The escapades and life lessons of Allison Althoff

“Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me.” John 15:4 NASB

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Abiding in the Lord is something Allison Althoff does every day. With the word “abide” scripted on her foot, John 15:4 is the life verse that she walks by. Allison created a video of the tattoo that can be viewed here. Though she got the ink in January of 2011, so much has happened since to prove how formative this truth has been in her walk with God. Allison has learned so much in her life and each lesson has shaped her into the passionately optimistic person she is today.

Learning to let go

“This is a crazy time of transition and I am learning a lot about letting go and moving into new and different phases of my life.”

Allison is a positive and upbeat 24-year-old with a twin, Stephanie, and a younger sister, Jennie. Stephanie is getting married in less than a month, and Jenny is currently finishing her freshman year at the University of Minnesota. Being a twin she is sustained by the community around her.

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But with her twin sister’s fast-approaching wedding, and the subsequent transitions that will follow, Allison is learning that letting go is something she needs to accept. From this she is learning the true value of solitude and simply being alone with God—He is who ultimately sustains her.

Learning to be excited about work & faith

“So often people say that faith is boring and it’s not something they want to talk about. But faith is all I talk about and I love it!”

Apart from the wedding festivity in her life now, Allison has learned so much leading up to that experience. When Allison first began attending Wheaton College, the atmosphere and the students in it shocked her. She found herself among many “super-Christians” who were better than her, knew all about God and seamlessly integrated their faith into their daily life. Allison felt inadequate measured against Wheaton standards. God seemed like a far-off punisher, who would reprimand her if she didn’t act a certain way or follow the rules well enough. She felt abandoned by God. Because of this, she fell into a rut of confusion, loss, and despair for the majority of the first three years of her Wheaton experience.

It wasn’t until the Passion 2011 Conference that Allison realized it was God she was supposed to be running to, not away from. Attending Passion 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia, she was completely transformed. It was her first experience of a worship conference and seeing so many people worship God together spurred her excitement for her faith and reignited a fire for Christ.

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At the conference, Allison truly understood what she wanted to live for, that she wanted to live for Jesus every day, and that brought her to tears. From that point on, her faith excited her! Passion 2011 was truly a born again moment for her. She wanted to be on fire for Jesus.

After attending, Allison not only realized that her faith excited her, but came to understand that stories and people excited her as well! This excitement pushed Allison forward into the next big things she decided to do in her life.

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From there she went to Nashville, Tennesee where she completed a music business program, graduated from Wheaton in 2011, counseled that summer at HoneyRock in Wisconsin, and then went to graduate school at Northwestern University where she devoted her time to religion reporting. And as if that wasn’t enough, Allison also completed an internship with Christianity Today in the summer of 2012, all the while learning to love and serve the people around her.

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Through each of these life events, in retrospect, Allison sees the way God has truly oriented her steps in a way better than she thought was possible. In each step, He has continued to open door after door for her, leading her through lesson and action.

Learning that God provides

“God is totally faithful—He is always true to His Word and blessings are abounding. I know every day will be great and amazing, but only if its what He wants it to be. I’ll never know what’s best for me, but God always does so getting my heart aligned with his is what my daily walk entails.”

Right after graduating from Northwestern University with a masters in journalism, God threw open one door after another for Allison. She landed a job as the associate online editor of Today’s Christian Woman, a branch of Christianity Today. Then two weeks after getting that job, she was also approached by Timothy Morgan, an editor at Christianity Today and head of the Journalism Certificate at Wheaton College, to be offered an assistant position with the program. Not only was she offered two jobs within weeks of graduating, but another one of her hopes was soon answered.

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During the fall of 2012 Allison began praying for an opportunity to serve on a missions trip outside the U. S., which she had never done before. One week later, Allison heard of a need for a faculty advisor for a Wheaton College campus group called Honduras Project. The project is a group of 20 Wheaton students who go on a mission trip to a small village in Honduras for ten days over spring break each year. While there, they share their faith and install a water system for the people of the village. Allison quickly reached out to the project and was able to go along for the ride, supervising the students and helping in their mission.

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Through these incredible blessings, Allison has seen and understood the true provision of God, and believes whole-heartedly that He will always provide.

Learning to surrender to God

“Surrender is a really important word for me—surrendering my days, surrendering my job, and surrendering my relationships.”

Allison has also learned a lot about surrendering to God. In going to Passion, landing two exceptional jobs, and helping with Honduras Project, she knows the power God has in shaping the world and has seen the great work he is doing, and she is simply happy to be a part of it. Through it all she knows that God has had an incredible plan for her life and that the best is yet to come. Each morning when she wakes up, the first thing she does is surrender her life to God. She is constantly asking Him, what do you want my day to look like? By doing this she feels more energized, healthy and fulfilled. She knows that in her work and in her faith, she is being worked through as the hands and feet of Jesus.

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In surrendering to God, she is realizing that to make the world a better place, her days should be about the people around her, showing them the love of Christ. She has learned to simply let God guide her steps to show her what that looks like. Ever since she has walked the path laid out for her and loved every moment of it.

 

“My ultimate goal is to reach people for Christ and to let them know that God’s plans are so much bigger and better than anything they could ever plan for themselves. There is something out there that you will do and bless so many people with because it makes you feel alive—that will be contagious.”

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