Posted in Devotion, Encouragement, Glory, GradSchool, Healthy, Hope, Jesus, Life, Love, New, Spiritual, TheGoodGoodLife, WorldChanger

Giving Him Everything

Over the last couple years, I’ve really been honing in on what God is asking of me. What He wants my life to look like. Ultimately, just trying to readjust the sails, and focus more on Him. To mold my life to look more like Jesus. Last January, of 2017 our pastor back home preached a series titled, Will You Let God Resurrect the Dead Places? This sermon series started an avalanche of change in my heart, soul, and mind. My God dream was very obvious in many places in my life, like school/career. There was no doubt in my mind that I was moving towards the pursuit of His plan for my life. My dream in that realm is my god dream. It is everything wonderful in the world. I wouldn’t be here without His plans for me.

However, that service, and every service I attend, I like to capture one piece of something as a take away. Or more, but at least one thing to self-reflect on and check into how that applies to me. So the challenge was to ask God to clean out the dead places, seems easy enough? Think again. The last year, since that moment has gutted my heart, mind, and soul, and washed it new in ways I couldn’t imagine. There’s been trials I have walked through, ways my faith has been tested, and sadness that you only experience with a broken spirit. In that though, there is healing. There’s waiting. There’s tears. But there is so much Jesus. He is in the waiting. There is growth. Maturation. Love.

When God works on your dead places, he brings the deepest, tucked down darkest things in your being, to the light. He puts them out on display, because where there is light there can be no darkness. When you bring those places into the light the enemy can no longer take hold of them. He can’t whisper lies in to them any longer. They give him no footholds. Bringing dark places you’ve been out into the light, and washing them clean hurts, it does, but allowing God to wipe them clean, feels so good. There were things in my heart I didn’t even know were still hurting me. There were relationships I missed, ones I needed to distance from, and ones I needed to build. There was shame, and guilt from past mistakes, sin nature, and habits that were hard to kick.

I eventually got to a point, where I told God I trusted him with everything. That I was ready to move deeper into knowing him. That I wanted him to take control of my life. Then he showed me in the most gentle yet obvious manner, the last piece that stood in the way. The last chunk of my heart I still wouldn’t give him. I mean, didn’t I trust him? And if I did, why did it hurt me so bad?

Can I tell you friend, if there is pain in circumstance, that just means you’re facing it head on. It means that it is in the process of healing. It means that instead of growing numb to the world around you, you are embracing it, pain, tears, and all. Can I tell you that if there’s pain, it means that your story isn’t over. If it doesn’t look good, that better is yet to come.

We may not understand why God allows us to walk through some of the things that we do. And I sure as heck know that the hard times, sin nature, and painful moments come from the enemy, not God. But I do know that perseverance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope will never disappoint (Romans 5:3-5). I can see now that God has just wanted me all along to trust him with everything I have. To know that he is bigger than circumstances. And that no matter how I feel in that moment, that this life is only temporary. The ultimate goal is heaven, and I know that means I need to do whatever God asks of me. No matter if my emotions align with it or not. My God is bigger, he sees my life today, tomorrow, and forever. And he sees yours too. He sees you friend, and he loves you. He created you for a purpose. Have you asked him what that is, and actually wanted to know the answer?

Sometimes it isn’t comfortable, in fact He likes to get us outside of our comfort zone, so that we trust him, and learn to to grow our faith. I think we ask God things, and then when the answer isn’t something we like, we try to ask for it a different way. Giving in to the way, His way, is always better. Trust me. I had to let go of a lot of things to get where I am today. The healing process of that is still very real, very new. Some days are hard. Some days, I get so busy with school and life, that I forget how very real it is. But, my God is bigger, he loves me, me has a plan for me, and he has a future for me. And I will live my whole life believing that is true, and chasing after the one who created me.

Because He is Good Good. I want to live that Good Good Life too.

XOXO,

Alie

Posted in Devotion, Encouragement, Fresh, Glory, GradSchool, Hope, Jesus, Life, Love, New, Spiritual, TheGoodGoodLife, WorldChanger

What is the Good Good Life?

Today, I am reflecting on just how good it is to trust in God’s perfect timing. There are so many things in life that I try to grab on to, and hold white knuckle. So many things I’ve tried to control on my own, to build in my own time. They ALL falter. Only the times in my life, where the original thought was from the one who made me, are the times where plans have not only worked, but they have WORKKKKEDDD. Like a YESSSS girl kind of moment, you feel?

God is so great in that way. He doesn’t ask much of us, only that we love him with all our hearts, and love others. The beauty of that is to know him. The more I get to know him, the more I want to be in his presence, because that is where I find such peace. There I find hope, love, and grace. Forgiveness. There is no condemnation, guilt, or shame, those things all come from the enemy, and he’s not welcome in the presence of god. Can I get an AMEN.

What an amazing love that is. One that doesn’t force us to love, or pressure us into things that make us sad. But, one that is so freely given, all you have to do is show up.

Broken.

Tired.

Shame-filled.

Lonely.

Frustrated.

Confused.

And he is right there, ready to take on whatever you’re dealing with, and he already knows. Why? Because he made you. And he created you with plans to prosper you, to give you hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11)!

I used to hear the term “sit at the feet of Jesus” and think uh okay, how? Oh my how that has changed as I read about his love story to us. (That’s the bible in case you were wondering). How I long for the mornings I spend time with Jesus, talking to him. Asking him questions, telling him about my hopes, asking for clarity, asking for peace. My pastor at home always says “if you don’t know how to pray, talk to god about it.” It really is like talking to a friend, but it comes with practice!

How many mornings did it take to drag my butt out of bed to almost just fall asleep with my face in my bible?? SO MANY. Like probably a year or two to make it consistent…but now, I don’t rise early because I have to, friend, I NEED to. My soul needs to. I can tell if I haven’t had quiet time in the morning, because the whole day feels off.

Coffee drinkers out there (or other forms of caffeine), those mornings when you are somewhere without coffee first thing in the morning, or you wake up late and are in a rush to leave. That feeling you get when you realize it’s already noon, you have a headache, your cranky, and don’t feel quite yourself?

Well one, it’s an addiction to caffeine, oops. (The world runs on tired people y’all, just don’t grow weary)

But two, that’s exactly how my soul feels when I accidentally skipped quiet time because I over slept. Going through day without filling up with God in the morning. I get half way through my day feeling drained, like I am missing something. Something much more important than coffee! I get more grumpy in traffic, I get more judge-y to other people, who might just be having an off day too!! I’m not able to pour out the love that would normally fill my heart. I need my coffee just like I need my Jesus! Strong and first thing in the morning! Jesus and Coffee, Coffee and Jesus. Easily the best time of my whole day.

Side note I believe a lot of great conversations can happen over cups of coffee. Praise god for that!

If we were having coffee this morning and I could tell you all about the thoughts in my head, it would all boil down to this…

I’m in awe of the goodness of God. He brings me to tears of Joy almost daily! He is so good. And not only is he good, he is Good Good. God has brought me to a place in this life where I realized that I want to make the most of it, I want joy, and friendship, laughter, & love, and I want to help others do the same! I want to live The Good Good Life, because life isn’t meant to just be “good.”

You know like at church, the store, or school, this conversation….

Hey so good to see you! How’ve you been?

Good, and you?

Good!

Awkward casual small talk until you make your exit.

Friend, I’m not suggesting you tell every casual acquaintance your deepest darkest secrets, or all the intimate details of what you’re dealing with! My point is that life wasn’t meant to just be good. It was meant to be Good Good.

I firmly believe that is the mission that God has put on my heart, to learn and live. It doesn’t mean bad times don’t happen, but it sure does make them easier to face with a god who never leaves.

Are you living The Good Good Life?

Do you want to?

He loves you friend, and he wants you to live loved too!

“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith”

-2 Timothy 4:7-

XOXO,

Alie

 

 

 

Posted in CleanEats, Devotion, Encouragement, Food, FoodBlog, Foodie, Fresh, Glory, GradSchool, Healthy, Hope, Jesus, Life, Love, New, Paleo, Spiritual, TheGoodGoodLife, Whole30, WorldChanger

Even the Best Choices Can be Hard

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High School Me: Senior Pics 

I want to talk to y’all a little bit about my clean eating journey thus far, so that involves taking it way back about six (ish) years ago to when I was in high school and still living at home. My parents just decided that in the house we were going full on Paleo. They were doing a 30 day challenge at the gym they attended, so by way of them, we were too. My mom being the rule follower she was threw away EVERYTHING that was not Paleo! At this point in my life I wasn’t too affected because I worked at Domino’s, had a car, made my own money, and could thus buy my own snacks/meals. So naturally we had the “healthy” food at home, and I went on my merry way. Then, I left for college.

 

At this point, I didn’t use much dairy at home, only what I consumed outside the house. (I also knew good choices, and didn’t care) I stopped being involved in dance senior year, so the gym and physical activity was on me! I lived in a dorm on an unlimited meal plan, and ate whatever, whenever. I always knew I had issues with stress eating, and turn to food for a sense of comfort. The first semester in college challenged me in so many ways, it was rough, so I turned to what I know, food. But it wasn’t until my sophomore year of college that I started not liking who I saw in the mirror. It didn’t look like me. Food wise, I still didn’t drink milk, but I ate pretty much all the other dairy products, yogurt, ice cream, cheese, etc. I love veggies and fruits, and I had seen my family go through some pretty drastic changes diet wise, so I knew how to prepare and choose good things. I just didn’t. And when I did, all the bad things I was eating far out weighed the good.

It wasn’t until I realized that if something was going to change, it would have to start with me. That as an “adult” the person who had to tell me “NO” was me. Wow. It might seem simple y’all. But that was a conversation I had with myself that changed how the next few years would go. At that point, I was as heavy as I’d ever been. Didn’t work out much. Even if I did though, I was making myself sick with food. Binge/stress eating things. I would make myself disgusted with the amount of food I could consume. There’s even sometimes where if I ate multiples of something I’d tuck the wrappers in random places in the trash so it didn’t look like I had so many that day (3 granola bars? Hide the wrappers strategically).

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Spring 2015

I had a problem of turning to food for comfort, instead of turning to God. He got a hold of my heart and just made me realize. No amount of motivation to go to the gym would change the power that food had over my life. So I made a choice. The weight had added up so gradually over a few years! (How did they come so fast?!) Which means it was going to have to do the same thing in reverse. To truly fix my problem I didn’t need a gym (though the gym is great too). I couldn’t even get the motivation to get to the gym with the lack of energy I felt getting up each day. This is what I like to refer to as the sugar hangover. AKA all the junk you are putting into your body making you feel like junk in return! It makes that morning in bed feel like you never want it to end. I lost motivation, confidence, and self-worth. I did not like pictures, so there are few. But I knew they would be important for progress. So I dug up one for reference. This was about Spring 2015 at my heaviest, and somewhere I never want to be again.

 

IMG_3903So that brings me to last summer 2017, my two year mark. Two years of progress pictures. Some with way more obvious progress than others, and some not so much. Two years of learning about food, and how to make better choices. My hopes that year three of this journey will be the best yet! (The best is yet to come, am I right?) There have been months of weight gain, and readjusting. Weeks of bad eating, and months of iffy choices.

None the less, I have learned some important things thus far, I can control my eating habits, they do not control me. Through God all things are possible. I can maintain my weight without fluctuating up and down like crazy. And, it is not easy, but it is worth it!

This past August I started grad school, and that stress almost made me fall back into old eating habits. I noticed bad habits coming back after Christmas break with not watching was I was eating as closely. Luckily I am learning, caught it quick, and decided once and for all I’m going to stop allowing food to control me.

So that brings me to the last 9 days, and the next 21…

I’m in the beginning steps of a Whole 30 challenge. So far the meal prep it is not as hard as I thought it would be, considering a lot of the cooking habits were developed over time. The mental game is a whole different battle. Surprisingly enough, I am doing okay, and cravings for junk is at a low. When I do think about them, I just tell myself after the challenge is over, I’ll find one thing that really is worth it and treat myself. But, I know my challenge then lies ahead in the in between zone. Not strict whole 30 rules, but still clean eating. I’ve heavily considered making it a permanent life change. However, I think I have some more experimenting with foods that my body doesn’t tolerate first! It is all a trial and error process. So far though, it is Day 9, and I’m going strong. I feel good, I don’t eat near as much. I don’t get hunger pains like I used to, and I find myself not being overly hungry.

In addition, I know the time has come in this journey to health that very soon, I’m going to have to tie the exercise component to my lifestyle, and find one that sticks! I’m looking forward to the rest of 2018, and all that it can teach me about being healthy from the inside out. Being new to blogging, and Instagram stories have been fun for keeping me accountable, and sharing my love of food.

In order to live the Good Good Life, we have to start on the inside. I can’t do it alone, so I do it with God. He’s the best way maker. Follow his lead and he’ll take you along for the best ride. Do you wanna come live the Good Good Life too? I’m an open book.

P.S. Stay tuned for this summers progress. Here’s to hoping it’s the best yet!

“So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God”

-1 Corinthians 10:31-

XOXO,

Alie