The strength of our hearts.

In the past two weeks, the phenomenon of time has, once again, proved to be greater than my understanding.  Although I walked slower than usual, paused in places of solitude, and literally stopped to smell the roses, time has still flown.  While sitting now in a coffee shop, I reflect on the past 16 days.  Tomorrow will be Sunday, two weeks since the funeral, two weeks since the first time I picked flowers from the sprays at Mammaw’s graveside.

Healing is a process.  Healing is a day-to-day, hour-to-hour, get-through-each-minute kind of a process, and honestly, I don’t know yet if it ever truly ends, at least not on this side of Heaven.  Often, I find myself saying that my grandparents live in Grenada.  If someone asks, “How are they doing?” most times, it’s just easier to say, “He’s doing great.  Thanks for asking.”  The truth is that I still miss her.  Every minute of the day, I miss her.

Today while standing at the stove making soup, I made a promise to Mammaw.  Whenever I have children–God willing that this happens, especially if I am blessed with a daughter–I promised Mammaw that I will tell them all about her.  I will pull a chair into the kitchen and set it in front of the stove.  While letting my child stir the contents within a great big pot, I will tell him/her about the many times I did the same thing with my grandmother: making homemade Play-doh by the recipe in Mammaw’s Bell’s Best cookbook held together by duct-tape.  We will sit at the table and pour through the pages of the cookbook that she gave me before going off to college.  At the end of it, we will find her name–Gerry Harden–and the recipes that she shared within the book.  It’s called Endless Blessings, and what an endless blessing it has been and always will be to me…

Thank you for reading my ramblings tonight.  Although filled with my jumbled thoughts, hopefully there is one message that will shine through: the steadfast strength that comes from God.

“My flesh and heart may fail,

but God is the strength of my heart

and my portion forever.”

Psalm 73:26

No matter what you are going through, God is for you.  Your flesh and your heart will fail.  Even your greatest efforts, your hardest tries, and your acclaimed achievements will fade in the shadows of the obstacles that seem to stand in your path.  But praise be to God that this does not mean that your path is at the dead end!

God doesn’t take us on detours around the obstacles in our lives.  Instead, God walks with us through each and every one.  It’s in these times that we learn most what it means to rely on God and His strength alone.

“But you, O Lord, are a shield about me,

my glory, and the lifter of my head.

I cried aloud to the Lord, 

and he answered me from his holy hill.

I lay down and slept;

woke again

for the Lord sustained me.”

Psalm 3:3-5

Tonight, cry aloud to the Lord, and He will answer you.  Listen for His whisper… Lay down and sleep tonight and wake to the morning sustained by the love and strength of our great Father… He is the strength of our hearts.

Sleep well, dear readers 🙂

Advertisements

Trusting with all of your heart.

What does it mean to trust in God with all of your heart?

I once read that the reason why we struggle so often with trusting God is this: we don’t truly know God.  So let me ask this very loaded question next, who is God?

With each passing day, I feel as though I learn at little more about who God is.  Every experience I’ve had–whether good or bad, easy or hard, joyful or painful–has revealed some aspect of His character.  Had I not gone through those seasons though, I probably wouldn’t have learned those particular traits of God’s nature.

The temptation to focus on what’s going wrong or  what is stressing us out, well, can be very tempting.  But rather than focus on what we do not know–what could happen, what could be painful, what troubles could come, etc.–we must focus on what we do know: God is always good.

  • In times of need, we know that God is the Great Provider.
  • In times of doubt, we know that God is the same yesterday, today and for forever (Hebrews 13:8).
  • In times of joy, we know that God is the one to be praised.
  • In times of great pain, we know that, one day, God will hold us in His lap and wipe away our tears  (Rev 21:4)
  • The list goes on and on…

——————————-

“Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh.  Is anything to hard for me?”

Jeremiah 32:27

——————————-

God is able to do abundantly more than what we can even imagine (Ephesians 3:20)!  Because we are children of God (as believers), we are automatically placed in a position of dependence and trust on our Father.  He knows and understands more than all that we as humans could ever comprehend (Isaiah 55:8).  That’s not an injustice; rather, it’s another opportunity, another reason to make us learn to trust Him fully.

Praise be to God for His patience and compassion with us!  We can be pretty stubborn to stick to our own ways and to trust in our own selves, but I pray that we will be reminded of the truth in Psalm 127:1–“Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain.”  We must RELY on and TRUST God in everything.

May your heart be filled with trust today!  Know that the Lord loves you, and remember the question that He’s asking you in Jeremiah 32–“Is there anything that’s too hard for me?”

Certainly not!  So…

“Trust in the Lord with all of your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”

Proverbs 3:5-6

Praying your day is filled with Sonshine,

Sarah 🙂

All I can do is pray…

Tonight, I am writing to you from a heart of fear.

I’ve never seen death before.  I’m blessed to say that all of my grandparents and other loved ones are still blessing this earth with their presence and their love.

But there’s a realization that comes knocking on the door of my heart now, and it’s a realization that not only brings tears to my eyes but lets the water works run free.

“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket–safe, dark, motionless, airless–it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable.

The only place outside of Heaven where you can be perfectly safe from the perturbations of love is Hell.”

–C. S. Lewis–

And here I am now, vulnerable to one of my greatest fears, and all I know to do is pray.

“A voice says, ‘Cry!’

And I said, ‘What shall I cry?’

All flesh is grass,

and all its beauty is like the flower of the field.

The grass withers, the flower fades

when the breath of the Lord blows on it;

surely the people are grass.

The grass withers, the flower fades,

but

the Word of our God

will stand

forever.”

Isaiah 40:6-8

All I can do is pray…

Remembering the Reason

For the past couple of days, I’ve really been thinking about the purpose of this blog.  What are all of the posts supposed to point back to?  What theme?  What Person?

The whole purpose of this blog is to point us back to Christ and how when His love is present within, we are compelled to live our lives fully for and fully from Him.  He’s our everything, our absolute everything!

It’s so much easier to say these words rather than to live them out, isn’t it?  I’m in a dating relationship, and especially in this, I see just how easy it is to not live fully for (my complete focus on enlarging God’s Kingdom and glorifying Him) and fully from God (Him being my source of strength, encouragement, and passion).

And that scares me.  It scares me to see just how easy it is to get distracted and to forget just how much God loves us.  It scares me just how easy it is to turn away from the One that loves us the most, even when we think we are still focusing on Him.  What scares me most though, is how easy it is to forget about the cross and the new life that Christ died for in order that we may have it and live in it fully.

We have to be reminded constantly.  We must remember what 1 Peter 3:15 tells us:

“But in your hearts regard Christ the Lord as holy,

always being prepared to make

a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for

the hope that is in you.”

Whether it’s a necklace, a post-it note on your mirror, carrying your Bible with you, or even a small tattoo: we must be reminded of reason for the hope that we have.  That reason is Christ, and above all else, we should pray and pray that He is always, always, the Person of our true affections, the object of our praise, and the only One from which we find life.

“My son, do not forget my teaching;

but let your heart keep my commandments,

for length of days and years of life

and peace, they will be added to you.

Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you;

bind them around your neck;

write them on the tablet of your heart.”

Psalm 3:2-3

Attitude is everything!

Ever since I was a little girl, my mom has inspired me with many of her favorite quotes, prayers, and Bible verses.  Today, I want to write about one of her favorite quotes…

Attitude is everything!

In the past few days walking around campus–walking through each of my days–I have realized all the more just how true this quote is.  It’s easy to say flippantly, “Attitude is everything,” as if it’s the inside of a greeting card.  But to really believe these words and to see them as true through your own life…this is the critical step.

Take a college exam for an example.  There are many different ways to think about it.  With one attitude, I could say, “Urrrrrrggggghhhhhh!  An exam! Prrroooooocccccrrrrrrrrraaaaaaaassssssstionation (procrastination) has gotten me again, and I have waited too late to study.” On the other hand, I’m trying to learn to adopt this mindset:  Let’s have a competition to see just how well you know the material!  Just like a lacrosse game, see if you can practice and win!

Our attitude has just as large of an impact on our relationship with God, as well.  Every that we face temptation to sin, you can look at the situation one of many different ways.  You can see the temptation/sin as just one more guilt to sweep under the rug of emotions in your heart, or you can see it as an opportunity to ask God for grace and strength!

Always adopt an attitude that gives you a thankful heart!

Today, I encourage you to look for all the different places in your life where attitude is everything.  Look for the times in your life when becoming disappointed, upset, or even embarrassed would be easiest, but remember that Colossians 3:15 says, “And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.”

Today, go out and be thankful!  Go and spread some Sonshine 🙂