Monday, June 20, 2011

Leap of Faith

My heart is overflowing with joy, hope, and expectation right now. This evening I had a delightful dinner with a family from church whom I just met. The Lord was so present in our conversation and my spirit was completely refreshed as we shared stories of ways in which the Lord has, does, and will work in our lives. Because His character is consistent, the Lord can always be counted on to be present and active among us.

The testimonies of our ancestors in Scripture and the events of our own lives bear witness to an ever-present God. Because our God allows Himself to be known by us, we never have to walk into the unknown with fear. Though our circumstances may change and be unfamiliar, our God is unchanging. If we are looking to Him daily and drinking in His Word, we will learn to recognize God when He is moving around us.

This truth is really hitting home for me right now. I am traveling to the Czech Republic next week and will be away for a month. Though I do not know what to expect in my program and though I am very unfamiliar with the culture, I have hope in the God of my salvation who is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He is the Living God and He has authority over all things - in heaven and on earth (Matt. 28:18) - and He is before all things and in Him all things hold together (Colossians 1:17).

I am certain that God has ordained this trip to the Czech Republic. I am sure that He wants me there. But tonight I was reminded that I have no control over my trip. I received a phone call about my flight and it appears that I may need to leave the US a couple of days earlier so I can get to Prague in time since I may be flying into Amsterdam instead. From the looks of things, God wants me to start and end my journey in Amsterdam. I am not sure at this point how I am going to get from Amsterdam to Prague or from Prague to Amsterdam on the return trip, but I'm sure it is going to be an exciting journey, however it may come about.

I called my mom to tell her about this new update and she seemed just a tad concerned about the practicality of my new travel arrangement. I smiled and said, "Mom, God is writing my story and I am just living it." She is super supportive and said that God definitely keeps leading me into adventures and it's true that He is the Author of all of our adventures.

Once again, God has me on a learning curve in this faith journey and He is continuing to open my eyes to the sweet nature of dependence on Him. Once we realize that we are merely living the story He is writing, all fear will be diminished and replaced with hope and expectancy.

I am hopeful and expectant and SO excited about what He is going to do in the days and weeks ahead! I ask now for your prayers for discernment and trust and faith. Taking the leap can be a bit scary, but I know that God is surrounding me and my trust is entirely in Him. When my dependence is entirely on Him, then I am leaning not on my own efforts, but on His power and strength, and I can never fall. Only in the Lord, it shall be said of me, are righteousness and strength. (Isaiah 45:24) For the righteous will never be moved (Psalm 112: 6).

It is not by trusting in our own understanding that we may experience the riches of God's grace and love - we are to lean not on our own understanding but in all our ways acknowledge Him (Proverbs 3:5-6). His power is made perfect in our weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9). With the eyes of man, it would appear that this is an obstacle in my journey. However, I realize that because of this situation, God's name will be magnified and He will be glorified all the more because He will triumph over these circumstances. With God, all things are possible. (Matthew 19:26).

Some trust in chariots and some in horses,
but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.
-Psalm 20:7

My hope and trust are in the Lord and I am rejoicing because I know this is just another opportunity for His sovereignty to be demonstrated. He will prevail.

The Lord lives, and blessed be my rock, and exalted be the God of my salvation. (Psalm 18:46)


Tuesday, June 7, 2011

falling in love with Love

You know how the more you get to know somebody the more that you really like them and think "where has this person been all of my life?" You just keep liking them more and more and totally enjoy their company and want to keep getting to know everything about them and it's totally great because all of the sudden, someone who you didn't even realize was so awesome is your friend and your life is forever affected by that bond. Well, that's kind of how I feel about God right now.

My walk with Christ over the past year has been such an incredible journey. A year ago, God opened my eyes to realize that He is not only my Savior and Lord of my life, He is also the LIVING GOD - the same Living God who spoke to Abraham, rescued Isaac, and extended grace to Jacob. This blew me away. At the time, I had been a Christian for 14 years, but I was just beginning to see how miraculous my God is and how involved He is in my everyday life. While I knew a lot about God and occasionally experienced intimate moments with God prior to my summer experience, I have grown so much in my walk with Christ since last May. Now I not only know about Him, I know Him.

He has taught me to recognize His voice, to respond to His Spirit, and to surrender my desires so that I may know the freedom of walking by faith, not sight. He has taught me to trust, to love, and to hope when my natural, sinful self was opposed to the pursuit of righteousness. These are not lessons that are learned once and always retained; no, these are things that God is continually teaching me and ways in which He is constantly sharpening me. To be honest, the sharpening isn't always comfortable. But deep within my soul there is peace and joy as I hope in my Savior and continue to surrender my heart to my Lord so that He may do in me the work He created me for.

As I walk with God daily, He is strengthening the roots of my faith. He is my reward. I am His and He is mine. It is a precious friendship. Abide. That is what God desires. That I may abide in Him and He in me so that I may bear fruit. For apart from him, I can do nothing. (John 15:1-11)

The way in which I am most thankful for God's intervention in my life last summer is that He has given me an insatiable appetite for the Word. I have always really struggled with reading my Bible regularly. I was never disciplined enough and always gave up after a few days of reading a new study or going through a book of the Bible. But once I encountered the Living God, I discovered how much power is in His Living Word, and now I crave the Scriptures. I used to think that reading the Bible was a pretty demanding obligation. I mean, c'mon - life is busy. It's kind of hard to read the Bible on top of life. But that was such a shallow, immature view of my faith! There is no life apart from the Word! That is the entire purpose of reading the Bible - to understand what life really is.

Nevermind how impossible it would be to fulfill the Great Commission without first having read the divinely inspired words of God so that we could know whose disciples we were making. . .We don't even have to talk about how impossible it is to be the light of the world without first knowing the one Great Light of the World as He has revealed Himself to us in His Word. We cannot know anything about Christ, the ministry of Christ, or the ministry we are called to by Christ without first examining, studying, and meditating on His Word, but more than that, we will never experience love, hope, or life if we do not first know the Word of God, which teaches us how to have all three.

If you have never fallen in love with the Word, perhaps you have never fallen in love with Christ. And if you have never fallen in love with Christ, perhaps you have never read the life-giving scriptures in His Word.

It is not that reading the Bible is imperative to fulfilling our duties as Christ followers, it is that we will never know the Christ that we claim to follow without first absorbing the teachings of His Word.

I love the Lord. So very much. And that love is growing as I seek to know Him more. There is so much on my heart and mind about who God is and what He is doing in my life right now and so I know these thoughts may just seem like a ramble. But if, by the grace of God, these humble ramblings have somehow had an effect on your heart, I pray that you may be moved to pursue God. I pray that you may find yourself falling in love with God more as you fall in love with His Word more. You will never be the same. That I promise you.

Our God is not dead. He is very much alive.

And He treasures YOU.

I pray that you may make Him your treasure as well.

With the deepest love and affection,


Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Half of My Heart

Have you ever felt like your heart was in two places at once?

That's kind of where I am right now. I am absolutely LOVING being here in Tennessee with family and friends and getting to serve at the Journey every Sunday with a church family that I adore. I know I am exactly where I am supposed to be. Yet somehow, my heart aches for another place.

I leave for the Czech Republic in exactly a month ( is the blog site devoted to that experience) and am getting excited (and nervous). I feel like that is something God has been preparing my heart for for quite some time. I am not sure what to expect, but I definitely have great expectations of God, so at the least, I expect to be changed by my experience.

While half of my heart is here and is rejoicing in what God is doing in my life right in front of me (and in a country thousands of miles away that I will soon be living in), the other half of my heart longs to be in Wisconsin, serving at HoneyRock. I fell in love with the Northwoods last summer and when I visited last October, I had the feeling of "coming home" when I reached HoneyRock Road. Now, with the knowledge that the summer season has begun, I miss Three Lakes even more.

I miss my dear friends, I miss sitting on the dock and surveying the wilderness in awe, I miss sitting on a bench under a starlit sky at night and praising my Creator for the splendor of His handiwork...

I miss Lick-a-Dee Splitz runs with the staff, walking around in Eagle River while waiting for our laundry to dry, loading up on snacks at Trig's, and packing 20+ staffers into the world's smallest movie theater...

I miss smelling like a campfire morning, noon, and night, eating meals in Chrouser, starting off every day with staff devos, sorting the mail in the office, attending Family Days, ski shows, Wrangler Breakfasts...

I miss HoneyRock church. I miss worshiping God under a clear sky, beneath towering pines, with the lake a stone's throw away...

I miss midnight conversations with Elizabeth on her couch, afternoon talks with Nancy in her kitchen, incredible conversations with other staffers throughout the day...

I miss the horrible mattress from my bunk bed, s'mores with the wranglers in the Loberg lounge. I might even miss the orange Loberg water (okay, no I don't) and I miss returning to my room multiple times and finding a new friend in a new roommate.

I miss canoeing late at night, swimming early in the morning for Solid Rock, riding the golf cart down to Ops to talk to Don, playing guitar in the racquetball court because the acoustics are amazing.

I miss hearing the sound of hundreds of campers singing camp songs, I miss talking to parents about how much fun their kids are going to have, I miss praying with people constantly as we serve God in an intentional community.

I miss the Bee Hive, the Ropes Course, Ski Hill, and Cathedral Pines...

My heart aches for these things and my spirit longs to be living in this community once again.

But the memories are sweet and the friendships that have grown over the past year are so precious, and I know that I am where I am supposed to be for the time being.

Last summer was not only a summer of many joys and adventures - it was also a summer of miracles. I know that last summer could not be replicated, even if all of the above were to occur again. My HoneyRock summer of 2010 is so very precious to me and I will cherish those memories forever. I am in awe every time I reflect upon what God did in my life then and the ways in which He has built upon that summer in the past year.

My heart hurts for HoneyRock because it is home to me, just as the Journey is home to me and my family and friends are home to me. Though I cannot be there right now, I can bask HoneyRock in prayer. I can also continue to thank God for the opportunities and adventures He gave me and ask Him to prepare my heart for the adventures in my life that are to come.

Here I am, Oh God. Surrendered to Your plan for my life. Every day is a new adventure and I pray that I may see it as such. You have given me so much, oh Lord. I dare not ask more. You alone are my reward. I worship You not for the blessings You give, but for the gift of Yourself that You have already given. Take and use me as You see fit to further Your Kingdom. My life is Yours completely.


Thursday, April 28, 2011

The Best Person to Sit by on a Plane and Why You're Flying All Wrong

It's that time again. The time when airports around the nation are going to be flooded with college students going home for the summer. Businessmen, watch out. Especially if you fly Southwest and have to choose your seat when you get on the plane.

The competition is on.

If you can't get an Emergency Exit aisle with all that extra leg room, where can you sit? How do you pre-screen your seatmate to predict how bearable your flight is going to be? Oh man. And you forgot your iPod this time. This is going to be a long flight.

Well, have no fear. I can help. There is a passenger demographic that is far too easily overlooked in the airport. This type of person is the perfect plane partner and makes the best seatmate. Your flying experience will never be the same.

The seatmate you want to look for is an eight year kid with a lanyard around his neck. That's right. You're looking for the child that is flying solo.

You may be thinking, "Sarah. You are crazy. Why would I want to spend over an hour with an unsupervised miniature human? Children are messy, loud, they have no concept of personal space, and the seats on the planes are not getting any bigger. What are you thinking?!?"

I'm so glad you asked.

Children who fly alone are generally pros. They typically come from a divorce situation where one parent lives in the Midwest and another lives in Florida (don't ask me why, that's just usually how it works, although sometimes it's California rather than Florida). That means these kids make these trips as often as every other weekend or as infrequently as once a month. They are pros. You think YOU have frequent flyer miles? You have nothing on this toothless kid.

Now for the best part - these kids (from now on, we will refer to them as KWFMTY, or "Kids Who Fly More Than You") get preferential treatment. The flight attendants check on them regularly, the pilot usually talks about little Timmy on the intercom, and everyone treats KWFMTY like a celebrity. Which means YOU, Mr. or Ms. Seatmate, will be treated like a celebrity too.

Now if you are the kind of person who loves having an allergic reaction when the flight attendant accidentally gives you peanuts when you ask for pretzels or if you love being without a pillow or blanket when you ask the flight attendant five times to "please, kindly, if it wouldn't be any inconvenience, but I'm freezing, please" to get you one, then this is not a good option for you. Because if you do sit by a KWFMTY, you will probably get three bags of pretzels, two blankets, and a partridge in a pear tree to complement your two free refills of ginger ale.

That's right. You will be treated like a celebrity too. You may even get to take a picture with the kid and the pilot for the kid's Flight Scrapbook. You just never know. The perks are endless, really.

Now, again, the choice is yours. But I just want you to know that you have some pretty great options this flying season, and those options can usually be spotted sporting pigtails or heelies.

Monday, April 4, 2011

The Heights of the Earth

Sometimes I find myself growing nostalgic. Wishing I could hit "rewind" and be transported back to my childhood days or to a point in my life that is encompassed by fond memories. Then I think of all that I have yet to experience - all that is yet to be seen, all that is yet to come.

Don't get me wrong - I love this stage of my life. I love the people in my life. I am infinitely blessed. Yet at times, I play the "what if" game and allow my imagination to transform my reality.

I wonder what my life would be like if I were still in Illinois. I think about how different I would be and how many opportunities I would be without, yet wonder what opportunities I would have. I know that I would be different person and my life's journey would be completely changed.

Yet I reflect on how God has intertwined my past and my present - how God used HoneyRock last summer, how God continues to connect my two worlds, and I see that He is working it all out.

And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. (Colossians 1:17)

I read about the faith journeys of friends from around the country and around the globe and anticipate great things from my great God in my own life in the days at hand and in the days to come. I am certain that there are great things in store - because life is an adventure - and I serve an adventurous God.

From this time forth I announce to you new things, hidden things that you have not known. (Isaiah 48:6)

I am not afraid of the unknown but hopeful. Every moment is unknown, really. I have plans for my day, plans for my week, plans for my life. But in truth, that's all that they are - plans. I will never be able to concoct an adventure great enough to satisfy myself. But my God is a God of action and movement. God alone has the power to stir up events in my life into the most incredible adventure story ever written. He can do that for each of us if we let Him work and move in our lives. If we only let go of the illusion that we have any semblance of control over our lives, God will surprise us in mighty ways.

Then you shall take delight in the Lord, and I will make you ride on the heights of the earth. (Isaiah 58:14)

I'm running. Hopefully in a direction away from my own selfish desires and towards the face of my Lord.

The Lord will arise upon you, and his glory will be seen upon you. (Isaiah 60:2b)

I know that with faith, I can move mountains. And though I cannot always see God, I hope in His name, because of the faith which He has given me.

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. (Hebrews 11:1)

I am resolving to look ahead with hope and joy - reflecting on sweet memories with thanks and praise to my God, my caring Father, who is the giver of good gifts.

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is not variation or shadow due to change. (James 1:17)