Thursday, April 28, 2011

Piercing

Easter Sunday 2011 has come and gone, but my heart has been mulling over the truths that my Savior so gently reminded me of in the wee hours of the morning, before the sun had made its appearance.
5:30 in the morning is not a time that I normally get to witness in a house, much less outside. But as I stepped outside after the sunrise church service, I got to witness the sun piercing through the clouds, shooting rays of purple, pink and orange as the clouds began to part.
As I closed my eyes, I felt my heavenly Father speak to my heart, gently telling me that just like the sun through the clouds, has He pierced through the clouds and darkness in my life.
The word "pierce" is a rather weighty word. It isn't lighthearted, but rather indicates something pushing through another object in a somewhat quick, forceful and possibly painful fashion.This world is truly a dark one. It doesn't seem like we can go one day without hearing of a tragedy, encountering a lie, or something equally as painful to the human spirit. God has called us to be "in the world, but not of it." So if we live in a dark world, that would make God and God in us, the light.
As Christians, we are called to be the light in the darkness, but what about our own darkness? What about that darkness that tends to envelope our spirits from time to time, making our world smaller and narrower?
Jesus died to take away the sins of the world. That is a sentence that every single christian can say is true. It is the pinnacle point of our faith. It is a statement that entails so many things, but one of those things is the simple and yet complex fact that He has saved us from ourselves.
Without Jesus, I don't really care to live. To only have the reality of turning into myself, or into the empty ways of the world, isn't enough for me. I know myself fairly well. When I'm turned to myself, it's not a pretty picture. Every fault that I have, every insecurity, every fear and every hurt come full circle, and have no place to break free.
It isn't a wonder that suicide rates continue to rise. When money, relationships, successful jobs and personal fulfillment is all that a person has to hang on to, there is absolutely no hope. But by living for Jesus and acknowledging His perfection in our lives, we can cast ourselves aside and allow Him to pierce through our personal darkness just as the nails pierced through His hands, and the sun pierces through the clouds.
May this truth pierce through your soul and pin your heart to the light and hope of this world, and the world to come.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Falling Apart=Falling Together




I'm not exactly sure where I got this blog post topic. Usually some event or something said triggers me to write, but this time, I think it was purely just the Holy Spirit. It appears that He has something to say, so I'm going to do my best to write what He tells me to. I have always referred to my parents divorce, as well as the events that preceded and followed it, to be the time where things "fell apart". To "fall apart" indicates that something was supposed to go a certain way, and didn't. That some divine order was messed up, or somewhere, there was a "ball dropped". Obviously sin is what causes the verb of "falling apart", but I think that God is showing me that things needed to "fall apart" in order to "fall together".


Isn't this just like God? He is mysterious, unchanging, and unpredictable, and yet His promises, His faithfulness and His love are the only thing that we can depend upon in this life. If things never fell apart, would I still view God as being God? It is a comforting thought to know that from the moment I was born, God knew exactly what kind of events would happen in my life. Why is it that we view the concept of having things "together" in life as being something that is supposed to happen? Is it the pain that we experience when things "fall apart" that lead us to believe that this is unnatural, and that something has been disturbed on the "planet of I"?


The popular country song "God bless the broken road" comes to mind. "Every long lost road, led me to where you are. Others who broke my heart, they were just northern stars. Pointing me on my way, into your loving arms..." This song shares my convictions of how God often allows things to fall apart, because in all actuality, they weren't "together". It is just our human perspective that views if things are really together or not. We determine that, but as Christians, God determines how things must unfold to come together, because our lives only come together under the realization of the fact that we serve a God who unfolds things for reasons and in ways we don't understand. May you come to the personal understanding in your walk with Christ that "falling apart"is necessary for God to truly bring together His plan and purpose for our life.


May you never find yourself in a state of arrogance, thinking that the "detours of life" and pain is a byproduct of disorder, but may you have a peace that the God of order is behind it all, putting everything together in the way He intends. His good, pleasing and perfect will for His children.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Perfect Pitch for a Purpose

Ever since I was a little girl, I have had huge dreams of being a famous, wellknown successful singer with a record deal, a tour bus and a sound man. Throughout the years I have entertained entering "Make it or break it" opportunities like American Idol, the Christian Artist Talent Search, state fair competitions, all in an effort to "make it big". After all, God has blessed me with a talent and ability to sing, minister and entertain people in a variety of settings. Since I didn't want to be a choir director or a vocalist instructor, I was sure that God had a fantastic plan for my voice.
But as the years went by, there was always some road block to reaching that dream. Usually it was lack of resources, but I knew deep down that it simply wasn't the Lord's plan for my life. This used to frustrate and confuse me, but as of today, that is no longer a true statement. Throughout the insecurity of my adolescent years, I thought that my voice was all I had to offer the world. Singing was something that I could do, and do well. I couldn't play sports ( I actually ran away from the basketball in Jr. High P.E. class), and didn't seem to ever really "fit in" to my environments due to my being "older than my age". It wasn't that I was an outcast; I had a lot of different friends, and was always the outgoing leader, but I often experienced feelings of lonliness because while my friends tended to care about their latest "crush" or making a team sport, I was more concerned with learning about different religions, cultures and filling my notebooks with original stories and poems.
Those of you who know me personally know that I am the director of activities at senior campus in Minnesota. While I pretty much manage and run all the aspects of the activity department, I spend half of my work day working exclusively with our memory care residents (senior citizens diagnosed with Alzheimers disease.) I am constantly using my singing voice with them. I am able to pull old tunes that they know by heart off the top of my head, on pitch and on key. For many of them, singing those old songs is the only bridge that I have to their heart. This afternoon I took 4 of my residents outside to enjoy the beautiful spring weather. As we sat on the porch, watching the cars go by, we belted out everything from "America the Beautiful " to "Daisy, Daisy" and a few classic hymns. After awhile, I turned to them, and asked them if they ever got tired of my singing. They all looked at me and several of them said almost unanimously "Sarah, we love it when you sing for us!". It was in that moment that I realized why God has given me the gift that He had. Little did I know that instead of reaching the masses of individuals and traveling across country, I would be in a small town, sharing my voice with the same 12 people every day...and that every day, was a new opportunity to hear those songs, because most of their short term memory spans never last more then 15 minutes!
To put an even more beautiful spin on God's plan, it represents how the Lord's mercies are new every morning. That our sin and humanity has caused a kind of "memory loss" of His goodness, and every morning we get a new song, as if we've heard it for the first time. God's plan truly is perfect, isn't it? When we submit our talents, desires, hopes and dreams to Him, He uses them in exactly the way He intended them to be used from the start. When we throw up our hands and say "O.k. Lord, lead the way"...Guess what, He actually does that! Ever since I was a little girl I have been able to sing songs off the top of my head with perfect pitch and right on key. Little did I know what big plans God had for that gift. Little did I know, until today.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Praying for Closed Doors


A closed door can represent a myriad of different feelings for people. A closed door that is securely locked can represent being safe, and a door that slams shut and closes in your face can represent emotional pain and disappointment. Something God has been teaching me lately is that instead of praying for open doors, it is wise to pray for the appropriate doors to close. The more I journey in this life, the more I realize how this life really isn't about me.That when we truly submit ourselves to the Lord, the adventure is totally thrilling and the novel that He is writing is truly a page turner. When we desire what He desires for us, those closed doors become a blessing; almost an answered prayer.


Our God will not permanently close doors without a purpose, but it is merely a means of leading us to through the right doors, at the right time. As a single woman, I have viewed dating as being a door that opens and closes, with no lock. However, marriage to me represents a closed door. After that ring is put on my finger and that commitment of "till death do us part" is spoken, that door is locked. Therefore, God has shown me that it is the closed door that will bring peace. Not just in love, but in every other area of our lives. A job, a home, etc. In the past, I've gotten really frustrated, discouraged and somewhat annoyed by the closed doors in my life. But as my desires conform to His desires, it has given me a brand new perspective.

For just as much as I have been praying for closed doors, I have been praying for an open heart. An open heart that is willing to receive whatever my Heavenly Father chooses to put in my path.