I don’t know how

There are lots of things I don’t know how to do.  I can’t crochet, knit, sew, decorate, paint, computer program, repair cars or concrete, grow plants, . . . . . There are so many things that I can’t or don’t know how to do, that I could get overwhelmed with my inabilities & deficiencies.  But the bright spot is that I have a unique and perpetual direct line to God Who knows how to do everything & even more.

When you feel frustrated & overwhelemed with inadquecies, look out, look up and look around because God is readily available to help, just for the asking :)

hot topic: transformation

I like Autumn because all the transformations and changes that happen:  leaves turning colors, weather cooling off, schedules getting more routine & lots more.  Autumn reminds me that life is continually changing, even if slowly.  Autumn also encourages me that change is possible because sometimes I can get discouraged with myself when I don’t see the changes that I want in my thinking, etc.  If you’re like me, we like to be involved in changes that are improvements, so here’s an opportunity for you to bring transformation and be transformed at the same time:

Saving Moses is hosting a severely space limited team trip to Cambodia in July 2015 & I’m inviting you to check out this transformational possibility for your schedule:  Saving Moses Team Trip 2015

 

quiet prayers

Recently, I’ve had some experiences that have been really tricky:  conversation I didn’t agree with, uncomfortable situations that made me feel insecure, topics being discussed that are WAY outside of anything I know about, etc.  As I’ve been in these situations, it’s been difficult for me to figure out what to do or say because there didn’t seem to be any easy or obvious solutions, answers or escape routes.  In the past, I’ve found myself saying stupid stuff, or just withdrawing to a wall flower status & getting internally frustrated.

But I think I’ve found some help with these types of problems:  quiet prayer.  In the last few days as I’ve been in these challenges, I’ve stayed quiet, but quietly in my heart asked God for help and that’s exactly what’s happened.  God has answered my quiet prayers in several different ways by giving me:

  • insight & wisdom into the situations & conversations
  • patience & strength not to say something stupid or that I’d later regret
  • discernment on how God was leading the discussion or situation
  • awareness that God has purposes for stuff that doesn’t always make me feel good

There’s a boatload of value in long & loud prayers, but also in short & quiet prayers:  the full truth is that prayer is very good :)

margin

I’m writing this post as a total hypocrite on this topic because I’m currently the absolute WORST at this, but the topic of margin is nevertheless really important.  When my kids write out a long paragraph, it helps me heaps when they leave some space around their writing so my eyes can get a break from the deciphering exercise :)

I think this is also true with our daily living.  When we pack each day to the uttmost with events, activities, appointments, responsibilities, demands, etc then it gets difficult to:

  • see where we’re going & ultimately achieve goals that are genuinely important
  • rest – even our sleep becomes fitful
  • listen – the clutter of an overfull life can easily drown out the still small voice from God that we so desperately need
  • be present & our relationships move into shallow mode – sometimes necessary but not healthy for the longterm
  • remain healthy

Dear Sarah, please keep some margins in your life :)

sit down but stand up

In the last few weeks, I’ve had some interesting challenges, most of which have been around taking a stand for some convictions that run deep in my soul.  Taking a stand can be kind of tricky – there’s a Japanese proverb that says, “the nail that stands up gets hammered down.”  Nevertheless, I think it’s important to take a stand and not just blend into the average, mediocre and mundane.  Here are a few things to consider:

  • be mindful of what you take a stand for:  sometimes I think we spend all of our time, energy, voice & equity on things that don’t really matter;  keep in mind eternity and the big picture when you stand up for something
  • be mindful of how you take a stand:  diplomacy and tact are helpful ingredients for taking a stand about one’s convictions;  be friendly and firm :)

Thinking about these things, consider a few videos & lyrics that could be worthy of some reflection:

street-babies

stand up lyrics

God awareness

I really like to study languages.  Thus far, I’ve studied probably half a dozen & it always fascinates me when I get to explore a language and how a culture communicates through it’s language.  It also fascinates me to consider that anywhere from 40%-80% of the way we communicate is non-verbal.  Furthermore, I would suggest that the better you know someone, the fewer words you need to communicate with them.

With these ideas in mind, it’s been my experience that God communicates with me in lots of different ways:

  • Bible:  ground zero, full stop
  • a soft whisper or witness in my heart that’s difficult for me to ignore (1Kings 19)
  • desires (Ps 37:4) – I ask God to guide me by giving me desires that affirm God’s plan, will and kingdom
  • conversations – there are many times that God will speak to me through someone in some kind of seemingly common discussion, but something very uncommon stands out to me in that chat (Emmaus Road – Luke)
  •  very often, I don’t sense God speaking to me in words or verbally, but rather I sense God’s presence and I just enjoy keeping company with God

How do you sense and hear God?  Please share with us! :)

God talk

unnamed Today, I was driving and having a God chat.  We talked about some of my concerns and frustrations and I tried to not do all of the talking, but this is a tricky balance.  Conversations that facilitate a deepening relationship go both ways – both parties listen and both talk, hopefully not at the same time.  To get to know the other person in a relationship, we need to be present, attentive and available.  In the same way, for the other person to get to know us, we need to be present, sincere and forthcoming.

We all have relationships where we play our cards really close to the vest – we don’t openly share about painful areas, hotspots or vulnerabilities.  But if we are going to have a deepening relationship with God, then we need to put our cards on the table and equally listen, pay attention and value the feedback and input that God gives us, not only to solve problems but moreso for the purpose of connecting and attaching.  God talk is a two-way street :)

 

Intolerant

Our modern culture applauds tolerance with great conviction. We are strongly encouraged to tolerate all kinds of diversity (spicy food, GF diets, people with different ideas, age diversity, socioeconomic backgrounds, ethnicity, religion etc). In general, I think that tolerance is a nice idea but sometimes it’s application can get hazy. For example:

  • truth will never tolerate deception & vice versa (antonyms are inherently intolerant)
  • intimacy will never tolerate violence
  • genuine love will never tolerate indifference or apathy

While I think that tolerance is a nice idea, let’s not think that it should be the guiding principle nor conviction for our daily living. Tolerance should never replace genuine love :)

Doing Everything!

Sometimes I wish I could do everything. In my thinking this means I could:

  • take voice lessons so I could learn to lead praise & worship because I love this heaps!
  • Learn Portuguese & Khmer languages to I could communicate with my Saving Moses babies & moms better
  • Keep babies from dying with Saving Moses in Somalia, Afghanistan, Sierra Leone, Liberia & Guinea
  • Learn how to do more cool stuff on social media
  • Write all the books that role around in my heart, right now!!
  • Coach my kids in their sports stuff (probably in their best interests that I don’t)
  • Figure out how business and accounting people do that cool stuff
  • Learn Ugaritic, Akkadian and Aramaic while getting my doctorate in Biblical Hebrew
  • Open nightcare with Saving Moses in India next week

Just because I want to do something doesn’t mean that I should – indeed, learning to work with people, helps us to do much more than what we could do by ourselves. Furthermore, only God is wired up to do all of that stuff & much more.  If you’re like me, let’s be mindful that we don’t drown ourselves in all our dreams and desires :)

hot topic: Ebola in the US

Yesterday, we heard in the news that a person in Dallas was diagnosed with #ebola.  The man who was diagnosed had flown from Libera in mid-September to the US and showed signs of being sick a week later.  There’s plenty of news circulating about this development & this is a very important thing on which we should be aware.  While I know that it’s important to be educated about this kind of stuff, let’s be mindful of some fundamental & important bullet points:

  • pray:  let’s keep the Dallas patient in our prayers as well as the West Africa nations of Guinea, Liberia & Sierra Leone – super important to keep these nations in our prayers, along with the healthcare workers who are on the front lines in these nations
  • be smart:  stay informed and current with what’s happening in our world so that we can know how to pray and make wise decisions
  • fear:  let’s be mindful that we don’t let fear get a foothold in our thinking or decisions
  • love:  pray that we can find some ways to help the babies & toddlers in Guinea, Sierra Leone & Liberia with Saving Moses!!

Grace to Grow

I just had the privilege to catch up w an old friend & it was delightful to chat over coffee & remember some fun times together. It was also interesting to see how each of us has changed, grown and matured.
In all of or relationships, there are things that can bug us about the other person & clearly we have plenty of our own weakspots that can be very bothersome.
Let’s give each other grace to grow & then enjoy the journey. Only Jesus is the completed human masterpiece. The rest of us are works in progress :)

meeting expectations

There are alot of things in our lives that have expectations:  job descriptions, social behaviors, standardized tests, . . . . We put alot of expectations on ourselves about how a person should act, look, dress, speak, etc and I think that sometimes, Christianity or religion can be a really tricky “filter”.    Looking like a Christian, talking like a Christian, dressing like a Christian doesn’t make a person a follower of Jesus.  We can match up to all of the external expectations but in our hearts, we can be a million miles away from the reason Jesus died for us.  The reason Jesus died for us was not merely to make our external image appealing, but moreseo to transform what’s on the inside of us.  The defining distinctive Jesus identifies as being His follower is our love for each other (John 13:35).  Loving well is very important :)

so much FUN!!!!

This is a outright advertisement for Saving Moses!  I 100% love the work I get to do with Saving Moses, for reasons too numerous to list here and I want you to buy one of our tshirts :)

Please note that we have a really limited suppy, so first come, first serve :)

Here’s the link and thanks for your consideration!!

savingmoses.org