Tag Archives: Christian

Growing Up at 25

Today I am 25 years, 3 months, and 22 days old.

Today, on my way out the door, I locked my keys in my house. Luckily, I had a spare car key in my wallet because, well, I’ve locked myself out of my car before. On said occasions, I’ve had to call my parents to come bring me my spare key and why my parents have my spare key when I haven’t lived at home in two years is beyond me. And luckily I live at camp and the key to my house is also the key to three other buildings so I knew I’d find another one laying around somewhere.

Foolish things like that always remind me how far I am from grown-up-ness.

I’ve been learning a lot lately. It’s weird because I’m 25 and I’m going on a solid two years of living on my own so you’d think that I would have grown up by now. I feel like I’m just starting.

Growing up isn’t just something that happens. Growing up is lessons. Growing up is messing up. Growing up is disappointing yourself, other people. Growing up is hard. Growing up means making some bad decisions and it also means admitting when you’ve made them. Growing up means conflict and discomfort. Growing up means trying new things. Growing up means learning independence. Continue reading

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Forbidden Fruit

Today, I’m posting over at Quarterlife Woman.

I’m sharing a little bit about my unhealthy relationship with food, our perverted relationships with God’s good gifts, & our life-escape tactics.

Here’s a little snapshot:

I guess that I’ve had an unhealthy relationship with food forever.

I’ve never really found a way to effectively deal with my emotions. My main means of “dealing” consists of crushing it down and scooping it out in the form of cookies or pasta.

I think that I’m okay with admitting it: cake feels good. Cake is a constant. Amy Adams as Julie Powell in Julie & Julia had it right:

“I love that after a day when nothing is sure, and when I say ‘nothing’ I mean nothing, you can come home and absolutely know that if you add egg yolks to chocolate and sugar and milk, it will get thick. It’s such a comfort.”

And so, for my whole life, I’ve let it comfort me.

I’ve fed myself lessons that were actually lies. Lies like, food makes it feel better and the sweetness of sugar balances out the bitterness of life.

This has become my ‘when life gets hard’ ritual: tying up my apron, perusing Pinterest for a recipe, and whipping up a meringue that seems to somehow mirror the state of my life.

And then of course, there’s the eating. Always the eating and the jokes about eating my feelings and how delicious they taste.

But, in the end, it’s never enough to dull the pain, relieve the pressure, or placate the anger.

Won’t you join me? Read the whole deal here! And let me know- where are you running?!

Forbidden Fruit: Are You Hoping the Apple Satisfies You?

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A Call, A Promise, & Peace

There are days when I feel like I can’t approach the throne of God.

Today is one of those days.

I feel distant, I feel alone. I feel away.

These are the days when I deny myself grace, deny myself the promise of forgiveness because denial is the path to God, is it not?

I feel like if I’m quiet long enough, if I don’t ask for anything today, if I keep my shoulders hunched and my eyes down in a posture of shame, God will beckon me to come.

I know, I know that I am wrong. I am wrong a thousand times over.

The very essence of God is a beckon to come, a call to communion. The very Spirit of God, alive inside my wretched frame, a seal of relationship. The only Son, by his voice, invites me to Come.

The hand of God, extended always, not to push away but to bring near.

His Grace is crying out into my darkness and it is saying I am here.

Remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. –Ephesians 2:12-16, ESV

It is finished. It is done. I have won.

And this is his banner over me: peace. A flag of nearness and promise.

It flies high today, just as it does every day.

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Enough with the Enoughs

Today is a big day.

Today is the first time that something I’ve written gets published not just on my blog.

Here’s an excerpt from my post, Enough with the Enoughs. The rest of it can be found on Quarterlife Woman.

“I’ve been teaching myself bad theology, that the only thing that matters is what people think of me and feel towards me- if men find me attractive, if women find me friend-worthy, if my coworkers find me dependable, if my family finds me faithful.

And I’m just now realizing that I am full to the hilt of fear.

I’ve read 1 John 4 just about every day this week, clinging to all of the truth that I can find.

Perfect love casts out all fear.

My fear is not just a lack of faith. It is a rejection of truth. It is the bold-faced belief of a lie: that God is not good, that He is not trustworthy, that He is not enough.

I never feel like enough. I never feel success though I chase it all day long.”

Read the rest of it here!

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Senses in the Morning

Breathe.

Slow down. Sip your coffee. Give thanks.

Breathe deeper.

Listen to the quiet. Hear the house creak. Hear the heater roar. Hear the refrigerator hum. Hear the coffee pot click. Hear your heart beat.

Be still just a while longer.

Do not hurry into life. This is a moment that you can never have back, as simple as it may be.

The simplest moments are often the sweetest.

Drink it in. Taste the coffee. Taste the cinnamon and ginger and nutmeg. Taste the cream. Taste the warmth.

Feel the mug between your hands. Feel the comfort in this home. Feel the fullness of this life.

Pour another cup.

Close your eyes. Breathe.

Be content. Be satisfied. Smile.

This. This is a day that the Lord has made, has gifted. To you. To me.

Rejoice and be glad in it.

© Alyssa Bell; February 5, 2013.

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You are there.

I don’t like to be alone much. It makes me think. It makes me feel.

I don’t like the quiet because it makes me feel alone.

It’s quiet and I’m alone but only in a metaphorical sense. It’s midnight but Miranda is reading just a few yards away, the fluorescent glow of her iPhone reflecting off our yellow walls.

I just finished reading in the Gospel of Matthew. I closed the Book, shut the light off for the night.

I can’t shut off my mind.

I’m thinking about the white washed tombs that Jesus talked about.

I’m thinking about all of the dead things inside of me. It feels like they’re living a lot of times.

How can something be dead and yet feel so alive?

Possess some sort of life? Maintain some measure of power?

I want to make a list of everyone that I know who is a Pharisee. I want to succumb to the idea that they are the problem with the church in America. I want to write their name on a list of those to blame for the defamation of Jesus’ name. But I can’t put the pen to the paper of my mind.

I am plagued by this idea, haunted by this thought:

It is me.

I’ve spent the last year casting blame in each direction, blaming the gossip and the liar and the Pastor and the parishioner. I’ve spent the last year with my eyes wide-open to the hypocrisy of those around me and yet completely blind to my own.

I have a beam in my eye. I can’t see clearly.

I’ve spent the last year leading, limping along and hoping that no one would notice. That no one would find me out. That no one would run and tell. That no one would banish me to the fringes, to be alone with myself.

Anything but that.

I don’t think I’m alone in my distain for solidarity. It’s a fear of many. Fear that their loved ones will leave them- physically, emotionally. Fear of rejection. I live in fear of alone.

They say that it is in that aloneness that God speaks. That it is in that quiet where the groanings of our souls are realized.

But I am afraid of quiet because it is rarely there that I hear God. The quiet is where my sins whisper and my desires chafe against my heart, rubbing it raw. The still night is when my doubts come creeping closer and my fear comes to rattle my bedposts.

But late on this night, as my veins pump fear, my soul cries Truth:

“Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there! If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me. If I say, ‘Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light about me be night,’ even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is bright as the day, for darkness is as light with you.” –Psalm 139:7-11

His perfect love casting out my fear. His peace guarding my heart. His light casting out my darkness. His love covering my sin. His hand hemming me in, behind and before.

Even there. Even here. You are there- holding me, leading me.

{You are there.}

© January 29, 2013, Alyssa Bell.

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Grace Does: A Work in Evolution

Language is in evolution. We’re adding new words to the dictionary every year. We’re redefining language every single day.

I’m working through my own evolution of sorts. I’m changing.

Change is good.

I have four things sitting in Word documents, unfinished. I have four million other things in my heart, aching to grace a page. There is so much to be said, so much to be learned, so much to be shared, and yet so few words to say them with.

I cannot stand unfinished work. I make To Do lists to finish them. I start projects to complete them. I write posts to make a point, not to linger in an undefined state.

I haven’t been unable to finish this piece for months yet I’ve been slowly adding to it. I suppose it’s because I’m slowly learning more, slowly uncovering more.

[Discovery is a painstaking process, wiping away the layers of falsity and disbelief. This takes time.]

This is a work in evolution. A work of lessons being learned. A work of life. A work of learning God. A work of understanding Love. A work unfinished.

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