Lost Ring, Found Faith

Alicia van Huizen

January 31, 2024|In Stories|By Alicia van Huizen

Planning a wedding is stressful. But planning a covid wedding without family in a foreign country during a lockdown? Well, that may deserve a medal. 

To say I was under a bit of stress would be an understatement. My fiancé and I were serving as missionaries in Cyprus, thousands of miles away from my family. And I was NOT handling it well. Call it Covid-zilla, but in all my desperate attempts to nail down wedding plans, I managed to smash all my pillars of faith, trust, hope, peace. You know, the essentials. 

Then I lost it. No, not my mind. My engagement ring. 

I had removed my work gloves to discover the ring gone, the most precious gift my fiancé had given me. My stomach sank to my toes and kept sinking. I had been walking all over our large agricultural property that day. Even with the gloves on, it had somehow managed to fall off. But where? The impossibility of answering that question shrouded me. 

I dreaded telling my fiancé. We had no money to replace it. This just couldn’t be happening right now, when it felt like the world governments and their covid regulations fought against us at every step.

I broke off the search as lunch approached and headed to our ministry chapel, where someone would give a quick exhortation and prayer before we ate. The message that day was about showing our faith by our deeds. The question came: would anyone like to take an action step by praying in faith for something they don’t yet see? 

With head bowed as tears sputtered out of my eyes, I examined my faith pillar. Cracked and crumbling. Not much left to look at. But desperation rose up inside. What do I have if I don’t have faith? I knew this moment was a door cracked open for me. I had the opportunity to give God a precious gift, one that I can not give Him when all the dice roll in my favor: a sacrifice of praise.

I quickly shared with our team about the lost engagement ring, then prayed a simple prayer: “Father, please help me find this ring. But no matter what happens, I’m declaring now that You are faithful and You are good. And I will always praise You for Your goodness.”  

A sacrifice of praise is a leap of faith because the circumstances don’t inspire praise. On the contrary, they look more hopeless and defeating. But a sacrifice has to cost something. For me, it cost my perspective of the goodness of God. Can I believe He is still good, when I’ve lost the ring I’ve been dreaming of my whole life before I even say ‘I do’? Or when it looks like there’s no way my own family would be able to come to my wedding? Never did I imagine that my parents wouldn’t be there, that my dad wouldn’t walk me down the aisle. Is God still good then? 

I wrestled with Him until I could surrender to His definition of goodness. That’s a definition that didn’t promise me happiness and sunshine for the rest of my life. But it is a promise that He will be with me through it. Ring or no ring, family or no family, He is faithful and He is good. This was, and still is, my faith declaration.

It was a raw moment, but precious. I went to bed that night still wrestling to align my emotions with that declaration. Sometimes I succeeded. Most times I failed as I glanced down at my naked finger. But mercifully, the story didn’t end there.

The next morning, God whispered a memory of the moment I had taken off my gloves to remove my jacket. I could still picture the exact location where I had stood. Sure enough, in that same spot, in a field of wild grasses, my engagement ring lay waiting for me. On top of that, three weeks before our wedding, the Cyprus borders finally opened to America and my family could fly in! My dad walked me down the aisle and I married the love of my life. 

I witnessed miracles in that season of chaos! But God is not good because of those miracles, though I am incredibly grateful for them. Rather He is good because He IS. Our lives will always be full of the ups and downs, but His goodness is not measured by our moments. It is measured in light of eternity and His eternal nature that does not change. God IS good. He always has been good and He always will be. When He doesn’t answer my prayer, He is still good. When things don’t work out the way I planned, He is still good. And when I align with His reality of goodness, then I have every reason to praise. 

Christian Fiction Scavenger Hunt! Back-to-School

Alicia van Huizen

August 29, 2023|In Giveaways|By Alicia van Huizen

Congrats to all those who have made it this far! And to all newcomers, welcome to the inaugural Back to School Christian Fiction Scavenger Hunt. We hope that throughout this hunt, you discover some new books and get to know a little more about us.

A few things before you begin:

This hunt is a blog hop. Collect the “clues” (pieces to the longer phrase) at each stop. Enter the individual giveaways along the way, then click on the link to the next stop and repeat until you reach #28, where you will input the full phrase as your entry to the grand prize drawingTrust me, if you love books, you’ll want to win this one!

The hunt begins August 30, 2023, at noon EST and ends September 4, 2023, so you have plenty of time to visit each stop. If you need to step away and come back later, make a note of the last stop you visited, and go to this post with the list of all stops on the hunt.

If you are having trouble viewing the posts, you may need to switch browsers. Chrome and Firefox sometimes work better than Microsoft Explorer or Edge.

Let me first introduce myself. My name is Alicia van Huizen, and I write stories of courage and truth within the Biblical fiction genre. I began writing stories as soon as I could string sentences into paragraphs. I still remember my first short story penned on colorful construction paper.

Stories have a way of gripping one’s imagination and bringing dull facts to life. That’s exactly how history became my favorite subject in school. My incredible teacher (i.e., my mom! Yes, I was homeschooled!) used the Greenleaf Press curriculum which presented historical characters and events all within a well-researched story form. The end result? History came alive.

Are there any fellow homeschoolers out there? How about homeschool parents? Y’all are superheroes! Whether you have one child, four, or ten, homeschooling is not easy! So let me just take this moment to say: You can do this! As one who survived (don’t worry, so did my siblings), I can say with confidence that your children (and you!) will too. And they will thrive as you take the time to connect to them individually and teach them in the way they learn best. And one day your kids will thank you. (Thanks again, Mom! =D)

So as you launch into the new school season, may you find God’s shalom (peace, soundness, completeness) in the midst of the chaos.

Finding some new wholesome reads can certainly help too. So here’s a little about the book I’m giving away.

When the Stars Fought

What if the man who killed your family needed help only you could give?

Thirteen-year-old Oriel dreams of leading Israel to victory over their enemies, just like the bold and daring heroines of her faith. But those dreams are shattered when a long-standing feud between nations flares up again and she is taken captive to pagan Damascus. Abandoned by the God of her fathers, she struggles to hold on to faith and find purpose in her captivity. But when she comes face-to-face with the man who slaughtered her family, bitterness threatens to snuff out what little faith she has scraped together right when she—and the murderer—need it most.

Tasked with reclaiming Syria’s glory, Commander Na’aman conducts raids into the land of Israel. But when he unexpectedly collides with a strange prophet and witnesses the power of Israel’s mysterious God, he is left shaken. Does the God of Israel have more power than his gods? Na’aman is not convinced. Until the leprosy appears. Has Israel’s God at last taken revenge on him? Stripped of his title, his dignity, and cast out from society, he has nowhere left to turn. Except to his enemies.


Here is your next clue: The History Boys

Next stop: Suzie Waltner’s blog

**Also, if you haven’t heard of Greenleaf Press, check them out! They are officially homeschool-kid-approved!

Cain, Abel, and the Original Sacrifice - "Daughter of Eden" by Jill Eileen Smith

Alicia van Huizen

Have you ever wondered why God accepted Abel’s sacrifice, but not Cain’s? I have. And I thought I had also found a satisfactory answer as well. That is, until I read Jill Eileen Smith’s Daughter of Eden. 

Let me tell you about her creative interpretation of scripture that left me with an “Aha!” moment I won’t forget.

Cain, the farmer, offered the fruit of the ground that he stewarded. Abel, the shepherd, offered a lamb. Both sacrificed to the Lord. So why did God not accept Cain’s gift? If you take the answer from a young girl I watched in the church nursery once, it’s because “God doesn’t like sheep.” Hmm. She mixed up the offerings a bit, but you get the point. 

Whenever I hear a sermon on this topic, they emphasize the heart. Cain brought a last-minute oh- maybe-I-should-bring-something-to-honor-God-so-here-is-some-produce-I-haven’t-eaten-yet gift. While Abel brought the first fruits of his flock. Don’t get me wrong. I do believe the heart is at the very center of all this, and it is God’s priority in dealing with us. 

But in Daughter of Eden, Jill Eileen Smith painted a deeper understanding of this event in light of the entirety of scripture. Sacrifice and the blood of a lamb are key themes throughout the Bible. We know God instructed the Israelites to sacrifice a lamb on the Day of Atonement to cover over their sins. And we know that this perfect, spotless lamb offered year after year represented the perfect Lamb of God to come whose shed blood would wipe away our sins once and for all! 

The price of our sin was death. Spilled blood. The price of Adam and Eve’s sin was death. But instead of killing them, God killed an animal and, from it’s hide, prepared garments of skin to cover Adam and Eve (Gen 3:21). Jill Eileen Smith postulates through her story that, from the Fall forward, a sacrifice of blood was required every year to cover over their sin. It was a day of atonement even before the law labeled it as such. 

Now we come to Abel’s lamb. Suddenly, it’s not about whether or not God was interested in fruit or meat. And perhaps, not even so much about the heart of each giver. But rather, that the price for sin still had to be paid. Abel submitted to God’s instructions for the blood sacrifice. Cain, on the other hand, thought he knew of a better way.

Is this not like the great debate surrounding faith? So many in the world would argue there are many paths to God. But Yeshua (Jesus) said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6). Interesting how every other path humanity comes up with excludes the blood sacrifice of Yeshua that takes away our sins. But God made it quite clear. There is only one way, and it is through the blood of His Son shed on the cross, the Lamb who was slain from the foundation of the world (Rev 13:8 NKJV).

While the Genesis account does not spell all of this out, I find Smith’s interpretation beautifully fits into the continuity of the scriptures. Why is this significant? Because our God has not changed. His Word is not chopped up bits of anecdotes that have been strung together. If we think the God of the New Testament is different from the God of the Old, then we’ve missed what He has been saying since the beginning! His plan of redemption in the garden remains His plan even now. It always has been about Yeshua! Ever since the Fall, God gave instructions for the sacrifice which pointed directly at His Son, our Savior and Redeemer. He never left His people without hope! 

What has been your experience? Have you approached the God of the Old Testament as the same or different from the New? Can you recognize God’s plan of redemption in Old Testament scriptures?

**Check out my full review on Daughter of Eden here on my Goodreads page.

Image by Kat Smith from Pexels

communion on Alicia van Huizen blog

How Do We Deal with Weariness as Christians?

communion on Alicia van Huizen blog

Alicia van Huizen

January 30, 2023|In Devotional|By Alicia van Huizen

God has recently been highlighting this theme of the thirsty and the weary. I can’t imagine why, though. *cough**insert thoughtful emoji**cough*

Ok, ok. Full disclosure, that’s me at the moment, the thirsty and weary one. Gah. There is always so much pride in the way of admitting that, yup, I am bone-dry.

O God, You are my God;
Early will I seek You;
My soul thirsts for You;
My flesh longs for You
In a dry and thirsty land
Where there is no water.

So I have looked for You in the sanctuary,
To see Your power and Your glory.

Because Your lovingkindness is better than life,
My lips shall praise You.

Thus I will bless You while I live;
I will lift up my hands in Your name.

My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness,
And my mouth shall praise You with joyful lips.

(Ps 63:1-5, NKJV)

We’ve all been there, in that desperate dry place, longing for that hunger and thirst to be quenched. But how exactly can we be satisfied? In the midst of my weary questioning, God breathed one word: communion.

You see, when we are thirsty and weary, we need sustenance. Food and drink. And the beautiful truth is, God has already provided the meal. Bread and Wine. His body and His blood. We can simply come in, dust off our feet, and sit at the table.

Depending on your faith background, the word ‘communion’ can spark so much reaction.

Or none at all.

It’s a pillar of Biblical faith. But to be honest, not so long ago, I would have brushed the word aside with a simple, ‘meh,’ and searched for a more interesting topic, one that hasn’t been exhausted by centuries of dry teachings.

But these past few years, God has been highlighting the need to return to some foundations in my faith. And in the last months, communion has been at the top of His list. Yet, I’m only beginning to scratch the surface of why.

He is our life source.

Jesus is our Bread of Life (John 6:35), His body broken for our healing (Isa 53:5). His blood was shed for our redemption, transferring us from a kingdom of dark hopelessness, to the kingdom of the Son of His love (Col 1:13). We don’t live on natural bread alone, but by the Word of God (Deut 8:3), which, by the way, is Jesus (John 1:1, 14). And we overcome the enemy by the blood of the Lamb  (Rev 12:11), who is also Jesus.

I don’t know about you, but I’m seeing a recurring theme.

Every victory we have is through Jesus’s body and His blood.

So what is the solution then to our weariness? If God were to fulfill all of our desires, we still would not be satisfied. Why? Because the only thing that can sustain us is Him. Everything else is a temporary reprieve. What spiritually nourishes us and empowers us for victory is the meal He prepared for us through His body and His blood.

Taking communion is about recognizing where our source of life really comes from. It’s not in our best efforts, our circumstances, our spouse, or kids.

We find rest when we lean into WHO JESUS IS.

It’s so foundational that we sometimes forget. He is the source for everything we need to overcome whatever dry place we are in!

The feast has already been prepared, the invitation given. “Everyone who thirsts, come. Sit at the table. There’s a seat waiting for you.”



Photo by James Coleman on Unsplash