Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Middle Of Your Heart

It's been one of those weeks. It just kept building up until I exploded. Yes, that's right, I had a meltdown. Level of meltdown: Academy Award. I won't go into all the messy details, but I can tell you it ended with me clutching my pillow and sobbing. It had been coming on slowly. The poison of discontent. It changes my entire outlook and it affects how I treat others. Especially, my family. Little jabs and outbursts become frequent; and it just gets worse and worse until I'm miserable (and so is my family). It completely overwhelms me. Next thing I know, I'm not reading my Bible; not spending anytime with Jesus; distancing myself from my family; complaining both inwardly and outwardly about my life; and I'm angry all the time. In those moments, I cannot see anything good. I hate it. Yet, I let it happen. I allow the enemy, Satan, to tell me lies. Lies that I sometimes believe. But that is exactly what they are. Lies. Meant to make me feel utterly helpless and alone. 

I have so many moments where I feel like life is spinning out of control. And, I'm pretty positive, I will have more moments in the future. Moments where I desperately desire something more. Moments where I feel my life is a waste and I don't really have anywhere I "fit". I think everyone has had those thoughts. 
But they can be overcome. 
The answer? 
There is no psychological analysis or 10-step program to contentment. The only thing that will ever truly make me content is Jesus Christ. Instead of dwelling on myself, I should ask God to give me a deep desire to know Him better. The more I am actively seeking God, the less I believe the lies of Satan. I am ashamed of how easily I can stop listening to my Savior and His truths. Giving my burdens to Him is blessed relief. 
After all, He knows what to do with them! 

From my own experience, it's very easy to become discontent and bitter. I must make a conscious choice to give these feelings and thoughts over to God and let Him destroy them. Because if I don't, they will destroy me. I know the type of person I am when these thoughts plague my mind; and I don't like that person. Christ is alway speaking; always showing me the right way. Thankfully, He never gives up on me! 
I need that kind of persistence. One thing I know for sure is that God is doing amazing things in my heart. I just have to let Him do it. It's exciting to think that as I grow closer to Jesus, I will have the privilege of experiencing the joy, fulfillment and contentment that only comes from Him. And what a wonderful gift that will be!   

When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all. He keeps all his bones; not one of them is broken. Psalm 34:17-20

Friday, July 26, 2013

Cross Contamination Vlog

Hey everyone! This is a video about being aware of Cross Contamination and how to avoid it. Hope you enjoy!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Gluten-Free "Yummy Apple, Yummy Pie" Recipe

I have been craving pie for months(thanks to Ned the Pie Maker from Pushing Daisies). But, with my limited amount of food, that has not been able to happen. At least not until recently! This lovely pie is gluten free, dairy free and sugar free! So without further ado, here is my recipe!

Gluten-Free "Yummy Apple, Yummy Pie" Recipe

Two boxes of Chebe Cinnamon Roll Mix
4 eggs
6 tbs of olive or coconut oil
1/4 cup water
5 apples
1/2 coconut sugar or 1/3 cup honey 
1 tsp cinnamon powder

Use two boxes of Chebe Cinnamon Roll Mix. Prepare as directed minus the filling part.
Take half of the dough, cover your pie dish and prick with a fork.

Peel and thinly slice five apples. 

Place in sauce pan, cover with water and cook on low heat until par boiled. Drain the liquid, let cool and place the apples into a mixing bowl. Add 1/2 cup of honey or sweetener of your choice and 1 tsp cinnamon powder or as much as you want. 

 Pour apple filling into pie dish. Take the other half of dough, roll it out, cut into stripes, place onto pie and prick with a fork. 

Place in the over at 350
° for 25-30 minutes.

Take out of oven, let sit until completely cooled and voila!

 I hope you enjoy this pie as much as I do!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

This Pain Is A Part

This Pain Is A Part

To be thankful for my life can seem impossible.
To be grateful for what I have can be far from my mind. 
The struggle of every day, every hour, weighs me down like an anchor 
and I feel like I am drowning.

Tired and worn, I lie awake at night. 
Sleep hardly comes, and when it does, I’m still weary.
I feel so alone sometimes, but when I’m in a crowd, I stand to the side.

I hate that I don’t even act like myself, as if this "disease" can control me.
Will it always be like this?
 In my despair, I think it will.

Time keeps moving forward, but I’m stuck in one place. 
I’m not afraid of never doing anything, but I’m afraid of when it will be.
Years I can never get back are flying by without me; 
years of unfulfilled dreams and adventures that might have been.

“My health has not permitted me” is a phrase that I know well.
I ache to have a purpose, somewhere where I belong.
To have something to talk about instead of all that is wrong.

Yet, in the midst of all this misery, one thing I can claim. 
I can boast in my Jesus and all that He is!
He has given me blessings in spite of the hurt.
And because of the sorrow, I’m more aware of the good.
I see Him more clearly, than if my life was going as I had planned.

Trials have taught me that being a Christian does not mean life is easy. 
Hardship reminds me that Jesus is there, ready to give strength when I need it, 
and comfort in bad times. 
When I’m frustrated and angry at life, He is there telling me,
“Why are you trying to bear this alone? 
Cast your cares on Me. I care about you.” 

I know that He has a plan for my life, even if it is hard to see.
This pain is a part; and each day is one day closer to something new.
I don’t want to be bitter about my situation. 

Yes, it is hard, but what good is it if I resent everything? 
When I’m so busy thinking about what He has not given me, I lose sight of what He has. 
God is not keeping contentment or comfort from me; 
I keep it from myself by not trusting Him with my life.

 So, I am thankful for my life, even though it might not be what I want.
I’m grateful for my life because I have Jesus to lean on always. 
And because of that, I know I can remain strong.

         Rachael Lydia Allison, July 10 2013

Friday, June 14, 2013

Creation Sings the Fathers Song

       I have always tried to see the beauty in things. It can be a fun challenge for me to try and see what is pretty about a unconventional object. And usually, if you look, you can find it. (Although, I still don't see the beauty in clowns)... but that might just be me!  I got a new camera and I am really excited! Photography is such a fun hobby. I love that I can look around me, see something of interest, and capture it. A sunset or rainbow that you thought were so stunning and reminded you of the artistry of God; you can now share with everyone else! (Whether they want to see it or not.) LOL. Photography is one of those things that make you even more aware of your surroundings. I find myself being completely enthralled by the most random stuff sometimes. I will be walking down the road and next thing you know, I'm talking about how pretty the pavement is. And don't even get me started on the sky! I could go on forever about how much I love the sky. And lakes. and beaches. And mountains. And hills. And oceans. And deserts. And cities. And landscapes. And space. Okay, I'll stop! The point is that there is beauty everywhere made by the most talented artist ever. God. Just think about it. He made everything! I sometimes can barely come up with a good idea for lunch, let alone create an entire universe. Everything around us points to the workmanship of God. I cannot look at creation, see how all things have a purpose, even an ant, and believe that it doesn't have a creator. 

I love to see new places and experience beauty that I haven't before. Every once in while, I like to go for a walk or just sit and stare at God's creation. It's moments like those that make me almost giddy. I contemplate about how it is all made by my Savior and how amazing He is. Everything in existence was made to proclaim the wonder of God; for us to enjoy it; and to recognize the greatness of our God. I think that God wants us to discover His creation. To see the wonder of it all. When was the last time you stopped and looked around you? You will never see the beauty if you don't take the time to look. 

Sometimes, when things are not going exactly my way, I can look at the sky or a flower and think "Wow, thank You Lord, for showing me that there is still bright and beautiful things". Of course, I have to have the right attitude for that to work. On a few occasions, I am more of a thundercloud than a ray of sunshine. On those days, maybe it's usually best for me to get my attitude right before I try and enjoy the beauty of nature. (wink-wink) 

Psalm 19:1 says "The heavens declare the glory of God;

    the skies proclaim the work of His hands".  That verse is so awesome! Creation truly does sing the Father's song and I know that I am blessed to be a part of His creation!

Colossians 1:16,17 - For by Him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by Him, and for Him:  And He is before all things, and by Him all things consist.


Thursday, June 6, 2013

The Power of Words

Words are one of the most effective tools or weapons we have. Why? Because they hit us where we are most vulnerable. 
Our emotions.
 Words have always had a powerful effect on me. In good ways, and more at the forefront of my memory, bad ways. A few days ago I had some words said to me that fall into the "bad" category. The worst part of it was that the person was trying to make it seem like they were complimenting me or sharing these things because they are my friend. In the last few years, I have gone through a lot.  My health; the many emotions that go along with it; and making some difficult life decisions that affected people I care about. Whenever you make a decision that involves someone else, there will most likely always be criticism. Sometimes from those who do not know why the decision was made in the first place. Speculations are made and the next thing you know the opinion some people have of you is lowered. The person that I was talking to had a pre-assumed view of me. In the disguise of kindness, I was getting jab after jab. It's difficult for me to think that some people are putting me in a box and thinking they know me, when they don't. Especially, after I had fervently prayed and asked God to show me what to do; and knowing that my decision, while painful, was the one the Lord wanted me to make. To be attacked about it was a bit shocking and hurtful. What is hard to accept is that not everyone is going to be okay with me. Their are going to be people who think something is wrong with me or that I am not a very good person; and that's life. 

On the flip side, I am surrounded by family and friends who truly love and know me. Ever heard the quote "Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind."Dr. Seuss really knew what he was talking about with that last part. I think it is so common for us to pay the most attention to the people who criticize us. Somehow, we put their opinions about us at the top of our list, when they should go to the bottom. Why would we put such stock in words that are the direct opposite of loving and kind? Unfortunately, a lot of the time I pay to much attention to them. Words go very deep with me. Plus, I never want to think someone might not like me. 

Words, spoken and heard, should be something that builds someone up and makes them feel encouraged. Not something that cuts and leaves scars. Sometimes, criticism can be a good thing. It makes you examine yourself to see if there is truth in what was said, and then you, with God's help, can try to change. But, there is a big difference between constructive criticism and intending to wound criticism. In this recent case, what was said to me was meant to hurt. I had to work through what was said to me, just like every other time it has happened. It took a lot of prayer and talks with my very wise mother to get me past it. It also helped that a couple days after it happened, I got to spend the afternoon with some good friends and even reconnected with some old ones! 

Because words have such a powerful impact on me, I try really hard to say all that Jesus would want me to speak. It doesn't always happen, but I'm working on it! One of the most important things I can remember is how I feel when something mean is said to me; and that I never want to make anyone else feel that way. I cannot control what others say, but I can control what comes out of my mouth; and I hope and pray that my words are encouraging. Wouldn't it be so much better if the things you want to be said to you... you're saying to the people around you? I sure think it would!       

Don't use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them. - Ephesians 4:29

Monday, May 20, 2013

Who am I, Really?

How do we view ourselves? What defines us? Family, friends, situations in life? I can have trouble finding the balance between what makes me "me" and having Celiac. I was at a event a couple days ago and saw some people I have not seen in a long time. Conversation can be a bit shaky because since my health does not let me go many places, I have almost zero to talk about. One thing I hate to do is bring up my illness. I never want it to define me or have it appear like I'm fishing for sympathy. But unfortunately, when I have nothing to report, talking about being sick is my fallback. It makes sense because that is what is foremost in my life right now. But, still, I get frustrated when that is the only thing I can talk about. Sometimes I wonder if when someone thinks about me or brings me up in conversation, if I am only recognized as "the girl with Celiac". There is so much more to me than that! Then again, sometimes I can think that is all I am. Most days I don't even feel like myself. A few weeks ago, I was able to go to town and see some friends. It was one of my better days and, for the first time in what seemed like ages, I felt like myself again. It was like I saw what my life would be like if I wasn't still struggling with being ill. Needless to say, that was one of the best days I have had in so long. Even though, when it was over, I was back to the daily trials, I had a glimmer of hope for my future. Kind of like a promise from the Lord that He hasn't forgotten me and that better days are ahead. That day the fact that I had Celiac was still present, but it was not consuming. It was a relief! I don't want to hide that I have it. Not in the least. I plan to use my story and situation to promote Celiac Awareness and show the world, if possible, the love of Jesus. I will, if I think I should, volunteer the information willingly; and, if you ask me, I will be more than happy to answer your questions or just talk. But, do I want to enter a room, stand on the table and yell, "Attention people! I just want you to know, I have a Autoimmune Disease called Celiac. Thank you." No!... not something I want to do. I am still working on the balance between the hiding my problem and transparency. One day, hopefully, I will have it perfected! 

I am missing a key factor in all this. There are obviously things that make me unique. We are all individuals after all, but what truly defines me is Jesus. He lives within me and the day I accepted His gift of Salvation I was made new! When I am going through any walk of life, it is not my own decisions or uniqueness that gets me on the right track. It's God's guidance and the gifts He has given me that get me through. It is Christ in me that makes all the good things about me shine. He can even turn having a Disease into a good thing! 

When I talk to people, I won't be able to tell them what amazing thing I will be doing this year or my big plans for the summer. Life isn't always a Disney movie. But, I am where the Lord wants me right now. That's still so hard for me to except. At this stage of my life, I would love nothing more than to be able to go and do whatever, but that's not how it is. At least not right now. Plus, being able to do those things does not make me a more valuable person. That can only come from God. I guess in the long run, I need to work on being discouraged and feeling lousy about what I'm "not" doing. I do not need to feel embarrassed or frustrated when people ask me what I'm doing. It's not like I am willingly choosing to still be sick, so why would I feel awkward about staying home? Most likely, because I am not satisfied with it, and that makes me automatically assume others question why I am not doing much. And maybe some are. I know that there are people who do not think I'm really sick... that I should just be able to get over it..... and that's okay. It bothers me to think about it sometimes, but they come from a place of not understanding.

 Anyway, back to the point!

Whether Celiac, or whatever else you might think describes me, I would hope that when you trace all the things back, that they lead you to Jesus. Because that is my core and if it is not evident, then I need to remedy that! When I am having weeks of sick days, I do not feel like myself and that is depressing to me. But what I tend to forget is that the biggest part of me, Jesus, is always there and that will never be taken away from me. How great is that! Without Him I'm nothing special, but with Him I am truly something unique! I'd rather have Celiac and have Jesus than perfect health without Him. I would not be me without my Savior and that is my identity. Jesus Christ.  

For in Christ the fullness of God lives in a human body, and you are complete through your union with Christ. He is the Lord over every ruler and authority in the universe. -Colossians 2:9-10

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Strangely Dim

The last few weeks have been a struggle for me. Not just physically, but emotionally. Mainly, emotional. Somehow, even though this happens a lot, it still get's to me. Having a chronic illness messes up everything. Typically I'm not one to have persisting thoughts or fears in my mind all the time. In fact, that is rarely a problem for me. But, every once in a while, usually relating to my illness, I feel like I'm plagued by them. This might sound silly to some, but it started to get bad a few weeks before I turned twenty and escalated after my birthday was over. Getting sick at the age of sixteen made me feel like I missed a big part of my life and I had to deal with acceptance early on. And believe me, throughout the years, it's been back and forth between surrendering and fighting it. It was very hard for me to see my friends go off to college or do other things and know that that was out of the question for me. I kept telling myself I had plenty of time to do the things I wanted to do as I was only eighteen and surely I would have the Celiac under control before too long. Without even realizing it,  I was holding onto the hope that I would be better within the next year and  I could start pursuing my dreams. Then it just hit me like a ton of bricks when I realized I was turning twenty and not any better. I always assumed my late teens and early twenties would be one of the most exciting times of my life. I never, not even after three years of being sick, thought I would be where I am right now. And it scares me. I will be lying in bed and I feel like time is running out. Celiac has already taken the last four years of my life and it's still taking time from me. Time that I am petrified of losing. I can hardly stand to think of all that I could of done and what I could be doing now.  

Those thoughts are such a dangerous road to go on. As if I need more reasons to be miserable. Unfortunately, because I am still ill and spend most of my time at home, I get a lot of thinking time and my thoughts tend to think about all that I wish my life was. I just hate not being in control. I have to deal with that daily. I wish that it was just a one time thing of surrendering, but that is not how it is. It's more like "Okay Lord, I surrender this to You" and then five minutes later my surrendered heart takes a vacation. Thank goodness we have a loving God who forgives us. Continually for me!

After quite a few weeks of discontentment and fear of not having enough time to act upon all my plans, I was struck with what I was doing. I was acting shamefully to my Savior. He has given me so much and what was I doing? Throwing my ungratefulness in His face. I was also "choosing" to make myself miserable and I don't have to be. Is my situation miserable? I sure think it is! But I do not want to let it control me. It cannot stop me from being happy or helpful, and most importantly, it cannot stop me from deepening my relationship with Jesus. Having Jesus as my Savior does not mean my life is going to be perfect, but it does mean I don't have to bear the burden of it alone. 

When I think about my plans for the future, I can get very dismal and I feel like they will never happen. Jeremiah 29:11 says "For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future". He has a plan for me! Things may seen dark now, but I know that the Lord has a perfect plan for my life. Not a life that I've dreamed up, but one that is designed by my Savior. God has never made anything shabby, so if He has designed my life I know that my future is going to be beautiful and I am looking forward to it! For the meantime, I am just trying to take one day at a time. Trusting in Jesus to get me through the tough days and thanking Him for the life that I do have. Who knows what my future will hold! Oh wait,... God does!

I love when I find a song that I feel came from my own thoughts. This is one of those songs!

Friday, April 19, 2013

Gluten-Free that really is Gluten-Free

The last few years have been a real learning experience. How I wish that when I first got sick I could of known half of what I know now about gluten free and Celiac. Because I did not have that luxury, does not mean that others suffering from the "villain" gluten, should have to go on the overwhelming and difficult road I am walking. So, without further ado, I have come up with a list of items that I am currently using now that I know to be as safe as possible. A lot of the products listed are Certified by The Celiac Sprue Association which has the highest availably testing for the presence of gluten. A mere 5ppm, which is a lot better than normal testing. Still a harmful amount for Celiac's, but your chances are much better. I recommend, if possible, to find products that are CSA certified. Note that everyone's body reacts differently to different things. What works for me might not work for you.   


Chebe - Love having bread! It had been way to long. Chebe, makes lovely bread mixes that do not taste or feel like a dough ball. Chebe is also Celiac Sprue Certified!  
Crusty on the outside, soft and chewy on the inside!

Gerbs - Has an assortment of seeds, seed butters and fruits. Is Celiac Sprue Certified!

Just Almonds - Just Almonds is well, just almonds! And very tasty almonds, taboot!

Redmond - Pure mineral salt. No icky lab enhancements for me! 

Artisana - Coconut oil, nut butter's and spreads. Great to have on hand!

Jennie-O - Delicious turkey! It is pretty much the only meat I enjoy.

Beauty Products:

Hugo Naturals - I cannot express how much I love Hugo Naturals. I recommend all of their skincare and hair products. And they are also Celiac Sprue Certified!
Simply heavenly.

Afterglow Cosmetics - Wonderful makeup! I don't know how I ever survived without it! It has excellent coverage and really gives you that flawless, glowy skin that every girl wants to have. And, it's all natural! Really love that!
Ahh the power of makeup.

Red Apple Lipstick - Creamy, fun, sophisticated and luscious lipsticks. Great for any girl who wants a little color in her life.

Earthpaste - Natural, pure and extra pure toothpaste! Say goodbye to killer chemicals! 

                                 Hope you enjoy these products as much as I do!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Steady My Heart

In a typical day, I feel like I “start over” at least a dozen times. Now, I’m not talking about starting over with my attitude, (even though I definitely do that!) I’m talking about my forever journey of being gluten free. Every day it seems like we are finding out something new. I’ll call it, “The many different layers of being Gluten Free”. Well, the newest layer is that their is gluten in my gluten free products. I have one thing to say about that...
Okay, that may seem a little overdramatic to some of you, but that's how I feel. 

I have to make sure anything I use is not only naturally gluten free but: 

It is not grown or harvested around gluten containing grains;
It is not shipped or stored with gluten items; 
The facility where it is made/processed is completely gluten free;
and that it is certified gluten free.

I knew some of this before, but not all the "ins and outs" that is vital for a Celiac. Sometimes, I think I’m going completely mad! I can practically hear my brain saying “Warning: System Overload. System Overload.” over and over again. Obviously, I do not want to be ignorant to the things that will help me get my health back. In fact, I’m very grateful about new things I have learned. But it can be very overwhelming. For instance, today was pretty lousy. I found out the makeup I use is most likely cross-contaminated. Not my Makeup! To a girl who does not wear makeup, this probably won’t seem bad at all. But if you do wear it and enjoy it, like I do, then, I’m sure you will understand. Needless to say, I spent a good portion of today, with most likely, a wild look on my face, trying to research gluten free makeup. 

Having Celiac, the way I have it, is hard. Just when you think you are getting somewhere and doing the right thing, you realise that you were getting nowhere and you’re doing it wrong. Most days I feel just like this picture.  

Okay, I guess I better bring some positivity into this post. He-He. It can be very easy to get overwhelmed and I can make it worse. I can be my own worst enemy. A lot of times I need to just relax and trust that Jesus has it all under control. There are things that I cannot control or fix, and to totally stress myself out is the last thing I need to be doing! I will be honest and say that I don't do very well at not being stressed. I’m pretty sure that my stress has stress. 

Nothing in my world of trying to be 100% gluten free is ever a sure thing. That is very frightening!  Focusing on the fact that I live in a world “infested” (yes, infested!) with gluten is only causing stress and anxiety, etc. etc. But thankfully, I never have to worry about God changing! So even if things are getting to heavy to carry or I don’t know who to trust or believe, I can trust Jesus! 1 Peter 5:7 says to “Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.” What a great verse to remember! We don’t have to walk around with this mountain of worry! God will carry it for us! Better yet, He will get rid of it! 

I am going to try and get myself in a habit of bringing my troubles to Jesus before my “breakdown”. When I feel like things are getting to be to much, I’m going to try and sit back and say “You got this, Lord!” 


Sunday, March 24, 2013

Light it Up

Ever heard the expression “I'm having a Jonah day"? Even if you haven't, I'm sure you can get the gist of what it means. Well, I have been having a lot of “Jonah Days”. You might even say I've had a few years of them. Still feeling like I have more questions than answers, still very sick and feeling very lonely. With all that is going on with me, it just doesn't leave any opportunity for me to go anywhere or see anyone. I am a social butterfly. I love to be around people and go places. So, all the reality of what I am not able to do has really been weighing on my mind lately. Once I'm going down that road, nothing seems to go right. Not only am I depressed, but I turn into “the girl with the ever present attitude”. I get annoyed so easily at my family for ridiculous things! I see one of them eating and the only thing I think is “How can they eat? Don't they know I'm starving?!”. Totally ridiculous. I mean whats wrong with me? Do I actually want them to stop eating? No, I don't. But when I'm in a mood, I'm really not thinking about that, I'm only thinking about me. Me and my selfish attitude. 

Point is, that no matter what my circumstances are, I am always responsible for my attitude and how I respond to them. I cannot lay the blame on anyone else if I'm feeling animosity toward someone. Yes, this is easier said than done and in the famous words of Alice in Wonderland, “I give myself very good advice, but I very seldom follow it." I'm working on that! 

Sometimes, I feel like I am going to go crazy with all that is happening. That no matter what I do, I cannot change my situation. But I can change my attitude about it. Honestly, I do not know why I have to go through this struggle or why other people suffer. But then I think of this; what if, through my suffering, something beautiful happens? For me, it always make me feel overwhelmed when I hear someone tell me how they cannot believe how happy I am! God is using me, a non-extraordinary person, to show people His joy! Wow, its hard to imagine that. In this time of hardship, I am able to have a opportunity to show people Jesus like I never have before. I'm able to have joy because of Him. Do I always have joy... No. I mean, let's face it, I'm not running around yelling “Yippee, I'm suffering!”. Clearly, I‘m not always happy. But when I am, I know that it was a choice of my own free will to accept the joy that lives in me through Jesus. When I am having a bad day and my attitude is reaching dangerous levels, the only person stopping me from having a joyful attitude is myself. No one is forcing me to dislike the world and it's inhabitants. Thankfully, I have a very forgiving Savior, who gives me an endless supply of second chances. I need them daily!

Even in the midst of trouble, I want to shine the light of Jesus. Think of how rare you will be if you do that? I know that is what I hope to do! When things are seemingly very dismal, I am going to try and remember that I am a Child of the King of kings. And that is definitely something to be happy about!     

Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation. Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life. -Philippians 2:14-16 

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Purity: For Better or Worse by my sister, Rebekah

                                                                                                                           Written by Rebekah Allison

                                   Thoughts from a non writer

So, the other night I was watching a period drama. You know, one of those where everybody is dressed in the clothes you wish never went out of style; where the hero is handsome, dashing, complete with a swoon-worthy accent; and the hero always ends up (after trials and misunderstanding) with the right heroine. They're the shows that make us adore our femininity! I could go on, but then I really would swoon and would be unable to finish this note.  Anyway, back to topic. It prompted me to think about one of the differences between then and now. You see, this week I also saw a magazine cover, basically, making fun of someone for their purity. My thought was, "How did we come this far?" In the aforementioned time of the period drama, this is how it worked: A young lady's reputation was EVERYTHING. I am not saying everything about the way they did things was always right. But, think of this. You lived in an age where you, your parents, your potential suitors, literally everyone, expected you to be a lady. (I think you all know what I mean when I say, "lady"). More than that, YOU expected everyone previously mentioned to treat you as a lady. So far, that sounds pretty good to me. Now, I have always liked the idea of being a lady because I am a "girly-girl". But if that wording does not sound nice to you, let me clarify. By "Lady", I simple mean that you behave in a way that makes people think well of you as a person. Being the kind of person that people would not believe any bad rumors about because, even if they do not know you, they know your good reputation.  Am I this type of lady? I hope so!  I think as young ladies, we need to stop believing the lie that our purity is something to be ashamed of. In a way, I think this lie is even harder on guys because it's related to a guys image. And because the guys are under pressure, they pressure girls.... and back to my target audience. =)

Young Ladies, I think we should start a trend. A trend of being proud of our purity. I do not know about you, but mine has been fought for! By my Lord; by my parents, other family and by myself. I am proud of it. (in what I hope, is a right pride, sort of way). I am not going to throw it away at the first guy who smiles and winks. (Side bar:  Does anyone one else hear Topher Grace shouting “ Guard your carnal treasure”?"... Just me?.... okay, moving on.)  Purity is something to be protected; sought after; held in high esteem; and treasured.  I can 100 precent tell you that if you want to marry a nice guy; (or even a not so nice guy... which I certainly hope you do not want to marry!); they want a "lady" for a wife. Okay, enough about that, because I am blushing.

I know I very well might be preaching to the choir. But, if the choir gets enough members, maybe, the rest of the world will listen and join? We need to change our thoughts and be "proud", so that when you stand for purity, people will look at you with respect; instead of disbelief and,  "Well, she's weird and has an abnormal attitude". I am convinced we are not as much of a minority as the world would have us think. But, even if we are, and we never stop the magazine articles or the weird looks. The bottom line is this: I want to respect myself and I want my family and future spouse to respect me. The decision is yours. However, I would say that we all makes mistakes and a reputation can be rebuilt. Even if only to yourself. So, never give up on you or your purity! I know of one Man Who values it highly and died to prove that you are special to Him! ( thanks, Jesus.)  Because in the end, this is what it comes down to: as girls, we want to be special to someone. We want to feel pretty and loved. WELL, WE ARE!  I hope and pray that I meet the man someday who prizes me and all I am!   Oh, and if he has a swoon-worthy accent, that would be alright. =) Until then, I pray for contentment in who I am... a "boyfriend-less" lady.  Also, I pray for purity in all of its forms. (I.E. my mind and body)

Just thoughts from this non-writer. Hopefully, something made sense in the randomness!  God Bless.

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. -Psalm 51:10

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

This is only a Mountain

Shock, despair and horror was running through me as I sat in the Dr.’s office. This appointment was supposed to be giving me answers of why, after all these years, my health was not improving. Instead, I had to listen to a Dr. who does not know anything about me or my history; make terrible guesses and predictions of diseases and problems that I "might" have. The Dr. knew little about Celiac Disease and frankly, did not even agree that I had it. I just could not believe that she could sit there and make all these awful assumptions, that I knew were wrong. Then, as if the thing I was told was wrong with me wasn't bad enough; then, came what was recommended to do next. More tests that reveal practically nothing; more money, and more nothing! 
I walked out of the office with my Mom and looked at the hopeful and questioning faces of my Dad and sister. Quickly reading the expression on my face, they asked what happened. 
I couldn’t talk. 
I uttered a teary, muffled “I want to leave”, then rushed to the bathroom and broke down.  All this time I’ve never lost control of my emotions in a public place before but, there I was sobbing in the bathroom stall of a hospital. I didn't know at that point what to think. I was overwhelmed, angry and devoid of all hope. In my heart, I knew that what the Dr. had said was wrong, but the intense emotion I was feeling was not letting me see that. 

Bottom line: I have Celiac Disease. Celiac is a struggle. It is a serious autoimmune disease that if you have it, it will not be an easy road. I happen to have a very bad case of it, and therefore, have a lot of the other numerous problems that come with it. Being aggressive, taking matters into out own hands and not giving up the fight is what we have to do. I’m not going to give up! 

I still am processing all this. I’m still somewhat discouraged. In some ways, I am having to start at the beginning again and that is hard for me to accept. To think about more time and more struggling is disheartening. I was looking for a quick fix. To finally have my health and my life back. Yet here I am on hold once again. Or am I? Maybe I’m wrong just like the Dr. was wrong about me. I will most likely never do the things that I had planned for my future, but the key there, is it was the things “I” had planned. Clearly the Lord has a different plan for me. All this time without my health, and all the physical and emotional struggle's have taught me that I am not in control. God is. He has a plan for my life and this struggle is part of it. Having Celiac is a part of it. If I, a mere human, can come up with extravagant plans for my life, how much more can the plans of my Savior be for me! My life is not what I wanted it to be, but it's what its supposed to be. 

My long journey continues, but with Jesus walking right beside me, I can do it! I’m not giving up hope (Psalm 71:14)! We went to this Dr. to find answers and we got them... just not the way we expected. Even before the trauma of it wore off, we knew that going with what this Dr. was suggesting was not the way to go. While I’m sure that this person is very qualified in their field, for what I have and need they do not understand and cannot help. It was a clear answer and I’m thankful for it. 
For the first time in over a month, we are not petrified that I have something very dangerously wrong. Just the autoimmune disease that I already knew I had. While it's difficult and I would never wish for anyone to go through it; I know what I am dealing with and with the help of those who are also fighting Celiac and my family, I am going to do what I can to get back on my feet. 
How wonderful is it to have a Savior, Who even in the midst of trials, promises never to leave us or forsake us! I know I would of given up by now if I did not have Him to lean on. Continuing to move forward with Jesus by my side!  

Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the LORD your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.” - Deuteronomy 31:6

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Unbelievable Grace

Recently, I have gone through a series of doctor appointments and tests. After being sick for four years with an autoimmune disease called Celiac Disease, I just was not improving. We were doing everything correct to get the Celiac under control, but yet I was still sick. In fact, I was getting worse. After the result of one of my test's came back, the doctors told my parents that what they believed was wrong with me, was very serious. Another autoimmune disease that is extremely rare and extremely bad. My parents felt that it was, at this time, their burden to carry so they did not tell me yet. They were basically sick and terrified about the prospect of this becoming a reality and were praying very hard.

Yesterday I had another test. The test took longer than it was supposed to take. So, it just added to our fear that something was very wrong. We arrived home last night and not too much later my doctor called with the news. I was slightly antsy, as I waited for my mom to hang up the phone and tell us what my Dr. had said. Eventually, she came into the kitchen and said what the results were. Everything that we were majorly concerned about was okay! It did show what the problem was, but it is fixable. I sat in a bit of confusion as I watched and listened to my parents, who at this point, looked insanely relieved and about in tears. I soon found out what caused this reaction and was, to be honest, horrified. The reality of what could of been washed over me in a rush of emotion. I was completely overwhelmed. 

My mind was a jumbled mess at that point. I just had one clear thought. 


How much my Savior loves me! He could of allowed me to have this terrible illness but He didn't. I feel blessed beyond belief. Even though I still have a long hard road ahead of me, I am thankful for it. Instead of climbing a cliff, I have a mountain. 

In the midst of difficult times, it is easy to go into a dark place. To focus on the negative and have a attitude of selfishness. I know that's how I get sometimes! Yesterday I was just struck with the amazing Grace of Jesus. The unbelievable Grace! After how I had been acting, I sure didn't feel like I deserved it. And the truth is, that I don't deserve it. Yet my all powerful Savior has offered it to me! 

Keeping my eyes firmly on Jesus is what I want to do with all my heart. He has never abandoned me and in my many trials I feel His presence so near. Holding me up in a situation I cannot go through on my own. One of my favorite songs says 
"I will trust in You. You've never failed before. I will trust in You." 
He has never failed before! I know this to be true! When I am weary and crying out to the Lord "I can't do this anymore!" He gives me the strength. I can look back over the last four years of my illness and see His leading. He has lead me every step of the way; and I am amazed at how He has sustained me and all the times He has given me grace! I am so thankful that I have the unconditional love and grace of Jesus! 

     Hebrews 4:16 -Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.