I am excited to announce that I will no longer be blogging here, at Arms Wrapped Around the Sun.

Excited, because I have now launched my very own website/blog, at AliciaMMiller.com!

I’m also pleased to announce that Jonalyn Fincher, of Soulation, has graciously hosted me at her blog, Ruby Slippers. There I write about my transition from undergrad to living in East LA—and the life and community I found there.

I hope you continue to follow along and interact with me at my new blog! Please transfer your RSS subscription, here. And if we’re not connected yet, reach out to me on Twitter, @AliciaMMiller!

Also, see what you’ve been missing!
Since the silent switch, I’ve written on “Sharing Secrets
And forecasted my vision for the new blog
Additionally, if you want to know why I’m so excited about being featured on Jonalyn’s blog, read what Soulation means to me, here.

Thanks for following along on my journey thus far. I look forward to the next leg of this trail, and the exciting things to come in the days ahead.

In search of Shalom,




I always thought I needed 9 hours of sleep to be rested.

I thought it came from space to breathe, being at home, time to myself.

I thought I needed periodic vacations, occasional stretches of getting away for a few days.

I thought it came from balance. Of time, energy, resources, friendships.


But I think I’m realizing that Jesus brings us rest in the mess of life.

When I receive a phone call I think I just don’t have the energy to take.

When I hop from responsibility to responsibility and I feel as if I just don’t have anything more to give.

When painful situations arise, one after another, and I barely have time to seek counsel.

When I’m tempted to check out, numb out, sleep it away.


Rest comes from crying out to Jesus.

When I acknowledge his presence, he restores my soul.

He leads me on a path of denying myself, dying to my flesh, losing my life. All for the sake of the Kingdom.

And in the midst of the funk he provides rest. Brevity, comfort, and delight.


I thought I had to provide rest for myself. But he brings it to me.

in unexpected affirming words, prayer offerings, gentle shoulder squeezes, bursts of laughter, and

a knowing.

I know it will be a ‘good’ day when I wake up with this song in my head.

I wrote this piece after being inspired by a poster at Biola seeking poetry about gender.

I Always Knew I Was a Girl but What is a Girl Anyway?: Reflections on Growing Up Female
By Alicia Miller

I was told

In words
In looks

that it meant:

Sugar and spice – but mostly just sugar.
Everything nice – but really meaning always nice.
The greater the curves the more of a woman.
Being a helper, meeting needs.
Needing of protection and to be saved; vulnerable and innocent.
Having to wear makeup to be taken seriously.
Controlling men through manipulation of words and beauty.

I’m a daddy’s girl, always have been. I feel a special connection with the man that held my hair out of my 8 year-old face in the middle of the night while I puked, the man who found me upstairs after I scribbled “no one cares about me” on a paper plate and anonymously left it on the kitchen table, the man who apologized to me when I confronted him about telling a white lie to one of my younger brothers. But when that same younger brother got a little older, why did my Dad choose to teach him how to run the lawn mower and not me? How the boat engine works, and not me? What all the gadgets on his tool bench were for, and not ME? I never said I didn’t want to learn, and my brother didn’t ask to be taught. All I wanted was to be close to my Dad, to share in his knowledge and speak his language. To my heart, this was favoring of the first-born son…rejection of the second-born daughter. Was being a girl not enough?

I remember a lot of late nights spent with my Dad. Usually over math or chemistry homework but sometimes arguing over makeup. Makeup. To make up. To create. I wanted to create myself, who I thought I was or could be. Step into the fullness of myself. Little did I know that makeup would eventually feel like a coffin that I was nailed inside of. That’s what coffins are supposed to do, right? House a decaying corpse in some resemblance of sanitized mystery? Eventually I was allowed to wear makeup, and eventually I came to a more healthy relationship with the elements that validated me to others but restricted me from the freedom of being only myself, just myself, unaided.

My freshman year of college I dyed my hair permanently for the first time, without telling my parents – relishing the freedom that 350 miles and a $12 box of hair dye can give. I always wanted my hair to be red, like my Mom’s. The next year or two I experimented with different shades, never satisfied. A guy friend told me that maybe my original hair color was intentional, created just that shade with those tones and highlights because that was reflective of who I am. I paused. I haven’t dyed my hair since.

“You’re so… nice.” I was called that a lot growing up, especially in high school. Intended as a compliment, it put me on a pedestal as well as degraded me. You see, a grand irony is that the Church taught me as a woman to look out for myself foremost by making sure everyone else is okay first. We create ourselves in the context of others. Our image is to care. We care by catering to others’ needs; being flexible and moldable in order to fit into any gap someone has. While building our image of the ever-present, ever-caring, ever-nice woman, we end up tearing down our shape, our personhood, our being.

We are taught to cater;
walking on eggshells to get to your table, approaching on your terms,
we bow over a serving plate of Grammy’s famous recipe for deviled eggs.
Watch us dish up our oppression and serve it to our privileged guests;
we both partake and suffer together in this cycle, this system.

Women have a reputation for being devilishly manipulative. My theory is that women gained this reputation because we were never taken seriously until roughly a hundred years ago. We resorted to other tactics to influence our husbands, fulfill our needs, and make our voices heard. Men, making most of the decisions in all spheres of life and thinking they knew what was best for us, saw no need for us to have a place at the negotiation table. But women are not the only oppressed ones, the only victims. Men are oppressed too, victims too. Because of their privilege they lose out on fullness, wholeness, completeness. They miss the chance to see the world through a broader, more rich lens. They pass up Shalom.

We need each other. That’s the bottom line. I find myself through others. Not in conforming to their needs, but in seeing my God and my humanity reflected back to me.

Women and men,
let’s stop pretending we have our differences figured out.
Because digging a chasm of differentiation between us only makes the side we stand on
And there is more diversity, and more beauty, than for what we allow.