Saturday, March 24, 2012


 "Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, in Aramaiccalled Bethesda, which has five roofed colonnades. In these lay a multitude of invalids—blind, lame, and paralyzed. One man was there who had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had already been there a long time, he said to him, “Do you want to be healed?” The sick man answered him, “Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, and while I am going another steps down before me.” Jesus said to him, “Get up, take up your bed, and walk.”  And at once the man was healed, and he took up his bed and walked. " -John 5:2-9


They were invalid.
I don’t remember catching that before.
They were INVALID.
That hit me SO hard.
I don’t know about you, but sometimes….often times, I feel like I’m invalid.
Because, I don’t know about you, but sometimes God wants me to do something and I feel like I can’t.
I’m too weak. I don’t have enough strength. I’m not mature enough. I’m too self-absorbed. I haven’t been in the prophetic atmosphere long enough.
I’m invalid.
 And it makes me want to scream and/or burst out into tears. I’ve had so many amazing prayers prayed over me about my destiny and my future…and I feel invalid. I’ve had so many amazing Spirit-filled occurrences and prophetic things happen over the past year that neither I nor anyone else truly knows how to make sense of…and I feel invalid. I’ve slipped up, stumbled, and downright fallen….and I feel invalid. I’ve been broken and built up walls around me with the shattered pieces…and I feel invalid.
                When I read John 5 recently, that word made me almost start to cry. I went to bed thinking about how it had hit a tender spot in my heart as well as remembering past experiences with this passage and their significance to what I was dealing with now. I was rudely woken up at 7:50am to the fire alarm going off in my building. I ran out as fast as I could (which resulted in my being dressed in PJ shorts, a tshirt, rainboots&my winter coat). After about 10-15 minutes of standing outside we were allowed to go back inside. I dragged myself back towards my room. My thoughts were focused on getting back to my warm bed and making up those 15 minutes of lost sleep. As I reached for my doorknob, I noticed something that I hadn’t notice in my mad dash out the door. Someone had left a note on my door. It was a printed stationary piece of notepaper. On it read, “God made you as you are to use you as He planned.-J.C. Macauley “. I picked up the note and just stared at it. I was moved not only at the kindness of whoever left this on my door, but also by the fact of how perfectly timed this was. I put the note back on my door where I found it so I could easily see it (&because I was extremely tired and knew I might entirely forget its existence). I shook my head. Sometimes it (actually) scares me how well Jesus knows me.
That note reminded me how a few chapters later in John, Jesus meets another “invalid”. A blind man. Jesus says, “It was neither the sin of this man nor the sin of his parents that he was born blind but that the work of God might be displayed in His life.” Hm.
He sees past our brokenness. It’s not that He doesn’t see it at all. He sees the broknness. He sees why we view ourselves as invalid. But those reasons have all been redeemed through the cross. Sure, He sees it…but He chooses to see how He’s going to redeem and use those factors in our lives for the glory of God. I often forget that….to be honest, I actually forget it most of the time. And each time I remember it gets more and more liberating.

Friday, March 23, 2012

True Sacrifice

Article I wrote for the Faith Focus section in the Waltonian(my school newspaper) =) :

“Jesus looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the offering box, and he saw a poor widow put in two small copper coins. And he said, ‘Truly, I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them. For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.’ ”Luke 21:1-4 ESV
            One would think that giving more in quantity would actually be giving more of an offering. As always, Jesus had to break the standard view people held onto. The story of the widow in Luke is an example of that. Normally Luke 21:1-4 is discussed in reference to tithing and giving to the church. There is definite value in this interpretation, but the story goes so much deeper than that. This biblical passage is about sacrificing out of our weakness.
            Often times, God asks to do things that are not easy for us. I say “for us” because what is not easy for one person may be completely manageable for another. I also say “for us” because people carry personal wounds and issues that are by no means identical to another’s. God may call two students to Eastern University, and one may have that language requirement come easily to them and the other may not. God may start revealing wounds and bringing healing to a student who was not even aware that they harbored such deep cuts. What God wants from us is not always easy to give Him. It can result in worry, guilt, brooding, tears, pain, and sleepless nights. Then when we give Him what He asked for in the midst of these, we think it’s not as valuable of a sacrifice. The thoughts, “I’m not as good at this class as so-and-so”, “I don’t have as much faith as so-and-so” pass through our minds. We adopt such thoughts as truth and become downcast.
What we don’t realize is, is that Jesus recognizes when things are not easy for us. He knows us inside and out. When God asks you to do something and you have a hard time giving Him what He asked, He’s not surprised. In fact, because He knows the poverty of your situation, He honors what you give Him. The widow in Luke gave more than everyone else because what she gave was more difficult for her to give. What the widow put in the offering was truly a sacrifice. 

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

(Somewhat) Speechless

I’m a writer.
I’m an actress.
I’m a Communication Studies major.
And right now,
I’m at a loss for words.
I’m dealing with really difficult, stressful, draining emotions that I can’t articulate to myself, others, or even God.
I’m going to God with my frustrations, but I wind up exasperated.
And right now,
I’m vulnerable.
I’m someone who relies so much on words to express myself, but all my words seem to just be a jumble of the alphabet.
I’m someone who hates debate but still feels the need to defend myself constantly.
I’m an artist who can only express myself through the tears that stream down my face, when I allow them to.  
And right now,
I’m choosing to believe that He who is in me is greater than he who is in the world.
He takes me on walks and sings me Disney songs.
He makes sure that I get a break from the stress of whatever it is that I can’t articulate.
He sends friends to encourage me and make me laugh when I’m stressed.
He gives me words to express how I have no words because He knows how much my total lack of words frustrates me.
He happily stays by my side, even when I try to walk away.
He holds my hand.
And right now,
I’m realizing that maybe I can’t speak the way I would like to because I’m finally starting to take my heavenly Father’s advice when He wraps me in His arms and says, “Sssssh….ssssshhhh….it’s going to be OK….ssshhh…”

Friday, March 2, 2012

Every Captive Free

I vividly remember when I first heard Every Captive Free. I was sitting on the floor at OnethingNJ 2010 and Matt Gilman sang it as the offering song. I sat there and as I listened to the lyrics, they penetrated my heart so deeply…I had no idea what to do. I had never felt such a thick stirring in my heart and I just didn’t know what to do with it. I was just confused. So I sat there…and as best as I knew how…I listened and received from the Lord.
For the spirit of the Lord God is upon me
Because He has anointed me to preach good news
Take away all of your sorrow and your mourning
To give the oil of joy and a garment of praise
For I have seen you in your captivity
And I will open up every prison door
So arise and shine for your light has come
And my glory is rising upon you
And I am dancing over you
And I am singing over you, songs of deliverance
And I will set every captive free
You will be with me…
            It wasn’t until months later that I found out that this song was based in Isaiah. And it wasn’t until a month or so after that did I swallow my pride, admit I didn’t know the song was based in Isaiah and asked where it was(at this point it was almost a year after I had first heard Every Captive Free). Indeed, Isaiah 61 :1-3  says that
“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor, he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn; to grant to those who mourn in Zion-to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit.”

I remember thinking, “This is me. This is total me. This is totally my life. Oh my gosh, this is me. I never knew this was in here but this is totally my life.” God quietly said to me, “Alicia, I have been working with you for almost 6 years to bring you to the point of fulfillment of a promise that you never knew existed.”
He’s so faithful.
I am currently in a season that involves God working through hurts and burdens that were a result of the death of my Dad 7 years ago(today). I really thought I had worked through everything. I really thought I was done. I found out in September that I wasn’t. That’s an entirely different blog post for an entirely different time. Right now, I’m working through a lot of the grief that the teenage Alicia couldn’t deal with because it was too much for her. It’s a season full of tears and pain, but one that I’m not facing a lone.
I know this season will end with new revelations about His love and His plan for me. He promised He would heal me. He promised. He promised He would give me a garment of praise instead of mourning. I know that’s exactly what He’s doing, even as I write.
About a month ago, I was home for Nathan’s NJHSA Winter Concert. At the end of the night, Jeremy, Grace, Kristen and I got to pray over our friend Daniel, and then all of a sudden it just turned into a prayer ministry time that lasted for at LEAST an hour. Mrs. G(my high school drama teacher & Daniel’s mom)joined in  near the end. As Dan prayed over Kristen, Mrs. G, Jeremy&Grace prayed over me. Mrs. G said, “I see threads of gold. Yes…I see these golden threads. You sew these golden threads into these dark and gray situations because you said “yes” to Him.” At the end of the prayer she hugged me and said, “Yeah, clear as day, I just saw these golden threads. I don’t know what that’s about.” I laughed and said, “I’ll let you know when I know.” (Note, all of this happened in the middle of a parking lot in the freezing cold…IT WAS AWESOME!)
I prayed into it and God connected the dots for me as I wrote out scripture in the background of a piece of art I created (based on a picture that God gave me over the summer of my garment of praise).
“Listen O daughter, consider&give ear: Forget your people and your father’s house. The King is enthralled by your beauty; honor Him, for He is your Lord. All glorious is the princess with her chamber; HER GOWN IS INTERWOVEN WITH GOLD…” (Psalm 45:10-11&13)
He’s bringing me to the fulfillment of a promise that I never knew existed. He’s setting every captive free, and that includes me. Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil….for you are with me.