Sacrifice.

sac·ri·fice
[sak-ruh-fahys] –noun: the surrender or destruction of something prized or desirable for the sake of something considered as having a higher or more pressing claim.

I find it interesting that the definition for the word “sacrifice” says that we surrender something “prized or desirable…”

Sometimes we feel like what we have right now is the best of the best. That boyfriend or girlfriend. That job or business. That chunky booty. For so long, we’ve become content with the current and, eventually, we begin to believe that it has become our “prized or desirable.”

The second part of that definition, however, gets to the good stuff.

“…for the sake of something considered having a HIGHER or MORE PRESSING claim.”

Sacrificing, in itself, sets us up to receive better, more, greater than what we had before. Everyone may not have to sacrifice in the same areas (i.e. if you have a great relationship/marriage, you don’t sacrifice that for “greener grass. Sitcho butt down.)

But those areas in which we desire for more, we must lose or surrender something that we may feel is already a prized possession.

Before the clock strikes midnight and brings in a new year,  I want us all to consider what we would be willing to sacrifice to gain what it is that we want. Really consider it.

And Jesus called [to Him] the throng with His disciples and said to them, If anyone intends to come after Me, let him deny himself [forget, ignore, disown, and lose sight of himself and his own interests] and take up his cross, and follow Me. Mark 8:34, Amplified

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. Romans 12:1, New KJV

I like the fact that the bible says that it is our “reasonable service” in Romans 12. Reasonable means to be moderate, something that is capable of doing or expecting.

What God expects of us, when we “sacrifice”, is reasonable, doable, and in most cases, moderate.

Surely, it doesn’t feel that way when we have to give up what we’re used to or what our flesh likes. But when we consider that what we gain is much greater than what we feel like we are losing.

In the New Year, I plan to sacrifice. Yes, it’s going to hurt like hell, but what I plan to gain is much, much greater than what I feel I’m losing.

Join me, wont you?

On the Chase,

Alisha L.

The End of an Era

This is the end.
The last of the last.
The last time I will ever write. In this decade, that is.

The last few days I’ve mulled over what to write about in my last blog for 2009 and this decade. Should I give some inspirational tale to motivate individuals to be their best in 2010? Should I come up with some preacher-esque rhyme? (You’ll do it again in 2010!) Should I give a run down of all of the good, bad, and ugly of the last 10 years to bore readers with?

Transparency, I find is the best route.

As I sit in my Brooklyn, New York hotel, the 9th floor, watching the fluffy white snow fall, I can’t help but be eternally grateful for where God has brought me in the last 365 days. This time last year (New Years 2008), I was such in a broken state: heart-broken, financially broken, emotionally broken. Suicidal thoughts plagued my last days of 2008 and as I entered 2009, alone, broken, and fearful, I felt that my life, in no way, could improve beyond my current station in life.

Only a few people know this story, but on New Years Eve 2008, I had an encounter with God. Not one of those Baptist fit encounters, where I’m screaming, hollering, acting like I’m having a seizure, but a real encounter.  As I fought with all kinds of demonic attacks on my mind as the clock struck 12 and we entered 2009, I wept. I wailed. I cried out for God to step in now, for if he didn’t, I would do what Satan had been trying to get me to do all week-long. Take my life.

As I cried out for God, a deep, internal cry like never before, a cool, rushing wind entered my apartment. I immediately stopped crying. Confused as to why suddenly there was wind blowing in my apartment, the voice of God clearly spoke to me: cover yourself for I am the God who covers thee. I mustered the strength to grab a nearby blanket and covered myself as I laid on the floor.  For the next eternity (or as it seemed, it was only two hours) the spirit of God spoke to me, audibly, about past hurts, past mistakes, provided answers to an entire decade worth of pain, self-inflicted and otherwise, and how to fix each and every one.

I spent two hours under a heavy, wool blanket (even my head was covered) but the air in the blanket didn’t grow stale or stuffy. The air, cool, and flowing sustained as God did spiritual surgery on my heart and mind. When he was done, I came from under the blanket and was amazed. Everything in my apartment had a glow to it. The white walls reverberated with light. The Christmas tree lights blinked brighter; everything I could see was illuminated. As I sat on my couch trying to get my natural mind to wrap around what had happened, the only thing I could think to do was to go to sleep. So I did.

I tell you that story because as of January 1, 2009, God took me on a journey that I never thought was possible. I made immediate efforts to be a better daughter to my dad (and I’m still working on that), be more open with my mom, to let go of past pains from a sudden and unexpected breakup, to truly, truly forgive my daughter’s father for not being there for her…and as I made real efforts to make improvements, God took two steps ahead of me setting me up for opportunity after opportunity to make things right.

By March of 2009, I began my manuscript, Pieces, that many of you know I’ve been attempting to get representation by a literary agent. While that is still an ongoing process, God has moved mightily, allowing me to gain wisdom and insight that no man, book, or institution could provide. He’s been the inspiration behind every blog, every piece of writing that I’ve produced this year. He’s allowed that one night stand with him *wink* in the first two hours of 2009 matter. He refused to let me sit back idly and wait for a moment to be better. He’s held my hand all year-long, restoring me, restoring relationships.

So today, like every day of 2009, I choose to move forward. I choose to be happy. I choose to not be no punk for satan and his antics. He don’t run nothing. 2009 was an amazing year of growth for me. I’m not perfect, I still have sooooo far to go, but to know that I can enter 2010 with a whole heart, whole mind, whole spirit, nothing missing, nothing broken; that is something worth celebrating.

So, now my friends, you know why Alisha is always crunk, always happy, always saying, “it’s just not that serious…” because I’m free! Nothing in this world can steal my joy. Nothing. I’m a kingdom kid. Jesus is my big brother. I don’t have to fight for anything that is rightfully mine. And in that, I keeps it moving.  Moving forward.

2010 is here. Superficiality will not take you higher in God. Putting on a facade for others will not heal you. An encounter with Him is awaiting if you’re ready to move forward. Are you ready?

There’s something I’d like to share with you. Simple song called “Moving Forward” by Ricardo Sanchez feat. Hezekiah Walker. You make all things new, and I will follow you…Forward. Listen carefully.

Welcome, 2010.