When oceans rise, my soul will rest in Your embrace

This one is hard to write. I don’t know how to describe how I feel. The only correct words I can come up with is that the valley keeps getting deeper and darker.
About a month ago my pastor tweeted this out, “I am learning that the “valley of the shadow” is somewhat deeper, darker and colder than I knew. Still, the Lord is here. No need to fear.”

And that day I thought I knew what he was talking about, but I found out a couple weeks later that I actually knew what he was talking about.
I am completely broken. A puddle of emotions scattered on the ground. Just when I thought I was walking through the healing process of loosing my bestfriend I get knocked down again. I was promised 3 months in a country I am completely in love with. I was promised to be with a family that I love so deeply I knew only the Lord could have knitted our hearts together. Everything had come together so perfectly that I knew the Lords hand was in it. Everyone saw it and i was ready. The time had come for me to quit my job, and I stepped faithfully in that. Then the next day everything changed. The family I was going to be with called, and they were coming home-they had 10 days to leave.

Okay, God. What do you want in this? So I decided I was still going. He told me to go, and I was going to follow Him there.

Well 2 days after I decided to go, I woke up to a message from them informing me about a visa band. And guess what, it was just two weeks before I was going to leave and I was planning on buying my visa that day. (Because the visa policies and laws change so often in the country I was heading to, it was recommended to wait in case something like this happened and because we wanted me to have the correct visa when it was time to go. Plus it is online and technically could have gotten in the day before I left. So we really weren’t worried about that part. But obviously God used this to protect me…even if I am still fighting with accepting that.) Well okay, if that is not a sign then I don’t know what is. God not only shut the door, He locked it and then the door disappeared. It’s like it was never there.
But the fact of the matter is I am still completely in love with this nation and these people, and most people in my life didn’t realize just how much I loved these people. And because of my heart for this nation and these people, I am completely crushed. How do you handle something you were promised and something that you finally knew was your purpose being stripped away? Especially when it was the first time you believed you heard God speak so clearly…
Well honestly I don’t know the answer. And I have no answers in this situation…

But what I do have is that there are 3 truths that I have completely cling to and that have been unwavering.

1. His timing. – this was the first thing that was 100% clear to me. If I was supposed to have stayed at my job, this would have happened before I quit. Because I wouldn’t have quit if it happened before. He allowed me to quit and then He allowed this to happen. I’m not sure what is next or what it looks like, but His timing is always perfect, and I haven’t doubted it on this situation. (So for those of you that are disappointed in me for not asking for my job back, it wasn’t an option. I’m in the works of building my faith, not going backwards. So just stop. And start supporting me. or don’t, whatever. I don’t care, because I know I made the right decision on this one. Because I have this unexplainable peace about it.)

2. His love for me. – this one is funny because for so long I doubted it. But in the past month, and it has been a rough month (see previous post) I have never doubted how much He loves me. I have just visioned Him with His arms around me-holding me and telling me He is with me.

3. I am supposed to work in ministry. – which I’m not going to lie, this one was a little shock to me. I never imagined myself working in ministry. Ever. Not because I don’t think I can, but really because I don’t think it was ever thought about. I think I was expected to work in the corporate world, which I tried for 2 years and absolutely HATED, so it makes sense. The only time I feel that I am walking out into my calling and who God creates me to be is when I am in ministry. Now, do I know what this looks like? Absolutely not. I have a sense it’s going to be in missions and ministry. But I have no doubt God will show me, in His timing, but for me hopefully soon 😉

I’ve been surrounding myself with people I know support me. Because why do I want to be around people who don’t? But also people I know God has told me it’s okay to let in. Because the people that I have let in are the ones who continue to speak truth in my life. Because right now, I’m being completely selfish with Jesus. I need him to pick up the pieces and put me back together. I need Him to show up right now.

“You pick up all my pieces, put me back together. You are the defender of my heart. When I thought I lost me, You knew where I left me, reintroduced me to your love.” – Kari Jobe

This-On repeat. These lyrics are the only thing I can cry out right now. (Thanks Taylor for showing me this video)

I heard Oceans by Hillsong a couple weeks ago and the meaning of it was completely different than what it had been before.

 “You call me out upon the waters
The great unknown where feet may fail

And there I find You in the mystery

In oceans deep

My faith will stand

And I will call upon Your name

And keep my eyes above the waves

When oceans rise, my soul will rest in Your embrace

For I am Yours and You are mine

Your grace abounds in deepest waters

Your sovereign hand

Will be my guide

Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me

You’ve never failed and You won’t start now”

I am completely placing my trust in Him, He has called me out to walk with Him because He has something so much better for me than a dead end job that I hate and am completely miserable at. I have been trying to keep afloat for almost two months now that these lyrics spoke so clearly that I felt God pull me above the waves. That He said just trust me. But what that next step is, I don’t know…

So to answer all your questions;

What am I doing now?

Am I applying for jobs?

How are going to make money?

What is you plan for the next 10 years?

*insert every single question you might have*

ANSWER-I don’t know.
All I know is I want to be in ministry and missions. And some (even some closest to me) may not support me. But I know it is time to step into who God creates me to be. I am completely trusting the Lord in this, whatever it looks like.

Thanks for walking through this with me, thanks for praying and loving me.

*if you’re reading this, and you financially supported me on my Central Asia mission, a letter is heading your way soon*

Broken heartedness

“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” ~ psalms 34:18

I don’t understand why some things happen. This past month I have been completely heart broken and I can’t wrap my brain around some of it. My heart and soul actually hurts because of the different events that have happened. But God has been with me, and He has shown me some great things. He has reviled Himself to me and has been holding me through everything. His glory is shining bright. He is STILL good.

About a month ago I saw on the news that racism still exist. In America. TODAY. What the hell? Can someone please explain to me how we can not get over ourselves to see that we are all equal? THIS IS NOT OKAY. It is straight from the devil and I’m tired of it. No race is supreme in the kingdom of God. He loves all races, equally. I remember seeing the disturbing images and couldn’t help but cry. And cry out to the father asking Him to come into this situation and reveal himself. That the church would be a bridge of love and this divide that our country has would heal. Jesus, heal our land.
Fast forward a couple weeks and hurricane Harvey hits my home, Houston. My eyes were glued to the TV. My heart broken. I’ve seen damage of hurricanes in other parts of the country and world, but being in the midst of it and seeing so many people I know and care about lose everything completely took everything out of me.

I remember just crying asking God to stop the rain. Asking Him to remember His promise. My city, that is home, that I have completely fallen in love with was destroyed.
BUT GOD. I was given so much hope watching neighbors helping neighbors. I am so proud of my city. I am so proud at how we came together to help those that are in need. We don’t care about race, religion, gender, etc…We are showing our country what happens when you come together in love. This is America. This is the America I am proud to call home. This is the red, white, and blue. We will overcome this. It was amazing seeing God’s love over this city! He shone through His people. It was such a beautiful thing to watch as we broke down barriers.
Fast forward a couple more weeks. On Wednesday, September 6, 2017 I lost my bestfriend. I can’t explain our friendship. It was something very unique and something very special. He was more than just a bestfriend. He had my heart.

This is what I wrote the day after he passed.
“I don’t know how to believe it’s true.

Wednesday, September 6 I lost my bestfriend. I wish I had words. I can’t comprehend what happened.

So since I don’t have words, I’m going to tell you a little about my bestfriend.

Addison was one of a kind. He was one of my very first friends I met when I moved to Nacogdoches. He’s the only guy who has ever taken me out on Valentine’s Day. He wanted to be in my life so much that he started doing things I liked. I loved going out to Banita and dancing so he asked me to teach him how to dance, and then he became one of my favorite dance partners. He knew I loved Granger Smith so he listened to and bought all his music to become his fan. He was always willing to go to all of his concerts with me. Every time he had music out he’d call me and we’d talk about how good we thought it was. He drove all the way from Lubbock to come to my graduation, and had the best time in Lubbock for his graduation. That’s when his family truly became mine. Then how we stayed up all night talking (with no silent times that whole 6 hours) driving back from Lubbock into Van, TX to see the devastation from the tornadoes that night. And we were both so heart broken for your hometown.

Addison was always there for me. He always held me when I cried. He was the only one I wanted around when the tears starting falling. He always told me everything was going to be okay. If you knew us and saw us together, you knew his arm was always around me. He held my hand when I needed someone to be strong. If I knew any of my friends loved me, Addison was the one I knew loved me. He loved me when I didn’t love myself.

This wasn’t they way it was supposed to happen. I will never know why God decided to take him home so soon. Addison, you better be enjoying being face to face with Jesus because there are a lot of people down here completely heartbroken. We know his promises are true and I know I will see you again.

Last night as I was sitting on the couch trying to figure out what just happened, I felt his arms around me. I felt him holding me and he told me he loved me. I knew it was him from just how tight he squeezed me. I just wish I could have hugged him back. Addison, I love you so much. Always and forever. ❤️”
I was crushed. I loved him so much. I have never lost someone I was so close to. But in that moment of being heartbroken and crushed and trying to comprehend then news, God told me and showed me I wasn’t alone. He came and sat with me.

The first thing I tweeted out the next day was that I was clinging to God’s promises because I know they are true. He is still God and He is still good.

Then on the way to Nacogdoches to be be there for the funeral, God gave me the prettiest sunset to remind me He is still good.

I know without a doubt that Addison is walking the streets of gold worshiping our Lord and savior. That gives me so much peace. But I still miss him. I miss the fact that I know I’ll never get a hug from him again. I can’t call him when I’m stuck in traffic. He will never go to a Granger Smith concert with me again. We won’t get anymore of our pictures together…

I’m okay because I will see him again. But I will always miss him. I thank God and praise Him for allowing Addison to be apart of my life, even if to me it didn’t seem long enough.
Through all of this heartbreak God has reminded me how much I am loved. God is so sweet in doing that. I praise Him because for so long I didn’t believe I was. He has never left me. He has held me and carried me. He has given me friends who have prayed for me and been there to let me cry on their shoulders.

He has shown me how merciful He is. His timing. He knows what I need and gives it to me. He is healing me. And He is bringing me closer to Him. He is a good father. And despite all the heartache he is still good.
It is well with my soul.

Pain, hurt, struggles

I’ve spent a lot of time alone lately. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it’s also not the best thing. When you spend too much time alone, that’s when Satan starts to attack. I like my alone time. I like to spend time by myself to read, watch tv, bake to refill myself. It’s also when I like to sit and listen to to the Lord. He calls us to spend time with Him. But when you’re not, Satan steps in. Life is crazy. Can I get an amen? And sometimes I tend to put my time with Jesus on the back burner. So when I spend too much time alone, and on top of that not enough time with Jesus, I start to sit in the lies. And I start to believe them. I begin to hurt. I begin to not feel confident. I begin to forget who I am.

Something I’ve talked about is struggling with feeling loved. One on one time is something I live for. It builds me up. I don’t mind being in larger groups but honestly that’s exhausting. And when I don’t get one on one time with friends and community, Satan starts talking.
So let’s combine all of these. Spending time alone, not spending time with Jesus, and not getting one one one time with certain people in my life. I bet you can guess with how I’ve been feeling lately and what Satan has been telling me. And when you’re not in the truth, how do you fight the lies?
This is the moment when you {I} need to completely press into God. I was reminded of why it’s important to spent time in Gods word. I dove back into the word and the lies broke off and fell to the ground. I heard God tell me to reach out to people, and I did, and then He moved. He trusted me in different circumstances. He showed me Himself by placing new people in my life. He opened doors to have conversations with people I have been praying about. And then He gave me some one on one time with a friend. We talked a lot. We spent some time soaking in God’s goodness. It was such a good reminder of God’s love for me. Just letting His love sink in and fight off the lies. To become reminded of the truth.
Just because I walk in the healing God has given me doesn’t mean I struggle. It’s a part of life. But God gives me {us} the power to fight back. It something I have to choose daily, to wake up and believe I am loved, and cherished by God. And sometimes it’s not easy. Honestly sometimes the lies are easier to believe, because it’s comfortable. But God. He knows exactly what we need and He will fight for you.
We must strive to live above our feelings and our doubts.

Crazy

Life is crazy. So crazy. And things happen and you get pulled in a million directions. People need you. You get busy at work. You want a social life. And when the heck are you going to sleep? That’s exactly what happened to me. I kept telling myself, “hey alyssa, your goal this year was to blog. Sit down a write what God has been doing.” But you know what I never did. This past month has been the craziest. Waking up at 3 am most morning. And then not getting home till late. I wore myself out. So much so, I became sick. That what your body does-people don’t believe it but your body is smart. Every time I do this to myself, which honestly and sadly I do a lot, I’m amazed and how God created our bodies. He created them to work in certain ways only bodies could. Our bodies need physical rest at the same time we need spiritual rest. He has been telling me this over and over again over the past couple weeks.
A couple weeks ago I was able to get away for the weekend and serve some sweet sweet families at what my church calls family retreat. I always love getting away from the fast pace life of the city and getting in my naturally habitat of country life. Just being surrounded by nature, Gods creation instead of city buildings does something to refresh my soul and spirit. Then getting to love on children brings me so much joy I feel like I could explode!

While away I was able to spend some time alone, and alone with the Lord. He showed me this verse; “Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.” Jeremiah 29:12

Wow. So powerful. I’ve been sitting with this verse still. He says it right there, you will call on me and pray to me and I will listen. He listens to us. He cares for us. He cares that I’m tired. He cares that I want to be in a different country. He cares that I want to learn to love my family well and better. He cares that I’m struggling with going to work everyday. He cares that I worry about money. He cares that I don’t really like my neighbors. He cares that one of my coworkers makes my head want to explode. He cares. And he will listen. He wants to listen. He already knows, but He wants you to talk to Him. That is just so comforting to me. To know how much my God, who controls everything cares for me. That He cares about every little thing. And He wants me to share with Him.

Then a couple weeks after that weekend still overwhelmed by how much He cares for me, It’s Easter. The whole week of Easter this verse is on my desk; “He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.” 1 Peter 2:24 and every day leading up to Good Friday I read this verse. I sat there and I thanked Him. Just overwhelmed by His love. He wants a relationship with us. How crazy is that? Me. A sinner. Someone who fails daily. Who is broken and messes up. He wants to talk to me. So much so that He sent His son to die, the worst death possible. And then raise him from the dead so that I may walk and talk with Him. So I could bring my worries and struggles to Him. To bring my brokenness to the cross so that i may be healed. I sit here overwhelmed. And grateful. Oh how we are loved.

Today, I had an after hours meeting. So I left the office a whole lot later than what I would normally. And as I’m driving  home the sun is setting and it’s just behind some clouds. I see it’s rays shining through. And in that moment I see Gods glory beaming. I loved seeing that little glimpse of Him. It reminds me of who He is even in the midst of all the craziness.

Trust 

Matthew 14:27-33
“Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.” “Come,” he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus….”(v.28-28)
This is one of my most favorite stories. And one I feel l can relate to. I always want to be the Peter who trust Jesus so much he actually walks on water. I mean who doesn’t?!

But sometimes I know I’m the peter that doubts. The one that starts walking on the water but the minute the wind blows you lose your faith. Honestly, don’t we all have these moments? Not that it’s one of our most proud moments…but there’s times in our lives that we are overwhelmed, we have everything going wrong, and we just want to give up and we lose our faith. But you know what? That’s when we say Lord, help me have faith. Remind me of your goodness. You call out to the Lord just like in Mark 9 when the boys father proclaims “Lord I believe, but help my unbelief” (v24) Because that is when the Lord comes in and shows Himself to you, when you are weak He is strong. He wants you to call out to Him. He will be there to catch you and lift you up.

Right now I’m in a season of truly trusting the Lord. Trusting Him to completely provide for me. I know He can, and trusting that He will. I’m trusting that when (because even Though I hate to admit it, I know it’s a when not a if) I doubt, He will be right there when I call out to Him to pick me up and show me He has me. That He is the ultimate provider and what He has called me to, He will provide a way.

Asking you to pray with me in this time of trusting our Father to provide. 

And God said, “Here I am…”

“I will go before you and will level the mountains; I will break down gates of bronze and cut through bars of iron. I will give you hidden treasures, riches stored in secret places, so that you may know that I am the Lord, the God of Israel, who summons you by name.” – Isaiah 45:2-3

God is so good. I can’t even begin to explain His goodness. He told me I had to do something, and honestly I said no. Let me tell you, don’t ever say no to God.
I was beyond nervous, and I didn’t think this conversation was going to go well at all….
To begin, I love my parents very much. I respect them and I never want to disappoint them. I know that they are going to support me in all my decisions. But I was sure what I was going to tell them was it. Who really wants to tell your parents you want to go a prat of the world that is in the news daily? It’s going to be a hard conversation.
Two weeks ago God told me I need to talk to them and tell them what He had told me. I honestly didn’t want to. I had no clue how they would respond. Actually, I feared it wouldn’t be how I wanted. And when God said tell them, I said no. That’s probably not something you should ever tell God.
A week ago God said now. I doubted God. I even almost didn’t tell my parents. BUT GOD. When He gives you something He will go before you. He is teaching me that when He has something for you, He will make a way. The complete opposite happened, this conversation was so good. My parents were so understanding and knew this is what I have to do. They support me in this and are helping me with the planning and everything I need to do in order to make it happen.
God’s plan is not to be messed with. No matter my doubts, no matter my fears, no matter if I tell Him no…He is going to make a way. I’m thankful the Lord gave me the parents He did. Even when hard conversations need to happen, because I know every hard conversation, every moment of my life He is using to mold me into the person He has created so He can use me to bring glory to Him. My Lord is faithful.
You know what funny? God gave me this verse, Isaiah 45:2-3 back in May before He took me to Greece. He knew I would need it. Sometimes His plans take time. And He’s only going to show what He has for you if you show Him you are trustworthy with what He has already given you.
Keep stepping out in faith. The more you step out the more you will know His voice and the more comfortable you get with stepping out.

Dare to be Bold

bold
bōld/

adjective

1. (of a person, action, or idea) showing an ability to take risks; confident and courageous.”a bold attempt to solve the crisis”
2. not hesitating or fearful in the face of actual or possible danger or rebuff;courageous and daring:a bold hero.

A couple weeks ago I was talking to God. I asked Him if He would give me a word for this year. A word to live this year. I want this year to be for Him, so what does that look like?

His answer; bold. Live bold.

 Do not let the unknown, the rejection, or the non-understanding-ness (not sure that’s a word-but you get what I’m trying to say…) of others stop you from doing what I called you to do. Don’t let the promises I’ve given you wither away. I have not called you to live a fearful life. Live boldly. Be bold in your decisions.

What does that look like? How do I live boldly? The only way to answer this is to look in His word.

“After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God BOLDLY. All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had.”-Acts 4:31

“For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.” – 2 Timothy 1:6-7

“Therefore, since we have such a hope, we are very bold.”- 2 Corinthians 3:12

I could keep going on examples of what God says about being bold. I am thankful for a Father who not only speaks to me. And when I ask, He answers.
This. This is how I want to live this year. I want my faith to be lived out boldly. God has already told me about some hard conversations that i will need to have. They are not going to be easy. I will have to be bold. But also He has showed me they will be good. If I step out in faith. This is what is coming. Boldness.

Taking Risks

Sometimes I’m not sure if my thought process makes sense to others. Today is one of those days. Hope you enjoy and understand what God has given me to write…

“Are there risks to proclaiming the gospel to refugees? Sure there are. But where in the world did we get the idea that Christianity is without risks? Only in Americanized Christianity that prioritizes security in this world over proclamation of Gods word…As followers of Christ, self is no longer our God. Safety is no longer our concern. So let’s show this with our lives…”
“There’s coming a day when sin and suffering will be no more. There’s coming a day when wars and crisis will no longer exist and in this we place confident hope.”
-David Platt, Our Refugee Moment

Last week I listened to a podcast by David Platt. David explains very well exactly what I’ve been feeling lately. Why are we so concerned about our safety? When did we decide that being comfortable and just “making it” is what God wants us to do? Because God never told us to live a safe life. (And if that is in the Bible, could you please send that to me) He tells us to go. He tell us we are going to have trials, it’s going to be hard. (See John 16:33) Something that always bothers me is when I tell people I want to “go” or I am “going” their response is “honey, that’s not a safe country.” Or “you should go somewhere safer.” Excuse me? Is America safe? Not to burst anyone’s bubble, but it’s really not.
I understand being wise in decisions and where you go, but honestly what does a safe place even look like? How are we ever going to spread the Gospel to people who need to hear it if we never get out of our comfort zones of our Christian friends and church homes. Yes you need community, and you need your fellow believers. Community is key. That is not what I am saying. But if we don’t ever take risks in proclaiming the name of Jesus, how will people know we live for Him and His love is real?
If we live for Christ we live with a hope. A hope that so many people a looking for. If you just take a look at what is happening in the world so many people are searching. SO LET US TELL THEM! Why would we want to keep the good news to ourselves? We should want to go and tell others about JESUS. We should want them to have the freedom and forgiveness we have.
Today, there is great opportunity to proclaim the gospel. Let us not sit back. Let us take what God has given us to further His kingdom.

(If you have about 30 minutes I highly recommend listening to this David Platt podcast. It’s through The Gospel Coalition titled “Our Refugee Moment” if you’d like the link, I’d be happy to share.)

“Go and make disciples of ALL nations…”

Matthew 28:19
Such a simple calling. Such simple instructions.

Jesus tells us to go. He says right in the Bible to love everyone. It doesn’t matter their background, their race, what they believe, or even what country they are from. My favorite line to use is “people who love Jesus aren’t racist.” It’s so true. Because if you truly love Jesus you will have His heart and you will love like Him. Growing up I always asked God to give me His heart…I asked Him to let me love like He loves. I wanted to love His people.
This summer God took me to Greece. It was life changing. I went to love on kids. It wasn’t a hard trip, it actually was more of vacation for me. He took me to rest in Him. And that’s exactly what I did. He showed me I have a heart for kids-working with kids brings me so much Joy. But He showed me I have a heart for a part of the world and a people group that as an American I was raised to not like. He’s slowly revealing to me how these two things will come together.
The question I get and the comments that are said-“Alyssa, I don’t understand how you want to go back to Turkey. You weren’t even there for 24 hours. There’s so much violence. How could you fall in love with a place that you barley spent any time in?”
There is only one logical answer. JESUS.
So how did I fall in love with Turkey when I spent all my time in Greece? Well when God took me to Greece, He took me through the Istanbul airport. And He took me through it 3 days before the attack happened there his summer and 5 days after the attack happened. When I first heard there was an attack at the airport my first reaction was heart break. I never was afraid. I felt odd. Like should I be scared? Should I fear going back? I even asked someone. What I wanted was to go and hug and love those people. Tell them it’s okay, tell them about a HOPE I have. A Hope in a savior who has overcome the world(John 16:33). But what I heard from everyone around me was don’t go back, reroute your flight. It’s not safe. Don’t get me wrong-i understand to be wise in your decisions. I would never claim Jesus’ protection and then run across I-10 thinking I won’t get hit by a car. That is not wise. But I do believe He will call you places that my not be “safe” for the worlds standards but He will be with you. When walking back through the airport as we were leaving I heard Him say, love them. These are my people. Learn about them. And show them who I am. Love them. He showed me how beautiful they are. These people are just people. And He loves them the same as you and me. He placed these people on my heart to love.
I know it’s crazy that an attack on an airport when you weren’t even there can do so much to your life, but again the only explanation I have is JESUS. He wants us to love like He loves and He wants us to spread the gospel to everyone. Everyone is welcome at the table.
I was reminded at church yesterday that sometimes God calls us places that the people around us don’t understand and even though it’s hard to leave the people you love, but you don’t say no to God.
“Ask me, and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession.” Psalms 2:8

So I’m asking for the nations, and I’m asking you to ask with me.

Backstory 

Some of you know me. Some of you think you do. Some of you don’t. But either way, what you’re about to read is an important part of who I am.
A year ago, January 2016, I was fed up. I was defeated. I was in pain. I was lonely. I was miserable. And I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t know where to go. I wanted community. I wanted friends. I wanted love. I wanted Jesus. And I mean really wanted Jesus. Not just this go to church on Sunday and fake that everything is okay.

I was teaching 6th grade Sunday school, and I was going to church. This I knew I needed. I knew I needed Jesus, but how do I get there?

I grew up in church. Going Sunday’s, Wednesday’s, and every event I could. I could tell you bible story after bible story. I may not know them like some people, but I knew them. Both my uncles are Baptist preachers. This was my life. It’s really all I knew.

But I was hurt by the church. I never felt accepted. I never felt like I had friends. Everyone had their “click” and I wasn’t apart of any of them.

“What was wrong with me? How could I be like them? Why am I so different? If no one talks to me, there has to be something wrong with me.” These are the lasts thoughts someone in a church should be thinking. And when I tried to talk about it to someone or ask someone about why this happens I got told everything was fine. Don’t worry. People like you.

I grew to hate church. The very place you should feel safe and accepted, I felt lonely, hurt, and rejected.

But I continued to go because I knew it’s where I needed to be. I needed community. I wasn’t really getting community because I was teaching 6th so I wasn’t meeting people, well not my age anyway.

And then one Sunday in February I decided to go to attend Sunday school instead of teaching. And God sat a lady next to me who let me be me. She listened to me and she didn’t tell me I was wrong for feeling the way I feel. She invited me to be apart of a discipleship group, and that group has forever changed me. For the first time I felt loved and accepted. These girls let me come in broken and they walked along side me. Their prayer for me, and my prayer for myself was that I would know God loved me. One day I received a text with Zephaniah 3:17, “The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.”

And in that moment, God said, “Alyssa, I love you. I delight in you. You are who I created you to be.” And after all the years I finally believed He loved me. And I came to know who I am in Him. It’s been a journey-it didn’t happen over night. But once I started walking in that, He started shining through me. When you absolutely know you are loved, you’re whole life is different. I could keep telling you how my life is different…here’s a few:

-people became attracted to me, they wanted to be around me.

-I was asked out on a date for the first time (he might have been Turkish, but if you saw him-HELLO!😍😍 and no I didn’t go because I didn’t stay in Turkey. But still.)

-joy became easier to choose

-I started seeing Him in everything

-He started speaking to me, and I could hear Him

-He gave me His heart for His people and I could tell it wasn’t mine

Other than telling you who God is to me-He is a healer and He is good, I’m not sure how else to explain what happened. He is so good, and He loves you. You were created to live with God. You are loved. He wants you to accept His love. I wish everyone “got it” because when you do, life is so great.