The Ping of Death

I heard the ping, ping, ping of a nail going into a piece of wood echo in the room. Words, lies, hurt, anger, things carried by women for far longer than they should of, and some since childhood, getting nailed to a cross. If I am still long enough, a week later, I can still hear it.

And there’s part of me that knows the devil does not want me to remember that. He likes me hearing words, believing lies he’s fed me and living in a place of hopeless regret and bitterness, turning to gossip and envy rather than pouring out love and support, encouragement and joy.

Y’all. I know without a doubt God has given me a desire to work in women’s ministry. To write about faith, singleness, dating, community. To put together studies and gather women to uplift one another. I know that without a single doubt in my mind. But here’s the kicker I have wrestled so hard and for so long with: I don’t do relationships with my fellow ladies well.

That’s the reminder I get when I start writing, when I sign up to lead a small group, when I step out to engage other women. You don’t do it well. Who are you to do this? Your circle is small. It’s like he knows what my downfall is, what will make me stumble and run back to my hiding place. Where I circle up with my self and vow that I won’t put myself out there, to look ridiculous and be known. I’d rather stay to the outskirts and not be hurt or mocked.

Even writing all of this has been a difficult step for me over this last week. Because I’ve had to admit to myself that I would prefer to live in the lie and doubt God rather than trust Him fully with the work He’s doing all along. And so last Monday I sat sobbing…ladies around me not understanding why or knowing what I wrote on that sheet of paper and put down on that cross-knowing Jesus Himself took care of it so long ago so that I wouldn’t carry it anymore, that I should have never carried it to begin with. But I had taken to living in James 3:16, choosing envy of others living out what I believed God had given me and seeking my own selfish ambition in my own strength…I was leaning into words and perceived slights of others as a means of willful disobedience and mistrust of God.

Y’all it’s an ugly place to be in, where you point the finger of judgement and unmet/unreasonable expectations of others, seeking to gossip and cut down fellow believers instead of building each other up through encouragement and support. It’s not mine to define how someone should be a friend to me, nor should I choose to sin against them when they don’t meet expectations I have falsely established for them. My life should look more like verses 17 and 18 of James 3-peace loving, gentle, compliant, full of mercy, bearing out the good fruit of righteousness.

And so a work God had long since started in me, came bearing out in the pings of a nail and a hammer onto the cross Monday night. Surrounded by women from across the church, fighting to let go and put the lies, the hurt, the doubt, the anger, all of it. That view was intended specifically for me. That sound. That moment. Because God knew only that would get me to wake up to what He’d been aiming straight at my heart with for months…that the desire of His heart was calling to mine if I would but listen, lay everything else down and pick up the cross instead.

I had to hear that specific ping of death, the death nail of the lies and sin I had chosen repeatedly to finally see the weight of it all…to know He long took it from me, if I’d but put it there for good.

The Struggle is Real

Do you have those moments where you just know that it’s God talking through a friend specifically to you about something buried deep that you keep pushing back down?

No? Just me.

Oh well good.

Recently with a friend, who did not know what I had been killing and burying repeatedly within me, they brought up the struggle of the flesh with obedience to God’s prompting. I thought it interesting because I wasn’t prepared for that wallop at the time, since I myself had spent the better part of two weeks avoiding dealing with this rising notion of disobedience because of the flesh whispering the very thing it knew would get me, what others would think.

real

Most of the time I am good at really not minding what is thought of me, but the grooves of my old self, an approval addict to the very core, found some footing in my heart as I sought to be obedient in what I still feel is God prompting me on about discipleship and women’s ministry. Then this verse came up when listening to a sermon first thing today and I knew it. I knew exactly what the flesh was after and the struggle I had not been fighting but just burying to avoid.

For I do not understand what I am doing, because I do not practice what I want to do, but I do what I hate. -Romans 7:15 (HCSB)

I was right back in my approval mode of life, looking alot like the habits of my old self and wondering what people would think of me if I asked, if I stepped out in obedience. I didn’t realize it in the moment, or over the course of the last few weeks but I knew for certain this morning that I was pursuing the things which I hate-old habits. A life that I had crucified to the cross because I was already approved, loved and adored by the One who went to the cross for me. Who took it all on Himself so that I would not have to worry about such things but live in the abundant approval of the King of the world.

But just because that approval addiction has been nailed to the cross doesn’t mean it still doesn’t wiggle off, limping and broken to come right back to me in the moments when the flesh wants to remind me of what I used to be, habits I left a solid tread mark for in my old self. I didn’t need a CSI team to tell me where those tracks led, but somehow I was willingly off the path that the Spirit had been leading, all too quickly simply out of the worry of approval.

Y’all, let me be the example to tell you that you cannot be living in obedience with God, walking in step with the Spirit and not expect your habits of old self to attempt to distract you. Because they do. They want you off that path, even with the lie as the pastor pointed out this morning, “that you’ll get back in step and on that path later.”

The struggle is truly real, not with our old selves but with those habits that wore deep paths within us from that prior life…ones that are often easier to find than the step in front of us that is with the Spirit. Maybe like me, you needed to hear today that even when we believe we are in step with the Spirit that our habits can distract us, can pull us into an old way that feels comforting and familiar but is blatantly disobedient to where we are supposed to be, where we are called to be by God. But we have the choice to recognize it, to see the old path and know that the outcome leads to death and hurt. So we can then choose repentance, obedience and placing that foot back on the path with the Spirit leading. Back in tune with “the desire to what is good” and knowing “there is no ability to do it” on our own. (Romans 7:18(b) HCSB)

Where is it today that you need to  step out of that habit of your former self to boldly step in the path with the Spirit? To choose obedience and the power of God in you rather than the flesh that reminds you of your old self?

The struggle is hard, but the continual sin of fleshly habits is real. And eternally tethered.

Courage, Dear Heart

“Courage isn’t natural;  it’s a choice.”

Angie Smith, Bring the Rain

It is a strong belief I have that we think courage is reserved for those who have it lying dormant within themselves. A select few who are gifted it at birth and use it best when under immense strain.

But my mindset on that is shifting.

When I stumbled upon this quote from fellow Nashvillian Angie Smith I couldn’t help but pause and think on it. Think about how I have viewed courage, and that I frankly lacked it because I wasn’t gifted it.

I have to choose courage in the face of life, in the face of competing priorities and heart-longings. I have to choose to be courageous instead of quiet when it matters, when I know my voice is needed. If I waited for courage to come, it would lie dormant.

It is choosing to be strong in the face of it all. Courage to get up off the couch and do the thing. Courage to start something that frightens you. Courage to pursue better, for us all. Courage to face the diagnosis and the daily pain of chemo. It’s a choice to pick it up each day and wear it with joy and strength.

For so long I saw it in so many others, instead choosing for myself to believe that it wasn’t available to me. But that’s just not true. I hope that in this new year you too find the truth that courage isn’t natural but a strength we hold as a choice, one that we choose to use and live into. One that we know we can have for ourselves and that it’s just not for others.

When You Need Tuesdays

Some days are just bad. Some days you just get overwhelmed, emotional and feeling as if it just won’t stop…I joyfully call those days Mondays. I don’t know what you all call them, but that’s my label for them.

Those Mondays where you find no matter how much you strive, how much you churn out or do in your own self, it just doesn’t get you far. It doesn’t amount to much and you look to find that you now have even more. A certain level of panic, anxiety and frustration sets in for me when that happens. It’s almost like I am being pulled by an undertow in the ocean and I am struggling to no avail.

You see though, that’s exactly it. I am the one struggling. I am the one fighting. I find it is so me-centered that I haven’t let much, if any, of God in. I haven’t sought Him out to be my Strength, my Comfort, my Help, my Healer. I want to make sure I get it done and then I get the glory. But I don’t get it done, and find my head a mess, my heart in turmoil and my frustrations pouring out of my mouth.

My recent prayer has been for God to make me aware of those times and my need for Him, not more of myself. To make my utter dependence on Him known to me, and that it is only in Him am I able to do anything. I had one of those Mondays but found myself doing the same old thing of relying upon self rather than trusting in Him. Throughout the day I kept spinning in my own tracks, never really making headway and seeing the mounting issues. As I reflected afterward I kept coming back to these verses below, and how I am thankful for a new morning. Something I have reflected on recently here.

Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22, 23

But I hadn’t focused on the consumed part. Because of His love, we aren’t consumed. I am here, present and moving forward. But it’s because of His love, for me, for you that the struggles of yesterday did not consume me, they don’t take over today. And while I am still working on the reliance of Him in the moment of Mondays (as there will be more) I know that through His love I am not consumed. I am not overtaken. Even in my failings and faults, when I strive in my own strength, He doesn’t fail.

So I greet a Tuesday with hope, love, and new mercies.

The No H Summer

For a very long time there has been a very real stigma attached to singles. We have to have someone in order to enjoy life. You have to have someone in order to own a home, to choose a life of fulfillment, to be content. It’s about the outward presence of another in order to be living life. 

I have come to realize in the last year to find contentment is to be joyful in spite of circumstance, to choose a perspective that is not my own but one in which God colors my life. It’s to surround yourself with women and men who are the picture of life and love. It’s to fall in love with a contented life that isn’t bound by a boyfriend or spouse. It’s loving fully this glory which is set before me, walking confidently and with dignity through it in every moment. 

As I referred to in a post just days ago, a life isn’t defined by a marital status. I do believe you must be an example though for others, in coming out of something you have endured with heartache and hurt, in joy and triumph. So this summer I am choosing the theme of the #noHsummer for my life.  (My name is also spelled without an h and something I throughout my days as well)  

Follow along this summer on my social media and right here on the blog as I share the adventures of being a no H Sara that has no H (husband) and what life looks like in that. What joy and fun and adventure awaits if we stop waiting for Him to send us someone and instead we live this life He has gifted us with abandon. 

More Than

I make God rather small the majority of the time.

I believe my God doesn’t want to hear about my worries and troubles. He has far bigger things to concern Himself with across the globe. They are often petty and ridiculous, so I save Him the trouble of even listening.

Because let’s be honest, conflict with a friend or woes of single life pale in comparison to the conflicts in Iraq. To the earthquake in Nepal. To those suffering and grieving in life. I feel like I am doing Him a favor by not pestering Him with my heart’s cries. And I figured He appreciates me for that.

That right there is where I, and I think many of us, get it all wrong. I am taking my perceptions of God, with my limited understanding and my own experiences of life, and placing them on Him as characteristics and ability to time manage. He’s the omnipotent, omnipresent Abba Father.

He’s Daddy.

The God who wants to hear everything, who knows our inmost being and still wants to hear from us. He calls us to abide in Him, and what happens when you abide? You continue without fading or being lost. You are fully in Him, casting it all upon Him.

Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. 1 Peter 5:6,7

That means I have to humble my opinions, experiences and thoughts. I have to put those down and thinking God doesn’t care about my anxieties because they don’t seem important in the grand scheme. Because He is more than I think He is. He is more than  my limited understanding as a human, He is more than words can describe. He is so much more than anything I have ever experience.

So today I come boldly before that throne of grace (Hebrews 4:16) to talk with Him. To share, and to listen. To be in Him, without fading or being lost. Because I want to share with Him what is weighing on me, as well as the joys. I want to cast of this thought that I can handle things up to this point when He wants it all.

Take a moment today to unburden your heart, even the small things, the things which you may deem petty or minor. Let Him take on the anxieties and cares of your heart. I am learning, ever so slowly, that He wants to hear from His child. He wants to be with me and have me trust Him fully to share every thing about my life, my mind and my heart. It’s not about Him already knowing, it’s about me faithfully trusting He is more than.


This song from Danny Gokey was what got my heart and mind pushing beyond the boundaries of limited thinking to see Him as more than.

Mini-Break Holiday

I don’t normally take advantage of a three day weekend to go out of town. I am not sure as to why but I often just look at it as a way to accomplish more with the extra day, whether errands or around the house. For the last year a friend had been living in Atlanta, and I had been attempting to make plans to visit. It seemed at every turn they got cancelled by weather or illness or scheduling (my part).

Finally last month we settled for the MLK holiday weekend, that way we both were off for an extra day and could have a very chill break.

Let me just tell you, if you don’t live in the Southern US (and some of you don’t so hey Canada and Ireland!) that the weather this weekend was superb. We don’t see mid-60s in January. We just don’t around these parts, but we did for three glorious days. It even looks like we’ll get up there today. My friend and I ate ridiculously great foods, imbibed on some adult beverages and I did some damage at Ikea. I also put the media cabinet together upon my return home yesterday, like a boss.

Why am I sharing all this today? Because we simply need breaks in life. I know I just returned to work off a Christmas holiday vacation, where I had my wisdom teeth removed and an abbreviated visit home. Something about this weekend had an extra touch to it, whether it was the spring-like weather or being in another city that I feel at home in.

We need moments where our phones get put away, we enjoy the person we’re with and the environment we are in. Did I check my phone on occasion? Yes. But I didn’t feel it necessary to stay glued to it, as I often push myself to do. I realized that this mini-break holiday is needed in all our lives for a breather. To take a pause and remember life and appreciate it for what it is-fleeting. I could check emails in my off-time or I could indulge in a walk around a beautiful park in the middle of downtown Atlanta.

This mini break holiday put a bookend on the last year for me that brought about alot of internal dwelling and thought, alot of frustration and tension. It closed the door on a chapter that I had been lingering in for far too long, attempting to write my own paragraphs. When all I truly needed was a break, space and to breathe in the newness of it all.

A new chapter.

A new mindset.

A new appreciation for life that is to be lived, not worried or fretted over.

May you get a mini break holiday in your life if you’ve not had one. To become unsettled and renewed. To gain joy that is lost and peace in the midst of it all.