Fellowship, In the Beginning, My One Word, My Walk

My One Word: Fellowship.

“But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, His Son, purifies us from all sin.” 1 John 1:7

Our LORD is amazing and He works in ways we couldn’t begin to imagine. He has a plan for my life, and even though I’m not sure yet what that plan is, I know it will be amazing.

When I first chose FELLOWSHIP as my word for this year, I didn’t know what it would mean. Honestly, I’m still not one-hundred percent sure what it means or what it will mean at the end of 2015. What I do know is that I’m already seeing evidence of God’s work on me through it.

My husband and I have been attending our church since the first Sunday we were in town–so just over a year now. Our church has an active military group who meet twice a month for fellowship and study. During the last year I’ve interacted with most of the people in this group, yet never once was I aware of the FELLOWSHIP that was available. Then, this past Sunday, my husband and I were invited to join the others.

It was TIME.

A month ago, I probably wouldn’t have been open and receptive to the invitation. It was socializing, and what was even more deterring, it was socializing with other military families. Something I’ve been known to shy away from, because of a number of bad experiences in the past.

This week, my heart was open and waiting. I heard the voice inside whisper, “This is for you. Say yes.”

On Monday my husband and I, along with our two children went to our first small group fellowship, and in so many ways it was right. It filled my cup with laughter and joy. We discussed upcoming studies, and it was refreshing to know others going through the same things I was.

After an emotionally draining day, God knew exactly what I would need. He opened a door for me, and I walked through it. I can’t wait for what He’ll teach me through this experience with FELLOWSHIP.

Do you have a particular moment of Fellowship that you’d like to share? I’d love to hear about it.

Prayers to you and yours,

Sare

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Faith, God's Beauty, In the Beginning, My One Word, My Walk, The Kiddos

Push Back the Dark

Yesterday the effects of the stress and strain that’s been my constant companion the past two months won out, and it was a horrible day. I skipped my daily PIYO workout, because I knew I needed to use that single hour of ‘me time’ — the time my daughter completes her independent work, and my son naps– to connect more completely with God.

Darkness was overtaking me and I felt like I was drowning in a pit with no way to free myself. I needed help in a BIG way. Even though I keep my Faith (there’s MY word of the year!), in our Lord, sometimes I find myself holding onto too much of the burden instead of truly letting it go to him in not only word, but deed as well.

For me, it’s easy to tell Him I’m giving my troubles to him. It isn’t so easy to actually DO it. I’m finding as I travel this path, there really is a difference.

Even after my hour of quality time with the Lord, I wasn’t better. The darkness had lessened some, but it was still there. Anger still clawed at me–threatened to turn me into a raving lunatic– I still felt alone, I still felt the seductive allure of my past calling to me. “Drink, Sare! It’ll make everything bearable. If you don’t care about anything, you won’t feel anything.”

Here’s a side note. I haven’t drank a single drop of alcohol in three years. I’d like to say this happened, because I knew I had a problem, but it didn’t. I stopped drinking mostly on accident. Three years later I consider it a happy accident, but at the time I didn’t even realize I wasn’t drinking away my problems. What happened was, I got hired on as a lifeguard and took my job seriously. I didn’t have enough time between shifts to drink and still feel secure in my ability to keep people safe.

When the dark takes over, like it did yesterday, it concerns me. Not just because it’s darkness and I’m a creature of the light, but because I worry how many times this can happen before my children are scarred by it. How many “Momma is feeling dark” days can I have before all they will remember about growing up is how angry I was? Let me just say, those worries do nothing to bring me closer to the light. Those worries don’t help me push back the darkness. In fact, I’m pretty sure those worries come from another place entirely, and that’s a place I don’t want to visit.

I know I’m new to this and that even people who have known God their entire lives have days where the darkness wants to consume them. Whenever the darkness starts pushing up on me, and I need to push it away, I repeat over and over the only verse I’ve managed to actually memorize. (That’s a lot harder than my daughter makes it look while memorizing verses for Awana!)

“Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit to sustain me.”– Psalm 52:12

What are some verses you turn to when you need help to push back the dark?

Today, Lord I pray you will help me push away the darkness and allow my home to be a place of peace, love and joy. Amen.

Sare

Faith, In the Beginning, My One Word, My Walk, The Kiddos

Bible in a Year

On January first I began reading the Bible cover to cover, with the intention of finishing it by January first of 2015. Somehow, I’ve managed to fall behind, and unless I give up sleeping I won’t be finished by that day now.

Do I feel discouraged by this revelation?

Thankfully, not anymore. There was a few days there when I felt the sadness about being off the schedule, but then I realized something even more important than finishing on ‘time’. It’s reading it and meditating on the living words.

This morning my daughter asked to do her Bible study with me, and she was surprised when before I opened my Bible to read today’s selections, I prayed. She joined in with me, and I hope the LORD will move her to do that regularly, like he has with me.

When I first began this Bible reading journey, I wasn’t sure how to go about it. The few times in the past I’d tried to read the Bible it hadn’t clicked with me. I couldn’t form any type of connection with what I was reading. I didn’t want that to happen this time. So, I asked a dear friend of mine, and he told me to pray before I read. To ask God to guide me and to help me understand his Words and how to apply them to my own life.

You know what? This has made all the difference. Every day is a new adventure, and each time I open my Bible, I feel more relaxed and settled. That quiet time I have with our LORD is everything I need to make the day happier and brighter. When I get my study in first thing in the morning, the whole day goes better. When I do it later in the day, it gives me a much needed pick me up.

Will I finish the Bible in a year? No, I won’t, but I’ll learn the things God has planned for me this time through. I’ll read things that will help me get through each day, and not worry about some self-imposed time limit. Instead, for the time being I’ll enjoy the Psalms and Romans (3 chapters of the old testament, and 1 chapter of the new) and gratefully accept the blessings of the LORD.

Have you read the Bible all the way through? What is your favorite book? Could you share the verses that have helped you the most?

Many blessings,

Sare

In the Beginning, My Walk, Parenting, The Kiddos

The Promise of the Rainbow

Rainbows have always been a beautiful and amazing thing to see. Living in Washington I’ve seen a lot of rainbows. As a child I remember wanting to look for the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, believing shiny money and little leprechauns were the true treasure.

It wasn’t until recently I realized a rainbow itself is a beautiful gift from our LORD. A lasting reminder of His covenant.

I can’t wait to share this with my daughter the next time we see a rainbow.

After the flood God sealed His promise to Noah with a Rainbow

The Importance of the Rainbow

 

Genesis 9: 8-17 (NIV)

Then God said to Noah and to his sons with him: “I now establish my covenant with you and with your descendants after you 10 and with every living creature that was with you—the birds, the livestock and all the wild animals, all those that came out of the ark with you—every living creature on earth.11 I establish my covenant with you: Never again will all life be destroyed by the waters of a flood; never again will there be a flood to destroy the earth.”

12 And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come: 13 I have set my rainbowin the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. 14 Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, 15 I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life. 16 Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth.”

17 So God said to Noah, “This is the sign of the covenant I have established between me and all life on the earth.”

Beautiful Blessings,

Sare

Faith, In the Beginning, My Walk

The Jesus Diet

I need the LORD. Not just on bad days when  I've ate a Kit Kat and have come down from the sugar high, but every day.

Years ago I never expected to be the person I am today. A person who thrives on working out daily, and who is aware of the foods I put into my body. I won’t lie, I love cake and cookies, and it is a struggle to stop eating them once I start. However, a healthy diet, one that doesn’t make me crabby and lethargic, requires me to ignore those cravings and desires on a regular basis.

Now, contrary to popular belief, a diet isn’t all about denying yourself the ‘yummy’ things. In fact, a real diet isn’t about taking away. It’s about filling yourself with things that are good for you, things that make your body function like a well oiled machine. A body needs a wide variety of foods to provide nutrition and fuel. Yes, I could eat a Kit Kat bar for a quick energy boost, but because it isn’t nutritious, that energy will be short lived and cause me to feel lethargic and unhappy. For me, that usually takes less than an hour.

The same applies to our spiritual life and well being. As a Christian, I’ve realized that I function better, for longer periods of time, if I have a spiritual diet filled with prayer and Bible study. On the days when I’ve let “life” get in the way, and I haven’t made the time to seek Jesus and spend time in His Word, I feel much like I do after that Kit Kat bar. I’m unhappy, I’m lethargic, and suddenly bad habits start to slip back into my life.

My family starts noticing the difference, but more importantly, I notice the difference.

I need the LORD. Not just on bad days when  I’ve ate a Kit Kat and have come down from the sugar high, but every day. My best days are the days when I start with the LORD, seek Him throughout the day, and end the day with Him as well. When I turn to Him in joy as well as in need, and I make sure He is the center of my day, those days are spiritually filling. I’ve given my soul what it needs to be healthy and happy.

So, a Jesus diet isn’t about cutting Him out of my life, but about making sure I’m filling my life with enough of Him to keep my life running smoothly. The LORD created us to be great in Him. He doesn’t leave us alone to figure it out on our own, but He is there, always waiting for us to turn to Him.

Fill your spiritual cup with the LORD, turn to him in Thanksgiving as well as in need. Even when you don’t think you need Him, when you can find something else to give you that boost of energy–you need Him. I need Him. Turn to Him. Things are always better and more clear with His presence in your life.

A healthy diet is one filled with the LORD, Jesus.

 

Blessings,

Sare

encouragement, Faith, help, In the Beginning, Motherhood, My One Word, My Walk, Parenting, Relationships, Wisdom

My Infancy in Christ

Just like I will always be there to help my son up, or make him feel better when he is hurt or scared, I know the LORD is there for me. Loving me, caring for me, and silently giving me strength to make it through life. I might be crawling still when it comes to my FAITH, and I may crawl in circles at times, but I never stop moving or trusting that He will be there to lift me up when I need it.

The other day I was watching my son play on the floor. He’d head for a toy, then suddenly veer a different direction and go for something else. His ten-month-old attention span got me thinking about my own attention span. 

Especially when it comes to Faith.

 This journey I’m on is different than anything I’ve experienced before. In a very real way, I’m an infant in my relationship with Jesus. I find myself crawling toward one idea, then something else catches my attention and I follow that.

There are times I wish I were more focused, and didn’t jump from idea to idea, and thought to thought; I am doing this for the right reasons, and I’m doing it with God before me, not behind me. 

I am taking my cues from Him.

It seems to be working out well, so far.

Some days are harder than others. There are days where, like my son I fall down and land on my butt. On those days I do just what he does, and I get up and try again.

I Know the LORD is There for Me

Just like I will always be there to help my son up, or make him feel better when he is hurt or scared, I know the LORD is there for me. Loving me, caring for me, and silently giving me strength to make it through life. I might be crawling still when it comes to my faith, and I may crawl in circles at times, but I never stop moving or trusting He will be there to lift me up when I need it.

Many blessings,
Sare

Church Wisdom, Faith, In the Beginning, My Walk

Walking in the Desert with Jesus

Reading about Jesus' time spent in the desert, and how without fail He stood up to Satan and his promises of glory and power, has made me even more grateful to be a daughter living in the New Testament Times.

Our LORD, Jesus spent 40 days and 40 nights fasting in the desert. Something some might think He didn’t need to do. For instance, if I were to walk a mile in His sandals, and I knew I only had a few years to get my work done, I’m not sure I would have taken the time to go out into the desert alone. I would most likely have been trying to find all the right people to make things happen. I’d be out there putting up “Help Wanted” fliers, and searching out my Disciples–possibly eating as many chocolate cookies and cakes dipped in chocolate, and served with a side of chocolate, as I possibly could.

This of course, is just one of an unimaginable number of reasons why Jesus is Jesus, and I’m just a daughter trying to live my life in a way that would be worthy of His grace.

He went out into that desert because he was “led by the Spirit” (Matthew 4:1). It didn’t matter that He was on a time crunch, or that He already knew what His future held. He followed the Spirit, straight into 40 days and nights of hunger, only to be met on the other side by the slick serpent, Satan (now you try saying that ten times fast).

Reading about Jesus’ time spent in the desert, and how without fail He stood up to Satan and his promises of glory and power, has made me even more grateful to be a daughter living in the New Testament Times.

I’ve been doing some thinking on this, especially after Pastor R asked if anyone had been led to the desert, and what happened from it. At the time, I didn’t really have an answer. Especially since, I have never gone a week without food, never mind five weeks (and yes, I’ve got a tendency to be a little too literal. Something God is helping me with). I’ve realized though, that I do have an answer. Several, actually.

Being new to this walk, I don’t always see the proverbial forest for the trees. I don’t always see what is right in front of me. Not until much later, when, while doing what must be my 4,000th weighted elevator squat, the answer smacks me between the eyes.

Before my little family moved back to the PNW, we lived in a tiny little town in the high desert of Southern California. This place was often referred to as Satan’s Arm Pit. Not to be confused with Satan’s Butthole, Death Valley. This town was desolate, dirty, and lonely. The buildings were run down and the locals were mostly consumed by their need for Meth or whatever other drug they could put into their already ravaged bodies.

The four years we spent in that particular desert, were what I credit as my saving grace. They were my time of fasting. We had been placed there for a reason. I hadn’t heard the actual command to go there. I hadn’t even realized we were being led there. We went because that is where the Marine Corps sent us.

It was while we were there I realized something was missing from my life. There was a huge gaping abyss inside me that nothing seemed to be filling. I was thirsty, but I didn’t know for what. The day we found out we were heading back to the place I’d run from nine years ago (hello, liquid sunshine and evergreen trees), was the day a light went on inside my heart. That thing I was missing. That thing that would fill the black void inside me. It wasn’t a thing. It was a greatness, a joy, a forgiveness. It was God.

Obviously, I hadn’t been listening. God had sent my husband and I into a real desert, because I’m incredibly good a denial and God must have realized a figurative desert wasn’t going to be enough. I’d been blocking all His little nudges, all His taps on my shoulder. He needed me in that desert so that the blinders would fall off. It was that desert that led me to this path.

So yes, I’ve been in a desert. I walked that desert and came out the other side. I’m stronger for it, just like Jesus was.

We’ve all got our personal deserts to go through, just remember while you’re walking along those scorching dunes of sand, you’re not alone. You’ve been led there, and God would never leave you alone to navigate alone.

Blessings and Love,

Sare