Friday, June 22, 2018

Sinful Resistance and Transparency


I've resisted for so long, but I couldn't tell you why until recently.

You would think that something peaceful like a journal, a pen that writes "just right", an extended moment of silence, God and me...would be something craved, something that I needed as much as I need my morning and afternoon cup of coffee.

Sadly, that has not been the case.

Any of you who know me know that I desire to be transparent in all that I do and am. I don't want anyone for a second thinking that I'm not being "real" with them; my writing is no different, and hopefully it will take a new level of depth and transparency in this new season of me.

Why? Why would I resist quiet time with the one who created me, loves me, and has never left or forsaken me? For the one whose allegiance to me is sealed with His blood, and His tenderness and love for me is that of a shepherd who goes after me, the one of the 99 who decided to leave the flock?

Oh, I could make up a bunch of reasons as to why this could be. "I'm too busy", "I'm too tired", "I'm a mother of a toddler", "I have to work a lot", but the truth is-

It's because I have to surrender.

You see, when I'm constantly going and doing and achieving even the small things, I don't have the opportunity to get real with my Father and tell Him that I can't do this life without Him. When I open up that journal, close my eyes and let the Holy Spirit breathe through my tattered and sinful self, I am forced to see my sins in writing. The most offensive being that I have picked up again what I had laid down at His feet. I am reminded of how without Christ within me, I am no good in any way. That ultimately, I have no control over my circumstances and sometimes my emotions, but only have control of my response to them.

Again and again I try to find my identity in anything but my royal heritage of The King. For some reason that isn't enough; reason is sin. A child can't control whether or not he is conceived or born, just as much as he can't choose who his parents are. Being a child of God is no different, except for the fact that unlike earthly, sinful parents our Heavenly Father will never leave nor forsake us. He has promised us that, unlike the broken and shattered promises of the well intentioned or the scared.

Right now, what in this very moment, I find myself tempted to grasp hold of anything but Christ. I have been on a sugar free journey over the past couple years, and recently I've hit this place where I legitimately don't even want a brownie.

Do you know how weird that feels?

I cannot remember a day in my life where I didn't crave chocolate or some kind of sweet something. It made me feel like for a brief second, everything wasn't as bad as it really was. It became a crutch, a part of childhood memories and this necessary thing that had to be in my every day. Now that it is gone, I find myself almost grieving. Silly? Maybe. Humbling? Definitely, because He is showing me how empty an idol that was for so many years. That all this time He has been there, waiting to fill me with His Word, His promises, which are sweeter than any pan of brownies or bag of gummy worms.

Friend, there is a time for everything. It took me a very, very long time to the revelations that I shared with you in this post. Did you know that because God is sovereign that means that before today it wasn't time for me to understand these things? I encourage you with that truth. Just as you can't force bread to bake any faster in an oven can you force God to show you and lead you to things like this.

The silence is over for now, as my daughter has woken up and is letting me know in a very loud way that she is done with her nap. May these personal and transparent revelations bless you in the way that God wants you to be blessed, because He is good like that.


Thursday, June 21, 2018

Let The Waves Wash Over You


The ocean has been on my mind.

I would love to spend time on a beach again, as it has been years since I have. There are few things more relaxing than hearing the sound of the waves hitting the shore line, and than draw back into the great deep.

However, just as the ocean is powerful in a peaceful and relaxing manner, so can she be terrifyingly destructive. Hurricane devastation and tragic drownings have affected the lives of so many. I believe this to be just like God. Although God is entirely sovereign and good, He is capable of reminding us that He is God in some less than peaceful ways.

A few weeks ago I was chatting with a friend via text. During the course of our conversation, she said "Sometimes I feel like life is just wave after wave, just beating me up." Immediately I had a visual of every challenge in life, but in the form of an ocean wave.

Trusting God, patience, infertility, death, divorce, confusion, betrayal, rape, murder, depression, uncontrollable pain, addictions, financial hardship, cancer, dementia, internal and external illnesses, e.t.c.

Imagine that you are sitting on the shoreline of the beach, when one of these particular waves started to wash up on you. Our human response is to get as far away from that shoreline as possible, because we don't want anything to do with that particular wave. We know what is going to happen, and it isn't good.

But, what if God wasn't just calling us to the wave, but straight into the expanse of the deep waters? A place so deep that you can't possibly imagine making it out alive? 

I want to challenge you that He is.

I firmly believe that God wants to draw us into the depths of pain and hardship, so that we will become closer and more dependent on Him. It is tempting to think that we could live without the absence of hardship, but would we need a heavenly Father if we did? Would it be necessary to have a relationship with a good and loving God? Would we be as apt to turn to Him in our happiness and joy? 

Personally, I know that I am guilty of not turning to God during the good times and the times of gratitude. I am more likely to turn to Him when I'm hurting, in pain or in need of something. Can you say the same?

Jesus says  "I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."-John 16:33

He doesn't say "You may have trouble", but that you will have trouble. The waves of life will try to knock you down, but in Christ we have a firm foundation that we can cling to. "On Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand".

Friend, my prayer for you is that you will let those waves wash over you.When the current sweeps you in and you feel like you are drowning, that you will be reminded of how your Lord is an anchor to hold onto and how the waves and storms of this world serve but one purpose and one purpose only:

To draw you closer and deeper to the One who will never let you drown.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

It’s Time To Write Again


I wanted to start this post with:

“I can’t believe that it’s been almost two years since my last post!”

But the truth is, I can believe that it’s been that long since I sat down and intentionally decided to ignore chores and responsibilities to write. Recently God has shown me that it is a responsibility to use  the gifts that He has given me, no matter how I may plead with Him and others that I don’t have time. Lately He has shown me in several ways how important this responsibility is, even if I don’t understand all the reasons why.

Speaking of time, that is something that seems to truly be slipping away in a much quicker fashion than previous seasons of life. There was a time where I wanted to tell time to “get a move on! I want a husband!” Followed by “Hurry up! I want a baby!”. I have a daily reminder that time has come and gone in the precious little package of an independent, blue eyed beauty with her daddy’s curls and her mama’s drive for life, as well as our wedding date of June 28th which will be here in two short weeks, marking four years of marriage to my best friend.

I now find myself telling time to “seriously?! Will you just slow down for a second?!”, but she just smiles and says something like “no can do lady!”. It is then that I find myself boxing up her baby clothes and her bottles, and having to stop myself from looking at older pictures of her before she could say “mama” and “daddy” and show us where her belly button is located.

As I type this post, there are tears in my eyes as I grieve the time lost trying to fix things that couldn’t be fixed, rather than surrendering to God all that is and all that I am. And then I give a sigh of relief to know that God is sovereign and He allowed it to happen, because, well, He is God.

Years ago, before the current me even existed, I started this blog with the vision of sitting face to face with the reader in a coffee shop with charm; warm, cozy, and restoring to the soul. That is still how I want you to feel. In this blog you will find honesty and transparency in an effort to encourage you to be the same.

My prayer is that this post ministers to someone’s heart and spirit. Future writings will have more of a theme and a direction, but I guess this isn’t too bad for a mama who finally made time.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Pre-life Changing Moment Ramble


 Could it be? Has it really been over a year since I've logged onto my blog to write? I used to write all the time. It used to be a necessary past time/hobby to keep me sane; something that I felt called to do.

What happened?

Life, I suppose. My life has been steady, routine, and dare I say, boring. Sometimes I wonder if I no longer have anything that I feel is worth writing about, or thought that maybe nobody would find it interesting or beneficial. Or maybe this writers drought was put in place for a reason and a purpose. Regardless, at this very moment I find myself in a place of complete quiet and solitude, with a sleeping orange fur baby on my left and a very active baby girl rolling around in my womb as if she is contemplating making her arrival in the near future ( one can only hope.)

What is it about major, life changing events that cause a person to want to crawl into a fetal position, block out the rest of the world and hibernate until that event arrives? I remember a very similar feeling over 10 years ago when I was awaiting the trip of a life time to tour overseas and across America with a performing arts ministry. There was a period in between where the current work was completed but it wasn't yet time to hop the plane to California for the new adventure. I distinctly remember being in my pajamas, lying on the couch eating chocolate ice cream and watching Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman. There was one particular episode with a circus theme, in which one of the characters was terrified to walk a tight rope that rested extremely high in the air. Even though there was a net to catch her when and if she fell, she was still scared. But of course she triumphed,the corresponding orchestral music affirmed that she did, and I cried like a baby.

I have walked many a life tight rope since then, always falling into the net of Gods grace and provision.Though soon....very soon, the greatest event of my life(next to marrying my best friend) is about to happen, and I have a feeling I'm going to need Gods net of grace and provision more than ever before.

Our daughter. Those two words together bring hormonal induced tears to my eyes as I contemplate what that means. Even after nearly 9 months I can't wrap my mind around what it is really going to mean to be the mother of a baby girl; a child that will call me "mom" and my husband her "dad". It sounds simple, but the closer the event comes the more I can't wrap my mind around the meaning.

I suppose the greatest loves are those in which we can't wrap our minds around, nor should we. When I contemplate my relationship with God...all the twists, turns, droughts and honeymoons  that I've had with my Savior, I still can't quite grasp what His love truly means for me: a sinner who is absolutely and completely helpless and purposeless without Him. And as the greatest responsibility of my life approaches at a rapid rate, so increases the raw truth that without Him I am nothing and can be nothing for my daughter.

I don't know exactly what you are facing in this moment, but I do know that there is a Father who desires to give you peace by having complete and utter dependence on Him. I also hope that in some small way, my raw honesty about my personal journey will benefit and bless you, pointing you to the Giver of all those things.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Orange Is The New Black....Or Is It Just Black?


Two years ago I decided to give into my curiosity of the new, hot show "Orange Is the New Black" ( You can check out Wikipedia.com or IMDB for a complete and detailed description of the show). The basic premise of the Netflix phenomenon is the story of a middle class woman in her late 20's who is sentenced to prison after being involved in a drug scandal ten years earlier. The acting is fantastic, and the story line of each of the female in-mates draws in pretty much any female who is interested in interpersonal relationships, prison life and humor.

I watched the first season and got hooked. Although there was language and lesbian scenes that made me uncomfortable, I felt  that there was something I needed to learn in this show.

I am a strong and devoted woman of God, but I will tell you that my media choices are not always conservative, due to the fact that I believe that God intends to teach us through things that are dark. It is scary for me to think about the amount of Christians who do not have any friends that are not Christian, and who spend the entirety of their lives watching the 700 Club, reading and watching entertainment and media that they feel Jesus would approve of.

While there may be some that are shocked by this statement, I would hope that those people would hear me out. It is through the darkness of this world that we are to be the Light. How can we be a light if we don't know what we are up against...or for that matter, what those who do not have a relationship with Christ are up against? I strongly believe that the Holy Spirit will lead us through those dark places, and there are times where they should not be avoided.

Okay, now I'm getting to the point. :)

Back in the day when I was a teenager, I had this weird fascination with prison shows. I remember an ex -boyfriend being disgusted with this fact, and can clearly remember the disapproving look on his face when I shared my little secret with him. "why?!" he asked.

I really didn't have much of an answer. The only thing that I could put my finger on was that it was a life that I couldn't comprehend; a world that I didn't understand. I was curious, and I just left it at that.

I binged watched "Orange Is The New Black" seasons 1 and 2 ( I believe that you can find my reflections during this time written on this post: http://thoughtswithroomforcream.blogspot.com/2013/09/salt-light-prison.html) and last month when season 3 came out, I was ready to see what would happen next.

I made it through a few episodes, and my husband watched one or two with me as well. At one point, Jeremy made a comment to the effect that the show was pushing the "nature vs. nurture" debate; the belief that those who are in prison are there by no fault of their own. It was how they were raised, the people who hurt them, the lies they believed. It raised the question of "do people really have a choice when this is all they've ever known?"

Without Christ, the answer is a resounding "YES!"

Jeremy also commented on the fact that the show portrayed the inmates as victims, not women who committed crimes, hurting people and themselves. Which led me to this thought.....

We are victims without Christ.

Without the astounding and unimaginable sacrifice of Jesus Christ for the sins of His children, we would all be victims, but it is because of this sacrifice that we are able to help those who see themselves as victims.

Now let me be clear, you can be a Christian and see yourself as a victim; It is because of our sin and human nature that Christ made the sacrifice in the first place, but it is because of our freedom in Christ that we do not have to live our lives as victims! However, without Christ, this is a truth that is not so easily grasped.

I did not make it through all of season 3. There was a scene with the character "Boo" that traumatized me big time; I definitely felt the nudge of the Holy Spirit telling me "Okay, I've taught you everything you need to know from this experience." Truth be told, it took me a whole week to get that scene out of my head. I guess you could say that it haunted me.

But what still haunts me is the blatant fact that there are so many female prisoners that don't know Christ....that don't know my Jesus....the one who loves them no matter what. The Jesus who is extending His hand for a life that is not about their guilt, their pain, their suffering, but a life that is about what Jesus has done for them.

Truth? You don't have to be behind actual bars due to a crime that you have committed against the laws of our country. You can be a pastor's wife, a nurse, a stay at home mom, a rape victim, an alcoholic, a drug addict or a woman who is entertaining an affair.

Prison comes in many forms. Right now my ardent prayer is that you will understand and experience the freedom that comes from Christ; the truth that He can and will set you free!

So my fellow inmates of life, may you have the courage to release your victimization to the one who died for your freedom....the One who loves you more than you can even fathom.....a truth that will always trump the "nature vs. nurture" theory.



Tuesday, June 30, 2015

After The Wedding


 One short year ago I was walking down the aisle in an old country church, dressed in white and full of gratitude for the answered prayer that God gave me in the form of my husband Jeremy. Everything went exactly as it was supposed to, though not necessarily as planned!

Throughout the marriage preparations, I taught myself to resort to the fact that "I've never done this before...we've never done this before." and by "this" I meant preparing for a marriage, dealing with the emotions that come from family members, balancing every day life and finances with preparing for one weekend out of our whole lives.

A woman spends most of her life waiting for the moment where she becomes the bride, but is quickly told by some older and wiser woman that it is what happens after the wedding that counts; that's what we need to prepare for.

The truth is, there is no way of really being able to know what an experience will be until you find yourself in the thick of it. You can read as many resources as you'd like, listen to podcasts, speak to older wives who have more experience in marriage than you do...and while though you are likely to gain wisdom and insight, it is nothing in comparison to that moment when you look at that first year of marriage and process how you experienced it.

To quote one of my favorite Disney Pixar movies " Adventure is out there!", but now that the dress is put away and one year of marriage is in the books, what does that mean for me?

What does that mean for you?

I used to think that adventure and "feeling alive" meant constantly moving and looking for change. But the truth is, the true adventure for all of us in every season of our lives is to trust God without abandon.

No matter where you are in life, God is calling you to trust....a verb that is just as powerful as it is a noun. To trust that even though we aren't sure what is going on, why we are here, why we are doing what we are doing and wondering "does this really make a difference?", He asks us to revisit the truth that...

My adventurous life isn't about me.

May God give you the grace and the ability to seek adventure by means of trusting His will and His way for your life. May you find your sufficiency in this kind of road trip, never forgetting to admire the scenery along the way.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Sufficiency


 In the quietness of this morning, I found myself pouring over a short book by R.C. Sproul called "Does Prayer Change Things?" (which is an excellent read by the way, I highly recommend it!) Through much of the book Sproul took apart the well known prayer acronym "A.C.T.S": Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving and Supplication; all elements that God instructs us to include in our prayers to Him. While illustration after wise illustration was being made, this one really hit me hard.

"If God never grants us another glimpse of His glory in this life, if He never grants us another request, if He never gives us another gift from the abundance of His grace, we still would be obligated to spend the rest of our lives thanking Him for what He has already done. We have already been blessed enough to be moved daily to thanksgiving. Nevertheless, God continues to bless us."- R.C Sproul.

I have always, always been a striver by nature. For as long as I can remember, I have found it difficult to rest in the here and now. As my best friend recently stated to me "Sarah, right now is the greenest grass." In my flesh I will never be able to accept that statement, but by the power of the Holy Spirit I will be able to lay down my picnic blanket and dine on truth of Gods plan for my life.

After years of striving for some thing, I have now found myself striving more for the One, the Thing.

Sufficiency in Christ.

Finding my full satisfaction, joy and identity in Jesus Christ is what I've been striving for all along. I didn't realize it before now because I was too busy looking for something, waiting for something, changing something.

God forbid that I would journey through life looking for something to fill the hole, especially something that had "God" stamped on the front. God forbid that I would find myself in a place of familiarity with God that trumps His mystery and holiness.

Are you broken like I am? Are you striving like I have been? Take heart in knowing that you are not alone; that the Prince of Peace sees and knows the pain that you are feeling. He longs for you to find sufficiency in HIM.

Not a husband, not children, not a home, a career or enough material possessions that make you feel somewhat "secure" in a world that capitalizes on your insecurities.

May you find His all sufficient love to be all that you need; now and for always.