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

Still

You said I was your favorite Sarah and that would never change.

Am I still?

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We promised to go on a bear hunt, and to catch all of the Indians on Cherokee Trail.

Will we still?

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You played even after your mind couldn’t remember the words. Your hands still new the strings.

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We watched baseball games, begging you to cheer for the winning team. You always would.

Will you still?

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Your voice went lower than I could ever attempt in the first refrain of Swing Low, Sweet Chariot.

Does it still?

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Your hands clapped after every single one of my choir performances, cello recitals, and graduations.

Will they still?

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Sneaking extra pieces of pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving was always our favorite part.

Is it still?

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You promised to love me until time stood still.

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Is time still?

Not Ready for No

Dear Jesus,

Sometimes your answers look like “no.” But Jesus, how am I expected to accept your final answer when your no means watching a 9 year old die? I just can’t. I’m back on my knees for a re-do, a double-check, a miracle. Shuffle the deck if you have to, because I am not in the business of burying 9 year olds. His mom and dad didn’t sign up for this. He has a 12 year old sister and an 8 year old little brother! Jesus, they don’t deserve the short straw. They’ve been fighting this war far too long Jesus. They’ve been fighting a war since little man was born, and God we aren’t done with him yet. They weren’t done teaching him games or mathematics or the best way to sneak a cookie from the cookie jar. I am begging you Jesus, not today.

And LORD we have been begging for a new heart for our fighter, which means we have been consequently begging for a child to lose a heart. And Jesus I begged for that to not be the answer. Because our little man needs a heart, but so does the little man it would come from. And there are prayer warriors, family members, and loved ones surrounding that little heart too. And Jesus that’s not fair!

No one should have to bury their child. It’s not right to build, fill, close, or lower tiny caskets. It’s barely “ok” to do it to a big casket, but Jesus it’s a LITTLE ONE.

But Jesus now our fighter’s brain stopped responding. And mom and dad are losing hope. The doctor’s came and told us that our fighter is too weak for a new little heart. So they’re giving the little heart to another little body. Jesus WHY ARE LITTLE BODIES HURTING?!?!?! They haven’t had time to damage their bodies themselves. They aren’t weakened by substances or age or worry or heartache. They are tiny bodies that should play double-dutch and eat ice cream and hold hands with friends.

So Jesus I’m lost. We all are. He lost brain function, now the heart donor, and all other medical answers. All we have left is to hope on you, and Jesus you are sovereign and good and faithful, And I know that your will is far greater than mine. So I trust you. And if I am honest I am just not ready for your “no.”

– Sarah

What Pinterest didn’t teach me about being a bridesmaid.

0290Being a bridesmaid is much more of a commitment than it first seems. But in the excitement and in the midst of all the cuteness, when your close friend “pops the question,” you don’t have a choice but to squeal and jump up and down! You get to stand by her on one of the most important days of her life!! How COULD you say no?! Who would WANT to?!

But I’ve now been a bridesmaid twice, and the thing I’ve learned the most is that being a bridesmaid doesn’t stop when your bestie says, “I Do” That’s just the beginning.

Now sure, picking out dresses and colors and flowers and center pieces are all part of the fun. (Don’t get me wrong… I have four wedding boards on Pinterest and they are organized and color-coded and could put yours to shame.) But your bride asked you to stand by her for a reason; and I believe, when you stand by her on her big day you are committing to stand by her and for her in these four ways:

  1. 10274101_10152453505524468_1427201419336202402_nYou promised to stand up for her marriage. This means when things aren’t all dandelions and roses, you’ve committed to be the friend that reminds her of her promise. You remind her of her vows, and that marriage can’t always be a honeymoon. You comfort her and love her, but you remain standing for the covenant that she maybe can’t in that moment.
  1. You promised to stand up for her husband. You defend him when she’s forgotten to or when others aren’t. I’m not saying every girl gets upset and let’s loose on her hubby’s flaws. But I am saying everybody has to vent every once in a while. And when she calls you, you give her a judgment-free space to talk things out, but you keep her accountable for her words towards her man, because he deserves that. Sometimes a bridesmaid can be the only one to remind a bride of that.
  1. 10419621_798049943539057_3612648532637235069_nYou promised to stand by her. When life throws a curveball, accidental or not, explainable or not, you stand with her. This is the best part. Life is hard, and her husband can’t always be the super hero. It’s not even his fault why life got hard. But sometimes, a gal just needs her friends. So don’t lose touch just because she’s got bigger commitments now. She loves you and needs you, and if we are honest, you need her too.
  1. image1You promised to stand in prayer with her. For her marriage; for her husband; for her; for their future family; and for her extended family. When the preacher man looked out into the crowd and asked for any objections, and you didn’t oppose, that meant you were for them. That meant you lifted them up as a blessing from God, and would always support them. And if I’ve learned anything about friendships, it’s that prayer can be the best comfort you can offer.

So to Katie and Melanie, I love you and I hope you’ve already known I stood for you in these ways. And to Laura, and now Lisa, I raise my glasses to you and your fiancés. I love y’all!

5 years and Counting!

5 years. Really? It’s been that long?

June 6th, 2009 at 10:32 AM. I will always remember that moment. I received a phone call from my older sister telling me that my mother had been in a bike accident. We didn’t know much else except that she was being flown to UT Medical in a helicopter. When we got off the phone I fell to the feet of Jesus for the first time in my whole life. He pulled me close and reminded me that while I was so hopeless and helpless He wasn’t. My life was impacted in so many ways that day. And for that I am grateful.

Mom, I am grateful for you who were before the accident. I had an amazing childhood filled with a safe environment to grow and challenge things. Thank you for always encouraging me to try new things even if that meant eating cooked spinach and tomatoes at dinner. I am grateful for your support as I hit middle school and again as high school began to mold me. And most importantly you taught me to be me and chase after my dreams.

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I am also grateful for June 6th and what happened after. We grew as a family and learned that God moves in mysterious ways. You were strong as you relearned absolutely everything from basic math and how to tell time to what hobbies you now enjoyed. That was hard. I can’t imagine what you were going through, but as a whole family it was hard. But I am definitely grateful. It taught me to love everyone as if it was the last time I would see them. How to say sorry and how to forgive quickly. It taught me to treat strangers with respect because I couldn’t possibly imagine what they were going through. And it taught me that Jesus is the only constant thing in my life. He has been, is, and always will be Sovereign.

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Lastly I am grateful for today. We talked today! I know I don’t always call as often as I should and I know I try to be independent, but I can’t imagine life without you. There was a moment when I thought I would have to. But God blessed me by letting you stick around. Once when you and I were talking you told me, “I could have died, but I didn’t. Now I have to figure out why I am still here. What should I be living for?” And Mommy I am still not sure we know your purpose yet, but I do know that if we keep looking to Jesus we will figure it out. If I have learned anything it is that he is faithful. I love you.

And Jesus, it’s been 5 long years since I accepted you as my Lord and Savior. I realized you were my only Hope. Thank you for continuously reminding me that you were and still are my only hope, my only joy, and my only reason. The past 5 years have brought more shame, worry, doubt, and fear than ever before, but because of YOU I have never felt more peace, understanding, encouragement, or love. You are why I live and breathe. My prayer is that my actions live up to these words. I love you.

A Happy New Christmas

This year has flown by, as I feel I say every year, but honestly this is one for the books.

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I wake up on Christmas morning, not to the usual squeals of Savannah and myself ready for Christmas. (We continue our childhood tradition of sleeping in the same bed on Christmas Eve.) Instead, I wake up to the sound of a crying baby. He wails for my older sister Laura, his mother, for his instantaneous needs. I offer to help as I can see the exhaustion on her face through her new mother glow. I change his diaper and then begin to rock him out of loving desperation for silence. But as I rock him I cannot help but think to myself how beautiful a brand new baby looks on Christmas morning. And he isn’t just beautiful because he is a baby or because he is new, but because he is mine. I rock him and dream of all the plans I hope for him. Plans for hope and a future.

Mary must have felt this way. Don’t you think? In all of her fear and all of her rejection, she sat at the early hours of the morning holding the most beautiful, new Baby in all of history. She rocked her Son out of desperation for sleep and silence and warmth. She rocked Him with the hope of what He could become. Ironically, she had no idea what her Son came to do, what He had to do, and who He would become. I imagine she hoped for a simple life, a good life, and He would give her the world, except for a simple life. He was going to make her watch Him sacrifice Himself without understanding. She knew His divine identity but yet he portrayed  only humaneness on the cross. He made her mourn His death for 3 days, which must have felt like an eternity, before His unexpected resurrection.

But just as my sister gave Hunter life and she and I can hope for him, and just as Mary gave Jesus life and she hoped for Him; Jesus gives you the chance at life that He hopes for you. {I would say, don’t you think? but I know.}

He created your inmost being, He knit you together in your mother’s womb. And He planned it all out so that He could not only make you and give you Life, but He could hope for you, give up everything for you, and give you more than you can imagine.

Friends, I would be ruining your Christmas if I did not offer you this gift. This gift that was given to you freely. You don’t have to take it, just like every gift, you can choose to leave it on the table. But speaking from experience, there is no greater gift you will ever receive!

– Sarah

P.S. I got a new puppy and a new baby for Christmas. and this is what the night shift looks like…

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Dear Daddy,

Dear Daddy,

Thanks for being my biggest fan, my push to be better, my hope for tomorrow, and my best friend.

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Thanks for being a Godly figure in my life and in others’ lives.

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Thanks for giving me high expectations for how a man should treat his wife and run a household.

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Thanks for your love even in my darkest hours and your  praises in my best hours.

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Thanks for being a professional cookie maker, the nicest flat-tire changer, and the best rough-houser I know.

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With only the utmost respect and adoration a daughter can have,

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I. love. you. Dad! Happy Birthday!

– 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

Life Lately {June addition}

So Life Lately has been a little crazy. Also, looking back on a lot of my blog posts recently they have been super deep and vulnerable and emotional and all that jazz. And that is great and I always think my writing is most real when I am in the zone like that, but there are days when I just need to talk about the good things going on. So here it goes.

Saying y’all. Like a lot. The kids I nanny have pointed out to me that I average about 15 y’alls a day. WHAT?!? #Southern

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Saying Holy ______ Batman! This is something the kids have taught me to say. It’s funny. And can be really witty if you play your cards right. My favorite so far is “Holy Did Nicky Just Wet His Pants Batman?” Check out this video for some examples!

Playing games with boys. Now this sounds weird, and potentially inappropriate, but I promise it 100% isn’t. I have always been a girlie girl, and I’ve pretty much always only had girl friends, but this summer I dared myself to learn to hang out with the 2 boys I nanny and actually play with them. I have learned that I am terrible at: football, Mario Kart, and watching scary movies. I have learned I am good at: wrestling, winning fart contests, and making inappropriate jokes. Here’s to being a boy!

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Asking for Prayer. And this isn’t me trying to be all like “look at me, I pray and need prayer, blah blah blah.” But this is me saying HOLY PRAYING ROCKS, BATMAN!! I have been praying probably more than I ever have before. And honestly I think prayer reaps prayer. It has taught me to be honest, sincere, and connected to Christ in a way I never have before. I have always prayed, but I think this summer was meant to teach me the disciplines of prayer and what the power of prayer can look like in a person’s life. I have also seen the benefits of being vulnerable to ask for others to pray over you. As I make some hard decision in the next upcoming months, it’s been awesome to see the community of people join with me in these decisions, all because I asked them to. And let’s be honest, it’s pretty sweet.

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And lastly, I would say graphic design. I’m all about it. It rocks. It brings out the creative juices in me and it let’s me feel super artsy. (And apparently it’s the hipster thing to do, so surprise surprise I am loving it.) I made these 2 things & I’m super proud of them. Even if they’re simple to everyone else, they were hard for me, but I am loving the chance to learn new things. The BIY chart I made one for every week for the rest of the year & the button on the right is for a Speak Now event this July! It is broadcast on my blog along with many other women’s!! (:

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I hope y’all enjoying the simple things in your life this week!

‘ Til next time – Sarah

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

A Christmas to Remember

The lights were dark in the sanctuary. Candles were aflame in various parts of the room, and the pastor called forward all who had been saved, came back to Christ, or had been baptized this past year. I don’t like alter calls and I do not like walking to the front of a church when you feel like the world is looking at you. And in that moment, fear took over me. I whispered to Mom if I should walk to the front. After all, I was baptized in May of this year. The moment was overwhelming. She replied, “You can if you want to,” and without thinking my feet began to carry me. They took me down the stairs as tears streamed down my face and I sang “Oh Come All Ye Faithful.”… The tears started rushing even harder. “I am not faithful,” I thought. “Not even close. After all I’ve done. After every mistake. I am the least of these.” None of these people should be looking at me or the small light that shined oh so brightly in the terribly dark room. But something inside me made me desire the light. My maternal instincts made me clasp my hand around the flame, not daring to let it burn out. I walked back across the room and up the stairs to my seat with my family. The whole time allowing the tears to pour and the light to shine.

Because that is what Christmas is all about. The people of the world were so UNDESERVING of a Savior. So UNPREPARED. So UNWORTHY. Yet God sent His Son. He sent HIS ONLY SON knowing we would hate Him. The children He loved Oh so VERY much, would reject His most precious gift to us. So we stand once a year, in a large sanctuary, and the Elders pass out candles, and we all sing, and we all remember the little babe. We remember the humble mother, the doubtful father, the dirty stable, and the UNPREDICTABLE, IMPOSSIBLE, yet REMARKABLE birth of the baby who came to save the world.

This Christmas I encourage you to remember. Remember the gift that came. And to remember how much love God MUST have for us, in order to give us His Son. I wish you the Merriest of Christmases, and the Happiest of New Years.

– Sarah (:

P.S. If you missed my Baptism video. Here’s the link!

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 (:

Walk like a child. Talk like a child.

As I am tired, sunburned, and frustrated I find myself in the backyard looking through the fencing on this summer night.

 The day has been long and it is just now reaching 8:00. How can the day already be long? The to-do list is barely dented into and the kids still have too much energy. But here I am, taking a deep breath, before I go back to work. The children need me.

My emotional turmoil continues as I make my way back inside. I find that Nicky is crying. Sweet Nicholas only 11 years old. I hear him. He is in the living room. He thinks he is alone. Maren walks into the kitchen and I whisper, “Where is Nicky?” And she says, “He is hiding because you made him sad.” Her words smack me across the face as I realize that I have been selfish. In my own world. Only focused on my own emotions. Here I am frustrated and hurt, but Nicky has emotions too. Sweet, childish, innocent, emotions. I go into the living room to find him, I whisper that I am so sorry I hurt him and that I hope he can find it in his heart to forgive me. He doesn’t remove the blanket from over his head but he squeaks out, “Ok.” I can hear the resistance in his voice so I sit for a few minutes waiting for the air to clear. Surely enough, it does. A few more minutes go by and he pulls off the blanket and sniffles, “Can we build a fort in the basement?” “Sure.” I reply with a smile.

If only I could be like a child again. If only I didn’t have the adult-like mind that holds grudges. If only I didn’t judge people’s characters simply because they have hurt my feelings once. If only I could be more like….. Nicky. One of the last people I would ever wish to be like. I silently laugh to the irony of it all. I have to be more like a child. I have to forgive the people that have hurt me and move on. If only I had learned this lesson a couple hours earlier, I would have saved myself an entire afternoon of bitterness.

So now I must go, because Nicky and I are building a fort. Rebuilding our trust in one another, and I am secretly sneaking him the candy that I had grounded him from in the first place.

So friends. Be like Nicky. Let that grudge go.

– 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 (:

Skin and Bones

It is 3:08 in the morning as I write this. An inner battle just took place in my mind. A spiritual battle is what I am referring to.

The Evil One is good at his job and he comes in all shapes and sizes. Clever. I will at least give him that. He is very clever.

As the inner turmoil is just beginning the Holy Spirit inside of me is quick to differentiate between my thoughts, the Spirit’s thoughts, and the Evil One’s thoughts. The conversation within me continues as I am merely a spectator now. Minutes go by while the Geology pages turn. As I am about to turn the page I realize that my eyes passed over the words but they were not read. My mind was else where. I will even admit to having highlighted and starred and added notations to where my subconscious thought my conscious would place them if it were present. I decide to wait until the conversation in my head was over before I continue with homework. There really isn’t much point. Once the three of us get started it’s hard to stop us until a decision is made.

For you see, the Deceiver is getting stronger. I can tell that as his lies are whispered they some how seem to continue to make the truth sound softer. Soon enough they sound roughly about the same volume. My own mind joins in. Reminding the two gentleman in the room that I am still there. This was a big mistake. Now the Deceiver can focus on me instead of continuing to argue with the Almighty. I should have let Him handle it. As he talks I can hear the soft echo, “that’s not true.” “are you really going to believe that?” I know that what he is saying is wrong. My conscious is FULLY aware that lies are being spoken to me, but for some unexplainable and irrational reason I still desire to listen to his treachory. As my decision was made and my walls went up, pushing the Holy One away. I knew I had lost this round. And as soon as the battle was over. The Liar retreated. Leaving me standing in the middle of the room. Without him to defend me as I faced the judgement. He had left me alone and hurt. Facing the reality of what I am. Flesh.

Find Your Joy.

For the third time in the past five days I had someone differentiate between happiness and joy. One way, I feel, that God speaks to me is through suggestions and comments from people influential in my life. So when a suggestion or an intriguing comment is made I listen. When Greg spoke tonight at Fellowship he prayed that as students we would find joy, not happiness, but joy.

SO…. I am going to talk about the differences and how this speaks to me this week.

Happiness is defined as: the quality or state of being happy.

Joy is defined as: the emotion of great delight caused by something exceptionally good or satisfying; keen pleasure; elation.

As I have been listening and contemplating the difference between happiness and joy, what I have discovered is this: joy is long-term. Happiness is superficial and it is short lived. But when a person can find joy it can last for a lifetime. I am NOT saying that once a person acquires joy in their life that life is easy or that hardships will never approach, but I am saying that with eternal joy instilled in a person’s heart he/she can conquer daily trials with inner peace that cannot be discovered without joy.

My God has provided me with Joy. All day he gave me loved ones who welcomed me and people who desire my presence with them. I felt like I fit in at school. That being at UT, isn’t a mistake, I can possibly make this work.

Today, I dressed for success. I set out with the purpose of finding joy. That I have been given this opportunity and it would be a shame and foolish for me to declare that God’s plan is unfit for me. That he made a mistake. That my job here at UT is only to walk through the halls as if I don’t care. Today I walked throughout my day being intentional. Every conversation, every assignment, every goal, I did with the full purpose of glorifying God and taking full advantage of His timing and His plan for my life. I have found joy. While I am jumping the gun to say this, I believe it to be true. That with the attitude of importance and with the mind-set of great delight, anyone can allow the eternal peace of Jesus to wash over them bringing them everlasting joy. (:

Tonight my friends and I decided to get crazy… we are pulling an all nighter and dying my hair. I am now a brunette (like I was before this summer). Weird. Thanks to Alexis, Micaela, Caroline, Claire, Kristin, and Elizabeth. We are studying together and working on essays and other assignments for the week. But He has placed us at this time to enJOY one another and rest in the JOY of these once-in-a-life-time moments. Embracing these evenings, and one another, with the same open and loving arms that Christ extends towards us.

Before

After

An evening I will always remember… Well back to Religious Studies… the girls say I gotta get back to studying.

– Sarah (:

At the End of My Rope.

Out of all the words I could use to describe this weekend: hard, exhausting, fun, ridiculous, frustrating, laughter, counciling, serious, rejoicing, inquiring, (you get my point) I’m going to stick with the one word Jesus has just kept tossing back at me. Patience.

3 beautiful kids walked into my life, 4 weeks ago (technically I walked into theirs), and while it has been an absolute joy the only thing I can think about right now is how not to kill them while I make it through this last week. It’s like the chicken parmesan I made on wednesday was actually a dose of “i hate my siblings.” The 3 of them have been at each other’s throats since then and at first it caught me off guard, because they are usually well behaved, then I learned to control it, and now it’s at the point where between Kim (their Mom), Mike (their Dad), and me we have grounded them from every activity but playing outside, reading, and an hour of tv each day. I’m over it. I felt like throwing in the towel, taking my last check, and just driving back to Atlanta early but I knew that actually wouldn’t happen. I can’t leave them just yet. I love them too much.

But all of this has brought it to my attention, how great is our God that He doesn’t ever even feel like I do right now? He doesn’t even think for one second about quitting on us or giving up. He is patient with us. Isn’t this wonderful?? Celebrate with me in this good news. (:

Psalm 86:15, “But you, Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.”

I thank God that He does not have a heart like mine. He has reminded me that he loves continuosly and forgives often. How I desire to be like my God.

– Sarah (:

This is me.

So Here I am… blogging. Why? I have no idea. I guess the biggest reason is because “Everyone” seems to be doing it. Maybe, because I just like the idea of having my thoughts put online. Or maybe it’s because I love watching movies where you hear the characters talk out loud to themselves… but really you get to hear them. I imagine that is kind of what blogging is like, just instead of hearing me speak you get to read my words.

To be honest I’m not even sure who I am talking to right now. It’s dumb to say I’m talk to the computer, and if I actually admit to talking to myself I am scared of the consequences. Therefore, I guess I will just continue talking to you… Whoever you may be.

Well in case you wanted to know, which I hope you do, my name is Sarah. I am 17 and originally from Virginia, but when I was 8 my parents took us (us being my sisters and I) to Knoxville, TN and as of 1 month ago I currently live in Atlanta, GA. It’s big here, cold, and kind of lonely. But not in a sad lonely, but more in a the new girl in town kind of way… hopefully all of that will change soon.

I am a strong believer in Christ and I would love to say that he and I have this amazing relationship that all of you should be jealous of, but in reality we don’t. We have a normal one. An every day, redeeming love, unconditional passion, overwhelming sympathy and desire, that Christ has with everyone. But man is it amazing. His love for me is overwhelming to the point that I don’t know what to do. Dying for Him, was an understatement, but in return I received an eternal life with my love. He holds my heart and cares for it, and I could never thank Him enough. I just hope that one day, when I have to leave this place to join Him, He will look at me and smile and say, “Well done my good and faithful servant.” But until then I am here, with you, to celebrate life together.

I am experiencing an entire new world in Atlanta and I’m ready to begin my journey here with Him. Wish me luck! I’ll post again soon!

– Sarah (: