Faith, life, Parenting, relationships, Spiritual Encouragement, Uncategorized
Comments 13

Can I Shine for Jesus When my Dog Poops on the Floor?




My dogs pooped in the hall. Both of them.

My cat puked in the laundry room.

I argued with my daughter.

I used bad words in said argument.

I didn’t wash my face last night.

I let my kids eat pop tarts.

I ate two desserts after dinner.

I’m having a hard time forgiving someone.

I fear I’m losing a friend and I’m not losing weight.

In fact I think I gained weight last week.

I’m a little fearful of what the future holds.

I let insecurity get the best of me.

I’ve said the word stupid about 40 times today (remember the dogs?).

I’ve already ranted and it’s not yet noon.

Since early this morning, I’ve worked on the same sentence over and again in my head and it’s just beginning to make sense:

Let your your light shine bright before men,

not so that they can better see you,

but so that they can better see the Light 

that cannot dim in storm or shadow or sorrow or

even in the fog of mediocrity,

that others may see the right path for their steps to follow

because you were beside them…shining a little light.

My society dictates that I should be able to use butter in my cooking like Paula Deen but have abs like Jillian Michaels.

I should, if I choose to stay at home rather than pursue a career, have plenty of time to organize my pantry, plan dates with my husband, read to my children, grow my own food, raise my own chickens, bake from scratch, never buy anything with high fructose corn syrup, learn photography and consistently present my picture-perfect life in amber-tinted tones on Instagram.

As a Christian I should know my purpose, never become discouraged, enjoy Hillsong worship music, write hand-written thank-yous, never sin when I argue, show up on time with the answers completed for Bible Study.

I will always be an utter failure.

Especially in regards to Jillian’s abs and Hillsong Pandora radio. Never. Gonna. Happen.

But I will keep turning toward the Light of God’s word because I really don’t want to conform to anyone else’s idea of perfect.

He tells me I am complete, lacking in nothing. {James 1:4}

He tells me I am qualified. {Colossians 1:12}

He tells me I am a gift and an important part of future. {John 17:2-24}

He tells me I can praise him and look for him and cry to him. {Psalm 116}

So when I burn the cookies, scream at the dogs, wail over the sixteenth load of laundry, He knows what I really want

to be accepted

to be enough

to be useful

to be loved.

Jesus knows me at my best and my worst and really neither extreme fazes him, impresses him or turns him off. He forgets my sin and knows my name.

He smiles when I come to him covered and disheveled in the rubbish of this world. He rubs my face gently, removes the grit and reveals the glow.

Because when I turn to Jesus, look full in his face and allow his grace to touch me, then I shine His light.

In the same way, let your light shine before others,

that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

Matthew 5:16  

Don’t forget this:

Jesus has done the work for you!

Stop trying so hard.

Let yourself be.

Let yourself be loved by Jesus.

Let his truth be invested in your spirit and give you joy

where there once was a mess of anger,

peace in the places where confusion reigned,

hope in his salvation,

and grace to get through the day–


Life is messy.
And I’m so over resisting it!
Anytime we craft or create art or cook dinner, we make a mess! Anything worthwhile is messy. A friend (one who doesn’t like cooking, nor is she a foodie) mentioned to me that the reason she doesn’t cook is that it messes up her kitchen! Now anyone who knows me, knows I love food, cooking and all that’s involved in eating and that includes messing up the kitchen, so when she said that, my internal rebutter screamed “That’s what kitchens are for!”
And guess what? God’s been whispering to me “Hey Alyssa, this life is your kitchen! It’s supposed to get messy! Because it’s in the mess that the magic happens.” Then he says something like, “Chill out, will ya?”
I’ll confess something right here, if you’ve read far enough to get to this point: I feel guilty.
I’m almost three years from the day we were struck down on the highway by a drunk driver. Nearly three years from when I lay sipping tiny bits of oxygen and giving my life completely into the sovereign hand of Jesus. Nearly three years from waking up, days later, in ICU and given the prognosis: You’ve got a long journey ahead, a big recovery, but you’re going to be fine. Normal again.
And the thing that makes me feel guilty is this. As much as my life changed, as much as I breathe gratitude every single day that I get to be here a little longer with my kiddos and my sweet husband, I am still so flawed, so much the same, so prone to self-criticism and frustration and pettiness. My life is back to normal, for the most part, and sometimes that makes me angry. I want to always feel the ethereal glow of gratitude that framed those months when the pain was unreal but life was cherished.
I am the same me.
And that’s what God intended.
The same me…facing him…asking for more of him, less of me, and more life.


  1. Alyssa, I needed to hear this today. Thank you for sharing so much encouragement and transparency. I’m barely holding on this week and it’s already Monday, and I keep telling myself “Grace. My identity is in the cross.” But sometimes it’s so easy to beat myself up for my failures, and sometimes it’s SO easy to believe the people who tell me all week long “you’re a nobody” because in this cut throat city people don’t shy away from beating you down if you let them. 😉 You put words to so much of what I’m feeling and that same guilt I carry for being healed four years ago but still being so flawed and imperfect all this time later and still being so stuck in ugly situations when I know how precious life is! THANK YOU for this wonderful word of truth and hope. May God bless you and fill your heart with encouragement!

    • Hi Kim, Thank you so much for sharing your heart here. I had a really tough season when I was pregnant with my third child, after 9/11 and after a miscarriage. I was a hormonal nightmare and battled anxiety. We were nearly losing our house and I felt like I was losing my mind. I told myself every day, “I am God’s girl, and that’s all that matters.” I needed the basic truth to get me through. It’s okay to be there, to be thin and need his covering. Prayers for you – keep leaning into his grace.

  2. Thank God for grace. We need it perpetually. I’m with you, sister…screwing up every day and grateful for the chance to do the same tomorrow but the hope that I might be a little less mess. Thanks for sharing!

    • Lisa, So right you are. Every day! An on-line friend just wrote a book, Spiritual Misfit, by Michelle De Rusha, and she calls grace a mulligan, a do-over. I love that God keeps keeping us going. Grace. It’s good.

  3. I love this times a gazillion. I found you through the Momastery links. My cats leave me “gifts” too…. and they are quite generous…

    • Ha! Thanks for reading! Our poor kitty has since died and oh, even with the challenges he presented, we do miss him! He had a tumor in his digestive system. Now I have a kitten that yowls whenever we hold her and has ruined my curtains… Oh, well. Bless you (even in the messes!)

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