Wednesday, July 26, 2017

IMMERSION: It's Time

In six months, I will pack into a backpack that I will call my home for the next six months.


I heard a quiet tap on my heart but it was so soft that I sang a little louder to drown it out. But the louder I sang, the more pronounced the tap became. Then one day, I was completely silent. All I heard was continual soft gentle taps on my heart. That’s when the Lord whispered, “Sarah, it’s time to answer me. You must go.”

That complete silence happened for me in the middle of May. I prayed for the Lord to send someone else. The enemy kept nagging in my ear, “Sarah, you can’t leave your family behind after what happened. How dare you think about abandoning them?” But the good Lord kept whispering, “Sarah, serve me. You aren’t leaving your family. They will be safe in my arms, Sarah.”

That’s when the conversations began. I talked to my dear friends, to my mom, and to the staff at Experience Mission. And then I prayed. On a Friday evening, I prayed and pleaded to the Lord to provide me with some peace about the decision to go. When I woke up on Saturday, I was clothed in peace. I had never felt so settled about a decision in my life.

The next part went very quickly and after meetings with references, an application and a video interview, I found myself accepted to my team.

In six months, I will pack into a backpack that I will call my home for the next six months. I will be a member of the Caribbean Immersion team through Experience Mission. On January 8th, I will travel to Fort Wayne, IN to meet my team and undergo a couple days of training. We will then travel to Harlem in New York City to do three weeks of local service before we embark on the remainder of our journey. The next six months will be spent in Haiti, Jamaica, and Belize, where we will live with host families and immerse ourselves in the local culture.

I am beyond excited to serve the Lord in a new, unfamiliar and uncomfortable way. I am ready for the Lord to convict my heart and take me to new depths. I hope that you will join me in praying for my preparation for this trip. If you would like to financially support me, you can do so easily through my fundraising page.

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion—to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor. They will rebuild the ancient ruins and restore the places long devastated; they will renew the ruined cities that have been devastated for generations. Strangers will shepherd your flocks; foreigners will work your fields and vineyards. And you will be called priests of the Lord, you will be named ministers of our God. You will feed on the wealth of nations, and in their riches you will boast. Instead of your shame you will receive a double portion, and instead of disgrace you will rejoice in your inheritance. And so you will inherit a double portion in your land, and everlasting joy will be yours. “For I, the Lord, love justice; I hate robbery and wrongdoing. In my faithfulness I will reward my people and make an everlasting covenant with them. Their descendants will be known among the nations and their offspring among the peoples. All who see them will acknowledge that they are a people the Lord has blessed.” I delight greatly in the Lord; my soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. For as the soil makes the sprout come up and a garden causes seeds to grow, so the Sovereign Lord will make righteousness and praise spring up before all nations.
Isaiah 61


The Lord is SO beyond good, y’all. 

Sunday, May 14, 2017

When You've Only Got One

Andy gets up in the early hours of the morning and puts on her tennis shoes. She pays careful attention to her laces as she is tying them, cautious to make sure each is pulled taught. Bunny ears and all, Andy hits the road. She has decided that she is taking this journey called life by foot today and begins taking her first steps for the long trek. 

The path Andy is on is smooth. It is a dirt path with a fine grit, not a single stone to be found. As the early morning progresses, the path begins to change and take shape. At this point in the path, there is a pebble here or there that may cause a small stumble for Andy. However, she walks with ease. 

All of the sudden, Andy looks down and notices that where her left tennis shoe was once precisely and perfectly tied, is a bare foot with all flaws exposed. The lone hair on her big toe, the freckles across the top of her foot and her chipped purple nail polish are all revealed. 

Confused and without choice, Andy keeps walking. 

Pebbles continue to appear on the path, covering the dirt. Andy continues to walk. Her bare foot steps and then her tennis shoe. On and on and on. However, as the path develops, the smooth pebbles turn to gravel. The once completely smooth path is now rugged and rough. The bottom of Andy's sensitive foot begins to ache. Each step on the left foot shoots a sharp pain up her leg. As she continues on, Andy begins to put more weight on her right foot. Utilizing the comfort and support from her tennis shoe, the pain from the left slightly subsides. 

With each step, Andy's left foot, while sensitive and sore, is beginning to form callouses. Andy's right foot, while full of support and strength, is growing tired. Finding a strong balance while walking is a struggle. Wanting to fully rely on the remaining tennis shoe, Andy is finding that it is placing strain on the rest of her body. The tough skin developing on the bottom of her left foot is helping her to walk a little more normal. However, Andy is fully aware that without her other tennis shoe, she will always be more reliant and dependent upon her right shoe. 

Andy may wish that she has two tennis shoes, but she's only got one. When you've only got one of something that often comes in twos, you learn two things: how to develop tough skin and reliance upon availability. 

I use Andy and her tennis shoes to truly explain how grateful I am for my mother. I wish I had two parents. But I've learned that it's okay that I don't. I've developed tough skin on my left. But on my right, I have learned just how much I can rely on my mom. She is full of more support than any tennis shoe on the market. The comfort she provides will never fade away. It is hard to be a mother. It is hard to be a mother of five children. (We know we aren't easy....) But it is even harder to be a mother to five children who lost their father. 

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Mom, I don't think that any amount of words could ever tell you how appreciative we are of you. Thank you for letting me cry in your bed, crash on your sofa, borrow your clothes and eat all of your food when it just felt like too much to go live off on my own. Thank you being strong enough when all of us aren't. Thank you, mom, for being you. I wouldn't have picked any other one if I had the choice. I love you. 


Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Finding Home


I praise you because you made me in an amazing and wonderful way. What you have done is wonderful. I know this very well. Psalm 139:14  
Home 4a: a place of origin
Origin 2a: rise, beginning, or derivation of a source
Sundy Best sings a song called "Home." I couldn't count on one hand the number of times that song was sang this past weekend. As this past weekend has come to a close, I reflect on all the wondrous times shared, but settle on one distinct moment of passing. The last time "Home" played, I looked over at my best friends and realized I didn't want them to go home. I wasn't ready for them to leave this physical place. Home, simplistically, is the place from which we come. On the surface, that comes off as a location: a point on this earth to which we are physically attached. However, home is so much more. As the cliche goes, "home is where the heart is." Your heart can be physically attached to the location on which you are standing or it can be found in the physical location of others.

It is in these other individuals that my true home has been identified. A lot of curbs have plopped at my feet recently. Tears have become a common part of my day and acceptance of the unknown is essentially inevitable and nearly natural. Through this, I have found ambition to grasp the positive in early single day. I strive to nourish that to allow it to flourish for a complete harvest. Even so, that harvest isn't manageable alone. It takes special individuals to help in that process and unfortunately I wasn't able to find them all right next door. This is because the home that is often attributed to a single location is not inclusive of the heart. It doesn't take into account that my heart isn't held solely within myself. The good Lord, our source of life, has given us a heart that can't be contained.

It took me nearly 20 years to find the home of my heart. I don't and won't ever understand why my home is spread up to seven hours away from me between a handful of individuals. What I do understand, finally, is that they are my home. I am SO beyond thankful for the home that I have found. After numerous prayers of pleading for God to give me joy in my valley, this home has given it to me through Him. My prayers have shifted to eternal prayers of thanks for this home that will never leave me.

When you spread the wings of your heart, your home will fly right into it. Keep them open and your home will multiply. And when your ready, fold them up and your home will never leave.

I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. Ephesians 1:16 
Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. James 1:17


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To you, my dear friends:
Thank you for being my shoulders, my joy and my home. I will always and forever be grateful for your beautiful, God-shining souls. It is never goodbye, inevitably a see you later.
Love you always,
Sarah
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