Meeting Him At The Well

 

Have you ever felt beaten up by life?

Like no matter what you do, it all turns out wrong…

Here is the good news friend, if you have you are not alone.  The truth is I have felt this way more than once recently.  So I got to thinking…I know, look out, she’s thinking..lol

In all seriousness though, as I was trying to understand why I was feeling beaten up and like I couldn’t do anything right, God reminded me of something to me.  While I was doing some amazingly good things, I was not doing the MOST IMPORTANT thing, spending time with Him.

I was listening to the song for the video at the top of this post, and realized it described the way I was feeling….

I have what you need, but you keep on searching
I’ve done all the work, but you keep on working
When you’re running on empty
And you can’t find the remedy
Just come to the well
You can spend your whole life
Chasing what’s missing
But that empty inside, it just ain’t gonna listen
When nothing can satisfy
And the world leaves you high and dry
Just come to the well

Has anyone else ever been there? I bet there is.  If you are like me, you may not even realize it at first.  You may be just doing the tasks you need to get done each day. Not even realizing that you are basing your worth on the words of others, self criticism, or even worse the noise in your own head.  You know what I mean? In case it’s a little confusing, I will try to explain.

What I mean….

  • The Words Of Others: Too often, for me at least, someone will say something to or about me, and I almost instantly internalize it.  As I internalize it, I begin to analyze it, and it more often then not, becomes something it was never intended to be.  It’s like that game we used to play telephone.  What starts as a simple comment or message by the end takes on a life of its own.  Why do our brains do that to us? The answer is actually quite our brains are the most powerful “computer” ever designed.  Satan knows that and will try to use it against us.  That is one reason it is so important that we come to the well.  As we spend time at the God will teach each of us who we truly are, the person He sees when He looks at us.  Only then, will we begin to not value ourselves based on the words of others, but on the Truth of who we are in Him.
  • Self Criticism: I don’t know about you, but I tend to be more critical of myself, than I am of anyone else.
  • Noise in my own head: You know those voices in your head that are often negative.  The ones that say things like, ” you can’t do anything right.”  When I let the noise in my head stay there, then I begin to believe them, and I begin to see many circumstances in a negative light.  That is why we need to let God shine the light of truth on these thoughts, to see what is really true.

I don’t know about you, but I will be making going to the well a priority from now on, because I want to be the me God made me to be, not the beaten up by life version of me.  Jesus will be there waiting to show us the truth and fill us with the refreshment only He can give.

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Reading the Labels Wrong Part 2:Purpose

Yesterday I promised there was more to the story.  So being true to word, here’s the rest of the story.

Just a quick recap of what it was first though:

  •  Shelving books….
  • Spine labels on library books..
  • Reading the labels spine labels correctly or not have to do with life or even God?
  • If your curious now, click here  to read yesterday’s post.

Yesterday I focused mostly on the topic of labels. Labels on library books as well as the labels we can put on others and ourselves.

However, if you go back and look, there was another reason why the labels on the spine of a book are important.  What was that again? 🙂 Oh yeah it was placement!! So what? What’s so important about the placement of a book on a shelf? The important part is that each book has a specific spot on a particular shelf where it belongs.  If a book is not where it belongs, then when a child wants to check it out, he/she may not be able to, unless someone in the library can find it.

Have you ever wondered why you were placed in a particular situation? Maybe you’ve even thought, God why did you allow this to happen to me?  I know I have..

I mean let’s just get real for a minute:

God allowed me to be born with physical limitations that would mean me having struggle through life in many ways.  So if God truly loves me, and friends He does so much!! Stick with me here, I have a point coming, I promise.  So if God truly loves me, why would He allow me to born that way?

What if…

  • God has a purpose for this, bigger than I could ever imagine (Jeremiah 29:11, Romans 8:28). He does!! Does that mean He will make me someone famous, who will change the lives of many.  Maybe, maybe not.  At the moment, I am content to love on a bunch of children at work, while hopefully teaching them kindness and compassion for others by helping me with simple tasks like opening a heavy door.  I love them to pieces!!
  • One person sees people who are different in a new light.  Then it has more than one purpose.  Maybe just maybe someone will see that people who are different are more than a category. That would be amazing! You know why? If you begin to view people beyond his/her category/label, not only will you be releasing yourself from viewing him/her through that label, but the way you see others who are different will begin to change as well.
  • God has a specific purpose, for each of us.  Much like the library books have a very specific place.  Each one of us was created with a unique purpose.  A purpose that God had in mind even before we were born.  How amazing is that? That God already loved and had a purpose for each of us (Romans 5:8, Ephesians 2:10)

I hope that you are encouraged tonight

Good night, friend.

 

 

The God Without Limits….His Messy Masterpiece

This week some awesome friends of mine and I embarked on Week 2 of the newest Proverbs 31 Online Bible Study Bible. It is Limitless Life by Derwin L. Gray. 

 Our verse for this Ephesians 2:10 which says, “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.

Looking at this verse seems to prompt two questions:

  • Am I a God’s Masterpiece?
  • Do I truly believe that I am God’s Masterpiece?

My small group asked a similar question to the ones above recently and this is what I came up with…

At first glance, I am a bit of a mess.  I am a 32 year old female who was born with a disability. My disability causes me to have limitations.  As a matter of fact, when I was born the doctors told my parents were told my parents that I may never be able to do anything. On top of that, I am more than a bit klutzy.  On the outside, I may appear to be just a mix of limitations and many other traits.

Thankfully, that is not the way that God sees me.  How is that possible you may ask? Well let me tell ya…

  • God is the most masterful of all artists, he has a vision/plan for my life (Jeremiah 29:11).  He has a vision/plan for each of His masterpieces! Yes, my friend that includes you!!
  • God does not see you the way the world does, he does not judge you and I by our outward appearance, He looks at our hearts (1 Samuel 16:7).

That is one of the most amazing things about a true artist, where the untrained eye may see a mix of colors and lines. A supposed mess.   Especially if an artist mixes many layers or colors, it may not be easy to see the artist’s vision at first.  This is what makes an artist so amazing! He/she can see what his/her masterpiece will look like when it is completed.  God is no exception!

So what does all of this mean?

  • To the world, you and I may be a mess (at least on the surface).  There are going to actually be days where you and I are a mess. That’s okay!! We may be a mess today, but God will never leave us that way.
  • Does that mean that God cannot use these messes? No way.  God often uses our messes and the situations that were meant to bring each of us down for our good (Romans 8:28, Genesis 50:20).
  • God can take an ordinary sometimes lady like me and turn her into a masterpiece like no other.  The amazing thing is that He can and wants to do that for you too.  All you have to do is ask Him to come into your life and make you new.

I don’t know about you, but today I am glad to be messy masterpiece.  Why is that? The reason is if I am still a mess, then God is not finished yet.  I find hope in that because He has begun this work in me will be faithful to complete it (Philippians 1:6).

So that’s why I see myself as God’s Messy Masterpiece.  I hope I have encouraged you today, friend.

Love and Prayers,

Sarah

 

 

What’s on my mind today…Trying Again

Today, I began a new writing challenge, it is called Writing 101. I know, I know I’ve tried this before. I know that I did not do very well with the my 500 words challenge.

Isn’t there a saying though, if at first you don’t succeed try, try again.  I believe there is, so this is me trying again.  The last time I did not begin the challenge when everyone else did.  You see as I understand it, the my 500 words challenge was supposed to begin Jan. 1, 2014 and run until Jan. 31,2014.  Well I did not find out about it until months later.

I didn’t get in the ground floor of the last challenge, this time is different though.  Today is this first day of the this challenge…And here I go again.

Today our prompt was just to free write.  In case you don’t know what that means, free writing is when someone just writes whatever comes to her, without much thought about punctuation or anything.  As you may have already guessed, even my free writes are organized.  I can’t help it, it is just the way I am wired.

When I first saw the blog about this new writing challenge, I have to admit I was a bit hesitant.  Especially since I have never officially finished the my 500 words.  Then I thought, maybe I could finish the first challenge while completing this one as well.  I have done everything a bit differently my whole life, why should I expect a writing challenge to be any different.  I am the girl that was born two months early, and been setting my own pace ever since.  You heard me right, I am not giving up on the my 500 words challenge, I will finish it, soon, I think.

I know you maybe thinking, why would I keep trying to finish a challenge I began at least a month ago?  Well let me tell you, as long as keep trying then I have not failed because I have not quit.

I don’t know about you, but anytime I take on a challenge like this, or any challenge for that matter….Any time I don’t follow through with the commitment I made, there is a voice that whispers in my ear.  Do you know the voice I am talking about? That voice that says things like, ” See. I told you so. I told you, you could not do that….(fill in the dots with whatever the that is in your life”.  For example, one of mine might be, “See I told you so, Sarah.  I told you, you could never be a real writer, you can’t even complete a writing challenge.”

Wouldn’t ya just love to shut that voice in your head up?

Well guess what  friend, you can!! How you may ask? By trying again!! Try! Even when that voice in your head says, “Give up! You’ve tried this already”  Still Keep Trying!  Cause you know what friend, that voice in your head knows that you were created on and with a purpose.  That’s right friend, you were created to do awesome things, and that voice in your head doesn’t want you to, but you can!

So what do you say can we squash him today? I am going to, are you?

A Dwelling Place…Ephesians 2:22

This Week's Verse Graphic by Nicki Koziarz

This Week’s Verse Graphic by Nicki Koziarz

As I was studying this week’s memory verse two words/concepts stood out. The word dwelling seemed to jump off the page at me. Why is that? For me, dwell is more permanent. If you think about it, when you dwell on something you think it over for awhile, it isn’t a quick fix or decision.

Now if you think of that in God terms, it means He is making me into a place where His Holy Spirit can stay. How awesome is that? God wants to make my heart into a place where the Holy Spirit can live. He doesn’t just want to drop the Holy Spirit off for a visit. No when you and I accept Jesus into our hearts, the Holy Spirit enters our lives (Ephesians 1:13, NIV).

I don’t know about you, but I am so grateful to have the Holy Spirit in my life.  Why is that? I don’t know if you have realized this yet or not…Life is often hard and quite messy! Well at least it is for me, and I doubt I am alone :).    That is why I am grateful to have the Holy Spirit/Advocate to help me this messy experience called life (John 14:26, NIV).

Do you need an advocate to help you through this crazy little thing called life? I would love to talk to you about my Jesus, just ask me.

You are probably wondering what the other concept that stood out to me was…When I am reading from my Quest Study Bible, I always look to see if there is a question/info in the margin related to the verse/passage I am reading. Guess what? There was! What I read there, made me smile.   You wanna know what it said? It said, God is always working to make you and I into a reflection of Himself, so that each of us can be who He created us to be, and live a Limitless Life.  The best part though is He isn’t finished yet, and He won’t stop until He is.

being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6, NIV)

Doesn’t  that just make you want to smile? Or you might be thinking, Sarah why should that make me smile? Well friend, I can’t speak for you, but I can tell you why it makes me smile.

Reasons why I smile:

  1. I am loved: God loves me so much, that He provides for and is working with and through me daily.  (Philippians 1:6)
  2. God Never Gives Up: I will let you in on a secret, I tend to be hard-headed, some days more so than others, even on those days God still loves me the same.  Is that amazing or what? (Romans 5:8).
  3. Beyond the Labels: God does not care what labels we carry, He will replace each one, and make it so that each of us can have the Limitless Life He has for us. (1 Samuel 16:7).

Remember sweet friend, He is not finished yet

Love and Prayers,

Sarah

Blessed Beyond Words

One of my sisters in Christ contacted me last weekend to see if I would accept the blessing she was offering to me. At first, I was so blown away, I could barely comprehend it.  You see, I had not even really told anyone that I would even be interested in attending this particular gathering.  I should have realized though, that regardless of whether anyone around me knew, God did.  So why didn’t I know that God would make it possible?  Truthfully, I do know and believe that.

Honestly, even though, I felt God telling me I needed to go, I thought it was too late for me to this year. Then, there was logistics of getting there. When you can’t drive, getting anywhere can be complicated.  Especially when an event is in another state, schedules have to be coordinated, arrangements made, and transportation found.  So even when my sweet sister offered this amazing blessing to me, I was afraid I’d have to turn it down.  I don’t tell you these things for you to feel bad for me at all, I do it to show you how big God is!

Instead of worrying over the details (which is my natural tendency), I began talking to God and shared the situation with the prayer warriors in my life.  In case I have not said it lately I love ya’ll BIG!!

I don’t know how I even shared it with them, because when I called some of my closest friends, I had a hard time even putting into words that this amazing blessing was even a possibility. I know..I know.. If you have known me for more than two minutes, you will find it hard to believe that I did not know what to say haha 🙂 I am my father’s daughter after all 🙂

I am sitting here in front of my laptop, laughing to myself, because I can almost see the bubble over your head, haha…So what the heck is the amazing blessing, Sarah? I am so glad you asked!! It is a conference called She Speaks.

What is so great about She Speaks?

  • As an aspiring writer, I see it as a step toward pursuing God’s calling on my life to share Him with others through writing. There are going to be fabulous Christian speakers and writers to teach, inspire, and uplift us.
  • It’s put on Proverbs 31 who are some amazing Jesus oozing women who have blessed me so much.  What could be better than spending time learning and growing up close with some of them? It doesn’t get much better than that, at least not for it doesn’t!! Can you tell I am a little excited? I mean to get to hug my sweet sisters Kristy, Sarah T, and the amazing Melissa Taylor, that makes me a little excited.  As if that wasn’t enough Lysa TerKeurst will be there!! If you know me, you know I love me Lysa TerKeurst.  I’ve already learned so much from these amazing women I can’t wait to see what God is going to do at She Speaks 2014!!!!!!!

Why do I tell you all of this? To remind you that even you think no one sees or hears you, God does.  Even if no one else knows, God does.  It is my prayer that we all find hope and strength in that.

Connection…

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Once again, I was sitting here trying to figure out what to share.  Then it hit me! For a week or so now, I have felt burdened to share about community.  Yet, every time I have attempted to pour the words on to the screen, I could not get my thoughts to organize. Have you ever had that happen? Maybe for you it was not about sharing through the written word. Maybe you needed to talk to someone about an important issue, yet each time, you attempted to speak to the person about it, you just could not find the words. Frustrating, isn’t it?

Well that is where I have been for at least a week now.  About a week or so ago, I attended a prayer gathering for a young man in our community who has cancer.  I have to tell you it was an amazing thing!! This was not my first prayer gathering, however, it was a great reminder of what this life and community is really supposed to look like. There were preachers from two different churches, and about 250 members of our community present.  Some of us weren’t even sure we knew the person whose hand we were holding as prayers were being said. None of that mattered though, we were all there for one purpose, to lift up and encourage this sweet family.

If you ask me that is why God designed us to need connection and community.  So that, no matter what happens in life, we are reminded that we are not alone.  From the very beginning, God realized that we needed connection and relationship with each other. He created Eve for Adam (Genesis 2:18). Then He sent Jesus, so that we could have a relationship with Him, through His death on the cross (John 3:16).

You may be thinking, that’s great Sarah, but I am a little different, and have a hard time finding a place/group to connect.  I hear you, friend. I am different as well, so my heart connects with yours.  I experienced this disconnect the most during middle and high school. It was far from cool to be different, and here I was, the sensitive young lady, who could not hide her differences. I probably don’t have tell you that there were some horribly hard days from time to time. Looking back now though, I can see that God was beginning to teach me that, I did not have to fit into a mold to be accepted and loved because He loves me EXACTLY the way I am.  The great news is, He loves and accept YOU too!!

Then in college, it was reaffirmed for me.  Of course not everyone loved me. That is okay though, because my friends did and some still do. I found community in BCM (Baptist Campus Ministry/then BSU) and my sorority sisters.  Love my Alpha Delta, sisters in Christ and Go BC Rams!! BC Ram Pride!! Yes, I love my alma mater 🙂

More than anything though, I love that God has always provided a group/organization for me to connect and grow through.  The latest organization God has led me to is Proverbs 31 Ministries.  I love my authentic, loving Jesus sisters :).  If  you’re curious about what this Proverbs 31 thing is all about click here

So what does all of this mean:

  1. We were created with a need for connection (a sense of belonging)
  2. There is someone who loves accepts you just the way you are ❤
  3. The way you connect and the people you connect with will be different than mine.  That is okay 🙂 We were all created uniquely on purpose.

So, where do you find your sense of connection/belonging?

Dear God,

I thank you for always being there for me and helping me find my connection in You.

Thank you for providing me with opportunities to learn and grow throughout my life.

If there is anyone reading this post who needs a place to connect, I pray that You would lead them to a place where can truly connect/belong.

I pray that wherever you lead each person it would be an uplifting one, where he/she can become the person he/she was created to be.

In Jesus Name I pray,

Amen

 

So that or So what?

Thank You P31 for this awesome graphic and Wendy Blight for being obedient to God and writing Living So That

Thank You P31 for this awesome graphic and Wendy Blight for being obedient to God and writing Living So That

In the beginning of Wendy Blight’s new book, Living So That she talks about two kinds of lives. The So that life and the so what life.  What’s the difference in these two ways of life? Well a so what life is, “self-centered and static” (Blight, 5). While a so that life, ” is others-centered and active, making a difference for the Kingdom of God” (5).

Then she poses a What does it really mean to live a so that life?  That question has stuck with me since the first time I began reading this book.  As a matter of fact, I have a post it in my book that says, ” So that or So what? What kind of legacy are you leaving behind right now”.  It may seem strange to you that when a 32 year old young woman is thinking about a “so that life, she thinks about the legacy she is leaving behind at such a young age.

To be perfectly honest, there are several factors that cause me to answer the question what does it really mean to live a so that life the way I do:

  • Mortality: Having lost several friends too young, I am conscious of the fact that each day and opportunity is unique, therefore, I need to make the most of it.  For me, that means leaving a legacy behind daily. Whether I am helping a student learn how to shelve books at work, or I am blogging about a something new I have learned.  I want my life to have a lasting impact. Most importantly to me, I don’t want to wait til I am old and gray to do it. I want to do it while I still have the energy and the cognitive ability to bless others.
  • Perspective: I realized a long time ago, that my perspective was unique.  God blessed me from birth with an unique set of challenges that  have helped to shape into the woman I am becoming.  That is one of the reason I began blogging in the first place.  It is my prayer that as we share life together, you may come to see the world in a new way, at least temporarily.
  • Blessed: Throughout my life I have been blessed that God has placed people in my life that have left an impression on my heart.  As a result of these blessings, I desire to bless the people God places in my life in the same way. This is especially true when it comes to the children God has placed in my life. No they are not mine, but I have the privilege of being a part of their lives.  Even if it is only for a moment, I pray each one knows he/she is valued and loved.

For me, as I begin this Living So That journey, really living a so that life, means I put actions behind my desire to live each day to the fullest while leaving a legacy on the hearts and lives of those around me.  So that one day when my body is no longer present in this life, I will not be forgotten.

Now that you know what living a so that means to me… I have a question for you, what does living a so that life mean for you?

If you are unsure or just want to join my sisters as well as myself on this journey, we would love to have you, you can sign up here

 

 

 

 

Living So That

Thank You P31 for this awesome graphic and Wendy Blight for being obedient to God and writing Living So That

Thank You P31 for this awesome graphic and Wendy Blight for being obedient to God and writing Living So That

 

At first, I was unsure what to write about tonight.  Then it hit me!!  Duh, Sarah write about what you are excited about.  So what is it that I am so excited about? It is a brand spanking new Bible study by Wendy Blight.

So what’s so special about this Bible study?

  • One thing stood out to me from the first day I began reading this book.  You do not have to know the Bible backwards and forwards to take part in this study.  I don’t know about you but when I began doing “grown up” studies,  I often felt like every other lady in the study knew more than and had a deeper relationship with God than I did.  Can I get an amen corner from my Jesus loving sisters?! How many times have we fallen into the comparison trap? I know I have and yes it even happens in Bible study groups.  You may be wondering why it would even happen in groups like that? To me, it is simple even we Jesus girls are human.  the devil can use the “comparison trap” to try distract us from the real reason we joined the group in the first place, then maybe, just maybe, he can keep us from fellowship and spending time with  God.  Don’t let the “Big D”(devil) feed you the that lie, sweet friend.  You don’t have to be a Bible scholar to spend time with God in His word. The important thing is you spend time with Him.
  •  Online: You maybe thinking I would love to participate in a Bible study, but my schedule won’t allow my meet with a weekly group at a specific time.  That’s the beauty of an online Bible study, you can head over to study blog  anytime of the day or nite.  You can choice how much you want to participate as well.  When I first found Proverbs 31 Online Bible Studies, I would read the blog posts, answer the questions, but rarely shared in the comment section, as I became more comfortable with the community, I began to share more openly.  Now I am a Proverbs 31 volunteer and love my P31 sisters to death.  I tell you all this to say, the online format gives flexibility and choice.
  • Low Cost: The only cost anyone who would like to participate in this study will have is the cost of the book, Living so that by Wendy Blight.  Unlike some studies where you may have bought a participant book as well as a workbook.  The amazing thing about this book is it is both books in one.  You can purchase the book directly from the Proverbs 31 bookstore by clicking here.  You can buy it anywhere you like to buy books as well.

So what are the details of this study:

Title: Living So That by Wendy Blight

How long is this study?: 5 weeks

When does the study start/end? April 6th-May 10th, 2014

Where do I sign up? You can sign up by clicking here

Is there still time to sign up? Yes. there is. I would love to see you around the blog.  If not on the study blog, I hope you will join me on my journey, right here.

If you have any questions, feel free to ask me in the comment section under this post.

Love and Prayers,

Sarah

 

 

 

Beyond The Labels

I have not really been able to write the past of days…Why you may ask? Too many different ideas/feelings going on in my head and heart.  Then if you add in temporary illness, I was done in by the end of the day.  Today, however, there is something on my heart that I feel God wants me to share.  Each one of has categories or labels that wear from time to time.  Some of which we are proud to wear.  I don’t know about you, but I am proud to be a daughter, sister, and a friend.  Most days anyway 🙂

“The danger comes I believe, when we allow our labels to become our limits.”

What do I mean by that? Well I will tell you. We have the ability to allow one label to define who we are as a person. For example, if I let the fact that I was born with a disability, keep me from demonstrating the other pieces of the puzzle that make me who I am.  Yes, I am a person who happens to have been born with a physical disability.  However, I am so much more than that.  I am a young woman who loves children, has a passion for writing, loving people like Jesus, just to name a few.

However, I have to make a choice.  Am I going to allow my labels to define or not? You may be wondering what’s the big deal? Why does the way I see myself even matter? For me, if I do not see myself as the multidimensional, then one else will either.  If I don’t show the people around me that I am more than my disability, then how can I honestly expect them to see me as anything/one else? The answer is I should not.

“Beyond the label”

Can you see me?

Who I am today?

What do you say?

What do you see?

When you look at me?

Will you give me a chance?

Beyond this normal song and dance.

I know it may take awhile,

To see behind the sometimes fake smile.

It will be worth though,

When you take the time to get to know someone new you will always grow.

You may even learn something you did not know.

Who knows you may make a friend from a one-time foe.

How awesome would that be?

All because you took a minute of your time that was free.

So what are you going to do?

The choice is up to you.

Are you going to judge others without knowing them?

Or take the time to see the person within?

Tonight, I want to challenge each of us to see the people in our lives beyond his/her labels.  See him/her the way you would want him/her to see you (Matthew 7:1).

Dear God,

I want to thank you that we do not have to be defined by opinions of others or our labels.

  Thank you that when we are in Christ, we are no longer defined by human standards, but are defined by what you say about us.

In Jesus Name, Amen