Who Really Wins Today

Who Really Wins Today

Today is an historic day! Today we continue the American tradition of electing our President, our leader. Today, we uphold the values of a democratic republic and the process of the electoral college. Today, Donald Trump becomes the 45th president of the United States of America.

But other than that, not much changes.

You and me, we’re still the same. We’re getting up at the same time, going to the same jobs, coming home to the same people.  We are Americans. We have a distinct responsibility as citizens of this great nation. We are under the authority of our president, but ultimately, our responsibility  is to self-govern.

Our Founding Fathers dedicated their lives to the American experiment, that men from all nations could unite on principle, not blood. This was unprecedented. Who had ever heard of a country united by hard work, self-government and religious freedom? Who had ever thought you could be an American because you decided you were willing to undertake that great task and reap that great harvest of freedom?

Donald Trump is our president and I am praying for favor to surround him and for this to be an incredible presidency, but friends, the government is not in charge of our destinies. This would defeat the point of being American.

Every morning when you wake up, you are in charge of making America great again. You are committed to working hard for your wages, you are committed to serve others, you are committed to candid religious discussions and you are responsible for making your country a haven and not a trap.

If you rejoice today-fantastic. Don’t grow weary in doing good.  There is much work to be done.

If you mourn today, turn your focus to what you can do for your country, rather than what your country has done to you.

Donald Trump may have won the election, but we are the real winners. We wake up in a free country, free to work and learn and pray every single day. And Trump can’t keep it that way. Only we the people can as we love and pray and serve and give.

We are blessed to be here, blessed to be American citizens, and shame on us if we sit feebly on the sidelines and expect others to pave our way. It is our responsibility to work harder than ever before to make this country great.

 

Let’s get to work.

 

For more on the responsibilities of being an American citizen, Read this book:

No More New Year’s Resolutions 

Yesterday my sister said something so profound, it shaped how I  will approach 2017. 

For many of us, 2016 was full of transition and change and surprises and maybe even loss or death. A lot has happened in the last 365 days. My whole life looks quite different than it did this day last year. Consequently, the prospect of a new  beginning is invigorating and inspiring. 

What are my New Years resolutions? Starting January 1st, what’s going to be different? How will this year be better?

I was broaching this topic last night in the car with my sister as we drove back to her house from my brother’s house from celebrating Christmas. My sister kind of rolled her eyes and said “there’s nothing special about a new year. It’s just another day.”

Wait what?! I thought the first day of the year was somehow exalted above the other days, set apart, holy. 

She begged to differ. She said, “Sarah, every day can be a new year. You can decide to change at any point in the year. We use a calendar to mark the days, but that doesn’t really mean anything. Every day is a new day and a new year if we want it to be.”

It reminds me of a verse in Lamentations:”His mercies are new every morning!” Every day we wake up on this green earth is a gift and an opportunity to start fresh. Every day is a chance to be better. How freeing!!

I don’t have to wait until January to make my resolutions and I don’t have to  beat myself up in February when I haven’t accomplished all my life goals! 

Today is the day I will give my all toward a better life. 

I will love well today. I’ll work on my book today. I’ll build my business today. I’ll spend time with family today. And then tomorrow I’ll do it all again, relishing each moment and thanking God for his gift of Himself, which we open every day!
So forget New Years resolutions. How about new day  resolutions?;)

The Fatal Flaw of My Generation

Amy March said something poignant in Little Women. She said “We’re all going to grow up sometime; we might as well know what we want.”

I look around me and see an appalling lack of desire in my generation. Perhaps, in an effort to be holy, we surrendered our desires at the foot of the cross, but really we should have surrendered our lives and let God move in our desires and goals.

I know 28 year olds who are going through the motions and when you ask them what they want in life, they freeze up like you’ve asked them to unearth science’s greatest mystery. I’ll say , “What are your goals?” And they’ll say, “Well, gee, I don’t know, to be happy I guess. To love God.” Now those things aren’t inherently evil, but they’re so general we could live our whole lives and not really know if we achieved them. 

The people I respect the most are the ones who, upon asking the goals question, respond with actual real things, rather than vague ideals.

Example: “I’d like to build a home,  become really successful at this trade I have, travel to Canada by 2020, and start a family.” OR, “I would love nothing more than to be a wife and mom, so I’m preparing now by serving my family and learning how to multitask and budget and cook.”

I’m not asking for career goals. I’m asking for life goals. So often we sit around and “wait on God,” when what we are really doing is living passively and being so afraid of failure we never venture to try anything.

I want to see a generation of men wake up and face commitment as a joy and not a burden.

I want to see women hold onto hope for their  dreams of a family instead of settling for the first nice guy that comes along. Just because he holds your hand doesn’t mean he’ll hold your heart. I want to women desire family again. When girls sheepishly say “I just want be a mom and wife,” I want to cry. Do you  not know that the hand that rocks the cradle rules the world?

I suppose what I’m really trying to say is “wake up!” Maybe God is waiting on you. Maybe he’s already given you everything you need for life and godliness and he’s waiting on you to  get to work.

Here are my goals and how I’m achieving them. Side note: it is scary to write out your goals, because they bring you face to face with your reality. Having goals means you’re not where you want to be, and that’s humbling. Sometimes, having goals makes you feel helpless, because they are goals you cannot singlehandedly achieve. That’s ok. It’s just an invitation to trust on a deeper level :).

  1. I want to have a family. To this end, I’m living in a family, attempting to learn how to serve and clean and cook. I’m praying daily, and I’m inviting others into my story.
  2. I want to write a book. To that end, I’m writing a lot, and continuing to work on my  book. 8 chapters so far!!
  3. I want to see the world!! So, I’m saving money and planning a really big adventure for 2017. Stay tuned.

Those are my goals. It doesn’t have to be a long list, it should probably be shorter and deeper rather than long and shallow.

Psalm 37

 Trust in the Lord and do good.
    Then you will live safely in the land and prosper.
 Take delight in the Lord,
    and he will give you your heart’s desires.

 Commit everything you do to the Lord.
    Trust him, and he will help you.
 He will make your innocence radiate like the dawn,
    and the justice of your cause will shine like the noonday sun.

Be still in the presence of the Lord,
    and wait patiently for him to act.
Don’t worry about evil people who prosper
    or fret about their wicked schemes.

What are your goals?

 

If You Feel Lost at the End of 2016

If You Feel Lost at the End of 2016

When you are driving somewhere unfamiliar, it’s likely you will drive a little slower, keeping your eyes out for house numbers and landmarks which point you in the right direction. Maybe, like me, you will turn down the radio  because Luke Bryan is no help when you’re lost. Your senses are on high alert, and while  you’re in the car, it feels as though the trip is taking forever and you will never arrive. Finally, the house or the church or the business is in your line of vision,  and you breathe a little easier, knowing you’ve arrived.

p1060201trim1But when you leave that place and head back home, a funny thing happens. The trip zooms by, you know  where you are now, and you can turn the radio up as loud as you want. Suddenly, you arrive home and you think, “Wow, that took so much less time than the first time! How did we get back so fast?”

Time flies when you know where you’re going, and it positively crawls by when you are lost and out of your element, depending on every little tiny sign from God you can decipher. 

I feel like 2016 has been a lot like the first trip for many of us.

Maybe you started a new relationship and everything felt unfamiliar ,

or maybe you ended a relationship and you’re  navigating the world alone for the first time in a long time.

Maybe you moved, and you literally don’t know where anything is,

or maybe your life has just changed in ways you cannot even begin to describe, and if you stop and think about it long enough, you will absolutely break because you’ve been driving around in circles trying to convince everyone you know where you are going,  but you are so completely lost it’s not even funny.

To you I say:

It’s ok to pull over and ask for directions. (Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do,  and he will show you which path to take. -Proverbs 3:5-6)

It’s ok to be lost (I once was lost, but now I am found!!)

It’s ok to remove distractions everything that’s hindering you from hearing God’s voice. Create a quiet space where his voice can be heard, and wait for him! He  has not forgotten you! (Be still, and know that I am God! I will be honored by every nation. I will be honored throughout the world.”Psalm 46:10)

But whatever you do, don’t turn around. Don’t go  back to where you came from. The promised land is ahead of you, not behind you! God has not called you to be comfortable. He is always inviting you into the deep, unfamiliar waters. The destination is worth it. The length of the trip is worth it. In fact, the length of the trip is the beauty of it. That’s where he’s forming you and shaping you. Don’t neglect the journey no matter how  boring or scary or lonely it is. He wants to meet you in the quiet solitude of your desperation and shepherd you!

This year has been a long trip for me. It’s been full of twists and turns and unforeseen circumstances. I’ve had to make some tough calls, remove some serious distractions, and learn anew how to hear God’s voice.  But as I look back over the year, I am so encouraged. It’s so much easier  now than it was at the beginning, not because my circumstances are a fairy tale,  but because day by day I’m surrendering to the journey, trusting my Guide, and focusing on the joy set before me.

God has  not abandoned you on a highway somewhere. He has not removed the end goal. He’s not tricking you. He’s inviting you to go deeper than ever before. You may feel lost at the end of 2016, but you are found! He found you in your mess and invaded your world and he’s not leaving you for all the tea in China.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne. Think of all the hostility he endured from sinful people; then you won’t become weary and give up. After all, you have not yet given your lives in your struggle against sin.-Hebrews 12

My Promise to You This Christmas

This Christmas I’m choosing a few things. I invite you to choose with me!

I choose to spend my energy on things which have eternal value, like relationships,  rather than striving to appear perfect on the outside.

I choose to focus on giving gifts that mean something, rather than merely proliferating clutter in people’s lives.

I choose to not get a gift for everyone, recognizing my acceptance  or position as a friend is not driven by ability to give the perfect gift.

I choose to sing Christmas music with gusto, breathing in the words of the carols that  have journeyed with me, but perhaps not into me. He has come for us, this Jesus, He’s the hope of all mankind…. God rest, ye merry gentlemen, let nothing you dismay-Remember!! Christ our Savior was born on Christmas Day! I choose awe, every time.

I choose to be proud of Christmas. I refuse to suppress the joy I feel in the season. I relish twinkle lights and trees and music and silly reindeer ears.   Christmas only comes once a year; I will enjoy it fully.

I choose to recognize the holidays are not joyous for all.  December is laced with painful memories and  sad anniversaries for many, and I pray for those who are suffering, allowing them to be where they are without dragging them into my glitzy whirlwhind.

I choose to say Merry Christmas as often as possible. To the grocery store cashier, a passerby, a neighbor, the person ringing the bell, friends, clients! Merry Christmas to all!!

Above all, I choose to bask in the meaning of this season. Christ has come! He has come for us!! He humbled himself, clothed himself in filthy humanity, and walked among us, breathing our air and walking upon our waves. He chose teenagers and he confounded kings as he made his grand entrance, and he’s been doing it ever since. He is Emmanuel, God with us, and for this I celebrate today, and every day.

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And in despair I bowed my head;
“There is no peace on earth,” I said:
“For hate is strong,
And mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!”

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
“God is not dead; nor doth he sleep!
The Wrong shall fail,
The Right prevail,
With peace on earth, good-will to men!”

What I’m Thankful For (a short list)

What I’m Thankful For (a short list)

I’m thankful for so many things this year, I wanted to share some things at the top of my list this year!

I’m thankful for fresh starts, and for the opportunity to wake up each day and work toward a life well lived. I’m thankful we do not have to continue in the direction we are going and that we can always say, “Enough. I’m ready to change my life.”

I’m thankful I get to live with my parents. I treasure our breakfasts and dinners and movie nights and quiet Christmases and road trips and inside jokes. You are both my dearest friends and the best parents, and I’m thankful for this season, because I know we shall not pass this way again.

I’m thankful to have a group of solid, godly friends who are always ready to encourage me and laugh with me. I’m thankful I can be loved deeply, rather than widely. I’m thankful for coffee dates and shopping trips and phone conversations and simple, “hey, how are you?” texts. I’m thankful for friends that show up and support me and friends that love me when I’m bossy and blunt and sometimes downright mean.

I’m thankful for my job. It’s not where I pictured myself right now, but I know I’m right where God wants me! I’m so thankful for the opportunity to work and earn a paycheck that gives me more than enough. I’m in the world’s minority.

I’m thankful for my the rest of my family, my sister, brother, sister in law, nieces, nephews, my aunt and uncle…I’m thankful to not be alone, but to be surrounded by wonderful, loving, hardworking people.

I’m thankful for the joy of good books and the gift of writing. I’m thankful for my growing collection of nightgowns from Roses. I’m thankful for Earl Grey tea and pumpkin spice everything. I’m thankful for good shoes and good health and silly facebook memes.

I’m thankful for music that speaks to my soul and I’m thankful for Spanish. I’m thankful for my friends in Honduras and my ability to travel.

I’m thankful for the mentors God has given me, true Titus 2 women of God.

I’m thankful for all the guys in my life who are true gentleman who love God. They give me hope and are shining beacons to the world that there are so many good men out there!

Once you start thinking about it, it’s hard to stop! I could make this the longest blog post ever! But I won’t 🙂

Most of all, I’m thankful  for Jesus. Comforter, Lover of my soul, my soul’s delight, Emanuel, close to the brokenhearted, Redeemer, God for us, the One who rejoices over me! You are the reason I get up in the morning and smile. You are my purpose, my joy and my hope. You are the reason I have a song in my heart. It’s all for You.

What are you thankful for?

I sold my soul to the internet 

I didn’t notice it at first. 

It all seemed so innocent, 

I didn’t know I was developing a thirst. 

Like me, love me, find my words appealing. 

Laugh at my jokes and don’t look too deep at the pain I am concealing. 

The other day I posted this picture and was amazed at the reception. Like after like after like until I had bought into the deception. 

Your comments are not my portion. Your affirmation is not my sum. 

Even though you saw this picture of all of me, arms and all, and you actually liked it, that doesn’t affirm me or make me whole. 

When you read my blog and I watch the number of readers rise and fall like waves, you don’t define me. 

When you subtweet me and unfriend me, you don’t define me. 

You’re hiding behind your phone and I’m hiding behind mine. I’m begging you to see me, and type an encouraging line. 

I wait and wait and refresh and come back.  There is no one today. Yesterday there were hundreds. 

I’m ok. You don’t define me, internet. 

You don’t get to affect my mood. 

You don’t have that right. 

Girls, your followers aren’t your self image squad. They can’t give you What You Need. 

Your hashtags won’t bring the attention off of which you feed. 

Find your home in Christ.  Find your fame in him. 

Lose yourself to find yourself and tell me how you feel then. 

You may have sold your soul to the internet, but He bought you with a price. 

Let him win you back, and forget about the likes.