Saying Goodbye… Again

Over the last seven years, I have said goodbye many, many times. I’ve come to expect the word in relationships. For all the times I’ve been viscerally reminded that nothing lasts but Christ, each parting or separation is still as painful as the one before.

Goodbyes are a part of life. There are the “until tomorrow” ones. The “when you get back from your trip”. Then there are the “I’ll see you again one day in heaven.” “Be safe on your trip to your new home.” And of course, “what did I do wrong? Why did you disappear? I can’t even tell you goodbye.” They are all partings, some for longer times than others.

They all hurt.

Today, I stood at the house of my friends and told them goodbye for the last times. Over the last eighteen months, we had gotten together most Saturday nights for ice cream and nerdy fun. They know my crazy side- the imaginative one. They see all of me. I saw them lose their father last year. We have watched Sherlock, played Real Life Games, eaten loads of ice cream, and now they’re moving to Mississippi.

Another goodbye.

I didn’t cry today- that happened last week after our last ice cream hang out. I cried as I realized that in the town I live in, I once again am friendless. That the people who know me at church know part of me. That my new friend lives an hour away and is much more productive and busy than I am.

It hurts. It hurts to feel alone again.

As I look at Facebook or listen to people I know talk, I realize that people actually have friendships for more than a couple years. That some people have been friends since they were little kids. That some people get long friendships. That’s good. It’s wonderful, and I’m happy for them. It’s a precious gift and if God has given it to you treasure it. Tell that friend how much they mean to you.

Actually, tell a friend what they mean to you no matter how long your relationship has existed. People need to know.

In all that, however, as always, God remains. God is constant, faithful, and always present with us.

There is one goodbye I will never have to say, one parting I will never have to fear, one Perfect Friend, Father, King, I will never lose.

And that is Jesus Christ. That is my heavenly father. My Savior. My King.

“He will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Heb. 13:5b). That was my favorite Bible verse when I was about eleven. It is making its way back to that place now. As is Romans 8:28-29.

“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, not any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus.”

Nothing.

No one- including me.

He will never leave me, never let me go.

Ever.

He will always be. He is I AM. He is my eternal friend. He is my Rock, my solid ground. And though others may come and go, good and hard times pass, He will always remain.

I will never have to say goodbye to God.

My Savior and My God

This week at my church’s Bible Study for women, I was asked to share what God has been doing in my life. As I wrote out what I planned to share, it struck me that I should share this on my blog as well!

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God has been teaching me the same things over and over because apparently I’m a very slow learner. Two of the things I want to focus on are contentment in Him and finding my value in Him.

As I’ve said before, in 2010 my family and I moved to Conway, Arkansas from our small town in Missouri where we had lived for nine years. In this move and before we came to our home church in November, God saved me and then taught me to be content in my family.

I made friends with a girl just a year older than me in early 2011. We were totally fangirls- Star Trek, Star Wars, Artemis Fowl, Lord of the Rings, Narnia– and our own worlds of course. We played Real Life Games (“pretend”) with our characters and wrote together several times. However, in 2013 she began to suffer from intense anxiety attacks and depressive episodes. For several months we essentially communicated solely by letters.

However, in 2013 she began to suffer from intense anxiety attacks and depressive episodes. For several months we essentially communicated solely by letters.

As I struggled with the difficult and often confusing questions she asked me, I learned obedience. I knew my answers weren’t always what she wanted to hear and sometimes I didn’t say things well. I really couldn’t see her very much as I was sometimes a trigger for her attacks because I reminded her of the games and her difficulties with putting those down was part of what led to her problems.

As I prayed for her and for myself and walked through that time, I also learned to be content with God’s outcome. I expected that if I did everything the right way and said what God told me to say, that we would still stay as close as we were before. That wasn’t the case and while we are still friends, we only see each other and communicate twice a year when we put together a piano recital for our students. I learned that obedience does not necessarily mean we get the outcome we anticipate.

In 2015 I lost more friends. The family that we did house church with was called to serve with a ministry in Texas. Looking for a church again was a daunting task, as I’ve blogged about before. Going to church in a city forty-five minutes from where we live has been difficult in several different ways and I have struggled with bitterness, anger, loneliness, anxiety, and complaining.

God has been teaching me that just because someone does something differently does not mean it’s wrong- in some things there is more than one way to do something. He’s taught me that no one is perfect, that His plans are perfect, and that He puts us where we need to be.

God is good. Through all of these and more circumstances, God has forcefully re-aligned my focus to Him. He has reminded me that He loves me, that I am safe with Him, that I am not alone. He reminds me that I can be fully and completely content in Him.
Another lesson God has been teaching me is that my value comes from Christ and I should be focused on pleasing Him, not man.

I am nineteen years old and I graduated high school last year. I’ve never been on a date or had someone tell me a guy was interested in me- nothing. I wanted to be married or at least close right out of high school and obviously that hasn’t happened. I want a husband, family, and home to care for and when people ask me what I want to do… that’s what I tell them.

Lately, as I have struggled with being content in this time of my life, I have started down the path of wondering what’s wrong with me that no one is interested in me. I have looked at women and girls I know who have what I want- trying to figure out what I’m doing wrong. I self-examine and try to figure out why I’m left out and what is wrong with me. I see flaws aplenty in my physical appearance and am reminded by others and my own mind about things that are wrong or annoying in my personality and temperament.

But my worth is in Christ. Yes, I need to be examining myself to see where my life, actions, words, are not lining up with Scripture. My worth is in what Christ did when he sacrificed himself for me and rose from the dead. God loves me because of the blood of His Son. He is the One I should be working to please. God comes with a whole book on how to love Him- guys don’t.

Because of what Christ did, I can know that I am loved by God. He is the reason I am who I am. He’s the reason I can love, the reason I live, the reason I keep going. He is pleased with me because of Christ. He is my peace. My friend. My God.

He is and always will be more than enough, and these life trials, as well as ones I haven’t mentioned, have only served to make me see that more clearly.

Speeding

I love driving.
Seriously.
I got a car roughly two months ago and I’ve already put over a thousand miles on it. I do every errand I can just so I can drive around town.
I love going fast- love driving on the interstate. No, I don’t speed. I go the speed limit.
That’s where I’ve run into problems.
See, not everyone drives the speed limit.
Some people don’t know there is a speed limit.
And if I’m not doing eighty, they don’t like me.

As I was driving into Little Rock this morning for a meeting and cars were passing me every which way, I realized something.
Driving really is a lot like life.
A lot like life.
There are dozens of areas where this is true, but I want to focus on one today: peer pressure.

When I’m driving, and not one, but three of the people behind me whiz past me at ninety miles an hour for no apparent reason (I do the speed limit, remember?), I find myself, well, wondering.

I glance at my speedometer.
Is my cruise control off?
Am I slowing down?
Did I take my foot off the gas?
Should I speed up so I don’t bother everyone else by driving ‘slow’?

The answer to all these question?
No. no. no. and no.
So when I’m with a certain group of people, and I’m outside the group once again, unsure as to how to engage in conversation, trying to make sure my face looks happy and inviting, when I’m wondering if my makeup is good enough, if my clothes are just the right combination of “fit in” and “stand out”, I find myself, well, wondering.

Should I try different shorts?
Should I straighten my hair instead of curling it?
What are they talking about?
I don’t know…
How do I take all the effort of making friends and conversation onto myself?
What did I do wrong this time?

The answers to these questions are a little more complicated, but it all really comes down to one thing:
Am I doing as I’ve been told, either by the law or by God?
If the answer is ‘yes’? Then I don’t have to worry.
I shouldn’t feel pressured, shouldn’t start panicking, and I shouldn’t start doubting the instructions God has given me.
Because I’m driving in the right lane for me. I’m going the right speed for me.

So sometimes I don’t wear makeup. Sometimes I wear my baggy shorts and tee-shirt, just to remind myself that I do not have to conform. God loves me just as much in a tee-shirt as a button-down. My friends don’t care if I put on makeup. They want to see me.

I keep doing what I’m doing. I keep walking along the path God has laid out for me. Sometimes I still panic, sometimes I still cry, sometimes I still try to change. But He always brings me back. He always reminds me, gently pulling me back to where I need to be.

And if you are His child, He’ll do the same thing for you, too

On the Eve of the Eve of My Graduation

When did you get excited about your high school graduation?

Was it during your freshman year?

During your senior prom?

When you were accepted into a college?

When you got a scholarship?

When you finished your last paper?

Or was it really, really late?

Like, six days before graduation late.

Because that’s when it was for me.

I have dreaded graduation for… well, a really long time. Maybe I started dreading it when I realized My Someone wasn’t going to come (yet…) and I wouldn’t be at the alter six months after I got my diploma. Maybe it happened when I realized I was going to have to enter the workforce again. Or when I remembered that people don’t really get their dreams jobs.

Or maybe it was when I realized: I. Am. Not. Ready.

I’m not ready to work outside the home. I’m not ready to own a car. I’m not ready… Maybe I just want everything to just slow down.

Have you heard Nichole Norderman’s song Slow Down? It’s really good. I’m using it in the slideshow for graduation. It’s beautiful and my mom says people will probably cry. Well, I agree with her, because I kinda cry when I hear when I hear it too.

Although, when I listen to it, I change the words.

Slow down
Can’t I stay here a minute more
I don’t want to walk through the door
Because it’s all too fast
Let’s make it last a little while
You pointed to the sky but I don’t wanna fly
But do you think we can somehow
Slow down

I’m trusting God with my future. I’ve asked Him for the right job at the right time. I’ve asked Him for peace. I’ve asked Him to help me trust Him. I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that He will answer my prayers. I don’t know what kind of job I’ll be getting, but I know that it will be the job God wants for me.

I’m graduating on Saturday. Yes, this Saturday. The one after tomorrow. Yeah.

And… well, I’m excited. I’m excited about Saturday.

But Sunday? And Monday? And the Monday after that? And the Monday six months from now?

That’s what I’m scared of.

But I don’t have to be. I shouldn’t be. “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 8:38-39).

I will “Trust in the LORD with all my heart. And lean not on my own understanding; in all my ways I will acknowledge Him, and He shall direct my paths. (Provers 3:5-6).

I will “…put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, I may be able to stand my ground, and after I have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around my waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with my feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all of this, I will take up the shield of faith, with which I can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. I will take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” (Eph. 6:13-17)
“Fear not, for I [The LORD] have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; You are Mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through fire, you shall not be burned, nor shall the flame scorch you. For I am the Lord your God, The Holy One of Israel, your Savior.” (Is. 43:1-3)

Why? Because “…God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” (2nd Tim. 1:7)

So I will tell those panicking, squabbling, yelling, sobbing voices in my head to be silent. I will take every thought captive and give them to God.
Because being afraid is exhausting.

And I’m tired of being tired.

I’m done.

I’m done allowing my sinful heart to lie to me. I’m done not trusting God. I’m done saying that His promises are not good enough.

I. Am. Done.

Because “I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end, He will stand on the earth.” (Job 19:25)

I’m graduating on Saturday. And after that?

All I know for sure is that God has it in his hand, along with the futures of EVERYONE ELSE.

And that’s more than good enough for me.

-Sarah

Shock Waves

I couldn’t believe it. I really couldn’t.

First, it was an email.

Pray for this family.

Confused, I shot a quick prayer to heaven asking for safety and comfort for the family, unsure as to what was going on.

Then I shot a quick text to my friend.

I’m praying, I said, is something wrong?

Yes. Something was very wrong.

Her father had died that morning.

Before I really knew it I was on my knees, crying, hands clenched together, talking to God once again.

Dead? Dead?! How could this man be dead? I just saw him playing basketball with his youngest kids last week at the gym. How is he dead?

I found out later that it was a heart attack.

But in the moment, my sinful nature fed on the shock and I asked the God of the Universe, my Father, traitorous questions.

Why did he have to die? Why did you let him die? What is his family going to do? Why, God? WHY.

My friends, a pair of sisters, had just been at my house the day before. We’d played and talked and joked and then they’d left and we’d gone about our business.

And now everything is different.

Thankfully, the Lord has shown me my sin. We can ask why, but we cannot demand explanations from God. We cannot say that He is not fair or not just.

Just because this looks like the worst possible thing that could happen does not mean that it is. Even if I cannot see it right now. Even if my friends and their mom and siblings cannot see it.

We know, and we believe beyond a shadow of a doubt, that this man’s death was not a surprise to God.

It still hurts and I cannot image what this family is feeling. I know I am going crazy because there’s nothing I can do.

I cannot bring my friends’ dad back.

And yet…

And yet he is in perfect peace, being there in Heaven with the Prince of Peace.

And yet this family has friends who are rallying around them, ready to help, already praying, and prepared to do anything they can to help.

Psalm 112:1-9

Praise the LORD! Blessed is the man who fears the LORD, who greatly delights in his commandments!

His offspring will be mighty in the land; the generation of the upright will be blessed.

Wealth and riches are in his house, and his righteousness endures forever.

Light dawns in the darkness for the upright; He is gracious, merciful, and righteous.

It is will with the man who deals generously and lends; who conducts his affairs with justice.

For the righteous will never be moved; he will be remembered forever.

He is not afraid of bad news; his heart is firm, trusting in the LORD.

His heart is steady; he will not be afraid, until he looks in triumph on his adversaries.

He has distributed freely; he has given to the poor; his righteousness endures forever; his horn is exalted in honor.

My friends, I am praying this piece of Scripture for you. We are all praying for you, my sisters and brothers in Christ.

-Sarah

What Does It Take To Make You Feel Beautiful?

Well? What is it for you?

Makeup?

Trendy clothes?

The perfect selfie?

I never really cared about my appearance until I was about thirteen. I had just started crushing on guys and wondering why I didn’t look like most of the other girls I saw. So I started blow-drying my hair, trying to pick out clothes that matched, earrings that weren’t just “fun”, and generally asked my mom if I looked okay every time I went to church or another place.

Each Monday I had Model United Nations class. It was my only out-of-the-house activity, and I spent ages getting just the right outfit that would hopefully allow me to be on the same level as another girl. I wore weird things, cute things, ugly things, and stuff that generally kept me looking like a twelve-year-old playing dress up for the next four and a half years.  I got comments like this:

Are you waiting for a flood? Your jeanss are too short.

Or this:

Really? You look so much younger than the age you just told me!

I was uncomfortable when I wore nice clothes because they didn’t always fit right  (I ignored that in the store and then wore the outfit once, never to be touched again because it was so uncomfortable.) or because I’d ignored my mom’s advice and picked a not-so-great outfit.

When I was fourteen, my mom let me start wearing clear mascara and darker lip glosses. When I was sixteen, I was allowed to wear blush, eye makeup, etc. We went to Belk and got the Clinique lady to do my makeup so I could see what I would look like. This was the result:

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I hated it. I thought I looked like a monster or something. My skin was even whiter than normal, my lips were fat, my eyes made me look terrifying, and I hated myself.

I hated the fact that I looked terrible while all my friends and peers looked gorgeous, and I hated the fact that my face wouldn’t do what everyone else’s would. But mostly, I hated the fact that I didn’t like looking like everyone else.

Some of you, like one of my friends, may be saying, “you look beautiful!” Thank you. If you didn’t, don’t feel bad. You won’t hurt my feelings.

Here’s the bottom line:

I was trying to find myself. In this time period of 2014 to 2016, I’ve been trying to find my views, my purpose, and my style. I’ve been trying to be so many things, looking for what God wants me to be.

When we began attending a traditional church last year, after coming out of a wonderful house church where I and my brother were the only teens, I started wearing makeup more regularly. I wore eyeshadow, blush, a skin-tone-evening-cream, lipstick, and, last summer, eyeliner.

And guess what?

I still didn’t measure up.

I’d get to church on a Wednesday night and see that the girls in sweatshirts and athletic shorts still looked prettier than I did in my jeans, boots, and nice shirt. Their makeup had a flawless look to it- they talked to the guys.

And I still thought I looked ugly when I wore all that makeup. I hated the feeling of all that creme on my face- of all the stuff on my eyes.

It’s taken me eight months to figure out why.

Last Friday, I attended a Father-Daughter Banquet with my dad. Our church hosts one for girls in the 7th through 12th grades. The senior girls get to give tributes to their dads. That was my whole reason for going.

I don’t own any formal dresses, but a family in our church lent me one. My mom was at a basketball game while I was getting ready, so I didn’t have her to ask questions as I second-guessed every decision I made.

This was a big event, so I knew I needed to do a great job on my makeup. I put on the skin-tone-evener, bronzer,  blush, dark eyeshadow, two types of mascara, and eyeliner.

Looking into the mirror, I smiled to get the full effect.

Once again, I looked like a clown. My blush was obvious, my eyeliner was uneven and too dark, and my skin felt awful.

Furious, I scrubbed everything off.  Why wasn’t it working? I had taken my time. I’d been careful. I’d watched tutorials and spend a good bit of money to get high-quality makeup.

I had obeyed all the rules, checked off all the boxes, but I was not rewarded like I thought I should have been.

This is a mistake I make in all areas of life: if you obey all the rules, you get a reward. If you don’t obey the rules, yet get punished. Unfortunately, the world doesn’t always work like that. It’s a legalistic way of looking at things.

I took a deep breath and tried not to cry. Again. There had to be another way to do this. Something I was missing. I thought back over the last several months and weeks, praying for clarity. What was I missing? What was my makeup supposed to be?

My brother has no qualms about mentioning his views on makeup. he thinks it looks ugly. He hates it when I wear a lot of eyeliner or a lot of lipstick. It’s taken me some time to get used to this because he’s finally been good enough to say that this is his personal opinion.

I’d fought his comments for a long time. It’s my face. I think I look nice. What does he know? But he knows a lot, in my mind. His opinion means the world to me.

So I thought about what Philip said I thought about my reactions to myself when I put on the trendy amount of makeup. And I realized something.

I don’t like how I look in all this makeup- not because I look bad (I often get  compliments when I wear it)- but becuse I don’t look like me

I know what I look like. I know what kind of clothes I like and don’t like.

And now, I know what kind of face I like.

Mine.  I like MY face. I like the way GOD made me. I like me.

Not the sinful me, not the sarcastic, cruel, me- the pure, washed-white-as-snow, cleansed-by-the-blood-of-Jesus me.

I like the me that Jesus sees. 

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In this picture, from that Friday Night Father-Daughter Banquet, I’m wearing a bit of color-correction stuff on my nose, some lipstick, and mascara.

Most of the girls at church had on a lot more makeup than I did. And they looked beautiful.

But you know what? So did I.

Because I looked like me. And even if my nose is fat and always red and my eyes are always slanted down and my teeth aren’t blindingly white, that’s okay. Because that’s me. I’m not perfect because no one is.

And I don’t need makeup to make me beautiful. I don’t need a filter.

What makes me beautiful is my smile. It’s the Holy spirit inside me. It’s God.

So I dare you.

Let a smile be the only makeup you wear this Wednesday to church. Don’t think that you need to cover up. Don’t be so insecure or prideful s to think that all anyone sees is your acne or your thin eyebrows.

Don’t worry. Smile. Let the Light of Life shine through your face.

I dare you.

-Sarah

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A Tale of Two Spies and Some Haggis Chapter Two

Chapter Two

Six Months Later

 

            In the opinion of her parents, Laura Kerr was recovering well from the horrible events that had occurred back in the spring. Things had been busy at the pub with the addition of rooms to be rented out. Laura was running up and down the new stairs at all hours now, with barely time to catch her breath.

            Yes, she was recovering. The man’s smile still haunted her dreams and sometimes her waking hours. She still refused to serve Hank Harris when he came into the pub. But Laura was no longer overcome by anxiety attacks, unable to eat or see anyone besides her parents. Yes, she told herself. Things were better. She knew the Lord had forgiven her, and she had told her parents immediately after the incident that she was happy to file papers and write up mission reports for the Agency, but she was done with field work. No more possible murders for her. The guilt she lived with was too much. Even if the Lord had forgiven her, she knew she would still see MacGyver’s face every time she went to sleep.

            James and Martha Kerr were not Christians, although they attended the village church once a month or so, to keep up appearances. They didn’t much mind their daughter’s faith- it was certainly an improvement from her difficult and rebellious childhood. The only time it bothered her parents was when she insisted on dragging her beliefs into business or in their personal lives. At that point, John would frown at his only child and kindly but firmly remind her that while they were content for her to attend church and such, her parents didn’t feel the need.

            So, even though her parents were supportive during the months following the American’s death, it was her Savior and her church family that offered the most solace from her devastating guilt and shock. Her pastor and his wife had opened up their home to her for a few days after the incident, and she gratefully accepted, happy to be in a place full of the Spirit of the Lord where she could be sure to hear Truth.

***

            Laura was polishing the bar on a cool fall day in October, glancing at the letter in her pocket. A young man from church had been writing her for a couple months while he was at university. The two had been dating when Laura had dusted the haggis with a bit of poison back in the spring. He’d been very kind to her, agreeing to pull back while she reoriented herself.

            But now he’d asked her to marry him. All his talk of slowing down, and now a marriage proposal. Of course, his reasoning made sense. Laura wasn’t getting any younger, and George was a wonderful Christian man. She just didn’t have a peace about him. Laura knew she was going to have to refuse him and break off the relationship. She’d been praying about it for two weeks and was finishing her twenty-four hour fast. That morning, Laura knew that she should never have pursued the relationship in the first place. Yes, George was a wonderful man, but she had known that she was taking her own way by dating him, instead of waiting on God.

            With a heavy heart that was full of guilt and shame, she put down her cloth and started up the stairs to her room. She shouldn’t put it off any longer.

            Two hours later, the sun was shooting in her window, painting the landscape with fire. She was finally satisfied with her letter, and when she dropped it into the post box that sat outside of the inn, her heart was lightened with the peace that comes from obedience.

            “That’s all there is to that,” she said to herself, turning to re-enter the pub. “Now it’s time to get to work.”

            And work she did. For the next five hours Laura served customers, took orders, filled pints, and generally ran herself ragged. When her father finally ushered the last patron out into the night and locked the front door, Laura groaned and threw herself into the first available chair.

            Her father, agreeing with her, poured himself a drink and took a seat at the bar. He opened his mouth, probably to comment on the busy night, but instead of words, a knock sounded.

            “Who in the blazes…” James wondered aloud, hauling himself onto his feet once again.

            “Don’t worry da,” Laura said wearily. “I’ll get it.”

            The bolt on the pub’s door was heavy, and it took her several moments to pull it back and then to wrestle the door from the night wind. Finally, the door swung open and Laura used her free hand to flick on the overhead outside light.

            She put a hand over her mouth to cover a scream, but the sound never came. Instead, Laura felt backwards into the pub in a faint.

 

 

Beyond Me

I’ve been so scared. So very, very scared for the last couple months.

As most of you who know me are aware, I’m graduating in May. As you also know, I will not be attending college.

I’ve been afraid. I’ve been afraid- no, terrified- of graduating. Instead of a whole new life, an open door, my life feels like a dead end. I feel like my whole existence as I know it is going to end. Like all my relationships will change. Like I’ll be even more alienated from my peers. Like I’ll be alone.

But just now, as I sat in my family’s living room listening to TobyMac’s new album, This is Not a Test, God told me something.

I was listening to the song, Beyond Me, which I’ve heard before. I knew all the words and it wasn’t really one of my favorite songs by Toby. Until now. Now, I think this whole album just might become the soundtrack to my Senior Year, if not my life.

The first part of that song goes like this:

Call it a reason to retreat/ I got some dreams that are bigger than me/ I might be outmatched, outsized, the underdog in the fight of my life/ is it so crazy to believe// That you gave me the stars put them out of my reach/ Call me to waters a little too deep/ Oh I’ve never been so aware of my need/ You keep on making me see/ It’s way beyond me

It was hearing this song, right after having a week of absolute panic and almost hysteria, that I finally heard the lyrics.

God is the One who called me to the life I’m living. I went to Him for a decision about college and He told me His will for me. He’s the One who has ordained every single aspect of my life. My school subjects, my friends, my church, my passions, my dislikes, my family, everything.

God is the One who called me to these choices. The fear I feel has mostly been because I’ve been thinking that somehow I’m at fault. That I’ve made a wrong choice and so that’s why it looks my life is jumping off the deep end on June 1st, 2016.

If He’s the One who gave me my instructions, He’s the One who gave me the trials that are accompanying my obedience. This, the things that tear at my thoughts and emotions, this is my cross right now. The looks I get when people hear that I just want a husband to love and support and make a home for, those looks and the pain they bring don’t mean that I’m doing something wrong. They are my deep waters. They are my giants.

Because David didn’t kill Goliath.

God did.

God didn’t give me my instructions and then send me off on my way, saying, “Okay, have fun!”. No. That is a lie from Satan that I have believed for too long. God is walking with me, guiding me every second of every day. Through every look, every time someone says, “oh really”, every time I have to respond, “I don’t know”. He’s standing beside me. He is holding my hand, just like my human Daddy did this afternoon as I shook and cried out on our deck because I was so overwhelmed with fear. God holds me just like my human daddy does.

I’d forgotten that God doesn’t send us into battle alone. Jesus is the Prince of Peace, but He also commands the angels.

One of my favorite names of God is “Jehovah Nissi”. It means “The Lord Our Banner”. God is the banner I’m waving as I march through my senior year. I’m waving Him as I march through questions. I’m waving Him as I march into what is, for me, a Huge Blank Page. As I march into what feels like Oblivion.

We’re told, in Romans 14, to put  on the armor of light. I put on that armor the day I was saved. The light given off by that armor isn’t dimmer than it used to be. I just can’t see it when I’m staring at the ground in fear and trepidation. I need to look to the Son. Because when I turn my eyes on Jesus, the things of earth- the questions, both mine and others’; the fears; the uncertainty, all of that grows dim, simply because it doesn’t matter.

What my future holds is way Beyond Me.

But it’s never been Beyond His Hand.

-Sarah