Tag Archives: Gospel

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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Cast them on Jesus.

I hadn’t even asked the question and He had already answered it.

I didn’t need to part my lips because He already knew it all together.

“God, I don’t even know what to do with all this sin.” That was the thought that popped into my head and that was it. That was all it took- just a thought.

Cast it on Jesus, He said. Cast it on Jesus.

There are moments in my life that are so thick, so raw, and they terrify me. These moments when my sin has just completely consumed me, when I feel so far from Eden. Like it was never even there.

But that’s the answer He gives in those moments:

Cast them on Jesus.

Because that is all we need to hear. That is the only answer we need. Jesus.

There are times where I want to gently place my sin on Jesus. Or to seal it up in a nice envelope and leave it on Jesus’ doorstep, thinking “I don’t want to disturb him.” But instead God says cast your sins upon Jesus.

Cast is not a gentle word. It is a word of force, of violence. To cast stones. To cast off chains. Not to roll them gently but to throw them. To throw your sins as far as you can get them away from yourself and where they land is on Jesus.

And they more than land there, they are absolved there. They are paid for there. They are forgotten there.

That is the amazing thing about grace. That is the thing that I can’t understand. That is the reason why the gospel does not make sense to me all too often.

That is why grace is so radical. That is why grace is so different. Because God did not say, “cast your sins away from you; keep your distance, groveling on your hands and knees, distraught, unable to show your face.” He does not say that.

Shame is solely a game of the world.

Instead, He was hung on a tree, put there by people like me, who were me. Not by the outlaws, but by the ones who live their lives by the law. He was shamed so that we could be shameless; bruised so that we could be blessed; forsaken so that we could be forgiven.

So, when sin tempts you to despair, when the darkness in you is paralyzing, look to your Wounded Healer- not to your sin.

Cast them on Jesus.

 

© January 13, 2013. Alyssa Bell.

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“Yes, Lord. You know I like you.”

Jesus met up with his disciples for breakfast after being dead for three days. He pulled Peter aside- the Peter who hadn’t exactly been a “faithful friend.” In fact, he denied ever knowing Him.

But Jesus didn’t pull away. Instead he pulled Peter in close and asked him, “Do you love me?”

I can’t imagine the brokenness of Peter’s heart. I can’t imagine the cracks crying out, converging on one another.  I hear the echo of The Words, “if you love me, you will keep my commandments.”

And my heart begins to shatter.

Peter and I. The muscles that keep our lungs breathing, minds reeling, blood flowing. Our hearts dissolving into dust in perfect synchrony.  

And Peter says, “Yes. You know that I do.”

But he didn’t get it. Even after Jesus asked him three times, he still didn’t get it. But Jesus STILL said: Care for my people. Build my church. Love them. Lead them.

The once faithless Peter called to build a community of faith.

This story is shared in only one of the gospels and yet I feel like it’s written on every page of my life. This same question posed over and over and over again.

“Alyssa, do you love me?”

“Yes, Lord. You know I like you.”

I don’t get it. I don’t get it. I don’t get it. I don’t get it.

Here I am. Denying not three times, not six times, not twelve.  Denying with each beat of my rebellious heart and yet Jesus still says to me: Love them. Forgive them. Care for them. Show them.

He is calling on the broken to bind the broken. He is calling on the wounded to nurse the sick. He is calling on the downhearted to lift the heads of the troubled. He is calling on the often faithless to share their faith.

He is calling on me.

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