Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Right Where I Am {Series}... Alison

Today's guest writer is a dear friend and sister of my heart.  We've become close friends through blogging, emailing, and facebook.  She has been an incredible encouragement to me in the time I have known her.  Please read her words and be blessed by her wonderful heart!  
Q:  Would you please share some basic facts about yourself; first name, age (only if desired), a few loves/hobbies, etc…

A: My name is Alison (often called Ali). I am 19 years old. I’m passionate about Jesus Christ, photography, music, biblical femininity, and the friendships the Lord gives me.
Q:  What is your current role/occupation?  Please feel free to share details!
A: Stay-at-home daughter, serving my family in a very unique situation (disabled father, working mother). I am currently studying photography and am running my own photography business.
Q:  Did you choose this way of life?  If so, why?
A: I chose to stay home, study photography, and create my own business by way of God’s very evident leading and provision. However, I did not choose the role of serving my family in our very different circumstance… that was entirely God’s doing.  :)  I am very grateful that He can turn hard things into good and can redeem any situation for His glory and purposes, and also that He gives daily grace to help me do my part in doing my daily tasks here at home.
Q:  There are many misconceptions about women who stay at home instead of moving out and going to college/having a full-time career.  What would you say in response to someone who criticized or was confused by your decision to do things differently?
A:  I suppose I would start by telling them that I am certain I am where God wants me. Some might be satisfied with that, but if not, I would continue by saying that God has a different plan for each individual, and that true success is found by seeking that plan and, by His sufficient grace, following it… not by following a formula set in place by the world. While college is His plan for some, it isn’t His plan for all, and neither is a career outside of the home. I would conclude by saying that God has continually solidified that I made the right decision in following His leading.  
And if the person would not hear me out and be satisfied with my answer, I would simply agree to disagree, knowing that I am living for an Audience of One anyway. :)
Q:  Do you see opportunities to use the gifts God has given you right where you are?  Or are you “wasting your talents and wasting away” as many would believe?
A:  A resounding “yes!” to the first question! You can read about my passion for my photography on my ‘about’ page on my photography blog. I have also been approached to contribute my work in a few different ministries. Aside from photography, I am able to use my love for cooking often to bless my family in meeting their everyday need for nourishment, as well as using my passion for writing on my blog. While I may not be living in the limelight, God certainly brings opportunities to use me…and for that I am grateful. To Him be all the glory. I do not feel as though I am being wasted.
Q:  Many girls go to college for an education, but many also go to meet more men (I’m not making this up… I’ve had it said to me by girls with those intentions).  And many couples meet during the college years.  Since you are taking a different approach, how on earth will you ever find a spouse? *sarcasm note*
A:  I will not hide the fact that I have actually asked myself this question…maybe not with the college aspect thrown in, but just knowing that I’m not around large groups of young men very often. Whenever I start to fret, God’s Spirit is faithful to gently remind me that He is not to be put in a box. He is not limited by how many people I know or don’t know. If it is His will for me to marry, He will bring it all about perfectly, and He will have no trouble… unless I get in the way. *Lord, help me!*
Q:  What kind of body image do you have?  Have you ever struggled with confidence or thinking you are beautiful?  If yes, then why?  If/when negative thoughts attack you, have you found something that helps you see your worth?
A:  I’ll be vulnerable with you: not a very good one. That is a struggle for me. I have struggled with insecurity not just in my physical appearance, but in my inner self, as well. And it is one of the most painful things I have ever known. To feel shame toward who you are, regarding anything you cannot change (face shape, voice, eye color, personality, etc.) is so hard. It is difficult for me to know how to offer other ladies advice on this subject because I am still learning so much in this area, myself!
I will say this: when I am struggling, the most comforting Truth for me to meditate on is the FACT that God created me exactly as He did for His divine purpose. God is never wrong. God never makes mistakes. God is not the creator of ugliness. The Bible proclaims that we are made in the very image of God, and therefore, because we are made in the Image of Ultimate Beauty, we are beautiful. And our height, weight, face shape, hair color, acne scars, mannerisms, and so on have no bearing on that fact. We are inherently beautiful because we are made to reflect the image of the Highest, Most Beautiful Being of all.
That said, I realize that every women has a built-in longing to be found beautiful, inside and out. And I have come to believe that this is because that longing can ONLY be fulfilled in Jesus Christ. The opinions of others (yes, men included), our popularity, our wardrobe, the number on the scale, and other such things can NEVER resolve that inner consuming passion to be found beautiful like Jesus can. The knowledge that Jesus finds us valuable and proclaims us as masterpieces, as well as knowing His great love for us, satisfies us as nothing else ever can. I truly believe that this inner desire found in every woman was purposefully placed there as a mechanism to continually draw us back to Christ Himself to be our Ultimate Satisfaction. And you can quote me on that. :)
Q:  What do you hope to accomplish in your future as you pursue God’s will for your life? 
A:  While I have my own dreams and goals, when you boil it all down, I simply want to fulfill the two greatest commandments Jesus gave: to love the Lord my God will all my heart, soul, mind, and strength, and to love others as I love myself. I want to invest in eternity. I want to grow in Christlikeness. I want to know my Creator and the Lover of my Soul and see Him face to face one day…and feel His arms around me in the most satisfying hug I’ve ever known. :)
Q:  If you could share anything you’ve learned with the ladies reading this blog, what would it be?
A:  Wow. What a question! My answer? GOD IS FAITHFUL. I have gone through some very painful circumstances in life, and every time He has proved Himself faithful and His promises trustworthy to me. It’s hard to put it into words, really. I don’t want anyone to think that I never doubt Him…the enemy does spring that one on me on occasion. However, something along the lines of this quote always comes to mind:

With being born three months prematurely, seeing my father endure a life-altering physical disability since I was 12 years old (and the countless changes this produced), and many more trials throughout my 19 years of life, I can still say that my God remains faithful. Even when I don’t understand the purpose of His plan. He is faithful.


Blythe said...

Bless her heart. I enjoyed reading this. What a beautiful girl inside and out!

Anonymous said...

Thank you, sweet Rae, for giving me this opportunity to share my heart. Praying that God will somehow use my feeble efforts and finite words to glorify Himself. Thank you for your intro, too... wow. Just know that you have probably blessed me tenfold! <3

Also, to Blythe: glory to God! and thank you so much. you are so kind! God's blessings to you!

Ashley B. said...

Oh...beautiful answers, Alison! I can tell you that I believe you are very beautiful person both inside and out, therefore there is no reason to feel insecure about it. God bless! (And thank you, Rachel, for sharing this with us)

Anonymous said...

Thanks you so much! How kind you are.