Conquering Fear

Conquering Fear

To Those Who Have a Crazy Dream:

Fear is a funny thing. It’s funny because it often comes wearing unexpected disguises. Rather than the scary black cloak and long pointy finger nails we expect, Fear usually arrives wearing business casual, preppy heels, red lipstick and toting a designer purse. She’s prepared with an agenda and a skim mocha latte.  Fear looks like she has her you -know -what together.

She sits down at an artsy coffee- house table, pulls out her iPad, and starts reminding you of all your obligations. You thought the meeting was going to be life-giving, and even though she isn’t really saying anything intrinsically negative, you suddenly feel a little, well, deflated. You had this awesome dream, and you wanted to be sure you were on the track, so you weighed the odds. Smart, right? She’s telling you you don’t have the money (It’s true, you  don’t!), she’s telling you people may not like what you have to say, (They may not!), and, to ice the practical cake, she mentions very kindly you may not be ready yet.  You don’t have experience. You’ve never done this before. You will probably fail. She brings up an obscure statistic about how 85% of people fail at whatever they are trying to do.

Fear doesn’t really want to detract as much as it wants to paralyze.

Stay where you are. You’re safe there. No one is expecting anything from you.

Well, friends, I must tell you, I have been invited into the great wide depths of the sea by the Maker of it all, and it is scary.

In a record amount of time, it seems, I have made decisions which are very costly. Decisions that brought pain, sleepless nights and heart-beating-fast moments throughout the day.  I have battled thoughts of inadequacy, wondering if I’m crazy, and if I’ve just effectively screwed absolutely everything up.

I’m going to be 25 next month and I’m still not sure what I want to be when I grow up. That in and of itself is scary. But here’s what I’ve done, and it’s what I’m encouraging you to do.

  • Listen to the right  voices. When you pray, listen  for the Lord’s response. Pray harder than you ever have before. Read the word, and read only life-giving text. CHOOSE YOUR FRIENDS WISELY. Several of my best friends are over a decade ahead of me in this life thing. I want friends who are on the right track, friends who  are following Jesus closely, friends who have been through the fire. Choose your people, because you will become like them. In the midst of some really hard choices I’m exceedingly thankful for my parents, siblings, mentors and close friends.
  • Do it anyway. Don’t wait until you have all your ducks in a row to make a dream happen. You will be waiting forever. Don’t be afraid of the unknown. Embrace it, and be ok with not being an expert.
  • Rest. One of the most difficult aspects of this season has been my constant feeling of restlessness. I’m wired to always be doing, acting, performing, producing, etc. Every time I’ve tried to  make it happen on my own, Jesus is like, “hey sarah, please chill. i’ve got this, girl.” How do you rest while doing it anyway?? I don’t know. You dig really really deep in your heart and find a rest that’s way deeper than a nap, and you plant yourself there. Then you do it anyway.

I’ve launched a business, which is something I’ve wanted to do for years, and you know what’s kept me from it? Fear, in her Kate Spade glasses, looking me square in the eye and saying, “You’re not a writer. You don’t have enough experience. You change your mind too much. This will never last.”

And to her I respond, maybe you are correct, old friend, but I’m willing to run the risk.

By the way, I got a call today that confirmed I’m totally on the right track, and I’ve been in tears at His faithfulness. You’ve never failed me, Lord!


If you are interested in finding out more about my new venture, click here:

13 Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. 14 The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”

Exodus 14


Thoughts and Prayers

The phrase “thoughts and prayers aren’t enough” keep rolling around in my head like angry little marbles. I’ve read phrases like “we need more policies” and “this isn’t about religion.” I’ve read phrases that say God has been “taken out of public schools” and “this kind of thing didn’t use to happen. ”

I open my Bible, looking to an ancient book for a today word.

I see this, written by Paul, thousands of years ago as though he was standing in our midst.

“But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body. So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you. It is written: “I believed; therefore I have spoken.” Since we have that same spirit of faith, we also believe and therefore speak, because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you to himself. All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God. Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”

2 Corinthians 4:7-18 NIV

It seems to me he is acquainted with death, with persecution, with murder, with sin. It seems it is not a new thing to him or to us. He told us over and over the letter of the law will never bring life, only life though Jesus will bring restoration and hope. Since day one , we have been looking for laws to fix us, to corral us, to make us right with God, and since the early days, since the first scriptures were penned, we have been exhorted: this world is full of trouble, but the only hope is knowing Jesus.

You say, why would a loving God allow this to happen over and over?

I respond, because a loving God has given us the opportunity to choose him, and so often we do not choose him.

You say, we need more laws.

I respond, perhaps, but laws have never made men good, or have I missed some great moral cleansing that transpired because of laws which order us not to kill, to steal, to commit adultery…

You say, this is deeper than religion. It’s about humanity and being good.

I respond, why is it important to be good? An animal does not feel the need to be good? Why as humanity are we so deeply affected by cruelty, by murder? What is it within us that cries out for justice, that longs to be made right?

You say, this happened because we took prayer out of schools.

I respond, is God so light, so moveable, that he can be “taken out ” like a bag of garbage?

Is he not moving and pursuing us always?

We always want to point outward, but sin is the issue, and the solution is a Person, not a policy.

As we weep with those who weep, we must remember the fight we are in, and must remember Who Wins.

As it creeps closer and closer into our backyard, we cannot be passive about our faith. We must hold fast to Paul’s words and take heart. We must love our families, we must take care of the orphan, for they are so often the perpetrators. We are not powerless. Evil did not make its appearance in 2016 or 17 or yesterday. We must not be overcome. This is Christianity. We are the light of the world, not the quivering dim flicker of the world.

What This Is Us Says About Our Need for Fathers

What This Is Us Says About Our Need for Fathers

I find it uncanny that one of the most popular shows on network television at this moment revolves around the love of a father for his children and his wife.  It’s not about an emasculated man who is painted as the dumb, trapped- in- a- recliner, drinking- a beer -dad, nor is it about a womanizing, abusive man, that so many have come to think of when they think of the opposite sex.  

No, it’s about a father continually lays down his life for his children. He works hard to provide for them, works tirelessly to see each of his children for the individuals they are, and is committed to his wife, whom he adores. Jack Pearson isn’t perfect, no human is, but our deep love for him, I believe, is a reflection of our even deeper need for the love of a father.  

Why are we so captivated by him? Why does he represent “goals” to us?  Even as he battled an addiction to alcohol, he was unwavering in his devotion to bettering himself, not for his sake, but for his family’s sake. 

I’m incredibly grateful to have had an amazing father, but I can’t help but wonder what so many think as they are watching Jack be the dad they wish they had. I wonder how many people watching lost their father at a young age as well, and still feel the loss as keenly as though it were yesterday.

Obviously, my father is still living, but I have come very close to losing him two times, and the head pounding heart searing, life altering seconds where you receive the news something has happened to the one you love the most is a feeling I’m unfortunately familiar with.

I found out about my dad’s horrific car accident while I was at a little church in the mountains of Honduras. As people are talking to you and hugging you, you see their lips moving but you have gone deaf, mute. The person you always thought would be there is suddenly no longer  a guarantee.

The exact place I found out about my dad’s accident

I just find it interesting that what our world wants to see the most right now is a good father. Whether we will admit it or not we are desperate for strong, male figures. We are looking for the love of the father, whether we know it or not.  We are craving the love of Jesus whether we will voice it or not. 

We talk  a big talk about “equality,” but what woman’s heart doesn’t melt as she sees jack protect and provide for  Rebecca.  Something in all of us longs for a father, longs for the security of having someone look out for us, fight fire for us.

I cried as I watched Jack literally give his life for his family, and I thanked God for giving me back my dad, time and time again.

I mourned for my friends who have lost their dads, their rocks, their refuges.

I mourned for my friends who have had really crappy dads, who never showed up for them, or worse, abused them.

We all need a Dad.


Isn’t it interesting that God is tearing through the corridors, fighting the licking flames and braving the tempest storms, to be our Father? Isn’t it something that the One we say we are fine without is the very One we need the most?

I’m thankful to have a heavenly Father who is perfect and unfailing and immortal.


Now, I’m going to emotionally prepare for tonight’s episode.



Wrong About God: The Most Fascinating and Wonderful Discovery

Here’s the thing. Nothing is I thought it was. This whole journey of being human, being woman, being daughter, being a constantly questioning, constantly inquisitive child of a vast, beautiful laughing Father, Daddy, Abba… it’s all so different than how I thought it would be. It’s so much better.

The trouble with books is they give you the false sense of preparedness, experience. They make you think you’ve gone through things you have only read about. So I kept reading and reading and then I️ just had to stop and wait a while. I had to look up from the law and breathe in the aroma of flowers, of humanity, of Saturday’s.

It’s almost embarrassing to admit, really, all the things I thought were important. All the rules I made myself follow that were only statutes I had penned. But I suppose the most marvelous joy is realizing, because as soon as we realize we were wrong, we are moving forward, finding a new truth to anchor ourselves in in the great blue sea.

I thought I needed to stay at home until I was married, or else I was giving up on god and settling for a life of singleness. As I sit in my apartment where I live by myself, I’m smiling because I’ve never felt closer to this God I was sure I was abandoning. What I was so sure was a black and white has become a verdant green, a yes, despite all my arguments.

I thought I had to stay still, like a child waiting crouched in a bush, breathing heavily, hoping the game of hide and seek is coming to an end soon. Maybe if I was still enough, sweet enough, they would find me, but they didn’t, so I️’m going forth, onto another adventure. Maybe you will find me along the way, oh how I hope you do, but I’m going on, I️’m off to dream a new dream.

I thought independence meant a breach of relationship, but the most authentic independence realizes she is weak, useless, without her father. Her freedom, her vivacity, is found as she relents, succumbs, submits, surrenders.

I thought faith looked one way, and maybe it does, but it also looks another. It may well be the liturgy and the bread and the wine as much as it is the song and the ink and the laughter and the mountains. He is in all of it, waiting and hoping we will see him as He is, fresh and joyous and spotless and true, strong and wild and safe and home and new and old and unfamiliar . All. At. Once.


I thought the joy was in understanding, but the real joy is in the questions, the trust, even though, the trust, despite.

He is much better than we think. He is much more blue and red and green and yellow than he is black and white.

So I dig deeper, write more, pray more fervently, worship with more abandon. I choose to forego the daily instagram updates so often, because I am weary of my own reflection. I want to see him.

I stop counting the likes and begin to count the stars. I don’t now what you are up to anymore, but I have a few good friends and they are molding me and making my life infinitely more beautiful than I ever thought possible.

I don’t know what the year holds, where I will go, who I will meet, but I have a particularly great feeling.

My exhortation is this: unravel your ideas and your priorities and the things you hold to be self evident, and get to know the real Jesus. Sit with him and see if your world shrinks suddenly and bursts forth into brilliant color more quickly than the blink of an eye.

He is after us.


To all of us Christians, the religious ones: a poem

This for all of us, the Christians, the religious ones,

Who boldly approach the altar,

To worship our convictions.

This is for all of us who sit at home paralyzed by fear, and call it waiting on the Lord, when the Lord is already here.

This is for all of us with more opinions than faith,

With principle after extra -biblical principle,

Which we use as a method of escape.

This is for all of us who think we know God’s heart, but the moment true compassion sets in,

We don’t know where to start.

This is for the offended, the sure, the proud,

Who love our perch, where we sit so haughty, happy to look down.

Here’s what I’m learning, friends, and it’s hard for me to admit.

I have built an altar, a tower high full of holy limits.

I told God my standards, and hoped he would comply.

I made up rules to follow devoutly, which no one asked me to try.

I called it freedom when it was really pride,

And my tower piled so high I could barely get outside.

But the light broke through and I saw my err.

How is it we settle for stale religion

And fail to marvel at the gift we have been given.

What are all these made up black and whites,

Which only separate and fail to unite.

I’m learning He is bigger than the box I tried to place Him in.

I’m learning He matters more than how I thought I was pleasing man.

How will they accept me?

How can I fit it?

How do I become worthy

To be liked by other Christians?

He’s bigger than our rules

And we’ll never figure him out

And he’s often found outside waiting

Our temple of pride and doubt.

Let’s get outside the box and love with reckless abandon.

Let’s let his spirit guide the way, instead of our pro con list.

He’s always up for more, always pursuing more, always found doing that which we may judge.

His black and white is Christ crucified.

His principle is his death and resurrection.

and the tomb where they laid him is where we should leave our self written bibles.

He’s moving, and I want to go with him.

All the stuff I once found important pales in comparison to his face.

The revelation brings the change, not the other way around.


Why Does it Hurt so Much?

I’m standing in church this morning during worship. Surrounded by hundreds of people worshipping God fearlessly and beautifully. And what is the thought that comes rushing into my head, right past the bethel music lyrics on my tongue?

What if someone came into the church right now and started shooting? What if that story became our story?

I begin to imagine how I would survive something like that, how I would survive, how I would live normally after experiencing something so traumatic.

I think about eternity and how there is no bad ending to a victim’s life who knows Jesus because death is not merely an ending but a beginning. The real pain is for the ones they leave behind.

The shooter may think they have taken away what matters most, but they have only brought pain to earth, not heaven.

If death only brings us to Jesus, then why does it still hurt so much?

Tonight, I’m watching parenthood, literally weeping as Christina is fighting for her life, telling her children goodbye just in case she doesn’t make it. If death is part of life why is it still so awful?

I think of my grandmother, who I lost in December, whom I barely knew. If I barely knew her, why is it still such a gaping hole?

I guess what I’m asking is why we care so much as human beings. Why did God give us the capacity to care so much, if so much was at stake. I am reminded of his love for us, which not only hurt him, but wounded, scarred and killed him. If we feel anything it is because he felt it first. If we love it’s because he first loved us.

So as I sit here on the couch tonight, thinking about this fierce love I have for my family and my friends, I’m thanking God he put this fragile, beating heart in my chest and allowed to bleed, to love, to laugh and to lose. Anything I experience is only a glimmer of the tears he has wept over me, over you. We are so much more loved than we could possibly imagine.


Snow: a foreshadowing of great things in 2018

If you were looking for the spiritual significance in this amazing weather event, look no further, ha! Here’s my take, written as I sip my coffee and stare at the snow outside my window, might  I add!

It is snowing, in Thomasville, Georgia, on January 3rd, 2018! This amount of snow has never accumulated here in my entire life. Needless to say, it might just be the best day ever. I have no idea when is the next time I will wake up and see snow outside my window, and run outside like a little girl to see this amazing gift God has given us, a hopeful southern town.

As I looked around my house and marveled at the winter world of white, I began to think about what this means, something so unexpected happening on the third day of a brand new year..

Maybe it means this year will be full of things we have been told will never happen, so we shouldn’t get our hopes up. Maybe we are in for a year of miracles, of answered prayers, of streams in the desert and snow in the south. I’m reminded that God is sovereign and so much powerful than we could ever imagine, and what we see as a near impossible occurrence, he arranged with only a word from his mouth.

Job says it beautifully:

Does the rain have a father? Who fathers the drops of dew? From whose womb comes the ice? Who gives birth to the frost from the heavens when the waters become hard as stone, when the surface of the deep is frozen?”

Job 38:28-30

May we remember Your power in 2018, Lord. You are over it all and you delight in giving good gifts. We run into this year a kid running into the snow, expectant, exhilarated, ready to be amazed as your blessings literally fall from the sky in big fat snowflakes.

We are here, arms outstretched, hoping for the impossible, believing for miracles, knowing you are able to do exceedingly abundantly above all we could ask or think.

I may be crazy, but  I don’t think it’s a coincidence you surprised us with this three days into the new year!! I can almost here Your voice, piercing through the cold like a laugh piercing through a dark night of the soul, “oh my daughter, you have no idea what’s in store for you!!”

We are here, we are ready, we have snowflakes in our hair.