Saturday, November 7, 2009

I heart the Book of James

Today on facebook I saw two people put James 1:27 as their status so it was just rolling around in my mind all day. This passage says: "Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world." ---ESV

I started thinking...Orphans? Where are they?
I recalled that a friend of mine has a friend that is opening an orphanage in Africa. Its for abandoned babies. I think my dream would be to sit and rock babies all day and love them so I was like wow maybe I should go there and Africa??? Then I was like, you know, Africa is kind of far. My mind recalled other friends that have gone to orphanages on the Mexican American border or in Mexico city and I thought about googling those. But Mexico is kind of far too. I felt stumped....I think there is an orphanage in DesPlaines illinois...Like a home for troubled teenagers or something. But would the CTA take me there? I didnt think so. can I love and care for the orphans? I dont have enough money to sponsor a child like on the infomercials, and that feels like drive by charity to me. I was like God, I want to serve you as the bible says. Then I remembered the girls that come into Sunshine. I remembered one in particular. I met her on the street in front of my work as she ran from her cousin and right into my legs. Her cousin was yelling that "she was bad and because she was so bad thats why she had to live with her auntie, because her mom didnt want her and dont nobody know who her daddy is." That day my heart wrapped itself all around this little girl.

I think we all know orphans in all of our communities. Some kids dont have a mom, lots of kids dont have a dad. Some kids do have one of these parents physically, but emotionally? spiritually? defines orphan as:
a child who has lost both parents through death, or, less commonly, one parent
but it also goes on to say an orphan is also:
a person or thing that is without protective affiliation, sponsorship,
and also:
not authorized, supported, or funded; not part of a system; isolated; abandoned:

I know of whole communities that look orphaned. Lets redefine orphan. That word just broadened and encompassed a vast majority of children I see everyday.
Maybe I dont need to get all radical, maybe God didnt always mean for us to make these grand sweeping gestures of religion but to just put our hearts and feet into the neighborhood.

And a quick sidenote: When does one stop being an orphan? Are you no longer an orphan when you are 18, even if the consequences and repercussions last far into adulthood?

Caring for the orphans? It looks alot like loving your neighbor right about now.
I like how Jesus said the same thing like 77 different ways so everyone could get it.

Read the rest of James too...Its amazing.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

I love you too.

I got quite a few emails sent to me today discussing Obama and how he is passing legislation for gay people in America that allows them to be in the military openly now. People are incensed apparently. Apparently also:
"Good christians will respond" and "Obama is furthering the attack on American families" and on and on. Yes, I voted for obama. Yes I like him. I dont think he is Jesus, nor is he the Anti Christ. Below includes an email reply to one of these emails. I would like to repeat that in following Jesus, there are more things to worry about than those women who have abortions and those who are living gay. I love all women who do have abortions. I love all people who are gay.And I love you, no matter what you did, because you too have done horrible things. I have too.

I guess my thoughts on this are what if we were all so heavily persecuted for our sins as much as gay people? What if because I lied, or swore or had sex outside of marriage I couldnt enjoy the same privileges as others? Everyone has sin. We are all filthy dirty and hopeless outside of the cleansing and restoring power of Christ. Im not anti so many things, but for things, like for grace and mercy and love. I understand conviction of sin, but plenty of other sinners are walking around us all the time and we arent horrified at their lifestyles, they are not so completely denigrated as homosexuals are. We arent running campaigns against child abusers, or adulterers who also are "attacking the institution of family." I love the fact that whoever sent that email originally put that "being gay does not make you another race or gender" and I would add that does not make you in a sin so horrible that Jesus cannot wash you clean by his death on the cross as quickly and completely as He washed me.

Right now,daily I am working on the fact that i should be horrified at my own inability to reach the bar of perfection and thus on my knees in gratitude for Jesus. That doesnt leave SO much time to be horrified at others actions, and desire to limit their actions and freedoms.

Jesus came for the sinners.

(thats all of us)

Friday, October 2, 2009

I really want to graduate college.

My dream is to graduate college. Seriously. I honestly never really thought I could do it. I was so convinced that it wasnt something I could attain that it took until I was 26 to even begin to think about HOW to apply for school and HOW to finance it. I'm sure I went about it the wrong way and maybe made some stupid decisions with my aid BUT I DID IT. Alone. My mom didnt go to college...most of my family, save a few cousins half way across the country, did not attend college so they werent sure how to navigate a process like that. Most of my friends didnt go to college. I tell you this to show you its a miracle I went, am still going and actually have one year left. Really, it was not until this quarter, or maybe the end of last quarter when I realized that I really was most likely going to graduate.

I have all aid. All. My education is funded by a tapestry of grants, and awards, a scholarship, and 2 smallish loans from the government. One grant I receive is a MAP (monetary aid program) grant from the state of Illinois. Mostly, MAP grants go to students who come from low income households or who are first generation college students.

This past month, MAP grants were all but cut. This has not affected fall quarter/semester but it will affect the rest of the year at all colleges in Illinois. The next quarter grants will be reduced by 50% and the spring quarters will be non existent.

I am one of 137,000 students in Illinois that will lose a significant portion of their aid if the state legislature doesnt overturn the decision in their meeting at the end of October. The portion of tuition I would be responsible for is beyond my means and I will be forced to withdraw from DePaul after this quarter.

Can you take a minute and help let our reps know the impact this will have on students?

Senator James A. DeLeo (773) 237-2525
Rep. Joseph M. Lyons (773) 286-1115
Rep. Michael P. McAuliffe (773) 792-0749

Please tell them how important the MAP grant program is to college
students, particularly those from low income backgrounds and first generation college students. Your calls, letters, faxes and e-mails can make a difference.

Please visit the following website: for more information on how to contact your state representative today.

Thank you for responding....

lord of the flies.....

But the 1980s crack era and Reagan administration reversals of many of those very minimal gains [civil rights] destroyed the fabric of our communities, ripped apart families, and, all these years later, has left a generation of young people, male and female alike, living their own versions of William Golding's Lord of The Flies. If you think I am exaggerating, then simply Google the video of the Derrion Albert beatdown. Only people who have lost all hope, who have no sense of spirituality and the preciousness of human life, would resort to this kind of savagery, the pummeling or shooting of each other until death is there, sprawled on the ground, blood gushing from the head, as was the case with young Derrion.

---Kevin Powell

Read more at:

throwing yourself on the honesty grenade

I have trouble sharing - not like my toys, or money, or hugs, or my car. But sharing whats going on with me. Fortunately, people are very busy with their lives and I can be shy so ne'er the two shall meet. I read this post tonight on another blog and was like Yes! The gift of going second. . . . .
Have you ever been in a small group with people that confess safe sins? Someone will say, “I need to be honest with everyone tonight. I need to have full disclosure and submit myself in honesty. Like ODB from the Wu-Tang Clan, I need to give it to you raw!” So you brace yourself for this crazy moment of authenticity and the person takes a deep breath and says … “I haven’t been reading my Bible enough.”

Yeah, thats happened to me.

Ugh, you, dirty, dirty sinner. I’m not even sure I can be in a small group with you any more. Not reading your Bible enough, that is disgusting. And then once he’s gone someone else will catch the safe sin bug too and will say, “I need to be real too. I haven’t been praying enough.”

Two of you in the same room? Wow, freak shows! I can barely stand it.


But what happens when people start confessing safe sins is that everyone else in the room starts concealing their real junk.

thats deep. and real.
And that sucks. It sucks that as broken as we all are, as desperate as we all are for a Savior, we feel compelled to clean ourselves up when we get around each other.
As if we arent all filthy dirty and so incredibly desperate for the cleanliness of Christ.

I cant keep up appearances. I try to all the time...I try to take my bad stuff and clean it up and store it away, or convince myself that people dont know that or cant see it.

This world/People like you more if you are all pretty, and neat, and not needy but concealed.
But so what?
So what if people know I am scared, and i feel broken and alone alot.
So what if my brokenness bleeds out at the edges the harder I try to hold it in.

Letting it all hang out may be the first step to God healing it.

When you go first, you give everyone in your church or your community or your small group or your blog, the gift of going second.

It’s so much harder to be first. No one knows what’s off limits yet and you’re setting the boundaries with your words. You’re throwing yourself on the honesty grenade and taking whatever fall out that comes with it. Going second is so much easier. And the ease only grows exponentially as people continue to share. But it has to be started somewhere. Someone has to go first and I think it has to be us.

We’re called to give the gift of second to the people in our lives. To live the truth, to share the truth, to be the truth.

Now I just have to pray for courage....

(quotes taken from #502)

"Jesus paid it all...
All to him I owe...
Sin it left a crimson stain...
He washed it white as snow..."

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Sticks and stones will break your bones, but the Lord is good forever.

Everyone throws that word around.
I paint paintings with that word.
People have keyrings, tattoos, shirts, bags, shoes, coffee mugs all emblazoned repeatedly with the word LOVE.
It kind of takes away the seriousness and passion of the act of love.
Act of love = Love is a verb.

What did Jesus mean when he said we are to LOVE our enemies?

The NIV says:
But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you Matthew 5:44

The King James goes on:
But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; Matthew 5:44

This week I was um, blessed, to be able to learn exactly how hard and how necessary it is to, in fact, love our enemies.

It was just a crazy day...Groups of kids were playing football right in the street in front of my work, Sunshine Gospel Ministries. Right in the middle of 61st St, which is a busy street, they were standing there and tossing the football back and forth and holding up traffic. They would move after like two or three cars were stopped on each side. BOLD AS LIONS, for real. Three different times, guys from Sunshine went out to try to get the kids to move, it wasnt really happening. About an hour later, I went out to get in my car to leave. As I pulled out a drove a few feet and BAM! My car got pelted by rocks. I slammed on my brakes out of surprise at the sound and that these young teenagers were just standing a group. STILL throwing rocks at my car as I looked at them. One flew in the open passenger window and hit me. I pulled over and got out. What's going on, I asked. Some of the guys ran away. I called two of the young guys out by their name, for they had just walked out of the ministry center, and said, "Why you throwing rocks at me?" The two I knew stammered that it wasnt them, pleaded with me to understand it wasnt them. They dropped the rocks they were holding. The other boys came back, rocks in hand. They all just looked at me, then started throwing rocks at the buses and passing cars as I talked to the two kids I know. I said, "Whats the point, why is this what you want to do?" They had no answers. One guy turned and swore at me and told me what was the point of me? Go away and threw a rock at me. I froze as it hit me. He walked closer and said, "What you gonna do?" His friends seemed a little shocked and backed up, one told me to hit him. He laughed and asked me if I was going to, then he dared me to. Im not gonna lie, I sized him up. But I did one better, I walked away. He hit me a rock as I walked back to my car. I picked up my phone and called 911 and as I pulled back about 10 feet to the front of Sunshine Min. he hit my car with two more rocks. I told 911 that the kids are in the street, hitting me and cars with rocks. Twenty minutes one came. I called again, and again over the next ten minutes. Ok, we will send someone.
Im not new to this...sometimes the police dont come. I get it. Sometimes they come like one, two or three hours later. I know. But this was hard....
The kids walked back and forth across the street intermittenly pegging cars and buses with rocks and running in the street, but all the time watching me and another guy waiting outside. Another call to the cops from the guy waiting with me. We finally flagged a passing police vehicle down and tell them what happened. The kids are still right there, we point. The kid that hit me and my car was wearing a different color shirt then all the rest of the guys. They genuinely seemed completely disinterested in my situation but drove SLOWLY down the street. The kid splits off from the group and runs into an alley. The police, driving their fancy new "urban tactical SUV", slowly follow his path into an alley. About four minutes later the kid comes running out from a gangway and walks past us waiting outside and he joins up with his group walking down the street. The cops appear minutes later and in plain sight the kid hops on a bicycle and rides down another alley. They dont chase him but pull over and get out to come talk to us. The one officer asks me if I want to file a battery charge, but lets me know its all but pointless since we dont have his name or address or anything. As another man from my work comes out and talks to the cops about the regularity of these instances on this street, with these kids, doing these things I just walk to my car and leave.

Powerlessness. Futility. Embarassment. All of these flood over me and I was so incensed, it took HOURS for me to calm down. Trying to work through these feelings, I realized that at the pit of all of these was fear. I had no recourse of action, no justice would be served here, and this kid NOW knew where I worked and which car I drive and could come back anytime. And it was more than obvious the cops were not overly concerned. I drove to the west side, had dinner, made some pies, and came home. Just as my stomach had finally unknotted and I was thinking about other things, the dad in the house I live in came home. He is also the head of Sunshine ministry. "We just got robbed," he said . Someone got in and stole laptops, desktop computers,the sound equipment, and then set off the fire extinguishers everywhere.

My stomach knotted up immediately. I couldnt sleep very much. Anger and confusion again, and I replayed the actions from earlier with the ideas of people taking the stuff we use to teach kids and minister with. Then, the Lord showed up mighty. He quieted me and gave me His peace, as only he can give.

"In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."
John 16:33

Jesus came to earth. People hated Him, they chose to kill Him instead of a common criminal. He still willingly died for our sins, because of Love.
If I only love those who can and do love me back, have I done anything? If you give me flowers, and I love you....Have I endured? Have I taken up my cross? No.
To do the work of the Lord is hard. This is real. I tried to pray for that kid a few times that night but couldnt. I was weak. It took until the next day, after we had cleaned and I sat on the floor to pray with a few friends/ fellow believers/coworkers to pray until I could utter a few words asking God for the strength to forgive him, and to make me love him, and when I see him and his friends as I know I will, I asked and still ask God for the courage and the boldness to hold NO grudge..but to love him as Jesus loves and forgives me. This whole thing wasnt even about me, and I dont want to make it about me. This kid is sad and lost and angry, so angry. As I know all too well, hurting people hurt people. Ive done it...countless times. I just got in his way. I hope the Lord puts me in his way again.

You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God's wrath through him! When we were God's enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son.
Romans 5:6-10

God loved me, even when I didnt love him. So thankful am I.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Two situations....

i know. Its been months.....Ive been stewing on some things, I'll give an update soon but first this has been all up in my head the past few days and I've got to put it down here.

My car is old and sad. Last week, it kept dying. It would start the first time in the morning but if I stopped anywhere shortly after starting it up (i.e. to get a donut, to get gas, to run into Sunshine..etc) it would not restart as the battery was not charged or some craziness. It had to sit for awhile between startings... So sometimes I forgot and would stop places and shut the car off and then OHHH SARAH! Really? Yep. Thats the background you need for this story.....and I always have jumper cables.

I left home (currently the South side, Woodlawn neighborhood) and drove to get on the expressway to go to my grandmas house. There is a gas station in Englewood right next to the entrance to the expressway. I had to stop to put air in my tire and shut my car off without thinking. It would not start back up, I needed a jump. I put my hood up and within seconds a man approached me. Do you need help? "Yes, I need a jump, I have my own cables, " I said nervously. I hate HATE hate asking for help, I know its a weakness but having people help still me makes me uncomfortable. A woman at the gas station overheard me tell him I needed a jump and she asked if I was ok. I said yes thanks. The gas station owner recognized me as I stop there often and came out to see if I was cool. The man took my cables and hooked up our batteries but still my car would not start. He kept tinkering with my car and the cables but my car would not turn over. He pulled out his phone and called someone, "Im sorry man, Im gonna be a little late today." IT WAS HIS WORK! I told him it was fine, go ahead, Ill figure it out, etc but he just kept adjusting the cables and told me to try to start it again. Finally, he pinched some cable thingy and it started. He told me what exactly I should get fixed and then sent me on my way. I was so thankful, I had tears in my eyes. He drove away and waved. The gas station guy came out and double checked on me again. I drove away feeling blessed.

I went to my grandmothers house on the far North side of the city. In the morning I went to get some soup from a bakery in a strip mall in Skokie. Guess what? My car wouldnt start. I was so sick and I couldnt imagine having to deal with this right now. I got my cables out and put my hood up. This was a busy outdoor shopping mall, it was Saturday, a beautiful day...I thought my chances were pretty good of getting some assistance. Two women walked over who were parked directly next to my car. I sighed with relief, their car was right next to me! I greeted them and pointed to my car and said it was dead and I needed a jump. I had my own cables and could they help me? The woman looked at me and my car, and said "I dont Do that, honey." As she actually brushed past me, I stammered that it would take like 30 seconds, I was very fast and she could sit in the car. She and her friend got in and drove away. I asked a man that was parked close, he did not even stop walking but instead mumbled that he was in a hurry. I asked another lady, a man and woman, a guy...NO,not today,you should call Triple A, Im in a hurry, I can't. Ok I started crying.....I felt so sick, I had a fever, What was I going to do? All these shiny cars, a patio of people drinking coffee about fifteen feet away, and no one was able to let me jump my car. I asked one more lady and she FLAT out ignored me. Then, a rusted old van lumbered past me. I just watched it go. It circled the parking lot and drove past slowly. I was standing there with jumper cables around my shoulders. They stopped and both climbed out the passenger side door. They did not speak very good English but gestured to my car and said "Help?" I nodded and they pulled as close to my car as they could but my cables wouldnt reach. They had some cables and they rigged it up and jumped my car. I was so touched.

So heres the thing....
In the first situation, I was in a poor neighborhood. Older cars, people in hard up situations. Not everyone has a car, most people, I would venture to say, use public transportation. People were stopping in getting gas and then on their way.
In the second situation, I was in a very wealthy area. The cars in this parking lot were nice, shiny, mostly brand new or a few years old. They people were dressed nicely and were either frequenting the coffee shop, bookstore, bakery, party store or sandwich shop--- so leisure activities on a Saturday morning.

Why was it that no one in the second situation could help me? Race/Ethnicity was not a factor here. As a sociologist, I thought about the variables and constant factors. African American/Black and Hispanic was represented in both situations. The persons of an ethnic minority were no more willing to help in the second situation. So race/ethnicity was a constant. The people that did help in second situation were of either polish or russian decent so visibly white, but minority nonetheless. The only variable was economic class affiliation.

I was trying to grasp this...I went in academic/sociological circles with this unplanned foray into culture of help based on class affiliation. I came to the conclusion that perhaps people of a lower economic/poor background could empathize/understand with my problem and my situation because they have been there....stranded, no help. So for you all reading this who dont know what I just said,,,,People who have little or no money UNDERSTOOD what it was like to need help of someone else to get by. They were able to empathize as perhaps they have been stuck in some way. People who had money to spare, could not empathize with me so did not care. If something breaks and you have the money, its no big deal. A man in situation 2 told me to call Triple A for a jump. Yeah, because I can afford that.

In my Health Disparities class, we are discussing how being low income contributes to a constant level of stress because you know if something breaks, goes wrong, get do not have the resources to remedy it. So, knowing that reality in your own life you perhaps are more willing to lend a hand to someone else? I mean I have always thought that, but here is an experiment to back up my hypothesis.

So on to the biblical application and lessons learned....There is a verse that says it is harder for a rich man to get into heaven than it is for a camel to walk through the eye of a needle. So many interpretations of that verse....I have heard it used to justify a prejudice against the wealthy, I have heard it used as a reason people should give more/everything to the church, etc but I saw a whole new light to this verse after this situation. Perhaps, money makes a buffer, creates a division...I mean money gives you this security that in this situation, did not allow people to understand or come to my level and help. Money makes you feel independent and infallible, it empowers you and lessens your need. Money can make you proud. All these things are roadblocks on the way to deep relations with God, our Father, and Jesus Christ, our savior and God's son. Perhaps, Jesus was not condemning the rich for being rich but warning against the ability of money to harden our hearts and separate us from others and Himself. Im no preacher or superior exegetical bible scholar (im a woman after all...ITS FUNNY CMON)but i just felt God teaching me something with all this. This was a long post. Its nice to be back.

Monday, April 27, 2009

It's ok to put the Bible down and do something.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

God is an artist.

conversation between my grandma and I at 9:23 pm April 22, 2009

Grandma: "Oh yes, today was earth day. Did you know?
Sarah: "yeah, I don't care."

That was the inspiration for this blog. earth day? Really? One day a year people do environmentally friendly things and apparently a bunch of students at DePaul get together and make neon green shirts in the students center and then pass out condoms on campus. ( some skater kids were using them as ninja stars and hit me as I walked by)

Want to celebrate earth day right? Read Genesis. and then tell everyone that God created the earth, not science, not a bang of some epic proportions, and that God thinks it sucks when you crap all over his creation for your benefit. He also probably thinks it sucks when people don't acknowledge that He made the earth, the heavens, you, your mom, and everything else you take for granted.

Praise the Lord.
Sometimes just for making the earth.

Genesis 1
The Beginning

1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
2 Now the earth was [a] formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.

3 And God said, "Let there be light," and there was light. 4 God saw that the light was good, and He separated the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light "day," and the darkness he called "night." And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day.

6 And God said, "Let there be an expanse between the waters to separate water from water." 7 So God made the expanse and separated the water under the expanse from the water above it. And it was so. 8 God called the expanse "sky." And there was evening, and there was morning—the second day.

9 And God said, "Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear." And it was so. 10 God called the dry ground "land," and the gathered waters he called "seas." And God saw that it was good.

11 Then God said, "Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds." And it was so. 12 The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good. 13 And there was evening, and there was morning—the third day.

14 And God said, "Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark seasons and days and years, 15 and let them be lights in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth." And it was so. 16 God made two great lights—the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars. 17 God set them in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth, 18 to govern the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness. And God saw that it was good. 19 And there was evening, and there was morning—the fourth day.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

The moon is the only light I see.

not even... Its cloudy tonight.

Anyway, I really had a bad day today. A long bad day. Crazy things happened, people were out of hand all day and night. Even my dog made me mad.....
I got home and someone sent me this link. This is one of my favorite songs ever, done by street musicians (another thing I love) all over the world. I didnt smile, but I did forget about today for five minutes and eighteen seconds.

you gonna need somebody.....

(i failed at making it a link. Cut and paste it into your browser.)

Monday, April 6, 2009

one fish, two fish, new fish, blue fish


My friend has this huge fish tank and one shark in it. A little one. So for his birthday I decided to get him some fish. I went to the pet store and talked to the lady. I wanted cute fish, she seemed confused but showed me some she thought could be considered "cute." She kept telling me I had to get three of all the ones I liked. I thought maybe she was swindling me, you know trying to get me to buy more...Then she explained that the ones I liked were "community fish" which meant they need other fish around them. I gave her a look. She said no, really, these fish need to be in groups of at least three or they get stressed out and then die. She pulled out a chart and showed me how each fish lives etc. The cute likable fish all needed to swim in groups, thus community fish. I was concerned about the shark eating the fish. The petstore lady said that the shark will not mess with community long as they are in a group. It will only pick off fish that swim alone. The community provides safety as well.

What a lesson! I like to swim alone, but is that what is best for me? No. No man is an island. When we are alone, we can be picked off by the shark (temptation, sin, lust, greed, satan,etc). We all need community to keep us safe, keep our stress levels down and swim with us. Its funny how God keeps reinforcing the specific lessons I need to learn. even in the petstore.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

God is Sovereign

i was really anxious today. I am prone to panicky-ness. Today was bad.Real bad. Scary bad.

For the past two days, I have had this knot in my chest of worry or nervousness,(for those of you that really know me i have been shaking my hands continuously and searching for my inhaler).....for many reasons.
This blog is not about why.
This blog is about who.


No matter what I did today, I couldnt rest. I tried to pray, i read the bible, i called a friend (alas, the wrong friend), i laid in bed, I took a long shower, i painted, i went to work a little late,i stopped at two friends houses, i pet my dog, i pet my cat, i walked around, i cried, i paced, i drove, i worked, i sang, i counted to five, NOTHING... it was real bad.

I was on my way home and I stopped at Michaels Art store to get something for a project I am working on for my friend, and as I pulled out onto the street I was totally blinded. TOTALLY. It had just stopped raining really hard and as I turned my car onto the street the sun blasted me in the face. The gloom was still there from the heavy storm but the brilliant setting sun angled through and completely blinded me. It was the weirdest sun I have ever seen. The dark ominous clouds had not cleared at all but in the middle and over the top was this bright yellow orange fire which was dissipating it all. I was struck, overcome, halted, I dont know if I kept driving or not. The sight was beautiful and so brilliant. the word brilliant is not magnificent enough for me to communicate how breathtakingly amazing this was to experience and behold. I eventually kept driving but i remember thinking "this is too beautiful to be of this world." "How great is our God" "This is what it will look like when Christ comes back"
I thought momentarily, Christ had come back....This amazing shower, no tidal wave of relief flooded over me and I cried out "jesus. please"
that was my prayer.
that was it.
I found myself hoping that was true.
I wanted it to be over, this life.....I wanted jesus here now.
In a split second, i felt the relief that would bring; no more worry, no more pain, no more scared, no more alone, no more brokenness, no more trying every day just to fail, no more no more no more.

I kept driving.

as i turned down the next street I drove between two forest preserves and was stopped by 3 deer crossing the street. the last one stopped and looked back at me. i stopped and stared. I watched them enter the forest. I watched the one go to a stream and bend down to drink, its thick reddish brown furry tail flicking....

Heaven met earth. right there.

Praise God.

"I will praise God in this storm,
I will lift my hands
for You are who You are
no matter where I am
These tears I cry
you hold in your hand
you never left my side
even though my heart is torn
i will praise You in this storm."
--Casting Crowns

Saturday, March 28, 2009


Every saturday I babysit for T and J. THey are my absolute favorite. I have babysat Jack since the day he was born and T for almost two years. Unending joy do they bring me. So cute and so well behaved, their parents teach me so much about marriage and parenting and family all the time. I love them all.

Tonight Jack threw up on me. Like all over me. And you know what, it was gross but not gross enough to care enough to put him down or stop comforting him in his sickness. I was holding him because he wasnt feeling so well all of a sudden and then he looked up at me, coughed once and spewed three times all over me and the couch. I was so concerned for him and how sick he was that I was not that grossed out. That is love.

I cant wait to have kids of my own and often wonder if I will be ready, if I will make a good mom, can I do it? And tonight, I smiled as I finally laid him in his bed after about half an hour of rocking and shhhhing and patting his back because I knew that although I dont know how, i will love my own children even more and be even less grossed out by their puke.

Friday, March 27, 2009

9000 dollars a year

All you have to do is make a choice.

$8 could buy you 15 organic apples OR 25 fruit trees for farmers in Honduras to grow and sell fruit at their local market.

$30 could buy you an ER DVD Boxset OR a First Aid kit for a village in Haiti.

$73 could buy you a new mobile phone OR a new mobile health clinic to care for AIDS orphans in Uganda.

$2400 could buy you a second generation High Definition TV OR schooling for an entire generation of school children in an Angolan village.

I'm the 811,857,411 richest person on earth!

Discover how rich you are! >>

Thursday, March 26, 2009

I am quitting the track team....

I am a runner.
Not like in real life....I actually cant run at all.
How ironic! I broke both of my ankles and ripped all the tendons twice on each leg so I am basically unable to really run for extensive distances. I also trip 8 out of 10 times when going up the stairs because I cant flex my foot well in that way (plantar inflexion).

But relationally speaking, I am a huge fast long distance runner. Usually when people hurt me I pick up and leave. I walk away. Apparently, I'm like Cartman on South Park "Screw you guys, Im going home." But I dont just go home where you can find me, abstractly speaking I move and leave no forwarding address, I change my number and enter the witness protection program.

I learned this from a legacy of leaving, quitting, ignoring, stop talking to you, hanging up, "I hate you" and other things.

This is not a legacy I want to continue.

I want to hang up the running shoes and take off my number. Its not a race you ever win really. Its like a never ending relay.

I think I enter into community and friendship with one foot.

My friend last night told me that. I have done that a million times and honestly, I never thought about what that was doing to my friends. I just assumed that they didnt care really. When you get in a fight, its just over and thats that. When he told me that it made him sad and then he felt like he couldnt trust me to be there, my heart broke. I was so broke as all the people I have walked away from flooded my mind. Even today, a slow parade of people I have left have marched through my mind and pulled the strings of my heart. I never stopped to think they actually cared.I guess I thought of relationships ultimately as very temporary. If you have ever talked to me though, I am OBCESSED with people not leaving. I actually was shy to be friends with one of my friends right now because she has plans of moving to a foreign county in like 9 years. I wish I was kidding. My other friend plans to go to Columbia (the country, not the college) to be a missionary in a year and a half and as SOON as that person told me that I stopped calling them as much and it is TOTALLY the reason we are not that close now. I bet that sounds stupid.

Everytime someone walked away from me, it hurt and I hated it. I hated that feeling so much and it happened so incredibly often that somewhere in my teenage years I started deciding that I was not going to let that happen anymore. I laced up these running shoes and and took off as soon as I thought the other person was even contemplating leaving or taking a break from me. Did I think it hurt less if I left first?

It doesnt.

So I am walking on this new ground...I can see myself stepping onto it today. There are very few people there that I have my eye on and they are beckoning to me. As I step off the track and onto the soft green grass, fear courses through my blood and turns my stomach. I'm not looking away though. And I am going to keep walking.

Trust comes from being faithful. Faithfulness takes time to prove.
Like the waves of the ocean upon the sand......

There is no fear in love, perfect love casts out fear... John 4:18

I'm getting there.
There is so much I dont know.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Falling Stars.........

Did you ever look around your life and realize it was crowded?
I feel like its time for a big PUSH.
A pushing away and out of my life.
Its crowded in here and Im getting claustrophobic.

What are you all doing in here anyway?
I'm checking motives and matching words and actions.
I feel like I played that "trust fall" game and lost.

(You know, where you trust the people behind you to catch you and then you close your eyes and fall? They play that for team building and work events and stuff. I was always the one that wouldnt volunteer to get up on that stool and fall back. Partly because I dont like for people I dont know that well to touch me. I think that was a wise choice though.)

You should be careful with who you trust.

Once you let them in, its hard to get them out.

Not because they wont go, but because it hurts.

Then you fortify the walls, build them up stronger.....

But the thing about walls is that they dont only keep people out, they keep me in.

Is in where I want to be?

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Dogs can find pot and bombs, they should be able to find water.

Ok so I not sure that there are televisions in the kingdom of heaven but if there are then they are turned to Lost. I dont watch tv usually, I am super busy and too smart to watch much beyond the Office and Greys anatomy but tonight my friend had a Lost marathon. I watched the first five-ish episodes and I got something to say about that.

There was this one scene that could be have been entitled "your guide to your new salvation" it was amazing. These two people, Jack and Kate, are sitting on a beach and the guy knows the girl did something real bad before they all got stuck on the island ok? got it? they are sitting there and she is like " I want to tell you what I did." And he turns to her and says he doesnt want to know. That was before. That was who she was before they got stranded on the island. He tells her that doesnt matter. What she did before does not matter. They have a new reality/life and basically they all died yesterday. That was so poignant because IT DOESNT matter who we were before Christ called us. I was messed UP.....believe me. Sometimes I feel like I have to tell people about that, like they have to know the worst about me to really know me. I have this problem where I tell people all the bad things about me all the time. WHY? I dont know. But those things dont matter.

I heard a sermon about this idea recently. The line that killed me was "Old Maps dont work in New land." You are in a new land being with Christ and you cant act out the same way you did. They way you gauge your life, the way you measure things, and look at people and get around ALL OF THAT changes once you know Christ. No longer can you look around you and see what the world is doing and be down with that. You are in a new land, a new place, reborn-- in a sense as a Christian. I remember being confused and weirded out by the newness and foreign feel of it all, so many changes.

Also, the girl Kate is amazing.I like her (she has trust issues....)because people screw her over and she still takes care of them. This old farmer man, who is her friend, turned her in for something and she still saves his life. Then wanted to make sure he still got his money reward for turning her in because she KNOW he needs it. Who could do that? NO one i know. Well, actually someone I know could, and did =jesus. He prayed for the people who crucified him as he was dying, "Lord forgive them they know not what they do." I need to get a grip, I dont forgive people for not calling me back or cutting me off in traffic sometimes. It puts it into perspective.

Then there is this lady whose husband died and she is just sitting off by herself on the beach-- not eating or drinking or doing anything. The doctor/leader/Jack guy goes and sits there next to her.
Thats it.
Just sits there and hands her some water. She doesnt flinch or answer him when he talks so he just sits there with her. All day. Sometimes, people just want someone there next to them. That scene was so powerful to me. He just sat there. She just stared. Eventually, she said a few words and drank some water. She was comforted and restored by his presence and his care to just sit. Sometimes, its easy to help and to do but so hard to just BE THERE.
Just sit and listen or allow your presence in a difficult time to speak.

The last rambling paragraph here was when jack was denying the fact that he was obviously supposed to lead the group and he runs off into the jungle. The crazy old guy with all the knives is doing something in the forest ( i think getting water?) and comes across Jack who is hiding and being a baby kind of. They talk a bit and the crazy old guy tells Jack that sometimes, people just need someone to tell them what to do, to organize and to lead. But then he goes on to say that you cant be a leader if you dont know where you are going!!!!!!!!!!! He gets up to leave and Jack wants to go with but the crazy old guy is like No buddy, you got to stay here (in the jungle) and finish what you started here. How many times have I tried to go with someone just because I didnt want to stay and work out my own issues? How many times have people come with me because they didnt want to work out their own issues? It takes a big man to be like nope, sit in your mess and work it out I dont need any company. That was such a selfless act that the crazy old guy did, he probably wanted help gathering water. He had to vision and discernment to know Jack had to work it out for himself, but he did come and sit with him first. And listen.

Find someone. Sit with them.
And then you should probably watch Lost.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Bombs over Baghdad, Sarah's version

It sucks that the devil is smart. Temptation is not like things that you can slough off or scoff at. The devil KNOWS what you struggle with and he for sure comes at you with that from all sides.

Today he hit me with all the things I struggle with....It was so crazy and I couldnt believe it. I have really been at a new level in my walk with Christ, just praying alot and learning to stand on my faith. I can feel not only God's presence increasingly but the presence of evil. It feels like it swirling and circling around me just looking for a way in..........My heart is heavy and the hits wont stop coming. I am praying for some refuge.

spiritual warfare is not a joke.

Monday, March 16, 2009

pretty words.....

One of my friends did something that hurt me. It was something repeated and deliberate. It involved time and a total violation of my trust. I am so angry. In all actuality, I only get angry for one reason = because I am hurt.

This past week I have been praying for this friend. Even when I dont want to, I force out a tight lipped request for God to heal my heart and allow grace and love to pour forth from God onto this friend.

Also, I have been really ruminating on the concepts of grace and forgiveness. Such beautiful words. Grace. Forgiveness. I denied the request to meet with this person on the grounds that I was not ready to forgive yet, not ready to be loving. I guess I had just assumed that in a few weeks as the memory and sharpness of what happened dulled, I could feel forgiveness and grace and love. But that is not the true work of forgiveness or grace. That would be time healing my wounds and since it didnt hurt anymore I could forget about it and be nice, which I would pretend was forgiveness and grace. Once I realized that, I felt like I was confused about what forgiveness and grace really is and how to do it.

I know that I cant want bad things to happen to the people who hurt me. I am fully aware that I cant desire retribution or vengenance or even justice. I DO NOT WANT JUSTICE, ever. I cant demand justice for others, then embrace and cling to grace for myself. I DO NOT WANT JUSTICE from God. Justice from God would be separation from his Love and presence due to my sinful ways and repeated denial and refusal to acknowledge Him as Lord. I embrace Christ. The only way to the Father is through the Son. I cant desire justice at any level for others, then accept grace for myself.

So now what....what is the act of forgiving and grace, if its not time healing my wounds and allowing me to continue?

As I prayed, it was revealed to me. The picture of grace and forgiveness is Christ on the cross. His painful death. His assuming a fallible form as human and dying at our hands. His assuming the power and breadth of the wrath of God so we can be reconciled unto the Father. His love for us.

All of a sudden forgiveness and grace didnt just mean pretty words with peacful meanings. Forgiveness and Grace are verbs, hard, difficult words that mean action and trying. Tears and work. To give up yourself and your pain and hurt for another.
To love another especially when they dont deserve it, and are not sorry for what they have done. To see someone else as all they could be in God's kingdom and realize we ALL fall short of the glory of God for we ALL have sinned.

Forgiveness and Grace.
Sarah's at work.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Irony and beauty of LOVE

I am tripping over the fact that GOD made the very tree that provided the wood that he later was crucified on.

The next time I want to claim I have rights, or am owed something, I pray I remember that God MADE that tree. He had supreme and sovereign ownership over that tree, and all the people that crucified his son. He could have smashed them, and us, all. He gave that up for the love of us.

When I look at the cross, I see Love. That love is so enduring, so holy and pure, so all encompassing that I am healed.

"Perfect love casts out fear."
1 John 4:18

Friday, February 27, 2009

teeny tiny itty bitty baby mustard seed

I have this class at DePaul that I have written about before, my documentary class....My teacher adamantly denies the existence of Christ and any God. He seems amused mostly that I am a Christian. He makes comments to me and I take the bait every time and respond with a bible quote or a correction on his false assumptions of Christianity and the bible. Its all in fun, but with an undertone of seriousness.
Please pray for him. His name is Greg Scott.
He mentioned in jest once that perhaps he is just waiting for that one person to convince him of the existence of Christ...I told him that its not up to people to CONVINCE him of Christ's existence, its up to him to see it for himself and for God to be revealed.

Last week another student in the class came at me hard because apparently the teacher and my banter back and forth during the class affected her negatively. THere are only like 6 people in this class and its a lab type class we sit around on computers and work on our documentaries independently mostly. So the teacher challenges me often to leave my emotions and beliefs behind and to try to see the world neutrally and allow myself to be surprised and affected without those two things. Sometimes I dont respond to him, because he has so completely judged me to be what he thinks that anything I say is futile. My emotions and God are so inherently a part of me that how do I separate that out? Even when I ignore God or get mad at Him and dont pray or sin repeatedly I know God is there the whole time. The next person that tells me I am too emotional is going to get dropped though, for real. Do people think I don't know that or that this is a new phenomenon no one has ever thought to comment on? Either way, the teacher made me leave class with a video camera and told me to go find a homeless person and have a ten minute conversation with them without using the words happiness, love, Jesus, God, sad, etc.... before I came back.

Have you ever been to Lincoln Park on a Tuesday night at like 7:30pm? Its not a huge stomping ground for the homeless community. After searching for like twenty minutes, I found no one but endless pretentious DePaul students on their way to the gym or the student center. I decided to talk to them. I interviewed about 15 random students about their views on homelessness, what should be done, what they do about it, and if homelessness was a choice or not.

I found out DePaul students are not exactly in touch with reality concerning the homeless population in Chicago. Compassion was not in abundance, not was a tendency for action to help others. People mentioned things like homelessness was a choice that the individual made, most homeless have "mental diseases", there is nothing really that people can do to help because if the government put houses for the homeless in the neighborhood then that would raise the taxes and no one wants that, homeless in Santa Monica are happy because people there buy them dinner and they get lots of money outside of Starbucks, and that people are more concerned about the poor in villages in Africa than the homeless in Chicago. One girl has started learning to knit to send socks to homeless in Kenya but does nothing for the homeless that walk through campus everyday after they are fed at the Vincent DePaul Church.

I went back to class with the video. As I walked in, the class looked up at me and the teacher handed me a large white piece of paper with the words "Question yourself. Question your beliefs. Evil is Holy" scribbled across it. I think I smiled. I sat down at the table in the middle of the room and picked up a pen from the table and began to write my thoughts. My teacher stared at the pen in my hand and told me not to steal his favorite pen and I assured him I was just borrowing it. He laughed and went on to say that if I did steal it he could cut my hand off per the instructions in the Old Testament right? Without blinking, I reminded him that I was CHRISTIAN which meant that CHrist came and died for my sins ammending the old law to be replaced with abundant grace and forgiveness now. He laughed and this girl in the corner groaned audibly. When it came turn for her to present her progress in the class, she was distracted and irritable. Halfway through her informal presentation she declared she was frustrated and thrown off due to the constant talk of religion. Then she whirled around in her seat and stared and me and said with dismay, "Don't you know that Greg (the teacher) is doing this to get to open your mind and question your beliefs and your life?" She said something about closed mindedness or something. I said "I know. I'm fine with that. I respond so he will question his." She went on to say she is just trying to get her graduate degree and doesnt have time for this. Another girl in the class nodded and glared at me. I know I blushed.

I wasnt in class this week due to an emergency at work but I went to the office of my teacher to talk to him. He said I should have been in class because I missed an important discussion. He said he thanked me in front of the class for exhibiting faith. He went on to say that everyone has faith whether it be in science or religion or whatever and that I was a great example of it. And in typical Sarah fashion, my eyes welled up with tears at the compliment. I definitely excused myself before they spilled onto my face but as I walked-ran to the bathroom, I was astounded that I am an example of faith in any capacity. Seriously, I probably only have the faith of the mustard seed which is the smallest seed I KNOW OF!!! (like the bible says). I have weak faith, so weak so pathetic so not consistent ESPECIALLY lately. I am not good at trusting in God or Jesus or myself or my friends or anything and here I was being held up as a testament to faith. God really did use the least of us here.......................

Monday, February 23, 2009

Love the bees and their secret lives......

I believe fully that every little thing just wants to be loved.

Then why is it that we cant all just get it together and work that out?

How do we have all this mess that we have: Marriages breaking up, fathers not loving their babies,war, hatred, pain, depression, tears....

As a human race we have accomplished such ridiculously amazing things, Why cant we just focus some of that energy on love? Loving each other and caring for each other.

There's too much pain in this world, I see it and feel it and its heavy and hard to carry. It weighs on me. Sometimes I want to put it all down and finally rest.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Chris part 1

So I am doing my documentary on a homeless man I met a year or so ago. His name is Laddie but everyone calls him Chris. Sometimes, I think that he thinks he is Jesus.

When I told my teacher he said to me, "Sarah, it sounds like you think he is not Jesus."
I affirmed his assumption was true, I did not in fact think this man was Jesus.
My teacher told me to prove he wasnt Jesus.
I stared at him. "Well..." I stammered.
I have nothing. I dont think this man is Jesus, but how can I prove it? How do you prove something?
My teacher is atheist anyway so what am i going to use, BIBLE VERSES? Those dont matter to him anyway.
"Is it because he is homeless, Sarah?"
"No," I said. "Jesus was homeless the first time he came."
"Is it because no one else knows he is Jesus, Sarah?"
"No," I said. "No one knew it was Jesus the first time. Or what it meant that he was Jesus."
I tried to tell him the bible said when Jesus returned he would come on a cloud of light and all believers would be have been raptured but it just didnt work out for me. When someone doesnt believe in all that, it sounds stupid to start witnessing to them with that part.
Im not ashamed of the Gospel (116) but i didnt know how to go about this conversation. My teacher is very.....intimidating and convicted and outspoken but with charm and intelligence. Like how do you witness to someone about the saving power of Christ who does not believe in a higher power at all? He sees Christians as weak I think. He has said that religion is an opiate for the masses and helps them sleep at night being reassured about their ultimate demise. I like him though.

So back to my documentary...

I am interviewing Chris (whose real name is Laddie) because mostly he intrigues me. He is smart, educated, a self proclaimed Christian, white (so access to whatever inherent white privilege he can muster), friendly and talkative, he can use a computer, he loves to read ( he reads like 2 books a week at least). He has the whole bible almost completely memorized. He can spit scripture complete with the address like no one else I know. But he is homeless. Seemingly, by choice....
He says he is happy.
He says God put him out on the street years ago to teach him a lesson. The lesson was that he was being too greedy and taken with material things. Now Chris says he is dead to this world and just living on the street to help the other guys until God calls him home. He thinks that material things are dead and unimportant. He shares everything he has with everyone else. He lives for others.
AND....he is happy. He is always seemingly happy.
Therein lies my problem, my conflict....
He is happy.
Its frickin cold out. He is outside.
He seems to have alot of resources and relationships that could help him get off the street and enter back into society. But he says he chooses not to.

Why would anyone choose to live on the street?
And most important how can he be so happy?

more to come.......................................

Friday, February 13, 2009

Happy Valentines Day!

valentine Pictures, Images and Photos

Love is hard, but beautiful and worth it.
And rare.
I recently have been made aware of the concept of guarding your heart, which is so smart
but how do I get my brain and my common sense to rise up and overcome what has ruled them for so long?
How do I put my heart in its place?

I found this quote the other day, wrote it down and taped it on a big, bright green post it note to the front of my wallet:
"God can subdue your wild heart..."

I sure hope so.

I want a love that heals. A love that is truth. A love that is not scared or fleeting. Love based in integrity and not unanswered questions.

I want a love that comes like the waves of the ocean,
never failing....

As the waves hit the beach they drag out the mess from the edge of the sand,
with each tumbling, white crested wave
the water washes clean a smooth, slate of sand
so fresh and new with possibilities and inspiration
In time, the water will wash away all iniquites and rough spots on that beach
not by force but by the faithfulness of returning and time.

I decided it's worth the wait.

( I am house sitting, they have a private beach, I love to watch the waves)

Monday, February 9, 2009


To not worry seems to take things for granted, to not care.

How many of these things (worry, nervousness, anger, confusion) were so reinforced by my family...

It truly feels great to have cut those ties.

My grandma is the one person in the family I do still speak to and she often tells me that if my "church" knew that I do not interact with my family that they would tell me I am wrong. She tells me God wants me to be close with them and love them and continue to forgive them. I think that is what she wants and in THIS case it also happens to be what God wants. I am not sure my grandma is exactly tuned into the desires of the Lord, but who knows? Maybe she is. God uses all things and people.

I think He does want me to talk to them too.

At what point though.....
When does it become enough? At what point exactly is it ok for me to cut out abusive, neer do well, detrimental people from my life so I can continue to grow in a positive direction?
I extend forgiveness so readily, so easily, so frequently because I understand how seriously ridiculous I am and all the things I do and how desperately I need grace.
But this time, I can't.
I need to work on it.
I have lost that last bit of trust and faith that this "family" cares about me, loves me and is in ANY way concerned for my benefit. They have broken me for what I want to be the last time.

The dysfunctionality of my family, the craziness, the abusiveness, the mental issues, the deceit, the lying, the sneakiness, the mistrust, the neglect,the pain
affects my whole life and how I go about relationships now.
I was talking with a friend last week, or actually NOT talking when I should have and he said to me, "Sarah, if I am your family like you say I am, then act like it." He meant tell him what I am struggling with, tell him what is tearing me apart and be honest about it. He meant trust him.

I thought, I am treating him like family! I am filtering myself and not trusting you and trying to protect myself and acting mean so you dont think I actually do care what you have to say because if you did know, then you would use that power to mess with me and hurt me.

Later, i realized this and told my friend that I didnt think i knew what family really was.
It turned out that he had already figured that out.

When people pray to God as Father, I get lost. I dont have a positive picture of that.
When people talk about the church as our family, I run. I dont have a positive picture of that.

I need to get a camera and take some new pictures.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Dont shrink Jesus.

I read other blogs. One I used to read alot but now just check in on super late at night when I cant sleep is This guy writes it and another blog site called (Jon Acuff)I laugh, but most things I dont get because I have only been a Christian for like 2 and a half years and I go to a house church so all the big church humor and youth group antics can be lost on me. But its funny, he's smart and sarcastic = my favorite combo.

But on the 97 seconds website, he wrote a post a while ago that I somehow linked to tonight/this morning and it was good. It said to stop shrinking Jesus. Dont let other people shrink Jesus for you. He is big enough. Big enough for all of this.
and that.

I remember a conversation I had with my friend Mariko back when I wasnt even really a Christian. She told me that God was big enough for what I telling her. I was afraid to come before God because of what I had done. People knew, they were talking, I looked horrible. But she assured me, Jesus was big enough.

I needed that tonight. And this week. And last week actually too.

So much pain i see. So much pain I feel. I want to turn away. I realized tonight that my attempts lately are to harden my heart and turn away. I think this walk is too hard and I am not cut out for this. As a Christian, I have to accept my sensitivity and not stifle it. In the world, I was so tough. I hid and ran and fought and I did me. But as a Christian, I have to take all those feelings and pain and just love and deal with them. READ THESE WORDS: its too hard.

I just look stupid all the time. I cant hide, I cant stifle my feelings, I cant even pretend and put up a front. All thats left is to love and live through it. When people hurt me, I cant get mad and act on that. I mean, I DO but then I have to deal with making it better. I am instantly convicted.
I should change my name to I'M SORRY - i say it so much. And it sucks. Im gonna say it, IT SUCKS.

Before I was a Christian, I got to get by with drinking it off, smoking cigarettes, buying what I wanted, living with my friends, yelling, fighting, having boyfriends and sex and running my life. Now its all gone and I am left with quiet and no distractions.

I try so hard to distract myself. With boys, or thoughts of going back to living the way I was. But I can't.

I look stupid all the time. I want to be alone so bad right now. I want to hide. It hurts more to go through this then around it. I want to harden my heart and get angry.

But I dont want to shrink Jesus. Im not with all this for me, Im with it for Jesus. FOR JESUS.
Jesus is big enough for this walk.
Jesus is worth more than what you do to me and how you make me feel.
Jesus is more than my stupid actions and how I want to hide from them because saying sorry hurts.

This blog is as much for me, as it is for whoever keeps reading this.
Pray for me. Please.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

took long enough

You know what feels good?

Standing up for yourself.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Getting Hazy

The world is too loud right now.
I need to turn it down
Tune it out

Hear my own voice
but is my own voice echoing the voice of the Lord?
are they even in sync anymore?

Have I succumbed to worldly ways and desires?
Am I merely wearing a Christian suit?

Im not choosing God
and Im not choosing myself either
So what am I doing?

I know my destination
and the train I am on is not going anywhere near that stop.
sometimes the people on this train look all too familiar.

Everyone knows what i should do,
how I should do and when....
All that noise is too loud, too static, too much,

Sarah, What did GOD tell you to do?

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Crawling in the dirt

Tonight I went to Sunshine Gospel Ministries on the Southside to see my friends, Matt, TJ and Paul rap. I learned alot.

First of all, I learned Matt has skills. He also has flow. And good hair.

Secondly, I was so blessed by a bible study led by Pete Blodgett. We read through a passage in 2 Cor. about how Christ died to sin, just once, which is all that was necesary and accordingly we are new creations and dead to our sin once we are are in Him. That was tight, but the part that was so memorable was an analogy Pete used. He said we are like catepillars. We crawl around and are not super cute or anything, we burrow in dirt and exist on the ground and people flick us off them and we are gushy. Then, through salvation we enter our coccoon and emerge as a new being. A beautiful butterfly is completely different from a lowly caterpillar. Butterflies fly and have glorious wings with intricate patterns and land on flowers and barely touch the dirt. A butterfly would never think to return to the life of a caterpillar and choose, as a butterfly, to crawl in the dirt---
so how can we as Christians return to a life of sin. The story of the butterfly is perfect because the caterpillar is no where as wondrous or prized as a butterfly.

I began to think "Why am I choosing lately to roll in the dirt on my belly and inch along when I have wings?"

I want to embrace my butterflyness and the salvation that it represents and not long for the familiarity yet the death that sin ultimately brings.

I want to take solace in God and trust in Him.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Altruism is not dead. (alternate title = DePaul Winter Quarter 2009 vs. my Christianity)

So I signed up for this class on Ethnographic documentary making. Its one night a week at Depaul. I love documentaries, on everything. If you know me, then at some point in our relationship I have talked to you about some documentary I watched and as I spoke to you with fervent interest and intense inner rumination, I bet your eyes glazed over and you drifted away. Anyway, I thought it would be cool to make one of my own and I can think of several cultures in Chicago that I specifically have access to that most of the population does not. Its not actually that others dont have the access to these cultures or groups of people, but that they dont think they do and are hindered by fear and ignorance.

I love documentaries because I love to learn and I am a very visual person. I learn by seeing, I am moved or excited by visual stimulus. If I see something, i will never forget it but tell me something and it falls out of my head when something shiny catches my eye. I love the insider view and the intellectual layers of the documentary movie, and the implicit art and critical thought that has to go into the editing. I love that the person who made the documentary usually wants to teach us something, and that they have to go out and work for it. Its not scripted, technically, and those people arent actors in the Hollywood sense. We all act, but to act in the course of real life or to accept a role and follow a script is two completely different things. We had to come up with 2 cultures or people groups in Chicago that we want to film. I didnt need a week, I knew before I signed up for the class what I wanted to learn more about and what I wanted to teach people through my documentary.

First, I want to do a documentary on the homeless. All of us are like three careful steps from homelessness. Lose your job, cant find another, no one to help you = potentially homeless. The world is cruel,I have seen it countless times with my own two. The men and women I have met through out life have shown me this. Yes, sometimes its the choices you make and I am aware of that. I am not interested in a victim mentality ever. I dont want to identify people as a victim, I dont want to patronize a victim, I dont want to blame a victim....Nothing. What I want to do is show everyone, this can happen to anyone. If people can embrace that fact, I believe :
1. They would be way more grateful and appreciative of what they have and that GOD has blessed them unduly and undeservingly.
2. They would be more apt to share these blessings, to pour them out and pay out what has been merely loaned to them by God for His glory (not our personal gain or acheivement, but as a way to love others.)

The second idea was to follow up with the prostitutes I met while doing outreach on Madison in front of the Rockwell garden housing projects like 2 years ago. The housing project there has since been torn down and apparently that particular stretch of the street is in the last stages of gentrification so the women have moved west about a mile or so. I was interested how they interact with one another and especially their pimps. Particularly, the tiny not scary ones that ride bicycles. Seriously, this has bothered me for like two years. There was this one pimp in my mind I remember. The women would never talk to us or accept any offering of food or clothing if the pimps were around so we had to learn who was a pimp quickly. This one seriously rode a little kid's bike and was like 100 lbs soaking wet. What is he doing? So many questions, so little answers. Anywho, also I see the other pimps and some were like old men with fuzzy canes and white suits that were embroidered with multiple offensive words, but in pretty raised cursive letters and glitter. Maybe not the prostitutes then, but the pimps I was interested in for this project. I dont know. Im still working this second idea out.

But the point of this post was the talk about this idea that my professor threw up onto my life yesterday. Yes you read that correctly, he PUKED THIS WRETCHED IDEA INTO MY LIFE. I am someone who accepts things, and I make them personal (I had this conversation with two of my friends last night, G and Emery. They were like "Stop internalizing everything." Um, read my last post). So what my Professor said was "Altruism doesnt exist. Helping the homeless isnt about them or love or any of that sh*%, its about you.You feeling better about yourself for helping people. Its all about what you are getting out of it." Then he paused, and thought and I was like whatever, thats not true but when he went on is when he GOT me: "Unless, of course, it pains you. If it pains you, then ......that's different. But you know what, no, because if it pains you, then you are CHOOSING pain and then you are getting what you want anyway so it is not altruistic." The thing is, It pains me. It all but kills me to work with the homeless like I have. I stopped doing outreach purposefully in September. I see the men all the time but I had to disengage because of the pain and brokenness and how right now, I cant do that. I cant devote my life to working and loving them and still pay attention to school and work. But that will be my life, in some facet. That the Lord will use me to love and serve the poor and potentially homeless, in Chicago. I have know that since a very young age. Praise God for revealing my purpose, some people travel all through life wondering, but I have always known (maybe not embraced it, but always known). So the statement was personal. When he looked at me and thought and then said that about being pained instead of feeling good, I felt like he saw me. Just a part, but a deep part.

Now my professor, alot of professors, at DePaul are not typical college professor. This particular one swore so many times and in such creative ways that I wrote some of them in my notes. He told us he stole the shoes he was wearing, used to be a crack dealer and admits to using intravenous drugs for most of his life. He swears and talks casually about gaining people's trust, then learning about their lives and vulnerabilities and then freely and consciously exploiting these for the use of his film and career. He speaks flippantly about pretending to care about people he is filming and then using them. Other students in the class warmed up and began to speak as casually and callously as him. My heart was heavy and during our 15 minute break in the 4 hour class, I listened to worship music and prayed for endurance and peace and other things. He said such horrible crap, his mouth just opened and these irreverant, harsh, mean things came pouring out with a smile and sometimes I just laughed and shook my head. Eventually, he caught on that I was not laughing WITH him.I cant decide if this is an act he is putting on, or if in fact this is who he is. He appreciates my presence and told me I am a live wire, but I cant help but be interested in how this quarter will play out for me. I am not one to keep my thoughts and beliefs to myself and this is an emotionally charged environment as we delve into conflict and how to "exploit" that.

I cant drop this class, or I wont graduate on time. and honestly, if I had to pick a class to drop it would be my 'Sex and Gender in the City" class. We are doing a case study of the SEX and the city tv show and learning about sex markets in every neighborhood of Chicago. People in that class are just sick, talking openly about sick crap that makes me want to punch them. THAT is a requirement for my major, not to punch people for being proud sluts but taking a class on sex and gender issues.

Um, Maranatha. Quick.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Thats not mine.

Recently I have been convicted of how sin affects a community. I never understood this, even though I have heard it countless times. I have been horrified how people get in each other's business and I still am at times, but I been to the other side! I can see that no man is an island and I feel nervous at the weightyness of this revelation.

What I mean is, through several situations (personal and not) I have seen how sin that you havent committed directly can still drastically affect your life. We all pay the price for sin and not only is it a biblical mandate to be your brothers keeper and to lift them up, but it is in your best interest as well to keep them from the wide road to destruction and to lead them toward the narrow path of rightousness.

Due to the fact that would be pretty bogus to blast someone else's sin on here and then exemplify how its messing with my life, I am going to use Israel and the whole Gaza Strip situation. So back in the time of the old Testament, Abraham and Sarah were desiring a child. Sarah did not trust in the Lord and took matters into her own hand (Sarah's are always not trusting!!!) and sent her maid servant Hagar to lay with Abraham and produce a child. As usual, the Lord delivered on his promise to Sarah in His own time and she was able to bear her own child thus rendering Hagar's child undesirable. AND so it began = unrest in the middle east stemming from the Jews being Abraham and Sarah's child Issac and the Middle Eastern ethnicity (I couldnt figure out what to put there? Palestinians? Iraqi? Saudi? Islam? After five minutes, I settled Middle Eastern Ethnicity. Dont dwell on it) which was the fruit of Abraham and Hagar. So Sarah's sin and lack of faith in the Lord to satisfy her desire has a very obvious and lasting result. Hatred and ethnic divide and genocide is under way to this very day. People, children, moms, elderly, whole communities are trembling in fear and being assaulted and have inherited this sin and its results. Do they even know what they are fighting for anymore? I dont know. Land? Really? Land?

On a more personal note, sometimes people do mean stuff. I assume that into myself on such a personal level. I assume in the most extreme way, that somehow I am to blame for their actions. People have told me before, "its not about you" and I never listened deeply to that. I never understood what that meant or rather, I thought people misinterpreted my feelings as somehow I thought I was important enough to make that person sin. I was just taking on responsibility that somehow, I was ridiculous enough, or bad enough that this person had no fault and i caused them to act this way. But I am realizing what "its not about you" means.

Everyone sins. We have to, we are human. Perhaps the way someone is treating me is their own sin and nothing to do with me. When i snap at the lady in front of me for going too slow, its not really her fault but my own lateness, disorganization and lack of patience that causes me to do that.

Perhaps I was just there. Perhaps, I was in the line of fire.

This not only has present day applications for me, but life altering implications.
All that stuff in the past, all that SUPER RIDICULOUSLY HORRIBLE family issues that I cant see fit to get over on....Maybe most of that was so not even about me but I was just there, plodding along and stepped out into the dangerous traffic of their own sinful strugles. Maybe, I dont need that apology and reckoning because after all...

It wasnt even about me, was it?

I want to hold onto that thought. I want to take that truth and cuddle up and intertwine with it so I can soak every bit of relief out of it and allow my life and heart to be changed and renewed.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Too Old and too Pretty

Being sleep deprived, stressed beyond all get out, and frustrated I yelled that at the top of my lungs last night in my friends apartment.If you know me, I'm pretty sure you know I dont think either one of those things about myself, but my friends pounced on it and want me to accept it as my personal 2009 mantra. I feel like that last little something just broke last night.You know, straw...camel...

We are having some serious family issues, ones that I cant even work through right now. Since about Wednesday, I have this block and I cant even pray. I can simply just sit in silence and think about God. I am not sure if I am angry, or so incredibly hurt or scared. have you ever had a stomach ache for like 6 days straight?

I also think its time for Sarah to stand up. People mistake my kindness for weakness a little too often. People mistake my desire to serve as a doormat. People mistake my constant extension of forgiveness as an excuse to hurt me over and over.

I need to find a balance between the super soft sensitive Sarah that loves too much and wants to be loved too much and the Sarah that takes up for everyone else and stands strong in the face of all adversity. It's like I have all the qualities to fix myself, on one side I am super vulnerable and weak and the other I'm a beast. If I could put those together and take up for me and protect me, I would be better.
But there is this bridge out.... that those two sides cant come together for me, and I'm pretty sure thats one of the reasons I need Christ. He is that bridge. His love fills in all the brokenness.

Im stubborn and sinful. Why wont I rest in Him?