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

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

But What About Jesus?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I’m Not an Olympian

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

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

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

– Sarah

Getting Older

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

I am getting older.

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

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

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

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

– Sarah

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 (: