For the broken and repentant hearts 

You do not desire a sacrifice, or I would offer one. You do not want a burnt offering. The sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit. You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God. Psalms 51:16-17

Submitting to God during a season of brokenness can be hard. We want to figure it all out. Be “normal”, feel “better”. Know what the answers are to our deepest fears and desires. Like hello, can’t I just be healthy without having to deal with the broken parts of me? 

But what about the work he wants to do in you in the midst of your “rock bottom”? What about the amazing things he’s going to use to fill in the cracks of our broken hearts? To be broken is beautiful. Because it means you’ve loved. And it’s even more beautiful because He want nothing more than to have all of you – broken and all. 
So we should probably stop trying to figure it all out….
Don’t try to DO, instead – just BE. 

Don’t try to FIX, instead – just HEAL.

Don’t try to UNDERSTAND, instead – just TRUST.

Talking to myself here. How wonderful a thought – that God doesn’t require a ritual of repentance.. all he wants sis every piece of me, in submission and in a position for restoration. That healing, that supernatural healing is real, and waiting for us. 

And frankly – idk about you, but I’m ready for a healing I’ve never experienced before. I’m ready for God to move in me like never before. Broken and all….

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The power of an act of Obedience

A few days ago I finally did something that my spirit had been prompting me to do for over a month. I kept putting it off, hoping that the thought of taking this step of obedience would dwindle away into the background if my mind. But it didn’t, and that’s how you know it’s God. Out of my comfort zone, my safe place – I obeyed. It was SO HARD. It was hard, and sad, and quite honestly – tiring. I cried like a baby the entire time and I was brought back to a place I wasn’t sure I wanted to go. But I did it because I knew there was a blessing on the other side of it-specifically healing from a past hurt that has dug itself so deep into my flesh that I truly believed it had become part of my identity. 
I wish I could say I was completely healed in that moment. But what I experienced even more of that was a lifted weight. One that included the solid mass of anger, hurt, betrayal, rejection, mistrust, self worth issues, addiction issues, subconscious behaviors I felt were out of my control – that I have carried around for YEARS to lose alittle bit of its dreadfulness. That weight seems a little less heavy as I have overcome the fear of what I did not want to do – which ultimately was look back and examine that wound. The truth is it has been stuck under a bandage for so long that I began to think it was part of me – blended under that beige fabric thinking I was protecting myself but really I wasn’t giving it air to breathe. I was entrapping myself because it’s easier than moving out and exploring the tidal wave that might come after. But here I am – alive and completely fine – a tad bit liberated, and filled with a fresh new aroma of forgiveness – not only for myself but to God (oh no! Don’t say that Alyssa!) Yes I said – I’ve found forgiveness in my heart to God.. which I believe will give me a freedom to trust him more for the rest of my life. I won’t say that it’s all better now – because I know that this was just a step (probably one of the first) on the journey to healing in this particular area of my life. But it has been an overwhelmingly freeing motion to take fear by the grip of its foundation and say – NOT ANYMORE – I am free from your bondage and I declare healing over myself! I am hoping God does something meaningful and moving through these next couple of months as I believe I have officially open my heart to what he wanted me to do as the first step. 
I encourage you – take the first step. If your feeling prompted to enter that dark cage of your past – or your present, even – DO IT. Do it with a bold faith that will make Satan tremble in his steps because you know without a doubt that your obedience and submission is to GOD. It makes it a lot easier for him to heal our hearts when we’ve got them open and ready to be healed. So if Hes asking you to do something in order to break it open – just do it. And see what happens. It might hurt, it might be hard, but it will lift the weight you’ve been carrying and allow you freedom from bondage in the long run. And I promise you – you WILL GROW. Far beyond any expectations you could imagine. You’ll learn things about yourself that most people are too scared to learn, and you’ll experience a freedom most people are too scared to experience, all because of your obedience and faith.

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A Letter To God

Dear God, 

I find my mind drifting to thoughts of my wedding day today. Why, well I have no idea – since I don’t even have an eligible prospect for an event of such sorts. I know that it is just careless day dreaming but for some reason – there is a stronger sense of longing than usual today. I look at dresses and rings and I don’t just think about the day or event where I will be married – but the marriage behind it. I don’t just picture the perfect band – a sapphire stone surrounded by diamonds that shine in the light of the mornings. I don’t just think about the dress laced and long sleeved, or what my make-up will look like or what kind of music the DJ will play. I don’t just think of who will be in my wedding party and what the groomsmen will do with my husband to celebrate his season of bachelorhood ending. Of course, it is what I am looking at on Pinterest, but it is not all that I am thinking about in this moment.

 My heart has guided me down this path where my mind is wondering about more than just the day. I think about the face that will be in front of me, the one that I will take home with me that night. I think about the man, this idea of a person – who sees in me, forever. He doesn’t have a face. But I know that he is real. He doesn’t have a name, but I can almost hear his voice in my heart. I pray for that man. I wonder what qualities he will have that will make him the perfect match to be my husband. Because I know that although he will not be perfect, he will be perfect for me. I am wondering what areas of his character you are building him up in during this season of his life? In what ways are you molding him like the potter you are? Have you completely shaken the ground that lay beneath his feet so that he would fall on his knees to pray and worship you? Or is he far from you right now in this time of his life? Relying on his own strength to get him through the days. Has he been serving you since he was a young boy? Or has he yet to invite you into his heart to transform him from within? I pray that if he hasn’t, that he will very, very soon, because I know what it feels like to do life without you in it. It’s hard! I pray his heart would always be open to the prompting of your Holy Spirit. I pray for the man he is, and for the husband (and hopefully father) he will be.

 I pray that he have compassion, not only towards me in my weaknesses, but towards humanity in general. That he would be courageous enough to speak up for those without a voice, and gentle enough to know how to use it. I pray that he would be a leader. Spiritually in our home, but also for those who need one. That he would use his influence to its fullest capacity, being fully aware of the gifts and talents you have entrusted him with, and the discernment to know what to do with them. I pray for his health, that he would make it a priority in his life, today and always, so that when we do begin our lives together, they will be long and full of years. I pray that he would have a passion in his heart for you God, that even as much as he would love and adore me – he would do so even more for you.

 I pray that you would protect his heart Lord, that when people come into his life now – if their motives are ill and untrustworthy – that you would remove them from his life without pain or remorse. And at the same time, make room for the mentors and friends that will help him do life the way he is meant to. I pray that he would have the ability to make me laugh, because I do love to laugh. I pray that he would not only be funny, but that he would get my funny too. Because I like when people laugh at my jokes. I pray that on the nights we have dates, he wouldn’t just call me sexy or gorgeous, but beautiful. You know me God, and you know my love language is words of affirmation. So I pray that he would never cease to tell me how beautiful I am and how much he loves me. That he would be able to speak my language of love with ease and effort. That he would be a man who is patient with me in my anxiety, and who has led a life that has equip him with tools to love me through it, and despite of it. That in the moments I am deep in my anxiousness and insecurity, that instead of judge me or push me away – he would pull me closer in his arms, in his heart. And I pray that you would give me the discernment to be able to speak his language back to him, whatever it may be. I pray that if it is different than mine, that I would patient to learn it. God I pray for our children, and our home. I pray that you would be the driving force behind all the decisions we make when it comes to both of those things. God, I wonder how many we will have, and what they will be like. Will we have girls who are quick to learn and slow to forget? Or boys that will grow up to be leaders and influencers of their generation? Whatever may come, I pray we would work as one body in order to raise them up in the ways of you God. I pray they would be healthy and joyful children. Most of all God, I pray for the friendship we will have. Lord, I pray that it would be fruitful, and light, filled with memories and adventures that consecrate a foundation of unbreakable trust, and communication. That we would not just see each other as man and woman, but as your children. And that in the crevices of that friendship, we would plant seeds that blossom into a reflection of your beautiful character towards one another.

So, as I daydream and wonder what my father will whisper in my ear as we walk down that isle, as I see faces of those I love come to mind that will join us on our special day… God I just ask that you would take me and mold my character, break me down and rebuild me up, heal me from within. Make me into a woman that is so lost in your plan for my life that when this desire I find burning in my heart comes to fruition, I will be all that I am meant to be, for the man that I am meant for. And in this season, as I wait – fill my life with adventure and stories that have you written between the lines. Open the door for opportunities where I can be used to make a difference in the world. Bring people to me that need to experience you, and break me open so that I can let you flow so freely through me that when people see my beauty they see more than a pretty smile – they see a pure spirit. They see love. They see you. Because at the end of the day God, none of this matters if you’re not in it, for it, and working through it. And as I learn to give my desires over to you, God I know that you will work in them for the Good of me, and Him, whoever he is.

I love you, Lord. I love all that you are to me, and all that I am in you. Your grace is suffient, and your spirit is my reason. 

Love always, 
Alyssa 

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I’d really like your Horses.. – God

“God wants to give you so much. In fact, the book of Ephesians says that everything He has is yours. But, He asks you to give everything that is yours to him.”

I read a story the other day, about a woman who’s uncle owned a horse farm. She was so fascinated by them that it birthed a dream in her since she was a little girl to own horses, to work with horses, to do something in her life dedicated to the beautiful animals. Years went by, and she became an adult. She didn’t end up working with horses. But, she still dreaming of owning a horse farm at some point in life. She said that God convicted her spirit one day, and said to her ..

“I would really like your horses”.

She had been fixated on this dream, so much so that God was asking her to give it back to him. Not even asking, but quietly stating, that he would love it if she was willing to give it to Him. It reminded me, that we don’t always get to choose our sacrifices. Sometimes, God will ask us for the one thing, that if we had a choice – we would NEVER sacrifice. And how unfair is that thought, that God would ask you to give up a dream that you have in your heart, for Him. To CHOOSE Him over that dream. If He knows our hearts desires, why would He require such a thing from us?

Oh if I could just wrap my head around the way God sees things I would have a great answer for this question posed in my heart right now. Why, God? And what. What am I willing to sacrifice? What have you already asked me to sacrifice? The yearning for a husband is the one thing that comes to mind. The dream of another human being loving me more than I could fathom. The satisfaction of having a partner in this season of life. Ugh, I see so many others who have that, and I DREAM of it. Sometimes, I want it so bad that I cry because I don’t have it. YES – this is me being honest and real. Don’t get me wrong – I love to love myself, I enjoy this time in my life where I am single. I have found a joy that I never knew I could experience being single – like really single. But deep down, there is a yearning for something I have not yet experienced, and it is a dream I have to learn to let go of and let God move in. See, God didn’t tell me He’d really like my horse. But He did tell me, “I’d really like your heart…”

My heart. It’s the one thing I have given away the most, and one of the most prominent things that makes me the me that people love so much. No it’s not my smile, or my looks. It’s not my clothes or the way I do my makeup. It’s my heart. What a sacrifice it would be.. to give it it him – means it is no longer in my hands. It is MY heart after all. And yet – His words say that He asks me to give him everything that is mine so that I can have all that HE has for me. He has been asking me for my heart since I met him @ age 21. He’s been asking me to give up this dream of “true love” and to realize that He is, and always has been, and always WILL be  – my one true love. Husband or not. Boyfriend or not. It is one of the first devotions I ever wrote – when I read the story of David, and how all God was looking for was a willing heart over an able appearance. Davids gave his HEART to God. And God gave Him so much in return. David still messed up, and still made mistakes, but it was because of His HEART that he was able to be used by God to such extents that he was. It was His heart hidden in God that gave him the inspiration, the yearning, the words to write Psalms that to this day, I lean into. When I give Him my heart, He never leaves me. Or forsakes me. I may be driven to despair, persecuted, hard pressed on every side, but His love, with my heart in His hands, would preserve through it all. If only I could sacrifice that one thing for HIM.

Now, I won’t ask you, what are you willing to sacrifice? What dream are you willing to give back to Him so that He can work through you and in you the way He needs. What are horses in your life is He telling you He would really like. I wont ask you – is it your finances? Your career? Your relationships? I wont ask you is it your past, or your idea of what your future should look like? I won’t ask you press into this and meditate on it. I tell you that whatever it is – you can give it up. And I won’t tell you that He will replace it – ten fold. May be not the way you thought – but He knows your desires and what you need. I won’t tell you that He loves you enough to not leave you where you are when you give it up to Him. Instead I will ask myself –

What am I willing to sacrifice? That secret desire to be loved by a man? To have someone to take me out to fancy restaurants, watch Netflix till we fall asleep, laugh and make memories with? No it’s not that. God doesn’t just want those timid thoughts of romance. No that is not what He would “really like” He wants more from me. He wants my heart. My heart. I believe that is my horse.

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I understand 

  

 

I used to feel bad because you no longer wanted me.

Now I kind of feel bad for you.  

Like, my heart no longer breaks because of you but for you.

I feel sad when I look back at how much time has passed,

And I sense how little you’ve changed.

Pride is your biggest enemy,

And resentment is your deepest pain.

I see past the walls you’ve built to keep it all hidden.

You told me recently, that I was the one person who understood you best.

In a stupor of vulnerability,

You had misplaced your pride,

And let me in to a hidden part of you, one that you pretend doesn’t exist most of the time.

But I see you. I see what you are. I see WHO you are, underneath all that.

And I understand.

You want to know what I understand?

I understand the pain you hide with your gestures,

With your THINGS, and your WORDS.

I understand how hard it is to live up to others expectations,

And how lost you can get on the journey of attempting to do so.

I understand how utterly uncomfortable it is to grow,

And how justifiable it is to stay the same.

I understand what it must feel like,

To have dreams too big for people to comprehend,

Because you’ve been set apart.

So you become protective and defensive of them.

I understand what it feels like,

To feel alone.

Like a caged lion in a zoo.

I understand.

But you know what I can’t understand?

I can’t understand,

How you can pretend for so long.

I can’t understand how you can harden your heart

To those who love you the most

Because you’d rather seem strong, than weak.

I can’t understand,

How you can let your worldly dreams become a reason

To be imperious and vindicated,

When they should make you humble and meek.

Your arrogance, I can’t understand it.

I can’t stand it.

I can’t understand how you can let your PRIDE take two years

To admit something we’ve both always know…

That you loved me more than you hated to admit.

But never as much as I loved you.

That I am the one person, who although I can’t understand

I always did.

And you..

You will choose to forget that moment

Of drunken words, slurred and unmethodical

Where for a second, I understood.

It was like you were just a man,

Who’s heart was open.

But you’ll misunderstand that statement,

Because you function in planned out strategies

And predetermined movements…

Instead of vulnerable honesty.

And you will go back to your ways

That I can’t understand.

I feel sad when I look back at how much time has passed,

And I sense how little you’ve changed.

When your manhood is broken down,

To just a soul,

And your arrogance can no longer get you what you want.

Will you understand?

Will you understand that God uses the broken to raise up others?

And that you’re never going to be strong enough, or smart enough to do it on your own?

Will you understand, there’s no such thing as perfection, and it’s useless to try and attain it?

Will you understand that your time is worth more than your assets and interest?

Will you understand that your influence is the most powerful tool you’ve been given, and it is your responsibility to use it?

Will you understand, that the one person who saw past the things

They couldn’t understand about you,

Was the one person who was capable of the strength to accept them?

I don’t think you understand.

Because you’re too busy playing a part.

A role you don’t even want.

Instead of trying to be understanding,

You stand alone.

And now, after all this time…..

I can see why it didn’t last, why it couldn’t have.

And I won’t do what you did to me. 

I won’t blame you. I won’t crucify you,

And make you feel inadequate.

But I’ll be unapologetic.

I will share my truth.

I will tell you these words, motivated by love but bathed in honesty.

I will be a reflection to you in your most darkest moments,

Even as I walk forward in life with a new, and overdue

Perspective of you and our love and what it has become.  

I can understand why now.

Because, I understand what life is about.

And my friend, I promise you – it is bigger than you.

Bigger than the four walls of any church, or building you can aspire to own.

Bigger than the cars you drive.

Bigger than any amount a bank account can hold.

Bigger than the perfect “wife” you envision yourself having.

It’s about forgiveness,

And love,

And humbleness.

It’s about being authentic.

And moving on, growing, and letting go.

And I hope one day, you will let go of all that holds you back.

I hope you will embrace those things you can’t understand about others,

Like I have done in this moment, in these words…

So you can find someone

That you feel is worth understanding,

And who YOU can give enough grace

To as they try and understand you.

 

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Not Gonna Lie…


Not gonna lie, I didn’t cry – but my heart stung. It’s crazy how when you read certain words crafted a certain way, they trigger emotions in you that make you see memories you had stashed away. 
These words are amazing, and so true. If someone doesn’t make you feel the tingle of love being manifested in your being, you owe it to them to let them go. I’ll admit, it’s a tragedy when two people are in a relationship and only one bears the weight of being in love. Most people in our generation will stay in that relationship for the comfort of their own egos.. knowing that hey – even if I’m not sure, at least I know they are not going anywhere. They will do a disservice to themselves by swallowing that feeling of “something missing”, because maybe they want it to be there, but it’s not. Or maybe the relationship benefits them in ways they are not ready to live without. So they will cheat, emotionally, physically even. They will grow distant, resentful -towards the other and themselves. All the classic tale signs of a relationship leveled on uneven love.
But to me these words mean more than that….Imagine someone staying with you even though you don’t make them feel all these things. 

Now, imagine someone having courage enough to let you go because at the end of the day – the words here are true. I think of my ex, and the fact that these words paint the story of what I was not for him. And it’s a beautiful courage that comes to mind knowing that at a certain point in our relationship – I was no longer the girl that made him smile when I dribbled toothpaste down my chin, and instead of holding on – getting married even – he let me go. 

Being on the other side of these words entails a vast and deep heart break; one that forces you to look in the mirror and digest the truth that even though someone may not love you – you are still lovable. In turn, an inner strength is born that only comes from understanding that sometimes, you can love someone so much, yet for them – something is missing. Sometimes, it’s just “not”. And even though it’s “not” – it IS always what it was meant to be. It just is! And to have loved someone brave enough to admit this truth of theirs is rare and unique. I’d rather have gone through a love that ran its course in authenticity than to be loved all my life by someone who could never admit that I wasn’t enough for them. And I would never know this unless I had someone I fell in love with tell me – “you don’t do these things for me anymore – so I must let you go”
And I’ve come to realize – that’s ok. Because by him living out his truth, I was able to find mine. And not within the context of our relationship – but within myself. The beautiful thing about these words is that, we are reminded – we must have the courage to let go. Let the love breathe, let it be what it is meant to be instead of trying to make into something it’s not. 

I’ve learned from being single these last two years that many people will never really see us, only themselves in us. And we will be a small piece of the puzzle that crafts the journey the other person is on. Sometimes, we are not meant to be enough for someone forever. Sometimes, we won’t always be the one who lights up their eyes. And same for us, we may be the one that needs to let go. The one that feels “something is missing”. Even if it hurts the other person. The best thing you can do for your love – of YOURSELF and the other person – is be authentic, live out your truth – with dignity and grace. If someone doesn’t make you jump for joy and captivate you by the sparkle in their eyes – let them go….because their is someone out there that will for each of you ❤️

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Freedom.

I’ve been thinking lately about the word freedom. What it truly means, and how I can best attain it in my everyday walk with God. 

Not freedom in the legalistic sense – but freedom from within. Sometimes, I catch myself feeling free – while driving with the windows down as I sing along to my favorite songs, or when I’m laughing so hard with my friends I can’t breathe. Sometimes I’ll be doing my make up, and while I look in the mirror, a sense of weightlessness overcomes me. I immediately become aware of how free I feel and wonder if it’s real. I wonder – am I really this happy, for no reason? Am I even ALLOWED to be happy like this? 

For so long, a spirit of depression hovered over me like a cloud. No matter what – even in those moments I felt free, it was just temporary…And it was usually when I was doing something to mask the pain I was feeling. In reality I was trapped inside my own prison, and the illusion of freedom would shatter once I became aware of it. It didn’t matter that I had the key to let me out all along either, because being in that prison, although torturous – was familiar and safe for me. That’s the thing  about depression. It’s horrid, but it’s familiar for those who experience it. Freedom is alittle less predictable, but only because it’s such a foreign concept.

But Gods been doing such a work in me. I even remember as I write, the moment he delivered me from the bondage of depression and how crazy it was to start experiencing freedom without the shattered illusion afterwards. It was unfamiliar, and uncomfortable to be ok with being content. Even now when I go through hard times, it’s different…I’m free… Free to cry, or be sad. Free to be happy and present in any moment. I’m free to be whatever I want, really. Entrapment has lost its appeal, and I crave to experience the unknown beauty of living a life fully emerged in freedom. 

The reason I share this is because so many of us think we have to be ready for something catastrophic to happen every moment because that’s how life’s always been for us – a mess. We don’t enjoy the smile offered by a stranger, we don’t notice the clear skies ahead. The weight has become so normal to us that to NOT carry it feels wrong. But freedom is not something we can carry. It’s a weightless gift that gives us the ability to be totally and completely present with ourselves at any given moment. To be free means to be there – wherever you are, and feel the breathe in your lungs. It means to give yourself permission. It’s not about being happy all the time, it’s about being what you are, and letting yourself fully experience it without trying to change it. 

I can’t explain how I went from bondage to freedom in a blog post to give you advice on how to do the same. One thing I will say, is that expectations of what things should look like, I believe, is one of the biggest roadblocks to experiencing real freedom. You can’t be someone who holds on to “what if”and “what is” at the same time. You have to let one go.  And you learn how to do this by trusting that Gods plans are always greater than our own. Embracing His plan for your life allows the experience of “what is” to become more important than anything else – because you understand that is where freedom truly lies. If you can master the understanding of this, then you ultimately give God permission to change you in this area. 

In those moments of freedom I experience, I am more connected to God then ever. Not just because the cloud of depressions gone, but because I am fully aware of myself. Even though it feels strange or unfamiliar – I’m aware of it. I keep singing and gently embrace the feeling without trying to change it. I get all the tears out without trying to stop them. I get all the giggles out without trying to count them, and in that moment, the freedom that presents itself is transformative. It helps me heal, allows me grow, and helps me to understand more about who I am as a person and a woman; free to be me. 

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