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?

Here and Now

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The bathroom hasn’t been cleaned, my dogs haven’t been played with, and the ten job applications on my desk haven’t been filled out. These are a few of my worries today. I become overwhelmed as my to-do list reaches page 3 of my miniature notepad. To-do lists simplify things. They help me prioritize and strategize. What is the path of least resistance? Which order is the most efficient and time-preserving? Deep breath, I write #1 next to getting the oil changed and #2 next to dropping off the dry cleaning. The list continues.

As I prepare for my errands, my mother and I strike up a conversation about being comfortable and playing it safe in the game of life. Aren’t my problems small in the grand scheme of things? Wouldn’t people all around the world or even in the south side of Atlanta trade places with me this very moment? How blessed I am to walk this path. How loved I am by those around me!

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Jesus, what are real problems? My little sister is in Honduras today, holding the hands of a baby girl who doesn’t have clean water and who can’t afford to go to school. Are those real problems Jesus? You promised rivers of eternal life to those who drank from your cup [John 4 & 7]. My blog friend, Ellie, tells stories of starving children with no clothes or parents in Zimbabwe. And, LORD, you named yourself the bread of life promising we would never hunger again [John 6]. So, Jesus, what are the problems you called us to charge first into battle for? If you have provided for their earthly needs, should I then not concern myself with their soul’s needs? Should I not spend every ounce of energy I have on pointing people’s hearts towards you?

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Is someone undoubtedly aware of the Holy and Living God because of how I loved and served them today? Does someone feel the love of Jesus because I lived today?

I cannot just drop everything and move across the globe today. My time has not yet come. I have been called to this place and to this life. So my only hope is to take comfort in my Savior. But that doesn’t mean I am useless to the kingdom of God.  I can pray for Jesus to send His hands and feet to the lost. And in my here and now I can live out the gospel. Because, Christ commanded we go and make disciples of all nations [Matt 28,] and all nations still includes my piece of North Atlanta.

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

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

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!

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

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 (:

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 (: