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

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encouragement, Faith, Loss, My Walk

Happy Birthday

Today would have been my father’s birthday. I’ve been aware of the date my whole life, and for the past few weeks I’ve seen the date staring at me from the calendar. Up until this morning I hadn’t realized it would be so hard to breathe when the day actually arrived.

It became very obvious this morning when I woke and realized I wouldn’t be contacting him for our yearly conversation on aging and the unimportance of celebrating birthdays after the age of 21. I wouldn’t hear him chuckle over the phone when I asked what he wanted for his birthday, and there wouldn’t be a gruff reply of “new eyes” or “working ears”.

Grief is amazing when it hits. The feelings can blindside you, and leave you groping for a foothold. For me, I often don’t realize it’s hit until I can no longer see for the tears. I’ll be a curled up mess on the floor, the bed–or when I’m really lucky (and by lucky, I mean not at all)–in the car driving through the rain in crazy “Oh my goodness, it’s raining!” Pacific Northwest Traffic.

My grief today has been like a world-class roller coaster. The loops alone would leave even the biggest thrill seeker checking their throat for their stomach.

I know healing takes time, and on most days, I’m good with that. Today however, I’d love if grief would show itself to the door so my lungs could resume functioning properly again.

There’s always tomorrow, right?

Until then, Happy Birthday, Daddy.

I ask you to guide me through this day LORD. Help me to see the light through the darkness, and to embrace joy rather than crushing despair. Amen.

Faith, God's Beauty, My One Word, My Walk

A Year of Walking in Faith

For those of us who don’t plan on being awake at midnight tonight, tomorrow begins the first day of a brand new year. I’ll have to remember to write 2015 at the tops of my school papers and just when I get used to that it’ll be 2016. Such is the ongoing cycle of life.

This past year has been filled with experiences, both good and bad. I began the year, not with a list of resolutions, but with a single word to focus myself throughout the twelve months of 2014. As many of you who have followed my admittedly sporadic posts know my word for 2014 was FAITH.

When I chose FAITH, I didn’t know how it would affect my life. I just knew that after prayerful consideration I felt led to choose it. Through those five little letters I grew and changed just as the seasons around me did. I learned more about myself, about God, and about the wonderful strength having a little bit of FAITH can bring.

Things happened during the year I’m not yet free to speak about, and truthfully might never be. However, I know, without a doubt, that without the LORD and FAITH I wouldn’t have made it through without a lot worse scars. I wouldn’t have had the strength to face the pain, the horror, and the heartbreak that hit my family. I wouldn’t have had the strength to stand strong for my family.

What started out as a word, became a living experience each day. FAITH was no longer just a word, but a natural part of who I now am. Each day my FAITH grows stronger and deeper. As I watch people I know change and become more bogged down in the world, my FAITH in God and His plans grows. As our society tears itself apart at the seams with racial tensions and anti-law enforcement protests, I have a strong FAITH in the plans the LORD has. I can’t explain the reasons, or why FAITH is so important, I just know it is.

I started out the year with no answers to the problems facing the world today, and I still don’t have them. What I do have though, is a FAITH in a Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. He carries the burdens of the world, so that we don’t have to. Is every day sunshine and lollipops? No, but they are made brighter by the unconditional love and forgiveness the LORD has given me.

So as 2014 fades away into the darkness and 2015 rises into the light, I have prayerfully considered what word will guide me through the coming year.

I am not a particularly social person, and I prefer my own company or the company of my husband and children to that of others. I prefer the solace of my home to the bustling energy of public gatherings, but regardless of these facts, I feel God has led me to focus on FELLOWSHIP in whatever ways He decides throughout the year.

I have no doubt that the next twelve months will be just as educational and enlightening for me as the last twelve were. I look forward to each lesson God will teach me and pray that I never turn my back on His teachings.

With Prayer and Love for you in the New Year,

Sare

“For to us a child was born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on His shoulders. And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6

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, My One Word, My Walk, Parenting, The Kiddos

When Your World Crumbles

What do you do when your world crumbles and turns to dust? When everything you’ve ever known, or thought you knew is destroyed by actions out of your control?

Recently, this happened to my little family. In a big, big way. Our lives were turned upside down by the selfish and unconscionable actions of another person.

What did I do? What did we do? We turned to God. A year ago I don’t think I would have made that decision. A year ago it is likely I would have ended up in a dark and lonely place that would require hundreds of hours of therapy, and having to search for the desire to climb back to the light.

It is such a blessing to realize how different, how much lighter my life is with His love. Even though things can’t be undone, and those actions have affected multiple families, my heart is filled with forgiveness and joy.

God hasn’t left us. He never will. He will be there holding our hearts so we don’t lose the pieces as they crack, because of the sinful nature of the world.

Even in this time of darkness, His light shines on.

Blessings to you and yours,

Sare