Tag Archives: Faith

Reflections on 2021: What Cancer Has Taught Me

Happy New Year!! What a year 2021 has been!! Whew! I don’t know about you but I have never been more thankful to say…I survived 2021! Literally!!!!

As 2021 came in with all it’s hope and anticipation, on January 13th, I also ushered in the biggest thorn in my flesh, the battle for my life with Ovarian cancer.

As we embark on yet another year before us, it is normal to have high hopes of newness, new life, new jobs, new plans, new diets, new hopes. Every year provides us with an opportunity to do things differently. To live differently. And yet as much as we all want to live differently every year with our resolutions and plans and diets and exercise programs and “read the bible in a year” plans….we resist change like it’s the plague, like it’s COVID. :0)

The Lord knows us. He created us. He knows that we are creatures of habit, that we live our lives on auto-pilot much of the time. Yes, of course the strong willed will make some changes, but change is hard. Very hard. We naturally revert to the easy, the habits, the mundane, the routine.

My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers says this in my devotion for today, “Before we choose to follow God’s will, a crisis must develop in our lives. This happens because we tend to be unresponsive to God’s gentler nudges. He brings us to the place where He asks us to be our utmost for Him and we begin to debate. He then providentially produces a crisis where we have to decide–for or against. That moment becomes a great crossroads in our lives. If a crisis has come to you on any front, surrender your will to Jesus absolutely and irrevocably.”

God is nudging you. He is nudging all of us to seek Him, to surrender. And sometimes, unfortunately, he allows trials to come into our lives to shape us. But the trials themselves don’t change us…if we don’t allow God to use them for His glory. Trials will either make us or break us. We can become bitter and angry and fearful, or we can lean into the struggle. We can allow it and God to shape us into who we truly, genuinely are, who we were created to be. To be free, servants of the Most High, resting in his Peace and Love and worshiping the One True God.

Jesus cares more about our character, our hearts and our minds than he does about our happiness. He brings joy and contentment and peace, but he doesn’t just wish it upon us, he doesn’t touch our imperfect lives with a fairy wand and suddenly we have everything we want and need. No, God is bigger than that. He is wise and knowing and he knows us intimately. Jer 1:5 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart”. He teaches us, shapes and molds us through His Word and experiences in this life.

So, as believers, we trust God, we say we trust God, we want to live like Jesus, yet we struggle within our flesh to actually live as Jesus lived. This struggle is real. Do you feel it? You want to be calm and content, at peace, faithful and kind but you find yourself overreacting emotionally, feeling defeated, desiring more than what you have, wishing life were different. Same desires, different year. Same yearning for a new life, yet stuck in the old one.

We ALL struggle with this. Different scenarios. Different people, same struggle. As Solomon said in Ecclesiastes, “There is nothing new under the sun”. The human heart has struggled with the same sins since the beginning of time. God knows this. He loves us anyway, and he has a plan. A plan that is so much bigger than us. A plan for redemption, for a new life, Not just a new year, but a completely NEW LIFE! Our hope for transformation, for a different life, is in Christ, not a new diet. Not a new year.

2022 will never give you what you desire.

Only Jesus can do that.

But, He does it through living. Life. Through the ups and downs, the difficulties and the joys, the struggles and the grief. James 1:2 says, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, when you face trials of ALL kinds, as the testing of your faith produces perseverance”.

Jesus told us “In this life you WILL have trouble, but I have overcome the world”.

He never said, you might have some difficulties. He says, you will.

It is a promise.

Before chemo

That isn’t one of the feel good verses in the bible. It’s easy to skip over this one. But God’s word is true. We want to just focus on the “I have overcome the world” part. But in order to truly know God, to truly see and believe and increase our faith, we must walk out the difficulty part.

Maybe this year- 2021- wasn’t a year of difficulty for you. But , although I’m not trying to be the bearer of bad news, 2022 might be. Or if not, guess what, in the next 10-20 or 30 years, you WILL have some troubles. Someday . Do not be surprised. Do not be found asleep, for the thief comes in the night

Satan wants nothing more than to catch you off guard. But what satan intends for evil, God can restore. He brings beauty to ashes. Brings hope to the hopeless.

But, its’ going to be hard. Really hard. Like, you don’t know if you can take one more step, one more breath. The emotions are real and devastating and terrifying. And you feel so close to death you can feel its breath on your face. You feel claustrophobic and like your life is being swallowed up by a deep black hole. And emptiness that you will never find your way out of.

You feel alone. Oh, so alone. Even with a plethora of friends and family. You can’t sleep and you are afraid to wake up. That maybe it is really a dream, but it isn’t. It’s reality. It’s truth. And you want to cry and scream but you are so numb and exhausted and broken that you sit and pretend that maybe its going to be ok, but when you wake up the next night, in the middle of the night, you are reminded that it’s not going away. This thing, this new life before you, is spiraling out of control.

The tears come. You are angry and scared and so very sad as the life YOU had planned is crumbling to nothing. You have died. All your dreams are gone. The life you envisioned….the vacations, the joy, the 20 year family vision you just wrote and began with your family, has been wiped away. You can’t see your children grown or married or retirement or growing old with your husband, you can’t see what’s in front of you. It is a black hole.





It is here. Right here. Where you find jesus. In the middle of the night. Broken. Shattered. Empty.

He is here. He’s always been here. He never left. He is patiently waiting. Waiting for your heart, your life, your mind to let go. To surrender everything…everything you thought you had control over. Every false thing your mind created to reassure you that you were in control and had everything planned out.

Jesus gently reminds us….we are not in control. He is.

He allows the difficult to remind us of this truth. But he whispers to us…“Beautiful girl, you can do hard things.”

I am with you. I will never leave you. I will never forsake you. You are mine. I will bring beauty to ashes. I will bring hope in the midst of your hopelessness.

He was waiting for me–for you– to give up. To surrender to Him.

Not just my marriage, my parenting, not just part of my life. But the whole thing. Every last bit of my mind, and my heart and my stuff and my family. The idols that somehow deceived me into thinking they were the most important thing in my life.

It isn’t about my husband, my children or my home or my to do list or my titles. It is about Jesus. Jesus wanting all of ME.

In that moment of complete surrender, I found him. I found me IN HIM. Phil 4:5 “The Lord is at hand.” He is here. Romans 8:28 “I will bring all things together for your good and the good of those around you”.

And almost one year later, I can see that He has.

Wheat grass shots!

Life still isn’t perfect, but it is better. I am still learning, growing, surrendering. I am still struggling with accepting this lot the Lord has allowed, but I am learning to rest in today, this moment. I am learning so much and as this year comes to a close, I wanted to share a few things I have learned on this cancer journey.

I pray that your 2022 and beyond is filled with joys beyond imagine. An easy and peaceful life. But in case that isn’t the truth for you this year….Remain hopeful. Jesus does bring beauty to ashes . He does bring hope to the hopeless. He never leaves you. He will restore your life….Let go and live differently.

What Cancer has taught me (in no particular order) and some things to ponder for this coming year.

  1. An abundant life is messy
    • I am learning to see the mess as a blessing. Peace doesn’t come from a clear counter (although it can help! Ha!), it comes from a clear mind. A mind uncluttered from the to do list. A mind that is fully present in the now.
  2. We need community
    • We NEED fellowship with other believers. We are to carry each other’s burdens. We are meant to serve and help and love on the people around us. We are meant to be useful. I couldn’t have made it through this year without the community we have built around us.
    • So….Build your community. Go to church, join a small group. Get connected to someone. One person at a time. Invite people over for dinner. Find a way to connect to others this year.
  3. Live in the present
    • The past is gone and the future hasn’t happened yet. We aren’t guaranteed tomorrow. We spend so much of our lives regretting the past and fearing the future. Anxiety, fear and depression are in the mind. So…stop. Stop thinking. Learn to be mindful. To be present. Mary learned this before her sister Martha. Sit and Jesus’ feet. In the midst of the chaos, the trial, the dishes, the mess. Set your priority, your mind on the right now. Learn to breathe and let go. Stop living in your head and live in the present.
  4. Surrender to god
    • We live and plan and do. But we fail to surrender our lives to the One True Omnicient God who sees us and our lives and knows us better than anyone and is good and works all things out. We keep planning…maybe its time to start surrendering. Releasing your expectations and trusting in God. Lean not on your own understanding, but follow Him.
  5. Seek integrative medicine
    • God created the world, he knows all things. And for thousands of years, he has kept humanity alive and living and thriving. Never before the last 100 years has health been born from a pill. We have become a society that trusts a drug, more than God, more than the food we put into our body, more than the natural living things God created. God has designed us to be healthy, whole. Could our life choices and habits be a cause for our sickness, our mental agony, our fatigue, our depression, our dis-ease? Could God’s plan be what you need this year for your health?
  6. Eat as if your life depends on it
    • The back of the Primal Kitchen Avocado Oil bottle has this written on it. Truth! My life-my health- DOES depend on what I eat. What I choose to put into my body. And so does yours!
  7. Be still and know I am God
    • Be quiet. Ecclesiastes 5:2 –let my words be few. I am a talker. My kindergarten report card said “Alissa is a great student but she talks too much.” Ha! Well, there you have it. God keeps reminding me to stop talking and listen more. To Him, to my family, to others. Learning requires a quiet, listening heart.
  8. Take care of myself
    • It is ok to stop in the middle of the day to read a book, go to Yoga, or exercise. I am modeling behavior to my children every day. Will they learn to be healthy emotionally, physically, spiritually from my habits?
  9. God’s Word is truth
    • I have been a Christian for 20 years and never before this year, has God’s word spoken to me so clearly and faithfully. God still speaks, it is us who are too busy to hear from him. Our minds and hearts and lives and homes are too cluttered to see and hear him clearly. Seek Him. He is here with us. Be curious about his Word. Make time for Him in your day. I have learned to get up at 5:00 every morning and spend 2 hours with him; reading and writing and learning and sitting at his feet in silence and stillness. Before the day starts and everyone and everything is vying for my attention. Listen. Read God’s word.
  10. I can’t do everything my mind tells me I can.
    • My to do list has controlled me for too long. I have grandiose, even delusional plans for my days. And so….Satan keeps reminding me at the close of every day what a failure I am for not completing all he had planned for me. I am finished with this thinking. I am not a failure. I am me! Loved, and created exactly for this season, this time. I am learning! I am to trust God, love my people and get some things done every day, but I will never accomplish my to do list. Let it go and love the people in your life before they or you aren’t able to any longer.
  11. Slow down
    • Breathe. Seriously. Learn to use your breathe to remind you to stop. Take a break. Rest. Sit outside in the sun and get some much needed Vitamin D. Take a walk. Read a book. It’s ok. You don’t need to rush. Chronic stress is not acceptable or normal. When people ask you how you are, It’s ok to respond with I’m at peace, instead of the cultural “busy”. Stop being busy.
  12. Watch the sunrise and sunset
    • These mark a beginning and an end. A gift to usher in the day and a reminder to be thankful for the moments in front of you, that just passed by you. Start a rhythm, a tradition, a habit. Leave a legacy with your family to stop and observe life -nature- around you. Because the stuff in your house is dead. But your children, your husband, your family and creation is beaming with life. Don’t exchange what is alive for idols that are dead.
  13. Focus on helping others
    • Life isn’t about you. Sorry. Naturally we know this, but are you living as if you really believe this? Do you think about what YOU want most days? Or do you let go of your own desires so you can be a blessing, a help and source of joy for someone else?
    • People want to help, they enjoy helping other. But our culture keeps us hidden in our homes, managing our stuff. When trials come, it’s an opportunity to look outside of our own circumstances and do to others what we would do to and for ourselves.
  14. Live differently
    • Change is hard. Change is good. Lean into it. Embrace it. It is coming whether you like it or not. We ALL change. Life is not stagnant. Push through and come out on the other side…changed. Different. Better.

As we begin this new year, I always pray about a word and verse for the upcoming year. Las year is was TRUST.

Proverbs 3: 5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding but in all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your path straight.

This year it is PEACE.

Isaiah 26:3 You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast because they trust in you.

Peace in the Hebrew is salom, meaning completeness , welfare, health, prosperity (growth, thriving), quiet, tranquility, contentment. Yes!! Lord, this is my prayer and the desire of my heart!

And God’s Word tells us this peace, this health, this tranquility comes from our mind…our thoughts, our focus, our intentions being steadfast. Which means to be firmly fixed in place, immovable, not subject to change. And our minds can be steadfast, immovable, not given to changing and being swayed by everything….WHEN we trust in God. When we have confidence in Him. Trust means to be assured of the character, strength and ability of someone (GOD), to depend on something in the future, to hope.

My health and growth and peace is dependent on keeping my mind, thoughts, and emotions, my entire being focused on who God is and his strength and faithfulness and the hope he gives me today and forever. God WILL do all He promises. I must surrender to Him alone.

And that is my prayer for all of you. May this last year have reminded you ….to trust God, to seek him and SURRENDER your lives to the Lord. Let MY trials encourage YOU to strengthen your faith!

And lastly, know this is my prayer for you all…..Phil 1:12 “That what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel….that you have become confident in the Lord by my imprisonment( my cancer) and are much more bold to speak the word of God without fear!

Love and peace to you all this year!!


I Am Healed!

Matthew 9: 20-22 “Just then a woman, who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak. She said to herself, “If I only touch his cloak, I will be healed.” Jesus turned and saw her, “Take heart, daughter,” he said, “your faith has healed you.” And the woman was healed at that moment.

Being healed from sickness – miraculously, no less – is a big claim. But I am living proof, Jesus still performs miracles today!

On January 13, 2021, I was diagnosed with poorly differentiated metastatic adenocarcinoma. At the time of my diagnosis, they were unsure of the source of my cancer. Through further testing, it was determined to be Stage 4 ovarian cancer. Thus began the fight for my life.

And a fight it was. A battle for my health, my mind, and my body. This vision of being taken captive against your will and thrown in a dark, desolate prison pretty much summed up the state I was in.

I was embarking on a journey into the unknown, into a land which I did not understand, nor care to be a part of.

And I was alone.

No…not in the physical sense. I had a plethora of family and friends and supporters near and far that were with me, waging war with prayers and encouragement, but here I was dumped straight in the middle of an island surrounded by sharks with not a clue how to survive.

Prison. Darkness. Sharks. Isolation. Certainly, not a vision of hope. But more of depression, isolation, fear and death.

Death. Wow. Never saw that coming. How had my life, suddenly, without warning, turned into a saga of spiraling death?

But in the midst of this disaster, this disease, came hope. Came help.

Psalm 121:1-2 “I lift up my eyes to the mountains – where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.”

Jesus, my Deliverer, my hope and refuge was there. As he has always been, just more so ever present in my time of need.

In Him, I found my life as I began to lose it. I found life abundantly through surrender, giving up, letting go of control of all I had imagined or dreamed or planned.

Phil 1:21 “For to me, to live is Christ, to die is gain.

But did I come to this realization in an instant or even overnight?

Not at all. The Lord has led me on a journey of surrender. Was there this instantaneous feeling of laying down my life? Yes. I was sitting in my living room in the chair that now has become my holy, sacred place where Jesus and I meet every day. I was staring at our fireplace and I realized that everything I had wanted to become, everything I had wanted to do in my life…..was for naught. Jesus had other plans. I either had to surrender to His will in my life, or go on struggling.

I gave it up. I surrendered.

It was the most difficult thing I have ever done in my life. To be willing to release all my desires to the Lord and venture into the unknown. That took 2 weeks of hell to be able to do. I was losing control quickly as I ventured to doctor’s visit after doctor’s visit and was forced to endure more physical pain and mental and emotional suffering than I could have ever dreamed.

Here I was. Ready to surrender my life to the One who held it in his loving arms. But please don’t misunderstand this an an easy laying down of my life. It has been a season of tears and struggle. Joys and triumphs.

And here I am today. Alive. Healed of my cancer!! My PET scan on June 16, 2021 showed NO CANCER in my body!

A miraculous healing…brought together by God. Romans 8:28 says God works all things together for His good.

Please know, that my PET scan in January showed extensive lymph node involvement throughout my body with a CA125 level of >2700 (normal <35). This was an unsurmountable hill to climb from my own weak perspective 5 months ago.

But through my faith, an integrative approach to cancer and traditional chemo, I am healed. And if me saying my healing isn’t miraculous enough, hear the words of my oncologist. After seeing my PET scan report last week, he repetitively referred to my “case” as unique. I asked him further what he meant by this and his response, “Alissa, when I saw your scans and your numbers (CA125), I would never have predicted your cancer would have gone away. My best hope for you was that your cancer would stay the same or improve slightly.” That , I boldly informed my doctor, is the power of Jesus!

My journey began in Psalm 30:1 “I will exalt you, Lord, for you lifted me out of the depths and did not let my enemies gloat over me. Lord my God, I called to you for help, and you healed me. You, Lord, brought me up from the realm of the dead; you spared me from going down to the pit…To you Lord, I called; to the Lord I cried for mercy: “What is gained if I am silenced, if I go down to the pit? Will the dust praise you? Will it proclaim your faithfulness? Hear, Lord and be merciful to me; Lord, be my help. You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing your praises and not be silent. Lord my God, I will praise you forever.”

I claimed from the beginning that God would heal me and there was no benefit to my death! How could I praise Him from the grave!? No Lord, let me tell of all your wondrous works, let me Praise your name to the end of the earth! I promised God, with His healing, I would be His. His vessel to share the good news of the kingdom of God! To tell of Jesus’ miracle and His saving power. To be His voice in a world so far away from His truth.

And here I am.

Psalm 107 “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever. Let the redeemed of the Lord tell their story – those he redeemed from the hand of the foe….Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress. He sent out his word and healed them, he rescued them from the grave. Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for mankind. Let then sacrifice thank offerings and tell of his works with songs of joy.”`

Here I am! Alive! Healed! Telling of His works with shouts of joy!!

On the night before my biopsy, the Lord gave me Matt 9 to cling to. That if I just reached out to Jesus and touched his cloak, my faith would heal me. Three other women had that same verse given to them about me during that initial week of my diagnosis.

On the morning after my good news of the clear PET scan, I was sitting in my holy place (my comfy, oversized chair) saying good-bye to my husband as he left for work. I opened the bible without looking down, and as he left, I closed my eyes and prayed (as I do most mornings) and asked the Lord what HE wanted me to read in his word that day. As I opened my eyes and stared down, my bible was opened to Matt 9.

“Jesus turned and saw her, “Take heart, daughter,” he said, “your faith has healed you.”

Tears, praises, joy above all joys!

Jesus has seen me and this pain! This suffering has been for Him! Later on that day, I was overwhelmed with the humbling thought of why Jesus had chosen me to suffer for him? Who was I? Why was I chosen to be healed?

And then, I was overwhelmed with the desire to go! To tell of all his wondrous works. To be his vessel of love and compassion and healing to a depraved generation!

In Luke, after this same story of the bleeding woman healed of her disease, Jesus sends out his disciples. He CALLS them and He gave them power, and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal the sick.

Their response….”So they set out and went from village to village, proclaiming the good news and healing people everywhere.”

What is my response to a miraculous healing?

I will set out…proclaiming the good news and helping people to be healed everywhere! There is so much healing to be done in our world…emotionally, physically.

Gal 2:20 “I have been crucified with Christ, and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”

I have a new mission in life. To do the will of God, wherever that may lead me. But I am not afraid. I have been given new life, a second chance, a transformed heart and mind that will lead me to the Savior. Paul’s words echo my own expectation and hope…That through my life, may your faith in Jesus abound on account of me! Amen!

Phil 1: 20 “I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain. …Convinced of this, I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith, so that through my being with you again, your boasting in Christ Jesus will abound on account of me.”

Seek First His Kingdom

Matthew 6:33 “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

I have been under attack this week. No…not a physical attack. A spiritual one, an attack on my thoughts and mind.

But sadly, I didn’t recognize it as such. It started off small…very subtle. Thoughts that slowly spiraled into being overwhelming and filled me with sadness, fear and frustration, anger and disappointment. And then…guilt.

I felt guilty for feeling sad, for being angry. For not having a handle on this disease. Not being completely surrendered to the Lord. Guilty for struggling with my diagnosis, and then guilty for being tired, for raising my voice to my children, for not counting my days as valuable, and feeling irritated with myself for spending my days focused on myself. Then, for wasting a day in self pity. Ugh.

Do you see the spiral effect of negative thoughts?

How did I get here? What went wrong? I was doing so well. I immediately started blaming myself for how I got here. What did I do wrong? How can I correct this? Prevent this? How could I let one person’s unintentional words bring me so much grief?

Three days before this downward spiral, I was filled with peace and told my husband that I’ve had the best 2 weeks! I literally felt like I had forgotten I had cancer! That I didn’t think about it at all! I was filled with joy and just living my life like normal.

Was it a subconscious invitation to the devil…who was prowling around waiting for a weak point? Like Job, I felt he was asking me….do you praise God now? Now that I have reminded you of your lot in life? Of your weakness? Of your cancer? Of the trial that is before you? Of your death?

I have been struggling this week. And yet, as strong as my faith is….like Job….I am not immune. It took most of the week to truly recognize this for what it is. It’s a spiritual attack. My self pity, fear, sorrow and anger….may be real, but Satan is using them to pull me away from the Lord, to begin to doubt my Savior, to cause me to turn my strength away from God and be reminded of my immense weakness.

Satan has even begun to attack my family. Two of my children have been having nightmares this week!

It was then that my husband recognized it and began to pray over them. And now….the Lord has opened my eyes to the truth! I am not a victim! I am victorious in Christ! He is my strength, my peace! He alone is my hope and I have professed my trust in Him!

Oh friends, none of us is immune! We all can fall to the lies Satan pours out in our minds. I read a book recently that reminded me that the truth of God is in our hearts as believers, we know it! We trust it and we believe it, yet it is with our minds that Satan begins to weave doubt. We must be transformed by the renewing of our minds.

God tells us not to be afraid, not to doubt, but he also tells us to be courageous and to not conform to this world where thieves break in and steal. He tells us not to worry but to seek his kingdom. Why would he tell us these things? Because he knows we are weak! He knows Satan. He knows how he attacks. Our faith is to uphold us and to strengthen us when we are weak. When we are weak, He is strong! It is in this real fear that he calls us to be courageous! To trust in our faith!

Praises be to God who is mighty and who took away the sins of this world on the cross! It is for his glory that I am alive! It is for Him that I draw a breathe each day. My life is not my own, it is for him. I must surrender my life, all my emotions, my fears and my weaknesses, so that he alone is magnified. He is the great healer, the miracle worker, the promise keeper. He alone is God. Who am I? But his servant, his disciple. I am to learn, to surrender, to serve, to love and to trust….even in the midst of this trial. There is nothing my God can’t do.

When I take my eyes off of him and onto my circumstances, Satan has me. He lures me with thoughts that are contrary to God’s kingdom.

And so he steals our lives, our moments. I have been down and just depressed at moments. I have allowed Satan to steal my joy and steal the moments with the people that are the most important. I have not prayed, not been my best self. I have withdrawn and have doubted the one person who has been faithful to me throughout my life, and especially this journey.

Today, I will choose faith. To trust again my Lord who saves and who hears my prayers. Who loves me unconditionally and who strengthens me when I am weak. I will pursue Him and his word and praise him with my words and my life. I will bow before him in thanksgiving for the life he has given me TODAY.

He has reminded me that prayer is our greatest weapon. I will have negative thoughts again. I am human, but today I will counter those attacks with prayer! With praise to the God who sees me, who knows me and who loves me.

Friends, be reminded of this truth today. When you hear those thoughts in your head, don’t try to “be more positive”, but rather surrender yourself to God in prayer! Stop, drop to your knees, speak truth! Read the Word of God! You are loved, you are heard. He sees you and is with you. Our God will not forsake you .

Psalm 18 says, “I love you lord…the cords of death entangled me…in my distress I called to the Lord, I cried to my God for help. From his temple he heard my voice …With my God I can scale a wall. It is God who arms me with strength.”

Seek God this moment, this day, and recognize His power in the midst of your weakness, your circumstance. It is through him that we regain our lives and are strengthened with the hope of his glory.


Living Differently: Transforming Our Thoughts

“How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever?

How long will you hide your face from me?

How long must I wrestle with my thoughts

and day after day have sorrow in my heart?

How long will my enemy triumph over me?” Psalm 13: 1-2

How often do YOUR thoughts control you? I have always been a thinker…well, more of an OVER-thinker. I analyze things till I’m exhausted and overwhelmed with possibilities, and then fear sets in as I worry about what may never come. Psalm 13 speaks to this when David laments before God about how he wrestles with his thoughts. This growing and becoming and surrendering is a “wrestling” between God and me. To wrestle is to struggle, to oppose until one releases their will. It is about me wrestling against the One True God to release my will, to surrender my plans for His.

Who would really struggle against God? We do. I do. Repetatively, foolishly, believing that somehow, MY will should reign over His. That My desires are more important, better than what He has planned for me. Wow. Sounds crazy, right? Our will is strong…but God’s love is still greater. His mercy and patience is longsuffering as he continues to teach me His ways are higher than mine. I still have a long way to go, but, through my trial with ovarian cancer, God is redeeming my thought life. As I sit in his Word, He is reminding me to trust him, to let go of my worries and fears and to release my thoughts, my very life…. to him.

He tells us in Romans 12:2 “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”

And a different life begins with a transformed thought life.

As you can tell, my life motto has become…LIVE DIFFERENTLY. And indeed, being given a diagnosis of cancer will do just that, force you to live differently. Living differently means SO MANY things….it can be overwhelming as I make this transition from before cancer to after cancer. But lately, God is reminding me that my first transformation MUST be my thought life…the transforming of my mind.

I admit I am still stuck in my old way of thinking. Desiring to live as before. I recently went back to our homeschool community where I was the director BEFORE cancer, but now after releasing that, I showed up as a mom. And it was different. Although, I’ve prayed to be “Different” for so long I never really understood or comprehended that different is difficult. Being different …going against the grain, not conforming to the world is going to be one of the most difficult roads I’ve ever been on.

Different means doing what I haven’t done before. It means releasing all my desires and accepting the Lord’s will for my life. Different means not being our homeschool director any longer. Releasing that which I loved…to someone else.

Different also means eating differently. Ugh. This one is harder than I thought. Since I’ve been quarantining at home for so long, I’ve developed a pattern. I’ve been able to change my diet at home, but as I begin to eat outside of my bubble….I am reminded how difficult it really is to eat healthy consistently. I went out to eat with some friends recently, and was reminded of the sacrifice of being different. I love sushi. But no longer is this an option for me. Rice is not a keto option. So, instead, I ordered a stir fry of shrimp and veggies. It was good and healthy. I was grateful they custom made my food, but y’all….it was hard. I had some tears that night. Tears over not having sushi? Really?

It really wasn’t about the sushi. I had this gross realization that my life will forever be… different. That I am being forced to change so much, so fast. Not just because I’m trying to be healthy, but I’m trying to survive. To live to raise my kids. To live to spend time with them and my family. To live for Christ to make a difference in the world. But ….I will have to begin to embrace different.

Didn’t Jesus live a different life? Paul tells us in Galatians that he died to his own life and now lives by faith….

Living differently is living a life of faith, guided by the Holy Spirit, pleasing Jesus, surrendering my own will. Living differently is EXACTLY what the Lord is calling us to live like.

But it is hard. How much did Paul encourage the new believers! He knew a life of faith would be filling with difficulties. But living a life of faith is worth it.

My goal in this journey isn’t just to live but to live well. To live to glorify the Lord in all I say and do. Therefore, it is imperative to change my thoughts, my mind. To think differently. To focus my attention on Jesus, and His will for my life. To fill my thoughts not with fear and worry but joy and thankfulness and praises to my GOD!

So how do we change our thoughts? We immerse ourselves in the Word of God. I want my thoughts to be HIs thoughts. His words. And if I am immersed enough in the good words of Jesus , then eventually my thoughts become His thoughts. My words become His words. My actions become his actions. My life becomes His life.

And in all this…that is my goal. That should be all of our goals. To live as Christ. He gave himself up for me ..for you..so that we would have a new…different… life.

2 Cor 5:17 “Therefore if anyone is in christ, the new creation has come. The old has gone and the new is here!”

So, although living differently is new, difficult, unfamiliar, a sacrifice. It is and will be worth it in so many ways. Please follow along as I continue to embrace what a different life really means.

“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” Hebrews 10:25

Being Real

“Lord, I don’t want this for my life.”

These fearful and saddened thoughts had been consuming me over last week. I have been walking this cancer journey now for two months. The first few weeks were overwhelming, and I was in a pit of despair. However, the Lord is slowly revealing his truth and plans for me and I have found peace and even joy. But last week, Satan began to nag at me through my thought life; little, subtle, quiet fears and doubts making me question my future and doubt God’s faithfulness. Have you had similar doubts?

“What if my CA125 levels jump back up?” (They have dropped from almost 2700 to 144)

“You will die from this, Alissa. You will miss seeing your children grow up.”

“What if my lymph nodes swell up again? Will my chemo stop working?”

Ugh. So many sad and defeating thoughts.

I am in God’s word every morning and intentionally trying to acknowledge Him throughout my day. But….life is busy and I am easily distracted and pretty soon I am consumed with my own thoughts instead of taking every thought captive to Christ. And I end up with tears and defeat.

I begin to feel alone and my hope of healing fades.

I know you have defeating thoughts as well, different from mine, but still thoughts of doubt and fear. We worry and fret over tomorrow and live in regret for yesterday, which in turns ruins our joy and peace for TODAY! Psalm 118 tells us that “this is the day the Lord has made…he tells us to rejoice and be glad in it”. But how can we find that joy when our minds wander from yesterday to tomorrow. Satan’s schemes are to keep us in bondage to these, because if we get stuck somewhere else, we can’t focus on today. We are unable to find the peace Jesus promises to us every day. He is deceptive and sneaky….a liar and a cheat, trying and many days succeeding at keeping us in chains. But it was for freedom that Christ set us free!

Jesus teaches us about worry so often. In Matthew 6: 25 He tells us NOT to worry about our lives…that we are instead to seek first His kingdom and his righteousness. He is the same forever…yesterday, today and tomorrow! Why fear when God is for us!

So, what do we do when we are consumed with these negative thoughts? We open god’s word and we wrestle with him until we hear from him, until we finally build our trust once again and we seek after him with our whole hearts.

Nothing…I repeat, nothing is worth more than our relationship with Jesus! And he already knows our thoughts and weaknesses and our doubts. He is waiting for you to bring them to his feet, to sit with him and let Him fill us with his hope and peace. He is worthy of our praise and he deserves our attention and ultimately our surrender.

Surrender isn’t just a one time occurrence. I was talking with my 8 year old son yesterday and he said, “I thought surrendering my life to the Lord would feel more special. But I don’t feel different.” Well, he surrendered his life 1 1/2 years ago and has had ups and downs in his faith, as do we all. But I gently reminded him that his initial surrender to the Lord was not the end of his faith…it was just the beginning. Jesus is still there, waiting on him to return to him daily and to seek after him. That his faith in christ is a relationship that he needs to build…every single day through bible reading, prayer and being watchful for the Lord working in his life.

And this is what I am learning as well. The bible is true! God’s word is alive and active. Jesus is with me. God is sovereign. What else can I desire then this? To know God and make him known…this is Classical Conversations, our homeschool community’s mission statement. I love it! It reminds me that God can be known. And we are to seek him and share His good news with the world!

As I have been in His word, he is showing me who He is. He is real and he struggled as we all do. He was human and God all at the same time. We worship a God who had emotions just like us, who was tempted in every way, just as we are, who he needed strengthening and he needed encouragement. He chose his friends wisely and yet even he was abandoned and felt human disappointment. But he models for us humility, and graciousness and how he himself was refreshed. He spent time…so much time…in prayer! Especially by himself. He prostrated himself before the Lord. He depended on His Father at all times, especially as he was approaching the Cross. He suffered so much for us, and was willing to do so, yet in the garden, he still asked God to take it away from him. He was real.

As I read in Luke 22 verses 39-46, God showed me Jesus’ human side. That he knows and understands my emotions and he speaks life into me as I begin to understand more and more who he is and how my life rests in Christ. I am reminded of his disciples humanity as well through their own struggles as well and how much Jesus loved them and poured into them.

And I am realizing that my thoughts, my feelings, Satan’s lies, are not truth. They are not my reality. But I am learning….they are real. And it’s ok to be real. It’s ok to vulnerable, but it’s not ok to believe the lies in my mind. It’s not ok to get stuck in my emotions, it’s not ok to let my emotions lead my life. But unfortunately, they are a reality this side of heaven. Satan wants to make feel guilty for my sorrowful moments, for feeling sad and overwhelmed. He wants me to feel defeated in the tough moments of life. But Jesus has a different way.

Jesus’ struggle in the garden of Gethsemane speaks truth to us! Luke 25:45 says, “When he rose from prayer and went back to the disciples, he found them (his disciples) asleep, exhausted from sorrow.”

Did you see that? I have never noticed that before. His disciples were exhausted from their own grief and sadness. They knew Jesus was struggling and needed to pray. They didn’t fully understand what was about to happen but they too, were sorrowful. And sorrow is exhausting. When you are filled with emotions…sadness, grief, etc, it is physically exhausting.

But then I reread the verses just before this.

These verses describe Jesus’ struggle in the garden before the Lord. in verse 42 Jesus asks God, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” Jesus knew the path before him, he knew it was going to be difficult. And even he asked God to make it different, as I have prayed so much these past few months. I don’t want this cancer journey for my life. Please God, I have pleaded, take it away. And yet, this is the cup he has for me. And I am learning to accept it and say, not my will but yours Lord. As much as I don’t want to have cancer, I do want God’s will in my life more.

But the next verses spoke most clearly to me. Verse 43 says “An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him.” Even Jesus needed strength from outside himself. He needed God’s strengthening! I needed to hear this!! I cannot do this on my own! Nor did God intend for me to! I need the Lord’s strengthening. He doesn’t expect me to walk this journey alone. He is with me always! He is my source of strength and peace. He will never leave me or forsake me!

And verse 44 says this, ” And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.” Jesus was in anguish, y’all! He was struggling! And what did he do? He prayed more seriously! He physically was experiencing what grief and despair brings to our physical bodies. And that is exactly what you and I need to do! When we feel despair, sadness or are struggling with worry and fear, we need to get on our knees , open the Word of God and surrender our thoughts to God, surrender our will to our heavenly father who loves us and knows us and is our source of strength!

The greek word for anguish is agonia, and I love what the Blue Letter Bible App says this means…

Agonia=a struggle for victory!

Jesus was struggling! Agonizing! But it wasn’t for defeat…. no! It was for victory! Victory is defined as overcoming an enemy!!!! He knew Satan was there trying to defeat his thoughts. And he was praying for victory in his anguish. Jesus didn’t struggle for naught. He struggled for our victory…his death on the cross is our victory! He conquered death and sadness and despair! And he models for us exactly what we need to do in our despair. We are to pray more earnestly and we are to struggle for victory! Our anguish is not a ticket for defeat, it is for our victory in Christ.

And I am beginning to see that in all of this, God is working out things together for my good and for my victory, but he is also using my real emotions, my weakness for your victory. 2 Corinthians says His power is made perfect in my weakness! Hallelujah ! My struggle is not for naught! My emotions are real and when laid at His cross, Jesus is using them to strengthen me so I can shine his life and light into those areas of darkness in your lives. He is using my weakness to strengthen you!!

So I am learning to be real.

Jesus was real and he wants us to be real, to show our emotions, but to take them to the Lord and let him redeem them and use them for our good and for the good of those around us. God’s ways are not our own.

How are you struggling right now? What emotions are gripping you and pulling you into defeat and fear and doubt?

Be real!

Pour out your emotions to the Lord and let him strengthen you! Let your anguish be a struggle for victory! Surrender to God’s will, even if you don’t want what he has for you right now! The more we surrender, the more we dive into God’s word, the more we begin to align our lives with His plans and His will, the more we will find peace and joy in the midst of our pain. James tells us to “consider it pure joy whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”

Be real my friends and submit to Jesus and know that He is doing a work in you and through you to make you complete.

Hebrews 5:7 tells us “During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with fervent cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered.”

Suffering is for our victory….our victory in Christ!

Do as Jesus did with his struggles…

  1. Pray earnestly
  2. Submit to God’s will
  3. Read God’s word for truth
  4. Trust in God’s plan for your life.
  5. Obey His commands

Please share any struggles you may be having so I can be praying with you.

Waiting on the Lord

“I waited patiently for the Lord; he inclined to me and heard my cry.  He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure.  He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God.  Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the Lord.” Psalm 40:1-3


Waiting is never easy.

Have you ever looked up the definition of “wait”?  So often when we think of waiting, we just think of this negative space where nothing happens.  But to wait for something is so much more than that.  It really means to remain stationary in readiness or expectation, to look forward expectantly, and to be ready and available.  

Expectant.  Available.  Ready.

How many of us, rather, feel stagnant, frustrated, idle and hopeless in the waiting rooms of life?

What if we changed our perspective?  What if we allowed God to change our perspective?  That the waiting in our life instead…was an opportunity for us to pause and get ready?!?

To instead anticipate, be optimistic, prepared and hopeful?

What are you waiting for?

What do you need to begin preparing for and anticipating?

Me?….Well, I was waiting for my diagnosis, surgeries, answers, hope.  Now…I’m waiting for the Lord to heal my body from the cancer that has ravaged my lymph nodes.  I’m waiting for my hair to fall out, for my chemo to be over, for my life to start again.

But as I have been waiting…the Lord is opening my eyes to His perspective on waiting.  It may seem like there are giant pauses in our lives….but our God is working!  He never sleeps. He never fails.  And He is showing me that this waiting time…is for me to seek Him.

Lamentations 3:22-26 “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.  “The Lord is my portion, ” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.”  The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him.  It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.”

Waiting is my time to prepare, to anticipate Him and His workings in my life, to get ready and be hopeful.  To be hopeful for what Christ is working together for my good.  So…how do we get ready and prepared for Christ in our lives?

Lamentations says it perfectly.  It says the Lord is good to those who wait for him….who prepare and are hopeful for him.  That He is good to those who wait and seek Him.  Do you see that?

While we wait, we SEEK HIM!! We don’t just stop our lives and pause in fear and worry and hopelessness.  We dive in to the Word of God and we seek His face!  We close our eyes in prayer and get our our knees and we cry out to the Lord.  We let go of our anxious Martha ways and we sit in His presence, like Mary, at the feet of Jesus, our Savior and we rest in knowing He is enough for us during this season of waiting.

Are you sitting at the feet of Jesus where you are right now,  making ready your heart for what God is preparing for you or are you anxiously worrying over what may or may not come?

Stop waiting and start seeking.  You will find Him.

Deut 4:29 “But from there you will seek the Lord your God and you will find him, if you search after him with all your heart and with all your soul.”

Enjoy this beautiful song I discovered today as you seek more of Jesus.  Kari Jobe – The More I Seek You w/lyrics – YouTube

For more encouragement on waiting and an update on my cancer journey, watch my youTube Channel- Alissa Perez: Live Differently.  https://youtu.be/kkqVjgbfq_o

Finding Rest for Your Weary Mommy Souls


Oh, it’s good to be back!

Where have I been, you may ask?

Well, I’m not really sure, honestly.  Busy.  Unfortunately.  Too busy.

But, I’ve missed you.  I’ve missed this.  I’ve missed writing.  Just sharing my thoughts.  I’ve missed pursuing God’s calling on my life.  I’ve missed sharing what God is teaching me, what He is changing within my heart.  I’ve been too busy.  Too busy to write, but even worse, too busy to listen.

I’ve been busy being a mommy.  A wife.  Playing, cooking, teaching, leading, organizing, preparing, cleaning.  You know…mommy stuff.  Important stuff.

But, busyness is just an excuse for not seeking the One thing that should be most important.

I’ve come to this place just recently where God has been whispering to my heart:



Have Faith

Stop Striving

Turn your focus to Me

My perspectives are changing.

I have been striving, self-focused, trying so hard to be “better”, more organized…dare I say to be the “prefect” mom.

Does she exist?  No.  Never.

But in my mind she haunts me.  The harder I try and then “fail”, she reminds me that I’m not enough, I’m not “her”, I’m not ever going to keep my house organized, I don’t laugh enough or play enough with my children, I don’t serve enough.  I fall short in her eyes.  Always.  She brings out my ugly, my comparing tendencies, my heartache and insecurities.  She reminds me of who I am not.

So, I keep striving.  Keep trying harder.  Until now, recently, I have heard it within my soul, that longing that there is more than this, that I am missing something.

God is whispering to my heart.

Do I hear Him?  Am I pausing long enough to recognize his voice.  He’s beckoning me to be still and know Him.  Love Him.  Trust Him.  Believe Him.  Rest in Him.

Just Stop Striving


My life is consumed with so many moments that don’t matter.  Yes, managing life is necessary, but should never be consuming.  No…life is about God, loving God, loving my family, loving His people-those all important relationships in my life.

The more I have struggled to find organization, peace, to “get it together”, the more my life has spun out of control.

I have been looking for peace.  When all the while, I have Peace living within me.  Whispering my name.  Waiting for me to respond, to believe.

Too consumed with myself and my lists, I’ve missed it.  And in truth I know life isn’t about me.  But, unfortunately, my life speaks differently.  It’s about God.  It’s about filling my exhausted, weary soul with His spirit, his breath of life.

I’m sitting outside right now listening to those ever present night-time noises, gazing at a magnificent, glowing, serene full moon.




These are the words a weary soul longs to hear, to experience, to believe in.

I am so small.  God is so BIG!  So…well, everything.

I am not.

Lord, help me to see my place in your story, your kingdom, your plans.  Forgive me for making my plans and then trying to include you, rather than trusting in You to create the plan for my life.  Let me seek you.  Always.  I will find ways to go around you.  Sadly.  To busy myself…again.  Please remind me of who You are Lord…again and again.  

Busyness sucks the life out of me.

Slow Down

Say No to the Unnecessary

Say Yes to God

And to those things that fill my soul with joy and bring a smile to my face…

  • Being with my children
  • Connecting with my husband
  • Investing in my family
  • Building friendships
  • Encouraging women
  • Reading God’s word
  • Reading books that I love
  • Writing words that inspire
  • Listening to relaxing music



Seek what your soul has been desiring my dear friend.

He is there.  Waiting to embrace you and fill your weary hearts with an overflowing love. But you will have to pause long enough to hear his gentle whisper.

He is there.  Close your eyes.  Breath deeply.  Rest.  Your mind,  your body, your soul.

Don’t miss this moment.  Don’t replace it with an insignificant one.

Do you feel it?  The deep inner whisper inviting you to Rest…to slow down?

What is your soul longing for?

Don’t miss it.  Especially this season.  Especially now.  Especially today.

Have courage to REST, to breathe, to say NO, to just “be”, to simplify, to say yes to those things that are important.

Today, I am seeking REST.  Please say you will too! Let us leave a legacy that brings peace to others’ weary souls.

Lord, let us mamas make every effort to enter the REST you have called us to.  Give us wisdom and guidance, perspective and truth.  Help us this Christmas Season to be UN-busy.  To stop and smile.  To look at our children with wonderment and adoration.  Help us to model kindness and generosity to our children.  Isn’t that more important than the presents, the shopping, the cultural Christmas norms?  To build their character, OUR character?  Help us to be intentional with our lives-every minute of every day.  Let us not waste what we have been given.  May we seek YOU and to glorify you in all we say and do.  And let us NEVER forget the Son you sent for us to save us from ourselves.  To give us grace and mercy where we need it most and to give us everlasting life with YOU.  Thank you just doesn’t seem enough.  But, may our humble hearts serve you this season with a heart of joy and gratitude.  Amen.

Hebrews 4:11  “Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will perish by following their example of disobedience.”

 Please share how you are seeking REST in your lives today!

Choosing to Stay on the Path

This morning I took Gavin to a camp at our local Nature center.  After we dropped him off, Abba, Cruz and I strolled through the Children’s Garden there.  We were walking along and Abba started veering off.  I told her, “You have to stay on the path, honey.”  She questioned, as most 3 year olds do, “Why?” “Because there are dangers off the path”, I replied. “Why?” “Because they marked out the path before us so that we would be safe and enjoy our journey through the garden.” Continue reading

Who Do I Want My Children To Become?


As I begin to pursue intentional living, I am reminded that I am not only responsible for my own life.  As the mother of three sweet, precious children, I am responsible for helping mold their character and their lives.  What a huge responsibility!  So, I started thinking about two questions that I need to answer.  First, what strengths do I possess that I want to pass on to my children?  And, second, what weaknesses do I struggle with that I would NOT want my children to inherit or learn from me? Whether I realize it or not, I am passing these traits on to my children. So here is my list and my intentional plan to either promote my strengths or change my weaknesses in order to help myself and my children become all that God intends.

  • My strengths…
    1. Faith in Jesus….I will continue to build my relationship with Jesus.  Daily.  I will make reading God’s word a priority and I will let them see me reading and praying as much as possible.
    2. Love of reading…I will read to them daily and have books out around the house for them to access easily.  I will stop what I’m doing (as much as possible) to read to them when they approach me with a book.
    3. Integrity…I will continue to make truth be of utmost importance.
    4. Love of learning…I will look for and provide them with many opportunities to learn.  I will engage their curiosity and their natural enthusiasm for life.
    5. Mercy/compassion…I will show them compassion at all times and model that for them with others.  I will love them unconditionally and empathize with their feelings.
    6. Optimism…I will look for and find the good in people in all circumstances.  I will be thankful and content in all situations.
    7. Love being outside…I will take them to explore nature as much as possible and show them the beauty of God’s creation.
    8. Love to travel…We will travel with them to as many new places as possible, near and far, while we have the opportunity.
    9. Good listener…I will really listen to my children as much as possible.  I especially will look at them  and get to their level when they speak to me.
    10. Good encourager…I will encourage them in all things.  I will build them up with life-giving words.  I will speak truth and encourage them to trust God.
  • My weaknesses…
    1. Fear…I will trust God in all things, at all times.  I will teach them that with God, we need never to be afraid.
    2. Worry…I will work on praying instead of wrestling with worry.  I will grow in my prayer life, remembering to  pray at all times.
    3. People pleaser…I will remember that the only person I need to please is God alone.  He is my judge and my Lord.
    4. Disorganization…I will simplify as much as possible.  I will work on following through with my tasks.  God is a God of order, not chaos.
    5. Too serious sometimes…I will remember to laugh at myself and life.  Stop and enjoy today and smile as much as possible.
    6. Stubborn/prideful..I will acknowledge God’s sovereignty and power in my life.  Knowing how BIG God is, reminds me how small I am.  Pray for humbleness.
    7. Judgmental…I will give the grace that I have been so freely given.  I will daily remind myself where I have been delivered from. Praise Jesus!

Oh, Lord, this is who I want to become.  This is who I want my children to become.  Lord, in my own power and strength, I will never be able to master any of this.  But it is through your grace and mercy that I have the opportunity to grow in these areas.  It is because of your power and generosity that you allow me and my children to grow to become people of strong character.  This is my prayer and my greatest desire…to become more like You.  Thank you for loving me enough to want this for me too.  Amen.