#165 He is Our Source


Photo by Nicole Tarpoff

He is our Source. Genesis, the book of beginnings, tells us that our almighty, loving, powerful, and sovereign God spoke all creation into existence, and after seeing it, declared: “This is good.” After speaking creation into being, He created man and woman in His image. “God saw all that He had made, and it was very good.” He created us with our five senses—sight, sound, smell, touch, and taste. I think one important reason He blessed us with our five senses is to enable us to recognize His mighty power and absolute authority.


A breathtaking sunset; a stunning sunrise; walking on the beach with your feet sinking in the warm sand and feeling the warm salty breezes ushered off ocean waves that pound the infinite shoreline reaching as far as the eye can see; a clear night sky; scattered stars twinkling brightly against a pitch-black background—again, as far as the eye can see; and this past year, we all witnessed a blood moon, a super moon, I could go on and on. All these examples of  breathtaking Creation  come and go, some each and every day—but,  just as our Creator spoke all creation into being, Creation speaks His Truth, and the Truth points to our almighty, loving, powerful, and sovereign God, our Creator, the Source.

This past summer, while tending my little flower garden, our Creative Creator met and blessed me there and whispered truths in my ear—how He is the Gardener of Life, for after all, He began life in the Garden of Eden and laid down His life in the Garden of Gethsemane. Luke 22:42 says, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup (of divine wrath) from me; yet not my will, but [always] yours be done.”

John 15:1-8 says, “Jesus is the true vine, God is the gardener and we are the branches.”


Little did I know how sweating and getting my hands dirty would yield far more than beautiful flowers, climbing vines, and two small palm trees that gently swayed in the summer breezes of long summer days. For the first time, I took cuttings from my little garden. When I first cut/pruned the vines away from their comfort zone—the moist, rich, mineral-infused soil they were thriving in—they wilted and were not “happy” in their new environment, a tall glass vase filled with water. To my surprise and delight after just a few days, almost supernaturally, these same wilted, unhappy cuttings seemed to latch onto the life-giving water before my very eyes! Isn’t it funny how something so seemingly small, like vine cuttings sitting on your kitchen counter, can speak to you? I almost felt Him asking me, “Aletia, do you thirst for me?” He promises in John 4:14, “Whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal. life.” Ephesians 3:17–19 says, “I pray that you being rooted and established in love may have power together with all the Lord’s people to grasp how wide, and how long and how deep is the love of Christ” (emphasis added). The Holy Spirit reminded me of the times God has pruned me or cut me out of or away from my comfort zone. I don’t like it one bit. I wilt, I’m uncomfortable, I struggle, and I focus on my old comfortable, comfort zone. I don’t like this new, uncomfortable place I find myself in. Until God, my Gardener, reminds me to focus on Him, who is my life-giving, living Water, and who is cutting, pruning, and growing me to be rooted in Him who has a new direction and purpose in store for me. I read a great quote: “Our daily need for water acts as our reminder to drink deeply of Jesus every day. He doesn’t just have what we need—He is what we need.”

In Hebrews 4:12, He promises us, “For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” God, our Source, is all we need, and His creation speaks to and points us to Him, reminding us each and every day of this truth.

I saved the best “gift” for last. I started noticing several hummingbirds visiting my little garden. They were particularly fond of the Mandevilla Tropical Breeze “Velvet Red” flowers, visiting several times each day to feed. I was reminded of how my mother loved setting out her hummingbird feeder and filling it with the sweet nectar that kept these beautiful, tiny, speedy birds coming back for more. You see, it was her walk with the Lord and her faith that I watched and witnessed throughout my life—a sweet nectar, a wholesome fragrance that cultivated and nurtured in me the desire to want to walk with the Lord like my precious mother did. She was a vessel for Him and reflected His love, grace, and mercy every day in my life; it was her walk with God that pointed me to Him and that He is what I needed as I walk through this life “garden” with all its beauty, color, thorns, choking weeds, flowers, and fragrance. Mom was a living example to me of 2 Corinthians 2:14–16: “Wherever you go, I use you to tell others about me and to spread the gospel like a sweet perfume. There is a sweet, wholesome fragrance in your life. It is the fragrance of Christ within you.”

A Million God Stories is a Christ-centered ministry which offers a platform for Christians from all streams of Christian faith to give praise for how God has worked in their lives. Christ heals in infinitely creative ways and we acknowledge that His way of helping may differ from person to person.

#161 In Awe of the Light

Photo by Brianna Rapp

When I was 21 I did something that I felt I had to do, something that I regretted the moment I did it. Afterward, every aspect of my life was shaken, and not one moment went by that I did not feel the repercussions in my mind, body, spirit, and every relationship of what I had done.

It was not until seven years later that I went to confession. The priest was so kind to me. I felt so liberated after praying the prayers he instructed me to pray and felt encouraged to talk to God. Now the gate was open.

A few months later at work in the hospitality industry, I was walking from the back toward the cafe counter via the seating area, and I saw a tall man of about nearly seven feet in a suit with neck-length, wavy hair talking to another man. I noticed him, not for any particular reason, but as I was walking past them I felt this man look at me—not in the way we normally look at people but as though he were looking at me through his spirit, and I felt him touch my heart.

As I walked to the barista counter, a latte came up with the docket number four. I turned, and there he was, sitting facing my direction with a black number four waving me in. I walked, looking perhaps a little embarrassed because of what I had felt;after all, this was just a man. But as I walked toward him he looked straight at me and said, “I believe you’re looking for me.” As I placed the coffee down on the table, I replied gently,“Yes, and I found you.” Although I did not look up at him, the power in that moment was magnetic; I felt like someone wanted to get to know me, wanted to talk to me, wanted to make me smile.

I walked away, did another round of clearing tables, and came back out. He was not there, but had left a half-finished latte. And as I approached our barista and asked him if he saw the man at table number four, he confidently said, “Nope.”

That day will live with me always. I know there is no physical evidence of who this man was, but it happened for a reason. I knew what he was saying and what the experience was saying to me. I was so inspired by this moment that I started reading true stories and testimonies of encounters with God, stories of miracles that have resonated with my spirit.

One day I lay on my bed, and spoke to God as though I were speaking to my friend—freely, without discipline in my words, and with no restraint, just purely myself. I fell asleep, and during that sleep He let me see something that is now burned into my mind and heart forever. I heard a voice—a deep, kind,trustworthy voice. In that moment, I did not know who it was, but I felt completely at ease. He said my name. I was in awe of the light I saw. It started off as a small circle like the sun and then grew bigger, slightly changing color in each domain,getting brighter and brighter until it filled my eyes. It was stunning. But that was not the best part. It was what I felt. He was pleased. Happy. Elated. I could feel how much He loves me, how much He loves the world—and it was breathtaking. No earthly pleasure could come close. I then woke up.

Now my soul isn’t as heavy and unbearable anymore. All I did was something simple: I reached out my hand, and in return He granted me His Kingdom.

A Million God Stories is a Christ-centered ministry which offers a platform for Christians from all streams of Christian faith to give praise for how God has worked in their lives. Christ heals in infinitely creative ways and we acknowledge that His way of helping may differ from person to person.

#130 Seeing God in Stories



Photo by Jordan Smith

I published my first book in 2013. In that story, a brother was mentioned who had served in Italy and was killed in World War II. My father served in World War II but didn’t see action. When he returned home, he learned that one of his friends had fallen in a battle at Anzio, Italy. The friend was buried there. My husband and I went to Italy and learned more about World War II history. We visited the cemetery where my father’s friend was buried. We didn’t find his tombstone but did find his name on a memorial listed under those who were Missing in Action.

In my second book, I really wanted to go deeper with the character of the brother who was killed in World War II in my first book. I wanted to use old letters to tell the story of the brother but I wasn’t sure how to go about this. During this time, I attended a dinner party. One of the dinner guests said, “I liked your first book. Are you going to write a sequel?” I told him I was and that I wanted to explore the brother who fell in World War II through letters in the next book. He told me that his great uncle had served in World War II and that he had the letters his great uncle had sent back from the Italy to his family. He also told me that his great uncle was a Kentucky farm boy, which is exactly what my character was . . . and he said he would share these letters with me! This was just what I needed. The letters were family heirlooms, so I carefully color copied them, read them all, and gave them back. The cover of my second book is actually a photo of these letters.

The gift of the letters was so helpful. The language was very different from what I would have imagined, and what he talked about in the letters wasn’t what I expected. Mostly the letters were about two things: 1) he wanted to know what was happening on the farm in Kentucky, and 2) he reassured his mom that he was okay. The letters were beautiful—poignant and sweet. I included several of his letters verbatim in the book. God brought these letters to me exactly when I needed them; the perfect timing was amazing. This also affirmed and encouraged me to write the second book. God inspired me to keep going.

Something similar happened when I was writing my first book and needed information about international flight attendants. My husband and I were staying at a bed and breakfast, and my husband asked the owner what she used to do. She said she used to be an international flight attendant! I asked her if she’s traveled to Rome (the character in my book traveled to Rome) and she said, “Oh, yes!” I asked if I could talk to her for a few minutes and she told me everything I needed to know—where flight attendants stay in Rome, what they do with their free time in Rome, what the crew room is like in the airport, how they got from airport to hotel, and how seniority worked with bidding flights. She was the perfect resource at the perfect time.

God has revealed to me that He is attentive to the details of our lives and that these details are important to Him. My books are Christian fiction. Even though I am not a pastor or a missionary, I want my work to be for God. In a way, my writing and my books are my ministry. Through seeing God work in the details of my story, I saw that He cares about writing and telling stories. I felt God’s affirmation that I was doing His work, and I saw that nothing is impossible with Him. 

A Million God Stories is a Christ-centered ministry which offers a platform for Christians from all streams of Christian faith to give praise for how God has worked in their lives. Christ heals in infinitely creative ways and we acknowledge that His way of helping may differ from person to person.

#97 Never too Old

Photo by Erin E. Photography

I grew up in the ’60s and ’70s, raised by Christian parents and regularly attending church. I accepted the faith of my parents and was baptized in middle school. As an adult, I needed to know more. I needed to make my faith my own. I wanted to learn as much as possible about God, Jesus, and the Bible. I had many questions..

Over the years, I’m sure I wore out many pastors with my questions. I read lots of books on Christianity and apologetics and read the Bible nearly every night for over three decades. Over and over I prayed for wisdom and understanding—and for someone to help me deeply study the Bible.

I was diligently seeking God and God sent someone to help me.  I had a new job working at a nursing home.  One of the residents, an older gentleman, was often in his wheelchair sitting in the hallways reading his Bible. From time to time I would stop to talk with him about the Bible. He was articulate and intelligent and his blue eyes sparkled when he talked about the Scriptures.  I can’t remember whose idea it was, but he started a Bible study. I was the only one who came. Every Wednesday evening at the nursing home, I was his only student. He was disappointed that it was just me, but said that I wanted to learn so badly he just had to teach me.

Each session, I sat across from him in his room with the rolling hospital dinner tray table between us, and his well worn New Jerusalem Bible laid open for the teaching, and my NIV Student Bible, taped together on the binding, right beside it. Covering nearly all the white space in his Bible were his own personal notes, as neat as if typewritten and nearly as small. I had never seen anything like it. Each week he prepared a lesson plan of what we were to cover, with Scripture verses  on small slips of white paper, handwritten in the same tiny script as in his Bible.

I found out that he attended seminary in the 1940s and 1950s and taught literature at a university, including a study of Psalms—my favorite book of the Bible. What unfolded in the next year during our Bible study was remarkable. He taught me historical perspective and context, drawing Bible maps and timelines. He explained the Hebrew and Greek meaning of biblical words and why that mattered. He related passages in the New Testament back to passages in the Old Testament, revealing new insights. He explained unsettling discrepancies. He used the Socratic method to teach me, asking me many, many questions.

At times it was exhausting, but he forced me to think more deeply than I ever had about the Holy Scriptures. He even had me write a  paper based on my answer to the question Jesus asked of  His disciples in John 1:38: “What are you seeking?” We completed a study of Mark and then John, but as we began Psalms, he was too sick to continue. Instead he asked me to read to him from the Psalms. I read to him Psalms of God’s love, goodness, and forgiveness, and of praise for God’s creation. When I finished, he could barely talk but his brief points were clear: Notice God. Thank God. Love God.

My friend is gone now but I will always remember the lessons God revealed to me through him—profound lessons and simple ones. I had asked God to send someone to help me learn and understand, someone to help me deeply study the Bible and God responded with an unexpected but incredible answer!  I am so grateful for what God taught me through my friend. God loves us. God sees us and knows what we need, when we need it and how we need it delivered. Praise God for his personal way with each of us!

If you need wisdom, ask our generous God and he will give it to you. James 1:5

You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:13

#27 Finding Fulfillment In Him Alone

 Photo by Killian Rose Photography

Over the years I’ve experienced God through the realization of answered prayers. At times I’ve felt His goodness when it was a “yes,” while other times my faith and trust in God were tested when His answer didn’t align with my own plan or desires. Sometimes, though, my favorite “God moments” have been when God really shows up. In these times, His presence is made known in such a way that it leaves me breathless, in awe, and shall I say, almost a little freaked out? These experiences are always such powerful reminders to me that my heavenly Father loves me and He hears me.

This past fall after my serious boyfriend and I broke up, I was left completely brokenhearted. I cried out to God in pain, anger, and desperation, asking Him why, and where was He. I was disappointed, confused, and not understanding God’s plan. In tears one night I decided to pull out my devotional book. It had been awhile since I had read it, but I was feeling the need for some encouragement, and honestly it felt easier to me at the time than spending time in deep prayer.  In that moment, God showed up in the way that only our faithful God can. The words leapt off the page and I knew He was there, that He had been there all along, and that He heard me. 

The words in Sarah Young’s  Jesus Calling read:

“Come to me when you are hurting, and I will soothe your pain. Come to me when you are joyful and I will share your Joy, multiplying it many times over. I am all you need, just when you need it. Your deepest desires find fulfillment in Me alone. True confidence comes from knowing you are complete in My Presence. Everything you need has its counterpart in Me.”

There I sat, sobbing and speechless. He knew in that moment it was exactly what I needed, and for that I was so grateful.

A Million God Stories is a Christ-centered ministry which offers a platform for Christians from all streams of Christian faith to give praise for how God has worked in their lives. Christ heals in infinitely creative ways and we acknowledge that His way of helping may differ from person to person.

#16. Upside Down Priorities

Photo by Erin E. Photography 

My journey with God began when I was 15 and accepted Jesus as my Lord at a Fellowship of Christian Athletes Camp. At that time I thought Christianity was all about rules. I tried to be perfect and quit drinking and cussing, but gave up after six months. I attended FCA camp three more years and each year I did the same thing: committed my life to Jesus, tried to be perfect, and then failed. By the fourth year of this I had pretty much given up that I was ever going to be able to do the Christian thing.

In my twenties, money and power became my god. I was chasing the American dream, making as much money as I could and partying hard. I wanted to become like my father, who was a successful businessman.

By age 28, the wheels had fallen off. I had become an alcoholic and a drug user.  I didn’t want to live anymore. I completed a faith-based program to stop drinking and learned that every addiction is a spiritual issue at its core and therefore requires a spiritual solution. A real relationship with God is needed.

In the next few years, I felt Him pulling me in, but I still had a hard time with Jesus because of my early failures with Him. God sent a Christian mentor to help me, and one day when I was talking with him I asked him what was up with the blood sacrifice of Jesus. I didn’t get it. He said I should ask Jesus my questions—and so I did. We were at a restaurant, and in an out-loud conversational prayer, I talked to God saying, “I need to know the real deal. If Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life…if this is true, I need to know it. I don’t want my fear or pride to block me from the truth.”

This was a turning point in my life. Things started changing. Soon after, one day in my quiet time God sparked my imagination and gave me a picture. I saw a fishing boat in the ocean, like a 50-foot Bertram with a fighting chair in the back. There was a fisherman in the fighting chair with a big rod and reel and a fish on the line. The fish was swimming away from the boat, and I knew that Jesus was the fisherman and I was the fish. There was no real anxiety on the boat. Jesus just watched the reel spin and every now and then He’d tighten the drag on the line to make it harder for the fish to swim away. Finally, the fish tuckered out and allowed the Big Fisherman to reel him in. When I realized Jesus had been there all along and never let me go, I felt an overwhelming love for Him. Before this, the verse “for God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son…” just didn’t feel personal to me. But Jesus was showing me how it was personal. He was showing me in a way that I could understand and relate to.


Since then, I have been on a 23-year journey to go deeper with God. I have had visions of Jesus that have taught me more about Him—that He has a spirit of play, but also a spirit of absolute intensity when it comes to bringing His children back to Him. Jesus taught me that He wasn’t trying to mold me into a good little boy scout (that I didn’t want to be) or put me in a jail cell. He was trying to keep me out of jail! He wasn’t trying to take away adventure, but to set me on the greatest adventure of my life.

God showed me that He wanted in on all of my life, including my business and finances. He showed me that my priorities were upside down. Once when I was praying, I saw a man spinning lots of plates on sticks, like the man on the Ed Sullivan Show years ago. I knew that this represented me in my business, always doing multiple deals, spinning many “plates” with little time for God or family or even any serious questions. I came out of that meeting with God somehow knowing that I was no longer to be defined by what I did or how much money I made, and knowing that God wanted me to make some big changes. I made a commitment to start no new business deals for three years. I also knew that what I was giving to God financially was a paltry amount, and that had to change. I thought for sure all these changes would result in me going broke. But I did them anyway, and I did not go broke. Although I’m not much into the “Prosperity Gospel,” I did learn that you can’t out-give God, and in this three-year season I was extremely blessed financially. I was also able to spend more time with God and my family.

Where has God led me now? With His help I am now learning to help others; sometimes it is helping people meet Jesus for the first time, sometimes it is helping someone get sober, sometimes it is telling people how much Jesus loves them. I have been abundantly blessed and I am thankful to God for many things. God helped me get sober. He helped me understand my true identity. He opened my eyes to the truth about Him, crafting a personal and powerful message that spoke uniquely to me. He helped me correct my priorities and live a more fulfilling and joyful life. God has given my life true purpose and meaning.

A Million God Stories is a Christ-centered ministry which offers a platform for Christians from all streams of Christian faith to give praise for how God has worked in their lives. Christ heals in infinitely creative ways and we acknowledge that His way of helping may differ from person to person.

#5. Just The Right Words

Photo by Nicole Tarpoff

 This summer I spent time in prayer to prepare for a mission trip to Cali, Colombia. Three days in a row the same image came to me during my prayer time—a white horse. I had no idea what this was about. Then, the day before I left for Colombia, a group of friends was praying for me and although I had not told them about the white horse, one of the girls praying for me said she saw a picture of a white horse. She said she felt God was going to show me a white horse in Colombia and that it would be a sign that I should minister to the owner of the horse. Now, Cali is a big city, around two million people. It’s not like there were going to be horses running around Cali, Colombia—but I trusted that it was in God’s hands and that He could do anything.

The first day in Colombia we went to visit some orphanages and slum areas and then headed back to the couple’s apartment who was hosting us. They had organized horseback riding lessons for some of our group. One of the girls who was taking a lesson needed an interpreter, so I went with her to interpret. She and I walked with the riding instructor over to the barn to find a horse for her lesson. The instructor was very well known in the area. Not only did he own this large farm and employ many individuals, he also trained many people and was very influential in his community. When he opened the stall to get out her horse, there standing before me was the white horse. I could hardly believe it!

I told God, “Lord, I have no idea what to say.” I felt God say, “Good, because it’s not your words anyway.” After her lesson, I asked the instructor if I could talk to him. I told him about the white horse I had seen during my prayers and about my friend’s prayer and what my friend had told me. And without the slightest effort, from my lips escaped the perfect gospel presentation. The Lord, knowing this man so intimately, knew how to present His truth in terminology this man could understand; namely, He connected to this man through horses.

“You have gone places on your own strength already,” I explained to the man, “but you could go so much further if you partner with Jesus. Imagine you are in a race. You are running, but I’m on a horse. Who will go further? Who will move faster? Who is going to win the race?”

The man answered, “You will.”

I responded, “Yes, and in that same way God wants to partner with you to take you places you could never go on your own.”

While I was talking, I felt he had a calling for healing through horse therapy. I told him that I felt that even with this same white horse, he was going to see people healed on a regular basis if he partnered with the Lord. The man’s jaw fell open, and without a word he pulled out his phone and showed me a video from the previous week. A five-year-old boy, who, due to a mental disability had never been able to walk, was brought to this man in hopes that horse therapy would be of help. After the session, almost miraculously, the boy was indeed able to walk!

Now this man had a strange religion—the horse was his God. But he was in awe that a complete stranger from another country had been sent by God to tell him this message. I shared how deeply God loved him and that if he were the only man on the face of the earth, Christ would have gone to the cross just for him, so that he could spend eternity in relationship with Him. Right then, the man made the decision to give his life to Christ. 

Thank you, Jesus, for loving and pursuing us. Thank you for just the right words at just the right time. Thank you for the miracle of healing. All honor, praise, and glory to you, Lord.

A Million God Stories is a Christ-centered ministry which offers a platform for Christians from all streams of Christian faith to give praise for how God has worked in their lives. Christ heals in infinitely creative ways and we acknowledge that His way of helping may differ from person to person.