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

Emmanuel: Where Imperfections Meet Redemption

Emmanuel: Where Imperfections Meet Redemption

I wrote in my journal this morning,

Jesus I feel so defeated today. I feel hopeless. I feel like I’ve lost before I even started. I don’t feel like I can do anything. I feel like everything is too much, too overwhelming, too hard. I am not good enough.

Ellie Holcomb, one of my favorite artists of all time, opened her concert last week by saying,

Hey y’all, I’m Ellie Holcomb, and I am a recovering perfectionist.

Isn’t she just beautifully honest? And isn’t that just so delicately true about all of us? At least I know it is true for me. But as I was writing I stopped and began to sing these two songs:

I Need You by Matt Maher & Walk With Me by Jesus Culture

And then my heart was reminded:

LORD, THIS is my problem. I try to do it alone. I try to be what I am not: independent! My pride gets in the way Elohim*!! I am so sorry. Christmas is about how the world that was so fatally ill needed a savior, REQUIRED A SAVIOR!! So You, El Oseh Phela**, sweet, merciful, and Holy God, you blessed this world with one.

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Jesus came. He left Heaven, so magnificent and so perfect, and entered this world. He joined us in the mess – in the wanna-be-holiness. He met us in our too-full-for-others-lives in a barely manageable manger. The Angels rejoiced and the Kings declared that Emmanuel had come. God was, and is, with us!

So my Jesus, who doesn’t expect perfection, let my imperfections bless You. Thank you for coming and for saving us! May my successes honor You. And may all I do Glorify the Greatest Gift of All, You.

– Sarah

*Elohim, meaning God, Prominent One
**El Oseh Phela – meaning God Who Works Wonders

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.

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

 

 

When the Ends Don’t Meet

At the beginning of February I moved into a one-bedroom apartment right downtown. I live alone. Well, actually I don’t live alone. I live with Lucy, my Chesapeake Bay Retriever. Here she is snuggling with me on Saturday morning.

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But besides Lucy it is just me. It’s fun to have a house to myself where everything is exactly how I want it and the responsibility is all mine, but other times it can be lonely. There are moments where I don’t want it to be all mine. The dirty dishes and the laundry can’t be blamed on anyone else. The bills that are adding up and the groceries that are disappearing can only be the result of one person: Me.

Ouch. That kind of stings. Nothing will make you reevaluate yourself like the consequences of living with yourself.

I don’t think I have ever learned more about who Sarah is, in such a short amount of time. But what happens when I don’t like what I see? What if all I see in my reflection is the girl who can’t afford a hair cut and the bags under her eyes that carry the weight of life. Then what?

2 Corinthians 12:9 reads My grace is sufficient for you.

But when it isn’t enough, then what? Grace doesn’t pay bills. Grace doesn’t make the ends meet. Grace doesn’t finish the homework, or take the exams, or answer the phone calls.

it continues, My grace is sufficient for you, my power is made perfect in your weakness.

So if His grace is sufficient, then can He come place peace in the middle of the deadlines of tomorrow and today? Can He set comfort and wisdom in between my paycheck and the bills? Or replace the tired and lonely silence of my apartment with His calming and omnipotent presence? And be the gap between the ends that don’t meet? Jesus, you told me you are with me. You told me to not be dismayed.

I then can recall different passages. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds, I feed them. Are you not more valuable than the they are? Cast all of your anxiety on me, because I care for you. Be still and I will fight for you.

So, I was still. And He came. And when He came He brought peace. He showed me how to show myself mercy. How to see more than the messes and how to look past the puppy accidents. He taught me to love the girl in the mirror and to respect the deadlines that life brings. He helped me remember that life is more than bills, but it’s also more than sweet tea at lunch time. And He pulled the depression out of me like pulling weeds from a garden. And then He planted himself in the spaces. He filled in the space where the ends don’t meet with redemption.

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

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.

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 (:

Surrendering

I haven’t written in a while, and I am not sure why. I think it’s because I lack things to say, or there is too much to say that I don’t know how to say it.

Today my heart is overwhelmed.

Overwhelmed by wants versus needs, and my frustrations of wanting to be an adult, but then an immediate counter emotion of wanting to be little, the desires of my heart are struggling, and God’s will is prevailing.

How do I become my own person while I am wrapped up in what everyone else wants for my life?

How do I make wise decisions without compromising my freedom?

How do I enjoy life while planning years of non-stop hard work in front of me?

And How do I reach for my dreams while life seems to be getting in the way?

This is the heaviness of my heart. This is how I feel. I think back to a year ago. I was sitting on this bed, in this sweet family’s house, looking at my life and what I would make it…. It looks nothing like what it was a year ago. A YEAR AGO. How quickly things change. It is remarkable. I do not understand.

So I sit in this room, down the hall I hear Kim playing the Passion Conference CD that I gave her, and I hear Chris Tomlin’s voice resounding the truth I must cling to.

We are laying down, our weapons now,

We raise our white flag,

We surrender all to you,

All for YOU.

So sing with me, and let God take your life. It’s a struggle for someone as prideful as me, but how can we not? He is just so good. Life is moving too quickly… Like seriously… It’s AUGUST. So friends I encourage you to listen to this song and take it to heart. It brings me tears, especially since it takes me back to Passion where there were 45,000 of us singing from the deepest of our hearts.

Raising my flag. – Sarah

Moments Like These.

I am walking up the stairs; my arms filled with toys and books and clutter from today’s activities. I am frustrated and tired of looking after children. I am tired of raising my voice and feeling unheard. “I am so over them.” I think to myself. I pause. I heard it. Just now, on the stairwell. I hold my breath. He has won me over in this moment. The feeling isn’t strong enough to be The Enemy himself, but merely one of his helpers. “Go away.” I say out loud. Owen passes by me with a confused look, but I ignore him. I cannot lose track of this one until I know it is gone. “Go away,” I repeat.

I think back through my day. It had been with me for most of it. Distracting me, negatively impacting me, doing all it knows how to keep me from clinging to the holiness of Christ. When I was washing dishes I began to sing praises, but then got distracted by the song on the radio. I went to take photos of the LORD’s painted flowers, but then Appa needed my attention. I wanted to play with Maren and embrace her like Christ embraces me, but I had too harsh of a headache. It had been succeeding all day. Until I noticed it while walking up these stairs. It caught my eye, if you will. Almost as if it had taken a break. I could only imagine it leaning against the railing and laughing to itself, “today was easy. She did most of the work.” I began to get frustrated. “Where is He?” I thought. “He is here too. Why can’t I feel Him?”

I take a deep breath.”Jesus.” It came out like a whisper. Eyes closed. Emotions drained. The softest of prayers.

His response is radiant. Immediately it is gone. It could not stay. Not after the power of His name was enforced. The peace of His presence overwhelms me and humbles me. “Forgive me Father. I have been away all day.” “My darling, I was here. While you washed the dishes and looked after the children. I washed you clean and took care of you. Moment by moment. I was there. Your heart drifted towards me only for this world to pull it away. Stay close, little one. The world is scary without me near. “I walk up the rest of the stairs, drop the clutter onto the ground, and curl up into my bed. It is moments like these I wish He was tangible. I know I would just snuggle into His large arms while He tightly pulled me into His chest. I would fall asleep in this peaceful moment. In Heaven I will have this joy, but for now I just imagine. I remember that tomorrow I will awaken and try again. Attempting to cling to Christ more than to this Earth. That HE is my awaiting treasure.

– 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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The Morning After.

Satan whispers, “It’s going to happen eventually. You never have been able to break your habits.” I believe him, because it appears to be true. I should have reminded myself that his is known for lying to get his way. I tell myself, with Satan’s evil encouragement, that I am too dirty and too ugly and undesirable to be wanted by anyone else. This is what I have come to think. My emotions are building and now I am crying. Crying because I don’t want to do this, but I think I can make it my escape. I cry out, “God I need this,” and he replies, “My beloved you only need me.” And then I say the words I regret the most, “Sometimes that’s not good enough.” I have hurt Him. Did He see this coming? Of course, He is the Almighty. Did he want to? Absolutely not. I can hear Him crying. It’s a soft, heart-breaking, cry. My mind shuts off, the argument is over. I cry as I pour my emotions into this empty pit. As everything comes to an end the tears don’t stop. I continue to cry and I hear His words with His intimate gentleness, “Beloved, when are you going to learn this will never satisfy you?” I cry myself to sleep as I turn His words over in my dreams.

This morning, I sit, determined to learn. Determined to reach for the thing I have never grasped. God be my teacher. Mold me.

I am Yours.

– Sarah

His Relentless Love.

Well… we have a lot of catching up to do. First I need to give a status update on my life…

Yes. John and I did break up. I don’t really have much more to say on that. A lot of things are up in the air and there is a lot of healing and growing that needs to happen for both of us. Things are going to be ok. Don’t send him hate letters or messages or texts or a howler. (; ok if you have the ability to send a howler… do it just because that’s awesome. hahaha. Oh goodness… that is a Harry Potter reference for those of you who are unaware. If you are unaware stop reading this blog and go pick up the first book. So good. Fictional writing is such a love of mine… always will be (considering I want to be an author).. ANYWAYS….

Next. I do not yet know whether or not I will be joining the YWAM team to Australia. I am sorry. Trust me I am just as anxious as you are. I will let everyone know as soon as I know. I promise.

Ok… down to the point of this post. Jesus loves you. The end.

[NOT REALLY but that’s all that needs to be said.]

Andy Stanley spoke today on how the world complicates Christmas and what the real truth of the gospel is about. That Christmas is about the fact that God GAVE US His Son. Wow. So true. If you do not believe this no one is going to hold a grudge against you, especially me, but before you reject the truth of the word of God understand the realness of what you are walking away from. Do not reject the church or Christianity or anything else, but realize what those things (in their purest form) represent. That Jesus Christ CHOSE to come to Earth to live and be an example for His children and then Willingly DIED for YOU because a debt HAD to be paid…. I am getting so worked up over here. God is SO GOOD.

Ok…. but where I was going with this is that Jesus CHASES after you. Because I am just now finishing with my first semester of college and I am recently out of a relationship that I am vulnerably getting out of I get the opportunity to re-examine my entire life. What is good and what needs to change. So as I was sobbing over my devotional journal this evening I came to a conclusion that I have had so many times before, but tonight I remembered the goodness.

Jesus Christ LOVES me. JESUS LOVES ME. I do not need the love of others and I do not need joy to come from relationships or people or objects or money. I have the Joy of the Lord as my strength (Nehemiah 8:10). Amen.

My 2 FAVORITE verses are what represents the gospel for what is….

“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” – Romans 5:8

Recognize that it does not say ‘once Sarah got her act together’ or ‘after Sarah repented and cried out for God’ it says ‘while Sarah was still a sinner’ God chases after me….Jesus CHASES AFTER ME. And I promise you He chases after you too.

“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” – Romans 8:38-39

Now this verse is for all of God’s children who can’t get over their guilt. Those people that will say yea but you don’t know what I did… I am telling you right now. Jesus KNOWS everything. He remembers every sin you recognize and every sin you are trying to ignore. Embrace them! ITS OK. NOTHING will separate you from His Love. It is RELENTLESS. He takes full responsibility for being head over heels in love with YOU. He wants you so bad that he doesn’t care what mistakes you’ve made and he doesn’t care what mistakes you will make… He just wants to be in your life. I can’t tell you of a person that has that kind of love for you. I can’t!!

I had forgotten this goodness and I am so sorry because I know it has reflected in my life just how quickly I forgot. But it’s ok. I get a clean record just because Jesus loves me that much. How can you turn away from that kind of offer??

Listen to (in this order) ….

“How He Loves Us” – David Crowder Band

“Cry of the Broken” – Hillsong 

“Beautiful Things” – Gungor

Mmmmmm. Amen. – Sarah (:

Overloaded.

This is my kitchen. Overloaded. Ironically, it is a perfect metaphor of my life right now. All of these glasses were useful at one time. All of them were doing really well. But then life and time got away from them and they still haven’t been cleaned, or “Re-charged” if you will. And so they are now useless and sympathetically helpless. I cannot afford the time to wash them and clean them up in order to focus and be able to effectively use the mugs to succeed with all the different aspects of my life. But the big bowl at the bottom willingly holds them. Just waiting patiently for me to re-focus. The big bowl, similar to how my father holds me, will take the mess and keep it compacted while i’m off running around trying to “Regain control.” Funny enough, if I took the time to clean the dishes… (if i took the time to pray and sleep more) I would gain such an advantage as the bowl. But right now it’s doing everything it can to keep me from going insane.

But luckily for me, there is a greater joy. My father will do the dishes, which this bowl cannot accomplish. Daddy not only holds the mess but He is willing to take it all away for me if I let him. Giving Him the stress and the problems and the anger and the tears. He is able to remove all the pain and just hold me instead. To hold the one He values and loves.

My dear friend Haleigh encouraged me with this, and now I give it to you, “…I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.” – Isaiah 46:4

Have a marvelous Thursday. Chin up.

Feel free to comment below or contact me letting me know if you are as overwhelmed as I am. I hope this post gives you hope in some way. If you are a freshman and you feel like this…. this post is to let you know that you aren’t alone.

– Sarah (:

Hope on the Horizon.

Here is real-life author moment… my post today is titled this because I think it sounded really cool. Lol. In all seriousness though, the Hope is already here. On the Horizon are all of the blessings and lessons that I am hopeful for.

Anyways….. I want to start my though process on the fact that 10 years (and now one day) ago, there was an attack on the United States as a whole. That our country was placed under in a circumstance that we had never had to face before. And whether every citizen had voted for George W. or whether barely anyone did….. We united ourselves under our President. And together we mourned this great loss. And while it was a loss of loved ones here, it was a gain of loved ones in Heaven. While it was a loss of mental stability for even just a moment, it was a gain of a lifetime of reality. While it was a loss of two towers that crumbled to the earth like brown sugar while baking cookies, it was a gain of a memorial that will mean more to this country than possibly any other land mark. We gained. We hoped. And we prayed…. together.

I gained this inspiration from Andy Stanley, the senior paster at North Point Community Church in Atlanta, Georgia. So thank you Andy. To watch the sermon on this, click here and then select part 4. (This message may not be available until Monday evening. Sorry for the inconvenience.)

Secondly I want to talk about the hope that Christ gave me this week. Where he allowed me to see it…. was in the comfort of John.

This is us in downtown Chattanooga this weekend with his sister Maria, whom I love. But the reason I say this is because He leads me. His wisdom is astounding and His courage is remarkable. As I cried this evening for several reasons, leaving John, having to go back to UT, missing home, him leaving for Spain, etc… I was completely frazzled. All of a sudden he took his hands. His loving, callused, gentle, hands and placed my wet face in his as he prayed. It was overwhelming. He cried and I cried harder. He hurt because I hurt. And he was being 100% sincere. He allows my Daddy to hold my wet, tear-stained, face in His hands while He gives me hope and peace and comfort of the blessings He knows are to come. John prayed with the strength, and courage that I needed him to have because I had all of a sudden become too weak.

On my drive home I reflected on the weekend. On my time with John, and on 9/11. It was approaching midnight and the day of supposed-to-be-doom was almost over. And all I could keep thinking about was how so many people GAINED hope on this day. That so many people had been blessed with the opportunity to remember the importance (or dare I say, the lack of) in this world. That we are called to be at this place, at this time, because the Almighty declares it so. That His plan is so far greater than ours. At a moment of supposed-to-be-weakness, the Untied States became One Nation Under God. We gave United an entirely new meaning. And we looked up, towards God, with the trust that His plan shames all others. Our country did this 10 years ago, and John did this for me tonight. What a lesson to remember.

Thank you John.

– Sarah (: