Serving in Suffering

Serving in Suffering
Over the past couple of years, my health has presented some challenges and I'm currently still working through them. One of my dearest friends (who "adopted" me as a little sister) sent me these comforting truths as we chatted about our relative health issues, and now they are here for you to glean from as well!

There are at least three purposes that God accomplishes through our weakness:
1. God enables us to see His strength. 
We tend to rely on ourselves until we reach our limit. 
Then, we look to Him, which is where we ought to look.
2. God enables us to value others who also struggle.
Again, we tend to think about ourselves first. 
Our weaknesses sensitize us to the plight of others.
3. God gives us opportunities to minister.
We get to minister to one another because of our weaknesses. 
We'd have no needs if we had no weaknesses.

Your particular suffering brings you into deeper fellowship with the Father, 
enhances your ministry to others, and leads others to minister to you.
J. Chris Mills
----
P.S. I miss you a lot big brother, but rejoicing that you get to see Jesus face to face <3

God is Good All The Time

God is Good All The Time
"Can we just end this year and get a do-over?"
“I’m so ready for this year to be over and start a new one!"

It's easy to start agreeing with statements like these, especially when looking over the events of the year and remembering the hard times, or experiencing hard times right now. It’s really easy to get swept into the sparkling freshness of 365 days of "no mistakes yet” (as Anne Shirley would say), and shrug off the previous year like you would peel a potato.

If we look back, however, was last year really any different from any other year? Has any year been overflowing only with delightful things for 365 days? Or 52 weeks spent in complete darkness with no light whatsoever?
Maybe some of you will answer yes to one or both suggestions, but I’ll hazard a guess that for the most part, happiness & sorrow have come and gone much like the up-and-down motion of the ocean waves. We probably forget that shadows are as necessary as light is to the formation of our souls as those who follow Christ.

A TAPESTRY
Might I encourage you to remember that the great Weaver is making something beautiful with all the colors and shades of the rainbow?
My life is but a weaving
Between my God and me.
I cannot choose the colors
He weaveth steadily.

Oft’ times He weaveth sorrow;
And I in foolish pride
Forget He sees the upper
And I the underside.

Not ’til the loom is silent
And the shuttles cease to fly
Will God unroll the canvas
And reveal the reason why.

The dark threads are as needful
In the weaver’s skillful hand
As the threads of gold and silver
In the pattern He has planned

He knows, He loves, He cares;
Nothing this truth can dim.
He gives the very best to those
Who leave the choice to Him.”
-Corrie ten Boom

Truly though…why do we think any previous year was so hard and that next year will be so much better? I get it, we look forward to fresh starts and would rather not dwell on mistakes or hardships, but might we be more careful with how we think of these things? We aren’t given a guarantee of a better year, only plenty of grace to follow in the steps of the Master…Jesus, who suffered the full wrath of God on our behalf. These events and happenings that shake us to the core are what He uses to make us humble, ironclad saints who trust Him fully for the praise of His glorious grace!

A BETTER YEAR
Perhaps we should stop in the middle of that expectant thought of a ‘better year' and instead ponder all those hard days and give thanks again to the Lord for showing us His power in working out all the situations, bringing healing after pain, and sustaining with His strength through all the waiting.
Instead of wishing the year to be over, let’s look back and delight in His abundance of love and grace and in His glory through our weakness. Let’s anticipate seeing more of Him in the upcoming days, weeks, and months. Let’s expect to see more hardships, more joy, more pain, more provision.

This isn’t permission to get as miserable as possible, but simply to take each moment as it is given, trusting that we will, as Richard of Chichester said:
"Day by day, dear Lord,
three things I pray:
to see Thee more clearly,
to love Thee more dearly,
to follow Thee more nearly."

May that be our prayer for this year, this week, today, and every span of time to follow. May we be eager servants, ready to serve in any capacity regardless of size or importance, excited to see the hand of the Lord in every part of our lives.

...all the time, God is good.


FREE Social Media Calendar

FREE Social Media Calendar
Do you ever wonder what on earth to post on social media? 
"They" say: be consistent, but you don't know where to start...?
"They" say: be yourself, but that feels soooo awkward sometimes!

Guess what? "They" are right on!! It's okay if you don't know how to do it all, I'm here to help!

I've struggled with showing up and figuring out what to share. Having a plan has helped me make progress in both areas and there is a month's worth of posts in a handy calendar for you at the end of this post! 

Also included with the calendar is a PDF with why I chose the various prompts. Knowing the reason behind a plan gives me so much more scope for creativity and imagination, and I hope it does the same for you! 
The prompts are meant to spark your own ideas while also giving you something to fall back on when needed.

In future posts, we'll be chatting about more ways to find the inspiration that resonates with you, your brand, and the ways you want to serve the people around you, so get ready for some fun! (And some real talk)

Here's a freebie for you!
Click the link to download the calendar to your computer or save it to your phone or tablet:

Living in a new season

Living in a new season
First off, Hi! I'm Allison, the face & heart behind Allie Dean, the place where you can find encouragement for your business, wellness tips for your life, and a friend who's here to listen.

Blogging is one of my favorite things because it's a quiet spot in the midst of a busy online world. You get to enjoy posts that you can find easily, free downloads as I roll them out, and the freedom to connect with me personally, if you'd like!

So, welcome here, friend!

I picked Allie Dean as a photography business name a couple years ago, using my nickname and my grandfather's middle name as inspiration. He enjoyed photography, developing film in the darkroom, entering contests, and traveling the world with his camera. In later years he had to stop due to partial blindness, and I picked it up and have carried it on. We never got to shoot together, but I think he'd be impressed with the digital age and would have dived right into using all the things!

Photography is a side gig for me now, (along with teaching piano and petsitting), and I'm in the middle of a different season of branching out with my brand to include business mentorship and wellness! (so-so-excited!!) 

On a more personal level, I'm also navigating life having experienced 2 deaths of family members in the last year. It's not always easy to "get up and go", sadness is still lingering in between the joys, and I'm learning how to be present for the wonderful people in my life and how to take care of my heart & mind.

More and more, I am grateful for the Lord's constant love, the ways He directs my steps, and His presence which is with me always. There is no comfort like His, no treasure like His Word, and that He has taken me for His own is a wondrous thing. Even in sadness, I'm grateful. And someday I'll get to see Him as well as my loved ones again :)

Thanks for joining me in this space, do come back and visit often!
-Allie


P.S. Speaking of freebies, check out the next post for a free social media calendar, and take the guesswork out of posting!