bring the rain

Alece-Ronzino-Bring-the-Rain

The list of roles I played in my former life that I no longer play in this after life is staggering. Wife. Founder. Leader. Missionary. Pastor. Ministry Director. Daughter-in-law. Aunt.

And though not the largest, nor the least, of the losses I faced through my divorce, I no longer fit among certain groups of people. Like pastors’ wives, or ministry leaders, or ex-pats, or even just people who only spend time with other married couples. I lost a lot of relationships. And a lot of opportunities.

It feels at times like my history has been erased.

So when my friends at A Life Overseas asked me to share with their online community, I was blown away. Shocked, actually. Though I no longer direct a nonprofit overseas, their invitation told me they still value my voice and experience in that arena. And I can’t even begin to tell you what that did for my heart.

All that to say, I’m really humbled and grateful to be sharing over there today. Come join us…

Bring the Rain »»

my words around the web

typew

I haven’t been a very consistent blogger lately. (And of course by “lately” I mean “the past couple years”. But, whatever. Semantics.) But over the past few months, my words have found a home in various corners of the web that you may have missed.

_________________________

Like my post for Deeper Story on “his affair being my fault”

“How do you think you contributed to his affair?”

I swallowed hard and blinked back tears, to no avail. They were quickly streaming down my face.

She leaned forward with an I-didn’t-mean-to-make-you-cry look in her eyes. “Oh, why are you getting upset? I know he made the choice to have an affair. But there had to be a reason he looked outside the marriage. Why her? What was she offering him that you weren’t?”

Read the rest here >>

_________________________

And my post for Prodigal Magazine on the false promise of abstinence —

Abstinence was drilled into me as a young girl. To the point where it was implied (and at times, even directly said) that sex was bad. At the same time, like a dangled carrot, I was taught that if I wait (because that’s what ‘true love’ does), then sex in my marriage would be amazing.

At the right time, with the right person—in a marriage relationship—sex would be good. It would be better than good. It would be incredible. Easy. Passionate. Fulfilling.

And so I waited.

Read the rest here >>

_________________________

There’s also the interview I did with Jeff Goins for his podcast —

Jeff wrote briefly about my decision to move to Africa in his book WreckedIn the podcast, I unpack my story some more, talking through my thoughts on commitment, being wrecked, and dealing with life not working out the way we plan (or hope).

Listen to my interview >>

_________________________

 Happy April, Gritty friends. 

on his affair being my fault

The conversation started with, “Why do you think he had an affair?”

Between a string of “I don’t know”s, I spoke of it not being the first time… of the strains of ministry leadership… of a pattern that had been modeled for him… of the hardships in our marriage… of the choices that, one by one, little by little, led down a slippery slope. Her pursed lips and nodding head let me know it wasn’t the answer she was looking for, even before she reworded her question.

“How do you think you contributed to his affair?”

I swallowed hard and blinked back tears, to no avail. They were quickly streaming down my face.

… … …

Grab a cup of coffee and
join me over at Deeper Story
to read the rest >>

{guest post} when God doesn’t give you what you asked for

If you don’t know my friend Ally Vesterfelt, you need to. She is genuine and passionate, and a beautifully honest writer. She’s also the managing editor of Prodigal Magazine, one of my favorite corners of the Internet. I appreciate the ways Ally embraces the “grit” in life and invites God to meet her there.

:: :: ::

This last year I prayed big.

It started because I read a book by Mark Batterson called The Circle Maker. The thought of praying the way he prayed (persistently, for specific things) had never really occurred to me.

Usually, I liked to keep my prayers small and manageable.

I didn’t want it to seem like I was being greedy or anything.

But when I read Batterson’s book I started to see how praying for things I actually wanted (regardless if they were big or small) wasn’t being selfish, it was just being honest — and being honest was what prayer was really about, a dynamic, authentic conversation with God.

So my prayers went from being really “spiritual” all the time to sometimes not-so-much.

I would pray for things like a second bookshelf to house my growing collection. I would pray for warm weather for an outdoor picnic with my husband. I would pray for friendship with a person in a similar stage of life.

Maybe that sounds elementary, but for me it was ground-breaking.

Shocking, actually.

I would pray for a specific need to be met by a specific day, and sure enough, it would be. Or I would pray for something that wasn’t a need, that was just a luxury, and many times I would get the gift I had asked for.

But there was one prayer I prayed that wasn’t answered.

Granted, it was a big prayer. A little far-fetched even. One of those that, when you write it down, you think to yourself: I’d like to see you take on this one, God.

The request had to do with a specific financial debt I owed. I wanted it to be paid off by the end of the year.

So I wrote down the prayer and the specific number, just as I had been doing before. I started making payments whenever I had extra cash, or money left over in a particular budget. For a while, I was really vigilant about it. I prayed about it every day, and the energy to conquer the debt consumed my mind.

But after a few months the prayer slipped to the back of my journal, and while I did occasionally pray that the debt would be paid by the date I had set, I didn’t think about it with nearly the conviction I had when I first started.

So when the end of the year came, and the debt wasn’t paid off, I cringed a little.

Not because God hadn’t given me what I had asked for, but because He had reminded me that,

while He is a God who hears me and cares about what I want, he has something as much to teach me by saying “no” as he does by saying “yes.”

I know this, but sometimes I live like I don’t know it.

In fact, sometimes I think this is what kept me from praying “big” prayers in the first place. I was worried that if I didn’t say it right, or if my heart wasn’t in exactly the right place, I would never get what I asked for.

And when I act like prayer is about getting what I ask for, I miss the point altogether.

It’s okay to want something (even admit we want it) and still not have it.

The second thing I learned was that, when it comes to what I have and what I don’t have, I am a co-creator with God. God has more resources than I do, more grace, more wisdom, and far more patience — but I can’t expect Him to answer prayers I am not willing to answer myself.

I have to be willing to make the sacrifices, fork over the cash, go visit the friend, reach out to the person in need, stay up all night working —

All the while praying for God to fill in the gaps.

Many times in my life God has answered prayers i didn’t know how to pray, or that I couldn’t have dreamed up in a million years. Other times I have begged him for things, laid everything on the line, and he has said “no,” or worse, been silent.

There is no reward/payoff system, no formula we can use to make prayer “work,” for us, to help get us what we want.

But I think that’s actually the point I’m trying to make.

That prayer is its own reward, and that as my prayers change, I change with them.

And for now that is enough.

:: :: ::

Allison is a writer, managing editor of Prodigal Magazine and author of Packing Light: Thoughts on Living Life with Less Baggage (Moody, 2013). She lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota with her husband Darrell. You can follow her daily on Twitter or Facebook.


How do you handle God’s “no”s or silences?

emmanuel: god with us

“Give us an advent spirit,” he whispered as he ended his prayer for our meal.

And as we picked up forks and drinks and napkins, that phrase kept bumping around inside me. And it bumps still. I don’t feel expectant or joyfully waiting, and so I’m struck by those words. Give me an advent spirit.

Join me on the comfy couch that is A Deeper Story
to read the rest of my post…

around the interwebs

I have the amazing privilege of writing for Deeper Story once a month. And I’m over there today, sharing some thoughts on suffering and riverbeds… and what the two have in common. If you’ve ever endured any kind of painful heartache, link over and read it. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Deeper Story: Shifting Sand >
My friend Jeremy Statton graciously interviewed me for his blog, aptly called Living Better Stories. He asked some poignant questions about shattered dreams, asking God “why?“, and choosing joy. Link over to read my responses.
Interview: On Choosing Joy >
Will you do me a favor and share a link to one of your favorite posts that you’ve written recently? I know, I know… That might feel strange to do. But I asked, so no need to worry about it seeming self-promoting. Honestly, I’d love to read the best thing you’ve written lately… So go ‘head.
Share the link!

i’m that girl who’s drowning

I’ve heard that the biggest challenge with rescuing a drowning victim is how they instinctively fight against their rescuer. The sheer panic and fear is so great that they can’t stop themselves from flailing, even at their own detriment. But trying to snap them out of it—to awaken them to their need to simply relax and lean into the arms of their rescuer—is nearly impossible.

I’m that girl who’s drowning.

… Read the rest over at Deeper Story >

i am (not) third

Jesus.
Others.
You.

I was raised—rightly—to put others first. But somewhere along the way, that distorted into putting myself last.

Which isn’t good. I know. And it needs to change. But it’s a struggle.

Maybe you can relate?

I’m unpacking my thoughts on (not) being third over at the new-and-improved Deeper Story today. Come check out the new digs and join the conversation…

love and respect {now}

I’m sure you’ve heard of the marriage ministry (and book) called Love and Respect, by Emerson and Sarah Eggerichs. They’re amazing, and I believe in their message. But it took me a while to get there.

That’ll happen when you have their book thrown at you. Literally.

I read it begrudgingly, and in the context of my life at the time I couldn’t really even hear the message of the book over the cacophony of pain in my heart.

Fast forward a few years to when I realized my new friend, Joy Eggerichs was that Eggerichs. (As in the daughter of the couple who wrote and run Love and Respect.) Joy pioneered Love and Respect (Now), an incredible online resource and community that helps facilitate conversations about relationships. Her focus is on helping us figure it out NOW instead of someday saying, “I wish I had known then…”

Well, I’m guest posting for Joy today.

Come read about our unexpected friendship, my experience with her parents’ book, and the time respect was thrown in my face.

Link over to read my post HERE >

it all comes down to choice

'I'm with you' photo (c) 2010, rosmary - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/Someone asked me the other day where I’m at in my journey. She was talking about the traumatic loss and transition I’ve endured in just about every single area of my life over the past few years. “Do you feel like you’re on the other side of it?”

I didn’t really know how to answer that question because I don’t think she fully understood what she was asking (though I know she certainly meant well.)

I’m in a much better place than I’ve been in a long time. Although I’m painfully aware of how fragile it all is, life feels good right now. And I haven’t been able to say that truthfully in years.

But that doesn’t mean I’ve gotten over—or even through—my loss.

I think the idea of “recovery” from loss is a harmful and misleading mirage. It’s unrealistic to expect that life could ever go back to normal after catastrophic loss of any kind. In a way, life will be forever divided by before and after. And to strive to go back to normal—to return to how things were and how you felt before your loss—is like trying to get somewhere on a treadmill: exhausting and impossible.

I don’t know if I’m meant to come out on the other side of my heartache. At least not in the usual sense.

I’m discovering what it’s like to live in the delicate tension of sorrow and joy. What we deem to be opposites are not actually mutually exclusive. They can be—and maybe they should be—embraced together. We don’t move out of sorrow into joy, as if we’ve recovered from our heartache. Instead we learn to choose joy even when that seed of sorrow remains ever present.

Jerry Sittser, in A Grace Disguised, said it so beautifully:

“I did not go through pain and come out the other side; instead, I lived in it and found within that pain the grace to survive and eventually grow. I did not get over the loss of my loved ones; rather, I absorbed the loss into my life, like soil receives decaying matter, until it became a part of who I am.”

What happens in me matters far more than what happens to me. It’s not my experiences that define me, but my responses to them.

So instead of making it my aim to get through what’s happened to me, I am learning to focus on my response to what’s happened to me. As with most things, it all comes down to choice.

That’s the reason “choose” is my One Word for this year. Because I need constant reminding that even when I have nothing else, I always have the power to choose.

While I can’t control what’s going on in this world or in my life, I do have control over my responses to those things. So today—same as yesterday and the day before—it’s entirely up to me to choose how I will respond to pain and sorrow and loss. I need to continue to choose to face, feel, and work through it, rather than to avoid it. And I need to continue to choose joy and trust right here, right now.

So if you’re wondering where I’m at in my journey, know this: You can always find me right here, in the middle of the tension between joy and sorrow, grief and gratitude, weakness and strength, questions and faith.

Join me here, won’t you?

Originally posted on Deeper Story.
Read the comments there >

Next Page »

  • Hope Africa Collective

  • #FHBloggers

  • Instagram
  • Recent Comments

  • gritty history

  • Creative Commons License
    This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States License.

    All original creative works are covered by this license, unless otherwise stated.

  • subscribe

    Subscribe

Switch to our mobile site