Thursday, May 27, 2010

Day 123 - My Friend Becky

Years ago when I was in my early twenties and a new Christian, I had a friend Becky. She was eight years older than me and had such a love for God and a personality so addicting. I would see her at church before I met her and wish to be her friend.

I think I appreciated her transparency in all things of life the most. She struggled and allowed all to see those struggles but she also loved and ministered just as fervently as she struggled and all the while - glorifying God in all things. We got together often and prayed much, cried much, and laughed much. She went on a short term mission trip and felt an instant calling to full time missions. Her husband did not go on the trip and was very happy right where they were in life ::: serving in our church, working a great job, being a dad, and being around family.

We started praying with some other women. We did a fasting chain (where we all fasted one day a week and prayed for one another). I had no idea what I was supposed to be doing with my life. I was in school but felt called to something more - even though I wasn't sure what that was. Becky prayed for God to give me clear direction on where to go to school and also for me a Godly husband. I prayed for Becky that God would DO something with this desire that was burning so deep in her heart for missions. Either change David's heart (her husband) or change hers. I remember sitting in her living room crying with her as she told me that she was not satisfied with all she had. All the furniture in her house, her occupation as a nurse, as a middle class mother (to three amazing kids - Susanna, Landry, and Bowden), her American dream.

David soon decided to go on a mission trip to South America. We prayed so hard that week he was gone. At this point Becky had started craving beans and rice constantly! It was hilarious. He called from the airport when he got to the states and said he was ready. It was amazing. Around this time I was accepted to Word of Life and was in the process of moving up there. Their house sold quickly and all their furniture was bought and given away. She had this red chair that was her devotion chair. I wish I had asked her for it. So many tears were shed there before God.

She wrote me while I was up at Word of Life. David had to take some seminary courses before they were able to go to South America, not a bad deal since the Southern Baptist do not make their workers raise support. Meanwhile I met and started dating Martin. I only saw Becky once or twice after I left for Word of Life.

But on the eve of my wedding she called me. She wasn't going to make it to my wedding because she was leaving for Mexico the day of my wedding. The two things we had prayed for, God had allowed them on the same day.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Day 120 - Hello, My Name is Sarah and I'm a Podcast Sermon Junkie

There. I admit it. I love listening to sermons! If I don't have thinking tasks at work I have a sermon on. It could be my dad (, Mark Driscoll (, Matt Chandler (, Francis Chan ( or James MacDonald (

Part of me wishes I could read the Bible as much as I listen to Godly men that preach it. But the reality is, I can't. I do my devotions in the morning but then I have to go to work. So, I enjoy listening when I can. The past month or so I've been doing pretty mindless work, catching up on things I've neglected for the past year. It's been a real treat.

Through different sermons, I've been learning what it's really like to see where your treasures are. That's where my heart is. So, I took last months bank account statement and categorized it. That's what one pastor said to do. Look at your bank account and that will show you where your heart is. And guess what I found out? Our hearts are at Starbucks. Well, and other optional places. I looked at how many times we went out to eat this past month and the majority of the time it wasn't with someone else. It was alone or just the two of us. So our hearts (idols) are our stomachs. They are also at Target. I buy a lot of my groceries at Target but I also buy optional items there too. Looking at our spending made both Martin and I sick.

So, as one pastor said as I was listening while I was working out, what am I going to do about it? Am I going to nod and make the appropriate "hmmm" in my pew on Sunday or am I going to do something about it? After talking it through, Martin and I have decided to keep a spending journal and keep each other accountable. Some friends did it this past month for other reasons and if they can do it - we can do it. If we really want to invest in things not of this world we need to make real changes and not just spend without purpose. I was convinced we were going to sell our house earlier today but I think that might need some prayer and fasting attached to it, not just emotions as I'm crying in my office repenting of my wrong spending and idols to God.

I never thought God would take me this route when I started 120 days ago. I thought I would be 20 pounds smaller and growing in Christ my way. But once again, He's shown me that He is so much bigger than my outward struggles and more importantly, much bigger than my inward heart struggles.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Day 115 - These Are A Few Of My Favorite Books

I have three favorite books. For now (I reserve the rights to change these at any given time), they are (in no particular order):

1. The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawerence (17th Century dude - amazing little book)

2. The Pursuit of God by A.W. Tozer

3. Desiring God by John Piper

I try to read them every few years. They aren't easy reads. It took me over a year to read Desiring God the first time. Martin bought me The Pursuit of God on tape when we were dating. I just listened to it again a couple of years ago on my commute to my old job. Makes me sad I don't have a tape player any longer. It was one of the first books I read after I was saved. And my dad gave me his copy of The Practice of the Presence of God soon after I was saved. I just found it on my book shelf at home and have it on the table to dig into again. I think the thing I love about all three of these guys is the difference in their beliefs. I'd guess that Brother Lawerence had some catholic thinking in his theology and well, Piper and Tozer could be renamed Calvin and Armenian. But non-the-less, they all believed/believe Jesus is the only way to heaven and have great insight taken from the Word of God. And well, that's all that really matters.

I think you should share your favs. Because I love good reading. But please, don't put the Bible. I think it has it's own category. : )

Monday, May 17, 2010

Day 113 - Planning and So Many Emotions

I feel like there are so many emotions going through me. I have allergies or a cold or whatever and I feel like crying when I'm sick. Martin just rubs my back while I whimper. Poor guy. For his sake I hope we one day have a house full of boys.

I'm kind of tired of planning. Is that bad? I told Martin yesterday that I'm just going to live life day by day and keep trucking along but not plan much beyond that for awhile. I'm not being lazy I don't think. I'm just going to stop thinking ahead. I don't mean I'm going to live for today and spend my money like there is no tomorrow. I'm not going to stop investing in people. I'm just not going to plan my future for a bit. I think it's become a way that I build idols. So for now, I'm shelving planning.

This means that if people ask me about plans for adoption, I'm going tell them I really don't know. And when they ask how I'm feeling about Martin and law school, I'm going to reply that if it's what God wants it's what I want. And so on.

Because when it all comes down to it, I just want what God wants and for now, I'm going to stop planning and just seek Him alone. That might be kind of easy for people but Martin and I are planners. Our plans might change daily but we are still planners.

Also, if you're reading this, please pray for Martin. He's walking through something right now that he needs God's wisdom and so do the other people involved. It's complicated so I'm just going to leave it at that.

Oh and Jesus, if You and the Father could talk it over, could you come back today? Thanks. Selfishly, that would rock.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Day 109 - Being a Legalist

Yup, I'm a legalist. I used to think legalist were the ones who only read KJV and wore skirts but it's much worse than that (not saying ALL KJV and skirt wearin' people are legalist). I'm not proud of it and I need to fight everyday to not be but I'm pretty sure Jesus would have an easy time letting me know if he were physically here. I get convicted often for comments I say (verbally and internally) about people. Sweeping comments that make them look like scum only because I want to look better. "Well at least I..." "I don't get how they can..." "Don't they realize..." These are the beginning of sentences that come out of my mouth and run through my mind. It all stems from pride - stupid pride.

I really wish there was a 10 step program that could rid me of being a legalist. But even if there is one out there it doesn't change the fact that my heart is the problem my words and actions are just the overflow of what's going on in there. I hate but love when sin is so evident to me. It's evidence of the Holy Spirit but it's what I do at that moment that really matters.

:::John Piper says::: "So legalism is the pursuit of the law with some other engine than faith, on some other steam that the Spirit. What is the engine of legalism? Paul calls it 'works' (Romans 9:32) and he calls the fuel of this engine 'flesh' (Galatians 3:3). 'Works' is the opposite of 'faith' and 'flesh' is the opposite of 'Spirit.' So legalism is not whether you strive to obey the commands of God, but which engine and which fuel you run on."

Good stuff.

:::Found this on

How to Become a Legalist:
1. Make rules outside the Bible.
2. Push yourself to try and keep your rules.
3. Castigate yourself when you don't keep your rules.
4. Become proud when you do keep your rules.
5. Appoint yourself as judge over other people.
6. Get angry with people who break your rules or have different rules.
7. "Beat" the losers.

Anyone else have allergies all of the sudden? Gotta love May in Jersey! Hoping to call my mother tonight and also get some trim painted in the entryway, after the gym of course.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Day 107 - Being Taught Something Over and Over

I don't think it's a it's just a fluke thing when you are taught something from God's Word over and over again in a short amount of time. I actually get excited about it. I don't (well, try to) immediately go too deep into how it specifically applies to my life. That can drive me crazy and it can jump ahead of the Holy Spirit.

As I've said before, I'm going very slowly through the book of Romans. Chapter 9 has had it's challenges for me. I don't find it as exciting as chapter 6 or 8 and it has a different tone than chapter 7. Paul's getting into why God chose us.

I believe Matt Chandler says it best - God doesn't look down on the human race and pick people because He sees potential in us. He's not like, "I want that guy on my team! He will make Me look really good." We have no idea why God chose us. It's so much deeper than any our pea brains can comprehend. I know I sound like a broken record but I need to hear it and read it - we all deserve death. Sin's only punishment is death and just us being born deserves death because the disease of sin is all over our body. We are already infected. Each cell in our body holds sin.

From that, God has - for some reason much bigger than all of us - chosen those who He will show mercy to through Salvation of Jesus. AHHHH! That is so amazing! We all should have judgement but He has shown His mercy for some. That blows my mind. Paul writes in Romans 9:14-24 -

What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? Certainly not! For He says to Moses, "I will have mercy on whomever I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whomever I will have compassion." So then it is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who shows mercy. For the Scripture says to the Pharaoh, "For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I may show My power in you, and that My name may be declared in all the earth." Therefore He has mercy on whom He wills, and whom He wills He hardens.

You will say to me then, "Why does He still find fault? For who has resisted His will?" But indeed, O man, who are you to reply against God? Will the thing formed say to him who formed it, "Why have you made me like this?" Does not the potter have power over the clay, from the same lump to make one vessel for honor and another for dishonor?

What if God, wanting to show His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, and that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He had prepared beforehand for glory, even us whom He called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?

This passage is hard for me to "get" as an American. Our own constitution pretty much says that we all deserve life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. That's a lot of rights but we are first Christians. And because of that we all first deserve death (hmmm - makes me selfishly want to be an American first).
I don't want to think I have election and God's ways all figured out because I don't and He will continue to shape and mold me into whatever He wants me to think. I just need to remember that as a Christian - I have no rights. Which means that I don't get to do whatever I want to do. And that is the hardest part.

On a lighter note (okay - not really), Martin is talking about Law School again. Every part of me says NO! But who am I? I don't know what God has. This I do know: I'm not in charge of me. God is in charge of me and then He's given Martin to me to lead us. And that means I need to let him lead me. I don't do that by smiling and being quiet as we go down a cliff. But I pray about it and then voice my concerns in a non-manipulating way (oh so hard for women and I am the chief!) then I encourage. I'm not scared that God is going to allow us to "pick the wrong door" to walk through. That's silly. We're following Him through His Word, prayer and wise counsel. He's not going to allow us to do anything He doesn't want us to do. It's really that simple.

But truly on a lighter note, I'm starting to paint our dark wood trim in the living room. I fell in love with the dark woodwork (it's only in the living room and dining room) when we first moved in but now I'm ready for a change - white. The bad part is - I sanded down my fingers. Nails yes but also the tips of my fingers. I thought I felt something burning as I was sanding. Now I know what it is.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Day 105 - Pictures for Mother's Day!

Martin's mom asked for one thing for Mother's Day. She asked for a picture of the three of us. I think we succeeded! Here are some of the ones we took.

I am so thankful for my mother and mother-in-law. Not many can say they have two mom's who pray daily for them but we do! What Godly examples both of them are. God knew Martin and I needed two very strong mothers to pray and keep us in line! Thanks mom and mom Fern! We love you guys.

Day 105 - Pictures!

I can't believe it's been two weeks since Aaron, Sonya and Braelyn came to visit! Wanted to post some pictures of their time here. I wish family lived close but I know it makes it that much more special when they come to visit!

Good family picture in front of our house and
can you tell Braelyn loves her daddy?
I was able to keep Braelyn the day before they left for a few hours while Aaron and Sonya went on a date. She knew they were leaving without her and the day they were leaving she was very curious if they would leave her again. Unfortunately, they took her with them.

It's funny to think all this child will ever know if life with a computer! She asked for "Melmo" (Elmo) so I turned it on for her. I'm pretty sure she could have done it herself.

Being Braelyn's favorite aunt, I wish I could say she looks like me but I think this picture shows that she is looking more and more like Sonya. I love her sweet smile!

A lady at work gave me some toys but I forgot about them. When I went down to the basement I found this horse. She loved it! It's a keeper.

She asked to get a her picture made with her favorite aunt and uncle. We obliged.

Laura got me a snuggie as a gag gift for Christmas. Braelyn loved it. She would pick it out of the blanket basket over the green polka-dot and red striped ones - that says a lot.

We spent the day in Lancaster. It was the first day it didn't rain but it was windy! We had a good time going through craft stores and walking and driving around.

So thankful they came and so sad they had to leave! Thanks for coming Aaron and Sonya and thanks for having an amazing little girl.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Day 100!

I can't believe I've been doing this for 100 days. I have to admit, a lot has changed in me and that makes my soul happy.

Aaron, Sonya and Braelyn came to visit us last week and we had such a great time. I'll do a separate post of pictures later. Braelyn is simply a sweet, sweet girl.

As a woman, I get a thought in my head and think it to death. I say as a woman because I think that's something that makes us a bit different than men. We are thinkers. Men are doers. I don't throw that out as an absolute statement. I know there are men who tend to think just as much as women and vise versa. But recently I have been thinking, chewing, meditating (take your pick) over total depravity. What is total depravity you ask? Well, defines it as: the utter depravity of humankind due to original sin and persisting until regeneration through the Spirit of God. Pretty good for an online dictionary!

I think until we truly admit and accept that our flesh is so gross and yucky and disgusting and bad, we cannot truly comprehend what Christ did for us on the cross and what God, through the Holy Spirit is doing to us in Sanctification. I'm tired of hearing that someone isn't "that bad." Yes they are. Yes we are. Yes I am. Anything we do on our own is trash. Anything. That goes for saved or unsaved people. The problem is some of us (me) forget the power that our flesh can have over us when we are not in complete dependence of God.

What does complete dependence look like? I wish it was a check list. I work well with lists. Devotions - check. Five to ten minutes in prayer - check. Thinking twice before I write or say something - check. Only purposefully eating - check. We want to make our faith a check list but we can't! These are all included but total dependency is looking to God before anything else. In every thing we do - we are purposeful in that. Taking things to Him constantly. It should be like breathing, just something we do. I love what Francis Chan says about devotions or quiet times - he used to feel guilty when he would miss reading his bible but now he is just sad that he didn't take the time to be with God. I love that! It's not about the duty it's about the relationship. Why can't I get it through my thick head? It's because I don't want to. I want to do my own thing - say what I want to say, spend time the way I want to spend time. I want to be God. Oh it just always comes back to pride.

So that's what I've been chewing over these last few days. Tonight I will work on getting some pictures up of our time with Braelyn (and Aaron and Sonya). Martin's sick. Not sure if it's allergies or a cold. I think it might have started as allergies but is now a cold. He is under the neti-pot care. He hates doing it because he's so clogged the salt water has no where to go so it starts coming out his tear ducts and burns real bad. I just stand with him, tell him to man up and not be a Mary! Okay, not really I just encourage him to continue on. That neti-pot is amazing! This means I am going to the gym by myself. But I'm still going, by golly.