not one single thing

Hi friends,

I posted earlier this week and mentioned I was going to share about the hard season I’m facing. There’s really no exciting way to say this: I have been facing anxiety.
I have friends and family that have experienced anxiety as well, so I know that this is nothing new under the sun. It’s just new for me. And I hate it. It just sucks.

The anxiety arrived out of nowhere. My heart pounds, my fears are raging, my thoughts are scrambled, and I feel on the verge of tears. I am just fragile and weak. It’s extremely frustrating and almost crippling. Like I said, it just sucks.stamped.jpg

And honestly, there is not one single thing causing my anxiety. I can’t point to one thing and conclude that that is the thing wearing on me. There are layers there. Many, many layers. However, I think underneath all the layers is unbelief.
Unbelief that God is in control, is good, is enough, is everything I need. My heart is not believing these truths and that is sinful.

And in the midst of this unbelief and suffering (because that’s truly what it is), I am praising God for four things:

  1. I am praising God for the grace and fogiveness found in Jesus. It’s amazing that God never leaves me no matter how unbelieving my heart is. Grace upon grace.
  2. I am praising God that I have been able to share these feelings with many close friends and family. I have truly felt their prayers and there are no words for how helpful they have been. It’s so comforting to know I’m not praying alone.
  3. I am praising God for my husband. He talks me down, reminds me of the truth, and loves me so well. He knows there are times to let me cry and times to kick my butt (figuratively, of course). He listens even when I don’t know how to communicate.
  4. I am praising God for His Word. Without a doubt, I could not be getting through each day without God’s Word. This is good for me to experience because there have been SO many days that I can get through without Scripture. That is heartbreaking and not the life I want to live.

The fact is, anxiety is normal. But just because it is normal does not mean I shouldn’t battle it to the death. Anxiety/unbelief is battled by grace and grace alone. It is by God’s grace that I can meditate on God’s Word and ask for the help of His Holy Spirit. By His Word, God promises to wipe away my unbelief so that I can see clearly. And the Holy Spirit sanctifies me through this.

Here are some of the Scriptures that have been so helpful for me during this time:

  • Pslam 103: 2-5
    Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
  • Pslam 34: 4-5
    I sought the Lord, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed.
  • Hebrews 4:2
    For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
  • Mark 9: 24
    Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, “I believe; help my unbelief!”
  • Psalm 38: 9
    O Lord, all my longing is before you; my sighing is not hidden from you.
  • 2 Corinthian 4:16-18
    So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.

parker 5

If you have ever faced anxiety, I am so sorry. I feel your pain and it is terrible. We always have good news in Jesus, promises in the Word, and prayers on our behalf. We can rest in the gospel always.

I will be praying for you as I pray for myself.

xo sarah

gospel wednesday

GWGood morning friends,

I am so excited that December has started. And what did the first few days out here in sunny San Diego bring? RAIN, sweet, rain! I love how it feels chilly and fresh outside. I can hear it dripping outside my window and I love every second of it.

I am also so excited I started reading a devotional for the month of December. It’s called The Dawning of Indestructible Joy and John Piper wrote it for the advent season.

Screen Shot 2014-12-02 at 11.09.55 PM

From the definition above we can see that advent means the arrival of something amazing. Something beautiful. Something new. Or should I say someONE.

As a follower of Christ, I celebrate advent in December because of the arrival of Jesus . The arrival of Jesus provided the most notable thing to have ever happened – the gospel. The arrival of Jesus provided us with an indestructible joy – the gospel. The arrival of Jesus is why we celebrate Christmas at all – the gospel.

Please join me in reading this daily advent devotional. It’s not too late to catch up…it’s only December 3rd! Click the picture below or HERE to download the FREE PDF.

full_the-dawning-of-indestructible-joyIn closing, I hope to encourage you with a Scripture from the book Introduction:

“The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we
have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the
Father, full of grace and truth. . . . For from his fullness
we have all received, grace upon grace.”
JOHN 1:14–16 AMEN.

I will praying for FULLNESS for you and your family this advent/Christmas season.

xo sarah

gospel wednesday

GW

This week I have been dwelling on God’s generosity. He has been generous to me in so many ways: in providing me with Jesus, my Lord and my salvation; in giving me my sweetheart of a husband and loving family; in my church and in my home; in my job and finances; in His Word and the Holy Spirit; in the rocks that cry out; the list goes on and on.

In all of God’s generosity and the good gifts that He has given me, I need to remember to worship the Giver of the gifts and not the gifts themselves. I need to remember that amongst the many blessings that He has so lovingly given to me to steward, my soul is (and can only be) satisfied in HIM alone.

The hymn below is written my The Gettys and is titled, My Worth is Not in What I Own. Please follow this link to hear how beautifully it has been put to music. And see the lyrics below to encourage your soul. Your worth is fixed and your ransom is paid – at the cross! AMEN! He has been generous indeed!

My Worth is Not in What I Own

My worth is not in what I own
Not in the strength of flesh and bone
But in the costly wounds of love
At the cross

My worth is not in skill or name
In win or lose, in pride or shame
But in the blood of Christ that flowed
At the cross

I rejoice in my Redeemer
Greatest Treasure,
Wellspring of my soul
I will trust in Him, no other.
My soul is satisfied in Him alone.

As summer flowers we fade and die
Fame, youth and beauty hurry by
But life eternal calls to us
At the cross

I will not boast in wealth or might
Or human wisdom’s fleeting light
But I will boast in knowing Christ
At the cross

I rejoice in my Redeemer
Greatest Treasure,
Wellspring of my soul
I will trust in Him, no other.
My soul is satisfied in Him alone.

Two wonders here that I confess
My worth and my unworthiness
My value fixed – my ransom paid
At the cross

Isaiah 53:11 – “Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied; by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant, make many to be accounted righteous, and he shall bear their iniquities.”

xo sarah

gospel wednesday

GW

Good Morning Friends!

A couple of weeks ago I was on a walk with a close friend and we were discussing something that we both had in common. Something that is new and amazing. Something that doesn’t come around in every season of life. Something that seems too good to be true.

Contentment.

Screen Shot 2014-10-28 at 10.09.14 PM

It’s hard to specifically describe what has happened in my heart, but something has definitely occurred and I am so grateful. The most wonderful part of this contentment is Who my happiness and satisfaction has ultimately come from…but more on that in a moment.

For a few years now I have really struggled with feeling like I just couldn’t get to where I needed or wanted to be. I desired to be valuable in terms of my job status, living situation, take-home salary, and personal achievements. I was very concerned with impressing and attaining the approval of my family, friends, and acquaintances. And for a few years now I haven’t had the ability to shake a person’s hand and present myself with a, “Hi, I’m Sarah and I do something super important sounding for 40+ hours a week and I make a great salary,” or “Hi, I’m Sarah and I accomplished exactly what I expected I would at 26 years of age.” Writing it out is funny because I know how silly, empty, and misguided it really is.

It has been a hard few years for me with lots of rejection and many tearful conversations. I knew the truth that satisfaction can only be found in my God and King…but at the same time I guess I didn’t fully believe it; it wasn’t sinking in. God has been trying to show me time and time again, through MANY shut doors, that who I am in Him (forgiven, alive, loved, adopted, redeemed, rescued, protected, provided for, wanted, righteous, His daughter) and who I belong to is infinitely more valuable and incredibly more important.

So how have I been able to experience contentment NOW, after all those years of rejection, discontentment, and misguided desires? The answer is simple: Jesus carried me. Jesus never left me and never let me go. Jesus brought me through and showed me His grace. Jesus taught me that satisfaction, true satisfaction, can ONLY be found in HIM and His love displayed on the cross. I have used this verse so many times to describe God’s love because it never returns void: Romans 5:8 – “God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

That being said, there is no special pill or 5 step plan to true contentment. The way to contentment, or a state of happiness and satisfaction, is found in Jesus. Spending time reading Scripture, praying to God, and being in community with other believers – these are essential as well. But at the end of the day…the only thing we can be truly satisfied in is our Maker, our King, our Jesus. To quote John Piper, “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him.”

As my friend and I continued to walk and talk about what God has been doing in our lives we encouraged one another in the contentment He has given us for this season. We were both stirred up to be so thankful. God has humbled both of us so that we can see His goodness, mercy, perfection, and immeasurable love. It is my prayer that whoever is reading this might find contentment in Jesus as well. He is SO good!!!

Please be encouraged by the Scripture below and reflect of God’s greatness, holiness, trustworthiness, faithfulness, thoughtfulness, planning, generosity, creativity, and power. Be satisfied in HIM.

PSALM 104

O Lord My God, You Are Very Great

Bless the Lord, O my soul!

O Lord my God, you are very great!

You are clothed with splendor and majesty, covering yourself with light as with a garment,

stretching out the heavens like a tent.

He lays the beams of his chambers on the waters; he makes the clouds his chariot;

he rides on the wings of the wind;

he makes his messengers winds, his ministers a flaming fire.

He set the earth on its foundations,

so that it should never be moved. You covered it with the deep as with a garment;

the waters stood above the mountains.

At your rebuke they fled; at the sound of your thunder they took to flight.

The mountains rose, the valleys sank down

to the place that you appointed for them. You set a boundary that they may not pass,

so that they might not again cover the earth.

You make springs gush forth in the valleys; they flow between the hills;

they give drink to every beast of the field;

the wild donkeys quench their thirst. Beside them the birds of the heavens dwell;

they sing among the branches.

From your lofty abode you water the mountains; the earth is satisfied with the fruit of your work.

You cause ithe grass to grow for the livestock

and plants for man to cultivate, that he may bring forth food from the earth

and wine to gladden the heart of man,

oil to make his face shine and bread to strengthen man’s heart.

The trees of the Lord are watered abundantly,

the cedars of Lebanon that he planted. In them the birds build their nests;

the stork has her home in the fir trees.

The high mountains are for the wild goats; the rocks are a refuge for the rock badgers.

He made the moon to mark the seasons;

the sun knows its time for setting. You make darkness, and it is night,

when all the beasts of the forest creep about.

The young lions roar for their prey, seeking their food from God.

When the sun rises, they steal away

and lie down in their dens. Man goes out to his work

and to his labor until the evening.

O Lord, how manifold are your works! In wisdom have you made them all;

the earth is full of your creatures.

Here is the sea, great and wide, which teems with creatures innumerable,

living things both small and great.

There go the ships, and Leviathan, which you formed to play in it.

These all look to you,

to give them their food in due season. When you give it to them, they gather it up;

when you open your hand, they are filled with good things.

When you hide your face, they are dismayed; when you take away their breath, they die

and return to their dust.

When you send forth your Spirit, they are created, and you renew the face of the ground.

May the glory of the Lord endure forever;

may the Lord rejoice in his works, who looks on the earth and it trembles,

who touches the mountains and they smoke!

I will sing to the Lord as long as I live; I will sing praise to my God while I have being.

May my meditation be pleasing to him,

for I rejoice in the LordLet sinners be consumed from the earth,

and let the wicked be no more!

Bless the Lord, O my soul! Praise the Lord!

PSALM 104

Many prayers to you.

xo sarah

gospel wednesday

GW

Today’s post might be a bit controversial, but it is a desire of mine to see God’s good truth proclaimed boldly and in grace. I was inspired by the quote below:

false belief

 

What are your initial thoughts after reading it?

For some of you, this may be encouraging and empowering. You may have faced a lot of hurt or abuse in a relationship. You may have been sinned against and treated with hate. You are possibly reading the quote again and finding that it sounds freeing to be able to take control of your life in such a way. If that is you, I am so sorry for your hurt and your pain. I am so sorry that you have been sinned against and taken advantage of. That pain is real and sin deserves punishment. (Romans 6:23) But, please, stay with me as I share some of my own thoughts on the matter.

I do not like this quote all. In my eyes, this quote is anti-gospel and self-absorbed. I am not unaware that we have all been hurt and that there are people in our lives who make almost everything hard. Trust me, I get that. However if God, the TRUE “CEO” (But, He is so much bigger than that man-made term) of this universe, acted in this way, then we would all most definitely be terminated. Why is that? Because we have all sinned against God in the worst and most horrific way; by killing His Son whom He sent.

See how Jesus was wrongfully accused in Luke 22:23-24 :: A third time he said to them, “Why, what evil has he done? I have found in him no guilt deserving death. I will therefore punish and release him.” But they were urgent, demanding with loud cries that he should be crucified. And their voices prevailed. So Pilate decided that their demand should be granted.”

And how he was mocked and beaten in Matthew 26:65-68 :: “Then the high priest tore his robes and said, “He has uttered blasphemy. What further witnesses do we need? You have now heard his blasphemy. What is your judgment?” They answered, He deserves death.” Then they spit in his face and struck him. And some slapped him, saying, “Prophesy to us, you Christ! Who is it that struck you?”

And lastly, how Jesus was killed in Mark 15:37-39 :: And Jesus uttered a loud cry and breathed his last. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And when the centurion, who stood facing him, saw that in this way he8 breathed his last, he said, “Truly this man was the Son of God!”

If Jesus were to evaluate the people in his life, in the way the quote above suggests, then everyone of us would be terminated. The God of this universe, Jesus, is bigger and more powerful than a simple CEO. The comparison is truly laughable. Jesus is the Alpha and the Omega; the beginning and the end (Revelation 22:13). He has been given ALL power and ALL authority in Heaven above and on earth below (Matthew 28:18-20). He has more control and sovereignty than we even begin to give Him credit for. And what does God decide to do with all of His power, authority, and control? He SAVES us. He FORGIVES us. He ADOPTS us. HE makes us his own, forevermore.

See, even while He hung on a cross, how Jesus evaluated the people in his life, Luke 23:34 :: And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” He didn’t demote or terminate them because they made his life hard, or sinned against Him, or put Him to death…He didn’t do any of that. He would have been justified to terminate them, but he didn’t. He LOVED them. He forgave them…He forgives us. 

Praise be to God! Romans 5:8 shouts of His LOVE :: “…but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

And for those who are trusting Christ for salvation, we see in Romans 6:8 what an amazing gift we have:: Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him.” If you didn’t catch it the first time, here it is again – Colossians 3:3 :: For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.” Such good news! 

Hopefully now you can see why I feel that the quote above is so anti-gospel. However, I have re-written the quote in light of how I feel Jesus teaches us to live. Please be encouraged and rejoice in the God of your salvation!

true belief

How has either of these quotes affected you? I’d love to hear your story.

xo sarah

gospel wednesday

GW

Dear friends,

I have been meditating on and discussing death this week. It may sound a bit morbid to be thinking about death, but it really is something we all have and/or will experience in some way or at some time. Jesus wept over this matter and also spoke with great urgency. “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord,” (Romans 6:23). Jesus came to seek and save the lost. He desires to save all that would believe for eternal life with HIM!

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. (John 3:16-18 ESV)

And all who believe will be able to enjoy Jesus for all of eternity in Heaven. What an inconceivable joy! Reading the poem below was such an encouragement for me (from The Valley of Vision). Keeping my eyes heavenward is such a reminder to share the gospel in word, deed, and action.

Earth and Heaven

O Lord, 

I live here as a fish in a vessel of water, only enough to keep me alive, 

but in heaven I shall swim in the ocean.

Here I have a little air in me to keep me breathing, 

but there I shall have sweet and fresh gales;

Here I have a beam of sun to lighten my darkness, a warm ray to keep me from freezing;

yonder I shall live in light and warmth for ever.

My natural desires are corrupt and misguided,

and it is thy mercy to destroy them;

My spiritual longings are of thy planting, and thou wilt water and increase them;

Quicken my hunger and thirst after the realm above.

Here I can have the world, there I shall have thee in Christ;

Here is a life of longing and prayer,

there is assurance without suspicion, asking without refusal;

Here are gross comforts, more burden than benefit,

there is joy without sorrow, comfort without suffering,

love without inconsistency, rest without weariness.

Give me to know that heaven is all love, where the eye affects the heart,

and the continual viewing of thy beauty keeps the soul in continual transports of delight.

Give me to know that heaven is all peace, where error, pride, rebellion, passion raise no head.

Give me to know that heaven is all joy, the end of believing, fasting, praying, mourning, humbling, watching, fearing, repining; 

And lead me to it soon.

Have you ever thought about eternity? Have you found hope in the good news of Jesus Christ? I would truly love to hear your story.

xo sarah

our full life: week thirty

Hello Friends,

Week 30 was pretty great. I don’t have pictures of every wonderful moment, but sometimes that’s okay. It meant I was just LIVING. Enjoy!

thai night.jpg Thai for dinner. This was such a great recipe!

roasry.jpgAt a stop light admiring the shadows. My mom gave me a cross to hang in my car years ago and it’s been there ever since.

home.jpgThis is home. And I never want to leave.

luke.jpg Community and babies. ❤

birthday celebration.jpgBelieve it or not, this was someone’s birthday party! I mean 3 chandeliers…whoa.the del.jpgThe Hotel Del from below.

palm streets 2.jpgMy happy place: Coronado at sunset.

Have a great week ahead. What is one summer thing you want to do this week?

xo sarah

gospel wednesday

GW

Hello friends,

I am humbled and hesitant to share something I have been struggling with lately. It exposes my sin and makes me feel incredibly vulnerable. However, I think it’s a good thing to be honest, to be open, and to – in fact – be broken.

The “something” I have been struggling with is a false body image.

Negative thoughts run through my head constantly: I’m getting fat, my shorts are tighter than last summer, I have so much cellulite, I thought I had abs, I am not strong enough, people probably think I’m lazy, they are so much better looking, my husband would probably be more attracted to me if I was 15 pounds lighter, if only I could have that body…on and on it goes.

Writing those things out is, in a word, embarrassing. I don’t like admitting that I idolize having a great body and the approval of man (as opposed to the approval of God). I also don’t like admitting my perfectionism and pride. But there it is…in the open now. This struggle with body image is so frustrating and has become an area of my life where I have placed too much of my hope.

The truth is, all my hope should be in Jesus, in his Gospel, and in his love for me. That should be enough (because it is enough). His great mercy for me, a sinner, should satisfy me beyond measure (and it does).  Therefore, it is not a matter of whether or not Jesus IS enough for us, it is a matter of whether or not we BELIEVE that He is enough for us. Can we (myself included) believe, speak, shout out, “I am God’s beloved daughter in whom He is well pleased!“?

Jesus is the one who loves perfectly and who makes us HIS own. He is also the one who died on the cross, forgave our sin, and accomplished righteousness on our behalf. Now when God looks at us, He only sees the perfect blood of Christ and is WELL PLEASED. Amen!

In the book Because He Loves Me by Elise Fitzpatrick, she explains the idea that when we sin, there is something about the Gospel that we are not believing. I know that this is true for me. When I believe the false ideas about my body, I am not believing that God is well pleased with me (because of Jesus); I am not believing that I already have all the approval I could ever hope for (because of Jesus); and I am not believing that the work God did in saving me and changing my heart is beautiful enough.

Here are a couple of ways I will battle through this:

  1. Give it to God in prayer. Every bit of it! Let God work in me through this struggle. Trust Him completely with it and remember that He will never leave my side. Ask Him to help me believe the Gospel fully.
  2. Look to Scripture. The Bible is my source of truth when I am tempted to sin. I will be working toward memorizing these scriptures:
  • Psalm 139:14 – I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.
  • 1 Samuel 16:7 –  But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.”
  • Proverbs 31:30 – Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
  • 1 Peter 3:3-4 – Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear—but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.
  • James 3:16 – For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice.
  • 1 Timothy 4:8 – for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.

Hopefully this post was helpful for those of you who have also been struggling with false body image. Hopefully you can come to repentance and believe the Gospel in its entirety. Hopefully you know I am praying for you as I pray for myself.

God bless you. xo sarah

in Christ

 

{Photo Credit}

gospel wednesday

GW

The love of Jesus.

Have you thought about it today, yesterday…ever?

It is my prayer that one lost soul would read this and come to faith, come to life, and deeply love Jesus. That one lost soul would read about the LOVE of Jesus and be humbled, amazed, and broken before the King of Kings. That one lost soul would be at peace in their Makers arms.

When I was fourteen I was brought to my knees by the love of Jesus. I always knew there was a God, but at that age I suddenly became very aware of love. Not just any kind of love, but the love of Jesus found in the gospel: forgiveness of sin, healing, comfort, freedom, rest, redemption, righteousness, and an everlasting relationship.

Enjoy this prayer about TRUE Love and believe.

LOVE

Lord Jesus,

Give me to love thee, to embrace thee,

though I once took lust and sin in my arms.

Thou didst love me before I loved thee, 

an enemy, a sinner, a loathsome worm.

Thou didst own me when I disclaimed myself; 

Thou dost love me a son, and weep over me as over Jerusalem.

Love brought thee from heaven to earth, 

from earth to the cross,

from the cross to the grave,

Love caused thee to be weary, hungry, tempted,

scorned, scourged, buffeted, 

spat upon, crucified, and pierced.

Love led thee to bow thy head in death.

My salvation is the point where perfect created love

and the most perfect uncreated love meet together;

for though dost welcome me … rejoicing.

this love is not intermittent, cold, changeable;

it does not cease or abate for all my eternity…

…Thy infinite love is a mystery of mysteries,

and my eternal rest lies in the eternal enjoyment of it.

– A collection of Puritan Prayers & Devotions

Enjoy your Wednesday! If you would like to share when you first experienced the love of Jesus, I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!

xo sarah

gospel wednesday

GW

This particular season in life has been pretty rocky. With our whole family moving across the country, fires hitting North San Diego County, miscarriages of friends, and the mass of tissue that was found in the skull of our sweet student, Katherine…it’s been emotional to say the absolute least.

I know that those of you reading this have faced your own suffering as well. Whether that be death, sickness, divorce, betrayal, abandonment, failure, depression, anxiety…Whatever the case may be, we have all faced suffering head-on. The Bible tells us to endure suffering. Hard as that may be, it produces the character of God in us. Jesus came and died for the ungodly and related to us in our suffering:

  • For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering. Hebrews 2:10
  • Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sinLet us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of needHebrews 4:14-16
  • And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. 1 Peter 5:10

If you have been reading for a while, then you know I like to share psalms and hymns and spiritual songs. They are a source of encouragement and connection for me. I love seeing the character of God displayed in words and melodies. Everything else around me may be shaking or in ruins, but God remains faithful and true, pouring out His great love for me in the gospel.

The song I want to share today comes from the new King’s Kaleidoscope album. CLICK HERE to hear the song “Fix My Eyes”. I bolded some of the words I connect to.

When my heart is weary, when my soul is weak
When it seems I can’t traverse the trail before me
I survey the glory of Your agony
And I find the will to fight for what’s before me
Cause You ran the race enduring for Your glory

I fix my eyes on You, the founder and the finisher of our faith
I fix my eyes on You, the solace in Your suffering is my strength

As I fight to follow, You’re my righteous guide
And You train me to delight in all that’s holy
Heal my broken body, cure my crooked stride
Throw off every weight and sin that clings so closely
I will run the race enduring for Your glory

I fix my eyes on You, the founder and the finisher of our faith
I fix my eyes on You, the solace in Your suffering is my strength

You help me breathe, You’re the only life I need
You died for me, You’re the only life I need 

Lastly, I want you to KNOW this: your suffering is NOT meaningless. If you have just a few minutes, please listen to this song/message. It was such a reminder of the truth and a comfort to me in my suffering. Let it be the same to you.

xo sarah

gospel wednesday

GW

Hello friends. This is the day the Lord has made! Let us rejoice and be glad in it.

I was reminded this week how often I need reassurance. I know the truth, I believe it, and by God’s grace I will persevere, but because I have weakness I seek reassurance.

I think we all do. How often, in your close personal relationships, do you ask to be reassured?

Are we okay? Are you upset with me? Do you forgive me? Do you love me? Have you forgotten me? Are you having fun? Do you like it? Am I doing a good job? How do I look? Is there something in my teeth? (that last one is just for laughs!)

Now think: how often, in your relationship with God, do you ask to be reassured?

I believe the Gospel and I am being sanctified to apply it to every area of my life. However, like I said before, I have weakness. I struggle. I am vulnerable. It’s during those times that I must return to my Savior and be reassured of His great love, forgiveness, and approval. Please take some time to reflect on the verses below and be reassured in how greatly God loves, saves, forgives, approves, gives, leads, and cares.

Romans 6:23For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 5:6-8For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

2 Corinthians 5:21For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

Colossians 2:13-14And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross.

Romans 10:9-13because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

John 6:37All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.

2 Corinthians 5:17Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

Matthew 11:28-30Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

Romans 8:1There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

Please soak these truths in. Feel God’s grace being lavished upon you. Understand He will never leave you and has forgiven His beloved children.

I, like many of you, am prone to wander. I will need to be reassured of these truths anywhere from one to one thousand more times today. I am so grateful Jesus is always there to come running back to. All glory be to Christ!

xo sarah

 

our full life: week seventeen

This is week seventeen. One I will never forget. It started like any other…quite enjoyable, in fact. However, it ended with suffering. Suffering that I wish I could just hit rewind on. Suffering that causes me to lean on God deeply in desperation. I will share more on that at the end of the post.

prom.jpg Prom? Bret and I spotted this public display and reminisced on High School days.

date night sunset.jpgThis is what God meant when he said that creation speaks of His glory.

editing.jpg Editing. Remembering Easter.

coffee and a cutie.jpg Bret’s off Fridays are my favorite. He suggested we use our giftcard to Vinaka. Yes!

the privateer .jpgChecking out a new dinner place: The Privateer. Coal Fired Pizza and other delicious eats.

duarte dinner.jpg Stamped concrete, surfing art, good food, and even better friends.

staff bowling.jpg Staff bowling night. Blessed to be on such an incredible team.

youth breakfast.jpgJr. High Breakfast Bible Study. Studied Colossians and ate to our hearts content.

katherine's day.jpgRemember the beginning of my post when I mentioned suffering? I would love if you took a few moments to read where our hearts have been lately.

This last weekend was heart breaking. Our pastors’ beautiful and kind hearted daughter (one of the students in our Jr. High group) was faced with life changing news. What was thought to be a sinus infection turned out to be much different. After a CAT scan on Friday, neuro doctors informed the family that their daughter has a mass at the bottom right side of her brain (middle cranium fossa) that would need to be removed. This news was absolutely crushing and came the day before Katherine’s 14th Birthday.

While there was still a lot of questions to be answered and things to pray for (the mass to disappear, the doctors to be strong and capable, the surgery to go smoothly, the mass to be removed and not cancerous, life preserved in good quality, God glorified, and more), Katherine’s amazing parents still wanted her birthday to be special. SO, we made that happen! Katherine had her 14th Birthday in the hospital with some of her closest girlfriends. We decorated a waiting room, ate pizza, spent time with her, sang Happy Birthday, and spent time praying for her. She was tired and we could feel the sadness weighing on everyone, but ultimately God was present and Katherine was so blessed by the time we all spent together.

This was something her dad emailed us about where Katherine was at mentally with this heart breaking circumstance: “Katherine loves to play soccer and surf. She has always looked up to Bethany Hamilton. We watched Soul Surfer again last night before the surgery. She told her mom yesterday that perhaps God can use this situation to bring Him glory like He did with Bethany. I told her that God is already doing that!” What a blessing.

It has been so comforting to know that thousands of God’s people from around the world are desperately praying for this beloved family. We have been praying constantly and our hearts long for relief. If you would like to pray for this family, please do! Katherine had her surgery today and things went very well and she was sustained by the Lord. The Doctors removed what they could of the tumor and are waiting for more results. Here are some of the prayer requests:

  • That the doctors got all of the tumor out
  • That the remaining pain in her face/head will go away permanently
  • Speedy recovery
  • No cancer found in the removed mass
  • No infections or complications
  • long and full life ahead for this beautiful girl

This has been a heartbreaking and discouraging time. Deeply felt grieving, weeping, and aching. Even still, my pastor and his family are giving thanks to God for his grace and provision. They continue to worship the God who is always present. They hope people will see His glory through this.

If you have faced suffering in your own life, I am truly sorry. Your suffering is not something I or anything in this world can fix. Please hear this message on God in the Midst of Suffering and see that there really truly is hope and rescue.

xo sarah

gospel wednesday

GW

{Sorry to everyone who is getting this post in their email subscription twice this week…I hit publish too early last night before I finished writing the post. Thanks for reading!}

A couple of weeks ago, I was sitting in a coffee shop working/meeting with my team. We were finishing up lunch and were about to discuss Jr. High Ministry, finalize some plans for our Mexico trip, and get stuff DONE. God, however, had something else planned for us.

A man sitting nearby scooted himself next to our table and asked if we had a moment to talk. He wanted to discuss a philosophy book he was reading for a class he was enrolled in. We said sure and he began.

His question had to do with the understanding of knowledge, but in terms of capacity. He was curious to know if we thought that people should attempt to understand things that are beyond their brain’s capacity of knowledge. For example, “Should a table try to understand a human being if it does not have the ability?” or “Should we, as human beings, try to know their own soul and their Creator if it is outside our ability or capacity to understand?”

He said from the start that he did not want to bring religion in to the discussion, but we let him know that we were okay with talking about God. We let him know that we were Christians, went to local churches, and were honored to discuss our faith.

The next three hours were spent going back and forth in conversation with this man and bringing the truth to his ears and heart. He was of the Bahai faith, so his views on God were very different than ours (me, my director, and my boss). We listened to his views, he listened to ours, and overall the discussion was really rich and a true blessing to me.

I was very aware of how present the Lord was, there with us; that He had gone before us and He was working through us to speak truth, grace, and the Gospel so clearly. It was really amazing to see God using all three of us in very different, but very specific, ways. It was a tangible example of the body of Christ for me.

In all that we discussed, I was most affected by this man’s views on sin. He said that his god would not give him anything that he could not overcome. This sounds good in theory but, in all reality, it’s not entirely possible. I was glad that I could encourage him with my own experience. I disagreed with him because, I told him, there is something in my life that I could never and can never overcome on my own. There is something in my life that tempts me day in and day out. There is something in my life that no matter how hard I try, I, in my own power, just can’t overcome. That “something” is my sin.

Then I got to share with him Who can and did overcome sin: Jesus! I was hoping he understood how amazing the grace of God is and that Jesus accomplished what we never could. I also asked him if I could read him a portion of the Bible. He agreed and I read him the beginning of Ephesians 2:

“And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”

Our conversation was challenging, exciting, and helpful. It was challenging because I wanted to see this man come to faith in Jesus and have an eternal relationship with the God of love. It was exciting because I have prayed that God would bring people into my life that I can share the Gospel with, and He did! It was helpful for two reasons: first, because I was able to see where I have room to grow in my knowledge of Scripture to better communicate the Gospel and, second, because I was able to see this man’s perspective and pray for his heart to be turned toward Christ.

Now I hope to meet with him again, talk more about God, and see how I can be praying for him. God is good!

Thank you for reading!

xo sarah

gospel wednesday

GW

Sometimes I do not know exactly what to write or how to communicate the Gospel in a different way each week. For example, I have a post all prepared in my mind for next week…but I am still struggling with actually writing it out. Sigh.

While the writing part is sometimes difficult, the heart for it is there. That is God’s grace! I have a passion for sharing the Gospel purely because God gave me that passion. He wants me to tell everyone about the best news in the world! I am truly blessed to be able to do so.

This following prayer comes from a book called Valley of Vision. I have posted from it before because it is one of my all-time favorites. I wanted to share this particular prayer with you all today to show how desperate we are for Christ’s freedom, redemption, and salvation. I bolded certain parts of the prayer that are specifically speaking to my heart and I hope it encourages you! Please take time to enjoy this beautiful prayer.

THE GOSPEL WAY

Blessed Lord Jesus,

No human mind could conceive or invent the gospel.

Acting in eternal grace, thou art both its messenger and its message,

lived out on earth through infinite compassion,

applying thy life to insult, injury, death,

that I might be redeemed, ransomed, freed.

Blessed be thou, O Father, for contriving this way,

Eternal thanks to thee, O Lamb of God, for opening this way,

Praise everlasting to thee, O Holy Spirit,

for applying this way to my heart.

Glorious Trinity, impress the gospel on my soul,

until its virtue diffuses every faculty;

Let it be heard, acknowledged, professed, felt.

Teach me to secure this mighty blessing;

Help me to give up every darling lust,

to submit heart and life to its command,

to have it in my will,

controlling my affections,

moulding my understanding;

to adhere strictly to the rules of true religion,

not departing from them in any instance,

nor for any advantage in order to escape evil,

inconvenience or danger.

Take me to the cross to seek glory from its infamy;

Strip me of every pleasing pretense of righteousness by my own doings.

O gracious Redeemer,

I have neglected thee too long,

often crucified thee,

crucified thee afresh by my impenitence,

put there to open shame.

I thank thee for the patience that has been borne with me so long,

and for the grace that now make me willing to be thine.

O unite thee to thyself with inseparable bonds,

that nothing may ever draw me back from thee, my Lord, my Saviour.

A collection of Puritan Prayers & Devotions

Can I be praying for any of you? We have a gracious God who listens and deeply cares!

xo sarah

gospel wednesday

GW

Dear friends,

This week I was honored to share the Gospel with someone new. I met her a couple of days ago and we instantly clicked. We both felt so comfortable opening up with one another and sharing our stories.

She is in her twenties and is beautiful. She has a 5 year old son. She has a tattoo with deep meaning and significance. She is separated from the father of her child. She lives with her parents. She has a successful and enjoyable career. More importantly, she is compassionate, sensitive, and searching for goodness. More importantly, she needs a Jesus – who has every bit of the goodness she’s trying to see.

We had a great time talking about family, friends, life, and eventually…God. I got to share a little bit of my story with her. I told her that my parents didn’t have the intention to raise me to become a Christian, but, by God’s grace, that is what happened.

I told her that I was not looking for God, but I can see now that He always had plans for me. I told her how I was invited to church by a friend out of the blue and it changed my life forever. God found me, saved me, and I simply believed. Then I got to tell her what that meant, to be saved.

Being saved is all about Jesus. Jesus opens our eyes to the rebellion and sin in our lives. The sin in our hearts, minds, past, and present. Jesus lived a perfect life and never sinned, which we can never do. Jesus reveals to us the wages of our sin – death. Jesus died on the cross, in our place, for ALL of our sins. Jesus loves us, forgives us, purifies us, sets us free, and gives us new and eternal life. Jesus rose from the dead and conquered all sin and death forevermore. Jesus will return and set all things new. Jesus is our Lord, protector, and friend.

Romans 6:23 says: “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

In every humans search for goodness and grace, we do not have to look any further than the cross of Christ. That is GOOD news.

I hope that this young woman sees God in a new light through our conversation. I pray that she would believe the Gospel and put all of her hope and trust in Jesus. All glory goes to God above!

Like I said earlier, it was an honor to share the gospel with someone new this week. It was an honor to spend time with her, get to know her heart, and care for her soul. God is always good and I pray her eyes will be opened to that truth.

xo sarah