love to author several books and make the New York Times Best Sellers list. Where do I begin? Sometimes I feel like I’m constantly setting out on rabbit trails that all lead me back to the same path to where I am now, living the same life I lead right now. I’m still single. Still broke. Still in debt. Still without my degree. Still left figuring out where I am headed. Still trying to figure out what I want out of life. Still deciding what I want to be when I grow up. I know I should guard my confession and break old, ill-fitting mindsets–but for the sake of being honest and transparent I am telling the TRUTH. So many questions left exposed and unanswered. Here I am, yet again, writing about the unknown future. It’s a road block I keep bumping into. As I hit it I feel myself slump down in defeat. I sit with my back against the fence of the unknown future, unsure of what my next steps are.

Then I am reminded that there is a plan. There’s a P-L-A-N for my life and as long as I link up with and follow God, I won’t miss it. I just want to get there now. I want to start living that fascinating, amazing future now. I don’t want to sit with my back against the post wondering and wishing for all of eternity. Yet, the Word says to walk the line, to walk steadily the road revealed by God. Steadily is a pace that is slow and steady, yet sure. Surely I will arrive to the destination, but I am commanded to enjoy the road to the destination. Walk it out, Alicia, walk it out. So what do I do with the now? If I forever am longing for the future, I am missing out on the here and now. My life is quiet right now. I have few things that consume my time and attention. Shouldn’t I be enjoying this restful season while it is here? There will come a day where my life becomes far more busy and complicated and I am willing to bet I will miss these days–the days of resting in the pasture of wide open spaces of grace. One foot before the other, one step, two step, three step moving forward. My scenery may not be changing quickly enough for my liking, but it’s the path I’m on right now. So for right now, I’m walking on and keeping my head held high with dreams tucked in my heart. Big dreams, dreams I could never accomplish on my own. That’s how God meant for it to be. If we had all of our dreams come true the minute we believed them, there would be no need for God’s direction or help in our lives. We were meant to seek Him out and watch as our Father puts together the pieces of our lives as we walk along. Just as a woman is pregnant for nine months before giving birth to her child, so are we pregnant with dreams that must fully develop and mature before they come to pass. What are you pregnant with? What dreams do you carry in your heart? I’ve heard it said if you could accomplish them on your own, they are not dreams. Dreams are meant to be God-sized. They are meant to push you to just beyond your limits, which is where God steps in and helps you launch further out into the deep. Dream those dreams, the kind that are so big they scare you. You were meant for GREAT things. Don’t play it safe, don’t dream safe dreams. You were meant to live an extraordinary life, not a life of mediocrity. What’s the thrill in that? Make a list of things you dream to do and lay them before your Heavenly Father. It says in the Word that 

Romans 8:32 If He did not spare His own Son, but handed Him over on our account, then don’t you think that He will graciously give us all things with Him?

 

We serve a giving and gracious God who longs to give us more than what we could ever hope or imagine. Think on this thought: The future He has prepared for you is BEYOND your wildest dreams, your greatest expectations, and far beyond your imagination. WOW, think about that for a second. Think of something that would blow your mind. Can you imagine that God would like to come along and lead you to a life adventure, a fulfilled dream that TRUMPS every expectation or idea you could ever imagine? That’s the God we serve! So when you hit the roadblock of your unknown future, you don’t need to slump down in defeat and sit against the post of hope that’s been deferred. Your heart need not be sick. Dream with God. Write down your dreams. Write down your expectations. Allow God to take that list and demolish it with goodness and excellencies that far exceed your wildest dreams. The heart maker can take those desires in your heart of hearts and blow them up bigger than you could ever fathom. What is it you need? You’re Liberating King can meet every one of your needs. Nothing is impossible for God. Nothing is too far, too deep, too wide, beyond His reach. Lay it before Him and give Him rule and reign in that area. Watch what He will do with the pieces of your life.

Psalm 18:24

The Message (MSG)

20-24 God made my life complete
    when I placed all the pieces before him.
When I got my act together,
    he gave me a fresh start.
Now I’m alert to God’s ways;
    I don’t take God for granted.
Every day I review the ways he works;
    I try not to miss a trick.
I feel put back together,
    and I’m watching my step.
God rewrote the text of my life
    when I opened the book of my heart to his eyes.

 

Wait, watch, and SEE what God will do.

xoxo Alicia Barkley

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Learning To Rest In His Unforced Rhythms Of Grace…

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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

 

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