encouragement, Faith, Fellowship, God's Beauty, Husband, Marriage, Relationships, volunteering, Wisdom

God’s Work in My Family

Since the day I got down on my knees and asked Jesus to guide me through this life, to save me from the person I’d become, and to fill me with his Holy and loving Spirit, I’ve seen my life change before my eyes. Some days are easier than others, but each day brings me closer to His presence.

It doesn’t end there, though. I’ve seen His work in others in my family as well. I’ve seen it in the way my daughter is growing; always thinking of others who might not have the things she does. She always searches for ways to be of help, either to me, her brother, or a little kid at the park who seems lonely.

God isn’t just working in her life. He’s working in the heart of my husband as well. In the beginning he went to church, because it was what I wanted to do, and he wanted to be there for me. He didn’t care which church we went to, and would have preferred if I’d chosen a Catholic church. I didn’t, and I don’t ever regret that decision.

He has become a different person. He no longer attends church just because I want to. In fact on those days when I’ve become too overwhelmed by people and desperately want to stay home and spend solitary time with the LORD, he’ll motivate me to get dressed and go (sometimes even he can’t get me to go for fellowship, because sometimes I just need the silence and the personal time with my Bible and the LORD).

Recently, I feel God placed in his heart something I never could have on my own. My husband felt called to volunteer, and he looked into opportunities and found the one that he felt in his heart the LORD was leading him to. On Monday night he spent time at a men’s home helping with dinner, and spending time getting to know the men living there. He came home tired but filled with a new light. I look forward to the changes the LORD brings to my family and myself.

Praise the LORD!

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God's Beauty, My Walk, Uncategorized

God’s Garden

I view my relationship with God much the way I imagine the relationship between a gardener and their beautiful garden. I say imagine, because honestly most of my life I’ve had a black thumb and couldn’t keep a cactus alive. Recently though, I’ve managed to care for a bamboo plant and an aloe plant. Much to my joy and amazement they’re both thriving. I see these plants as a direct representation of my growth with the LORD. The more I grow and thrive, the more my plants seem to as well.

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Now, I’m assuming any good gardener would know something about pruning their flowers (I haven’t gotten to this stage with my own plants, and I probably should since the Aloe has multiplied and outgrown its home). As a glorious and blooming flower in God’s garden, I’ve been pruned on several occasions. Many of those times I didn’t even realize happened until much later. A few of them, however, were painful.

When I was in high school, I had my whole life planned out to the very last detail. There was no question in my mind about who I was, where I was going, and who I would be in the future.

Do I even need to say that God was in no way involved with these plans? No, I didn’t think so.

I joined the National Guard at seventeen with the intention of the U.S. government paying my way to a degree in Criminal Justice. I was going to be the youngest homicide detective in the Los Angeles Police Department, and I was going to make a difference in the world.

Fast forward a dozen or so years to this moment, and laugh with me.

Between the year 2000 and 2015 the LORD did some serious pruning to this little flower. Not only did the National Guard and I part ways early on, but so did my plans of being a homicide detective (let alone the youngest one). Not only did God cut away those plans, but he made a few more snips to dreams and experiences that at seventeen I hadn’t even thought of.

When I was in my early twenties my high school sweetheart and I divorced in a less than amicable fashion. Snip. Before I had time to truly come to grips with the knowledge that I had become a statistic, I was devastated by the loss of my son. Snip. This was a turning point in my life. A turning point that at the time looked like it was leading me down a dark and dangerous path. Snip. Snip.

People grieve in different ways. Some turn to God, some turn to counseling, and some turn to other more destructive means.

I was the latter.

“In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it. You said, ‘No, we will flee on horses.’ Therefore your pursuers will be swift! A thousand will flee at the threat of one; at the threat of five you will all flee away, till you are left like a flagstaff on a mountaintop, like a banner on a hill. Yet the LORD longs to be gracious to you; therefore He will rise up to show you compassion. For the LORD is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for Him!” Isaiah 30:15-18

Looking back at my choices brings me powerful guilt and shame. It makes me wonder how God could ever have forgiven me, or for that matter how those choices shaped me into the person I am today.

The answer is easy to know, but not always easy to accept.

God loves me (and each and every one of you). All those painful moments, those late nights, those heartaches, and bad choices; the destructive actions, the selfishness and bitterness, the hate and anger, and the reveling in sin and discord those were little bits of me that needed to be snipped away so I could grow into a healthy, happy, and God-honoring woman.

“How gracious He will be when you cry for help! As soon as He hears, He will answer you. Although the LORD gives you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, your teachers will be hidden no more; with your own eyes you will see them.Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it.” Then you will desecrate your idols overlaid with silver and your images covered with gold; you will throw them away like a menstrual cloth and say to them, ‘Away with you!'” Isaiah 30:19-22

I’m not a homicide detective, the U.S. government didn’t pay for my degree (in fact I’m not quite finished with my Journalism degree yet, and it’s likely I’ll be paying it off until my children graduate college), I don’t live in Los Angeles, nor do I have any desire to EVER live there, unless that is where the LORD sends me; and if I’m making a difference in the world it is through the raising of my children to be good people who love the LORD and help those who need help.

Every day God continues to prune me. Each day I grow a little brighter, a little healthier, and a little stronger, because the LORD is snipping away the old parts to make room for new growth. I am a beautiful flower in the LORD’s garden, and I wouldn’t wish it any other way.

In what ways has God shaped you?

May the LORD bless you,

Sare

Faith, Fellowship, My Walk, Scripture Memorization

Lessons Through the WORD

A week ago I stumbled upon a blog post talking about the importance of memorizing large sections of the Bible, not just a single verse, but the surrounding verses as well so that you would have a better understanding of the context. Now, I’m not particularly good at memorizing things, (I’m a mother, and many of my brain cells seemed to have been given to my children. At least, that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it.) but I decided to give it a try.

The post recommended a person begin with Psalm 100, because it shows Thanksgiving and Joy. It really is an amazing chapter to memorize.

So far, I’ve managed to memorize the entire thing EXCEPT the final verse. “For the LORD is good and His love endures forever, His faithfulness continues through all generations.” Psalm 100:5 The first four verses locked themselves in my heart and mind rather easily, but not verse five. I’ve been working on verse five for the past three days.Those sixteen words keep slipping away. Just when I think I’ve got them down, they disappear like the stars behind clouds. I know they’re still there, I just can’t see them.

This got me thinking. These words must be important. I mean, really important. If the LORD has kept them in front of me, niggling at me, I must need to study them more. There is a lesson within those sixteen words that I need to accept and understand. I think once I do they’ll embed themselves into my memory without a problem.

Things have been difficult on an emotional level the past few months, and I think these words are the key to my healing. To acknowledge that no matter what is going on, the LORD is good and His love endures forever.

It’s time to take this to heart.

Is there a verse or section of verses that you’ve found particularly helpful to your life? Have you memorized them? Share them in the comments below. 🙂

May the LORD bless you today and always,

Sare

Faith, My Walk, Parenting, The Kiddos

Loss

On December 30, a dear friend of my niece’s went home to the LORD. She was a young woman with plans and dreams. She was a new mom with a little boy about the same age as my own son. Her loss was as unexpected to her family as it was to my niece. Although I didn’t know her personally I’d like to take a moment to pray for those affected by her loss.

Please, join me in praying for her family and loved ones.

Heavenly Father,

May her family and loved ones find peace in Your Greatness. May their hearts be filled with happy memories of her love and laughter. May her son grow up hearing wonderful stories of her love for him. LORD I ask that you comfort her family and friends while they grieve and help them to find solid ground once again.

Amen.

Sare

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

Homeschooling, My Walk, Parenting, The Kiddos, Traveling

Joyful Hearts

The public school here has been in session since the 5th, and every day I am thankful for the Lord placing homeschooling on my heart.

I’d love to say each day is a picnic on the beach (one where sand doesn’t get all up in your potato salad), but really, what part of life ever is? Miss K and I are finding our rhythm and learning how to learn together. This is made a little complicated by the now walking and getting into even more mischief, Mr. D.

The Mister has been away at another school for the Marine Corps, and our little family has felt a little smaller without his larger-than-life presence.

While we deal with the responsibilities of daily life, as well as the new found availability of snuggles in our home, we have the Lord to thank for all these blessings.

Every night my heart grows a little happier as I listen to Miss K saying her prayers. She always prays for her daddy and that he will do well on his tests and will stay safe while he is gone.

We are all growing in our prayer life, and when we say grace we have started adding one thing each we are personally thankful for. Little things like being thankful for the sunshine, or being thankful for the game we got to play.

So, while we are always growing and changing,  and with those things often come discomfort, we are grateful for the new closeness and love that is flourishing within the walls of our home.

May you and yours be blessed,
Sare

My Walk

Stomach Bug Blessings

My family and I have been battling the stomach bug for the last week. It started with our son (who turned ten months on the sixth), and is ending with my husband. I think I feel worst for him, because as a Marine he doesn’t get to stay home when his body revolts against him.

I found that even while I was sleepless from hourly trips to the bathroom, and sore from the dry heaves when my stomach was empty, I was grateful. I was blessed. 

God has blessed me with a hearty immune system so that even though I got hit with the flu, I got over it quickly. He has blessed me with a strong and loving husband, who went without sleep so he could care for my daughter and me. And God has blessed me with a home, electricity, running water, and all the things others don’t have. So while I felt miserable, I knew God had provided for me. I wasn’t sick, alone, living on the streets. I had a safe place to rest and get better. 

Somehow, that made me feel better. Even if I couldn’t keep anything in my stomach.

Blessings,

Sare