Alyssa Sellers


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Ready to Write

2014 Rose Fest and  more 116

When I was leaving full-time professional ministry for the second time I read Fahrenheit 451 for the first time. A speech given at the end of the novel pretty much summed up what I felt about my existence at that moment (I’d say spoilers but it’s on you, this bad boy’s been around for decades):

“Now, let’s get on upstream,” said Granger. “And hold onto one thought: You’re not important. You’re not anything. Someday the load we’re carrying with us may help someone. But even when we had the books on hand, a long time ago, we didn’t use what we got out of them. We went right on insulting the dead. We went right on spiting in the graves of all the poor ones who died before us. We’re going to meet a lot of lonely people in the next week and the next month and the next year. And when they ask us what we’re doing you can say, we’re remembering. That’s where we’ll win out in the long run. And someday we’ll remember so much that we’ll build the biggest goddamn steamshovel in history and dig the biggest grave of all time and shove war in and cover it up. Come on now, we’re going to go build a mirror factory first and put out nothing but mirrors for the next year and take a long look in them.”*

I’d written a memoir about surviving physical and emotional hurricanes and had secured representation by a reputable Christian literary agency and hoped that it would only be a matter of time before my manuscript was published.   Continue reading

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Knowing I Don’t Have to Know

Joy Ride New OrleansThere I was, ugly crying on the cypress wood floor in my uncle’s home in New Orleans. It was the summer of 2002 and, after watching a seemingly innocuous movie, I was an emotional wreck.

Not just because in “Life as a House” an adorable young Anakin Skywalker stood in the pouring rain and fervently cried out for Alyssa, the witty and wise girl-next-door, who happened to share my name as well as some of my pretty fabulous character traits. (Yes, yes, I know. Hayden Christensen was acting in the role of an entirely different character named Sam, but to me he was still the promising young padawan – you know, before he goes all dark side of the force – only NOW with bonus blue hair. Swoon.) No, I was sobbing because Anakin/Sam and the other characters in the film were ultimately searching for redemption, love, and an understanding one’s self, all the things I had journeyed to New Orleans to find.

And because I was failing miserably in my search.

My movie postmortem didn’t start with me lying in a puddle of tears on the floor. It started with me sitting upright on the step at the top of a staircase, looking out through a giant window at a warm summer sunset, and holding a pen and yellow paper tablet in my hands prepared to write a veritable masterpiece of emotion inspired by the movie I had just experienced.

As you may have surmised, that didn’t happen. Continue reading


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Living is Hard: Podcast on Traversing Transition, Climbing Mount St. Helens and Loving People.

Mount Adams

Normally, I would have written out a blog post about my climbing Mt. St. Helens and it applications to EVERY ASPECT OF MY LIFE, instead, thanks to technology and friends who wield it, I am sharing this story audibly.

To listen, click here: The Groves – August 25th, 2013 

This podcast also includes some additional thoughts about God and love and life that I was given the opportunity to share with my friends at The Groves.


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Trust in Transition

Trust In Transition

 

Two years ago I decided to actually fully trust Jesus with my WHOLE life. Like for real.

I mean, I’ve been a follower of Jesus since I was a wee lass. And that choice was real and life altering and such, but as I grew up, so did our relationship. We had some rocky times in college (who doesn’t) and then just about 10 years ago I moved 3,000 miles from everything I had ever known and I thought “Jesus, I totally trust you. You’ve got this.”

But what I realized a little bit over two years ago is that I didn’t really believe that. Or to put it more precisely, the aforementioned “this” was a small portion of my tiny life. Things happened in my formative years that made me believe that no one, not my family and certainly not God, would ever be able to TRULY protect me or take care of me, so young 6ish Alyssa set out in life to take care of herself. And super independent Alyssa did a fairly kick-ass job, if I do say so myself. By most measures, I was indeed successful.

But then, just about the time I turned 30, Jesus and I decided it was time I learned some lessons in dependency. God revealed to me this HUGE section of my life that I hadn’t handed over. Like pretty much my entire lively hood. I didn’t trust him to provide for me, to take care of me, to feed and clothe and shelter me. You know all the things a decent parent does. Continue reading


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Space and Time: One of the Reasons I do College Ministry

Almost 11 years ago I sat in the front of a car at the Lake Charles Boardwalk and officially ended a two-year relationship with the one man who has ever seriously considered marrying me.

It was one of the hardest decisions I ever made. I wasn’t sure if I would ever be loved that much by another man, but I knew that he and I weren’t best for each other. I made it holding on to a truth that the life I was currently living was not the one God wanted for me so I said no to this man and journeyed on with Jesus.

After 10 years and multiple relationships, I am nowhere closer to marrying my helper than I was then but I have had an amazing adventure.

It’s funny how big this one decision was/is still in my life. It shaped a lot of the woman I have become. I left that relationship through the faith that God wanted to give me something different, that God wanted to give me his best. I still believe this. This pivotal moment, this moment that set my life on a completely different course, happened in college. This has a lot to do with why college ministry means so much to me, why Portland State University has never left my heart.

During the fall term when I made this decision, there was a church and a retreat and, therefore, space and time for God to meet with me. Space and time for God to pull me aside and remind me of how much he loves me how much he cares for me and how much he is faithful.  To remind me how he never left and still wants to give me his best.

God moves people – sometimes we don’t have to do anything but be there.
 

This is why I raise support for what I do. This is why I’m OK with barely paying my rent every month. I want to be there, to give students space and time to meet with God and continue on their journeys becoming the incredible men and women God created them to be.

Students helping students move in at Portland State ~ September 2012

Don’t overlook the obvious here, friends. With God, one day is as good as a thousand years, a thousand years as a day. God isn’t late with his promise as some measure lateness. He is restraining himself on account of you, holding back the End because he doesn’t want anyone lost. He’s giving everyone space and time to change.” ~ 2 Peter 3:8-9 The Message

So you want to support my position:
1.Go to Give section of www.thegroveschurch.com
2.Click the Donate button to give online via PayPal
3.Write PSU Position in the special instructions section

PS: Today is the first day of classes for the Fall Term at Portland State. Go Viks!


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Learning To Live By Letting Go

Somewhere in the Carolinas ~ October 2011

Sometimes pivotal thoughts occur to you while you are in the middle of an epic adventure, like traveling the lower half of the lower 48 states in a month with one of your best friends.

Sometimes you find yourself with no music, windows rolled down, staring out at the Appalachian Mountains just before peak fall foliage craving divine direction and thinking:

“Somehow we begin to believe the lie that this now, our current present, is the best there is, was, or ever will be. We forget that this current present, good or bad, is only for now. I’m currently on a 4 week road trip across America and “for now” is as vivid as the colors on the leaves outside my passenger side window. The leaves are changing and so am I.”

Sometimes, you hear God speak a week later, in a friend’s living room with strangers singing along to a guy playing the guitar. I write:

I hold too tightly to this smallness in my hand. “But it’s what I know,” I cry as I stomp and flail about.

“But it’s not what’s best,” God calmly replies.

“Is best ever gonna come?”

“If you let go, Alyssa, you have to let go. My best is too big for you to grasp with your fists grabbing so tightly to the smallness you continually try to hold. Please, let go. You can trust me. I know you, I want my best for you. My word is good. I am good. Let go.”

(One year ago today, my good friend Christy and I set out from Oregon on a four week road-trip to Philadelphia and back. This post is a result of that trip.)