Alyssa Sellers

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Heavy Burdened

Katmandu, Nepal ~ June 2011

I had this one day, four months ago, that was completely refreshing to my soul. I think it was because I didn’t move out of duty or obligation or what I thought was right or expected of me. I moved out of he unforced rhythms of God’s grace. I moved out of the core of who I am.

This day reminded me of the lesson I learned over a year ago in Nepal – don’t think, just do. I think too much. Perhaps my planning and calculation is worry disguised in pretty dress.  This seems to be the lesson I refuse to learn, and yet, God continues to present it to me.

Coming back onto campus back in January I didn’t really have a plan. I felt like Joshua in Jericho except I was walking around the South Park Blocks in prayer and waiting for the Lord. If there is one word I’ve gotten from God over the last two terms it is, “wait.”

“Pray and wait for me, Alyssa. Move where I move you. Let go and be free to be. Move with my current; it is safe and gentle for you. Watch and see what happens when you move freely in me.” This doesn’t look like other ministries I’ve seen. But that is OK, it’s more than OK, it’s God and God is good.

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on Religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me – watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” ~Jesus in Matthew 11:28-30 The Message

Jesus didn’t have a strict business model. He moved where he was led by God and did what needed to be done at the time. As Enoch did many years before, Jesus walked with God.

The Voice version records this passage this way:
“Come to Me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Put My yoke upon your shoulders – it might appear heavy at first, but it is perfectly fitted to your curves. Learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble of heart. When you are yoked to Me, your weary souls will find rest. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.”

“…perfectly fitted to your curves.” How much do I LOVE this?!

I’m nothing but curves and it is incredible to think this task I’ve been given by Jesus is perfectly fitted for me.

Now if only my bras were.

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Life is What Happens to You While You’re Busy Making Other Plans

June 2012 ~ Me, Dragon, Eva

I fell in love with George Gershwin when I fell in love with Mr. Holland.

In high school I adored the movie “Mr. Holland’s Opus”. I watched it incessantly and cried enormously each time. I loved Mr. Holland’s world. It was land filled with the arts taught in public schools. A land where high schools had annual musicals featuring the music of George and Ira Gershwin.  A land with roundabouts and old auditoriums. It was magical and unlike any world I’d ever known.

I never imagined I could possibly visit, let alone live in, that make-believe world of Mr. Holland. I’m sure my parents made mention of it being set in Portland, Oregon,  they lived here for a bit in the 1970s, but from where I stood on the movie theater steps in the coatless warmth of January 1996 in Louisiana, Oregon was a fantasy land on the other side of the Rockies with four distinct seasons-not hot and less hot. The likelihood of me inhabiting that place seemed inconceivable.

It’s funny how life works out. 

In June 2004, while wearing a coat, I stood in a parking garage on SW 10th Avenue avoiding the ever present Portland rain and saw a marching band play “Louie Louie” in my first Grand Floral Parade.  This rather infamous song was recorded by Portland based band The Kingsmen in the 1963 and is played by the high school band Mr. Holland directs as they march ahead of a Portland fire truck in a parade during a pivotal scene in the movie.

June 2012 ~ Grand Floral Parade ~ Portland, Oregon

 “Huh…so I ended up in the Land of Mr. Holland after all,” I thought.  I hadn’t really realized until that moment that I had indeed been an inhabitant of that once magical make-believe place for 9 months and I was certain I would be one for another year, but most likely not any more.

This June, I once again stood in a coat on SW 10th Avenue and I realized that, just as Mr. Holland signed and sang,  John Lennon was right, life is what happens to you when you’re busy making other plans.