Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Tapestry



On my drives from Hutchinson to Fairmont, I have found that that hour and forty-five minutes of solitude has been an opportune time to really pour my heart out to God. I have quickly discovered that this new season of life hasn't been very conducive to my need to verbally process life events. Those drives have given me that opportunity to verbally speak what is on my heart, and running around in my mind.

On more then one occasion, God has given me visuals of specific things to help me understand how He is working in my life. Lately that visual has been a tapestry. With a tapestry, everything starts small, using colors and textures that initially don't make much sense. Some pieces are so ugly to the human eye, where others are bright and beautiful, smooth as silk. I've never made a tapestry before, but I can imagine that the process isn't as structured and methodical as making a quilt is, but rather more of a rhythm, tying in all the pieces to create something beautiful.

Recently God has revealed to me pieces of the tapestry in my life. We all go through seasons of life where things don't make sense. The color doesn't coordinate with the rest of the pieces, and you can't imagine how that color is going to compliment a beautiful tapestry. Similar to the pain and brokenness that we experience in different times of our lives. Only God can take something so painful and broken, and turn it into something truly breathtaking.

The weaver continues to weave, eventually turning the pieces into a pattern. I am beginning to see a small piece of that pattern in my life. I'm beginning to see how God is "connecting the dots" with past, present and future. I'm so grateful that God is willing to give us small peeks of our life's tapestry.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Living Life is Risky Business


The other night in the midst of some discouragement that I was facing, my best friend Al gave me this inspiring little ditty that has helped me view the positive and negative experiences of life in a new way.

"To laugh is to RISK appearing the fool
To weep is to RISK appearing sentimental
To reach out to others is to RISK involvement
To expose feelings is to RISK exposing your true self
To love is to RISK not being loved in return
To live is to RISK dying
To hope is to RISK despair
To try is to RISK failure
But RISKS must be taken, because the greatest hazard in life is to do nothing.The person who RISKS nothing, does nothing, has nothing, and is nothing.He may avoid suffering and sorrow, but he cannot learn, feel, change, grow, love, live.Chained by his attitudes, he is a slave, he forfeited his freedom.Only the person who RISKS can be free."

"Only the person who risks can be free." I read and re-read that line, as the truth of that sentence poured into my spirit. I never used to view myself as being one of those "risk takers". I don't really break the speed limit (o.k., no more than 5 miles over the limit), I've never attempted "risky" behavior in my adolescence, like smoking, doing drugs or consuming alcohol. As a child I never climbed a tree, because I was afraid that I would fall. I always dodged opportunities that would show me to be a failure in some way or another.

However, after reading that little ditty, it dawned on me: I am a risk taker. I have put myself out there countless times to different people for different reasons, I have overcome physical fears, like driving in metro traffic downtown Chicago, in my tiny little metro sandwiched between two very large semi's, saying "The Lord's Prayer" the whole way through. I have often confidently exposed my personal feelings about someone or something, risking that I may lose something, or worse, someone. I have traveled to different places for different experiences, taking the risk of being alone physically, in my thoughts, and in my decisions. And hope...boy do I know what it means to have hope, and risk despair. But the concept of hope is the only real way to manage what comes our way.

Wouldn't you say the greatest risk taker of all time is Jesus? Granted, He is the Son of God, so He had immunity to the falls of humanity, but wouldn't you say that giving your life in a sacrificial death, crucified on a cross, is risky business? The risk in and of itself was that even though He was doing this for all the people of the world, He also knew that not all the people of the world would receive that gift. But He took the risk anyways, and thank goodness He did.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

A Willingness like Mary


In my first blog post, I mentioned that I am doing a Beth Moore Bible study entitled "90 Days with Jesus". I finished day 3 yesterday, and day 3 really got me thinking.
Day 3 focused on the passages in Luke where God comes to Mary, and tells her that she has been chosen out of all the women in the world to carry and deliver His son. Beth made a comment that many times in the Bible, reactions and detailed verbal responses are not often given; many times we interpret just how that person felt or what they said in a certain situation. Not so with Mary. Mary's story always amazes me, humbles me. She led such a simple, quiet life, full of tradition, and probably not very much personal choice. I'm sure she didn't have a lot of dreams like young girls have now, because there weren't many options laid before them. To be properly married and to aid in carrying on her husband's name by bearing him children was the destiny of a young woman during that time.
What strikes me about Mary, and touches me deeply, is her willingness to obey God, even when she didn't have all of the details. The angel Gabriel gave her limited information. He didn't tell her where the baby was going to be born, and when, and what would happen after that. He didn't give her any advice as to how to handle the rejection of her family and friends, not to mention the embarrassment of telling her fiance that she indeed was pregnant. So much was at risk, and yet scripture depicts this humble, beautiful young woman who responds with a sentence that in turn humbles my heart:
"I am the Lord's servant," Mary answered. "May it be to me as you have said". (Luke 1:36)
So often I get caught up in not knowing all the details. Sometimes I wish that God would send an angel to speak verbally to me, because there are days in which I can't hear the voice of God through His word, journaling, conversations with other people, and church attendance. In my humanness the multiple voices of this world threaten to be louder then His, sometimes to a point where I can't distinguish if it is really His voice after all. But that my friends, is where our willingness comes in. We must be willing to rid ourselves of the other voices that try to shout above his.... voices that disguise themselves as relationships, addictions, the media, false prophets, pain and regret. We must be willing to accept our present circumstances, and be at peace with the fact that we don't have all the details, because we don't NEED all the details.
Some details would be really nice to have. Details like:

  • "Ok God, I need a job, details please?!"
  • "It would be really nice to know if you will indeed bless me with a spouse, details please?!"
  • I would really like to know if it would be worth my time and energy to raise money for a missions trip, details please?!"
  • "It would be really nice to know if my mother is going to make it through this operation, details please?!"
  • " This individual is so hurtful, but I know there is a reason why she is. Details please?!
  • "Alright God, I would really like to know how I'm going to make my mortgage this month. Details please?!"
I'm sure that you could add additional questions to that list. But the point is, we don't need to know. If we don't have those details, we don't need them. What we do need is faith. Faith that not only is God a God of details, but that His timing is perfect. Faith that no matter what happens in life, God has His paint brush on the canvas of our lives, creating something beautiful out of pain and uncertainty. Take hold of that promise friends. My prayer for all who read this is that you will have a willingness like Mary to accept the unknown, without all the details.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

"It's a jungle out there!"



Wow, am I on a blogging roll today! This one isn't as deep or soul searching as the previous one I posted today, but I felt that it is definitely "post worthy".While chatting with my dear friend Tessa about the dynamics of joining Eharmony, and some current male drama that has occurred outside of the site, I came up with another great word picture:

Me: "Tessa, it's a jungle out there!"

Tessa: "Sarah, I think that is your theme phrase for the year"

Me: "Yeah, it's like I'm walking through a dark jungle, pulling back large, green leaves, occasionally stumbling about some tree roots, looking for my Tarzan...but all I run into are monkeys, you can't very well have a relationship with a monkey, can you? They can't communicate in English, and possibly meet your needs like a Tarzan can."

Tessa: (a long strand of laughter) "Sarah, that's a good one!"

Totally "post worthy".


Jesus: the grown-up at the other side of the pool


I visited my family in Fairmont for a few days this weekend, in hopes that it would restore me emotionally and spiritually for the weeks ahead. It was a short visit, but I was grateful for the random conversations, the hugs and the morning coffee on the front porch in our PJ's.

Last night before we went to bed, my mom and I were discussing how hard things are right now for the both of us. She just started a job as a Speech Pathologist at a High School, is commuting two days a week to continue getting her masters, not to mention dealing with "Nazi" cockroaches that won't die (she not so affectionately named a large one "Heinrich"), is still getting situated into her new home, in addition to being a single parent to two very teenage girls. As for me, being in my lovely transitional period of moving to Hutchinson, trying to develop a structured schedule, battling loneliness, financial fear and the burden of continuing to look for more work, as the waitress job that I received is not giving me the hours that I need.

My mother and I are both very visual learners; we could tackle anything with a good word picture. So as I laid by her side, hand in hand as my head rested on her shoulder, we came up with the following word picture:

Right now, we are in a very large swimming pool. There is no shallow end, no "kiddy"pool, just 11 feet deep and deeper. We've got our little "floaties" on, the floaties representing whatever means that God has blessed us with to continue to stay afloat: financial aid, the support of family and good friends, the concept of hope, faith and love. Now Jesus is the "grown up" on the other side of the pool, sending reassuring verbal messages like " You can do it!" " Don't worry darling, I won't let you drown!", " You are almost there, keep up the good work".... you get the picture.

Where would we be without Jesus? The thought sends shivers down my spine. When will we truly understand that we in our own strength, cannot do this life on our own? When will we take hold of the promises that He will never leave NOR forsake us? Fear so often tries to get a grip on me, pulling me under like a tidal wave. All any of us has to go on is our past experiences, the messages that those experiences have given us. But, just because those past experiences caused you sink a bit, doesn't mean we have to tread water out of fear that we won't ever make it to the grown-up on the other side of the pool.

Friday, September 11, 2009

A "Rosie the Riveter" moment #1


I think that there are many ways to view being single, but one of the more uplifting views would have to be summed up in one word: adventure.

What, I ask you, would be more adventurous then getting on your hands and knees, and craning your neck in just the right position to unscrew the pipe on your sink, in order to find and demolish whatever is plugging up the sink drain? If you had asked me that question last night as the greasy, food saturated, stinky water spit ALL over me and the floor, I would have told you that this my friends, is adventure at it's finest! Along with learning how to fix clogs in sinks ( thanks Gary and YouTube!) I have had a new found interest in learning as much as I can about cars, and how to do simple repairs by myself.

 Don't get me wrong... I in no way want to take on the a "feminist" attitude, because frankly, it would be far more enjoyable and satisfying to watch a man that I love fix stupid things like drains and toilets, because it is those very acts of love that I treasure in men. I love giving opportunities for men to feel "needed", and let me tell you, are they ever! That feminist notion of " Who needs men when we can do it better ourselves?" goes against everything that I believe to be true about the talents and strengths that men and women bring to the drawing board. However, after removing two of the most disgusting forms of crap I've ever seen ( almost lost my stomach) I am sad to report that the drain is still clogged, and will definitely need one of those contraptions called a "snake". I'm going to call in the land lord on that one.

As empowering as these experiences are, it is such a beautiful reminder to never forget to be in prayer for that man who will fix my sink, my car, my toilet and maybe kill an occasional bat. Lord bless him.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

An Unexpected Blessing


Right now I am sitting in a chic coffee shop downtown Hutch, in my super cute brown Mary Jane heels, clickity clacking on my new keyboard, feeling VERY grown-up. (Yes, I know that I'm a nerd, but I had to share this nerdy moment in some form!)

Right after I "doctored" up my cup of french roast java, I went to find a place to plug in. The only outlet available was next to a very kind looking woman, who offered to switch chairs with me. To make a long story short, she is a Christian, and not only offered her presence to me, but invited me to her church, gave me a job lead as a paraprofessional at a local elementary school, and invited me to a Tuesday morning women's Bible study called " Chick Chat". I am so humbled and blessed by how God intervenes in doubt. Yesterday I spent a majority of the day in fear. Fear of finances, fear of the unknown, and wondering if I should have stayed in Fairmont. At my previous job and living scenario, it was comfortable. My day to day routine was for the most part predictable, but never boring. My family was there to meet my social needs, and then right before I left for Hutch, I met a wonderful group of friends. 

With the turn of the page comes a completely new chapter, full of so many variables that are completely out of my control. In tears last night I asked God to forgive my unbelief, and my resistance to wanting to give up control to Him. Why do I hang on till the last second? I've been here SO many times, that you'd think I would have learned a thing or too. But you know what? Once I surrender that control, the peace that I receive makes it all worth it.

~ May you learn to surrender every fear, anxiety, dream, ambition,thought and action to the One who will give you a peace that surpasses all understanding.~

Sunday, September 6, 2009

A Turn of the Page, a Change of Season.






Welcome to my "little corner of the world". :) I am truly excited to have a space in which I can express my creativity, write my way through specific concepts, and keep in touch with loved ones. I would like to give a shout out to my friend Jennifer Gregar, who has inspired me to be more diligent about documenting and sharing my life experiences. Thanks Jen!

Well, today I am approaching week number three of my new adventure(AKA Hutchinson, Mn.) I moved here to pursue and finish my Associates degree in Activity Directing for geriatric settings. It will only take me a year to finish the degree, so I view this adventure as being quite temporary; but, you know how God works! For all I know, I could end up living here for the rest of my life. You just never know! There is a huge part of me that is excited for the unknown, but there is an equal sized part of me that is struggling to just let it all go,and let God take over. It is such a fine line, isn't it friends? To do what you can do to be available, work hard, pursue opportunities, etc., but to put that all in the hands of the One who is in control of it all. I can confidently say that that will be a life long work of art, taking on many different forms as life goes along. Maybe one of the reasons that I decided to join the blogging world is because I have had considerable time in my thoughts, as everything is new,and I don't really know anyone quite yet.

I've been very blessed to have made a contact with a couple at the local Evangelical Free church; an associate pastor and his wife. They have been so kind to me, inviting me to a homemade dinner, surprising me with a gift card and some Gerbera daisies, but most of all, they have been in faithful prayer for me. I also have been in awe at how God has put His fingerprints on different people and situations upon my arrival. The "Cultures in the Workplace" class I'm taking has awakened my life long passion of learning about other cultures, people, religions, etc., and the thought has once again entered into my brain to pursue American Sign Language interpreting after this activity director educational experience. I have started working at Jake's Pizza as a waitress, which has been a good experience so far. In a way it feels like I'm going back in time, since the last time I worked at Jake's I was in High School, going through some of the most difficult years of my life. I forgot how much I like waitressing! I enjoy meeting new people, and making them feel comfortable. I really hope that the business picks up though! Tips can be wonderful, but when you have 40 tickets on a Friday night, tips aren't that promising.

A few days ago I penned the last page of my prayer journal. Every time that happens, I read some entries from the very beginning of that journal. I found myself in tears as I reminisced on the difficult times that the Lord saw me through, and on how much I've learned about myself and my relationship with Jesus. Many of the prayers in that journal still apply today, but instead of looking at them as "unanswered" I've chosen to view them as part of the tapestry of my life. Weaving one little piece at a time with each prayer being considered, but needing to be "put on hold" for the right place in the tapestry.

Well, how's that for a first blog post?! I can't guarantee that they will never be this long again, but I anticipate that they won't be on a normal basis. Before I go, I want to leave you with a quote that I just love:

"Isn't it splendid to think of all the things there are to find out about? It just makes me feel glad to be alive--it's such an interesting world. It wouldn't be half so interesting if we know all about everything, would it? There'd be no scope for imagination then, would there?"
~Anne of Green Gables~