Monday, September 13, 2010

"Give Thanks with a Grateful Heart..."

Over the past week I have been fortunate to witness a couple very significant events. One being the 25th wedding anniversary of Joe & Nancy. The other, the funeral of Mr. Rich.

Both brought me back into the presence of people from my past- the Praise Fellowship crew! I doubt that I can fully relay what it was like to grow up with a place like Praise Fellowship Church (PFC) in my life. But for the time being, let's just say this group is like an extra appendage on my family tree. I have yet to find something quite like it.

It was such an honor to witness these events, though much emotion came along with them. All in all, they both molded my heart into a more grateful one.

At both of these events I watched men and women stand before a microphone to speak about more than anything this world contains. Instead of simply praising the couple for staying together or mourning the loss of a great man, they gave all glory to God & placed Him first even though this was about particular people.

Even though all the focus could have been on them, they could not help but point it all back to Jesus and humbly say, "How Great Thou Art."

I was especially impacted to hear the friends of Joe & Nancy speak. They told stories, but at one point somebody started to prophesy over their lives. In that moment the presence of the Lord seemed to coagulate through the entire room. My eyes widened at the experience of seeing people of my parents' generation still practicing the manifest presence of God in their friendships. I had always been afraid that that sort of charismatic culture would dwindle away from my life after college, but observing that gave me hope. It was a reminder that those things only disappear if I choose not to practice them regularly.

At the wake and memorial service, I reflected back on how I remember Rich as a kid. He was a pretty quiet, yet joyful man. Though I did not know him to the same capacity as others, the impact he had on my life is more tremendous than even I anticipated!

It is amazing what one person's life does for so many others.

I am not sure how else to pull all of this together except by saying: thank you.
To Mary and Rich, Joe and Nancy, Cindy and Gary, Kim and Denny, Don and Ginny, Kelly, Tim, Sarah, Angela, and all the rest of my Praise Fellowship family:

Thank you for choosing the Lord Jesus Christ first.
For raising your children to love and serve Him first.
For treating your spiritual family like they truly are family.
And for just showing up and being present in my life.

Being raised in an environment where I was surrounded by people, of course including my parents, who seek to be like Christ really set the foundation for my life.
We didn't even need to be inside the church for God's presence to be relayed through your character.

I am so all-around healthy today because great people trained me up and walked me through my childhood. And I will never, ever, part from it.

I love you all so very, very much.
Thank you.

To anyone else reading this, all I can say is: live for Jesus. It's the only thing that makes a real difference.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

The Reality of a Dreamer.

So I have been thinking about how I need to write a current day response to my last blog ever since... well, since I posted it!

Trying to wrap my head around how I think now has certainly revealed just how much life has changed me.
One could say my feet have left the ledge while simultaneously staying planted on solid ground.

It is not like I can pretend to have decades upon decades under my belt, but here is what I have found.

I answer the question, "What's your biggest dream?" in a very different way than I did 5 years ago.

Or maybe it is just that I answer this question with less loftiness and more sincerity. Hmm...

What has stayed the same?
My desire to impact the world- the entire world.
The call to ministry- to make Jesus Christ known through everything I am, say, and do.

I used to want to approach this through more direct means: singing, working in a church, etc. But as I shyly attempt to squirm my way into adulthood, I keep asking God for wisdom.
(How else could I survive this transition?)

Naturally, the Lord has delivered... cuz He always lives up to His promises! (James 1:5)
And of course, He goes straight for the things I always thought had nothing to do with me!
(Does that happen to you? I think God gets a kick out of it!)

For the longest time, I expected impacting the world for Jesus would mean traveling non-stop. There is no way I could consider meeting someone or starting a family anytime soon! HELLOOOO!

I am tryiiing to change the world here, people!!

2 things I have always put on a pedestal:
-World travel.
-Being a career woman.

But the World Race attempt, college graduation, and unemployment have all been tools God has used to sit me down.
And to stay.
Real still.
Then, when anxiety overcomes me it's like He picks me up and shakes it out of me- just what I need.
(Yeah, God & I have a really funny/strange relationship, it's great lol)

"Here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud," (thank you, Cummings):

You ready for it?

If we want to make a TREMENDOUS impact on this world... has to start in the home.

There is nothing more set apart, more impactful, more rich, than a family that:
-loves the Lord deeply.
-love each other deeply as a result.
-raise children with higher standards even if it seems uncool.
-remain faithful to one another.
-can love on their friends and community because of their unity.

THAT is something the world rarely sees. It is truly a diamond in the rough.

A natural response to this would be, "Good for you, Sarah, but in case you forgot: you're single! And when you're waiting on the Lord, you can't really do much about that!"

I object.

I think the biggest lie single people (men AND women) believe is that we have not yet arrived until we have found someone.
That our high impact, adventurous lives end once we have said, "I do."

Proverbs 31 describes a wife of noble character. Verse 12 says, "She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life."
ALL the days of her life.
Not, after she marries him. Nor is it once they have started dating.

It is every day. All my life. Before God presents me with a bow on top and after.
There is PLENTY for me to do right now!
And it's gonna make the rest of my life a heck of a lot easier than if I cram it into post-marriage season.

I am not trading in my dreams of travel, music, and a career for this. It is just that the Lord has helped me configure things into their rightful place. Some things do not matter to me as much any more, while others have found a more balanced place on my priority list.

And it is not that I seek these things because of some distant vision I have of the man of my dreams.
It is for the First Love of my life - My Maker, My Husband (Is. 54:5).
He will still be first even when I find an earthly husband -then I can make 'em both happy! ;D

She seeks wisdom. She walks fearlessly. She is an investor & wise with her money. Trustworthy, joyful, and diligent. She is creative and virtuous.

All of these are things any woman- young or old- can do in any season of her life.

To be this kind of woman...
... that would be my biggest dream.