Posted by: JennyRain | May 12, 2010

Gotta Let Go of the Old to Embrace the New: Alece Ronzino

Welcome to Guest Blogger week at the Rain!

As y’all know, I’m still tooling around Africa with my team… so of course, I saved my African compatriots (Alece and Lisa-Jo) for the last couple of days… hopefully now, y’all have awesome bloggers and maybe even a little of Africa on your minds as you’ve lifted us up in prayer.

If you are praying today, please pray for upcoming team travel. For travel mercies, health, and safety, and that we will leave the fragrance of God behind (2 Cor 2:14).

Many of you have seen me refer to Alece in the past. Her story caught me and has not let me go. Her incredibly soft heart and strong spirit have helped her bounce back from a difficult year where she has had to search out the new (which she does) in every situation. I love Alece’s heart for the Lord, for people. I love her willingness to risk new things and encourage others to do the same.

Guest Blogger, Alece Ronzino

Alece’s Blog: www.gritandglory.com

“New wine needs new wineskins.”

God’s whispered those words to my heart so many times throughout the past year. They hold the promise that He’s not done with me yet, the hope that He is making streams in my wasteland.

Those words also hold a command. They are a challenging reminder of my responsibility.

Or maybe it’s my response-ability.

While it’s always God who brings the new, what I do with it is entirely my choice.

God is ever the gentleman. He will never force Himself on me.

So He holds out His hand, waiting for me to put mine in His, ready to lead me forward.

He longs to breathe His newness into my walk with Him, into my relationships with others, into my thought patterns. My faith-journey should be constantly evolving as I allow Him to continually change me from the inside out.

I want that so badly.

I want Him to mold me and shape me the way He sees fit.

I desire new. I long for change, for different.

Yet, at times, I still find myself unwilling to let go of the old so that I can embrace the new.

Sometimes I still prefer the familiar chains of Egypt over the unknowns of the Promised Land.

It just feels easier to stick with what I know.

Even when I hate it.

Because while I may be frustrated with where I’m at (physically, emotionally, spiritually), it’s still oddly comfortable and strangely comforting.

My chains double as a security blanket.

Which means I don’t trust Him enough.

(Story. Of. My. Life.)

I hear God’s voice calling me to drop my chains and walk on. He whispers that my security should lie only in Him because He alone is trustworthy.

He reminds me that I can’t embrace what He has for me until I stop fighting it.

I can’t slip my hand into His while my fists are clenched tightly, clinging to what I know out of fear of what I don’t.

The greatest obstacle to what God wants to do, is my unwillingness to let go of what He’s already done.

“I am making all things new,” He promises.

He is already breathing newness into every corner of my life. Already recreating, restoring, redefining, and redeeming me.

All of me.

He is giving me new wine and new wineskins. And I want to fully embrace all that He has for me.

Even when it scares me.

Because I want to fear God more than I fear anything else.

So today as I’m craving His newness, I’m also mindful of my responsibility. Of my ability to respond to Him.

And today…

Today, I’m choosing to trust.

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Responses

  1. […] Continue reading over on Rainmakers and Stormchasers > […]

  2. Alece,

    I’m impressed that you can write like this so close to your trial. In 2008, my godly husband/leader walked away from the faith, church leadership, and everything we were building together in life…except, thankfully, me and our 4 children.

    It was a shock to our whole community and it rocked my whole world. I’ve found comfort in God’s promises, but my husband’s crisis threw me into my own. My husband does not believe the gospel that he was living for, so I’ve had to find a way to rebuild a new life.

    Wow, I spilled my guts. Sorry. Hope to be a regular visitor to your blog.

    Thanks for this post and for sharing your story.

    • christy, i’m so glad you felt safe to spill your guts. seriously. thank you. my heart’s heavy for yours, and i’m praying a lot for you today.

  3. Hi, friend. I’m going to paste a story below that I put on my blog a long time ago when talking about peace. I’m such a visual person that sometimes seeing an image in my mind helps me apply it to my life. Don’t know if it’ll do the same for you, but what the heck 😉

    It’s taken me a lot of years to get to a place where I can feel accepting of my life as it is and as it will be. There were so many years of fighting to be who I had imagined I would be at this point in my life. And the fighting turned out to be more exhausting than the accepting. It reminds me of a story I heard at church once about a man who didn’t want to die and leave his home and his family. He was sitting on a beach thinking about his life and holding on so tightly that when he died, he had in the palm of his hand sand from the beach on Earth.

    The man sat outside of the gates of heaven, but they wouldn’t let him inside until he had let go of all he had been clinging to. But he refused to let go of the sand from the beach. It was his connection to his life, his family and his loves. One day he grew weary and decided it was time to move on, so he opened his hands and brushed away the sand he had been holding.

    The moment he did this simple gesture he found himself on the beach he loved surrounded by everything he cared about. That was heaven. It was everything he wanted, but before he could have it he had to let go.

    • mmmm… that is so beautiful, fritz. i learn so much from you. always. you’ve been an amazing example to me of the beauty and freedom found in letting go.

  4. mmm…. “I want to fear him more than i fear this…” makes me think of walking around the grocery story in Pretoria with Pearl. Makes me miss you!

    I think i struggle with both the unknowns of the promise land and sckewed self-worth to think i am worth the promise land. I can stay in the chains of my old because that is what i think i deserve/worth. I am so grateful that he meets me where I am and makes new. New makes new out of my old. he makes new out just his new goodness.

    I love your stunning heart, mo’z!

    • and thinking of Pearl makes me think MUVYOASS. ha!

      my skewed sense of self-worth adds so much to my fears and my inability to embrace what He has for me. it keeps me in chains even as i stand on the edge of freedom.

      my lifelong journey is one of learning to balance the truth that i am nothing with the truth that i am enough.

      i love and miss your heart my b’z!

  5. This reminds me of the story of the Israelites crossing the Red Sea. I was reading it to my kids out of a children’s bible. There was a line that caught my attention, “They wanted to go back to their comfortable captivity.” Instead of facing the unknowns of crossing the sea and heading to the desert, they complained and wanted their “comfortable captivity” back. It is scary to let go of the familiar…even if it’s familiar pain and hurt…and head to the unknown, even if He says there’s a Promised Land.
    ~kristin

    • that line is perfect. i so easily stay in my own “comfortable captivity”, even though i despise it. i need my desire for freedom to outweigh my fear of the uncomfortable.

  6. Boy did this grab me!!!!

    • my heart’s still wrestling through this one…

  7. My life lately has been battling trusting those next steps that God has for Shawn and I. There is a lot of fear in my heart. I know that what He has waiting just beyond this precipice with no walkway visible to my human eyes is far better than the security I have here on the edge.

    • i can’t wait to hear more of your thoughts and hearts on all this when i see you in a couple weeks!

  8. Alece-
    Sometimes I wish God would force himself on me, but I know in my heart of hearts that is not the way to love. One day, not too long ago, I was sitting outside reading while my kids were playing and I heard God whisper to my heart,

    Him: Allison, how do I love you.
    Me: unconditionally
    Him: Do I force you to be in a relationship with me because it’s the “right thing to do”?

    That question broke me be. Honestly it did, because when my husband left I tried to convince him to stay with me because he made a vow. How dare he break our vows? All I could do was cry.

    Him: Allison, love like I love.

    I know in my head that letting go of the past is exactly what God wants me to do. But I keep clutching the old life wanting things to miraculously go according to my plan. I know too that God is doing a new thing and that His story is may more awesome than anything I could ever begin to imagine.

    We have been rescued, but still the choice is ours to stay in our small stories, clutching our household gods and false lovers, or to run in search of life-John Eldredge

    Thank you for your posts Alece. You are extraordinary!

    • sometimes my prayers consist of asking God to take from me all i can’t seem to offer up on my own… and in some ways i think He answers that, but most of the time He just patiently and gently waits for me to get to that place of loving, trusting surrender.

      so, so hard.

  9. Wow. I feel like I could have written that. Right now, I know without a doubt, that I’m scared to enter the new because I’m lacking in the trust department. Such essential truths here. Thanks for sharing!

    • my lack of trust keeps me so paralyzed. sometimes i feel like i’m growing in trust… but most of the time, it just feels like i’m stuck. and i know that being aware of my issues (who am i kidding, my sins) and actually doing something about them are two very different things.

  10. Oh Alece, I am so wanting to let go of the old and fly forward into the new also….it s just so darn scary to let go of “comfort” and “routine” and “security”.

    Friends & family (thankfully not my hubby!) think I am crazy for wanting to walk away from a secure job and stay home and write and counsel in shelters and go on mission trips, and frankly sometimes I think I am crazy too. I’m a suburban mom for goodness sakes~~ but I also know in my deepest of hearts that I am NOT doing what I am made to be doing in Christ by staying hidden in my safety net.

    Heres to praying I can have the courage to believe in His path for me and make the jump into His arms soon…

    Blessings~
    Lindsey

    • i think what you are doing is so awesome! risky faith — i love it! 😉 what an example of letting go of the comfortable and familiar to be able to embrace the unknown newness God has for you. i can’t wait to hear your heart throughout this journey.

  11. story.of.MY.life.

    I lived for years with unhealthy eating habits. The Lord so graciously opened my eyes one day to the terrible things I was doing to myself and how trapped I had become. I can’t describe it any other way than “He removed the veil from my eyes.” Since then, I’ve struggled with the desire to hold on to those habits — despite the fact that I was killing myself!! Sometimes I catch myself thinking about that security blanket again, even though it was a false one. Messed up, I know. But I totally understand what you’re saying about not wanting to let something go, even though it’s not a good thing to hold. In some weird way, the familiarity of a pit can seem better than the fear of the unknown.

    I’m praying for you. Will you do the same for me?! 🙂

    • absolutely, jenn!

      i like your analogy of the pit. even as i’m shouting for rescue, i can get all to comfy down there in the darkness…

      i’ll be praying for you as we both journey down this path of reckless trust…

  12. I know there are familiar chains I am still hanging on to. The enemy has me convinced that those chains will always be with me.

    Camped in Psalm 18 this week. Realizing that He wants me to take His hand to walk into new life and freedom. He leads into a spacious place. A place far more secure than familiar chains.

    • i love verse 19 — “He brought me out into a spacious place; He rescued me because He delighted in me.” if only my heart would fully grasp it and believe it…


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