encouragement, Faith, listen, My One Word, Relationships, Wisdom

I am Human

Anxiety can make you feel like you’re all alone in a room full of people, while simultaneously drowning you in wave after wave of everyone else’s needs and wants. I’m not sure when I first experienced anxiety, but I’m pretty sure I was in elementary school. Possibly as early as first grade. It likely reared up the same time as the pecking order at recess.

I do know, it hasn’t gotten better with time or maturity. Instead, it ebbs and flows, but never really goes away. The older I get, the more I notice it in my everyday life. It is no longer confined to the moments of show-and-tell, reading aloud, class projects, or being called on to answer a question. Now it is present anytime I have to be around people other than my immediate family. It happens when I know I have to run errands, change my routine, or participate in a social engagement for my children. It even happens in online discussion groups in college. The day I found out my school was moving from chat boxes to video conferencing for our class meetings, I had an epic anxiety attack. I don’t do videos, or anything that requires me to record my voice. At least not voluntarily, or without a whole lot of stress and, you guessed it, anxiety.

Though I pray about it continually, the panic and anxiety rarely disappears completely. Since the birth of my youngest, what once started out as a moderate inconvience has become something almost debilitating in its occurance. Sundays have become a struggle, because I’m torn between the need to fellowship and worship the LORD, and the desire to hide away because of the panic squeezing my heart.

Add this anxiety to the SAD that plagues me, and there are many days when the only place I want to be is curled up under a warm blanket. This might seem like a good way to spend a day, and it is when it is a choice. When it isn’t a choice the joy that would normally come with it is missing.

I have faith the LORD will help me through this season of life. He will give me the strength when I am weakest. I just need to remember to give it to Him. I am only human.

Blessings,

Sare

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encouragement, help, Joy, My One Word, My Walk, Relationships, Scripture Memorization, Wisdom

Joy During the Darkness

Each day the media gives us detailed accounts of how dark and broken our world is. Whether you get your ‘news’ from television news reports, printed newspapers and magazines, or social media–you’re being bombarded with doom and gloom. The worst minutes of strangers’ lives are plastered, shared, and argued over. There is so much heartache, and no answers or solutions coming from the people participating in the often lengthy and irrelevant comment section. Everyone has an opinion, and while we are entitled to an opinion, shouldn’t we think before stating it?

Yes, this should be obvious to everyone, but so often it isn’t. These actions can’t be laid at the feet of the unbeliever either, but rest at the dusty soles of each person. I’ve seen loudly proclaiming Christians tear people down in the guise of fellowship just as I’ve seen athiests and agnostics do it.

God created all of us, and our job is to share His gospel with others. This doesn’t mean we’re supposed to browbeat unbelievers or malign their name. Our world is currupt enough without turning our faith into a tool of corruption. When we do that, when we use Jesus as a way to bully others, we aren’t doing His works, we’re doing Satan’s.

Instead of pointing out the faults of each other maybe we, as Christians, could spread around some joy.
That’s the amazing thing about Jesus. He brings joy. People loved Him and followed Him. They were willing to give up their material possessions and their careers to join Him. They were willing to give up their lives to follow in His footsteps, to spread His teachings. This didn’t happen because He condemed each person He came in contact with. It happened because He not only had joy–even through His trials, He was joy. He was and is the light.

You, LORD, are my lamp; the LORD turns my darkness into light.
2 Samuel 22:29

During the last eight months I’ve focused on joy. Not just the word, but all that it signifies, and so far I’ve realized one very important thing. Even in the darkness that has been covering our world, there is still joy. There is still light. God is still here, with us. During each and every trial, during every painful experience, He is beside us.

That’s joy.
Knowing that this world is temporary, that the life we live on this earth isn’t the best there is, that’s joy.

Instead of pointing out the faults of everyone and adding to the darkness, choose to add light to the world. Choose to add JOY.

This day is holy to our LORD. Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.
Nehemiah 8:10

Blessings,

Sare

Faith, help, journalism, Joy, My One Word, My Walk, Relationships, The Fallen World, Wisdom

I’m Trusting in Him

Today, social media is blowing up yet again about the death of a man and the ensuing riots in the Milwaukee community. Everyone has an opinion; some with first-hand knowledge, and others (like myself) who have only heard about it through various news sites and blog posts.

What concerns me most about the posts, aren’t the facts behind the event (a man with previous criminal experience pointing a loaded gun at a Law Enforcement Officer), but the way the narrative is framed. Our society automatically adds in the race of each of the involved parties, then for added effect we’ll throw in a few derogatory terms such as “thug” or “pig”.

But no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.
James 3:8

Suddenly entire communities go on the defensive. There is no understanding or steps taken to create change. What there is instead is division. Communities aren’t coming together to talk things through in a calm and useful way; hatred is spewed from the mouths of angry citizens. Families are attacked by strangers, while simultaneously attacking others. Our words have power, and with the ease of access to outlets the internet and social media have given us, the more powerful those words become.

Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.
Proverbs 18:21

Twenty years ago, an officer may have shot someone, regardless of race, during the course of their day; if you lived on the other side of the country or the world, the probability was you’d never hear about it. The reach of words and emotions didn’t extend that far. The power wasn’t that great. Today, someone in another country can’t eat dinner without the rest of the world having access to it. People become famous off of digitally recording actions most of the world would be embarrassed by. We are a world where reality television has become an idol. We live in a time that equates fame with money and an extravagant lifestyle–religious and non-religious alike. Helping people has become another money-making empire, and is too often done as a tax write off than out of any true desire to change the circumstances of those in need.

We are broken. We’ve been broken longer than anyone reading this has been alive. We’ve been broken since Adam and Eve made their choice and disobeyed God. We’ve continued to walk a sinful and deadly path since Cain killed Abel.

No amount of police shaming or race shaming is going to fix what is wrong with our world. Neither will stereotyping, race-baiting, or hash-tagging. Truthfully, the color of a person’s skin is the least of our worries. Sin doesn’t care what color our skin is, it simply looks for a chink in our armor. We don’t need other countries to destroy us, they just have to sit back and wait for us to destroy ourselves–to allow sin to destroy us, one choice at a time.

The truth is, there is no easy answer to this. We are only human. Weak and sinful; we crave the joys of the world more than those of our forever home, and because of that, we’ll never understand why we witness our country, and on a larger scale, our world, falling apart. As a Christian, my heart clings to faith. Faith in My God who knows what happens tomorrow. Who knows where this is all going, and which person or community the lesson is for.

In Him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will.
Ephesians 1:11

Maybe it’s for me, or you, or someone none of us have met. I don’t know, but I do know one thing: I’m trusting in Him.

Blessings, Sare

encouragement, help, Joy, My Walk, Relationships, Wisdom

You’re Never Alone

In case you’re feeling terribly alone today, please realize you’re not. The LORD is with you. He has been with you since before you took your first breath. He never leaves you or forgets you. Those are human failures, and Our LORD doesn’t fail.

Be peaceful today, dear friends, and let His wonderful light shine through you.

Blessings, Sare

encouragement, Faith, help, My Walk, Relationships, Wisdom

Hashtag This.

The world is falling apart around us, and the news is overzealously covering it, social media has once again elected itself judge, jury and executioner; and God hasn’t just been forgotten, he has been turned into a disease too many people want to be vaccinated against.

Humanity’s problem isn’t guns, or even racism. Humanity’s problem is that we’ve lost sight of God. We’ve got a problem with humanity itself. Our collective moral compass has slowly lost its way, and we are navigating into even more turbulant waters. As a people we’re being divided. Everyone is taking sides, and they’ve made catchy “hashtags” to show their solidarity and commitment to their cause.

#blacklivesmmatter
#alllivesmatter
#bluelivesmatter
#policelivesmatter

God created us all. Each and every one of us. He knew this world was going to mess up again. He set His rescue plan in motion thousands of years ago, because He knew what was coming, and He wanted to make sure He protected us. We are weak, we are sinners, we are human, and He still loves us. Even while we’re destroying each other out of some misguided attempt to prove God doesn’t exist, that we’re the masters of our own futures, He’s protecting us.

With our human eyes, ears, and emotions, it might not seem like God is doing a great job with protection detail, but that’s the thing about God. He sees things in a way we could never imagine. He is our Creator, and there is not one person on this Earth that could ever love us as much as He does.

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

This battle we’re fighting right now, it needs to end; we’re wasting our time. This battle has already been won, and here’s a spoiler, our Heavenly Father was victorious.

Trust in Him.  He’s got this covered.

Now, where’s the hashtag for that?

Blessings, Sare

encouragement, Joy, My One Word, My Walk, Relationships, Wisdom

Joy?

Since my word for 2016 is Joy, I’ve spent more than an average amount of time contemplating what Joy is, and why I need to focus on these particular three letters.

While there are several good words out there I could learn from during the next twelve months (Love, Forgiveness, Understanding, Patience, etc.), they’re not the ones chosen.

Joy.

Such a small word, yet one with so much power behind it.

What is Joy? Is it just a word, a feeling, an action? Are we naturally born with it, or is it something that has to be learned? What does it feel like?

Will Joy teach my heart to feel lighter when it physically feels so heavy? Will it bring a smile to my face when I want to cry? Will it change who I am so drastically that I’ll look in the mirror and wonder who the glowing, happy, smiling person is?

For these first eight days of 2016, I’ve taken stock of each moment throughout the day to see where the Joy might be. Sometimes it seems to be obvious (I say seems to be, because honestly, I’m not sure I’ve ever truly noticed Joy the way others have); other times I question if I should consider that first bite of chocolate chip cookie as something worthy of such a powerful word.

I have ended up with a lot of questions.

Is there a gauge for measuring Joy? Is there a wrong way? A right way? Does it come from the inside only, or from outside forces as well? Is it hereditary? Can I share it with others? Once I have it, does it stay with me forever, or do I need to keep searching for it?

As this week comes to a close, I rest my questions at God’s feet. I’m sure throughout the year He will answer several of the questions, while helping me grow and change.

My prayer is that the LORD will use Joy to help me strengthen my relationships, not just with my own family, but with those who are still searching for answers only He can give.

“For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness , peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” 

–Romans 14:17

 

Sare

encouragement, Fellowship, help, Homeschooling, Motherhood, My One Word, My Walk, Parenting, Relationships, volunteering

Fellowship

In January when I prayerfully chose Fellowship as my Word of the Year, I left it up to the LORD to decide how to use it in my life. I never quite expected it to lead me where I am currently. I thought maybe it would envolve me continuing with our small group, or maybe I’d do an ocassional social event.

Apparently I wasn’t thinking large enough.

Since January, I’ve not only continued to attend small group, but I’ve been led by the LORD to do so many things I never would have considered before. Now, as we’re coming closer to the end of 2015, I’ve realized how blessed I’ve been by this word and God’s plan for me.

Each day I learn something new about myself, and each time I walk out my door and step into a situation that doesn’t allow me to hide inside my house, I grow stronger. I get closer to the person the LORD has designed me to be.

Thank you LORD for guiding me to Classical Conversations and the community we’re building here, and thank you for placing on my heart the desire to fill a role in Children’s Ministry at my church. Neither of these things would I have ever thought to do myself. You are an amazing and loving Creator.

What blessings are you thankful for?

Blessings, Sare