Having a Great Deal to Do

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I am a perfectionist who has recently relapsed. Constantly striving for others’ approval. Continuously spending exhausting amounts of time and energy trying to reach the next rung on the ladder of success.  And persistently racing towards the next goal, only to reach it and find a lack of satisfaction.

And you know what? It’s not worth it!

I’m the first to admit that I am a “yes” person… But it’s my own, undue pressure that has forced me into my current state of frustration and exhaustion. I read the other day that the definition of busy is: having a great deal to do.

Doesn’t that sound about right?

Sherri says, “sometimes life just gets in the way.” And that frustrates me.

Can’t it all seem a bit meaningless at times?

The answer is yes. But if you’re anything like me, who believes that God is a faithful, loving, detail-oriented God… then we are safe to believe He wouldn’t let us go without meaning. (Psalms 86:15, Deuteronomy 7:9, & 2 Timothy 1:9-10) So then I am forced to ask the question… what IS the meaning? And am I missing it?

In a conversation with a dear friend tonight, I realized that it was all inward. The past year and a half has been focused completely on me. How is SARAH doing? How is SARAH growing? achieving? measuring up?

I bet that’s why it all seems meaningless.

What if we each chose to focus outward instead? How are my sisters growing? How can I help my employees achieve? How can I support my friends in their careers/passions/hobbies? How can I encourage John in his work/relationships/goals? What if I chose to make it all about them?

Not so meaningless anymore.

Isn’t that what God called us to do? To love our neighbors as we love ourselves (Matt 22:49)?

And if loving myself for the past year and a half has looked like giving every ounce of time and energy to reach my goals and dreams… then shouldn’t I spend my days giving my time and energy to helping those around me reach their goals and dreams? Wouldn’t that be better?

So that’s my challenge to you (and to me) this week. Go have a great deal to do like the overachiever, perfectionist, you are. But this week… make it about them. Stop in the middle of your great deal to do, and pay attention to the people around you. Talk with them and ask them how you can serve them. After all, even Jesus came to serve, not to be served (Matt 20:28).

Chase after their great deal to do with them. I’ll be here next week to hear how it went.

-Sarah

Enough

I will finally be enough – I think I shocked myself with my own raw emotion as I wrote the last line of my journal.

How long had it been since I was honest with myself about my own insecurity? [Here’s a hint… A while.] So what could I do now that I had exposed my subconscious and uprooted my denial? And how did I get here?

For me, it all started with my New Year’s resolutions. Y’all, I love myself a good New Year’s resolution, or maybe 20. New Year is a time where you get to wipe the slate clean. Life hands you a do-over. You have a personal year-end review where you’re the only one who knows if you passed or failed. You can go out and purchase a new calendar, and write your own terms and conditions! It’s amazing!

But for me—and for any other honest perfectionist out there—New Year is a time to nit-pick every single flaw you have and tell yourself you will overcome it by this time next year. I spend hours taking a personal inventory of what did or didn’t happen in the past 365 days, and how THIS YEAR will be the year I finally change. THIS YEAR will be different!

So here it is… January 24, 2016… 24 days into my laundry list of resolutions. And you know what? This year I would say I’ve actually done a pretty good job of sticking to them! I’m getting out of debt; I am losing the weight; I am getting back into running, etc. But something struck me today… EVEN if this year really is the year. EVEN if I were to somehow fix every habitual flaw… I will NOT finally be enough. And here is why…

I will never be worthy of the cross. No matter my efforts, no matter my faults, and no matter my changes… the only thing that sustains me is Jesus Christ. He chooses me, every day, exactly as I am. He created the thought of me, all that I am, and all that I will be, before time began. And He made me anyway!

Therefore I have to ask… who am I to think that my worth will increase as my weight decreases, and how dare I forget the weight of the cross? Who am I to place my value in the number in my bank account, and how foolish am I to concern myself with any other price than the one He paid for me? And who am I to think people will one-day envy my athleticism, and how arrogant am I to hope for anyone’s attention if it doesn’t point his or her eyes toward Christ?

So, dear sisters and brothers, as January comes to a rapid close, I encourage you to remember not who you are, but who made you. Because you, like me, have infinite and eternal value through Christ. HE is enough. So keep running, keep saving, and keep losing weight. But don’t mistake your resolution for your worth, because you are worth infinitely more than you can imagine!

Love,

Sarah

For When You Think You Can Do It All

This morning I woke up to feeling like my To-Do List is too long, my Dream List is too impossible, and my Can’t Do List is too large. This morning I woke up wanting to return my new found independence as a recent college graduate. Now that school is over, wasn’t this my big moment? Wasn’t this the time where I proved to the world, my family, and to myself that my college degree was worth every ounce of debt I now proudly hold?  After all, look at me now…

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Since graduation, I’ve spent most of my time and money feeding the social butterfly I neglected while hibernating in the library for the past four years. When I’m not socializing I have about 5 half-thought-out inventions or business plans that will surely take me to the top. And when I’m not becoming the next Bill Gates, I am finding holes in my schedule for workout plans and self-help books that people have been subtly or not so subtly buying for me since I graduated high school. I’m an adult now!

So while I’m acting like I enjoy myself and am responsibly becoming the adult I was always meant to be, why do I feel this way? Why do I still feel like I am drowning in the mere hopes of a successful future? Maybe doing it all isn’t the solution.

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I have so much going on- all good things from the outside looking in- that my overflowing schedule, agenda, and spending flood onto other aspects of my life- maybe even aspects or people who didn’t ask for it. I want to give my time and money and energy to those who need help, friends or strangers, but I can’t give them something I have already spent. Maybe trying to do it ALL is the problem; maybe I am just expected to do what I can.

So what if I stopped doing it all and just did some? Does life have to be all or nothing? I would like to argue that life can be fulfilling with just some. What if I spent some of my time and saved some of it for when a friend calls unexpectedly? Or maybe I spend some of my money and saved some of it for when my dreams actually need funding… or for when a friend’s card gets declined at dinner. (Because let’s be real… I’ve been the friend whose card gets declined on more than one friend date.) Maybe I work hard towards some of my dreams, the prioritized dreams, and channel my energy into making each one important and successful on its own timing? Then with my big shiny dream sitting on my shelf I can move onto some other dreams. Doesn’t having it all at a slower pace mean peace?

IMG_0788I vote for some right now and all eventually over all the stress of all right now. I hope you will too.

Cheers to doing some things well and saying “not right now” to others, because after all… look at me now!

– Sarah

6 Reasons Your Life Sucks Right Now

photo credit: heartofthematteronline.com
photo credit: heartofthematteronline.com

Now, that is a pretty bold statement. Maybe you’re even thinking, “my life doesn’t suck right now.” And if it doesn’t I’m happy for you! But if it does, if you’re in that moment between ‘can’t’ and ‘even.’ Know that you aren’t alone. Because Homegirl over here knows exactly what that feels like. Here’s the thing though. In order to narrow down exactly what is causing your life to suck we need to start with the facts.

1. Your job. Let’s start with the worst thing that ever happened to mankind. Making us get jobs and earn money to buy things. Does it even make sense that we have to spend time and energy making someone else money? Why can’t nice things just be given to us? AMIRIGHT?

2. Your significant other. Don’t even get me started. If you’ve got one, ask yourself, do I need one? If you don’t have one – maybe that’s why your life sucks. No matter what Facebook says your status is, I’ve got one word: REEVALUATE.

3. Your family. Can they just stop hounding you about when you are coming home? Can they not just give you money when you need it and send you care packages? Like what is the point of even calling home if all you’re going to hear is how much they miss you and how they have surprises waiting? ANN-OY-ING.

4. Your living arrangement. Between dirty dishes and smelly pets (maybe even smelly roommates.) I could write a novel on this. You cannot handle the dirty laundry or even thought of scrubbing a toilet one more time. Next time you have to replace the toilet paper roll just go ahead and move out. GOOD RIDDENS.

5. Your school. If the #BIGORANGESCREW isn’t truer than the gospel than nothing is. I don’t know where you are in your education, but I promise you that if you are still chasing down a diploma of some sort you might as well stop now. The only thing your school wants from you is more money. They could care less if you graduate, let alone in 4 years. Move back home with mom & dad and get a job at the local market. They’ve been saying they miss you anyways and the cookies on isle 4 aren’t half bad.

6. Your schedule. You never have time for anything. You don’t get to have fun. All you do is work, work, work. And when you’re not working you’re doing something else you stupidly agreed to sign up for. Can’t the world just understand that you haven’t had a pedi in over 3 months? And the last time you didn’t have anything on your schedule it was because you were grounded. Even typing this is giving me anxiety. TICK-TOCK.

So there you have it. Get rid of those 6 things and you’ve got yourself a care-free life!

OR we could all stop for a second and start seeing the real problem. The only similarity in these 6 things…. Is YOU. So maybe it is time for a YOU adjustment? Maybe there isn’t a job problem or a family/relationship problem. Maybe, just maybe there is a heart problem. I can’t answer that question for you, but that is definitely what I found this morning as I started letting my heart harden towards the above things in my life. I was angry at everything and everyone around me. But the only thing all those things had in common was BEING AROUND ME.

Ann Voskamp says. “Anger is contagious – so is grace.” Maybe the person you’re actually angry at is you? Maybe you just need to give yourself some grace. It’s ok. I won’t tell.

My prayer for you this week is that you can love yourself well. Love who you are in this season of life. Give grace to yourself and your surroundings. Jesus made you for such a time as this. {Esther 4:14} Don’t wake up in 5 years and realize your sucky life could have been the life of your dreams. Tell the people in your life that they matter to you. Be grateful for your opportunities and experiences. Spend some time in the Word – actually stop rushing for even 15 minutes. I dare you, just for one day, to seek joy in Jesus and see if it makes a difference.

 

– Sarah

Oh Holy Week

This?

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THIS is what Holy Week looks like?

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A hot mess with a side of ratchet? Can anyone else relate?… And if you think this looks bad, you are just lucky I can’t capture my emotions or my thoughts in a photo to share. After all, my outsides are almost always a reflection of my insides.

But maybe it is more than the pile of clothing I feel necessary to try on each day before work. Maybe it is more than the stacks of to-do lists that seem to replenish faster than I can complete them. Maybe, just MAYBE, this week is more than finals and weddings and flash cards.

I thought to myself as I was getting ready this morning, ‘This week Satan has had all hands on deck. With the chaos and the worry and the doubt and the high emotions. Of all weeks, he couldn’t give me a break this week? This precious week?’

And then Jesus met me.

He reminded me that I do not have fluctuating value. I am not the stock market. My worth was permanently made known on the cross. A completed to do list, or folded laundry pile, or cleared off kitchen table CANNOT add to me.

He reminded me that I am an individual. That from my fingerprints to my sense of humor. I am special. My outward appearance or comparison to others’ successes DOES NOT make me any less unique.

He reminded me that I am blessed. Blessed with two pups I get to call my own. Blessed with a nephew I can’t wait to squeeze. Blessed with a car that moves forward. Blessed with 80+ girls that asked me to lead them. And Blessed by words that come in the sweetest of moments.

He reminded me that He is my hope. That I need nothing but Him. I should desire nothing but Him. And that His sacrifice will always be the greatest love story of all time.

So. I hope your Holy Week was a WHOLE LOT more holy than mine; but if it was a WHOLE LOT messier than you expected, there is good news. This week is HOLY because of a God who is HOLY. So there is still time to forget all of the other stuff and to remember the HOLINESS of CHRIST and what He did for you.

Remember that because of Him, because of what happened during Holy week, you are valued, unique, and blessed. And most importantly you can have hope.

Grateful.

Life moves quickly. That’s what I remember thinking on my 21st birthday last week. It moves quickly and keeps moving quickly. However, that doesn’t mean it isn’t good, and that doesn’t mean it isn’t worth it.

If you didn’t know this about me, I journal. I write in a notebook starting on my birthday and I keep writing until either it fills up and I start another or it’s my birthday again. I like getting  a fresh start. Opening the first page and physically beginning a new chapter. Last year on my birthday I purchased this journal:

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And I am truly blessed to say that I found joy this year. Through trial and through blessing, Jesus has been there. There is a joy I cannot explain and cannot contain that comes from Him. And for that I am grateful. I have learned the art of being thankful. Especially for the little things. I was given this sweet gift from my dear friend Katie:

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It’s an awesome way to see where Jesus spoils you. Because trust me friends, He does! After realizing how truly blessed I am, I cannot help but think what a wonderful year and life I have! I am not saying there aren’t bad times. I’m not even saying there are easy times. But Jesus is good to me. And I just felt I needed to share that with you today. I have had more sentimental thoughts, I have wanted to write probably a lot more ‘profound’ opinions. I have even wanted to share some pretty hysterical stories and videos. But I just felt I needed to stop and say. “I’m grateful.” So here we are….

I got a second dog. “What?! She’s crazy!! You can’t do that…” I know…. But I did. And she is wonderful and she makes everything ten times better. I don’t have to defend my decision, but she is adorable and you will love her too. Her name is Wendy.

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Besides Wendy and Lucy. I have learned a lot about myself. I have realized how much I truly love flowers. And Laura was sweet enough to send me some on my birthday…

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I am beyond blessed to be a member of Sigma Phi Lambda. This year the girls in Phi Lamb have challenged me, blessed me, held me accountable, and showered me with love that I didn’t deserve. And as of last night, I was initiated as the President for the 2014 – 2015 school year. And believe me when I say, it is my honor.

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Alexandra. I have to say I am thankful for her, because Jesus was good to me when He gave me her. It wasn’t that He hasn’t blessed me with 100 thousand other people who love me too, but this year, specifically this semester, she has been there. He placed her in moments and gave her wise words. He blessed us with good conversation and for quiet moments. And I just needed to say so so THANKFUL for her.

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And lastly I am thankful for the gospel. Jesus has met me here when I needed Him most. People reminded me of the good news when I had almost forgotten it. And if it were not for the sweet truth of Jesus, I wouldn’t be who I am today.

So here’s to a new year and to the blessings Jesus has given me!

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Cheers! – Sarah

 

 

Who Am I?

In my Communication Studies 312 – Interpersonal Communication class, my professor asked us to define “the self.” He went on to explain that “the self” is merely how we answer the question “This is Who I Am.” or “I am __________________.” Theorists go on to argue that one cannot define “the self” without first gaining self-awareness (awareness of one’s self), self-esteem (one’s personal value of one’s self), and self-concept (one’s understanding of how one is viewed).

As I am listening to my professor ask these deep questions at 10 in the morning, I just cannot help but wonder how do I answer this question? How does anyone really answer this question?  And how do we know if we are “right?” So I made a list of who I am:

– Jesus follower   – friend   – sister   – daughter    – employee   – writer   – sinner

– deep thinker   – rusher   – wanter   – seeker   – lover   – helper    – someone who cares

– student    – crier    – laugher    – doer    – hard worker    – soon-to-be aunt    – dreamer

– goal setter   – someone who holds onto hope    – reader    – adventurer    – beginner

– crafter    – wedding admirer    – talker    – texter    – depender of the love of Jesus

School is going well. I am a junior and every single time I say that I am still shocked that I made it this far. And it gives me hope that I can finish. That I can complete possibly the largest milestone in my young adult life. It makes me excited to think about that day! But for now, I am a junior and I am still asking the hard questions like “Who Am I?” or “Who Do I Want to Be?” and my fear is that I won’t ever know. My fear is that I will turn 30 or 40 or 70 or 90 and still be asking “Who Am I?” “Why Am I Here?” “Why did God choose to let me live and let my sisters’ friends die?” “Why am I the one who woke up breathing so normally and went about my morning routine so effortlessly?” “Why am I so blessed??” “WHY?” I. DON’T. DESERVE. THIS. GOOD. LIFE. But Jesus so lovingly, LOVINGLY gave it to me. He chose the cross and He endured a debt that cannot be paid back. We just have to accept it fully and humbly. But then how can we not ask, “But LORD! What can I do for you?” I am a slave to the love of Jesus!! How can I NOT chose Him? Seek Him? Desire Him? Abandon ALL ELSE for Him?

Friends, I dare you to ask the question “Who Am I?” and place that answer at the feet of Jesus. Is that the answer He wants you to have? Is that what He planned for you? Is that where He has placed you, or have you placed yourself there? Did you ask Him to be there?

I don’t have everything figured out. In fact, I am not even sure I have anything figured out. But I can tell you, the only way any of us are going to be happy is if our answer to “Who Am I?” matches Jesus’ answer to “Who is She?” or “Who is He?”

– Sarah

Broken.

Shoot Shoot Shoot Shoot Shoot! [I’m going to be really honest. This wasn’t the word I yelled about 45 minutes ago, but let’s all just roll with it.]

The past three weeks have been about all I can handle emotionally, physically, mentally, psychologically, or whatever other fancy term you want to throw up there. The past three weeks have been freaking terrible. I’m tired. I’m emotionally drained. And my spirit just doesn’t feel like it can take anything else right now. The nannying life has been great. It’s just “everything else” that I am dealing with.

So why does it still surprise me that late at night, when I am all alone, and I just feel straight up defeated,  Satan began to creep into my thoughts? He began knocking on the protective walls of my mind and it was like the soldiers had all fallen asleep. My protectors of my fortress were so quickly taken by surprise. I will give them credit they have been fighting hard the past couple of weeks. But that’s exactly how a battle is won. Isn’t it? The enemy beats you and beats you and beats you down until you can’t take it anymore and then they come in for the final blow. The Enemy doesn’t sit back and say “Oh wait guys, she looks really really tired, she needs a break. Let’s pack up and come back tomorrow.” NO!! The Deceiver, like any good attacker, does the opposite. He keeps hounding and pounding and pushing and pulling until your mind cannot take it any longer. Then he takes a deep breath, pulls back for momentum and thrusts himself forward for the final blow.

Yesterday evening was bad too. But I had had enough to strength to pray for protection. I had called out the name of Jesus, my protector, the lover of my soul, the Almighty One. That He would stand for me when I no longer could. That he would place armies of angels around me in order to get me through the night. And Praise the Holy One. The One Who’s Reign Shall Never End, He did!! What a mercy. What a blessing. How GOOD my God is to me. But then again tonight Satan came crawling back, the way he is used to doing. He strikes like a snake at my mental process. Derailing my train of thought before it can get to Jesus. As he strikes again my mental strongholds failed. I truly watched them give up. It was like my mind said “We just can’t Sarah, you’re too tired for this today.” And the wall came crumbling down. It had been such a long battle. But again I failed. And once the fight is over Satan doesn’t help you clean up the mess. He doesn’t comfort like Emet Elohim Emet does. He doesn’t heal like Yahweh Rophey does. He doesn’t help and fix like Adonai does. He leaves.

After the disaster of the night. The broken child that I am remains. Nothing else. No one else. Just the mess that I was, am, and will be. But there is hope, because unlike the Evil One. My Beloved helps the broken.

Taped to my closet door is Matthew 11: 28-30, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

So tomorrow I will begin again. With renewed hope. Attempting to take on another day in this dark dark world. With the purpose of shining a light so someone else can have this hope that I have. This joy that heals. This love that claims you and makes you whole.

– Sarah

Where My Heart is at This Summer

It’s been a hard summer. God’s been working on a lot the past 8 weeks. And there are 5 more to go. That’s the scary part. I think the first 8 were just a warm up. Lots of changes. Lots of unexpected. Lots of I don’t know what the blank I’m doing anymore. Lots of I need people. And most importantly, lots of I need God.

I don’t really have much to say except scripture is where it is at. My dear friend, Sherri, has been sending me verses from all over the Word, and at the most random times, but they some how just seem to fit. Also people have been praying for me. And it has just recently been brought to my attention that people do this frequently. And I don’t know why but until this summer I didn’t think people did that for me. I just thought “I’ll be praying for you,” was the Southern version of “Wow, your life sucks.” Because a lot of the time, people say they will pray over you, but they don’t actually do it. You know? So when I found out from various people that they or others have been praying over me, it just kind of shocked me. I am humbled and I thank you if you are one of those people. Seriously. I can feel that you’re doing it. God has been whispering, “You aren’t alone.” There’s a lot going on, but the only thing left to say is I want you to read Isaiah 43. I’ll put pieces of it here and I encourage you to read it slowly. Just soak it in. I cry when I read it. Every time. It’s just where my heart is at this summer.

All enfaces are added by me.

Isaiah 43:

“But now, this is what the LORD says- he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: ‘ Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the LORD, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior; I give Egypt for your ransom, Cush and Seba in your stead. Since you are precious and honored in my sight and because I love you,'” (vs. 1-4)

“Do not be afraid, for I am with you;” (vs. 5)

“Everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.” (vs. 7)

“I, even I, am the LORD, and apart from me there is no savior.” (vs. 11)

“I am the LORD, your Holy One, Israel’s Creator, your King.” (vs. 15)

– Sarah

Digging Deeper Roots

I wake up in a cold sweat with a tear-stained face. 3 AM is becoming more and more familiar. Anxiety has started camping out along the river banks of my stream of thought and his double-decker RV isn’t leaving any room for Peace & Calm to take a vacation. So what’s a girl to do? I can’t exactly wake up the roommates for a midnight chat; none of us get enough sleep as it is. So I do the only thing I can comprehend to do. I write.

As I scratch line after line into my small notebook by the light of the low-lit lamp in the living room, a woman’s words haunt me “You want to be an author?” “What are you going to do if you don’t become an author?” At the time, I kindly replied that I hoped to go to seminary and potentially serve in a church or in Young Life, but now at 3 AM the only thing that can come to the forefront of my mind is “I have no FREAKING idea.” Can’t a girl  turn 20 without the weight of the entire world being thrown on her shoulders? Last time I checked, I was just trying to pass World Civ 261!

The clock rolls around to about 4:15 AM and Anxiety is still setting up camp. He’s got the fire going and I swear he just invited Fear and Anger over so they can all roast marshmallows. This is getting ridiculous. My journaling begins to fade into what looks more like my prayers. Sweet Jesus, I whisper, what am I supposed to do? Where is your will in all of this? How am I supposed to become this successful and adventures woman of faith when I am too dang scared of graduation day. School is safe. School is good. I can handle school. But life?! You want me to start preparing for life?? But HOW?

Anxiety begins to subside. In the midst of my prayers I can grab onto the hope of Jesus. I begin to see the sunrise and decide I need to try and catch a couple more hours of sleep. As I head to bed I realize I have no idea what lies in the days ahead. But I do know I believe in a God that can do immeasurably more {Ephesians 3:20}, and I believe that same God is a faithful God {1 Cor 1:9}, and I believe that He is all-knowing {1 John 3:19-20}. So as I pull up the sheets I pray, Holy Spirit cling to me and hold tight because trees dig deeper roots in the midst of a storm, and I want to be rooted in Your will.

– Sarah.

But What About Jesus?

So my last blog post was right after my birthday. And it breaks my heart to realize I have written five or six drafts since then, but this is the first moment I was able to take a deep breath and actually write. I have still been writing, but not necessarily the way I love. I’m the head of the blog for a non-profit organization called Speak Now. I’ve talked about it several times here, but if you haven’t had the time. CHECK. IT. OUT. I love the heart of the organization and the cause and everything. Mommy and I take turns posting on the site. Our posts go up twice a week, and I’m gonna be real. You don’t want to miss out. Here’s the link: SPEAK NOW.

My only issue is that I can’t talk about Jesus on the blog. Ellie Coburn, who is a good friend and the CEO and Founder of Speak Now (and only 17. My WORD this gal is awesome!!) is a Christian and I know her heart seeks after the Lord, but she believes we can’t encourage women while preaching about Jesus too because it scares off a lot of our followers. And I see her reasoning and respect that decision. It’s not a coincidence though that almost all of our board of representatives are Christ followers. Jesus is working here. So if you wouldn’t mind, join me in prayer that my secular words can reach out to these souls and show them Jesus.

And this kind of brings me to what is most heavily on my heart these days. The prayer I have so repeatedly prayed and the ache in my soul just keeps asking… WHERE. IS. JESUS?? I do not doubt The Almighty One and I don’t question The Author of Time, but this world is just so lost and so empty. I feel like my actions over this school year have been so of the flesh, and not of my God. So in humble conviction I hit my knees whispering… Where is Jesus??

I looked around my school’s campus as the school year came to a close and just asked… What is all this for if not for Jesus?

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Looking through this building and through the bustle of the backpacks and said… But why are we working if not for Jesus?

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I earned straight A’s this semester making my sophomore year GPA a 4.0 ——> Praise the Great Lion of Judah! But what are all my efforts for if not for Jesus? Why do I study so diligently about meaningless pieces of history or write essays about forgotten pieces of literature instead of studying and writing about the gospel. isn’t THAT the story that needs to be told and told again?

So for now, I will just keep on keeping on. Seeking His Goodness in this world of sin and darkness. Attempting to be a beacon of light in this dark and empty place.

Life Lessons with a side of Urban Air

Oh. My. Good. Gracious. I am 20!! 20?!?!?! What?

This was me on the day I was born… Daddy holding me. Man this is cute.

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I was reminiscing about my previous years of life thus far (like I usually do on my birthday) and I have decided a couple things.

{1} I have become my mother. I cannot deny it anymore. Seriously. I couldn’t find my coffee for like 20 minutes today and then I found it in the microwave. Which for those of you who may not know, that is a classic Kim Moog move. It was so funny and it made me realize it was inevitable that I would become her. And I am ok with that.

{2} I am LOST without Christ. And I would say I have known this for a while, but the older I become and the longer I have been a Christian; I am realizing this more and more. While it is my 20th birthday, it is almost my 4th birthday in Christ. And it was’t until the other day that I realized I am just a baby in all of this. It’s ok that I don’t have everything right. It’s ok that I still struggle with even the most basic of devoted tasks and disciplines in faith. I keep TRYING and I keep FAILING and God keeps FORGIVING and REDEEMING. His love amazes me more and more each day.

{3} Friends are worth keeping. I would say my 19th year was a lonely lonely year. A hard year in school, a hard year emotionally, and just an all around tough year. But it also was filled with so many blessings. And as it came to a close God started to remind me that maybe the reason I am so lonely is because I felt like I wasn’t worth friends and friends weren’t worth me. I didn’t want to be around people. But the Holy Spirit whispered softly to me, that people love me. And I love people. I am a people person that tried to live life independently and isolated and that isn’t how God made me. I desire intimate relations with people and friends that want that connection with me.

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{4} I want to BE somebody. I think I have spent such a large portion of my life trying to become someone special that I wasn’t willing to live my life as the special person I am. I have this NEED to make something of myself in order to make my parents and friends and the LORD proud, but I’ve come to face the facts. I already make them proud. I AM somebody. Maybe one day I will become a famous author or someone who gets to travel the world teaching the Word and spreading the gospel like Beth Moore does, but maybe I am supposed to be a loving mom, friend, wife, sister, daughter, who teaches the word and spreads the gospel in my own backyard. You know? The gospel is just as POWERFUL on 1633 Hart Rd. Knoxville, TN than it is in Kenya or England or Australia. We will just have to see where God takes me. I am willing servant of the Lord.

Anyways… I just wanted to share these thoughts. The “new and improved” 20 year old Sarah thinks these things and I needed to write them down so 30 and 40 and 50 year old Sarah can go back and laugh at herself and reminisce on later birthdays. I hope you enjoyed these thoughts as well and maybe they shines some light on situations for you too.

Also… here are pictures from my birthday. It. Was. Awesome.

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Over and Out. – Sarah

Divine Instances of Vulnerability

Over the past several years I have come to realize that God creates within us divine instances of vulnerability for His purpose. A Divine Instance of Vulnerability is when a person is so consumed with the mightiness of God in a mere second of ultimate realness that they are quite literally overwhelmed. The only way such an instance can occur is by the person practically getting taken by surprise by the Lord Himself. You see, you cannot prepare your heart for such an instance. It just happens. You are taken aback in awe of the Mighty One, because He is loving enough to desire such a closeness with you that He will demand it from your very being. In the end, the LORD sought out your heart and purposefully grabbed hold of its nakedness at the perfect moment to influence your life and your relationship with Him exactly as He has intended it to be from the very beginning of time.

– Sarah (:

I’m Not an Olympian

There are strong women in the world and women empowerment is something that has always been strongly on my heart. Especially since I recently joined the Speak Now team (more of this to come.) Our society encourages and demands women to be independent and strong and brave. The Olympics finished tonight and America had hundreds of strong female athletes take to their skill and show the world they were the strongest they could be and they claimed gold medal after gold medal after gold medal. And I can tell you I am so proud of these women it’s not even funny. #TeamUSA

But I want to ask the question that has brought me to my knees this evening. Is it so wrong to be weak? Is it socially unacceptable to “not be ok?” People ask “How are you?” Do they WANT me to explain that my heart is aching, it is being torn in two by the people I love the most, that my heart and mind battle it out hour after hour as I try to ignore the yelling of my soul so that I can continue with my day to day activities? Is it OK to cry in front of others? Openly? Honestly? Even if you KNOW what you are about to say is going to be rejected by 95% of the population in front of you? How does a woman handle such an emotion?

So I guess what I am trying to say is that for most of my life I take pride in being the super woman. I go to extreme lengths to make everyone proud but today I will not. Tonight I am going to admit that I am not always strong. I’m not always the best. And I most certainly do not have the emotional strength of an Olympian.

– Sarah

Getting Older

So the thought has entered my head several times over the past couple of weeks and I don’t really know what to make of it.

I am getting older.

My friends and I discussed our thoughts and emotions behind abortion, the Chick fil a debate, the election, taxes, ROTH IRAs, school funding, student loans, wedding budgets, and all these other things. THIS IS WHAT OLD PEOPLE TALK ABOUT. I am discussing how to start my own business and how to get a book published and what agencies look for and if it is smarter to take out loans now and begin building my ROTH IRA or whatever. I discuss interest rates and losing weight. I talk about Paleo foods and heart rate and blood pressure. I talk about the shooting in Aurora and airline prices.

WHEN DID THIS HAPPEN? I listen to adults talk about how quickly their children grow up. I am here to say that the children are FREAKING OUT about how quickly we grow up.

Why am I not discussing how cute Andrew looked in The Amazing Spider Man? Or watching Grey’s Anatomy re-runs? Or sitting and coloring in a coloring book with my little sister. HOW did this happen? Why am I WORRIED? Children don’t worry. I listen to Maren and Nicky argue about which wizard is the best on a specific video game and I simply envy it. They have no idea I am listening and they have no idea how jealous I am or what I would give to be that little again.

So today I sit. In the shocking realization that I am not little anymore. I have been waiting for this feeling probably since my 18th birthday. But today was the day that I cried because all I wanted to play outside with no shoes on. I don’t want to floss or take vitamins or research tax information. I want to eat cookies. LOTS of cookies. And milk. I want the kitchen to be a mess and let someone else deal with it. And more importantly I want to sing. I want to stand on the back porch with my arms open wide and just sing. I’ll sing anything my heart desires from One Direction to Jesus songs. Just let me sit, sing, and be carefree for one more day. Let me be little.

– Sarah

Worth it.

I sit alone in my bedroom. The kids have been tucked into bed and the lights are off in the house. Everything within me is dying to just go to bed. After the long day of visitors and large dogs and a terribly beating workout I find my eyelids getting heavier by the moment. But in the quiet I hear Him. He calls to me. Not begging, but requesting my attention be turned to Him. In this moment I have to decide. Am I going to spend time with Him? After a long pause, I decide I will gather my strength and sit with the LORD. I just pray I don’t fall asleep.

My prayer begins and I am speechless. What do you say to the Man who made it all? Where do you begin? I thank Him for the many things I never deserve. Listing them one by one. Then I open my bible to the Psalms. I find myself eye-to-eye with Psalm 111. “Great are the works of the LORD; they are pondered by all who delight in them… The works of His hands are faithful and just… He provided the redemption for His people; He ordained His covenant forever – holy and awesome is His name.…”

I reach verse 9 where these bolded words are written and I think to myself. HOW could I NOT sit in the presence of the Mighty King?! HOW could I DOUBT that His time with me is SO IMPORTANT and SO WORTH IT. WHY would I EVER pass up this opportunity? … But yet I do. More often than I would like to admit. The day goes by and my heart had wondered.

My Mother has often reminded me, “If you feel distant from God remind yourself who moved.

So in this moment folks. I ask you to remember the holiness and the majesty of our God. If today was a day you weren’t willing to sit and be still. I am reminding you. It’s worth it.

The Joys of July

HAPPY JULY HOMIES!!

This is a shock… JULY?! Really?!?!

With July comes weeks filled with these things:

The joys of starting my Whole30 plan. Which means the joy of shopping at Whole Foods

The joy [and shock] of realizing more then half of 2012 is over

The joy of cooking my favorite dish for the kiddies

The joy [and tears] that come from watching this little one at her recital

The joy of long conversations on the phone with good friends

The joy of finding this photo in the Smithsonian Photo Gallery

The joy of standing in the presence of this memorial [again] and thanking the LORD for what it stands for

And the joy of being thankful for the people who serve our country on this upcoming holiday.

Enjoy the fireworks, good food, and family.

Happy 4th everybody!

 – Sarah (:

Where This Summer Takes Me.

Where can this summer take me?

To find that I love crafts.

To remind me of my love for writing.

To keep me committed to my pen pals.

To push me closer to the Almighty.

To bring me closer to family.

To expand my musical taste.

To force me to lack Young Life, just for a little while.

To try new recipes.

To let me travel past beautiful places like this.

To meet super legit people like this.

And of course, to take me back to Washington D.C.

Here I am. Nannying again. Doing one thing I love and enjoying the blessings this summer has brought me. Where has your summer taken you?

– Sarah (:

Here’s My May-athon.

Wow. It’s May 31. Dang I am getting old. I can’t believe it’s been an entire month sense I last blogged. I can’t believe this month of my life has not been exposed, not written about, not thought through. I need clarity people! Anyways, I guess I will start with the basics.

I moved out. scary thought that I am no longer a freshman in college. sad thought that I don’t live with my awesome roomies, and I live back in good ole Marietta.

Next was Matt and Lauren’s wedding. My cousin was married earlier this May and it was a joy to see him marry the love of his life who has been around for quite a while. We all adore Lauren, and honestly SHE is his better half! (:

After that I came back with a few days to recover before the guests started arriving for my baptism! I GOT BAPTIZED Y’ALL!

FINALLY!!

If you want to watch my testimony video and me getting baptized check it out here!

God’s love washed over me and took my sin away. It didn’t save me. Jesus Christ saved me. But it symbolizes what He did for me!

Then there were a couple days that gave me a chance to put my life in order. Unpack my dorm stuff, clean my room, and try to get into a summer routine. But soon came this monday, MEMORIAL DAY. We have several veterans in this family and it was awesome to get to celebrate this holiday with them. We took my grandpa, a WWII vet all the way from Knoxville down to the Atlanta Braves stadium where he had an awesome time at the game! This picture is us giving kicks and fist pumps so that I could send it into Today’s Letters (one of my favorite blogs. Check them out!)

And this week I have been taking things slow. Sleeping until noon. Doing lots of crafts including making ‘Merica shorts, flower pens, picture frame art, t-shirt blankets, writing letters to old friends, and working on some books (writing and Reading of course.)

 Hope your May-athon was as good as mine! See you in June!

– Sarah (:

The Next Step.

If you missed it, you need to start this post by reading my previous post, The Morning After.

Last week I wrote about my experience with sin, for me it was a specific sin, but I hoped to make it relatable to anyone’s personal sin. I hope you found a way to relate it to your life, because sin is something we all have in common. I think it is interesting that I had the highest ratings in my year and a half of blogging on the day I wrote about the most simplest fact. We all sin. My second highest post viewed is this one which again, discusses sin. My mother, after I called her to tell her my high ratings, said, “I think you hit a social nerve.” And that’s when it hit me… No one talks about sin anymore! 

We all sit in these social circles of success, wealth, careers, degrees, experience, networking, etc. where we are all expected to put on these masks: Nothing is wrong, Nothing has ever been wrong, and Nothing will ever go wrong. But WHY? Why do we do this to ourselves?! If we are honest, we know, NO BODY lives like that! It’s impossible. Things happen. People make mistakes. HELLO, we are human!

So then two days after I write about sin, I go have coffee with two lovely girls. It started off as a casual coffee date, but God turned it into us tearing down each others walls. Sin comes out, TRUTH comes out, and for the first time it’s OK to admit to having sin. We learned that we shared heart break, we all dealt with similar struggles, and the burdens we carry we no longer have to carry alone. That night, I lay down in my bed, and just took a deep breath, because I am no longer alone on this journey.

Two days after that, I find myself having a heart-to-heart with a friend who doesn’t like heart-to-hearts. It came at a coincidental time, when both of us could have been doing lots of other things. But all of a sudden,  I openly admit to my imperfectness, and she generously and lovingly reciprocates. Both of us have trust issues. For her, she grew up in a house that breeds trust issues, for me, I trusted people until I got burned by my entire high school, family, and friends. But God put the two of us in a room, where we were comfortable, and it almost seemed casual, to bring up the dark spots in our past.

I have memorized a piece of James and it says, “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials. Knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.” – James 1:2-3

This is SUPPOSED to happen. God has placed us here, not so that life was easy, but so that the people around us could walk us through it. This generation is so twisted in our ways of hiding our failures and exploiting our success. Yes, I hope we take joy in one another’s successes, but I hope even more we give encouragement and love in other’s times of trouble.

I encourage you, to talk about it. I’m here to listen, my contact info, is on the right side of this screen. Send me an email, message me on facebook, call me, do what you gotta do. Find a friend, a good friend. And say “Hey, I need to talk,” because friends, this walk isn’t meant to be taken alone. The time has come when you let someone help you, for Heaven’s sake, be vulnerable! Be honest, with everybody and with yourself, and admit that you’re imperfect. It’s hard. It’s REALLY hard, but it’s amazing what God can do when we let Him bring the light into our darkness.

– Sarah (:

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