I want to LIVE

Have you ever had one of those moments when you could almost feel the Lord whispering over your shoulder?  

I can say with definite certainty that I have never actually heard the Lord speak audibly to me.  It would be really cool if I could say that I have, but that would be a lie…so I am not going to say that!  But, I have had several moments over the span of my short 30 years that I was 100% certain that the Lord was speaking something just for me.  Most of those moments happened in the quiet of my bedroom while reading and praying over Scripture.  

Today was different though…

Today I was in church, singing to the Lord, clapping my hands, and just dancing around in His presence, when I felt Him speak to my heart so clearly that it took all my strength not to fall down into a ball and weep.  I did do the weeping part, but this 23 ½ week preggo lady has a hard time getting up off the floor so I stood and wept.  I sang and wept and wept and wept and prayed and wept some more.  My son kept grabbing my hand just to make sure I was okay. 
I wasn’t okay though.  The Lord was breaking through and speaking to the very depths of my soul.  All I could do was weep because it was like a wall had literally been broken down in my heart.  I didn’t have words.  

The thing is for weeks now the Lord has been speaking little whispers of truth to me…through the Bible, through different studies, through books, through people.  And I heard the whispers.  I heard them and gave them their proper “mmm…good stuff.”  But it’s like I didn’t really want it to sink in.  I didn’t want those truths to take root because then I might have to do something about it.  Just so you can kind of get an idea where I am coming from read these little gems…

“David wanted God’s presence more than he wanted his next breath.  He was jealous for the glory and worship of God and for sacred things to find their sacred places.” –from Beth Moore’s bible study “Stepping Up.”

“Marriage is a good gift of God, but the world is fallen, and sin abounds, and obedience is costly, and suffering is to be expected…High romance and passionate sexual intimacy and precious children may come.  But, hold them loosely—as though you were not holding them.” –from This Momentary Marriage by John Piper

“It is easy to find out whether our lives are focused, and if so, where the focus lies. Where do our thoughts settle when consciousness comes back in the morning?  Where do they swing back when the pressure is off during the day?...Dare to have it out with God…and ask Him to show you whether or not all is focused on Christ and His glory…” –words of Lilias Trotter, missionary to Alegeria (excerpt taken from the book Faithful Women and Their Extraordinary God by Noel Piper)

“We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but no driven to despair, persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.  So death is at work in us, but life in you.” -2 Corinthians 4:8-12

“Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of the wickedness, to undo the straps of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free and to break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover him, and not to hide yourself from your own flesh?” –Isaiah 58:6-7

I could keep going, but I think you get the idea.  This is some heavy duty stuff my friends. And really I just kind of took out little tidbits for you to get a taste.  But as I already said before, none of this was really making a deep, lasting imprint.  I read these words, processed them, gave them a proper “oh yeah,” and just moved on my way.   

The thing is I was scared…and maybe still am a little bit.  I was scared because I know what Jesus asks of those who love Him.  I have been following the Lord faithfully for 15 years.  I have read His words, and I know what He asks of those wanting to be true disciples of His.  On the surface, I wanted to be one of those disciples, but deep down, I was willing to just say right where I was it.  It was much more comfortable.  Because the thing is when I was 18, 19, and even into my early twenties, I was sold out because I didn’t have much to lose.  Sure I could have lost my life I guess or some material possessions, but I just didn’t have that much to lose…at least in my own eyes.  (It’s also that beautiful invincible stage of life…nothing bad is going to happen to me anyway!)  

But now I am 30…I am 30 and I have an amazing husband and two amazing children, with another on the way.  I have an awesome family and friends.  I have a house. I have good health. I have lots of nice things. I also have bills to pay and responsibilities to my family and many others.  I have an incredible ministry.  Bottom line: I have a lot to lose this time.  

So being sold out to Jesus scares me.  I could feel Him calling me…beckoning me. But, I didn’t want to hear. I didn’t want to hear because I am scared. I was scared He is going to ask too much.  I was scared that He was going to require more. I was scared that He was going to take something that I don’t think I can live without. I was scared I might have to suffer.  I was scared I might have to sacrifice more.

These are real fears.  Maybe even fears you have struggled with too.  Because let’s be realistic for a moment. It is much easier to live in between.  It is easier to just love Jesus but not be too radical.  It is easier to just kind of fit in with what the rest of the world is doing and be cool, modern Christians.  It is easier to just fit Jesus into our lives right where we are at. 

That’s what I was doing.  I may be a missionary in another country, but man I could have given you classes on being a super Christian on the outside but not letting Jesus penetrate to the depths of my heart and soul on the inside.  I could participate in any great conversation on the Bible. I could talk about and teach about God wanting to change us and renew us and refine us. I could go on and on about what He is asking of us today.  I could pray with the best of them and weep and just be so “deep.” I had it going on guys.  Now, I am not saying I was a big, fat fake.  I did love Jesus. I loved His Word, and it was my heart’s desire to make Him known and for my kids and all the kids to whom I minister to love Him with all their hearts.  When I prayed for them, I was doing it with an honest heart.  But, I wasn’t letting God’s truth transform my own life.  I wanted to keep a “safe” distant in case He wanted to ask something more of me. I guess I figured if I wasn’t really living radically, then there wouldn’t be much of a need to use me in radical situations.  

Today it all changed guys.  Today God ripped open my heart and all those small whispers became alive to me and I could hear the Lord so clearly saying, “Sara…come…come to me Sara.  I am asking you come…come and die.”  I knew He wasn’t asking me to commit suicide or anything.  He was asking me to come and die to me.  Die to my fears.  Die to all that I hold dear…not because it doesn’t matter anymore but because HE MATTERS MORE.  What is this life anyway?  A breath…a breath compared to eternity.  Am I really going to live that breath riding the fence, walking the line, living in fear of the “what ifs”?  Or do I want to LIVE this life…really LIVE it…100%, sold out, radically obedient to my God?  I want to live. Because as Paul says, “For me to live is Christ…”


Some big news...

Well my little internet friends...

I have got some news for you all....


So exciting and yet so scary all at the same time. Another baby. Another beautiful, precious, wonderful, amazing miracle of God

Yet, as I battle through the morning/all day sickness yet again, I am reminded that having a baby is no easy task. Wait let me rephrase that...raising a baby, a child is no easy task. Even after 26 hours of drug free labor with Miss B. I still think that was the easy part. Being a good Mama to her is the hard part. Teaching in the ways she should go so she will never depart from it....that is the hart part. Being a Mama that she can follow and want to emulate...a Mama that is continually pointing her to look upward towards Jesus...that is the hard part.

I am thrilled to the bones and yet totally humbled by all that is happening. A BABY!

I am only about 7 weeks along. I know many wait until the end of the first trimester to share but I am not many I guess. For one thing, I am not real good at masking all the endless nausea. I look green for like 6 weeks straight. Plus I am really bad with surprises. I like to tell! What can I say! My husband says I am still a kid sometimes!

I would ask for some help praying in a few areas though. I realize some of you don't even know me personally, but I would still appreciate your prayers for my family and me. Here is the list...

1. Mr. A's adoption. My prayer had always been that we would be done with his adoption by the time I got pregnant again...sadly though, we are still in the same process 3 1/2 years later. We still aren't really sure what the hold up is, but we know we serve a big God that loves Mr. A even more than we do. Please join us in praying that this will be the year of victory!

2.Baby's health and mine. I have already experienced a lot of nausea and it is still early. With Miss B I was literally in bed for about 6 weeks of the first trimester with extreme nausea and vomiting (all day). Although this is usually a sign of a strong, healthy pregnancy, it was super hard, and if at all possible, I would like to avoid that again. Miss B. has been especially needy lately (its like she senses that she is going to have to share me some more), and it is really hard being a good Mama to my littles when I am feeling so sick. Even as I write this blog this morning, I am sipping my Gatorade and hoping for the nausea to subside some.

3.Our finances. Our hope is to have this baby in the states again as we did with Miss B. It was such a beautiful experience being able to be with my family and share this moment with them. They have to make the sacrifice of living away from us most of the rest of the year, so we really feel like it is the best decision to have the baby in the states. We do not have insurance in the states, however, and although we were blessed by some very generous doctors and nurses last time, the grand total was still super high for us. We know that God is our ultimate provider, so we are trusting that his plan is perfect for our lives and if it is His desire for us to do this again (as we are hoping it is) then He will provide all we need. But, we would love your prayers as well. We want to be good stewards and wise in all our decisions.

4. My family as a whole: 2011 was a hard year for us. We experienced lots of changes, and as a family we walked through a lot of different situations that at times brought tears. Thankfully, we are all still here and all still standing tall together. But, we know that every new change, good or bad, brings lots of unknowns. As excited as we are about this new little person growing inside of me, we are very aware that many things in our lives will once again change. We want to be ready and standing tall and strong in the Lord.

Thank you for your prayers and for just being excited with us about this new little person! We are so blessed and honored God wanted to bless us once again in this way!


It's been a while...

So my little blogger world...sorry for the long absence
An absence of like a year or something like that
But when you don't have internet in your house it makes things like blogging rather difficult
But if truth be told, that isn't really my only reason for not blogging
When life changes in big ways, it is hard to know how to roll with it sometimes
And not long after my last blog post, life changed in a really BIG way for us
A hard way
A way that really rocked things for us
A way that changed things dramatically for my family
That changed caused a big wave of other changes
So I kind of just forgot about blogging

Those of you that know me personallly, know what those changes were/are. I thank you for your prayers and support as Hubby and I tried to figure out our way and figure out what it was that God was wanting for us. For the rest of you, I wish I could give you a glimpse into what I am talking about, but because this blog is still on the big world wide web and because I still have to protect our family during this time, it is best for those details to be left for after...
"After what" you may ask
After it is all said and done. The big change may have happened last year, but we are still living it now.

But the thing about change is you can't just stop living your life because big changes happen. We still have a ministry and a beautiful family and a beautiful life here on this mountainside in Guatemala, so life must go on

Hence, my big return to the blog. Many have asked for updates, and since I am really bad about individually emailing those updates, I thought that this blog needed to be resurrected once again. I have lots I would like to say...lots of thoughts rolling around in my head, but until I make sense of much of it, I will stick to the most recent stuff.

I just finished a really amazing book...like I read in a day and a half. I think I should make it mandatory reading if you are my friend or something like that. But, in all seriousness, you should read it. It is called 7 by Jen Hatmaker. One of my dear friends recommended it to me, and I ate it up with a fork and spoon. You can find out more about her and her book at her blog Here.

I am not going to give you a huge overview of what it is about or anything like that...you just need to read it for yourself and find out. (I seriously highlighted like half the book, so I am not just saying it is worth your time...it really is). But, basically it is amount minimizing our life and lifestyles...focusing on the important and not holding on so tight to the not so important. It is about realizing how we can become paralyzed from living a radical life for Jesus when we are trying so hard to bring everything with us. I was told that this book wasn't really for me as it is really geared more to those living, working, and church-going in Ameria. He wasn't trying to steer me away from it or anything. I am pretty sure he is a personal friend of hers (the author). I think he just meant that being a missionary in Guatemala kind of left me out of the club the book was written for. The funny thing is, though, the entire time I was reading it, I felt like she was writing just for me (I know....I can be so self-centered sometimes). She was talking my language and I could see so many of my own struggles.

Because you want to know something interesting? I may be a missionary in a third-world country. I may be serving the orphans of this country and fighting to help give them a better future. I may have left all that I once held dear behind in the states. I may have way less money than I could have if my husband and I got "real" jobs. I may have done all of those things. But, the truth of the matter is, so many times my biggest battle is the urge to make my life look just like the one I left behind. I want to have my cake and eat it too so to speak. I want to lay my life down before the cross and tell the Lord "not my will be done but Yours;" yet, I spend countless hours and waste countless tears trying to make this life look the way I want it to...a way that is easier and involves less sacrifice. I find myself sometimes having a little "discussion" with the Lord that goes something like this...
"Okay Lord. I obeyed. I left everything behind. I am missing out on all this precious time with my family and friends. My kids are having to grow up with less (I use that word less very loosely...my kids have it just fine). I missed out on my chance to fulfill all my childhood dreams. We aren't getting to go on huge family vacations. My precious husband continues to turn down great jobs so he can continue to serve you. Lord, look at all my sacrifice. Can't you just let me have [insert item here] or Can't you just make this [insert situation here] easier?"

Oh look at me. I am so far from getting what the Lord is asking of me!
Hosea 6:6 says, "For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings."
In Psalm 51:16-17 David says to the Lord, "For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it; you will not be pleased with a burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise."

I sit around feeling sorry for myself because I can't just go and buy an Ipad like I desperately want instead of realizing that my so called sacrifice of living and serving in another country is not really a sacrifice at all if I am not surrendering my whole heart to the Lord. It isn't about what I deserve...what I miss out on...what I can't have... It is about me saying everyday not just with my mouth but with my life, "Lord you are everything to me. You are everything that matters and the reason I exist. I love you more than my stuff. I love you more than my dreams. I even love you more than my family and my own life."

This book couldn't have come at a better time for me. I, for one of the first times in my whole life, was called very selfish this week. It hurt. Actually, it didn't just hurt, it caused such a deep, slicing pain that I literally couldn't stop sobbing for an hour. I think I cried first because it just hurt my feelings like when you are on the playground and a little boy calls you ugly. But, then the real pain started to show its colors. I ached and wept and struggled because I could see where this person really was speaking the truth in love to me. I was being selfish. And I wasn't just being selfish that one time. I could see patterns of selfishness throughout many areas of my life recently.

And do you want to know what I found? The root of that selfish was coming from a desire to hold on tight to all that I thought should be mine...all that I thought I deserved. I acted selfishly to protect myself...and not protect myself from some bad guy. I was trying myself from "losing out."

That, my friends, is a dangerous place to be. When our stuff (and I don't just mean material stuff...I mean all that we count dear...lifestyles, dreams, vacations, people, etc.) takes such a hold on us that we start acting in selfish ways just to try and not lose it, we are on the verge of allowing that "stuff" to become idols in our lives.

I, for one, don't want that to happen. I will leave you with this little gem from the book. It is found on page 174.

"The church the Bible described is exciting and adventurous and wrought with sacrifice. It cost believers everything, and they still came. It was good news to the poor and stumped its enemies...the gospel does not call for a truce but a complete surrender....It will cost everything, but it is a treasure and an unfathomable joy. This is the balance of the kingdom; to live we must die, to be lifted we bow, to gain we must lose."

Thank you Jen Hatmaker for your obedience. Your testimony certainly inspired me and showed me that I really don't need that Ipad...its not like I am going to die or anything. In all seriousness, though, your journey showed me where I need to start mine. For starters, my child-like temper tantrums stop today.


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Some bits and bobbits about this blog...

This blog is mostly just ramblings by yours truly. I talk about my ups and downs being a wife, mother, and missionary in Guatemala. I have a tendency to get off on "soapboxes" as those who love me say but it is my desire that this blog can be a place of encouragement in each of your pilgrimages with Christ. At any moment if this blog becomes more about me than about Christ, than it will be done and over...so please help me stay accountable. To God be all the Glory, Honor, and Power!

Books I am currently reading...

  • Eight Twenty Eight
  • Interrupted
  • The Connected Child
  • This Momentary Marriage
  • Unbroken

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