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