Singing More than A Song

Sitting alone in my room I softly sing praises to the Almighty One. I hum, almost to myself, but not in declaration of His Holiness. The words roll off my tongue and I continue to work on my to-do list for the day. It seems that I am absently living for Christ rather than whole heartedly worshiping. It seems that I have allowed my mind to know the words so well that they have lost their meaning. So where is my heart? Is it in the right place for being subconsciously praising Jesus? Or is it in the wrong place for singing mindlessly? When do the words become praises? When do songs become rejoicing?

These are the things that I struggle with. I cannot find the balance between the necessities of life and the obligations I must hold myself to, and finding the time to praise and worship my Jesus. I know I can set aside 30 minutes a day or even an hour, but is that fair to Him? The Creator of Life? The Author of Time? Doesn’t he deserve MORE? How can we not just fall to our knees in worship at all hours of the day? Since when did the latest episode on T.V. take precedence to the Master of ALL?

Now I attempt to find a way to do both. To walk throughout my day with the attitude of praise in my soul. Not just singing the words because I like the tune, but reaching into the depths of their meanings and finding worship there. Praying continuously as I walk to class. Finding moments of silence and filling them with cries of thankfulness to the One Who Paid It All. I attempt to form conversations around Him rather than around the score of the UT game. Or even to ignore the gossip on the street, that my flesh so desires to listen to, and replace that noise with hymns of salvation and victory.

Wholeheartedly living. That is where I attempt to stand today.

- Sarah (:

Surrendering

I haven’t written in a while, and I am not sure why. I think it’s because I lack things to say, or there is too much to say that I don’t know how to say it.

Today my heart is overwhelmed.

Overwhelmed by wants versus needs, and my frustrations of wanting to be an adult, but then an immediate counter emotion of wanting to be little, the desires of my heart are struggling, and God’s will is prevailing.

How do I become my own person while I am wrapped up in what everyone else wants for my life?

How do I make wise decisions without compromising my freedom?

How do I enjoy life while planning years of non-stop hard work in front of me?

And How do I reach for my dreams while life seems to be getting in the way?

This is the heaviness of my heart. This is how I feel. I think back to a year ago. I was sitting on this bed, in this sweet family’s house, looking at my life and what I would make it…. It looks nothing like what it was a year ago. A YEAR AGO. How quickly things change. It is remarkable. I do not understand.

So I sit in this room, down the hall I hear Kim playing the Passion Conference CD that I gave her, and I hear Chris Tomlin’s voice resounding the truth I must cling to.

We are laying down, our weapons now,

We raise our white flag,

We surrender all to you,

All for YOU.

So sing with me, and let God take your life. It’s a struggle for someone as prideful as me, but how can we not? He is just so good. Life is moving too quickly… Like seriously… It’s AUGUST. So friends I encourage you to listen to this song and take it to heart. It brings me tears, especially since it takes me back to Passion where there were 45,000 of us singing from the deepest of our hearts.

Raising my flag. – Sarah

Where This Summer Takes Me.

Where can this summer take me?

To find that I love crafts.

To remind me of my love for writing.

To keep me committed to my pen pals.

To push me closer to the Almighty.

To bring me closer to family.

To expand my musical taste.

To force me to lack Young Life, just for a little while.

To try new recipes.

To let me travel past beautiful places like this.

To meet super legit people like this.

And of course, to take me back to Washington D.C.

Here I am. Nannying again. Doing one thing I love and enjoying the blessings this summer has brought me. Where has your summer taken you?

- Sarah (:

All in All.

The words that touched my heart this evening are from a dear man who’s words have consoled my heart for several mourning cries.

You feel overwhelmed by distractions, fantasies, the disturbing desire to throw yourself into the world of pleasure. But you know already that you will not find there an answer to your deepest question. Nor does the answer lie in rehashing old events, or in guilt, or shame. All of that makes you dissipate yourself and leave the rock on which your house is built. You have to trust the place that is solid, the place where you can say yes to God’s love even when you don’t feel it.

- Henri Nouwen writes in his book The Inner Voice of Love

This explains the irrational, almost-emotionless being I have become. I no longer feel. I have joy and I have my loved ones. These times and memories I will never forget. But this is a day when my heart greaves. As I watch cute couples become engaged, or discuss their future, I bottle up the agony it causes me to watch their happiness. I am not at all un-happy for them. I simply long for their form of happiness. BUT I am beginning to heal. A song of praise came into my heart after reading Henri’s words that brings joyful tears to my eyes. You are My All in All. I used to sing this song in bible school…. so this is prayer this evening. That I can remember that in fact Jesus IS my All. Listen to the words. They are my prayer and a beautiful reminder.

Thanks for listening.

- Sarah (:

His Relentless Love.

Well… we have a lot of catching up to do. First I need to give a status update on my life…

Yes. John and I did break up. I don’t really have much more to say on that. A lot of things are up in the air and there is a lot of healing and growing that needs to happen for both of us. Things are going to be ok. Don’t send him hate letters or messages or texts or a howler. (; ok if you have the ability to send a howler… do it just because that’s awesome. hahaha. Oh goodness… that is a Harry Potter reference for those of you who are unaware. If you are unaware stop reading this blog and go pick up the first book. So good. Fictional writing is such a love of mine… always will be (considering I want to be an author).. ANYWAYS….

Next. I do not yet know whether or not I will be joining the YWAM team to Australia. I am sorry. Trust me I am just as anxious as you are. I will let everyone know as soon as I know. I promise.

Ok… down to the point of this post. Jesus loves you. The end.

[NOT REALLY but that's all that needs to be said.]

Andy Stanley spoke today on how the world complicates Christmas and what the real truth of the gospel is about. That Christmas is about the fact that God GAVE US His Son. Wow. So true. If you do not believe this no one is going to hold a grudge against you, especially me, but before you reject the truth of the word of God understand the realness of what you are walking away from. Do not reject the church or Christianity or anything else, but realize what those things (in their purest form) represent. That Jesus Christ CHOSE to come to Earth to live and be an example for His children and then Willingly DIED for YOU because a debt HAD to be paid…. I am getting so worked up over here. God is SO GOOD.

Ok…. but where I was going with this is that Jesus CHASES after you. Because I am just now finishing with my first semester of college and I am recently out of a relationship that I am vulnerably getting out of I get the opportunity to re-examine my entire life. What is good and what needs to change. So as I was sobbing over my devotional journal this evening I came to a conclusion that I have had so many times before, but tonight I remembered the goodness.

Jesus Christ LOVES me. JESUS LOVES ME. I do not need the love of others and I do not need joy to come from relationships or people or objects or money. I have the Joy of the Lord as my strength (Nehemiah 8:10). Amen.

My 2 FAVORITE verses are what represents the gospel for what is….

“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” – Romans 5:8

Recognize that it does not say ‘once Sarah got her act together’ or ‘after Sarah repented and cried out for God’ it says ‘while Sarah was still a sinner’ God chases after me….Jesus CHASES AFTER ME. And I promise you He chases after you too.

“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 our Lord.” – Romans 8:38-39

Now this verse is for all of God’s children who can’t get over their guilt. Those people that will say yea but you don’t know what I did… I am telling you right now. Jesus KNOWS everything. He remembers every sin you recognize and every sin you are trying to ignore. Embrace them! ITS OK. NOTHING will separate you from His Love. It is RELENTLESS. He takes full responsibility for being head over heels in love with YOU. He wants you so bad that he doesn’t care what mistakes you’ve made and he doesn’t care what mistakes you will make… He just wants to be in your life. I can’t tell you of a person that has that kind of love for you. I can’t!!

I had forgotten this goodness and I am so sorry because I know it has reflected in my life just how quickly I forgot. But it’s ok. I get a clean record just because Jesus loves me that much. How can you turn away from that kind of offer??

Listen to (in this order) ….

“How He Loves Us” – David Crowder Band

“Cry of the Broken” – Hillsong 

“Beautiful Things” – Gungor

Mmmmmm. Amen. – Sarah (:

At the Foot of the Cross

Today I was brought to my knees. I remembered that I am imperfect. That the Almighty God delivered me from an unredeemable place.

Without Jesus we are nothing. With Him I have everything. With Him I have everlasting life and love. With Him, His people can strive towards great things with confidence that their God is good. With Him, we have SALVATION.

These few words, I hope can be a reality check. That everyday we fall to the foot of the cross… such an undeserving place to be at… and He smiles at us. Picks us up and allows us to live free from our sin. He makes us new.

Because He loves Us.

Listen softly my loved ones.

- Sarah (:

To My One and Only….

The Handsome, The Dearest, The One, The Only…. John Charles Hoffman. [TANGENT] For those of you who are unaware, this is similar to how John introduced me on and off stage all Saturday night and consequently for the rest of the weekend, it’s payback time. [END TANGENT]

To My One and Only,

This is a letter filled with a list of all the thank yous I wanted to say while standing with you in the Nashville airport, but words escaped me. I’m so sorry.

Thank you for being a man of God. You looked at the bigger picture of life, rather than zooming in on your blink-of-an-eye. You decided to listen to God’s soft whisper and chose to sacrifice a year of schooling here in Tennessee for the opportunity to serve Him and many others in this new place. You are being His hands and feet. I’m so proud of you.

Thank you for being musically talented. You have been blessed by our Savior with musical abilities unlike any other. He honored you with the opportunity to share with others through your lyrics and songs what no one else can share. Use this talent wisely and remember it’s a gift. Your concert was amazing…. it’s a big deal that we had to pull out 3 more rows of chairs and a set of bleachers with only 10 minutes until the show started!! Don’t look over this reality. You touched peoples hearts that night, including mine, and I know you will continue to in Spain and when you return.

Thank you for being strong. You were strong for me, you were strong for your mother, and you were strong for yourself. You held me firmly as I shook in my own skin saying goodbye to you at the airport. By the grace of God I didn’t cry in front of you…. you should have seen me in the car…. but you held up for me, because I needed you to! You grew up within that instance of walking through security at the airport. It was beautiful to watch you.

Thank you for being bold. You are courageous. Not many people are willing to do what you are going John. You are the only person I know who voluntarily wished away their childhood so they could grow up overnight and dive into the life Christ called them to have. This opportunity isn’t a 7 month mission trip to Spain, it’s the beginning of a new chapter in your life. It’s the start of the era in time where you stand up for what is right, you take action instead of simply stating the heart-breaking facts. John you are momentous.

While you are gone I challenge you to “Preach constantly, [and] if necessary use words.” Because sweet heart, you were made for this. I can feel it in my bones. You, John Charles, were born to be a big deal! And you’re crazy if you think I’m going to let you have all the fun.

I hope to hear from you soon.

Love, Sarah

For those of you wondering or interested… you can click here to go to John’s website. Here you can read his blog about his time in Spain, you have the opportunity to donate, you can check out pictures from the concert, and listen to his 3 latest recordings. (:

College Confessions

So here is the thing…. yesterday I blogged about college being hard. I blamed everyone and everything else. Time for a College Kid Confession….. I am at fault.

While the work load is piling up and the teachers really are more strict. It’s true that John is leaving for Spain in 11 days. And I wasn’t lying when I said my bank account was empty, $4 to be exact, but I somehow I have to make a tuition payment of a little over $1,500 on September 30th.

But what I didn’t tell you was that I haven’t been moving. I myself have been standing still asking God, more like telling Him, to do all the work. Someone once told me the analogy that a girl said she was screaming to God for Him to call, but because she was screaming so loudly she couldn’t hear the phone ring…. ladies and gentlemen, welcome to my life.

I have been rushing through my devotionals and giving judging glances to the people who haven’t picked up a bible in weeks, years even. How dare me! How can I call myself Christ-like when I too have neglected the word of God ever sense I moved into my dorm? I kept telling myself that I would do it that evening, but I knew I would have to do homework instead. I would set an alarm with the intent of getting up to have my quiet time, but yet I would hit snooze until it was time to run to class…. I have talked so many times about God’s desire to talk to us, and His desire to have a relationship with us. [older post] and now I am taking my own advice. So here I am….. At 1:00a.m. on a Thursday morning with a giant to-do list, but yet I am sitting on my bench down by the CBT. [older post about devo spot] Simply in awe of God.

It’s funny that while I picked this bench I never took the time to notice and appreciate the giant fountain directly in-front of it. The refreshing song it sings as the water splashed against the pond at the bottom. Or taking a moment to smell the water as it rushed. (being a swimmer in high school allows me to appreciate this smell more than most. I love H2O. NO lie.) Sitting on the rim of the pond so that my feet dangled in and the mist brushed my face…. How come I am just now noticing these blessings?

So as I sit by this fountain the song that refuses to leave my head is “Beautiful, Scandalous Night”… which tonight kind of is one. Close your eyes and listen to this song. So beautiful, so true, so necessary at this moment.

In Christ – Sarah (:

You are Mine.

Let’s be honest….. I will call out the elephant in the room…..college is hard. There, I said it. The curriculum is trippled in half the time. The teachers don’t really care. You sit in a sea of faces of 300 where no one will ever learn your name. And you have no money in your bank account. Why have I been looking forward to this for the past 5 years?? I don’t even know. But when all of that is all overwhelming enough, I remember… this wasn’t my choice. I don’t even want to be at UT. [older post]. So why am I here??

On the verge of tears as I write my thoughts… I want to be home in my bed in Georgia. I want to have home cooked meals made by my parents. I want my bedroom to still look like a beach…. I don’t want to do this on my own.

Then the quiet whispers begin, “Darling, I’m here.” Now the flood gates open and the tears begin to fall.

“Jesus, what am I to do??” Why am I here??”

“Come here my dear. It will all be ok. You were made for this.”

“But, but, but, what about John going to Spain? What about tuition being due September 30th? What about my giant essay due on Friday??”

“Sarah recall Isaiah 43:1. Tell it to me.”

“But now, this is what the LORD says— He who created you, Jacob, He who formed you, Israel: ‘Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. – Isaiah 43:1′”

“Exactly. You are mine. Why would I not take care of you? My darling Sarah Rachelle, listen to me. YOU ARE MINE.”

Alone in my dorm I cry because of the truth my God has restored in me. I am HIS. A daughter of the King. Flesh of the creator. His plan will be fulfilled. This is not a mistake…. Praise God for having patience with His little ones.

This song played on my iphone after I had finished my devo and I was getting ready for class… and I think it fits perfectly with this moment.

Another way God gave me comfort was my small group. Allison Yoakley is my leader and the 14 girls are girls I am hoping to grow and relate to in Christ. We are going to study the book of Mark. I’m really excited about this because it’s the only gospel I have yet to study!

If you think about it. Pray for me. Pray for this group of girls. Pray for the University of Tennessee… we need it.

Tell me how you have been comforted recently by our God.

- Sarah (: