Have you ever just had one of those days? You know the kind when you get out of bed in the morning smiling because it’s going to be a great day, then you take that first step and stub your toe? After working through breathing techniques and doing a weird one legged dance move, the pain subsides. Slowly you get through the morning routine, I say slowly because you discovered an empty toothpaste tube, sprayed  hairspray in your eye and dropped the hairbrush on that same toe that is now throbbing.

Next comes the kitchen and the moment you’ve been waiting for. That first drink of your morning coffee. The aroma has filled the house and you can feel the steam warming your face as you raise the cup to your lips. And then mysteriously, out of nowhere, your mouth and hand do not cooperate and coffee is now running down your chin and right onto that brand new blouse you’ve been waiting for weeks to wear. You contemplate throwing the cup, screaming, and even jumping up and down like a child throwing a tantrum. Don’t forget about that toe!

You’ve been awake for a good 45 minutes and you’ve had nothing but problems. Should you go back to bed and pull the covers over your head? You’re now afraid of leaving the house, obviously things could continue going down from here, right? I think we’ve all had a day or days, possibly months and maybe even years where it’s one thing after another bombarding us. I think the most important part of the trial is our REACTION.

Toward the end of 2016, I started getting very sick. At first, it was weak spells and feeling lightheaded. Then came the insomnia, literally weeks of getting maybe 3 whole hours of sleep per night. Next, I started experiencing feelings of nausea and acid reflux at bedtime; I would sit up for hours in the recliner trying to sleep but couldn’t. Then came the anxiety and panic attacks. I became afraid to leave my house because I didn’t want to have an attack around a crowd of people. Finally the days came when I felt like I was sleeping more than I was awake. I was barely able to function. One afternoon I remember telling my kids that I was going to lay down and take a nap for 30 minutes. I told my oldest son if he could not wake me up that he needed to call my mom for help. I literally felt like my body was shutting down and that I was going to die. When he looked at me with concern and fear, I realized the huge responsibility I was placing on his young shoulders. I knew I needed to call the doctor.

After blood tests and a weekend wait, my doctor called with the results. I was expecting to find out that I had mono or some minor infection. Instead I learned that my thyroid wasn’t working properly and my iron and hemoglobin levels were both extremely low. I was told that I would need to take a pill for the rest of my life to help my thyroid function. I was told that I would need to have repeat blood tests every 4-6 weeks until my levels became optimal. I researched thyroid disease and became overwhelmed by the all of the contradicting information out there. I cried a lot, especially alone in the bathroom. I made dietary changes followed by days of eating those no-no foods and wallowing in self-pity. I still had sleepless nights. I still had anxiety and heart palpitations. I still worried and fretted about our financial situation. I questioned the Lord. I became extremely irritable. So there you have it, my REACTION to my situation. I behaved like a tantrum-throwing toddler.

Do you want to know something? Jesus Christ is still my Savior. The Lord of the Universe is still my Father, He has remained right beside me and is still completely sovereign. He is still the healer. His wisdom is beyond understanding and His love for me is unconditional. I’ve come to realize when I step back and look at my situation through His eyes, I’m still extremely blessed. I will never take my health for granted again. I will also be more quick to pray for those around me who struggle with sickness – chronic or otherwise. So while I still don’t know what tomorrow will bring and the future remains unclear, I choose to trust my Lord. After all, He is my only hope.

Your friend who’s been absent for too long,

~Alisha

Health Update: September 2017 – After a good 6 months of repeated blood draws, my thyroid and hemoglobin/iron levels are finally where they need to be by my doctor’s standards. I am still in the midst of choosing healthy food over the convenient food, making exercise a part of my daily life and trying my best to realize that I have some control over my up and down mood swings. I whisper a lot of “help me, Jesus” prayers. 🙂 There are days that I’m still completely worn out by early afternoon, but I’ve been working at showing myself grace and continue to pray that my energy returns. I am a work in progress. I’m trying my hardest to accept this unexpected trial and know that down the road, the Lord will use this for His glory.

UPDATE: I hesitated to publish this post (the original post has sat unpublished in blog land since mid-year 2017) because I realize that in the big picture of life, this struggle of mine seems so small compared to those around me battling huge obstacles. My intent is to say that no matter the circumstance, the struggle, the trial, or the battle that we face, we need to trust the Lord through it all. We need to cling to Him and rest in His strong arms. My favorite hymn and one that I listen to repeatedly (and sing horribly loud) is “It Is Well.” If you don’t know the story behind this song, please search and read – grab tissues beforehand. I’ve included part of the lyrics below. This is how I want to react to life’s trials, whatever my lot, to truly be able to say that it is well with my soul.

It Is Well

When peace like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Refrain:
It is well, (it is well),
With my soul, (with my soul)
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.

My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul.

 

Praying for you,

~Alisha

Accepting The Unexpected Trial

A Soul In Blossom


Several days ago the lovely roses pictured above were ugly, literally falling apart, and on the verge of death. I have babied these beauties for three years, patiently tending to them and trying my best to help them thrive. I enjoy sitting on my porch watching the butterflies, bees and hummingbirds swarming around them and bringing life to our yard. 

I neglected my job of being a faithful gardener. I had a few busy days and I didn’t pay close attention to their appearance. I wasn’t even watering them and before I knew it , they were being destroyed. Right under my nose the enemy had snuck in. 

This tiny pest, known as the Japanese Beetle, is a silvery shelled bug and by all appearances pretty to the eye. It was no bigger than my pinky fingernail and in my ignorance, I assumed by the look of it, that it was only an innocent little garden bug. That little bug quickly multiplied to many and soon I had a very big problem.

I had to pull out all my tools, research and gather knowledge on the enemy and read wise advice from others who’ve dealt with these little guys. I had to use the garden shears to start cutting away all that was dead to try and save the living root from being choked out. It took a lot of patience. I had to make the time every day to inspect and I had to be vigilant about it. I had to keep my eyes open to look for any signs that the destroyer was trying to sneak back in. 

I realized that this was another of life’s lessons. The Bible tells us in 1 Peter 5:8 “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.” Now I realize not every work of the enemy is visible, it’s those small things that sneak in that can destroy us. Bitterness, envy, hatred, unloving attitude , selfishness, etc. Our mind is a battlefield. We must take every thought captive like we’re told in 2 Corinthians 10:5. 

Even things that appear pretty (like the shimmering Japanese Beetle) may not be for our good. If in any way we feel pulled away from the Savior or that something doesn’t line up with the Word of God, then we need to start cutting away that dead bud before it blooms.

Don’t forget that we must show ourselves grace and realize we are a work in progress. Before long we’ll be blossoming again and be the healthy and beautiful souls that God intends us to be. 

“Take the very hardest thing in your life – the place of difficulty, outward or inward, and expect God to triumph gloriously in that very spot. Just there He can bring your soul into blossom. ” ~ Parables of the Cross, Lilias Trotter

Praying for you!

Your Friend, 

~Alisha

Knowing When To STOP

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My husband and I came upon the above  awkwardness one afternoon while we were out and about. Me, being the weird person that I am, took this picture for a laugh. But as the months have worn on, I keep scrolling back through my photos to look at this particular one. Like the saying goes “a picture is worth a thousand words,” this picture has definitely been speaking to me.

Right about now, my life looks like this sign. I’m here, but I’m pulled in so many different directions. In all appearances, I’m still mom, wife, daughter, friend – just as this is still a stop sign – somedays I’m simply just hanging on by a thread. I have meals to cook, a house to clean, bills to pay, fights to break up, endless running for baseball games, grocery shopping, appointments, planning for a new homeschool year, stress over life changes, new relationships to build, the endless thoughts to write down and the list goes on and on and on…..

I find myself so caught up in just living that I no longer enjoy the things that define who I am. So at 2:05 AM, here I am. I’m so thankful that when I’ve got nothing left, the Lord awakens me and speaks life and hope back in to my exhausted being. I’ve come to the place where I need to S.T.O.P.

Stop. Tarry. Observe. Proceed. Just take a moment here to appreciate the acronym. And yes, I truly came up with this myself. 🙂 I actually want to give the Holy Spirit His credit. These words were spoken to my heart and like I said, I share here in case anyone else needs a little encouragement.

STOP. We all need to come to a complete stop, don’t just continue rolling while casually glancing around when you see the signs telling you otherwise. Stop taking on more than you can handle. Stop letting others dictate your life for you. Stop trying to be perfect. Stop being stubborn. Stop holding on. Take a moment to focus. Where am I? What direction do I need to go?

TARRY. Wait. Listen. Linger in expectation.  Turn down the distractions. It’s while you’re waiting, watching, and listening that you’re more capable of making the best choices. You’re more conscious of those around you and the consequences of your choices. And good things come to those who wait, right? Don’t make rash decisions, patiently linger.

OBSERVE. Using your past experiences (mirrors, if you will), are you headed to a place you’ve been before or on a road you said you’d never travel? Is this what you want or what God wants for your life? Be aware of any danger ahead or coming at you from behind. Life has a way of running us over. Be on the lookout for pedestrians. God places us where we can be used by Him, to minister to a lost or hurting soul, those places can be uncomfortable and inconvenient, but oh so worth it. And sometimes, we are the lost and hurting soul that needs to receive.

PROCEED. (slowly and with caution)…. If you know all is well, continue toward your destination. Live on, but obey the signs – burnout, depression, anxiety, health issues, overwhelming stress, financial difficulties, marital problems, constant chaos – those are all signs to STOP and check your gauges. You’ll go nowhere without gas, water, and/or oil. In other words, we need to take care of ourselves. Eat right, get plenty of sleep, take vitamins, drink water, visit the doctor, ask for help and most importantly and number one on the list make sure you’re getting in time with the Lord -quality time.  And if  at the stopping point you realize your on the wrong road, it’s a perfect place to turn around.

I’m at a STOP right now. I’ve got priorities to rearrange. I’ve been driving way too fast lately, I’ve missed out on my slow, quiet moments. I’ve also been selfishly going on my own. Thankfully, the Lord knows me so well. He uses my struggles to teach me lifes biggest lessons. As I give the wheel (and my will) back to Him, I’m going to focus on the following verses, these are reminders that He knows best.

Your ears will hear a word behind you, “This is the way, walk in it,” whenever you turn to the right or to the left. Isaiah 30:21

I will lead the blind by a way they do not know; I will guide them in paths that they do not know. I will make darkness into light before them and rugged places into plains. These things I will do [for them], and I will not leave them abandoned or undone. Isaiah 42:16

Praying for you!

Your friend,

~Alisha

 

I Am Peter

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Throughout the Bible, we encounter many instances of human weakness. I don’t know about you, but I’m so thankful that God in His mercy can use my mistakes, my past for His glory – the same as He used the men and women in the Bible (failings and all). I see great leaders who also had great sin problems. I am not alone in my humanness. Lately the great man of God, Peter, has been my focus of study. Peter denies Jesus 3 times, Peter doubts Jesus’ words, Peter speaks before he thinks, Peter angers quickly, Peter whom Jesus called Satan…

BUT yet, Christ loved him. In spite of Peter, Jesus still died for him. In Peter’s weakness – Christ was made strong. When Peter realized he’d broken his vow to never deny his Lord, the moment that rooster crowed, Peter was reminded of Jesus’ words foretelling his betrayal and he wept bitterly. Now I have no record of those three days from Christ’s death to resurrection about where Peter was or what he was doing, but I can imagine he was miserable. Condemnation, failure, depression, remorse, anger, regret, bitterness….you get the picture.

Peter, while wrestling with his emotions and I’m sure feeling like a hopeless failure, was still on the mind of his Savior. Upon arrival at the tomb of Jesus, the three ladies bringing spices to anoint Jesus were alarmed by a young man clothed in a white robe who said to them that the Jesus who was crucified had risen! And then comes the beautiful restorative words (Mark 16;7), “But go, tell his disciples — and Peter — that He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him, as He said to you.” The ladies find the disciples and share the story and Peter takes off running for the tomb to see for himself (Luke 24:12) (John 20:2-9).

My favorite part about redemption, the moment when you realize all is well, your sins are forgiven, you’ve been restored. Oh the peace that floods your soul. Peter’s moment came in John 21 along with the foretelling of the suffering that was to come for him. Peter chose to follow Jesus, even to death. Through his willingness to choose  Christ and be used as His vessel, lives were changed and the good news reached many hopeless souls. Christ fully forgave Peter and although Peter may have never forgotten his betrayal, Jesus did – Peter was cleansed from all unrighteousness.

As I’ve read and studied, I’ve come to the realization that I am Peter. I’ve failed more times than I can count. I’ve denied Jesus at the moments I should have chosen Him, but instead followed my own selfish desires. I’ve doubted Jesus’ words and in doing so questioned His very sovereignty. I’ve spoken many times before thinking and angered over little petty things that have no eternal value. I am sinful, weak, and prideful. I am Peter.

Like Peter, I need the Savior! Through Jesus and truly being sorry for my sins, I am forgiven (1 John 1:9). I am loved! I am His! I am redeemed! My prayer is that you would know how deep the love of the Father is for you; that you would know there is hope when you have failed, Christ loves you unconditionally. Choose Him!

Your friend,

~Alisha~

Silence is Golden

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Imagine for a moment a beautiful field of wildflowers. The wind gently blowing; the sunshine wrapping you in a warm hug. Listen closely and you hear absolutely nothing. All is quiet. You feel a great peace. In the beautiful silence you can hear the voice of the one who speaks to your very soul. The voice we all long to hear. It is the voice of the one who can reveal the answer to a prayer, give insight to a situation or through great compassion and love correct and rebuke a wrong attitude.

We all need to seek a place of solitude where we can be with our Lord. While prayer is critical to our relationship with Him, we must not forget that quiet time can be just as crucial. (You can read examples in the gospels of Jesus seeking His own quiet place.) Life gets overwhelming and the chaos can be choking. I find when I can sneak away, even for 15 minutes and allow Jesus to take my burdens, worries and fears. When I can sit quietly in His presence waiting and listening. A great peace floods my soul and I know He has given me the strength to press on. AND THEN when I step back into my little section of the world (the trenches of motherhood) and I hear the squeals, the laughter, and the endless noise of our everyday life, it doesn’t seem as loud as before. He restores my soul.

He can restore yours as well. Ps. 62:5 (NKJV) My soul, wait silently for God alone, for my expectation is from Him.

Praying for you!

Your friend,

~Alisha

 

Finding THE Way

The Road not Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,

And sorry I could not travel both

And be one traveller, long I stood

And looked down one as far as I could

To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then too the other, as just as fair,

And having perhaps the better claim,

Because it was grassy and wanted wear;

Though as for that the passing there

Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay

In leaves no step had trodden black.

Oh, I kept the first for another day!

Yet knowing how way leads on to way,

I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh

Somewhere ages and ages hence

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I —

I took the on less travelled by,

And that has made all the difference.

Robert Frost

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Matthew 7:13&14 (AMP), “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad and easy to travel is the path that leads the way to destruction and eternal loss, and there are many who enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow and difficult to travel is the path that leads to [everlasting] life, and there are few who find it.”

As a family we take nature walks every Wednesday afternoon. Our kids enjoy the time to explore and observe the beauty of the great outdoors. When we first start out, we always have the end destination in mind. This past week we chose the creek behind our house. To get to this creek we have to follow somewhat of a stony path that has been marked by our four wheeler. The road certainly is not an easy one, the rocks are huge and sometimes hidden among the grass and you always know when you find one because you almost see the ground up close and personal. Walking off the path is to risk being swallowed by tall weeds, attacked by thorn bushes and tripped by the cedar tree stubs.

Daddy and the boys usually lead the way with The Princess and I following as fast as her 4 year old legs can carry her. Most of the weeds growing around the path are taller than her and she is a little fearful of losing sight of our leader. We constantly remind her to just keep following the path and she doesn’t have to be afraid because we are right there with her.

Along the way not only are the weeds grabbing at us, but beautiful butterflies are flying over into the wildflowers and occasionally we may notice a bird or squirrel that is scurrying around off the beaten path, little distractions. Not all of those distractions are necessarily bad, but they can trip us up when we aren’t watching where we step and have our eyes off of the way. Sometimes we all need to be reminded that just a little farther and we will have reached our goal.

Once we get there, then we know the struggle was worth it. We can find rest, enjoy the peaceful sound of the trickling water, walk along the creek bed to find neat little treasures and see some pretty amazing water creatures that all remind us of our thoughtful Creator. We also usually see those same butterflies, squirrels and birds that earlier we had to pass on by.

There are so many lessons that these little excursions have been teaching me. The most important one has been making sure I’ve chosen the right path. I don’t want to discover ages from now that I’ve been going the wrong way, because like the last line of Mr. Frost’s poem, the road we’ve chosen does make all the difference.

Along with the right road, it’s also important to have the right guide. Like Daddy at our house who helps keep the kids on the right way by leading the walk, he also encourages us when we get weary, when we fall he helps us up setting us back on our feet again AND he never, ever leaves us. That is the perfect picture of Jesus!

Deuteronomy 31:6 (AMP) says, “Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble in dread before them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not fail you or abandon you.”

What about you, dear friend? Maybe you’ve chosen the wrong path. Maybe you’ve taken a detour thinking there’s a shorter, quicker, easier way and you’ve discovered there’s not. Maybe you followed a distraction and now you can’t find your way back to Him. OR maybe you’re no longer walking at all. There is hope! I can’t paint a more beautiful description of Jesus than Him simply standing on the path with both hands extended to help you up and welcome you back on the journey with Him. He’s saying, “Come. Walk with Me.” He’s patiently waiting and calling to you today. All you have to do is take His hand and walk on. He believes in you and so do I.

Praying for you!

Your friend,

~Alisha~

Introduction

I’d like to take a moment and introduce myself and my family to any potential viewers of this page, although that may only be my husband and my mom (Hi!).

My name is Alisha. I am first and foremost a follower of Jesus Christ and He has immensely blessed me by choosing to die and to save me from a life of hopelessness and separation from God the Father, without Him I am truly nothing.

I am happily married to my knight in shining armor and my hero, Kevin, who happens to be the biggest fan of The Andy Griffith Show, fan may be an understatement – nerd may be more fitting. We have been married for almost 14 years! We have had many laughs, some tears and have both done a lot of growing, learning, and forgiving. I’m so glad that I get to do life with him each day.

I am “Mom” to three of the most precious little nuggets in this world. Our oldest, a 12 year old boy, nicknamed The Professor – he’s our book of knowledge and one of the only people I know who enjoys reading movie credits. Our sweet, quiet, baseball playing machine, a 10 year old boy we call The Peacemaker, our little miracle. Finally, we have our 4 year old girl who is a lover of all things frilly, dancing/singing, dramatics, strong-willed, wildly imaginative, spoiled by all the men in her life – The Princess. 🙂

Now, a few more details about myself…. I am a homeschooling mom who enjoys everything about books (reading them, buying them, smelling them, etc.), classic movies, cooking, writing/journaling for fun, and on again off again crafting. AND in case you haven’t noticed – I love commas. In my 8th grade English class I remember receiving the prestigious COMMA QUEEN Award. My motto “When in doubt add a comma!” 🙂 Seriously, please ignore them if they bug you. I told you earlier that I have struggles – comma usage being one of them.

I am so very thankful to have the opportunity to stay home with my kids and to home school. We most certainly have our days that I feel like I could literally pull out my hair or theirs (just being honest here) but I choose to look beyond all that to cherish the hugs, laughs, the “I love you’s,”and the special moments we have together. Homeschooling is in and of itself a major adventure. Maybe I’ll share more about that in the future.

Thank you so much for enduring the rambling and for taking the time to learn about me. I look forward to sharing more of myself (the good, the bad, and the ugly) in the future. Keep searching for gold!

Your friend,

~ Alisha ~