Grace and Forgiveness

When the person behind you is riding your tail.
Grace and forgiveness.

When someone dismisses your heartfelt compliment.
Grace and forgiveness.

When you find yourself being hypocritical.
Grace and forgiveness.

When someone cuts you off when you’re talking.
Grace and forgiveness.

When you’re accidentally left out.
Grace and forgiveness.

When you’re intentionally left out.
Grace and forgiveness.

When someone spoils a movie you haven’t seen.
Grace and forgiveness.

When someone ate the last cookie and you didn’t get one.

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Grace and forgiveness.

 

 
When you smile but don’t get one back.
Grace and forgiveness.

When you work hard and someone else gets the credit.
Grace and forgiveness.

As you start your day.

As your live your day.

As you end your day.

Grace

And forgiveness.

Colossians 3:13 – Bear with each other {grace} and and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.

Freedom Run

I know I’ve plastered stuff all over social media about finishing my Couch to 5K program, but I’m not ashamed to write a post about it! It was SO HARD and I am proud of myself for completing it. I kept myself accountable by choosing to link the app to my Twitter account. I tried to have fun with those tweets… (keep reading after the pics)

Picture 1Picture 2Picture 3Picture 4It did not escape me that I finished the workout plan on the 4th of July. I was thinking about how lucky I am to have this freedom. Meaning – I acknowledge the fact that I:

  1. Have a good paying 40 hour a week job, backed by labor laws, in which I can have a day off
  2. Can run outside alone on safe, well-paved road without the fear of being kidnapped, killed, or harassed (except for a few harmless catcalls)
  3. Have the independence of a single woman to do as I please and not have to live under governmental or cultural male dominance
  4. Can afford really nice workout clothes, socks, and shoes and ways to pull back my hair
  5. Can afford sunglasses, nice headphones, an iPhone with ways to charge it and plenty of music to download to accompany my run
  6. Have unlimited access to CLEAN WATER
  7. Have unlimited access to hospitals, doctors, therapists, trainers, medicine, and medical supplies, if needed
  8. Can afford food to replenish my calories

That’s a lot to be thankful for. While I was struggling to run for 30 minutes straight, other women my age are working in hard labor, or are being trafficked for sex, or are living in poverty with children to feed.

It’s convicting. I need to do more to help those who are less fortunate. That is Jesus’ whole ministry. Let’s come together and do great things for God’s kingdom. It’s okay to focus on doing good things for yourself, like running to stay in shape. But if that’s all we focus on, then we’re keeping ourselves from doing greater things for the Kingdom.

Let’s go.

{Thank You}

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We made it through June! We did it!

In the beginning I wrote that June was going to be a hard month for me, personally and professionally. And I was right. That is the reason for my writing devotions for a month. I didn’t want to (fully) medicate myself on Netflix and shopping and other things that simply suppress the difficult emotions. This medication happened a little bit, but I found that the devotions kept me focused on something more worthwhile, and most importantly, focused on God.

Thanks for going on this journey with me! You can always go back and read your favorites…(I know Bobby’s were your favorites).

Time now to take a break. Enjoy the summer!

-Sarah

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Devotions for June, Entry 30 {love never fails}

4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

8 Love never fails. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8

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In the kids musical I mentioned in an earlier post, “Agapeopolis,” in which a boy travels to find love and fill his suitcases with it, he discovers love isn’t a tangible thing, it’s who you are. The last song in the show is called “Love Never Gives Up.” I almost like that translation better, because not failing is a really high standard.

This is a hefty list of attributes to live up to. It’s just as daunting as the Proverbs 31 woman or the fruit of the Spirit. And to end it with a ‘never’ after a bunch of ‘always’s makes it even more overwhelming. It’s impossible to never fail. It’s a little less impossible to never give up.

There are several areas in life where we all would never give up. Parenting. Keeping relationships going with our friends, parents, siblings, coworkers. Working hard at our jobs. Not giving up is an expectation of human existence. The difference between the two phrases is perspective. They’re both right – but one perspective is the reassurance of love’s power and the other is the promise of love’s persistence.

When we love others, we will undoubtedly fail. We don’t have the gift of being perfect like God (sorry to break it to you). But despite our failures, we can be persistent in our love. The good news is that God’s perfect love carries our imperfect love.

The attributes of love don’t just appear. You can’t think about them too hard or they won’t come about naturally. Just like with the fruit of the Spirit, you don’t try to accumulate those qualities on your own – you tap into the Spirit and they organically grow within you. Same with the characteristics of love. You just worry about the love part, and God will bring these qualities through you. You won’t even notice!

Love never fails. Love never gives up.

p.s. Yes, the song from Agapeopolis is stuck in my head right now.

Devotions for June, Entry 29 {perseverance}

It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 1 Corinthians 13:7

Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the yes, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him. James 1:12

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This past week has been rough on me, or rather, my sleep schedule. My job as director of summer camp has started and I feel like I’m pulling the weight of two. It seems strange (as summer camp is full time hours, but my hours are heavily limited throughout the year), that my full time schedule is so exhausting, considering I’ve been on a ten year journey to find just that – full time work – within Youth Ministry. (Full time work in general even.) All of this to say, I really couldn’t understand why I was putting so much effort into a job that I had declared I was walking away from come the end of summer. Maybe it’s been the stress of my applying for jobs all over and either hearing absolutely nothing back, or getting rejections time after time.

Although this seems rather depressing to hear at first, I’ve been confident that God will open a door and provide for me – I’ve felt convicted of it! It’s just seemed so far off and under all of the stress of work, it’s seemed like I’ve been in a pipe dream, never to reach the end. But that’s the very beauty of God.

While it may seem like a rough road and one that no one wants to walk down, God has lessons within those paths and roads He leads you down. I can honestly say that my last two jobs have taught me so much about myself and my ability to handle circumstances than what I had known before. It’s this very adventure I’ve been on that has made me who I am today.

But there’s a glimmer… For the first time in a long time, I finally have an interview for a full time job working at a private Christian School. Nothing is set in stone, but could be by July.

I feel like leaving people with encouragement to persevere where you are and take heart! God has a plan for each of us, and sometimes we just can’t see where the paths are taking us. But His plan is far better than our own!

p.s. Pray for Bobby and his interview Monday morning!

Devotions for June, Entry 28 {trust}

It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 1 Corinthians 13:7

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Love always trusts.

What is trust?

Putting your faith in someone else? Putting the fate of something connected to you in someone else’s hands. Like an airplane pilot, or a payroll manager, or your child’s teacher. When we are born, we automatically trust. Mom, Dad, siblings, grandparents. Our circle of trust grows as we encounter others.

So when does trust become an issue?

When a trust was betrayed. When someone said they would do something, say something, hold onto something, produce something, and then they didn’t. Emotions that come with this outcome might be anger, sadness, disappointment, and even embarrassment or humiliation.

So how can love always trust? Well. I don’t know. I’m generally a pretty trusting person. I really don’t have an answer. What I do know is that cynicism and skepticism can very quickly eat you up.

Maybe to always trust means to always give the benefit of the doubt. Hope that the people you are relying on have integrity and compassion. Hope for the good in people. My guess is, if you exhibit the other qualities of love, those who are trusting will want to work with you, and those who aren’t will feel convicted.

This is what I do know. You can always trust God. You can always trust God. You can always trust God.

Always.

Devotions for June, Entry 27 {plan}

Surely the Sovereign Lord does nothing without revealing his plan to his servants the prophets. Amos 3:7

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I don’t think Amos was very popular. But messengers of bad tidings usually aren’t. The context of this passage concerns God’s warning to Israel that He’s tired of their evil ways and is going to punish them justly. So basically He’s saying, “Don’t say I didn’t warn you.”

This statement really struck me. Because one of humanity’s great frustrations is that we can’t see the future. This verse goes against that a little. Some people might say that this verse doesn’t count now because it’s in the Old Testament and Jesus etc. but I’m not sure. Let’s jump into the difference between pre-Jesus and post-Jesus plan revealing…

Back then, most people did not have a direct connection to God. The Holy Spirit only rested on a particular person for a short period of time to complete a holy task. The way God communicated with His people was to speak through the prophets. We won’t get into the obvious problem that the people didn’t listen to or believe the prophets most of the time.

So then Jesus came and said, you don’t have to rely on the Prophets anymore! I am a direct line of communication to God because I am God. Once I break the barrier of sin forever, you’ll be able to talk to him 24/7 through the Holy Spirit, huzzah! (I’m pretty sure those were his exact words.)

Cut to the chase Sarah. Ok. If we have a direct connection to God, why do we never go to Him first when we’re concerned about the future? We have a serious advantage over the pre-Jesus people. We roll our eyes at the seemingly blind Old Testament Israelites and don’t realize we’re worse!

I acknowledge that some events/circumstances cannot be predicted and aren’t always preceded by ‘warning’, but I can say that God has revealed His plan to us – you and me, now, today – through a prophet: Jesus. The difference is, while God only revealed a section at a time of his plan for the Israelites, we have the whole thing! We know it from beginning to end. How’s that for foresight.

But then what about the day-to-day decisions? How do we know what to do? Perhaps if we continually focus on the big picture (Jesus coming back, eternal life) our daily decisions will become easier. Someone once told me, “always look at the situation with a heavenly background.” It’s not natural for us to think that way because we are human and therefore look inward constantly. But if we train ourselves to see the whole picture (by keeping that line of communication open with God), we may start to evolve. I think if we did this, a lot of fear and anxiety would disappear from this world.

p.s. Poor Amos.