Hidden….

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I know I am late posting this because it is the prompt for Five Minute Friday, which was two days ago…Better late than never though, right.  The prompt for this week is “hidden”.

So here I go, with five minutes on the clock.

We all have aspects of our lives that we keep hidden, don’t we? Maybe it’s something that happened to you in the past.  It is possible that like me, you have something you want to hide that is beyond your control. Whichever it is, I am right there with you, friend.

I do not like standing out. Actually I pretty much despise it… Most days I would really rather just blend in like everybody else. That is what makes it so ironic about the way God uniquely crafted me. You see as a result of my disability I need some assistance to get from place to place.  You maybe thinking so what is the big deal? In truth it is not a big deal now.

However for a young introverted girl, sometimes my medical equipment felt like my own scarlet letter.   As I have matured, God has taught embrace is the fact that I tend to stand out. Especially if my standing out can bring God glory.

How could something like a disability or something that makes a person different bring God glory? I have found that people often relate to my outward differences because she feels different in some way as well.  We bond over our differences.  Then I am able to share with her that God loves her just the way He created her.

More than anything, I pray that she realizes that God loves her even those things she tries to keep hidden.

Always Learning…

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The Smiling Student…I think this was 1st grade

 

As far back as I can remember I have loved to learn. Whether it was my alphabet or numbers, I was eager to learn new things.  Well, truthfully I am not good with numbers, haha. Thank goodness for teachers and extra help.  She would help me persevere and I would make it through each class.

As I grew up, I became a good student.  My grades reflected it and I learned something…  If I got good grades, I would get awards, be seen as smart, and as someone who had value.

This continued through college, I even got my first 4.0 my first semester away from home.  I was so proud of myself.  Not only had I done what we had all thought was impossible by moving 6 hours away from home, I had earned the best grades of my life.  Life was good, until it wasn’t of course.

I graduated from college with high hopes of going to seminary and learning to be a pastoral counselor.  You see, my Bachelor’s degree was in Psychology. I wanted to serve God by helping other people see their current situation in a different light. Seminary just seems the next logical step, right?

So off to seminary I went expecting to excel because that is all I had ever known.  At first, I did okay, and then I began to experience major health problems.  It may have been the demand of a Master’s program, the stress of moving to a new school, even looking back now I am not sure what triggered it exactly.  All I knew for sure was that I went from being the person to who wanted to help other people to being the person who needed help.

That is when my life turned upside down…. I went from being a student to having to withdraw from school.  To say I felt like a failure was an understatement.  It was not until this occurred that I realized how much of my identity I equated with being academically successful. Can anybody relate?  It may not be academic achievement for you, maybe it’s a certain job or _______.  What happens when that is no longer there to give your life definition?

It is a scary to feel like you have lost your identity, I know I have been there. Can I encourage you for a minute?   Sweet friend, hear this truth, I fought hard to learn… you are not alone, regardless of what the voices in your head maybe telling at the moment.  You may feel like you have no value right now, but the truth is you have always been valued/loved (Psalm 139:14).

You may feel like it is a sign of weakness to ask for help it is not, I have learned that it takes strength to ask for help.  If I had not asked for help, I would not be writing this today.  It was while I worked on redefining my identity with God, I rediscovered my love for writing.

It is my hope that sharing my story reminds you that you are not alone.  I hope that if you need help, you will reach out and take hold of it. I will be praying for you as we see where God leads us in the future.

LFT

I am late to the party but I am linking up w/the amazing Suzie Eller and the Live Free Community

Pressing Through

I was listening to Chip and Joanna Gaines earlier this week, and she said sometimes we just have to “press through”and I was inspired.  It is easy to press through when the next step or the end result is visible, right?  When you know you only have one more day of school, it is much easier to face whatever the day might bring…Can I get a woohoo, for the end of the school year? Haha.

What about when you cannot see what you are working toward?  Often I feel like a little bit lost…What about you, how do you feel when you do not know what to expect?

What if you have someone or something that always remained the same? Would you be empowered to keep pressing  through when life gets murky if you knew there was always someone you could count on? Well guess what there is…

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I know this is hard to remember when you are in the middle of something. Can I share something with you? I’ve learned that even when I can’t feel God, He is still there.  Sometimes I just need to keep pressing through…

Is there something you are pressing through today? Remember you are not going through it alone.  i would love to pray for you today, you can leave them in the comment section of this post.

More to My Story

Have you ever had a song that has been stuck in your head for awhile? Well the song below is mine right now.

To be honest, I almost gave up on blogging altogether.  Why? The voices in my head… You know the voices I am talking about, don’t you? The voices that say, “It’s no big deal, you can just quit writing”. “No one really cares about what you have to say anyway”.  Quitting may have been option if this journey was just about me, but it isn’t.  My story isn’t just mine.  As a Christ follower this song is my prayer..  I want my story to be more about Him and less about me (John 3:30).

Is there something you have wanted quit or give up on? What motivates you to keep going when you want to throw in the towel?  Maybe it’s your family or a dream. Has there been a song that has encouraged you to keep moving forward?  Whatever it is I’d love to hear about it in the  comments section.

Come on friends, let’s keep on keeping on together! If you need some more encouragement, I highly recommend Nicki Koziarz’s book, “5 Habits of a Woman Who Doesn’t Quiz”.

Reluctant Adventurer

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People say I am inspiring/an inspiration. I have to be honest and., say that is strange for me to think of myself as an inspiration. When I look at my life it seems so ordinary…Sure my life has had some obstacles that make life interesting and complicated on a fairly regular basis. Being someone who others see as an inspiration, is something God has had to teach me to embrace.

Now before you start thinking people are creepy and watch me everywhere I go, it is not like that at all. People are most often curious and compassionate. I have found that a lot of people just want to be helpful and possibly gain understanding from someone who has a different experience of life.

This is an example of how God will take someone He wired in the opposite way and use her to inspire others. How else would you explain…that He would create a highly introverted woman, who physically stands out. Honestly, if it were left up to me, I would stay inside my bubble.

 

Inside my bubble…

I am safe and protected

I never face ridicule or rejection.

Yet there is a problem,

If I don’t go outside my bubble…

I will never grow,

Go places I never thought I’d go.

So now I’m trusting,

Busting out of this bubble called “safe” and  “familiar”.

Only because of and for you,

I am reminded again that you are bigger,

Than any fears this adventure may trigger.

So God use me,

In whatever way that it maybe.

If that means standing out for you,

Then help me to,

Be a reflection of you.

I am learning this is where the adventure begins friends…When we stand in this place, somewhere between comfort and His grace. That’s the place, where we can all be an inspiration, by His grace. We each have a story that someone needs to hear.  The tricky part is finding the strength to open up and share.  It doesn’t matter if it is in words or deeds.  Obedience and willingness is all He really needs.    Whether you need to burst out of your bubble to walk into a new adventure, have the courage to share your story, I hope you were encouraged by this journey of mine.

Leaving the Shallow End…

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This week sweet Suzie Eller has asked a question, “what does it mean to walk in the deep? Walking in the deep brings one image to mind … a pool. I see the deep end of the pool. Not that I would know much about the deep end of a pool. You see, I only go as far in the pool as I can touch. Why is that? As long as I can touch the bottom I feel safe.  Why would I want to go to the deep end if it isn’t safe anyway?….

One day while I was swimming in the pool I discovered some new…

If I went a little farther out in the water, and l left the safety of the shallow end….

Guess what happened??? I walked in the water!!! That may seem insignificant to you, but it wasn’t for me.  You see I had never walked unassisted anywhere!! NEVER!! As I look back on it now, my only real regret is I didn’t try it sooner.  You are probably thinking, but Sarah wasn’t that scary? If I am honest, yes part of me was scared because until this day, I had always worn  some sort of flotation device.

My Grandpa and Me

Grandpa and me

Then I remembered an important fact: my Grandpa was in the pool with me.  My grandpa was the best grandpa ever (in my completely unbiased opinion)!!!🙂 Ok, so maybe I am a little bit biased🙂 One fact I am completely sure of…My grandpa loves me.  He loves me so much that he would not have let anything happen to me.  It was his presence, encouragement, and love that helped me take that first step in the water that day.

I know that not everyone has/had a Grandpa like mine, can I encourage you friend? There is someone loves you more than you know (John 3:16,  Romans 5:8).  His name is Jesus.

You may be like me, and already know Jesus.  That’s awesome!!Like me, He may be asking you to go out in the deeper water and it’s uncertain/scary. When I feel that way, I often find encouragement/comfort when I look at the life of Peter.  Peter wanted to do big things for God as do I. One of Peter’s bold moves is, he asked Jesus to allow him to walk on water (Matthew 14:28-29, NIV).   Then Jesus says, “Come”. So Peter gets out of the boat and he is walking on the water (Matthew 14:29).

Until…(insert ominous music here).  He takes his eyes off of Jesus (Matthew 14:30, NIV).  How many times have you or I done something similar? God has called us to do something, we are doing it (walking in our own deep end), then doubt/uncertainty enter the situation. The good news is like  my grandpa would have rescued me and Jesus rescued Peter… He will rescue us too (Matthew 14:31).  All you and I have to is trust Him enough to take that first step, He will take care of the rest (1 Thessalonians 5:24, ESV).

I don’t know about you, but I find a lot of comfort in this verse…

 “He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it”  (1 Thessalonians 5:24, ESV).

Why?  If it had been left up to me I would probably still be in the shallow end.  I am so grateful to God for enabling me to walk out of the shallow end, one step at a time.  So let’s do this friend, let’s walk together out of the shallow end!

 

 

 

 

Becoming a woman who doesn’t quit

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Have you ever been in a situation that seems impossible.  I know I have.  Guess what? We have a sister in the Bible that I am pretty sure can relate.  Her name is Ruth.   I don’t know about you, but sometimes I forget that people in the Bible were real people not just characters in a story. That is why I love how Nicki intertwines Ruth’s story with modern day stories from her own life.

Poor Ruth had lost her husband, she could have easily chosen to quit.  How many times have you or I had the option to quit as well? If you’re like me, you don’t like feeling like a quitter.  Why is that? When we begin thinking about quitting something, Satan tries to convince us that we are the only person who struggles with this urge to quit.  This is one reason Nicki Koziarz’s new book, “5 habits of a woman who doesn’t quit” is so amazing!!  She helps her fellow quitter sisters (I am one of them) know she is not alone.

As Nicki leads each of us on this journey toward becoming women who don’t quit, she will learn how to be more like Ruth.  By learning to be more like Ruth, we will see that we too can choose to persevere, even when everything in us wants to quit.

  If you are struggling with wanting to quit today, I recommend you go pick up a copy of this book.   I am so thankful for Nicki, her book, and its message. You see, I believe together we can become women who don’t quit. Won’t you join Nicki, myself, and many other beautiful women who are becoming women who don’t quit?

Don’t think you can do it by yourself? Guess what? You don’t have to, this book is the next Proverbs 31 Online Bible Study.  If you want more info or to sign up for the study, click on the link in the previous sentence.

Heart Torn Apart

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I think we’ve all been there at one time or another…. Whether it is a new job, a move, or a loss because someone we love is moving forward in his/her life. Our hearts may feel torn.  We may feel excited about new adventures and possibilities.  Yet, moving forward may require letting go of people or places that mean a lot to us.  If you are going through anything like that today, I pray this poem encourages you friend.

“Heart Torn Apart”

 God, Today my heart feels torn apart,

I know I have to let go of what is gone,

Open my hands, and move on.

But Father, it is so hard.

Although I know my life you guard.

I am so thankful that I never go through anything alone,

That you have made me your own,

You still hold me safely in your hand,

When life may not be going how I thought or planned.

So I open my hands and give it all to You,

Because only then can I receive something new,

And do what you called me to do.

Then you can use all of it.

Blessings,

Sarah

Miracle in the Moment

Today as I was working on an activity related to the newest Proverbs 31 Online Bible Study, Becoming More Than A Bible Study girl by Lysa TerKeurst, God reminded me of something.  There are miracles all around us and in our lives.

So what does this picture have to do with a miracle?

When I was born my parents were told, “She will never write or do anything”. That is why I love this picture.  It is just further proof that God is bigger than any diagnosis or hurdle.

“With man this impossible , but with God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26, NIV).

Do you have a diagnosis or hurdle that seems impossible today? Let me encourage you, even though it may look impossible God is a God of miracles! Even the every day ones like a woman whose parents were told she never write, being able to write and the miracle of all miracles people can actually read it🙂

Lessons From Messes

Today at work several of my students made a mess.  I know what you are thinking, “So what Sarah kids make mess.  Yes it is true. Kids tend to make messes on a regular basis.  This is especially true of the younger ones.  Since I work at an elementary school I am used to cleaning up after them.

God clearly spoke to me earlier today, I was cleaning up that mess .  I was a little frustrated because the mess was made by older students.  They should know better than to leave the bookshelves a mess. Yet in their rush to find books, they left a mess behind.

So what does this have to do with God….

  • Rush: In the rush of life, I often miss  God given opportunities to love on, encourage the people around me.  It only takes a second to smile at someone instead of rushing past without acknowledging her presence. I don’t want to be one of those people who rushes through life so much, that I miss the beauty all around me.
  • Knowing Better: How often do you and I not do something we know we should? I do.  Probably more than I’d like to admit.  I know God is asking me to do something, but instead I put it off until tomorrow.Worse yet, I may never follow through which is willful disobedience, I guess.  Ugh.

The good news God forgives your disobedience and mine.  Each day we can choose to follow and see Him at work around us.   So if you’re like me and your day has been messy,  I hope you are encouraged by my messes.