Blog, God + Spirituality, Personal Growth + Wholeness

I have been going back through some personal journal entries from this past year, and I wanted to open my heart and share a couple short excerpts from them. I pray they are an encouragement to you.

Throughout this year, (well, in actuality, all of my life I have felt this, but specifically I am getting deep revelation on this in 2010), God has spoken deeply to my heart about how I am called to declare the “thriving garden of the Lord in the midst of a wilderness desert”. I see this picture all throughout Scripture, especially laced through the books of Jeremiah and Isaiah. This could seem a dream-like analogy, but I mean it in a very practical, down-to-earth, day-to-day way. I feel very much called of God to encourage myself and those around me to discover the truth — that in God you truly can thrive in the most challenging of life circumstances. Those places of deepest grief and desertion, can become the very place of deep and lasting joy and peace in God. It sounds so crazy and we can get so crushed under the burden of discouraging realities that we lose sight of the TRUE reality: God’s life flowing within us. In the midst of the pain and the hurt and the death, God is working His Life in us. This is not just fanciful, wishful thinking. This is truth. And so out of this growing revelation of this truth, came forth the cry of my heart earlier this year when I wrote,

“God, prepare a garden in my heart, in the middle of the desert. May You give me eyes to see as You do. Eyes that see a garden when all others only see a desert. May I be a crazy one, a blazing one, that creates gardens wherever I place my feet.” (Alison Lam).

That is the cry of my heart. And I pray that if you are one such deserted one, in the midst of the dry and weary wilderness, that you will become a garden. God has declared it. The God of the Universe, who knit you together in your mother’s womb and who created the very earth that you dwell on, HE desires to thrive and flourish your heart. Not just when things are lovely and free of conflict or difficulties, but IN THE MIDST of them. God, would You impart this truth to Your children. Plant gardens in hearts today. I came across another journal entry today where I was arguing with God about how I didn’t believe I had the strength to carry the tension of holding as yet unfulfilled promises in my heart in light of the fact that there was no real proof that they would ever come to pass. In my discouragement and weakness, I cried out to God, begging for Him to take this cup from me. The cup of painfully believing that His promises over my life are good and true, yet seeing no proof of this. It’s an interesting thing to experience the Almighty Calm of God while I throw up my fists to Him and throw my accusations His way. He is so ‘Other Than’. He is so unlike me, yet He holds the key to everything I am. It is such a paradox! A beautiful mystery. And it’s in these daily struggles that the Lord so beautifully comes and speaks a word and silences my arguments. Such a time came as I journaled about this months back …and God journaled back:

God, I can’t carry it.

Yes, you can.

No, I can’t. Please take it. I don’t want it anymore.

You must carry it. You were called to hope. You must carry it.

God, I can’t do this without Grace. I must have Grace or I will buckle.

She will be your daily companion. Grace be yours.

The fact that God said I was called to hope really punched me in the gut, when He spoke this. A black-and-white reminder of what I am called to. God has called me to hope. To be ‘The Hoping One’ and that God is most glorified in me when I maintain a hopeful position in my heart, in all areas of life. The moment I stop hoping, even if circumstances seem to agree that I should give up hope, the Lord’s heart is grieved, because one of God’s job descriptions for my life is to faithfully maintain hope against all hope. I am to be a crazy Hoper (if that’s even a word!). Sometimes I think God is more concerned about the position of our heart, than He is in the actual end results. Even if whatever I hoped in does not come to pass before I die, He will be pleased that I continued on in hope.

The same goes for those of you who are believing for healing. I believe He is more delighted when we maintain unwaivering faith and belief that God desires to heal us, than He is concerned about whether we get healed or not. We get so discouraged that we are not getting healed, and somehow condemn our faith as weak and failing, but God is on His throne ecstatic that we have faith, and continue to have faith, day after day! God is the one who can take care of the outcome and the actual healing happening, but we can just do our part and holding fast to faith and hope!

So, to all of us, who are painfully carrying the tension of hoping and believing for something that has not yet come, take courage and continue in it! Hope on! Keep believing by faith! You MUST NOT give up. This is the strong command of God. You must not give up.

May the empowering and strengthening Grace of our God be yours in full measure as you carry the weight of hope, day in and day out. He is faithful. He hears your cries. He sees the hopeful turning of your heart towards Him. Nothing is unseen in the Father’s eyes. Grace be with you.

In Him,

Alison

Blog, God + Spirituality

[Post from 6th October 2010]

I have this overwhelming desire to encourage all of you. I want you to be deeply encouraged. You were meant to live in a continual state of deep encouragement. If you disagree with me on this one, then it just means you have not been made mature in the encouragement of God – yet. But don’t get down about this! Just jump in and be willing to be encouraged, by God and man. We live in such deep discouragement in this world. People are going around like Walking Depressions on the face of this planet. It is heartbreaking to me. How can we survive cloaked in such oppressive heaviness? You can’t… That’s why Christ brought His hope to us at the meeting place of the beautiful Cross, our Tree of Life. Yes, the cross was a bloody, devastating event, but it was also the most beautiful display of sacrificial unfailing Love in all of history. There will NEVER be another display of such Big Love as we have witnessed at the cross of Christ. At the cross, we find Endless Mercy, one of the most beautiful attributes of God’s character. At the cross, we find Christ, in all His Bridegroom love, jealously fighting for His Bride, making an entryway for us in all our sinful, rebellious, disinterested, cheating ways, and calls us inside as His beloved to come straight into deep communion and intimate fellowship with the God of the Universe. This is a good good good God. We cannot understand such love. But we set our hearts for all of eternity to discover this love.

Today, I left the prayer room singing in my car. The line I kept repeating was:

You love to forgive. You delight in mercy.

This lovely chorus is based on the verse from Micah 7:18 that says,

‘Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy.’


Last week we had a speaker from the International House of Prayer in Kansas City, Allen Hood, share on the heart of mercy in God. And he shared such simple yet profound truths. One of the many amazing things he mentioned was this:

Who are we to think that God doesn’t like his job? We somehow think that God is so displeased with us, and so annoyed with the fact that He has to continually forgive these fallen creatures He so regrettfully made (not true!). We think He is fed up with us, and He is more frustrated that He has to keep mentoring us, discipling us, forgiving and redeeming us, giving out mercy over and over and over again, like it’s a distasteful job that he wishes He could just clock out of and go home to get away from. NO! God loves His job! He loves to forgive and He DELIGHTS in mercy.

 

Delight means ‘to take pleasure in’. So, when God thinks of things He wants to do in His spare time, His free time, and what He’d do for pleasure, He would choose to spend time with His creation, and give out forgiving love, give out mercy upon mercy, for all our failings. He is the Eternal Encourager, who delights in encouraging His kiddies. His beloved kiddies. Who is this God? We can’t quite ‘get’ this Guy!

 

So, He doesn’t just put up with me when I’m still a work in progress, and not yet made ‘whole’ and ‘mature’ and ‘perfect’? He still delights in His job of growing me up, and cleaning me up, and showing me kindness when I’ve failed Him (over and over and over and over again)? What?!
God, surely this is too good to be true! But Your Word says this. If we did a study through the whole Bible, we’d be astounded at the unfailing mercies of God! He loves His job! He loves to show us mercy, our whole life long, as we fumble our way through the wanderings of a sincere, growing follower of Christ.

God loves to forgive. God delights in mercy. God takes pleasure in mercy. God loves His job.


God loves walking with me through this continual progression of growing, fumbling, getting up, tripping, receiving love, failing, stumbling to walk again……

God thinks He has the best job in the world. What a God. I must get to know You more. I do not know You yet.  Perfect me in the way of Your forgiveness and mercy, both to myself, and to others. I must become like You. I cannot find another worthy blueprint of which to build my life upon.

God, thank you for your infinite forgiveness and mercy. You are the most beautiful Encourager. Thank you for the cross. The cross is my only reference point for hope and encouragement and strength. Thank you for intimate fellowship with Your heart. You are generous beyond belief and I love You.

His,

Alison

Blog, God + Spirituality, Relationships

Definition: Brought to completion; the point at which something is complete, finalized, altogether total, or perfect; the making of the highest, most supreme perfection.

Consummation. I’ve been contemplating this word a lot these days.

I think that consummation is at the core of our heart. I believe it is our deepest longing. It is the motivation behind everything we do. We go looking for love, we give away our bodies to others, we set out on thrilling adventures, we go out to this movie, we rent that movie, we buy those new outfits and bling, we go splurge on that extravagant meal, and the list goes on and on. I honestly think we do ALL of those things because we think, ‘Maybe, just maybe, THIS time, I’ll find consummation for my deepest longing.’ And yet, it remains illusive and uncaught, unattained for yet another day. And we cannot bear the reality of this. It devastates us not to experience it. Continue Reading

Blog, God + Spirituality, Personal Growth + Wholeness

So, I was cooking dinner just now in my humble little kitchen. Well, multi-tasking, essentially. You see, my mind always wanders as I cook. Classic Alison. Doing one thing, but my brain is somewhere else.

So, I was thinking about a certain area in my life that I have normally kept my fingerprints all over, for lack of trust, really. Especially in this area, I didn’t think God was truly trustworthy. I didn’t think that He was truly good. And I REALLY thought that what He deemed good, would be the very thing that I would deem BAD. I felt that whatever I deemed GOOD for my life, He would give me the EXACT OPPOSITE, almost just to spite me, to make me feel absolutely horrible. Well, I’m speaking about this in past-tense terms, because, to put it quite simply – I’m not afraid anymore.

As I thought of this area of my life, I just felt such o p e n n e s s for the Lord to do WHATEVER THE HECK HE WANTS TO DO. It’s almost as if in my heart, there is this holy “Bring-It-On” mentality within me now. I’m just not afraid of what He wants to do, or what He wants to give me. It’s like, finally, there is an un-warped perception of the reality of God’s Goodness sinking into this thick skull of mine.

B R I N G  I T  O N,  G O D. I’m not afraid of You. I’m not afraid of what You want to give me.
It’s like I hold this secret deep within the very root system of my heart that whispers to me, ‘He is good. He is so very good. He wants to give you good things. He loves to give you good things’. Truth be told, I can’t help but believe it now. It’s just the way it is now. I just believe it now. God seems to have done a miracle in the foundation and soil of my heart, ‘cos I certainly didn’t make this happen. The truth is just sticking to me like a pesky little glue gun. It’s just growing, like a big oak tree that’s not going anywhere. Deal with it, Ali. Accept this new reality, Ali. You really can trust God, Ali!

Things I feared He would do in this area of my life, I’m just not afraid of anymore. Somehow, if He wills it, it is the best thing for me. Who am I to withhold my trust from Him?

U N F L I N C H I N G  T R U S T. Trust in God that doesn’t flinch when thinking of offering up all areas of my life to Him. Unflinching. No wincing when flinging wide the door of my heart for Him to come in and take hold of and stake His claim on. The Goodness of God has trampled all over the dark pockets of my heart that once trembled at the thought of letting Him get His hands on.

Ha!

God, do whatever the heck You wanna do with my life – because if You’re in charge, it’s going to end well, and go well for me. I’m not afraid. Bring it on. Lay all YOUR will upon me. Lay all YOUR dreams upon me. Lay all YOUR desires upon me. May I carry them with a light, unburdened heart. And may I receive them with a soft, open heart, for You are, quite simply, GOOD.

Now, time to eat dinner…

Blog, News + Updates, Personal Growth + Wholeness

Dwelling and Not Running [UPDATE]

[Post from 19th October 2010]

“I hang my keys, purse and coat on antlers every day.”

Yes, this is a true statement. This is quite possibly THE best thing about my flat (apartment). When I first moved into this place in August, I told my landlords I’d be away for 2 weeks and it would be great if I could get a coat-rack… Well I came back in September and I had a coat rack, but not just any coat-rack. I had a real antlers coat-rack! I laughed out loud the first time I saw it. I thought, ‘Are they serious?!’ …which then evolved into, ‘Well, this could be cool. Not everyone can say that they have antlers for a coat-rack. Might as well embrace it!’ And, so I have. So now, every time I have someone visit, I show off this fantastic decorative home element. How’s that for a neat story to begin my update with?!

Home Is Where the Heart of Jesus Is

I love my home here in New Zealand. I sense so deeply that Jesus Christ has made His home here with me too. Does anyone know the peace that floods the soul when you just KNOW that God is dwelling with you? Well, if you have not experienced this, I pray that this becomes your experience. Today, I pray that God visits you in the very place that you live. Just invite Him in, and make space for Him in your life, and in your actual physical living space. He doesn’t just want to be a visitor – He wants to move in. If you don’t believe me, here’s the proof from His very lips:

Jesus replied, “If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. (John 14:23)

I have come to such a deep contentment with living on my own. I can’t really put into words how much I enjoy it. It isn’t to try and hide from life, or hide in shame from others, or to “run away from this world”. It has nothing to do with any of these things. It has everything to do with the fact that Continue Reading