Journal entry: "Clarity"

I was going to write about validation and call it just that. Instead, I'm moved to call this "Clarity." In the midst of a time dominated by needing to find validation (an unworthy and unrighteous endeavor), this quest for validation has finally come to an end, and with the divine absence of validation, clarity is allowed to push itself through.

I've been saying "it's not about me." I never meant it.

The heart change that only God could have done is realized because of the peace that passes understanding, and the desire to glorify the Lord in this season because of the LOVE HE HAS FOR ME .

1 John 4:16
"And so we know and rely on the love God has for us."

I had to chew on this truth for some time, and I'm still gnawing on it.

God/Jesus/The Holy Spirit does not depend on my life, nor does "how much" I love Him, what I do or don't do-God would indeed exist without me. Everything would move on. The reality of the situation is that my life is not about me. My own life is not actually mine. I can say this now with newfound clarity and assurance, thanks to the Gospel of Jesus.


Journal Poem: 19.10.11

The Gospel says love.
The Gospel says serve.
The Gospel says speak.
The Gospel says go.

The Gospel says everyone but myself.
The Gospel says death
and the Gospel says life.

The Gospel says give it away.
The Gospel says Truth is alive.
The Gospel says freedom.

The Gospel says sacrifice.
The Gospel says to rest
and the Gospel says to move in joy.

The Gospel says to be still--
it is finished.


Journal entry: October 10, 2011

Perhaps I should stop asking "What do I want to do?" or even "What do you want me to do?" These questions truthfully make this life sound all about me. And perhaps subconsciously, that is what I think.

So, it is with a full, expectant heart, that I pose the following to You, Lord:

What do YOU want to do?

I'm in it, but I'm not. I surrender to your purposes for my life and ask simply that you would use me for kingdom advancement; I would be honored to be part of the work at hand.

I pray, then, for peace of mind, clarity, and direction. In all the muddle of options, you are sovereign, and you know what's best.

Prayer: *Let me be to others as you have been to me, Lord.*Would that the Gospel radically transform me.*That the fruit I bear would be a result of a deep, intimate love with Jesus.*My actions and life choices would be motivated by such urgency to get the Gospel to others--mercy ministry be motivated by love of God for others and for myself, not by "what I can do for them."*In all things, that I glorify Him--an answer must be coming, and not just because I "feel" it, but because You are good, and I trust You.

I await the call as to where you're moving.


Journal entry: September 1, 2011

When I'm not close to You, I'm sinking. The earth begins to crack open, the omen of shattering laying heavy among your people.

Sparks from the depth of the earth fly into the heavens--red and orange and black.

My mind, just before falling in, drifts to the ocean--good days of blessing and laughter and communion with You. I reach up to blue, all the while sparks flying forward and backward and sideways.


I don't fall in. I sit on the ledge, feet dangling over the heated pit. It beckons flesh: gratification, "ease," wealth, promises (empty), worthless temptation.

I look back, realizing I don't have to do this.

A field beyond calls--a voice calls. The God/Man waits, and above the hellish voices, I hear whispers in my soul to come to Him.

There is nowhere else to go: He is it. I've always known, but a predisposition -- it creeps up every now and again.


I'm in a field of wildflowers. Yellow and white and pink, and the Savior of the world is with me, calling my name. He wants me, though I deserve the cracks. He is my stability. He keeps me from wandering.


Journal entry: July 15th, 2011

Here starts (perhaps) a series of personal journal entries; I send them out to the blog-world in an effort to read through what I've written, sort it all out, and gain some perspective.

Today's "Jesus Calling" speaks of the danger of self-pity, how this invites us to step into a slimy pit of despair and depression.

I know from experience the depth of this pit and the cakey-ness of the mud, how it sticks to you, and you try and try to get out, to no avail.

It all seems hopeless, and so one day, you give up and just plop into the mud and cease fighting.

A long time passes, and eventually, it dawns on you that the only hope in the world is above you--not in the pit, not in other people, not in an imaginary utopia, and certainly not in yourself. So you look up to the light that was there all along and surrender to it, asking for help.

And God comes.

Trust grows.

Thanksgiving, despite circumstances, abounds.

While you focus on Him in trust, you begin to rise ever so slowly out of the abyss of despair. Finally, you can reach up and the hand of God rescues you. He pulls you into His light. He cleans you up. He holds you. And He clothes you in HIS righteousness, walking in the path of life.

Psalm 147:11
"But the Lord takes pleasure in those who fear Him, in those who hope in His steadfast love."


Small Notebooks and Memories.

I collect small notebooks that turn tattered and ugly; I refuse to throw them away. They're used to record recipes, sermon notes, directions and phone numbers, to-do lists, grocery lists, wish-lists, books to read, new singers to check out, Scriptures, Spanish words I want to look up.

On top of all this, I fill the notebooks with random pieces of paper or business cards or flyers--it's all very messy.

I love a good notebook. I could never tolerate an electronic device. I want it all tangible.

One of my more recent tiny books has held a yellowed, crumpled paper that I started writing on about a year ago; the heading is simply "To write-."

I remember writing this page fairly soon after I got off the place from Peru to the US--the final time I'd cross from the Southern Americas for awhile. Here is what this almost torn-in-half paper says:

The American Dream
"having it all"
24 and married
Being something great
who we are, defined by society

If I had written on all of this in August 2010, it would have been me throwing up a load of complaints about our culture and society, progress, money and possessions, politics and the economy, expectations, etc: A diatribe on "Things that make Sarah angry." I'll spare you this, and instead describe an occurrence that made me sit back for a year and soak in all kinds of remarkable lessons that have led to healing.

There is a vivid memory in my mind, the thing that spawned this list: Sitting outside a yogurt shop with Leslie. We are in downtown Athens, taking in the late August cooldown (77 instead of 97 at 8 o'clock), chatting, but half-listening to a group of University students at a nearby table.

One girl in particular seemed to dominate the conversation while her entourage listened and perked up periodically. She was distinctly preppy-looking (I hate to presume she was in a sorority, but this is probably the case), talking to a group of co-ed's (the young men, I noticed, looking very bored). They were "discussing life," in their 20-something way, and she made a statement resembling the following:

"Oh I KNOW I'll be married by 24. I have to be--I wouldn't know what to do otherwise."

I chuckled at this comment then, and I laugh even still, now 25 and single. I've spent a year of "not-knowing." I potentially have years to come. But I've learned to rest. Maybe when I was 20 or 21, I too found it unfathomable to be a single 24-year-old. But in this year of transition, I've found a freedom in being with Jesus that I know is unique, unlike any time I'll have in the future as a wife and a mother.

I'm savoring it.

I'm learning about the invention of a so-called American Dream--we, in fact, cannot have it all.

I don't want it all.

I'm 25 and single.

I don't have a house; I'm renting a sweet apartment with Leslie as of a few weeks ago.

I don't own an iphone or an ipad.

I don't want one.

It's a daily lesson to speak the words to God: "Thank You for everything. I trust You." The days I forget to do so are pretty awful.

My potential, my beauty, my greatness, and my being are all wrapped up in Jesus and His righteousness clothing me. I do believe I have everything in Him--and I know He is directing my steps, even on days when I feel like I'm only walking along the edge of a cliff.


On Rain.

What a time the last ten months have been.

I write as I listen for the rain. Spattered rumbles of thunder, shifting leaves as creatures move to find their way home. Clouds dipping low as the burnt gold glow of last sunlight dully shines through the trees.

Rain brings healing. The passing of seasons bring growth. As spring births summer, it's easy to become steadily comfortable. However, I want my heart to be always prompted to bear fruit akin to spring rains watering the earth, buds blooming and seeds lighting up.


I wrote to You to bring the rain, and you did.

It was glorious, smelling hints of it and wondering if it would come--
then listening to leaves rustle as
big drops of water begin to land on the earth.

The cool steadiness of it was soothing, as Your Word to our souls.
The whiteness of the water contrasting against green trees:

Pouring down now.
More than just sending rain.
Flooding this place with even more proof of a creator.