7.14.2018

The Ultimate Plan Keeper

Today is our off day from summer training and our time to sleep in and recover from the long week of conditioning.

But since I am one of those crazy people who loves to workout, I went for a short run this morning before heading to my favorite local smoothie place for a delicious acai bowl. 

As I sat in my room this afternoon and studied, I knew I wanted to get a little more of a workout in so I headed over to our on-campus student gym only to realize I hadn't thought to check the special summer hours and it had closed fifteen minutes earlier.

Mildly annoyed and a bit disappointed, I headed back to my car and called my mom. I didn't have any other plans (I was avoiding studying more for my upcoming chemistry exam) and I was looking forward to getting a bit of a workout in.

As I sat in my car talking with my mom and googling parks in Lexington, I stumbled upon a park just fifteen minutes south of where I was and with some good yelp reviews, I decided to head there.

I arrived at the park and followed the signs to the trails. I began walking through a beautiful forest following many different trails. As I walked along, butterflies flew around me and a gentle breeze swayed through the trees on this warm summer afternoon. I stumbled down one of the many trails I had been on and found a wide creek. Kids were splashing with their parents and the sunlight made the water sparkle.

I took my shoes off and stepped into the cool ankle deep water. As Hillsong Young and Free's new song "PEACE" came streaming through my headphones I felt such peace and joy at this unexpected gift I had stumbled upon.

I continued to explore the different trails, the bridge over the creek, and the birds and butterflies around me. I was enjoying every minute of it. And as I walked along the different paths, I felt God speaking over me. 

He said, "look Allie, look what you would have missed if you let disappointment win...look what you would have never found if you didn't let me change your plans...look what you wouldn't have experienced if you didn't step out of what you wanted."

Wow. Such powerful truths spoken to my heart from such a simple change of plans. I love the way the Holy Spirit speaks.

You see, when something changes and life looks completely different from what we had planned or expected to happen, we are so quick to get disappointed in God. 

When we don't get the job, don't make the lineup, fail a class, lose a battle...when life looks nothing like we think it should look...we get annoyed, disappointed, and we stop looking to Him.

We go home, throw in the towel, and say it's just too much. We bury our head in pillows and vow to never leave the house again. We're just too disappointed. Too annoyed. And way too heartbroken. 

But what if...in these moments of complete disaster and complete chaos of our own plans, we step back and let the ultimate Plan Keeper take charge? What if...we hand over our broken and shattered life and let the ultimate Builder re-build it?

Everything would change. Becuase His plans are so much better. His ways are so much higher. His love for us is so deep and everlasting. And He makes beauty from the biggest messes.

This is what the Lord says: “You will be in Babylon for seventy years. But then I will come and do for you all the good things I have promised, and I will bring you home again. For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.  In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me. I will be found by you,” says the Lord. “I will end your captivity and restore your fortunes. I will gather you out of the nations where I sent you and will bring you home again to your own land.” Jeremiah 29:10-13

They would be in exile for seventy years, but God still had plans. Good plans. Plans far greater than anyone could have imagined or expected.

I have been trying so hard to be in control. To manage everything. I am a planner who is obsessed with colored pens and an Instagram worthy planner...and where things don't go according to my perfectly planned sheets, my anxiety spikes and I feel such overwhelming defeat. But the Lord is working on me...and showing me that His plans for my life are the only plans that matter. 

And tonight and every night? I can rest in that. And in His promises that what He has planned for me is better than even my craziest dreams.

I am so thankful today for such a simple change of my plans that opened my eyes to see that I need to turn everything over to Him... because He's on the throne and He knows exactly what He is doing.






6.28.2018

Life Here Lately (Summer 2018)

Hi Friends!

Sweet summertime is here and yet again I find myself in the middle of Kentucky. Taking classes and working hard in the gym to get the strength back that I lost when I got so sick a couple months ago.

As I work with my doctor to figure out medicines and just how I can get my body to be as "healthy" as possible, I'm reminded what a gift it is to be healthy enough to be back in the gym and able to do life again even if it isn't always easy and some days I just have to trust God will use this sickness for good.

Some very good changes have happened in the past couple of months and I seriously cannot wait until I can share everything God is doing to restore our family. Please pray hard friends, these next couple of weeks could bring many possible outcomes and I would love if you would pray for complete restoration.

I had a chance to head to the beach for a day in May to celebrate my Rosie's birthday. It could not have been a better way to take time to treasure my sweet Rose. I miss her and her sweet spunky laugher. Thankful for videos and pictures and all the little moments of seeing her presence daily.






As I'm sure you can imagine I have been a crazy partier this summer (haha). Mostly I am in bed by 8 so I can get up at 5am for weight training. And while it's hard to get out of bed that early, my lungs can breathe so much better when I get up early and do some sort of exercise right away. It's the little things, y'all.

I love how God just shows up at perfect moments. There's been so many things and details I could have never planned that have just fallen into place. I spent many nights in February and March trying to figure out if God wanted me in Lexington over summer or to take a trip to China or just to be home. Well God made it abundantly clear when I got sick and couldn't complete two classes that I needed to be here in Lexington to finish them over summer.

I'm so glad I'm here. The conditioning, the in the gym training, the school, it's hard but it's so so worth it. I'm working on savoring every moment no matter how insignificant it may seem. A few times a week I head to a beautiful park just off campus to walk, pray, and enjoy being outside in the beautiful sunshine. On one of my walks last week God showed me this beautiful heart hidden in the clouds.

It was hidden by the powerful sun rays until I took a picture of the sky and notice that I could see a heart. It reminds me that Jesus is always with us even when we feel overwhelmed and blinded by what is going on in front of us and all around us in this crazy world.

There's been some other small details and events that I can't publicly share that have shown me so powerfully that God is working in my life and always has been. I have moments where my heart aches and tears stream down my face and I long to rewind a few years and take back the life I adored. But I'm slowly learning that true joy can be found in the darkest midnight hour and the hardest moments of grief.

I have this fire inside of me to go to China and be part of the work God is doing there but I keep feeling His nudge telling me that I am right where he wants me to be. Trusting wholeheartedly that He's got this and that He will call me to China at the perfect time.

I sometimes feel out of place in this world and then realize what a blessing that is to feel that way. Becuase that means that I am growing closer to Christ and longing and hoping for His kingdom. I don't need to fit in here on earth. I don't need to be boy crazy, go out and party, or be with the cool crowd. I'm here for one purpose and that's to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ. While I sometimes find myself slipping into comparison and wanting to fit in, I know all I need is to run to the One who knows every detail about me and has called me to so much more than I could ever imagine.

Anyway...hope you enjoyed this little random update. Thanks for sticking with me and praying so faithfully for our family for so long. I love blogging but sometimes it takes the back burner to everything else that is going on in my life. Thank you to everyone who has been walking through this wilderness with me even though I haven't been able to share much. I'm so thankful for this group of friends and believers and family in Jesus. Y'all are the best.

Much beep,
Allie

5.01.2018

Tomorrow

 


We were crushed and overwhelmed
beyond our ability to endure, and
we thought we would never live through it.
In fact, we expected to die. But as a result we stopped
relying on ourselves and learned to rely only on God,
who raises the dead. And He did rescue us 
from mortal danger, and He will
rescue us again. We have placed
our confidence in Him, and He will
continue to rescue us. And you are helping
us by praying for us. Then many people will give
thanks because God has graciously answered so
many prayers for our safety.
2 Corinthians 1:8-11

Tomorrow is a big day. 

All prayers will be so appreciated. I believe God will move the mountains and restore what's been wrongfully taken. We are leaning on Him and relying fully on Him.

He is faithful to provide.


4.26.2018

The Holy Ground of Heartbreak

Last week I got a call. It was one in the morning and when I saw who it was, tears immediately came and I knew what my friend was about to tell me.

And as I sat on my bed sobbing with my dear friend on the line, my heart was literally breaking for hers.

An hour earlier her little sister had received her miracle. She was healed and whole and with Jesus in Heaven. Her family was surrounding her as she stormed Heaven's gates and joined the angels.

And there at that moment, I felt every emotion I felt four years ago as I remembered walking the same painful road, the road that never ends and the hurt that cuts so deeply.

And I remembered a year and a half ago when in one moment my life was shattered and our entire world was literally stolen. And the heartbreak that cut so deep...when I had no words to describe what had happened and what is still happening today.

But there in the heartbreak...in the seemingly darkest and hardest moments...one finds the holiest of places. It's the ground where heartbreak and supernatural hope are literally intertwined into a beautiful picture of the Father's immense love for us.

Because in the deepest heartbreak, the presence of God literally comes in and surrounds you with Himself. His holiness. 

There are tears yet overwhelming peace...helplessness yet secure comfort...despair yet the deepest hope one can ever find.

I think Isabella put it perfectly in her post, "here we are...utterly broken...and experiencing that reality so tangibly. He's so close. We're hurting so deep. We're in the wilderness, and even still, His presence is immeasurably thicker than the mountains and the seas that threaten to enclose on every side."

And as we talked through our tears, we praised Him together. We may have been separated by half the country, but we were together. Sobbing together in spirit. And there...in that midnight hour full of heartbreak...we worshipped Him.

The darkest hour of the night when surrounded by total darkness...total heartbreak...He was there with His light, and His hope, and His presence... and we were together on this Holy ground.

This journey which is so hard. There is no guidebook. No mile markers. It's an unpaved overgrown road no one wants to walk.

But here we are. Surrounded by darkness but in this darkness we find His presence filling it with light. And here in the heartbreak surrounded by holiness, we will celebrate. We will celebrate Gianna and her life. Because her life is touching so many around the world.




She is a warrior. A fighter. A beautiful miracle who has brought so much sunshine to so many and continues to change so many with her radiant joy.

Our hearts are broken, but here in this brokenness, we have the ultimate Healer. The one who can bind up any wound and heal any scar. And the One who surrounds us with His presence on the most broken of days.

When nothing seems to make sense and life feels shattered, He brings us comfort and hope that can only come from Him.


So here we are. This overwhelming peace in the middle of helplessness. This comfort in the middle of uncertainty.  But most of all there is hope. Overwhelming...unrelenting...hope.

Because here in this heartbreak, we are walking together on holy ground that is filled with Him.

Together we will walk on our knees day by day until one day when we will all be reunited in Heaven.

And what a beautiful day that will be.

Cannelongo family, know we are praying and thinking about you every moment. Our hearts are broken with yours yet we know this broken path is filled to the brim with hope. We walk alongside you and trust that God has amazing plans even when they don't make sense. Keep praising Him and keep knowing He is good even in this heartbreak. Celebrating Gianna along with you because her life is so so worth being celebrated. We love and beep you all so much.




4.20.2018

When It Doesn't Seem Good

I had an entire post written for Good Friday. I was ready and prepared to reflect and share all the meaningful moments that have happened on Good Fridays in the past. Carlie's heart surgery, celebrating with Rosie, Pre-approval for Adam, etc etc. All the beautiful and "good" moments.

But instead the Thursday before Good Friday I got sick. And now, three Fridays later, I'm still battling this sickness. I've gone to multiple doctors and with a few tests in the next couple of weeks, I'm hoping to find some answers.  And as the sickness carried on from what seemed like a stomach bug became something more serious I wondered just how long it would take for me to feel "good" again.

And two hours away from me I hear the cries from a courtroom. The prayer of hope. And the desire for truth to prevail. I anxiously wait for the text...the text of prayers answered...the movement of something that's been so stagnant and so under enemy territory. But the text doesn't come and another month carries on and I wonder again how any of this "good."

And halfway across the country, a little girl is fighting for her life. What seemed like a simple sickness one day turned into a seizure and a cardiac arrest and is now fighting for her life surrounded by her family. This little girl who is such a warrior and has fought through so many heart surgeries and battled through so much. This family who loves so fiercely and so freely and so beautifully...who is such an amazing family. And as I watch them surround their daughter and sister's bed, my heart is literally breaking because this is the farthest thing from "good".

But I'm wondering... maybe our view of "good" has been clouded by the lens of this world. The world tells us that it's only good when classes are easy, best friends are around you, and your dreams are being filled. The world tells us that when we're happy and healthy we're blessed. When we post our bible studies on Instagram and spend afternoons in cute coffee shops with cute little friends. But is that really good?

As I've texted with my friend, the sister of the little girl who is fighting, I've sat in my room sobbing. I've been in her shoes. twice. Wondering...waiting...and crying out to God.  And as I've spent the last three weeks in this dorm room I'm learning. I'm learning what "good" really is.

Missing this laughter filling our house

As followers of Jesus, we're called to see our life through a heavenly lens. And the standards and the perspective from eternity are so much different than the standards of this world. 

Maybe when our hearts are breaking and life feels destroyed, is really when Jesus steps in and becomes the good. When nothing here in our lives on earth seems physically "good," maybe that's when we start to fully rely on the Lord to be our hope... to be our strength... to be our joy.

And maybe when we do that? maybe we draw closer to the Lord than we ever have before. Maybe when everything you thought brought you happiness is stripped away... you find a pure and unrelenting joy in Christ and in Christ alone.

And suddenly life is good. So good. So much better than you could have ever asked for. And not because your dreams are suddenly fulfilled or your sickness suddenly disappears but because you are emptied of the world and filled with Him and Him alone.

On my lowest days. When sickness clouds my view and texts remind me of how many are fighting for their lives, I open my closet door.

And there taped to the door are the prayers, the verses, the times I poured my heart out to God on paper, and the written praises of answered prayers.

It's my war room of sorts...the battleground for this war. Because it's a daily battle to get out of bed and see the good...it's a daily battle to choose deep lasting joy over temporary happiness from worldly items...it's a battle to choose hope when surrounded by despair.

But life is good. It's good because we know who's on the throne and we know who's in control.

It's good because of Him. Because he gave up His life so we could have abundant life. Abundant life on the emptiest of days. 

So Happy Easter friends... I may be three weeks late, but may we never stop celebrating the overwhelming goodness found through Christ and Christ alone.