Saturday, December 22, 2012

Living the Peace of the Prince

"And He shall be called counselor, the everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace". When I hear this common scripture reading from Isaiah, I picture the calm serenity and given peace of a candle light service in a small country church on the eve of Christmas day. Not a sound is present except for the soft, soothing voice of a soloist singing "O Holy Night", filling the church with an invisible beauty. The candles flickering, representing the hope and peace that is flickering in the hearts of the of the people sitting in the padded wooden pews.

Christmas holds so many memories for people, and for me one of those memories is the Christmas Eve candlelight service. Although my experience is not identical to the description I wrote above, it still holds a very precious place in my heart. I can remember one very, very challenging year of my life, in which all I wanted for Christmas was the candlelight service. All I wanted was that one and a half hours of traditional Christmas hymns, the reading from Isaiah and the glow of those candles in a dark church. I could care less about the giving and receiving of gifts, food, family gatherings, and any other secular "holly jolliness".  Why? Because so much of my life was lacking peace. I had Jesus, but I didn't have much peace. I know that I wasn't alone at that time, and I also know that many people who are reading this know exactly what I mean. 

How many of us have heard the phrase "Prince of Peace"? We hear, see and say it multiple times through the Christmas season, but how many of us actually take the time to understand what the phrase means? Instead, we just think it is another nice name for Jesus; more eloquent than "shepherd" and more  English sounding than "Adonai".  Friends, there is a reason why this phrase was given to describe that precious baby in the manager. There is a reason why "beautiful baby" and "precious" was not used in description of such a strange way to save a world.  In a world of pain, sadness, deception and confusion, Christians are to cling to and claim the peace that comes from the salvation of Jesus Christ. Just as Jesus was completely calm with his disciples in the midst of a hurricane of a storm and spoke to the elements, taking authority over the chaos and destruction,  so must we take hold of the peace that is ours this Christmas and throughout the rest of our lives on this earth.

"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid."-John 14:27

In the World of Dementia......A Short, Humorous and Factual Post

In the world of dementia.........

  • It takes 5 seconds to brew 4 cups of coffee, approximately 10 seconds after you've asked someone to make the coffee.
  • It is time for your morning breakfast and coffee after taking a nap after waking up at 4 p.m. in the afternoon.
  • It is necessary to sweep the porch of any water or snow, even if it is still snowing or raining.
  • It makes perfect sense for a 90 year old woman to roll a heavy trash can over a bumpy, uneven yard for the trash man to pick up.
  • It doesn't make sense to get your hair washed, because it is too cold outside. Even though it is too cold, that you won't even go outside.
  • Keeping plastic Venetian blinds closed will keep out heat or cold.
  • You can remember that there are clothes in the wash, but you can't remember the name of the person who lives with you and takes care of you.
  • You order your care giver to take something to her room, and 2 minutes later you tell that care taker that she doesn't live here.
  • A fragile, 5 foot woman  of 90 pounds has the ability to "kick" people out of her house.
  • It doesn't make any sense as to why you are "burnin' up", even though you have on 3 shirts, 2 pairs of pants, slipper socks and tennis shoes.
  • It makes sense to put on your Christmas lights during the day, verses having them on at night when you can actually see them.
  • It is necessary to lock and re-lock your doors, at least 3 times before going to bed.
  • You have no idea why your coffee is so cold after it has been sitting for over 20 minutes in a plastic cup.

Monday, December 17, 2012

He Was There: A Response to a Tragedy

Just as every other American is doing right now, I have been processing and responding to the Sandy Hook school tragedy that took place last Friday on December 14th, 2012. As you all know, the media has been obsessed with this tragedy, and rightfully so; but as a result, it is getting delivered to us again and again, whether it be through Facebook, the news or conversations with friends and family. The more it gets delivered, the more it gives us opportunities to think and process about this unthinkable event, which in turn gives us time to think and process about our response to this horrific tragedy. 

I think my greatest personal struggle in being exposed to this tragedy is to experience what this means as a Christian. My relationship with Jesus Christ is the foundation of my life. Without Him, I would most definitely be dead or be living a life in which would represent death with a pulse. Just like any believer, I have wrestled with the classic atheist question/challenge "If there really is a loving God, why does He allow so many horrible things to happen to such good people?". If there really is a loving God, than how could He possibly allow a mentally ill and demonically tormented gunman come to in and shoot down His precious babies and their heroic teachers? Why?

I don't know the answer, and I have been pressing into Jesus in faith that it is enough that He is the one who does know the answer. However, one thing that I do know is that despite the ignorant comments of Christians and non-Christians alike, God was there. As followers of Christ who have made a commitment and have given our lives to serve and follow Jesus, it is critical that we do not abandon the truth that God is God, and and we are not.  It gives me great comfort to know that I am unable to foresee the future, and why things happen the way that they do. I know that it would be too much for my tiny, limited brain to be able to wrap around the purpose of tragedy and pain. However, I also know that if I chose not to follow Christ and to rely on my own intellect/ experience and the intellect/experience of others, these things would still happen. I can't imagine experiencing a tragedy like this without the hope of knowing that God is in control, and that without Him and apart from Him, we can do no good thing and truthfully, we mine as well not be living at all.

As a child of God, I am ashamed to hear believers make ignorant and false statements that this school shooting happened because we are "kicking God out of schools, government and our country". To give satan and the reality of evil that much credit makes me sick to my stomach, and makes me want to gather all of those brothers and sisters in Christ who have adapted that form of thinking and shake them all simultaneously until the truth that they know to be true finds its way back to their brain cells. For those of us who were not directly affected by this tragedy, it is critical that we stand firm in our faith and who we know God to be, as the families, friends, churches and general community of this small town in Connecticut need us on our knees as they walk through this grief and unshakable pain. To put it very bluntly, there should be no time to assert political opinions about gun control and the resentment of our government/country removing God from our schools, as all of that time and energy should be spent in fervent prayer. Your selfishness and desire to express your angry opinion has it's place, but to put that ahead of prayer and support is sickening. Period.

My God defeated hell and the power of the devil. My God actually descended into the fiery pits of hell and died a physical, torturous death on the cross to save me and all of mankind from the grips of evil. My God has brought incredible beauty, peace, truth and insight through tragedies of genocides all through the generations of this world. Thousands (if not millions of people) have come to Christ, have resisted taking their own lives and have been inspired to stand against what satan meant for evil, by dedicating their lives for what God meant for good. 

He was there. He had His hands on those little babes as they ran in terror from that shooter, and fell to their physical death, but into the mighty hands of the God who formed their very being. At the exact same time He placed His hands on the shoulders of the teachers as they pulled all of those children with all of their might into those class rooms. And especially now, He is there with those families who are mourning the death of their baby, rather than celebrating the joy of the Christmas season. He is there for those children who are experiencing survivor guilt, wondering why they are still alive, and not their class mate. He is there with those parents who do not know how to comfort their terrified children at night, and are experiencing stress that they never imagined they would have to experience as a parent. Yes ladies and gentleman, my God is THERE.

He was there in the barracks of the concentration camps, as satan moved through Hitler to murder thousands of innocent people. He was there as the children and thousands of family generations were wiped out by the hand of satan moving through Pol Pot during the genocide of the killing fields in Cambodia during the Vietnam War. He was there during 911, as the thousands of people in the Twin Towers began to suffocate from the fire that engulfed them. Yes my dear brothers and sisters in Christ, I believe with all of my heart that HE WAS THERE.

Underestimating the power and reality of satan and evil in this world is stupid, but underestimating my Jesus? That is just plain horribly blasphemous. Never underestimate the power of my Jesus, especially at a time where so many people need us on our knees, believing for them that God is in control,because my guess is that they cannot do it on their own right now. 

"That people may know, from the rising of the sun and from the west, that there is none besides me; I am the Lord, and there is no other. I form light and create darkness, I make well-being and create calamity, I am the Lord, who does all these things."-Isaiah 45:6-7

"For kingship belongs to the Lord, and He rules over the nations."- Psalm 22:28

"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go."-Joshua 1:9

Monday, December 3, 2012

Make Time for Them

Merry Christmas! Before you read this next post, please watch this youtube video. My prayer is that this video/song will "set the stage" for something so very near and dear to my heart...making room in your Christmas plans for the elderly.

The first time I heard this song was when I was a little girl, probably between the ages of 11-13. How I love Christmas songs that tell a story and bring tears to your eyes. During the Christmas season we are faced with many "charity" opportunities to help those who have needs greater than our own. There is the Salvation Army bucket in front of nearly every department store, the Christmas boxes for children overseas, and a variety of other organizations/ministries that are all asking for your time and money. I don't know about you, but I tend to get overwhelmed with all of the needs that there are during this season. The truth is, those needs are always there, but when joy, blessings and happiness are magnified, it seems that pain, suffering, financial hardship, sickness and loneliness are magnified as well.

God has placed a calling on all of our lives, and if you know me even the smallest, tiniest bit, you know that He has placed a calling and an anointing on my life for the senior population. When God places such a calling and an anointing on a person, they are then in turn called to speak truth and inspire others, so here is my attempt at just that.

There will always be "special" people that are "more gifted" to do certain things, like feel comfortable around people who are wrinkly, "old", struggle to walk, hear and remember things. However, I don't care who you are, these people need you this Christmas season. It is sad for me to think about how many people avoid going to a nursing home because they can't get past that initial "smell" when they come inside a facility, or they aren't sure "what to say or do". I am not trying to discount any body's fears or anxieties, but I am going to challenge you to step outside of yourself and ask God to help you overcome them. Why? Because they need you. 

Right at this moment, I want you to close your eyes and imagine the following. Imagine that all if not most of your family and friends have died and passed away. Imagine if you had to share half of an already small room with another person who you don't even really like. Imagine if that room wasn't even big enough to put a Christmas tree inside of it, and now imagine that you don't even have the physical ability to make Christmas cookies for your family, wrap presents, or be able to write Christmas cards, because you can barely hold the pen in your hand and can hardly see the paper you are writing on. I want you to think about sitting in a wheelchair or laying in a bed, thinking about all of the Christmases that you've experienced and wondering if this will be the last one that you see, or how many more you actually will see. 

Friends, the elderly are nearly everywhere. They are in your churches, maybe your next door neighbor, they are your grandparents, your aunts and uncles, and that sweet little lady that you see sitting at McDonald's every Wednesday morning when you grab your cup of coffee and egg McMuffin. The challenges that they are facing at this age are immense, but the things that you can do to help alleviate these challenges and bring love and joy into their lives this Christmas season and all year long, are so small. Not only would you be a blessing to them, but don't be surprised if you walk away from them feeling even more blessed than when before you gave them your time.

Here are some simple ideas to show the love of Christ to the elderly in your life this season. Have no elderly in your life? Find them! They aren't too far away from you, I promise.

  • Call a local nursing home and ask to speak to the activity director or volunteer coordinator. Ask them if you can help with a Christmas craft, or with "1-1 visits" with residents who are unable to get out of their room. If they are good at their jobs, they will find something meaningful for you to do!
  • Take the time to send a Christmas card, or deliver a plate of goodies. It's amazing how far a plate of sugar cookies and a smile can go!
  • If you have precious babies and/or little kids, dress them up cute for the holidays and go door to door in the nursing home! It is a special kind of joy for a senior to hold and/or see a precious baby or small child.
  • Take your grandma or grandpa to look at Christmas lights, complete with a thermos of hot chocolate.
  • Think about a skill, hobby or interest that you have personally that you could bless the elderly with. Do you like to do hair? Offer to wash, dry and curl a seniors hair before she goes to her 500 card club or Christmas party. Do you like to wood carve? Carve a simple little ornament and give it as a gift. Many seniors have little plastic Christmas trees, and would appreciate a special decoration to add to their other ornaments.
Friends, Jesus coming to this world as a tiny babe in the manger is the heart of Christmas. And within that heart, is the truth that God is for us and within us. Instead of focusing on what to get for others and what is in your budget, I pray that your focus will shift a bit to focusing on how you can give of your heart and your time. Cherish these people this Christmas season with the same love of cherishing the Christ child. Emmanuel, God with us.

A Christmas Kind of Trust

As we prepare for the Christmas season, I find myself thinking a lot more about Mary, the mother of Jesus. Being born and raised into the Missouri Synod Lutheran church, this precious girl was never really discussed all that often. Throughout the years I have spent time studying and learning about her, as I feel like there are so many beautiful truths that God desires us to glean from this humble maiden.   

Yesterday in a conversation with a friend, I found myself identifying a truth in a way that I had never seen or thought of it before. In our humanity, we often default to assumption as to why God is doing the things He is doing, why He has blessed us with something and/or why He has chosen to take something away or delay a prayer request. The moment we see a possible reason, we latch on to that reason while in turn trusting more in what we can see, rather than having that ultimate trust in God.

This morning after a good nights sleep, I woke up with that truth on my heart and than started to connect that truth with Mary. Mary didn't need to make any assumptions, because an angel of the Lord personally told her what God's plan was for her life. "The angel  went to her and said, "Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you." Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus."-Luke 1:28-31.

In some ways, I look at Mary and I wonder how it would feel to know what Gods plan is. The angel very specifically laid out what was going to happen and what she could expect. However, in her youth of a girl between 12-14, I wonder if she struggled to trust the unfolding of these events. I would venture that the greatest moment of trusting God in His plan was when she became pregnant by the Holy Spirit and expected Joseph to believe that that is indeed what took place. "This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit. Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly."-Matthew 1: 18-19

Let's face it. It would be so much easier to follow God's plan when He specifically lays out what is going to happen and how it's going to happen. The truth at hand is that we are called to trust our Savior to communicate this plan without the verbalization of angels and literally hearing God's voice give a "play by play" as to what is going to happen in our lives. The older I get, the more I realize how God choosing to unveil His plan for His children enables us to participate in our relationship with Him. If we knew the answers, we wouldn't have as big of a need or as large of an urgency to press into Christ and seek His face.

In closing, I am reminded of the "Candy Cane Prayer" that was enclosed in a Christmas card from my boyfriend's sweet mother. 

Candy Cane Prayer

Look at the Candy Cane
What do you see?
Stripes that are red
Like the blood shed for you and me
White is for my Savior
Who's sinless and pure!
"J" is for Jesus my Lord, that's for sure!
Turn it around
and a staff you will see
Jesus my Shepherd was born for me!

During this Christmas season, may you be inspired to trust God in the unveiling of His plan for your life. May God enable you to adapt the ability to trust God as Mary and Joseph did, with the same peace and passion as if God sent Gabriel himself to verbally reveal God's plan for your life. And when you see a candy cane, may you see a Shepherd's staff more than a holiday confectionery, for He is leading you through this Christmas season and into the new year.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Life Begins After Surrender

Life begins at conception, but how often have we heard when our lives "really" begin? Some people have heard that "life begins after college", while many singles have heard or get the impression that "life begins after marriage". I remember being a little girl of 10, and thinking that surely life begins after I turn 13, because the grass is always greener on the "teen" side of the fence when you are 10.

I'd like to throw a new (or maybe old) "life begins" statement your way. "Life begins after surrender". Over the last couple of years, I have written quite a bit about the concept of surrender. This is a truth and an experience that has been slowly and seriously changing my life, perspective and ability to live in peace, no matter what circumstances I encounter. However, today as I was doing dishes and thinking about the finger prints of God on my life, I realized that my life truly and really "began" after I surrendered my every move, breath, thought and desire to Him.

When we surrender and let go of the tight grip of our will, our desires and our timing, we in turn enter into a place that is unknown. Many of us have only known what it means to hold on with all our might that when we let go, we aren't sure what to do with ourselves. It is kind of like falling off a cliff with nothing to hold onto, but falling because you know you need to in order for someone to catch you.

This has been my life. From a little age I knew that I loved God, I knew that He gifted me with a voice to sing, the ability to confidently speak truth, a sensitive spirit towards others, a compassion and a passion and a love for people. Later on He showed me very clearly that I also have a love and an anointing for the elderly population. He also has given me a heart and a desire to be a wife and a mother.

Throughout the years, I have done a great many things. In all of those life experiences, I continued to fumble. I kept searching for my "purpose" and a way to keep the bills paid, but throughout that entire time, I kept feeling like something was  missing. There were times where I thought what was missing was more education, work experience, a spouse, money and sanity. In a lot of ways, I felt like my life hadn't really "began". In my relationship with Christ, I sought Him out on this, pleading for understanding and direction. In the mean time, my dear mother would more then on one occasion say "Sarah, just be still. Be still.".  

It wasn't until April of last year that I truly learned what it meant to surrender my life to His will. After losing a relationship with a man that I loved, living in an area where I knew no one, and working at a job that I hated and made it nearly impossible to meet people, I completely surrendered. I knew what my strengths, talents and desires were, but I literally had no idea as to what to do with them, and literally no money to start a new chapter of life. It was a helpless feeling. A feeling that developed into surrender, and the result of that surrender has been a peace that surpasses all understanding.

I have always struggled with the concept of being "happy". Our culture has conditioned people to think that their pursuit in life is to be happy, where as Christians God desires us to pursue holiness. However, I do know that God desires His children to be happy, but it wasn't until recently that God has shown me where that line really is.

Happiness is surrender. When we surrender, our lives literally fall into place. We stop looking for that puzzle piece, because God has had it under His thumb since the time He knit you together in your mothers womb. In serenity, there is humility, realizing that there is in no way, shape or form any possibility that you can have sanity, understanding and peace without surrendering yourself to Christ. It is admitting that apart from Him, you can do NO good thing. (John 15:5)

Friends, let go. Loosen the grip of your fingers on the familiar and let go. May you experience this peace, this freedom and this joy in the shadow of His wings.

God's Ultimate Design: Part 2 - Complication of The Original

In the first piece of the “Ultimate Design” series of posts that I wrote, I addressed how important it is to recognize that the ultimate of God’s design is life. (Click here to read the first part of this series before you proceed with this entry) 

 God designed man and woman to bring forth life and serve Him on the earth that He created. “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it…”  Gen. 1: 27-28. I would like to make note that the purpose of this series is to point to God’s original design. I am not going to waste a lot of precious energy debating the angles of this scripture, and the point that I’m trying to get across. I realize that there has been much that has taken place since the earth consisted of two human beings, and since then there has been an over abundance of human life and some would argue that there is an over population of human beings. This is not my point. If you choose to view what I write from this angle, you will miss what I’m trying to communicate to you. I pray that what I communicate to you will be heard by your heart on some level.
 May I point out that with time has come knowledge, but with that knowledge and time has come a complication and a perversion of the beautiful simplicity of the original master piece and plan. I visualize this concept as a painting. Have you ever seen an artist paint on a canvas, and at some point you feel like the beauty of that piece cannot simply be added to? But just a few seconds later, the artist adds some texture and technique to the sky and trees, and you realize how wrong you were. On the flip side of this visual, have you ever seen a painting or a picture that is simply too “busy”? There is far too much detail, color, and action in the piece of art that you don’t know where it starts, where it ends and what the real purpose of it is?
As Christians, we know that the beauty that we experience on this earth is only a teeny, tiny peek and reflection at the unfathomable beauty of our eternal home in heaven. In the same breath, I believe that it is safe to say that due to sin, there has been great complication and perversion of God’s beauty on this earth. And although there is beauty in a great many things on this earth, I once again point you to the beauty of God’s ultimate design: human life.

Yesterday I had the privilege of watching the new movie “Lincoln”, starring Daniel Day Lewis and Sally Fields. Many positive feelings flooded through me as I left the theater  but one thing rang very clearly in my spirit, and that is the fact that our country was founded on the word of God and principles/values that have been and continue to be, washed down the drain. In order to gain order in this chaos, to have a world in which our children can live and have relationships in with a decrease of divorce, and to remain strong in the fact that we are God’s children, we have to go back to the foundation of Christ. We have to pray to God to remove the brainwashing of the ways of the world and hold strong and true to the one thing that has never changed since the beginning of time: The ultimate truth of God’s love, faithfulness and plan for His children.

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to realize that something isn't working in this world and that people desire change. It reminds me of a woman that has recently entered my life that is searching for truth and is hungry to find the missing piece in her heart. She has tried the ways of the world, the universalism faith concept of “all roads lead to heaven” and has still found herself in a place of confusion. We will all be confused until we have Christ.  If we strip Christ out of God’s ultimate design of life, we will have confusion. It’s as simple or as complicated as that.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Love Won't Leave You Now

Last Wednesday during my "5 freedom hours"  I was driving along the interstate and I tuned into on one of my favorite C.D.'s that I have had for years. Actually, it's not "my" c.d.,  it was given to my mother, but I have developed quite an attachment to the encouraging lyrics in the songs on that c.d.  The c.d. is called "The Mercy Project", and it is a compilation of encouraging and inspiring lyrics for people who are going through a significantly difficult time in life. My mother received the c.d. as a gift from a woman at her church while my parents were going through their divorce. Little did that woman know the power and impact that that gift has given throughout the years.

That c.d. had been "put away" for awhile, but I happened to come across it shortly after a break up I experienced last April. As I was driving to a job that I absolutely hated, dealing so much with the grief and the transition of the lost relationship, I listened to the lyrics as they attempted to encourage and uplift me as I dealt with morning rush hour traffic. Then I heard the following lyrics: 

"Hey, I can see all your dreams lying shattered in your fragile heart, you think your worlds come apart
 Hey, I believe there's gonna be a better day that shines for you my friend, it's waiting around the bend
 You've been dancing on the wire, walking through the fire, thinking you're all alone, but you're not  on your own. There's a faithful hand to guide you, God will always be beside you, all because, He is love and love won't leave you now."- Point of Grace

As I listened to these lyrics, tears welled up in my eyes and opened up this flood gate that I fought in vain to close, as I had to clock in for a long day of work. But the words continued to penetrate my heart, as it captured exactly how I was feeling in that moment. I truly believe that the Lord gives us more sensitive ears for what He wants us to hear. This moment is a perfect example of that truth.

Fast forward several months later and what seems like at least 10 "page turns" in the book of my life.  I tune  into that song, worshiping Jesus with my whole heart. There is a lyric at the end of one of the bridges that says "He was faithful yesterday, and He'll be faithful tomorrow!". When I came to that part of the song, I so vividly remembered driving down main street at 7:45 a.m., dreading to face the day and not sure if I knew how to keep going in the midst of the pain in my heart. I remember the set of scrubs I was wearing, even what earrings I was wearing on that day. I remember how I wiped the mascara out from under my eyes to avoid looking like a raccoon. But most of all, I remember believing, deep down in my heart, that despite the pain that I was feeling and the weight that seemed to be secured to my feet, that His love will not leave me now. That this moment in time is but a breath and God's love and guidance is eternal. 

I am here to tell you right now friends, that we are a day closer to heaven. When the trials, storms and pain of life seem to be weighing down your spirit, remember that "this too shall pass". We were not meant for this world, we are truly an heiress of the King Jesus. This is just a temporary stop on the way to our heavenly home, and His love will not leave you now.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Ultimate Design: Part 1

Hello my faithful readers :)

My prayer is that this post will be one of several, as the topic at hand is for lack of a better word "loaded".  I would also like to add that this topic is something that God has placed on my heart awhile ago, but it has taken some time for God to show me how to write it in such a way that not only makes sense, but will hopefully bless and inspire all who read this, pointing them to the very complex, yet very profoundly simple concept of God's ultimate design: human life.

This particular journey of mine started several years ago when I had learned that the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America had voted to allow gay clergy to serve in their synod. I was distraught and so confused, trying to understand how in the world this vote could have ever been passed. I did my own little research, and learned some things that helped me better understand different angles, reasons, thoughts, etc. that were not my own. However, I still remained distraught with this concept, knowing that a synod of a Christian church was accepting of this lifestyle. 

Now, before I go any further, let me assure you that this series is not supposed to be a series that solely addresses homosexuality, but more so, a series that is meant to help examine where we as Christians and as a church body have "missed the boat" in ministering to those who are gay and/or who struggle with same sex attraction and sexual identity. You may or may not agree with what I have to say, but I do know this: I pray to God that He will enable me to write HIS truth to the best of my ability; that what I write will be a reflection of His heart, and will lead people to Him. That being said, let's get started. :)

"Hate the sin, love the sinner." For as long as I can remember, that has been the response taught to Christians in response of people who are gay. Over the years I have learned that even though this tends to make sense to Christians (the concept of separating the person from their sin), it has little to no positive effect on the individual who identifies himself as being a homosexual. If we really take the time to think about it, how could it have a positive effect,  as nearly all homosexuals view what we to view their "sin" as the entirety of who they are? We can lay down all of those scripture verses that clearly state that homosexuality is a sin, but what use is the law in this situation? Much time and energy has been wasted in debating about how we make certain scripture relevant or non relevant based on the times. We then have the opposing view of how "God is love" and it is unloving to not accept a person being gay, because once again, we go back to the whole concept that being gay is a person, not a part of a person.

So as far as I can see things, Christians are literally stuck in effectively ministering to those who are bound in a homosexual lifestyle.  And, may I clarify, much of what is in this series is only applicable to Christians who are gay and those who wish to minister to those people. None of what I am going to write in this series would ever be received by a gay individual who does not know Christ. Well, I shouldn't say "ever", as I worship a God who is capable of the impossible, but you get point.

Last summer, God brought a man into my life that I went on two dates with, but has since become a good friend. On the second date, we got into a discussion about church politics, to which the issue of homosexuality presented itself. I asked him what his thoughts were on the matter, and he replied that he believes that homosexuality is a genetically born trait. He then asked me what my thoughts were, to which I took a second to pray and ask God to give me the right words. After what seemed like several minutes rather then seconds, I looked him in the face and said very gently, yet boldly "I believe that, although there is ample evidence to prove that there are individuals  that are genetically predisposed towards homosexuality, to say that such a genetic predisposition forces them into a specific lifestyle or way of thinking is one of the greatest lies that satan could ever have a person  believe,  as it goes against God's ultimate design of life and celebration of the roles of man and woman." He sat there kind of stunned, and after a little bit said something to the effect that he had never heard it put in that way. I, too, was stunned at what came out of my mouth, knowing that it was only from God.

Ever since that conversation, God has brought me back to that word: design. It is such a simple, short word, and yet it holds so much meaning.  Gods design is in nearly everything and is visible if we look close enough. However, in some cases, even an atheist would have to admit that the likelihood of something that intricate, that profound, that incredible could not have possibly just come into existence on its own. When we stop and think of the ultimate of Gods design, human life is definitely at the top of that list. Only God could take something as small as an egg and a sperm, and create a living, breathing, intricately and beautifully built baby. Human life is the ultimate of Gods design, because it is a reflection of Him.

As Christians, we all know that the opposite of God is satan. That anything that is not of God is of the devil. It is also stated in scripture that satan's main objective and reason for existence is to "Steal, kill and destroy" (John 10:10) anything that is Gods, especially Christians. Satan hates Christ, and will continue to battle Him until the end of time. So, with this truth in mind, we can clearly see how satan goes against Gods design in so many different ways in this world. As Christians we are constantly engaged in spiritual warfare of good and evil. Earlier I communicated that the ultimate of Gods design is human life. With this truth in mind, is it not too far fetched to say that satan is out to steal, kill and destroy Gods children who are made in His image?

Within the homosexual relationship, there is no possibility of conceiving life between that couple, as God did not design it to be that way. Granted, gay couples can adopt and/or hire a surrogate mother to bring babies in their family, but the design of having a mother nurture and grow a living human being within her womb from the start of a conception ( hopefully done through the love of two becoming one) to the joyful pains of delivering the child into the world, is not present or possible. Thus, the homosexual relationship prevents life by going against Gods design. No life? No image bearer of Christ and less work for satan.

Instead of preaching scripture about the sin of homosexuality, why don't we point them back to the concept of God's design, and challenge them to explore what it means to be a man or a woman? It is clear to me that no human being has the full power and ability to "convert" someone out of homosexuality. God uses His children as tools and instruments to speak through, but ultimately, it is the Holy Spirit and the power of God's truth that has the ability to work on the heart of a person, transforming it and bringing it to a place of understanding and realization that only God can do.

Much like the old saying "you attract more bees with honey then you do vinegar", the same can be said that the gospel will naturally always be more personally accepted then the law. I firmly believe that this truth is a contributing factor to the extremes that we see in the Christian church handling and dealing with the reality of homosexuality. You have some churches who won't even give communion to someone who is gay, while you have other churches that embrace and accept the lifestyle, because we are "not to judge" and "God is love". Truth: satan works in extremes.  It is extremes that divide, not unite. The only thing that it unites are people of the same extreme. Just as Christ is to be foundation, the foundation gives balance to the truth.

In the next couple posts in this series, my goal is to address topics that correlate and fit into this truth. I would be happy to hear any feed back, comments, etc., as I grow as an individual and a writer with constructive criticism and affirmation. I praise God for the opportunity to communicate these truths that have been laid on my heart and will hopefully be worded in such a way that will reach your heart. To God be the glory!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Green Girl Granny Nanny Update: Visible Blessings

Hello from the "Granny Nanny"! 

My prayer is that your fall season is just as beautiful as fall is in Tennessee. One of my favorite things of my "new normal" is waking up in the morning before my little protege stirs, making her coffee and opening up the back door towards the mountains. I have never seen mornings more beautiful then they are in this neck of the woods. The sun shines through the giant oak trees that stand proudly in front of the mountain view, and I feel closer to God. 

In my precious "5 hour freedom Wednesdays" I have decided to write about the visible blessings that have been poured from heaven since my arrival to this new chapter of my life. My days are usually extremely busy and full, taking on the appearance and feel of being a stay at home mom, so there are so many things that happen that are certainly "blog worthy", but I don't have time to just drop the dishes, cleaning the bird bath or frying up a hot breakfast to grab my lap top and capture that moment in words.

For as long as I can remember, I have always wanted to be "ahead of the game". I want to know the answers as soon as I can, and even though I have an extraordinary amount of patience when it comes to answering the same questions every 5 minutes, I have very little patience for not having answers to problems I want to solve now, things that I would like now and dreams that I would like to come true now. I think my mother would probably testify to that fact that this weakness/desire ( however you choose to look at it) has been demonstrated in my life since the moment I exited the womb.

Since being at this new job, I've been trying so hard to let go of things that I simply can't control and don't have the resources for. It drives me crazy when I see something that needs to be changed, fixed, adapted or enhanced and I know the answer to the need, but for whatever reason I can't do it right now. About two weeks ago I finally let go and said "Ok God, we've done this before. I'm running ahead of you, and you are grabbing me by the shirt and telling me to sit down. And God, I'm going to sit down because I know that your plan is so much better then mine. So, fine. Here it is. I let go."

The result?

  • The neighbors brought over a delicious home made meal, complete with my favorite dessert ever; brownies! And not just any brownies...these brownies are definitely home made and I'm certain Betty Crocker has lost her place in my heart. This created an opportunity to connect with other people, despite the reality of being confined to a house 90% of the time. It also gave me a break from having to cook anything, while giving me fewer dishes. Thank you Jesus!
  • One of my goals since being here is to get my little lady "out and about" about two times a week. She is such a social lady, but due to her stubbornness ( something we both have in common!) it is usually a challenge to get her to get out. Her beautiful 93 year old sister lives in the nursing home in town, and I have been trying for awhile to get her out to go see her. Yesterday we did for the first time, and it was a blessing for all of us. Not only has God seen fit for granny to still have her sister and her sister to still have her, but for me to be doubly blessed with two beautiful, precious senior women. Yes, God had to take away many, many more of those lovely people for me to have these women, but the relationships that are being built within a family and in a home is far more of a blessing then I could have ever comprehended. Thank you Jesus!
  • For the first time in a very long time, I have felt very little stress. I thought that the stress that I experienced on a nearly daily basis was normal and was simply going to be my life, but for the first time ever, I'm realizing what it means to "ease into" a day and to truly be at home in something. My strengths, talents and gifts are being utilized and lessons are being taught to help me grow as a person, with minimal stress. Thank you Jesus!
  • This morning I went to a sweet, charming coffee shop down town. As I laid my devotional and Bible on the table in front of me, a barista came over and said "I LOVE that devotional!". We made a connection, and it turns out that she just moved to town as well, and has been attending a home church in town. Those odds? Only Jesus.  Thank you Jesus!
  • It is clear that through this job, God is giving me an even deeper desire to be a wife and a stay at home mom. He is teaching me how to balance my needs with taking care of someone else's, how to get in the habit of keeping up a home on a regular basis and cook food other then a bowl, cereal and milk. Thank you Jesus!  
May you take the time to sit and thank God for the visible blessings in your life. And if there are none that you can see, may you trust His heart that you will soon. God bless!

Saturday, October 20, 2012


We all have those days where we feel empty. I think it is safe to say that nearly everything that we use on this earth can become empty at some point. Even a plentiful source of something like water can run dry when you need it the most. When we are empty of something, there is naturally a little void that takes it's place.  Voids of emptiness tend to be viewed as a negative thing; it is something that is representing that something is missing. When a child wanders off to the toy aisle in a department store while her mother is not looking, the panicked void of that mother is intense when she realizes that her child is missing. Sometimes I think that is the feeling that God would like us to feel when we are empty of Him. We should feel that something is missing and that missing that something is certainly uncomfortable and at times, painful.

In my new life as a full time, live in "granny nanny" I am learning the concept of "empty" in a very new and profound way. As Christians, one of the prayers of our lives should be that Christ will "empty me of me, and fill me with more of you". Because of our humanity and the sin that results from this, we will never truly be able to be completely filled with Christ. God is the author of perfect design, and I truly believe that He designed it this way for a purpose. If we were always filled with Christ, why would we ever need to search, to hunger and to thirst to find Him and to fill that void? 

Upon this new chapter of my life, I am feeling an emptiness of self that has been quite eye opening. Everything from my sleep, to when I eat and communicate with others is all directly affected by my little protege's needs. Her needs will always come before my own, because not only is that my job, but that is love. For a long time my prayer has been that God would consistently be able to help me view my job and work place as a ministry. When we have such a view, I believe that we see and respond to things in a way that enables us to know how to truly love and serve those we come in contact with. As I have written before, the only way to produce peace and serenity is by living our lives as if they are not our own.

Yesterday around 3:00, I looked in the mirror and was a little startled at what I saw. No make up, bags under my eyes, sweat pants, zip up sweat shirt, t-shirt and a messy pony tail containing hair that is severely in need of a trim and color job.  And yet, despite my disheveled appearance, I was at peace and at rest in my heart, because I knew with everything in me that being here and taking care of my little southern stinker is exactly where God wants me to be. Being emptied of myself so that He can fill me with more of Him and enable me to do His work, is the greatest blessing we can receive as Christians, aside from His gift of salvation.

To ask Christ to empty us of us, is to admit and believe and know that there is nothing good in us that should remain there, especially if given the option to be filled with something Holy and perfect. It is being put in situation after situation of being tired, weary and tested to your limits so that who is within me can enable me to experience such a peace and fulfillment. Such a revelation and understanding has led me to an even deeper desire to be a mother, for surely it has to be a similar life. I am finding that this world that I now live in pales in comparison to climbing the corporate ladder and punching a time clock. It is a kind of "hard" that I have never experienced before, but it is the most rewarding and satisfying career that I have had thus far. May I be so blessed as to someday experience such an honorable life role.

In your emptiness, may you seek resolution by asking Christ to fill the void that He himself placed in your heart.  In your search to fill the many voids that enters your world, may it not take you long to come to the unending flow and source of Jesus Christ. And once He fills those voids, may you see it as not a void filled, but as self killed. 

Monday, October 15, 2012

Peace For a Reason

I believe that where there is peace, there is God. This is a belief that has shaped many decisions that I have made throughout my life. It is a truth that I count on when I'm trying to decipher what is of my Jesus and what is of the world or a tactic of the enemy.

Like many words, the word "peace" tends to vary in it's meaning. Sometimes peace is equated with harmony and equality, something that the peace sign of the 1970's represented in a universal fashion. Peace is also described as being "chilled and relaxed", and mothers of young children have been known to attempt to lock themselves in a bathroom or a closet for some "peace and quiet".

I know that when I don't feel peace, something isn't quite right. It is a sign to me that I need to tune my ears and search a little bit deeper; A sign that I need to gingerly test the water with the tips of my toes before I immerse myself in an ocean. I do believe that as Christians we can often get too caught up in how we "feel" about God and what He is doing in our lives. This is dangerous, because how we feel is often not the truth. However, I do believe that the Holy Spirit can give us a sense, a "knowing" of something that is of Him. I also believe that the more anniversaries that we celebrate in our relationship with Jesus, the more we will able to feel and hear Him in such a fashion. Similar to a marriage of 30 years in which they have developed an intimate "knowing" of each other. A true intimacy that surpasses words.

Where there is peace, there is God.

Up until the last year of my life, I always thought that if there was peace and there was God, that it was going to be a good and desirable thing for my life. That open doors to new opportunities meant fulfilling success and happiness. Surely if God gives me peace in something, there must be a pot of gold at the end of that rainbow, right? Such was my naive perspective on God's peace. Let me share with you what I've learned:

I've learned that if where there is peace, there is God, that is where I will go and that is what I'll do. In Psalms 139 it says in great and beautiful detail that God knows us better then we know ourselves. With this truth at hand, isn't it safe to say that if God wants us to go somewhere or do something, that He would give us that peace?  If we knew that the road was going to be rocky, a heart was going to be broken, something would be stolen and hardship was on the horizon, we wouldn't go near such a path. However, what I have learned is that sometimes God gives His children peace so that we do go near that path. He knows that without that peace, we would bend to the element of our humanity that by nature wants to avoid pain, hardship and things that just plain don't "feel good". 

The peace of God is not a sign that there is no storm on the sea, but a sign that God is with you in that storm, calling you to lay your head on his lap and allow Him to shelter you with His mighty arms. The peace of God is a sign that "all is well", despite what circumstances you may find yourself in this life. 
"Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid."-John 14:27
I believe that the world wants us to learn to equate peace with happiness, but truly God wants us to equate peace with the promise that His presence is constant and He will "...never leave you nor forsake you."-Deuteronomy 31:6.  

Friends, God gives us peace for a reason. Where there is peace, there is God. May you have the courage to fall into that peace as a young child falls into the arms of his mother, as a woman falls into the arms of her strong and capable lover. There is peace for a reason, but the peace that He gives knows no season. 

Friday, October 12, 2012

Green Girl Update: Tennessee Granny Nanny

Oh the glorious World Wide Web!  To think that in the 1800's when people would travel and go on far away adventures, they had to wait for weeks and sometimes months before a loved one heard any news as to how they were doing and any real connection was made. How grateful I am to sit at my new kitchen table and catch all of you up on the most recent adventure that God has sent me on. At the moment my little "southern stinker" ( and by "little", I mean little. Less then 100 pounds and not quite 5'2) is napping on the couch, giving me some time to finish my coffee and compile my thoughts for this post.

Depending on who you are, you may have been totally shocked to see on facebook that my location switched from Sioux Falls, SD. to Elizabethton, TN.  Well friends, I share with you in that shock, as this new change hasn't quite made a "head, heart and body" connection. However, the fact that this new change in my life is completely and totally ordained by God suffices for any lack of "connection" that I may be experiencing at this present time.

On August 28th 2012, I lost my job as a Chiropractic Assistant. It was a complete shock, as just a week before they expressed interest in me being apart of the hiring process for the new CA position that was once again opened after the 3rd girl since I had been there was fired or quit. No real reason was given as to why they let me go, which is accurate because there were no reasons. I had been praying for quite some time that God would open a door else where, and if that not be His will, that He would give me the strength and the ability to continue to work and function in the job He had given me. Well, once again God uprooted me and clearly told me that He had other plans for me.

As I prayed for direction and listened for Gods voice, one thing became very clear: "I don't want you in a health care support occupation in an institution, I want you to go into someones home." After receiving this leading, I started brain storming how to do this. I realized that there were seniors in their home that were not ready for the nursing home quite yet, but just needed someone in their home to cook, clean, give them their meds, e.t.c.  I searched different options and posted adds on and Craig's List, but no response. On the same day that I learned that my previous employers were fighting me getting unemployment benefits, I had a conversation with my best friend who lives in Tennessee. She looked on her local Craig's List and found the following ad: "Need a babysitter for my granny. Call..."  I ended my conversation with Erin, and called the number right away. A sweet, extremely southern voice picked up the phone, and that conversation lasted for an hour. The woman expressed to me that she was looking for a live in nanny to take care of her 90 year old granny with moderate dementia. In that first conversation on the phone, I felt an immediate connection, peace and drawing to this individual and possible job opportunity. To make a long story short, within 3 days I was offered the job and within 1.5 weeks, I moved myself and all my belongings to Elizabethton, TN.

My dear friend Jenni accompanied me on the trip, which made it so enjoyable. We drove through at least 7 states in under 48 hours and stopped at some fun places a long the way. Having her with me made me feel less alone in making this huge life change, and it was such a confirmation of what a true and lasting friendship that I have in Jenni. We stayed at a hotel in Louisville, KY and I drove on from there. As I drove through Virginia and into Tennessee, it began to settle in a little bit more that I was no where NEAR the mid west. I nearly drove off the side of the road as I was captivated by the incredible beauty of the mountains and terrain of this area. When I arrived to the little white house on Massey street (which I now call "home"), Wendy ( Granny's grand daughter) met me at the door with granny. The moment I saw granny, I knew that this was God's gift to me and that I was clearly on the right path. 

 It amazes me how fast the changes in life can happen, but what is beginning to amaze me even more is that the more changes you go through, the smoother they tend to be, as Christ tends to make each transition a bit less rockier then the last. 
A few note worthy "changes that have taken place:

  • Cooking and day to day life: I went from hardly ever cooking to cooking 3 meals a day! Right away in the morning I have her coffee ready and make her a hot breakfast. Usually this consists of a slice of bacon, an egg and a biscuit, but recently we've switched to oatmeal and a biscuit.  We then usually eat breakfast together, drink coffee and watch the news. The rest of our day kind of depends on the weather and what she feels up to doing. She loves to sit out on her front and tend to her flowers and bird bath, and one of her favorite things to do is eat and discuss what our next meal is going to be while she is eating a meal. The neighborhood dogs love it at our place, because granny insists on feeding them any left over scraps. I am in the process of getting more scheduled activities planned for her to get out of the house and visit family, go for drives and meet new people. 
  • Since living in the south, I have had quite an education on the art of southern cooking and cooking in general. So far I've boiled cabbage, fried pork chops and made home made corn bread on more then one occasion! According to granny, my corn bread is better then hers, which is a feather that I've put in my cap on more then one occasion. I now know what "soup beans" are, and have accepted that nearly everything is fried, baked, mixed and topped with butter. Every morning when I have my cereal, she asks me "What are ya' eattin'?" and I say "cereal" and she gives me this disgusted look and shakes her head. Yes, yes...we already are getting a routine put in place. :)
  • Foreigner:  The south is truly a different culture in and of itself. It's been fascinating to listen to different expressions and I think that everyone is bent on getting me fat. It didn't take me long to figure out that I am the one with the accent! Expressions heard thus far " I'm as full as a tick!", "He's got a lot of dollars but no sense",  and "oooh Laaawd" is said, which is a lot like "that's different" or "Oofta!" in Minnesotan.  I don't know how Minnesotans get the "Minnesota Nice" reputation, because I have never met people that have been more nice then those in this area. Everyone appears to be down to earth, wholesome and kind. Family is a huge deal for them, and the family I work for is no exception to this fact.  May I also mention that a male barista at Starbucks gave me a free latte for "waiting longer then 3 minutes". Even though he was hitting on me, he introduced himself, asked me what my name was, and shared with me that he takes care of his grandma several times a week. You can't tell me that I would have had this experience at a Starbucks in Minneapolis!
           Once again, I am in awesome of God's faithfulness, provision and perfect timing. He has sent me to a "little southern stinker", and I already love her dearly. He knew that I needed her, and that she needed me. Like anything, this job has it's challenges, but nothing that cannot be dealt with with God by my side. I am absolutely blessed and floored by all the people who have prayed for me and continue to pray, those who have come along side me and walked with me through the many valleys that the last couple years have brought me. You all know who you are. I have felt your prayers moving me, lifting me and pushing me through so many of my days. God bless you.

What a precious opportunity to help enhance the quality of the remainder of her life, and walk with her hand and hand through all the trials of aging, dementia and loneliness. So much has been provided for me through this job, but the main thing that God has provided is resting in His love as I use my gifts, strengths, talents and passions to His glory. My prayer is that He will continue to empty me of me and fill me with more of Him, and less corn bread :)  Stay tuned for updates on the "Granny Nanny", and God bless you all!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Attention Single Men: It's Not a Pure Bred Puppy Dog or Job Opportunity

Dating: "Oh the tangled web we weave". Anyone who is actively on the dating scene or has ever been apart of it at some point in their lives know it is a tangled mess indeed. There are a lot of factors that men and women are up against in the process of finding a mate. Among these factors you have the seemingly irreversible left overs of the feminist movement, the insatiable sexual appetite of each individual that must be forever held "in check" for the Christian who desires to honor Christ in the dating process, and the common fleshly pit falls of being a human being: selfishness, fear and dishonesty, just to name a few.

As some of you know, I have been a member of the online Christian dating networking "Christian Mingle" for a combined total of about 2 years. This experience has been highly beneficial, as I have met a variety of really good men and women alike, formed good friendships and have been pursued by honorable and not so honorable, Christian men. I am so grateful for a site like this, due to the fact that my life has been a constant "dance of the gypsy", moving from place to place and not settling long enough to meet that man that I will marry and spend the rest of my life with. The online chat rooms on that site have been a tremendous blessing, as it is usually filled with connecting with people in a similar season of life; encouraging, sharpening and educating one another with the uniqueness of each individual. Now that I have made my positive plug and given the web site a ton of free publicity, let me get to the bottom line of this post. As my mother would say "Sarah, get to the point. Quit painting the picture!" 

It saddens me how marriage is taken so lightly in our world, but especially within the Christian community of young 20 and 30 something adults. There are a variety of hurdles that one has to jump in the pursuit of a spouse, with some of them being higher jumps then others. Sometimes it is a simply a lack of an example in their lives to show them why marriage is so important and for others it is simply a lack of education, resources and personal maturity gained in order to obtain the sacred covenant.  In this post I would like to address a trend that I am seeing with men in the online Christian dating game. Now, don't get all "huffy" on me gentleman. We women have plenty of issues of our own, of which I will fully take ownership for and of which I have also written posts of in the past. However, it has been laid on my heart to communicate a truth to men of Christ. I feel that this truth and/or reminder will benefit men and women alike, whether they are married or single, young or old.

Do you remember that old phrase "God helps those who help themselves"? The phrase indicates that even though it is a known fact and truth that God is capable of doing absolutely anything in our lives, that we cannot expect to just sit back and do nothing, waiting for Him to bless us in the ways that He sees fit. To add to this concept, I remember as a young girl trying to understand the verse Psalm 37:34 "Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart."  I used to be so confused by this verse, especially when I realized that there were things that I prayed for and God did not bless me with them. "but I was delighting in you Lord! I believe in you! Where is my blessing?!". A dear friend of mine told me that the key to that verse is praying that God would make His desires, our desires. 

I have seen an alarming trend over and over again in the dating scene. Men expect to find a woman with all the things that they have prayed to God for, but they are unwilling to accept that they may need to change jobs, relocate and/or make a financial investment/personal sacrifice in order to pursue and seek after that woman. Instead it appears that many of them settle for a woman who possesses less of the character and qualities that God desires for them, simply because she is "local" and they would rather do that then be willing to make the necessary sacrifices that it takes to pursue a Godly woman and a life long covenant of marriage.

Let's take a look at this. Marriage is a life long commitment. This is not a decision to be taken lightly, nor should it be something that is handled so "flippantly". It is not a pure bred puppy dog or a job opportunity, this is a wife for crying out loud! This is the woman that you will see nearly every day of your life. You will wake up to her, drink coffee with her, cook with her and dream together. And, just to add a little more "seriousness" to this truth, this will be the mother of your children.  It appears to me that men lose perspective while they are in search of a wife. I don't know if it's because they get lost in the casual dating scene, or just get overwhelmed by other facets of life. Maybe it's simply because it is a well known fact that men are "waffles" in how they function in life: One square at a time. And maybe there are other more pertinent squares that are taking up space in their head and heart, that make it difficult to move forward to the most important square on their Eggo.

Whatever the case may be, the truth of the matter is that God calls men to seek a wife. Genesis 2:24 clearly states this: "For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh."  No where in this scripture does it say that a woman is to leave her father and mother in search of a husband, thus leading me back to the concept that I have written several times before, about how women are called to make themselves available to marriage and to respond to the pursuit of men.  The argument that I have heard from many men is "why should the man be the only one to risk things to be with a potential spouse?!". This argument has often been presented to me after I have made it very clear to them that I will not move for a relationship unless they "put a ring on it". This is my reasoning for that decision:

I believe very strongly, that the husband of a woman is to follow Christ's command that is written in Eph. 5:25 "Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her." I have no doubt in my mind that God has called men and potential husbands to be a physical representation of Himself on earth, and in the covenant relationship of marriage with his wife. A husbands role is to provide, lead, guide and nurture his wife and children. Does this not mimic that of what Christ does for us in our personal relationships with Him? As such, when the woman is pursued, sacrifices are made for her prior to marriage, this demonstrates to a woman how this man is capable of fulfilling Christ's call to love their wives and give themselves up for Him once the marriage covenant is in place.

And what does a woman give in return? Her life. All of her days, her body, her soul, her gifts, talents, life history and your children. The wife is then called to support, encourage, inspire, nurture, assist and be the ultimate "help mate" that Christ enables and calls her to be.  I believe, deep within my heart, that every woman in this world  should have the opportunity to be loved and pursued in such a way that mimics how her heavenly Father loves and feels about her. Lovely, honorable, pure and worthy of sacrifices, risks and heart aches. Not only that, but that no woman should EVER settle for anything less then this. Men, we need your strength. We need you to see this truth and take hold of it, and women, we must be in prayer for these men, as they are up against so many things in this world, and especially in the spiritual realm of darkness verses light. We must never forget that satan wants nothing more then to steal, kill and destroy marriages, sexuality and family. Women, we have a critical role in this battle. Stop whining, throw aside your selfishness, put on more clothes and get on your knees. This is critical.

My prayer is that God's truth will be communicate through this post, and that "butts will get kicked" and hearts will have restored hope. Marriage is honorable and worthy. May God enable you to jump out of your comfort zone, to push past fears and above all, remind you that none of this is possible without the strength and the power of Christ within you.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

No Ration on His Miracles

If you ever take the time to sit at the feet of a senior citizen, you will learn an abundance of wisdom and life lessons, sprinkled with a little humor and maybe a few tears. World War 2 was the era that was their existence, and with this reality comes the vivid memory of how nearly everything was rationed. Every day items such as meat, flour, canned goods, gasoline and even toothpaste were rationed to each family member, and treats like sugar and sweets were even more rare and served only during special occasions.

As a result of of this challenging time period in history, many of the individuals who lived through that developed a sort of poverty complex; a complex of the mind that tells you that you are poor, and that things are to be hoarded, because you may not have enough for tomorrow.  It should be noted that this complex/mind set is not entirely negative, as it has also developed a positive, healthy perspectives on the importance of saving money and resources, instead of over indulging in them."

Yesterday I was on the phone with my mother, reminiscing about all the blessings that God has bestowed on my life in the last year. As we recalled each and every major incident where God answered a prayer and/or provided something that was exactly what I needed, there was a point where it got a little bit quiet on my moms side of the conversation.  "Sarah," she said. " Sarah, there is no ration on God's miracles. They will just keep coming."

As I stare into my even more unknown future, that little pearl of truth from my mother has nestled in my heart. Fear, anxiety and the general ailments of humanity sometimes tempt us to think that God's miracles were already delivered before; that it was a one time thing, and that there simply cannot be more from where that came from. I think that it is safe to say that this tendency tends to dwindle the older a person becomes, with all of the life lessons/experiences that come and go. 

How often do we place rations on what God is clearly capable of doing, as well as what He is capable of giving? Those moments where we think that we have a certain amount of prayers that He will hear, a certain amount of times He will come through for us, or a numbered amount of mistakes that He will forgive? As children of Christ, we know that God is abundant in all that He is to those who believe in Him, but I know that I'm not the only one who finds myself in moments such as these.  The beauty of overcoming this lie is the fact that we are given yet another opportunity to trust in Him and see Him continue to work in ways that are not only perfect, but with a timing so in sync with goodness of all He is.

 In Ephesians 1: 7-10, we are also reminded of how there is absolutely no ration on the holy work of the Cross.  " In Him we have redemption through the blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace that He lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, and He made known to us the mystery of His will according to His good pleasure, which He purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment-to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ." 

Friends, may you live your lives fully and confidently in the truth that the miracles of your Savior are unending and forever abundant. When you find yourself within that limiting frame of mind to all He is capable of doing in your lives and the lives of those around you, stop and take time to trace the pattern of His faithfulness in your life. For the truth is, the trail of miracles in your life can be traced back to the day you were born, and will continue on to the day when you get to see the miracle worker face to face, and oh what a day that will be!