Goodbye 2010  

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As 2010 comes to an end, I find myself breathing a sighing of relief. This year has been one of the most trying of my life.

I guess I have always known that growth comes in conjunction with trial. At the beginning of 2010 I asked God to grow me this year. To work out my struggles and shortcomings. I was determined that I would not be the same at the end as at the beginning. As the saying goes, "Be careful what you ask for." God is so faithful. He has answered my prayer. But in such a painful process my soul still aches in the residual affects of His Chastisement.

God is gracious. When I couldn't find a way to help myself become better, the Lord became my strength.

The trials of my year have not only affected me, others close to me have also been influenced... some not as positivelly as I might have hoped.

This year I have learned that God's hand is on everyones lives; we choose how we respond.

One who is very dear to my heart has not embraced God's hand as I have. I saw this person  turn to the world for answers instead of to God. It has greived my heart so entirely. I have pleaded, cried, begged, and pleaded again to my God for this dear person, but as of yet, there is no great change.

Yet I have great hope. God has brought me though so much.  I understand what God is capable of better now than ever before. He began a good work in both of us, and I believe He will be faithful to complete it.

As I reflect back, I can't help but wonder what problems I would have caused myself had I RESISTED the Lord's chastening.


"The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, the education, the money, than circumstances, than failure, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company... a church... a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice everyday regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past... we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude. I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it. And so it is with you... we are in charge of our Attitudes.”

--Charles R. Swindoll 

A little love goes a long way...  

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Have you hugged your children today? Have you told them that they are the greatest treasure God has given you? That your love for them is so vast some times you feel as if you could explode? That there is nothing in the entire UNIVERSE worth more to you than them. Here is a conversation I have regularly with my little ones:
Momma: Do you know that I love you?
Son: Yes (or sometimes, to be silly, "No")
Momma: Why do I love you?
Son: Because God gave ME to YOU as a special gift.
Momma: that's right.

I started teaching this to my second born as soon as he began to talk. I want them to KNOW it, to have it memorized...that I love them. To hear it so often that it becomes ol' mom telling them AGAIN. I want them to know that they are precious beyond measure to me.

Mankind has yet to invent a number large enough to put a value on the worth of my children.

So ask yourself.... do they know you love them?

Have you told them TODAY?

Love Letters  

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I started writing love letters to my husband when I was 12. I labeled them MFH or My Future Husband. I kept them in a shoe box under my bed, adding to it regularly. By the time I married at 20, I had filled the box to over flowing. I began to read the letters to him after we married. Some were silly foolish little girl stuff. Some were surprisingly profound. I held nothing back in those letters. I wrote of passions and crushes, of hopes and dreams. It was an outlet for the feelings that I didn't consider appropriate to voice. Some made us cry. Some made us laugh. It was an incredible bonding experience. I had prepared for him my whole life. And such was evident in the reading of the letters.

Recently I began writing letters to him again, tucking them into his lunch box when ever I have the notion. It is my prayer that these letters will be a bright spot in a hard day.

Here is today's letter:

My Dearest Love,
I know that life has been neither simple or easy over the last year or so, but these hard times only serve to remind me how blessed we are to have each other. Even with our collective faults we are still a great team. We love as passionately as we believe. We are fervent in our faith, sincere in our principles, (even if, occasionally, we fall short of ideal). You still hold my heart. I am satisfied. There is no place I would rather be than in your arms. Regarldess of what the future may hold, I am confident, with Gods help, we will be victorious-- together.
All my love,
your Sarah

chosing purity  

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"Purity is like taking a deep breath outside early on a summer morning, or like the smell of a mowed hay field just after it rains. It is exhilarating! Why would we ever choose to reject the fragrance of purity for the stench of a cattle-yard? Yet that is just what we do when we linger on an unclean thought, read an impure book, or look at immoral pictures. The blood of Jesus turns foul hearts into clean hearts!"
~Pastor Joshua Adams

Spiritual Growth  

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I was greatly encouraged by this article on Spiritual Growth.

Allowing feelings to influence actions or living in the Spirit?  

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It is with some trepidation that I write, in total honesty, about what the LORD has brought me through over the past few months. I would, in my humanness, prefer to keep a mask over my short comings, having all who know me in person or in print, think I am simply divine... perfect. It is that pride -- that desire to be seen and admired as perfect-- that has caused, or at the very least contributed to, many of my trials.

I  pray that God will use my struggles to bring honor and glory unto Himself.

Somewhere along the way, over the last -nearly- decade of marriage, I decided that it was acceptable to not DO if I didn't feel like DOING. If I had to guess, I would say this began when I first struggled with low thyroid. I barely had the energy to walk around, let alone

actually clean my house and care for my family.

The problem is that this was not my only ailment... and my sickly-ness was not short lived. In fact the 'disorders' I have, they will be life long.

Yet I did not change my behaviour to match life-long "not feeling good." Instead I bought in to the modern idea of husbands and wives sharing the house work and grew increasingly irritated with my husband that he did not see fit to pick up my slack when he got home. He saw no reason to pick up the slack... he thought I was perfectly capable of performing the tasks expected of me. He was right. (*gulp*). I had chosen, without really knowing it, to not perform my duties unless I felt like I was equal to the task.

But I never FEEL equal to the task. Or if I should have a short run along that vein, I am quickly reminded of my shortcoming by my failure to achieve perfection.

On the best days, I would get done what tasks I considered reasonable. On the worst days, my children would run rampant while I slept or rested because "I just don't feel good today," and they would be the victims of my irritation and frustration about how unfair life had been to me. The culmination came a few months back when one of my doctors discovered the condition of my house. It was TERRIBLE. Moldy Dishes, dirty laundry, cat messes that had not been cleaned in a timely manner (this cat has since been evicted)  just to name a few. I was shocked to discover that the condition of my house would warrant the authorities REMOVING MY CHILDREN FROM MY HOME!

My gracious doctor, at the risk of losing his license, said he would not turn me in if I made quick work of the clean up. Within a week, and with the help of family members, I had the house cleaned to the point of no longer being at risk.

That was the worst week of my life.

Berated by family members afraid of losing the children to the authorities, I was charged with being bereft of the character befitting a godly Christian woman, and devastated by having my shortcomings paraded as dirty laundry. But nothing was so heart-wrenching as the gulf that grew between my husband and I. He told me that he had entrusted the care of the home and children to me and I had broken that trust. That if he ever thought the children were in danger again he would take the children and leave. He loved me but would not subject the children to that.

I vowed it would never happen again.

But how? I had given my word. Now I had to find a way to back it up with action. My marriage, my family, my life as I knew it was at stake.

I began to pray... to seek God... to plead for my marriage, my family, my life. I would go into the bathroom, turn the shower on so my children couldn't hear me, and lay sobbing on the floor... writhing in the pain of being alone: not physically alone, but isolated emotionally from those I love. I have never felt more abandoned. Where was God? Why had He allowed this to happen to me?

It would be a long journey before I realized that God had permitted this in my life as a chastisement. That He would use it for His good. 

I was sitting in on a young ladies Sunday School shortly thereafter, and the topic of the lesson was living in the Spirit verses living in the flesh. I soon realized that I had been living in the flesh-- counting on my own strength to be enough for me to do what I needed to. But my flesh had failed. Miserably so. I could no longer count on my ability to "handle it."

If, every morning, I spend my time focusing on Him, rejecting my sinfulness, and determining-- with His aid-- to live a selfless life, I am able-- despite my illness-- to proceed through my day and care for my family and home. A friend of mine referred to it as being "centered in Christ." It has very little to do with what I am able to do. I have had to learn to trust Him to give me the strength to do what must be done REGARDLESS of how I feel.

All of my hobbies --except singing (which requires very little time investment)-- have been packed away for later. Right now my focus is --as it should be-- on my home. If, in the future, I can find a way to manage my home and still have time for hobbies, some of those boxes may come back out of the garage. If not... there will be all eternity to use my gifts for God. (But what use is it to use my talents for God at the expense of my family?)

Is my home perfectly clean? No.  Absolutely not. It is still a constant struggle. But not one I resent.

The dishes and laundry are done daily and, as I have time, I am sorting through the extra stuff that has been piling up around the house during my "bad days."

I have put my family on a schedule. It focuses on doing certain tasks at certain times of the day. That way, if I truly AM so ill that I cannot function (which is NOT as often as I would have led other to believe in the past) the world can still function. My children can still be cared for. And I have even scheduled play time... which makes them very happy!

I have gained perspective. Learned to live for something other than myself. Learned that how I feel does not negate my responsibility.

Earlier I said that it was the worst week of my life. But really it was the best too.

Because I found strength I didn't know I had.


On the topic of death  

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Read this, It is inspiring!

A Portrait of a Godly Woman  

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This is a letter I received from a blog reader. With her permission, I have included it and my reply in hopes it would be an encouragement to someone in a similar situation.I have not included her name

Hi Sarah,
How do I pursue godliness?
I feel that I am not close to God, and the desire to be seems to be slipping away. I feel like I'm hanging on by a thread, and I know I felt so much better when I was, but it feels like it is easier to let go and not try.  I don't feel strong enough to pull myself up.
I don't know what to do. Can you pray for me? I can't keep doing what I have been.

Dear (reader),

How do you pursue godliness?


 well, first of all it is a *pursuit* because it cannot be obtained in this life. We have imputed godliness... that means God sees us as Godly even though we are not because of Jesus. It has to be worked at though because we only grow if we are perusing it. if we are standing still, the weight of the world and the pressures of this world push us backward. After all we are swimming against the current. If we stop swimming forward we are carried away by the current that is pushing against us.

If you do not feel close to God may be He is trying to tell you something. I have noticed in my life that when I feel away from God it is one of 2 things:

A. I feel guilty about something I think I should be doing and am not (this may or may not be biblically necessary)
B.  I have stopped having God as the focus of my life.

Remember that their is NO CONDEMNATION for those who are in Christ. He will not condemn you for your actions. The Holy Spirit will convict you but that is different than feeling guilty. It makes you sad and
want to move to action. If you feel guilt, it may be Satan trying to discourage you.

Failing to have God as the center of my life is a daily struggle. it is all about having the mind of Christ. This is especially hard when you are first married because all you see is each other. it is supposed to be that way! as you grow you will see that by focusing on each other you were honoring God! .

So what is the mind of Christ? it is this..... the most important things to God are the most important things to you. you are daily living to please him. your focus is not on fleshly things but spiritual, eternal things. You live day by day trying to be sure that what you do is honoring to him. You acknowledge your shortcomings and
are willing to be changed by His Spirit. He says He will do a good work in us if we will let Him!

When I see my selfishness begin to take over. that is when I pause and pray that God will help my attitude and my focus. I have found that I struggle much less with sinful desires if I am focused on pleasing God

Spirituality has very little to do with how I feel and almost everything to do with WHO GOD IS! He has given us promises to grow and change us. like a tree planted by waters, but a tree grows very
slowly. so don't feel frustrated if you don't see change quickly. He who promised is faithful and He holds time in His hand.

You are who you are and the way you are for a reason. this day, this hour, this struggle was planned before the foundation of the earth. you cannot go anywhere or do anything that He has not already allowed.
if you feel alone and weak, it is for a reason.  Unless there is sin in your life separating you from God, HE IS RIGHT BESIDE YOU! Don't count on your feelings to sense Him. Trust His promise to never leave
you. Remember Job. God was there with him. Job could not see Him and probably didn't feel very spiritual.  But in the end Job came out stronger and better. And God was with him. Job is one of the strongest
examples of faith in God during hard times that I can think of. It was what he KNEW not what he FELT that carried him through.

Don't trust your emotions. They are like shifting sand. Rely on what you know to be true and tell your emotions what they should be feeling.

You don't need to struggle and try. If you should be doing something, pray for God to give you the desire to do it.

Remember that when you were single all you had to do was serve God. Your relationship with God has changed in that now your husband is between you and God in the line of authority. In serving your beloved
and pleasing him and helping him, you are honoring God. Everything you do to aid your husband you are doing for God.

Everything has changed and it takes a while to get used to the new roles. But if you treat the man in your life with the same love you served Jesus with you ARE WHERE YOU SHOULD BE! A desire to serve and
please your husband is a desire to please God.

I will pray for you my sister!

Above all remember that you are princess in the future kingdom of God. your position with Him is sure!