To: My Parents & My Brother

So I was on the 12 hour car ride back to School and got to thinking about my Family. I hate leaving home after a break. I love my School and the all of the awesome people that I have the privilege of knowing and spending time with, but every time I come home and then have to leave again, I can’t help but fight the tears welling up in my eyes as I see my family fade back into the distance. This is a good thing, but none the less frustrating.

Mom, Dad, and Drew… I just wanted to let you know that I really love you guys. I mean really love you guys. You have been and still are the best things that have or ever could happen to me. I miss you guys like crazy when I am here, and always look forward to my times when I am back with you.You are completely worth the long trek.

I don’t take you for granted and I really honestly have no clue what I would do without you.

Love wholly and forever,

Sarah

Leaving Messages for God.

http://newsforums.bbc.co.uk/nol/thread.jspa?sortBy=1&forumID=6170&start=0&tstart=0&edition=2&ttl=20090307175437#paginator

There is an art exhibit that has been set up in the Netherlands that is meant to help viewers feel like GOD is more accessible by having a phone number that gives you ‘God’s answering machine’. Even though I am not entirely sure what this exhibit looks like it has sparked some interesting responses globally. I was reading the article on BBC, and after reading noticed on the sidebar that BBC has a blog post where people can write what they would leave as a message for God. I began reading these and I became addicted. It was good to hear what others were thinking about God and faith. I really encourage you to read this.

I read 8 pages of responses thus far and my heart is broken and challenged by these peoples statements. I find it is easy to forget what the rest of the world thinks about God when you are at a place that encourages him so much.

As I was reading it I tried to imagine how it must impact God to hear these words that are so often silently spoken in peoples hearts… globally.

The concept of leaving a message to God is interesting to me too and that has fed into a lot of peoples responses, of frustration when they feel like GOD must not exist because he doesn’t ever seem to respond in their eyes.

I experience the silent times too. Where I feel like GOD has forgotten all about me or out of frustration with me refuses to speak to me. But I have more opposite experiences to counter the feeling of silence,  so I do not stay in that frustration.

check out the article and let me know what you think.

The Fallen Look Up To Dream.

When I think about all the things which capture our attention, it amazes me that so many subtle beauties go unnoticed. The stories of redemption and love that we magnify and praise as heroic on television, we dismiss and so often overlook in real life. Lately, some really incredible things have been happening. People are being freed from long time bondage, and people are finding healthy relationships and battering at the issues that come with simply loving one another. Everyday there are battles to finally attain racial or any other sort of reconciliation. And because we are in the midst of this we see only bits and pieces of these magnificent stories, and therefore often miss the opportunity to encourage and celebrate it.

I guess where this is all coming from in the end, is that I am seeing God unite his body in some really fantastical and amazing ways- things that are awe inspiring and spiritually challenging such as things that I would have deemed miraculous and highly improbable before. Now, for myself I have found, that it has become far to easy to become obsessed with these beautiful and often inexplicable things- and it is not bad to rejoice in these- HOWEVER, I do believe that the daily walk with our God and intentional love- the fruit of the spirit should be something equally celebrated and desired- if not more so.

I have been studying – not even voluntarily the creation story in many different ways. It seems that I cannot escape it since last semester when we did an assignment on the book ends of the Bible and what God intended this world to be like, what it is like, and what it will someday become. This semester, in one class alone, we have looked at the creation story twice, and I have also watched the movie ‘The Fall’ which fits it all so beautifully. But I am currently reading Paradise Lost, which shows ‘the fall’ from Satan’s perspective mostly, and it is so fascinating.

We are broken people- bruised. This is not what we were made to be like. God did not create us to be able to bear the wages of sin (death). But it has infected every generation, every tribe every tongue.  It’s a good thing we don’t have to become too transfixed on this however, because the victory is won- the great deceiver has lost, and we are no longer (in the name of Jesus – of we choose to accept it) enslaved. But with our own and cultural pressure we fall to the idea that we must be independent and self-dependent, and we isolate our relationship to being something that is no more than a vertical GOD and I relationship. This is not wrong in that we ARE supposed to have a relationship primarily with GOD, but as pastor Brian Loritts so beautifully mentioned in Chapel: there must be a horizontal relationship too. We must LOVE one another- not just the ones who are like us- but we must love across racial, socio-economic, personal interests, and personality lines.

I am realizing more and more the calling to love one another. I am also learning more and more what this means. To love another is to love intentionally and without ceasing, and at times with honest failure, but expecting nothing in return. I heard God put this calling on my life- and as simple as it seems, it is so hard to do. But as I look up to dream, I see the love that God has so lavishly poured out on me and the rest of his creation. It is a relentless love.

God is uniting his body using our weaknesses and strengths to bond one another through our open and vulnerable hearts. Praise God for the fact that we are not complete on our own. We were created not to be alone. When God created Adam he said he needed a companion, and I believe it wasn’t just romantically- but we NEED one another because we build each other up in God’s name. A hand can do little on it’s own, but with a foot, or an eye, accompanied with love and Christ- they can do all.

We- the fallen look to the heavens to dream- to find hope, peace and love. A hope for the future, a peace accompanied by perseverance and in patience, and for strength to love.

I love the body.

Christmas

I suppose I have been subconciously diving into hard, but very worth while stories.

For the last couple days I have been completely engrossed in the Thousand Splendid Sun’s novel (by Khaled Hosseini). It is an incredible insight into Afghani culture through out the many battles, over-takings, and cultural changes they have seen. It is written about two different women, and is incredibly powerful, and at times so hard to read.

Then just after I finished reading the book (400 pages in 3 days… has to be a record for me), I found myself going to a movie I had been LONG waiting to see: The Boy in the Striped Pajamas. I wanted to weep at the end of that movie.

It is a beautifully told tragic story about a son of a Nazi soldier who meets some Jews from the concentration camp.

Every time I see or read stories like this- that I know are based on such harsh truths about how humanity has treatedone another, I wonder how this can be… how can we be SO cruel to one another? How is it that we have allowed ourselves to become so blineded and that we have given into lies that tell us that just because they are of another race, gender, color- that they are somehow less than human?!?!?!

It is sickening.

The saddest part is that atrocities such as  these, are still far from complete history. Still today we have genocides, racism, women being oppressed, religions being oppressed, people being unjustly tortured, we have terrorism, war, abuse, corrupt governments,…

I guess in the midst of this harsh reality when I stop and think of the season and the story of Jesus in a manger- it becomes so much more amazing to me. Our GOD made himself the most vulnerable thing: a baby, and was born in a stable! He came into the midst of a people that had the same issues as I listed above: corrupt governments, oppression, terrorism, abuse, etc.

His own creation had turned on him and on eachother and he came down to love. To walk with and among us. To SAVE us. that blows my mind. How can you forgive a people like this?

We have an amazing GOD.

A Path?

I am listening to Shane Claiborne’s pod-cast to the CCDA, realizing I have made quite the change in my life -even since this summer. I took a class focused on Urban Ministry but which attached so much more along with it. It has challenged and grown me beyond anything I would have expected. I will even admit I have teared up in that class due to it’s powerful content.

I am no eloquent writer so please forgive me but here this is something I feel needs to be written down even if I cannot express it well through words:

I have begun to feel led to Urban Ministry… shocker? Maybe. It certainly is for me. I don’t know what that will mean or what exactly that will look like, but I can see God taking me down a vague path into the urban jungle.

It all started with the Chicago spring break mission trip, which I was not really meant to be on- I didn’t apply for the trip I was sent an e-mail which asked me to apply for the trip, months after the applications had already been processed. I prayed about it and God provided the money before I even sent my letters… I raised 3 times the necessary amount. Amazing.

Next a class that had never been offered before, and may never be offered again, by an adjunct professor called: Urban Ministry Kingdom of God, was brought to my attention by my roommate. It miraculously fit into my schedule perfectly. That is where I just left off. The combination of the two incidences have forced me to find a way, which I finally have, to double major with Sociology and Studio Art and have an Urban Cities concentration.

The next mark is the class I will be taking next semester: Conversations on Race, also being offered for the first time. After that I have been told to check out a semester abroad in urban LA which would potentially save up to 13000$ in both opportunity cost and real cost! I would live with a family in the city, participate in the family activities, get an internship- in my case most likely working with street graffiti artists.

At first this path REALLY bothered me. I mean, I was walking the path… without any hesitation, BUT the idea that God may be calling me to remain in the United States instead of working with Refugees abroad.

I will be honest…  I have shed tears over this. But God woke me up with this question, which I heard in my heart, but still struggle to put into words:

‘ What makes you think that people over seas are any less worth helping that people in the United States?’

Oof.

So this is the precipice on which I now stand. I don’t know where God is going to lead me… I always find myself a little distraught because I always thought that the older I got the more sure I would be of where I was heading… I am finding that , at least during college, I am less sure of where I am going. But I am also a bit less worried about it every year. God is in control… woohoo!

Little Bit Crazy

I am trying to figure out how to put into words what all I am processing, and I can’t seem to do it.

I have created so many drafts for this blog that I cannot finish… though all worthy thoughts, I just cannot spit the words out. I need metaphor, symbolism, and I am never satisfied with what I come up with. I think part of my writers block (if you will) is that I have so much going on in my head that I have difficulty focousing in on one, and processing it.

MY SUMMER:

I am working 9 hours a day… sometimes it is unofficially more because I drive my mom to work, making my day 12 hours this Tuesday. 7-7. oof. I don’t know how I manage to cram so much into my life. It probably isn’t sane. Anyway, I am enjoying my two jobs, and my side occupations, although time consuming it has been a wonderful learning experience. I am dabbeling in everything from developmentally dissabled adults, to business, to the music industry (writing reviews), to helping out with my church’s youth group, and painting!!

In all of this, I find I have ironically become much more laid back. I am still very driven to be active and to follow through with things- to deliver, but I am less worried about the picky things, and my demeanor has calmed a lot. I have been studying prayer, looking at the formulas to the just honest ‘GOD why are you letting this happen’, to simply resting in silence knowing GOD is there. I have been learning to find peace in the financial chaos, and rest in the unknown of life after college. I am finally starting to really enjoy the present.

I need sleep now. So I am going to rest and write more later 😀

July 6

July 6. 2008

I am sitting in the car, the sun on my face, the bare sky over me, accented by the lush green trees & fields around me. I find the peaceful joy in that isolation where I have met God. From there all that was driving me insane, minutes earlier, fades.

I can just sit in this silence- As if I were sitting locked in gaze with the greatest lover of all time. I am stealing moments away with him. This is freeing me- breaking the bonds of all the things I’ve allowed myself to be tied down by.

Here I want to remain forever.

My eyes shut but my face is raised toward the sky. I feel the sun. And as quickly as the trees pass by my window so do my worries. One by one they fade into the distance and are gone.

I know this is exactly where I am meant to be. Within the embrace of my creator, fully engulfed in his joy and creativity- the marvel of what is and how life can be.

This is where I again met Jesus. I told him that I can’t keep fighting my battles on my own. I am not strong enough. I am sorry I did not recognize this earlier.

I let go.

He is there.

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