Tuesday, December 21, 2010

My Life In a Song (Never Grow Up) by Taylor Swift



Once upon a time, I feared I was going to lose everyone closest to me. I thought God might just snatch me up and I'd leave all my family behind. It took forever to figure out why I was so fearful of death. Turns out, it wasn't death... it was leaving those I hold closest in my heart behind. (Morbid... who thinks of this crap.... right)?? So, I grew really attached to my mom.

There were many other reasons why I clung to her... Every play date to McDonalds in Pre-K, every slumber party in elementary school, every tear I shed during those wretched middle school years, every Wednesday for coffee dates after school, and those random days we'd drive up to my high school and decide to go shopping and out for lunch instead, she was there. Everyone tends to look at a mother-daughter relationship and think terribly of them if they admit to being best friends. Well, a best friend is someone who stands up for you, believes and supports you, loves you deeply for the person God has created you to be, and sticks it out in both the good and bad times. Yes, she is my mom first and foremost, but she is also my very best friend. I wouldn't be who I am today if it weren't for her. I wouldn't have the relationship I have with my heavenly Father if it weren't for her teaching me and pointing me back to Him in every aspect of my life. I praise God for her and thank God for my family every day. I am no longer afraid of the day when Christ calls me home; He's the reason for the life we live. All praise and thanks belongs to Him alone.

I used to wonder what God's hugs felt like every time I'd lie awake in bed at night. Sometimes I'd get up and go crawl in bed with my parents when I went through months of anxiety attacks. My mom would hug me so tight it felt like she'd never let go... and then one night it hit me and I whispered in my mom's ear, "God is hugging me through you."

No matter how difficult it is to grow up, God is always HERE.... and my night light is always on.

Scripture Says:

"Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD rises upon you." -Isaiah 60:1

"Give thanks to the LORD, call on His name; make known among the nations what He has done." -1 Chronicles 16:8

Friday, November 26, 2010

Thank You Dear God...

Once upon a time, everyone on my mom's side of the family gathered to celebrate Thanksgiving. As a little girl, it was my favorite time of the year. My uncle would pull out is tractor, hook up the wagon, and pull all my cousins around the house. My brother and I would play football out in the front yard with our older cousins. I can remember being tackled and tossed around wishing that the day would never end. Family meant everything to me. We'd play outside for hours until the adults called us inside to ask a blessing and join in our family's traditional Thanksgiving feast.

My Papa made the best smoked turkey, the kind that melts in your mouth and warms your stomach. He'd slave hours the night before as that turkey tenderized into a mouthwatering piece of meat filled with love. My cousin, Caleb always got the turkey leg, along with a picture of him stuffing his face. We'd have thick home-made mashed potatoes, gravy, green beans, cranberry sauce, dressing (made by Papa as well), rolls, Macaroni,etc... My great grandmother, Nanny, would make a scrumptious Pecan pie; the adults enjoyed it with a cup of caffeinated coffee. After everyone ate, my mom along with her brother and two sisters would sit around and talk for hours. My younger cousins napped, and the rest of us would veg on the couch watching whatever football team happened to be playing. That was our Thanksgiving... our Thanksgiving with family.

I hated the thought of going home. Every time we backed out of the driveway, tears streamed down my face. I knew as time passed life would change, Thanksgiving wouldn't be the same, and those family gatherings would become distant memories.

It seemed like forever before I learned to accept that our family had grown apart. After Nanny and Papa passed away, Thanksgiving was spent with Dad's mom and step-dad or at home (just the four of us). My older cousins were now on their own; some married, one joined the navy, and the other began his life in college. My aunts and uncles spent Thanksgiving with their spouse's family, and the traditional Thanksgiving became history.

Now all of this sounds pretty depressing, right? You are probably wondering where the "Thank you dear God" comes in...

Well, Thanksgiving is being thankful (like you didn't know that lol). God taught me that no matter how unfair life may seem; there is always something to be thankful for. So here is a shortened list of blessings I am thankful for:

1) My family!
2) The memories of past Thanksgivings!
3) The smoked turkey my Papa made!
4) The turkey my Daddy orders for Thanksgiving now (because he can't get his to taste like Papa's, not to mention it takes forever to smoke one)!
5) My life, and those in it!
6) Our heavenly Father who loves, listens, and never leaves us!

Don't forget to be thankful and count your blessings!

The Bible says:

"Your father’s blessings are greater than the blessings of the ancient mountains, than the bounty of the age-old hills..." Genesis 49:26

"The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace." Numbers 6:24-26

Thursday, October 21, 2010

God, Are You There?

Once upon a time, my brother and I were sound asleep in our favorite place to be: our parents' bedroom. I remember it like it was yesterday. It was summer time, pitch dark outside, and late at night when the phone rang. Laying there on the sofa, I jerked awake. As I opened my eyes, there above me, hovering over me and my brother, was a bright glowing figure. In my ear, it whispered, "Everything is going to be okay." Not knowing what the phone call was about, I felt a sense of peace. Turning away, I saw my daddy; his face was red and covered in tears.

His oldest sister who he held dearest to his heart was in ICU. The doctors knew she wouldn't make it. Her time here on earth was almost up. My daddy was beside himself. In any other circumstance, I would have panicked. I would have cried my eyes out immediately after seeing my daddy cry. However, God had given me a sense of peace. God who cares about each and every one of us so much, sent his angel to whisper words of comfort in my ear. My brother and I were in elementary school at the time. We couldn't have been more than 5 and 7 years of age. As the clock ticked, time stood still. I would never forget that night: the night the angel appeared.

Within a few days we were headed for Florida to celebrate my Aunt Kimmy's arrival through Heaven's Pearly Gates. So many people see funerals as depressing, a time to mourn, a time to wear black, and cry your eyes out. I'm not going to say that it's not right to think this way. However, when Jesus comes to take us home, isn't it suppose to be a time of joy and celebration? (It should be if that's where you and your loved ones are headed).

I have something unusual about myself that I'll go ahead and share with those who may find it interesting. God has truly blessed me. Some people may label it as a disability, but I would have to disagree. When I am presented with unexpected, tragic news, I laugh. In my research, I have found no name for this. Now the reason this occurs: the brain miss communicates signals. Whether or not I cry or laugh, the function is mostly involuntary. So while I stand off to the side at funerals, I am only trying to keep from looking like a jerk. Ultimately, the brain is in charge of the body's functions and emotions. The way I see it: God has kept me from a blotchy face and tear stained dress. When Jesus takes me home, I don't want people to cry! I want them to laugh, smile, and rejoice! Heaven stands free of sadness, worry, anger, and depression. Why would I want others to mourn when I'm shouting with excitement in the arms of my Heavenly Father?


After my Aunt Kimmy's funeral, my mom received a call from her sister and brother-in-law that my Papa was in ICU. Within hours, my mom was headed up to South Carolina. Praise the Lord it wasn't time for my Papa to pass; I do not think my mom could have handled it. She spent hours at a time up at the hospital, trading out every now and then with our other family members. God healed my Papa. God held my family so close to Him, we knew as children of God He would never let us go. Everything is in God's hands. If I didn't have Jesus I would have cried, worried, and panicked; but God sent me an angel. That peace that passes all understanding filled the air. After about a week, my family was back together, re-entering our comfort zone. Weeks passed, and I still thought about the angel; that night played over and over in my mind.

On lonely nights in my dorm room, I lay and wonder, "God are you there?" I can hear the noise of the cars out my window, the sound of skateboards skimming the pavement, and ambulance sirens ringing throughout the city; and then I see a flash of memories fly through my head. The Alpha and Omega, Beginning and the End, the everlasting God who sent His son to die on the cross and reigns forever reminds me.... "I am always HERE!" He never leaves and He never sleeps. Although I have seen an angel, I do want to remind you: You don't have to see to believe; believing is seeing. I believe in angels and that they are everywhere. They look out for us and keep us safe. They are God's warriors in the spiritual battle as we are His on Earth. So in case you ever wonder: Where are you God? Know that although you cannot see Him and sometimes cannot feel His presence... He is there. Your Faith will pull you through.

Scripture for the week (Your rock of foundation):

"For the mountains may depart and the hills be removed, but my steadfast love shall not depart from you, and my covenant of peace shall not be removed," says the Lord, who has compassion on you. -Isaiah 54:10

May the God of hope fill you with all the joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. -Romans 15:13

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Good Things Come To Those Who Wait...

Once upon a time, I was five years old, carrying around baby-dolls and wanting nothing more than to be a mommy when I grew up. My goal was to be married with kids by the time I'm 25. Of course remember... those are the Elementary years: girls have cooties, recess involved long games of "Kissy Face," (where the boys ran as fast as they could away from all the girls who tried to catch and kiss them), and if no one wanted to participate in the game... the girls would spend that time playing "House." I was never concerned with who I was going to marry... I figured I had plenty to choose from; the boys were so shy, you couldn't tell if one liked you or not... so you decided for them.

Example: I think Jeremy is cute! I'm going to catch him at recess but not give him a kiss. He will like me for not kissing him. I will give my friend a note to give to him that says I like him... and he will give me his candy (we got candy if we were good for our teacher at the end of the day)... and I will marry him when we grow up.


Do you ever wish it was that simple? Just go out and play a game of "Kissy Face" to pick your future husband... and he will magically be your knight in shining armor. What a dream huh? If there's anything I've learned... my life and the events that occur throughout my life are all in God's timing... NOT MY OWN! In middle school, I assumed I'd have my first real boyfriend... that sure didn't happen. I also assumed I'd have a date for my first dance in 8th grade... that didn't happen either... but I did get to go with my very BEST FRIEND!! And I danced with a guy I had no idea would be my date for Senior prom. See, there again.. I assumed I'd have the greatest boyfriend in the history of boyfriends in high school who would take me to my Senior Prom. But God had a different plan... and I'm much happier that I followed His path for me instead of my own. I couldn't have asked for a better date; he was one of my special needs kids! I've yet to meet any guy that could compare!

Now I am in college. I am a single, independent, and very passionate young girl who has spent most of my life learning how in love God is with me! Can you believe it? God who created us, created this earth, sent His son to die for our sin... is IN LOVE with me! And you know that feeling you get when you find out a guy really doesn't love you... that pain that seems as though it has ripped your heart into a million pieces? Well imagine all of those people that have rejected God... who have rejected His son. Imagine the heart ache He feels when that person dies... when there is no more hope. I have spent so much time looking for that "perfect guy," and yet all I have found is disappointment. I long for someone to care about me, care for me, and love me for who I am. And yet, I have something way better than what I find myself looking for! I have God! He loves me, He listens to me, He doesn't leave me questioning whether or not He wants a relationship, and He is there to support me ALL the TIME! So if anyone should ask me, "Sara, are you in love? Have you found someone? Are you in a relationship," I can answer, "Yes! I am in love with God! I am in a relationship with Him! I am His bride!"

I do know that God has my future husband out there somewhere. And I know that He is just as in love with God as I am. I know that God has promised me an eternity with Him. And I know His plan for my life is much better than that of my own. So for any young men that read this... where is your heart? Are you focused on God... or your own desires? Do you want a wife someday who is in love with God?
And young ladies... is God your knight in shining armor? Do you see yourself in that beautiful white wedding gown God has made just for you? Have you said, "I do?"

God
is my saving grace! He is my warrior! He has fought the battle for me and won! He is my groom! And I will love Him ALWAYS! And I will continue thanking and praising him for the man He has promised me in years to come.


The Bible says:

However, as it is written:"No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man's spirit within him? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us."
1 Corinthians 2:9-12

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:11-13

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Fall Into Autumn

Once upon a time, the leaves began to change. The old wind started to whistle again. Smells of burning wood and marshmallows filled the air. The sound of kids jumping in leaves and parents yelling, "Time to come in," rang throughout the surrounding neighborhoods. Everyone would sit down to dinner... hoping to save room for dessert. Desserts were usually pies, cobblers, or cookies (directly out of the oven). After desert, it was time to put on pajamas, wrap up in a blanket, listen to the fire crackle, and watch the seasonal Charlie Brown.

*If you've read my info, I am a CRAZED Charlie Brown fan! God bless Charles Schulz! If you do not know he is, do not fret! It's not to late! He is the author of Charlie Brown. And if you have never watched Charlie Brown, you should!

After Charlie Brown, it was time for bed... And the next morning, more leaves would cover the ground. Kids would go to school and await the final bell at the end of the day; that special "ding" that meant, school is over, time to play. From carving pumpkins, to carving the turkey at Thanksgiving, the trees grew bare. Coats, scarves, hats, and mittens were brought down out of the attic and placed in the closet, ready to be worn. More time was spent sitting in by a roaring fire than outside in the cool, crisp night air.

Have you ever thought about God as a season? Seasons change, but there is always Summer, Fall, Winter, and Spring. God is God no matter how we see Him. He never changes. But how we depend on Him can change like Summer turns to Fall, and Winter turns to Spring.

When I was 5, I accepted Christ into my heart. That was the first year of my life I really understood how important it was to have God. I saw God as my protector. He was there to scare away the "monsters" and help me to sleep good at night.
When I entered middle school, I saw God as my daddy. He was there to hold me and comfort me. I felt as though He had pulled me up in His lap and reminded me that no matter what I went through those years, He was there... holding my hand... and even carrying me through at times.
When I entered high school, I saw God as more of an authority figure. I felt as though He was teaching me, and I had better obey in order to receive all the blessings He had coming my way.
Now, I am in college. I see God as my daddy again. I see Him as my protector. And I continue to see Him as my authority. But I will always find myself depending on Him to play one role more so than the other.
I think that these past few weeks, I've sought Him out more as my daddy. He's always there for me... and He's always listening. When I'm upset, He dries my tears. When I'm happy He rejoices with me. He was God, He is God, and He will always be God... but our relationship changes and grows with the passing of years.

With the coming of every season, my faith is made stronger than before. God is my EVERYTHING and MORE. How much does He mean to you? Where are you in your faith? Can you identify your relationship with God? What role is He playing in your life at this very moment (Protector, Authority Figure, Daddy, etc...)? Now then, after you've thought about these questions, give thanks to God. Praise Him for who He is. Thank Him for the precious life He has given you. And as you sit next to that cozy fire, all wrapped up in a blanket, watching Charlie Brown, remember to count your blessings. Remember who loves you... more than you can fathom.

The Bible says:

"We know there is only one God, the Father, who created everything, and we live for Him. And there is only one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom God made everything and through whom we have been given life." -1 Corinthians 8:6


"Become complete. Be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you."
-2 Corinthians 13:11

Friday, September 3, 2010

Remembering Memories....

Once upon a time, a young girl named Sara grew up in a cozy little home with her mom, dad, and younger brother. Over the course of 18 years, they owned 5 dogs, 1 cat, 2 tree frogs (until her dad got sick of their late night mating calls), 2 goldfish, 1 aquatic frog, and 2 hamsters. Sara would go home after school, do her homework, and then run out the back door to play make believe games with her younger brother. Then they would come in for a snack... watch T.V and wait for their daddy to come home. Sara's family would all sit down at the table for dinner, and then finish out the night winding down spending time with each other. Most week nights were spent this way. You know that phrase, "Family Time?" And yet as children get older... those times become shortened... maybe not purposefully, but by the time your kids are teenagers, homework time is lengthened, friends are over more, plans are made, and yet it's expected. It's called growing up.

Now, this young girl, Sara... well she's in college now. No more make believe games, snack times, or waiting for daddy to get home. Now her daddy gets to wait for her to come home! Hard to believe... huh? I mean... time... how it passes so quickly.

*If you are lost for some reason and do not realize who this "Sara" person is I am blogging about... well, it is me... Sara... the author of these posts you've been reading :)

Now... MY POINT for this story... LOL

I'd like to use this to recall memories... I love to think back and see what all my brain has stored over the years... don't you? Maybe some of these will trigger some past times you've forgotten about, some memories... some happy thoughts that'll make you smile.

CHILDHOOD MEMORIES:

1) When I was a little girl... living in Texas... I use to love spending time with my Mama Carol and Papa Woody! One day my daddy had to go over and fix something in their bathroom, and he took me along. Mama Carol made me some of the best Vegetable Soup in the whole world!

2) When we lived in Massachusetts, I remember many play dates with my best friend at the time, Zack. We usually played House where I was the mom, he was the dad, and Will was our baby lol.

3) When we moved to Georgia... My family and I would go to the retirement home and my dad would play the piano. I would pretend I was a ballerina while my brother would throw parachute guys off the second floor balcony. (Btw... that's also where we met my beloved godparents... who worked there, not lived there lol).

4) And lastly... spending time watching Little Bear, Blues Clues, Puzzle Place, and The Big Comfy Couch while eating Chicken and Stars soup! (Which I still love to do)!

So yay for the memories and the many more to come!

Now where's the Scripture??

"The Lord is good to all, and His mercy is over all that He has made."
-Psalm 145:9

"You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands."
-Isaiah 55:12

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Reaching Out To The Lost

Once upon a time, I sat in my room wondering, "Why on earth do people have to be so mean?" It's ridiculous... people living where I am seem to have so much hate in their heart. I don't understand why. And then they take it out on others. But then, it makes sense.... these people don't have Jesus. (Not saying all non believers are haters lol) But as I've found living in the city... there's a lot more people walking around with fear, anger, sadness, guilt, and hate. So much so, that all I have to do is sit here alone, and wait for my door to open. I can almost guarantee that the person who walks in will do one of the following:

A) Begin cussing... (cussing me out... or just to themselves)
B) Start talking with a friend about having a "wonderful" time with the boy/girl friend
C) Taking out all their crap on me or whoever happens to be in this confined space.
D) Flaring his/her attitude

You know... it get's really old. But the thing I find amazing is, God deals with these people everyday. And while I'm sitting here upset and hurt... having trouble loving them, God reminds me that not only does He love each and every one of them, he hurts for them too. God has emotions, He's not some statue in the sky. When His children are hurting, sad, lost, angry, or upset... He cares. So while I sit here holding my blanket (yes I have a blanky... so what lol) wishing I was anywhere but here, God is listening. Not only is He caring for me, but also caring for the people who have hurt me. Whether I want to accept it or not, those who hurt me or my friends are hurting as well. And God is loving them... which seems so hard for us to do sometimes; love those who don't seem to love us back. You know that song Louis Armstrong sings, "What A Wonderful World?" Well, I love that song... only I think Heaven is more fitting to the world he refers too. Because this world surely isn't anything compared to the one he describes it as. Remember when I asked you to join me in praying for the lost? Well readers, this "Wonderful World" is only going to get worse until our Savior returns. And I certainly don't want Jesus to come back tomorrow if I haven't been a light for him today. I don't want to be selfish. I don't want to keep my faith to myself while others are in such need of our Savior. So no matter what these people say or do when they walk in my room, they will feel the presence of God, whether they realize it or not. And although I may feel weak and exhausted from this city mission... I am here with God as my strength, awaiting that "Wonderful World" Louis Armstrong sings about... no Heaven on Earth is not possible. But Heaven is... and with that... whenever you hear that song... think of Heaven... Not this world we're leaving behind.

And the Bible says......

"Then I will give them a heart to know Me, that I am the LORD; and they shall be My people, and I will be their God, for they shall return to Me with their whole heart." -Jeremiah 24:7

"Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these." When he had placed his hands on them, he went on from there." -Matthew 19:14-15

Monday, August 30, 2010

And Then... A Dream

Once upon a time, I lived in a nightmare. Have you ever lived in one? Have you ever felt so out of reality... stuck in a dream... down in a hole where no one can help you get out? My nightmare, well I don't care to expand on. It was in Middle School, and now I am in college. The past is the past, and now I can look back praising God for teaching me, holding me, and talking me through those crappy years. Not only was He there, He blessed me with wonderful parents who helped me through those years and constantly pointed me back to Him.

The nightmare in my life during that time seemed impossible to wake up from. It seemed impossible to be able to lay down at night and fall asleep without an anxiety attack or worry of some sort. As you've probably already read.. if you've kept up with my blog lol, I was previously a Worry Wart! So naturally, you can probably understand when I say I had trouble falling asleep at night without having an anxiety attack. Worry leads to anxiety. At least for me, that is.

When I was experiencing all those sleepless nights, my mom would remind me, "Praise God for the day you stop having them." So at night, before I'd fall asleep, I'd pray thanking God for the night I'd be able to sleep again (worry free). You know that feeling you get when you feel like you are coming down with a cold... that feeling you just can't quite figure out how to prevent? That's like an anxiety attack; preventing it seems impossible. But I have wonderful news!! God is so good! After weeks of failed attempts trying to stop my anxiety attacks by reading my Bible, praying, going outside, etc... God blessed me with an answer!

Dream:
One night, I had a dream. I was in a small room. Satan appeared and decided to make the walls of the room burst in flames. He began laughing at me. Then he set the door on fire, leaving me with no way out. Then all of a sudden, Jesus appeared. He looked at me with a smile and said, sing "Jesus Loves Me." So I did! And all of a sudden, the fire went out and Satan vanished.


The next night, I felt an attack coming on, I remembered my dream. So I began singing "Jesus Loves Me." And sure enough, my anxiety attack stopped before it started. As time passed, I learned how to keep my mind from even going into attack mode. I was able to focus and read my Bible, whereas before I was so concerned with my anxieties, I couldn't head them off in time enough. The more your attack progresses, the more difficult it is to stop them. But I am here today to say, God does not leave His children in the dark. And during that year, He taught me how to let go of myself. He grew me in my faith. He showed me how mighty He is. He cradled me during that nightmare. With every tear, with every sleepless night, He was right there. He has strengthened me. He has made me for greater things than I can imagine, just as He has made you. Living in a nightmare? Does it seem like there's no way out of that hole you've gotten yourself into? Call on Him, and I promise you, He will answer!

Bible says what?

"Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight." -Proverbs 3:5-6


"My flesh and my strength may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever." -Psalm 73:26

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Stuck in a Sea of People (1 in 1 MILLION)

Once upon a time I entered a world of LOST people. Ever feel like you are one in a million... ONE Christian in a sea of nonbelievers?? I'm sitting here in a city... I'm alone... and yet, I am not. See, I believe God put me here for a reason. I am living down here to be a witness... no tears... no anger... this world is not our home. Everyone needs Jesus... and these people don't know what they are missing! God is my strength. So as I lay here in my room, I have Jesus here beside me telling me I can do ANYTHING through Him! Don't get me wrong, I've met some amazing people... but mostly... people that need prayer.
My mission... Pray for the lost souls.

So for all of you feeling alone in his world... remember, you are not if you have Christ in your heart! He is with you every step of the way! He loves you just as much as He loves me. Feeling like you need a BIG FAT hug?? Picture yourself in the arms of our Heavenly Father! Did you feel that?? Did you feel His mighty hands around you? Did you feel His firm grip on You... because He will NEVER let go once you've surrendered your life to Him! Have you ever thought of our Heavenly Father as our Daddy? I may not have my parents right here with me... but I have my Daddy with me always! He's protecting me! His angels are everywhere!! Just like when I had that vision of angels surrounding my house... I can still feel them... only now, they are surrounding my dorm.

I was walking the streets of Atlanta today, figuring out my way around on my own... and it was almost as if I had a shield of protection around me. I ate my gelato, walked confidently through the homeless park... and made it safely back to my dorm. (Mom and Dad, if you are reading this... breathe, I've got God on my side). So those of you that are experiencing problems with putting all of your trust in our Daddy, let go... depend on Him... He will provide in EVERY WAY. He is there... waiting... listening... and yearning for us.

So when you feel sad... let Him warm your heart and bring a smile upon your face.
When you are feeling alone... remember, you are not!! He is right there beside you!
Those times when you are tired and overwhelmed... rest in Him.
But most of all... remember He is ALWAY there. Remember He loves you more than you can imagine. And Remember, He cares.

So join with me and pray!! Pray for the lost. Pray that God will reveal Himself to them. Pray that each and every person that hears of our Heavenly Father yearns for Him... that they will fall in love with our Heavenly Father... and that they will be lifted up as a child of God.

Bible time!!

"I am happy to see your good lives and your strong faith in Christ. As you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so continue to live in Him. Keep your roots deep in Him and have your lives built on Him. Be strong in the faith, just as you were taught, and always be thankful." -Colossians 2:5-7

"I am coming soon." -Revelation 22:20

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Starting A New Chapter

Once upon a time, I was a small city girl. I could run to the grocery store and see people I know. I could go out to lunch with my mom whenever I wanted. I could turn the TV to Little Bear, Little Bill, or Berenstain Bears.... and no one would care. It was my happy world... it is my happy world. And now... I am in college... now it's different. It's the BIG CITY life for me!!! It's different... and free. HOWEVER.... FREE has its stipulations. I'm free from parents... (to an extent)... I'm free from High School.... and people in my past.... I'm on my own... I'm spreading my wings... and now it's time to FLY.

But with this freedom comes its cons... it's challenges to overcome.

Let me start by saying, Praise the Lord for my parents! I love them so very much! Praise the Lord for my brother, he's my very best friend! Praise the Lord for my godparents! They are such a blessing to my family!
Now then, with that said: With college... comes temptation. Don't go telling yourself you won't experience it. You will. Don't think you are able to turn away until you have been put in the situation where your perseverance is tested. If it weren't for my parents, brother, and godparents... I don't know where I'd be. They've been such a good influence in my life! And in these first 48 hours of college... I can see God working more and more in my life with every minute. I've been in many different situations where I've already had to say no... but thankfully these people seem to respect my decisions so far... (of course there's been times where they seem so persistent in wanting me to do something or try something...) but with Christ in the center of my life, he gives me the strength to overcome and stick to my beliefs. I love my life... good times, challenging times, sad times, and wonderful in every way times. I'm a family girl... so I do miss the 6 people I hold dear to my heart... and I know these people know who they are... they're have already been mentioned lol.

But this year is another new chapter in my book with no end. I want to be the light God has called me to be. I want to be God's hands and feet. A legacy... is what I want to leave.

Remember:

"Make me to know your ways, oh Lord; teach me your paths. Lead me in your truth, and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for You I wait all day long." -Psalm 25:4-5

Monday, August 16, 2010

Freed From Worry Warts!!

Once upon a time, I was a worry-wart. YES! ME!! It was so bad... one of my childhood friend's mother gave me that nick name. She would remind me quite often... "There's no need to worry!!!" Now looking back... she was ABSOLUTELY right!! But can you honestly say that you don't struggle with worry? I certainly still do... I'm just not as bad as I used to be. (As in, that nick name finally disappeared)! Isn't it funny how easy it is to worry? And yet God makes it very clear in the Bible that we aren't suppose to!! But being human, it's almost like it's ingrained in us. It's a tactic Satan feasts on. And yet, although we know how worry makes us feel, we still can't pull away from it. (HOWEVER, If you ARE one of those people who can completely flush worry out of your system, I CONGRATULATE you)!

*Here's a hiccup in my story.. I was looking for the verse I'm about to tell you... and in looking, John MacArthur popped up! If you have not heard of him, you should google him. Here's the verse coming from the 4 part sermon he taught on The Elements Of Joy:
"Your adversary, the devil prowls about like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour." - 1 Peter 5:8

Well, if you already don't know this.. which I hope you do... It Is So Very Hard To Keep That Jerk From Trying To Steal Your Joy!! And yet, when it all comes down to it, whose decision is it whether or not our joy is robbed and replaced by worry, anger, sadness, or fear? It is ours! It is our decision. The thing I can't understand is... I know how hard it is to keep from worrying... I know how hard it was for me to lose that nick name... and how hard it is for me to maintain this "less" worry life I'm trying to live, but how can someone NOT ever struggle with worry? We are God's children, imperfect in every way. But because Christ died for us, we are cleansed from sin. We are cleansed from worry, anxiety, and fear. We may struggle with it, but God knows His children, He knows their struggles, and yet He reminds us He is in control. We are to give up our struggles and hand them over to Him.

Joy is having accepted Christ into your heart. Joy is developing a relationship with our loving Father through Christ. Joy is knowing we can come to God for anything; we can give up all our troubles and struggles; we can trust Him and put all our Faith in Him alone. So when worry enters my young mind, I am reminded, God is in control. Technically the question to be asking here is: Are you willing to accept that God is in control? If you are, then maintaining a "less worry" life shouldn't be as difficult. On the other hand, if you struggle with accepting this fact, pray. What is holding you back? What is keeping you from putting all your Faith, Hope, and Trust in your Creator, your Heavenly Father?

Now for a few laughs, MY WORRIES:

1) I was afraid to raise my hand in class in elementary school because my middle finger is taller than the rest (like everyone else's is) and I was afraid that I was telling God that I hated Him. NOT TRUE!!

2) I was afraid if I had a "perfectly" good day that that meant I was going to die or the world was going to come to an end the very next day.

3) I went through a phase where I was afraid Jesus was not in my heart because I couldn't feel Him. (So I asked Him in every night for several weeks).

4) I was afraid I'd die in a car wreck at 16, so I postponed getting my learner's permit and license.

5) I was worried that saying sorry to my parents (when I was much younger) was never good enough whenever I had done something wrong, so I'd bring them my piggy bank in repentance.

*Note to my parents: these worries were of no reflection on ya'll. These just identify the odd struggles I'd somehow developed along the way as I know you both remember having to help me surpass these pointless anxieties.

Now if that didn't make ya'll laugh.. well... I just hope it did!

And as usual... the Bible verses for today are (drum roll please)...

"Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God." -Philippians 4:6

"My heart exalts in the Lord; My horn is exalted in the Lord, my mouth speaks boldly against my enemies, because I rejoice in Thy salvation. There is no one holy like the Lord, indeed there is no one besides Thee, not is there any rock like our God." -1 Samuel 2:1-2

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Resurrection Sunday Dance, Budapest, Hungary

Once upon I time, I thought about how wonderful it would be when Jesus comes back. I thought about the family of Christ celebrating His arrival! Imagine.. thousands of people singing praise and rejoicing together. How Great Is Our God?! This video is amazing! To think this group of people is only a fraction of those who will be there in the Kingdom of Heaven come that glorious day! I spent a couple days in Budapest, Hungary. I actually walked in Hero Square and had a picture taken with a Hungarian violinist. So you can only imagine how exciting this was for me to watch...

"This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it." -Psalm 118:24



A World of Blessings

Once upon a time, I went on a mission trip to Romania. Before you go on a mission trip, those who have gone before you tend to say that it will be a life changing experience. As you board that plane, you can only hope and pray that you witness one. I believe most everyone does in some way or another, even if they don't recognize it at first. But let me just explain through a few examples.

A. I know many Americans who stress over money. I do every now and then. What is it though... this seems to be the only country whose government supports the lazy people that refuse to work. And then you have those who are working and paying taxes that are again... going to the lazy people our government is supporting. And those who have money... think they are constantly going broke. Oh but then let's not forget those who have so much money they do not know what to do with it. Those are people that need prayed for...
Then Jesus said to his disciples, "I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven." Matthew 19:23

But to all of those working, to those sitting on their lazy butts, and to those who have enormous amounts of money... go on a mission trip to a poverty stricken country! Then count your blessings. You'll see just how blessed we are to be an American.

B. How easy is it to go and speak the Truth to friends, family, and even acquaintances? On a mission trip, that may be the only thing you want to do, spread the Word. Language barriers... no problem... your determination kicks in and the Holy Spirit takes over. But how easy is it when you're not with a group of people evangelizing? How easy is it when you're on your own... waiting for a calling to share the love of Christ... especially when it seems you're the only believer in a handful of lost people? It's difficult. But then think of those who die for their faith, those who face consequences for sharing the Gospel... for believing. Answering the call to witness doesn't seem so difficult when you're not having to undergo persecution.
"For God so loved the world that he gave his One and Only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." John 3:16

For Christ suffered the ultimate death so that we may have a chance to know, love, and honor our Heavenly Father in an eternity spent with Him.

C. Look around; what do you see? What do you hear? What do you smell? What do you feel? Is your heart filled with contentment? Can you sit back and love the life you're living? Are you living your passion? After you've answered these questions, are you dissatisfied.... if so, HURRY... get up, spin around 3 times, make yourself smile for 3 minutes straight, and then pray!! Ask God how you can start enjoying life! After my trip to Romania, I am now able to answer positively to all of the above! How... I witnessed a "life changing" experience. I saw children laughing, smiling, and playing in a village where they lived in huts and walked barefoot through garbage; where they ran around climbing on rusty gates and floors with rebar sticking up. Most of the children were sick with Strep throat, terrible colds, and thin ripped clothing in 25 (degrees F) of snowy weather. They didn't know how to keep good hygiene either. And yet they were as happy as could be! Happiness is a choice. Witnessing these children live... need I say, another "life changing" experience! I shouldn't take this life God has given me for granted!!

So to keep this story going and keep the blessings spreading... and all those "life changing" experiences witnessed... here's a verse:

"Give thanks to the LORD, call on his name; make known among the nations what he has done." Nehemiah 105:1

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

My Girl: And All The Little Things In Life

Once upon a time, I worked as an intern in a high school with Special Needs teens. (Yes, I realize my last post was on Special Needs adults... but I'm really missing my work a lot here lately)!! They were the best kids you could ask for!!! There are not enough words to describe the joy I felt and still feel when I am with them. Again... this work is my passion. Along with the wonderful experiences I had when I worked with Special Needs adults.... I also had these special moments with the kids! They were just... different! And for me... it's good to see and feel differences... it helps me understand what I love about each type of work... work with adults vs. work with teens. (I say kids sometimes.. because unlike boring teens (I am one myself, so for any teens reading this: DON'T jump to CONCLUSIONS!!! lol) they still have their IMAGINATION... which sadly, we tend to lose with age). So where am I going with all this, besides the fact that I love my kids and miss them?

First off: WHAT I LEARNED

When working with these kids, I tend to forget about MYSELF. I stop worrying, and my stress level takes a drastic fall. Why? They make me happy. They make me smile when my world seems like PURE chaos! I can be myself: silly and care free, AND THEY ACCEPT ME for who I AM! So I do NOT have to think about what I do or say, they love me unconditionally... which we are to do no matter what... but yet still, we struggle, for we are still living in our flesh.

Secondly:

I love to sing! I love to dance! I love to make up jokes (which tend to be rather dry... or just plain don't make sense)! I love to cook! I love to make cards and color pictures! But with all of these things I love to do.... they love them too! Not only do they love these things, but they love to do them with me! Yes, we've had other students walk in and give us those "questionable" glances. But these kids are oblivious!! They don't care what others think! They are who they are: sweet, hilarious, lovable, kind, and generous!!

Lastly:

Just like anyone, my kids have had there moments. School is tough... it's just as hard for me as it can be for them. However what we focus on is abilities... if you focus on abilities... you forget about the disabilities. It's our motto. Although, some of the kids take a turn and start to regress, we have to focus on what they CAN do... what ABILITIES are available to maintain and build on. Not everything is great and peachy all the time..... but we STILL remain joyful. No one can rob you of your joy but yourself.

So here is a laughable moment I'd like to leave you with:

I worked with a young girl who has Down Syndrome. She was our "clown", always trying to cause trouble and bring attention to herself. I would come into the classroom to take her class to gym, and her "attention getting" would begin. She would tell me how beautiful I am and how she loved me so much. Then she'd stand up and pat me on the head. I would follow her down the hall until we reached the gym.
We tend to spend most of our time on the track. Some of our best memories were made there.
She'd ask me all sorts of questions. We'd sing out loud until most all the other students in the other gym classes were staring or laughing. And you know all those times you want to sing... but you can't remember all the words? Well.. no problems when you're with them (my kids)... see when you get to that point in the song... you just sing whatever comes to mind... whether it's "hmoevemamkeamops... or I love Michael Jackson... or Hamburgers are yummy!" and then finish whatever last lyrics of the song you can remember. No funny looks from them... it's just a song. And if you think that's laughable... try walking backwards or link arms and skip. We would pretend to be on a bus and my other kids would join in. We would play tag, "drive cars", and hide where "no one" could see us. But no matter how silly we looked... or how silly we sounded... it was FUN! And for all those jokes I loved to tell... well, I would either get a good laugh... or a...... "Silly Sara!".... And with either response, it always made me smile! The one girl that could make me so mad at the beginning of the year... ended up being one of my favorites (which I don't have *cough cough)

I learned... it's the simplest things in life that can make us happy, yet we choose by human nature to look for bigger and better. Shouldn't we be more like kids... wouldn't that make life a little more laughable? God meant for us to enjoy life!! And still, so many of us take it for granted! My goal for myself as much as it is for you: Laugh... take in the little things in life that make you happy just as much as the bigger things.

"He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with a shout of joy." -Job 8:21

"What a relief to see your friendly smile. It is like seeing the face of God." -Genesis 33:10

Monday, June 28, 2010

Amazing Anonymous People

Once upon a time, I worked with adults who have special needs. Some days were good, others... you just wanted to make it through the day. But over those several months, God put some amazing people in my life. So I've decided to tell you a little bit about these anonymous people... these beautiful, wonderful, inspiring people!

The first anonymous person... one of my favorites! For the first several weeks, this anonymous person thought I was a teacher. I would walk in, and first thing out of his mouth was, "No! No teach! No, No, No!" He refused to have anything to do with me only because he thought I was there to teach. So right off, he became my "project". Every afternoon, I'd come in and say, "Hey, and how are you?" And for weeks, it hadn't changed, it was always, "No! No teach! No, No, No!" It actually became more amusing! Until one afternoon, I walked in with my keychain hanging out of my pocket. I caught him eyeing it. And then God gave me a really good idea! "Mr. anonymous, do you like my key chain?" He looked up at me. After a minute of staring at me wide eyed, he said, "Yes! Yes!" I was curious what he'd do next, being as excited as he was. After a few short seconds, he thought I wasn't looking, so he reached out to touch my lovely keychain. It was too funny, looking at him, thinking he'd gotten away with something.... but I decided I might as well let him play with it. So I took it out of my pocket and handed it to him. I had caught him off guard. He was so thrilled, that he stopped seeing me as a "teacher". Now I was the cool Keychain girl! And as for those stressful, want to go home and crawl in bed days I'd have every now and again.... there was Mr. anonymous to remind me why I loved my job... and why "When I Grow Up.... that's exactly what I'll be doing... working with the anonymous....

The second anonymous... like they say "Second is best"... and as you can see... I don't just have 1 FAVORITE :) This one had me smiling and crying tears of joy almost every afternoon after work. It wasn't unusual coming home and seeing my face all splotchy red... this one had me so full of joy and thinking quite often, "God is AMAZING" ! He was the one that would make me forget about wanting to go home at the end of the day. One afternoon, I walked into work and there he sat with a BIG smile. He was ALWAYS the very first to say hello to me.
He usually asked, "Sara, how is your summer vacation going?
How is school?
What are you going to do this weekend?
Did you know I like your name?
Where do you go to church?"
And to the first question, I'd have to remind him it wasn't summer yet, but I couldn't wait. And as for the second question, it was usually, "I love school, because I get to come here and be with you guys!" And the third question... well that varied. The next answer was normally, "Oh, you love my name! Thanks! You are so sweet!".... which made him smile even more. But MOST important, the last question... well, we didn't really get to talking about it until one particular afternoon. And let me tell you, if this doesn't make you smile... well, it had me blubbery all the way home!

One afternoon, I walked over to where he was sitting... and his face was really serious... like he really needed to talk. I asked him what was wrong... and he said, "Sara, where do you go to church?" I smiled (at work you aren't suppose to talk about God, but a. I was interning b. they obviously couldn't fire me and c. I wouldn't have cared anyways... job or no job... talking about God is most important... and yet people tend to forget it's a. a free country and b. God is part of our Pledge of Allegiance... what our country was founded on). I told him where I went to church, Church of The Apostles. His face lit up. Then he asked very matter of fact, if I believed in God. I told him I did. But most important, he asked, "Do you have Jesus in your heart?" (See, not many people understand... Satan even believes in God... he knows God... but that's not what saves you. It's accepting His one and Only Son, Jesus Christ into your heart). After replying, YES....he told me he loved to go to church. He told me he cannot wait til Jesus comes to take us home. He said he and his girlfriend would go to church every Sunday. It was his favorite place.... and then, what broke my heart, "Sara, I can't wait! I will see you one day in heaven. We will be there together. And so will my girlfriend! Aren't you so excited?"

My intern... WOW.... (and to think that's only 2 of the AMAZING anonymous people I've met and told you about!) My passion... I couldn't ask for anything better than this... again: working with the anonymous... and Living For HIM!

So here's 2 verses for you today!

"If you do what the LORD wants, He will make certain each step you take is sure. The LORD will hold your hand, and if you stumble, you still won't fall." Psalm 37:23-24

"With God's power working in us, God can do much, much more than anything we can ask or imagine." Ephesians 3:20

Monday, June 21, 2010

Trip To The Past

Once upon a time, I was around 12 years old. My dad had a lot of business trips, and I didn't necessarily feel as safe being in a house without him. So I started praying for God to protect our house, and everyone in it. Sounds like any normal kid right?

The amazing thing about this prayer though, is that God gave me a lovely picture in my head. I saw an army of angels, facing outward, guarding the perimeter of our house. With that beautiful picture that God painted in my head, I had no trouble falling asleep all those other times my dad left. I had my own army, God's army, protecting each of my family members.

But the story has MORE! See a few years later, my mom and I brought up the topic: angels. I told her my friends and I loved to talk about angels. Then I told her the story of the first night God painted that picture of angels surrounding our house. Her mouth dropped. She asked me how many angels I saw in that "picture". I told her there were enough to completely surround our house. She asked me which way they were facing. I told her they were facing outward. And lastly she asked, "How tall are they?" I said, "As tall as the house." Her mouth formed a big smile! Her eyes became glossy, like those of porcelain dolls.

With much excitement, she looked me in the eyes and said, "I use to pray for God to protect us while your dad went out of town. One night, He gave me a vision. The vision was of angels, guarding, facing outward, as tall as our house."

God protects His children. Do you believe in angels? Do you believe your heavenly Father cares enough about you, that He would have His mighty angels watch over you?

"For He will command His angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; they will lift you up in their hands so that you will not strike your foot against a stone." Psalms 91:11-12

Thursday, June 17, 2010

A Day In The Park

Once upon a time, my friend (M) and I went to babysit. We sat for a 6 month old little girl. Her mother said we could take her on a stroll. So I scooped her up, put her in the stroller, and M and I went to the park. There we met a couple watching their great niece. She was 9 months and the cutest little thing you've ever seen. Both babies hit it off well while we discussed kids and school. Then, out of the blue, a young man appeared. He commented on the weather and how he loved that particular park while saying, "God is good". As we agreed with him, he began to turn and leave. However, instead of leaving he turned right back around and said, "I'm sorry, but I felt God was telling me to come over here and talk to you all." He began quoting scripture and as he did so, he realized he was talking to believers. You could see his face start to form a big question mark. Why had God called him over?
Without hesitation, the couple began repeating, "God is good". The husband even said he was so thankful for this moment for he believed God was showing us just how great He is by bringing us all together, not knowing anything about one another. No details were given; there was no personal relationships. We found ourselves ONLY talking about God. Then the husband said, "If Jesus came back right now to take us home, He'd see we were not discussing drugs, alcohol, etc... NO. We are discussing Him." After this amazing few minutes, the young man walked away smiling.
But this conversation wasn't over. Standing there in awe of God on this bright sunny afternoon, the husband turned to me and M and gave us his testimony!!
He was the son of a muslim priest in Africa. One night he had a dream where God was calling him to go to church. Being the son of a muslim priest, he told God he could not. Within a year his father died. So he had the dream again where God was calling him to church. He told God he could not because his brothers would leave him without his father's inheritance and there would be no way for him to survive. He told God that he would have to bring a source of income to him where anything he touched he would be able to sell. After telling God this, a few days later he found an old car battery sitting in a trash can. He decided to see if it worked. To his amazement, it did!!! So he sold it. After that, money was almost being handed to him. So he told God that seeing how He was providing for him, he would go to church. Through this, his brothers developed a fear of him. How could he leave the muslim faith and become so blessed?
Then he said to me and M, "I wondered how if I was not Christian, how my daughter could be. Then God taught me, He seeks those He calls, whether or not your family is SAVED. For God could use you to witness to your family."
It was an amazing moment, memory, story, and YES it is TRUE!! He said that converting to Christianity was a test, a test of faith. And he has found happiness and eternal joy with our Heavenly Father.

Are YOU saved? Could YOU say you are picking up your cross to follow JESUS? There is only one way to the Kingdom of God.

Jesus answered, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." John 14:5-7