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

6 Reasons Your Life Sucks Right Now

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

– Sarah

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.

Broken.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

– Sarah

Where My Heart is at This Summer

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

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

All enfaces are added by me.

Isaiah 43:

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

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

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

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

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

– Sarah

Digging Deeper Roots

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

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

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

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

– Sarah.

{Guest Post} Salvation vs. Sanctification

Our guest blogger today is my very own Mommy! She is the CEO and founder of Focused Creative Energy, a published author in financial assistance (check out her book and E-book here), she is a mother of three, and a wonderful wife. Besides all of that she is also the leader of a small group at her local church, North Point Community Church. This post is about an experience she recently had with her group of girls!

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I am a leader of a group of 9th grade girls at our church, and a few weekends ago we went on an awesome retreat where we talked about our relationships with our friends.  On our retreat in October, we had talked about our relationships with God.  This is the conversation I had with my girls after that retreat:

On Saturday night after session, we talked a little bit about the difference between Salvation and Sanctification; and I said that there are two parts of your relationship with Christ.  The first, Salvation, is when you accept him as your Savior.  The second, Sanctification, is when you accept him as your King.  The process of Sanctification also means that, as you grow in your relationship with Him, you will look more like Christ.  More and more you will begin to be a reflection of Christ to the people around you.

In Mark 12:28-31 it says,

One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?” “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”

Jesus told them of all the commandments that Moses had given them, there were two that were the most important: Loving God with all their strength, and Loving their neighbor as themselves.

SO….If all you do is concentrate on those two things: Loving God (point towards the sky) and Loving each other (point at your two best friends on either side of you), what does that make your reflection to the world look like?  Hopefully, you will see that it starts to make you look more like the cross and more of a reflection of Christ to the people in the world around you.

Blessings,

Kim Moog

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 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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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 (:

Your Grace is Enough.

First I need to give a shout out to the beautiful Megan Lange and her amazing talents behind a camera… she took the photo that is the new background image on my blog. Feel free to click the tab at the top that says Background Photo to see a better view of this photo and for links to all of her contact info if you ever need an amazing photographer or you want to know more about her!

The next thing I will say is that grace was redefined this week for me. I have learned a new meaning to a word that was already so dear to me. Jesus used a real-life example to humble me and remind me that I will always be at the mercy of the King and at the foot of the cross His Son died on.

Let me take you back to Monday night. 3:00a.m. (I guess that now means Tuesday morning) you would have found me in the 4th floor study room of South Carrick pouring over my Economics class notes studying hard, as I had been all week long. I stayed up the majority of the night and finally called it quits at 3:30am. I set my alarm, crawled into bed, and fell asleep wihin a matter of seconds.

At 11:38a.m. the following morning I woke up. I looked at my watch only to be in complete shock. I had slept through my exam. I literally didn’t believe my eyes. (YES I did attempt to close them and reopen them just hoping and praying I had mad a 10 turn into an 11 due to drowsiness). But as you suspected, my eyes were working just fine. I had slept through an exam that I HAD to get a good grade on in order to save myself from failing out of Economics 201. It was all over. I called my mother and told her I was quitting college that I didn’t have any other choice because I couldn’t withdraw from the class and if I failed my GPA was ruined. I literally felt hopeless.

Right then my roommate, the wonderful Claire Dodson, walked in and by the grace of God she helped me and cared for me and convinced me to go down and talk to my teacher. I got dressed as she walked with me all the way to Alumni Memorial all the while encouraging me on what to say to my proffeser. I thought it was all over. No way was this teacher just going to hand me a second chance. Out of a class of 608… why would she give a second thought of the one student who couldn’t manage to set her alarm… I walked in the door and my professor took one look at me. She smiled and said, “Sarah I noticed you weren’t here.” I began to cry. The fight against the tears were over. “Mrs. B I am so so sorry!” She patted my arm and said, “These things happen. Go to my office, stop and get a drink of water, and I will be over shortly to give you the exam.” And that was it. I walked out of the classroom. Hugged Claire and then went over to her office where I proceeded to take the exam and get an 86.

Unconditional Grace. No questions asked, no hesitation, simply love and understanding that everyone makes mistakes. Our God gives us this. He knows all and yet He desires to intimately be with us to the point where He does not desire for our sin to separate us from closeness with Him. Instead without asking questions and without doubting His children, He simply takes the blame and pulls us in closer saying “These things happen.” How beautiful and reassuring His love is. If only there were more people in the world that could love the way Christ did…. If every student, teacher, parent, politician, and friend loved with unconditional grace the way Jesus did (and how Mrs. B so beautifully reflected) think of how much better off we would all be. Amazing. Awe-struck Amazement.

“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” -2 Corinthians 12:9

Sit in this peace with me for a while.

– Sarah (:

Holy Mornings.

The crisp air of fall swished around me as I walked to my class yesterday morning. It was a hectic start to the day when I was rushed and overwhelmed due to my lack of preperation for English 101. The beauty of fall escaped me and I rushed past the falling leaves and hugged my jacket closer as I ran to class. What a sad realization. That I allowed such an opportunity to glorify and praise God to go on by. I am ashamed of just how many moments like this I can think of…. not giving Jesus enough praise, not expressing my gratitude well enough or often enough, never taking the time to pause and be still in the business of life. [TANGENT] This is something I am striving towards and chasing after….. learning the concept of being still. pray for me. [END TANGENT]

When class was all said and done I had time to spare before the next class and all I wanted to do was rest. This weekend was amazing but exhausting. Also I had had a late night and the bed just looked so comfy! While in my room I was hit with a realization: I was being attacked in the mind. Satan was feeding me unnecessary and sinful thoughts. I started to question and allow my curiosity to get the best of me (this is exactly what the enemy was waiting for). He jumped at me from more than one angle and I was becoming overwhelmed within a matter of seconds. I considered giving-in to the desires of my heart rather than obeying the commands I know I am required to follow. I realized that indeed, “Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” – Ephesians 6″12.But then My God Almighty was triumphent! He comforted me and held me close. Christ spoke through loving words of wisdom from John (he is so wise for being his age!) And my God chased after my heart, in these few moments, He won my soul over and protected me from the evil and sin that is in me. He protected me and freed me from the horrible enslavement I used to live in. He ridded my sin and kept me intimately close to His light, knowing full well that I will again slip from the perfection of His kingdom that day. But my God is a pursuer. He is the ultimate fighter not even allowing death to be the end of his pursuit for me.

How holy is He? How lucky am I? My God is so good!

– 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 (:

You are Mine.

Let’s be honest….. I will call out the elephant in the room…..college is hard. There, I said it. The curriculum is trippled in half the time. The teachers don’t really care. You sit in a sea of faces of 300 where no one will ever learn your name. And you have no money in your bank account. Why have I been looking forward to this for the past 5 years?? I don’t even know. But when all of that is all overwhelming enough, I remember… this wasn’t my choice. I don’t even want to be at UT. [older post]. So why am I here??

On the verge of tears as I write my thoughts… I want to be home in my bed in Georgia. I want to have home cooked meals made by my parents. I want my bedroom to still look like a beach…. I don’t want to do this on my own.

Then the quiet whispers begin, “Darling, I’m here.” Now the flood gates open and the tears begin to fall.

“Jesus, what am I to do??” Why am I here??”

“Come here my dear. It will all be ok. You were made for this.”

“But, but, but, what about John going to Spain? What about tuition being due September 30th? What about my giant essay due on Friday??”

“Sarah recall Isaiah 43:1. Tell it to me.”

“But now, this is what the LORD says— He who created you, Jacob, He who formed you, Israel: ‘Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. – Isaiah 43:1′”

“Exactly. You are mine. Why would I not take care of you? My darling Sarah Rachelle, listen to me. YOU ARE MINE.”

Alone in my dorm I cry because of the truth my God has restored in me. I am HIS. A daughter of the King. Flesh of the creator. His plan will be fulfilled. This is not a mistake…. Praise God for having patience with His little ones.

This song played on my iphone after I had finished my devo and I was getting ready for class… and I think it fits perfectly with this moment.

Another way God gave me comfort was my small group. Allison Yoakley is my leader and the 14 girls are girls I am hoping to grow and relate to in Christ. We are going to study the book of Mark. I’m really excited about this because it’s the only gospel I have yet to study!

If you think about it. Pray for me. Pray for this group of girls. Pray for the University of Tennessee… we need it.

Tell me how you have been comforted recently by our God.

– Sarah (:

His Love for His Children.

Mike (their dad) and I found Maren like this last night….

My sweet little girl was waiting for her Daddy to tuck her into bed last night. I just wished I could scoop her up. It was the most precious thing I had seen in a long time! I have posted about Maren’s love for me and how it reflects how we should be towards Christ [previous post] but last night, and again this morning, Jesus gave me the encouragement of allowing me to recognize His love for me by how I love Maren and her brothers, Nicky and Owen.

At Southwind, Andrew Boyde, the speaker, talked about how you know God loves us because HE gave HIS son for OUR lives. I had always appreciated the cross because of the sacrifice Jesus made, until camp I had never taken the time to appreciate God’s sacrifice in the truth of the gospel.

John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

Many of you, may have heard that verse 1,000,000,000 times, but I want you to appreciate what that means. It took me looking at this image of Maren and thinking about ever having to give her away that my heart just flooded with tears and sorrow and appreciation for the love of OUR GOD. He is so good to us. He allowed His son to be harmed and take the justice we deserved. OUR GOD is SO GOOD. Don’t take this truth for granted like I have been for so long. I pray this has given you the peace of heart it has given me this week. Jesus loves you. God loves you. I love you.

– Sarah (:

Love your Pimples.

This past week at church the sermon was on loving your enemies. As you might have gathered from my clever title. I detest pimples. The only problem is pimples LOVE me. Like seriously. Love me. Uggggg. If you can imagine this morning in my bathroom there was spiritual warfare going on between my outer Sarah and my inner Sarah due to the outrageous number of zits on my forehead. Ergo I am now presenting the truth found in the word about our beauty in Christ and the love and value he has instilled in us. Many of you have probably heard this before, and if you read my blog I’ve talked about it before. BUT I want you to earnestly listen to what I have to say. If you are a boy reading this you can take this in too, but I encourage you to tell every girl you meet today that she is beautiful. It will change her whole day around. Including your mommy!! I’m a huge supporter of Moms, especially while Nannying this past month. They do so much for you! Will I make a Team Mom shirt?? Quite possibly! Anyways….

I’ll start with the view that everybody starts with when talking about self image. Psalm 139.

Specifically, Psalm 139:14, ” I  praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” We were made by the hands of the Almighty!! Thought of in endless time where He sat and pondered how to create each and every part of each and every one of us. The Angels rejoiced when you were formed!! Get with it people… we are beautiful and significant to the Alpha and Omega. This reality kind of makes us a big deal. (:

Second I want to jump back to a verse Jesus brought to my attention earlier this week [previous post].

John 14:18 (KJV), “I will not leave you comfortless, I will come to you.” I could talk about all the different meanings of this verse but right now I want to focus on the fact that this verse allows us to have full confidence that Jesus cares about us. That His undying love for us goes farther than we can ever imagine and that He undoubtably is head-over-heels in love with you! Knowing this fact brings me to my next point…

Jesus made us, and He has undying love for us, ergo; aren’t we beautiful. He thinks so!! The book of the bible Song of Songs was written by Solomon in order to give us a view of how a man and woman should love each other. But also this gives us a perfect example of how Jesus views us! After all He is the Lover of our Souls.

Song of Songs 1:15, “How beautiful you are, my darling! Oh, how beautiful! Your eyes are like doves.”

Song of Songs 2:2, “Like a lily among thorns is my darling among the maidens.”

Jesus loves you. I love you. You are BEAUTIFUL. Remember these things and rest in the truth that God is a loving and caring God, but most importantly you are His favorite thing in the whole wide world!!

*Steps off soap-box*

– Sarah (:

[posts that display the value Jesus has in us]

[posts about image]