She Lives in Grace

In Him she lives, and moves, and has her being. Acts 17:28












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"So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed." John 8:36 Come join me as I walk in FREEDOM.   I pray it inspires you on your journey, too!

Out of habit, do we run to the lesser things of the flesh over the freshwater of the Spirit? I know I can and do. Maybe you do, too?

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Whatever you are going through, know the Father knows, too. He is actually giving you everything you need to get through whatever season you find yourself. May His goodness simply astound you!

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If you are walking through a season of pain, depression, or anxiety this Christmas, I pray this post will encourage you and, at the very least, let you know that you are seen and heard.

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Zero ways forward. No favorable moment. Think of a closed door with no way in or no way out. What do we do then?

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Life often throws us battles that threaten to overtake and consume us. Does anything last in our fallen world?

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Think of your biggest challenge right now. Maybe it's a relational difficulty. Money issues. A dreaded conversation. A decision you are putting off. A grievous season. A truth that you don't want to face. What they did to you. What do we magnify when the violent storms of life come ravaging upon us?

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We have all had seasons that seem marred with pain and hopelessness. We see failure. Ashes. And emptiness. What would Father say to us in those moments?

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We’d never out-right say it, but sometimes we feel it unspoken inside. "God is holding out on me."

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Ever feel badly about yourself? Read on, my friend!

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Christmas is now on clearance at the grocery stores and Valentine's Day candy has moved it. Yet, do you have any Christmas returns to make? Do you need a warranty for any of your gifts? Come enjoy todays guest post which looks at the question—Do Christians need a warranty?

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From series: Advent Calendar Countdown

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From series: Advent Calendar Countdown

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Welcome to my blog!

May I simply tell you a story, one that may help us get better acquainted?

. . . . .

It all began on a Monday night, twelve years ago. I remember it as if it were yesterday. I thought I’d throw up. Anxiety soured my stomach as I listened to our teacher describe the impossible task. Nervously tipping my chair backwards to the wall on two legs, the wobbly chair matched what I felt inside. Shaking my head at the enormity of the assignment, I listened as we were asked to write down our thoughts and feelings on a subject as fluid as grasping steam from a tea kettle. I knew it would prove impossible, and I knew I would get hurt.

"Who is God to you?"

Really? Umm…You don’t want to know. Seriously?

"How do you view God?"

Uhm…. nope. Not going there.

“What picture comes to your mind when you think of Him?”

Please don’t make me say! It’s not good.

I couldn't do it.

I didn’t have an answer.

I. Simply. Couldn’t. Do. It.

All pretense of “having it all together” fading away, confusion reigned inside. Secretly, I questioned God. His presence. His love. His fairness. His role personally in my life. I was at a crossroads in my life where deep-seated questions couldn't simply be ignored any longer. They dominated my thinking to such a degree that I outwardly ignored my emotions while I inwardly tortured myself with them. Outside, I appeared gentle and easy-going; inside the swirling thoughts were just about killing me. I couldn’t figure out how to bridge the gap between.

I was a mess. Something had to change.

And it did.

I changed, or rather, I learned that I had already been changed.

But let's get back to that assignment, first.

Back at home, in front of my then large desktop monitor, I sat for hours at the blank screen, numerous virtual wads of the technological paper deleted after a few attempts.

How could I explain who God was to me without others knowing my backstory?


Did I even realize how my backstory affected my view of God? Were they even connected?

I needed to find out.

Curiosity in mind, in 40 minutes flat, I wrote out one scene in my life that probably only lasted ten real-time historical minutes, but seeded a life-time of denial and mistrust.

Feelings poured out that I didn't know existed.

I pondered. I wept. I laughed.

For the first time, I dared to write out the narratives in my head so I could understand my own internal landscape.

Seeing my finished story in front of me, I could now link it to how I saw God.

Accessing a part of my story opened up a new range of hope. It finally made sense to me and I was easily able to write the obligatory two paragraphs.

Just in case you’re wondering, nope, I didn’t just stick to two paragraphs. It was more. A lot more. Brevity can be my challenge. But I’m always up for a challenge. Especially a “double-dog dare"—just ask my sister!

If you know me in real life, you probably would have had zero clue that I love to write, unless you grace my Christmas card mailing list. Then you may ascertain that writing Christmas letters is a favorite of mine. I get to be funny, or at least attempt to be. I share the people and thoughts most important to me. I weave words around ideas allowing my voice to hesitantly reach out in connection.

Finding one’s “voice” can be very daunting, but thankfully I can say that my voice found me.

And I needed to be found.

It’s one thing writing out hard thoughts and stories, keeping them close to the heart, but it’s something else completely trusting another with them. Boy, did I struggle in this area. I actually lost sleep over turning in this assignment.

Do I dare? Should I? What will they think? Can I just stay home and feign sickness, maybe something like "Alice in Wonderland Syndrome" or something unusual like that? (Yes, that's a real disease. No, I don't have it.)

Placing my thoughts into another set of hands and letting go of my story was an agonizing exercise in trust.

And trust didn't come easily to me.

In that anxious moment where two hands suspended mid air, one open and outstretched, the other gripping the paper with vice-like fingers, I knew the balance of my life was going to change. What I didn’t know was that my fingers could continue to find words on a keyboard that couldn’t be accessed anywhere else.

I would become a writer.

The best stories are told in little hints and glimpses and that is how you will receive mine. I invite you to journey with me through questions, through confusion, through triumphs, and through victories.

It's time to raise my unveiled face, trusting that the glory present inside me as Father's Child is because of the wonderful gift of Christ in Me. I have been changed, but I am being transformed, glory to glory, into the likeness of Jesus Christ.

Sometimes it arrives with exultation. Sometimes with pain.

But it's always a thrilling journey.

Come link hands and journey with me, okay? And maybe in my journey, you will sense a bit of yours.

I will share my steps into living free from who I already am.

I’ll tell disconnected bits of my story. I hope to hear parts of yours, too. And together we’ll both trust in Father to connect them all, bit by bit, from glory to glory, as a string of pearls.

What a glorious walk of faith.

What a glorious Father.

You know, this may seem off topic, but really, it’s not. You’re going to often see a favored word in my writing. It is a bridge between two words and sums up the space between “awe” and “amen”.

What’s the word?

Glory.

"But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit." 2 Corinthians 3:18

You are transforming me, Father, into the very likeness of Jesus Christ.

How awesome is that?

As I share stories and encouragement from my faith walk, I sincerely hope it encourages you in your journey, too. We were made for connection and unity. As a good friend of mine says, "All of us is better than any one of us."

Together we are the body of Christ—one that lifts one another up in hope of Jesus Christ.

I pray my blog points your eyes straight to Father. Always.

Glory!
-----
Aleisha

Note: This story mentioned above, the one I turned in with my assignment, is the first chapter of a completed book, just sitting in my computer. Even though I am working on my first non-fiction book and have two finished children's picture books waiting for an agent, never fear – it is not drawing cobwebs. It rests contently, waiting for the right time to be revealed. Until then, it gathers strength, it ponders connections, and it continues to dismantle deep-seated lies. One day, I may share that story here. We’ll see. Father will show me when the time is right. I can trust Him. Oh, how I can trust him.

Meet Aleisha image
Welcome!  Welcome!

Hi everyone! It's nice to 'meet' you!

Who am I? First and foremost, I am a daughter of the Most High.

For much of my life, I felt alone. Although always convinced God was present in the universe, I believed he did not care about me personally. Where was he? Why was he always mad at me? Did he cause all of this evil around me? Tough questions. Maybe you have have them, too. Now, through a series of revelations about who He is—and therefore, who I am—I have come to realize the grace of Jesus Christ and just how much it changes every area of my life. My writing reflects this truth. I desire to point to Jesus Christ in all I say and do.

I am not all of the lies I once believed about myself.

I am a saint—forgiven, holy, justified, and sanctified. I am the apple of His eye, beloved, adopted, righteous, made alive together with Christ, a new creation, a fellow heir, and partaker of God's promise in Christ Jesus, Christ's friend. I have the mind of Christ. I am blessed with every spiritual blessing.

I am loved.

I live in Michigan with my husband and family. I am Mom to four sons and the wonderful girls they bring along, and one curious, howling Bernedoodle. I love marmite book endings, baking fresh bread, teaching piano, walking with friends, watching my chickens, and creating straight lines in my weedy vegetable gardens. Even though I'm a Master Gardener, my husband teases that he'd hate to be one of my perennials as I move them around so much. I can't do a cartwheel to safe my life and I frequently lose playing "Fast Scrabble". Maybe you'll shake your head at this, but I know all of the words to the opener of "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air." (Yes, I know that dates me.) Oh, I can't forget—I have an odd fascination with weather-vanes and windmills, too. I mean, what can be better than the wind blowing itself through beautiful structures plunked down in the midst of tulips and vegetable gardens? 

I still send out an old-fashioned Christmas letter, a tradition that I started when first married. Over the years I have found my voice and realize I like to write with a touch of humor. I'm pretty classic and traditional, a large dose of whimsical and a small touch of quirky thrown into the pot. I live with a child-like curiosity and zeal for life. A deeply emotional person, I prefer deep conversation over a cup of tea (coffee? Bleck!) rather than small talk. I love one-on-one conversations. Want to go out for "coffee"? Just ask! I'm always very game!

And in case you ask, yes, the cover picture on the opening page IS actually me in Jamaica with my husband for our 25 wedding anniversary. It mirrors my freedom from lies, from addiction, from depression, and from people's opinion of me. Rest is available in Jesus Christ. It really is. I have grabbed ahold. He will never let me go. It's a win-win! To me, grace is not a "thing"; it's a person—Jesus Christ. It has changed everything in my life. In him—truly for the first time—I live.

I wouldn't have believed this possible ten years ago.

Living in Grace changed everything for me.

My favorite verse paraphrased from Ephesians 3:20 sums it all up for me. "Father can do abundantly more than all we think, ask, or imagine."

Even for me.

For you, too.

How? Let's start a grace conversation. I'm looking forward to getting to know you.

Glory!

*****
Aleisha Cate
@graceunLEISHed


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  • Grand Rapids, Michigan, United States

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