hardship

Thoughts From a Meltdown

In the Bible, Job is a fascinating read.  Within the first two chapters, we get an insider’s look at conversations between God & Satan about Job.  God is bragging & Satan is accusing, true to form.  From these conversations, Job goes through an horrific season, losing all of his wealth, all of his kids die in one day, his wife is surly, he gets very hurtful boils & his friends are very unfriendly & not constructive.  Job’s life was in meltdown for several months, according to theologians.

What are some helpful things Job said, that might be encouraging to us today?  Below is a list of some key verses and thoughts from Job.  Feel free to share this blog with anyone you know who might be experiencing a life meltdown.

6:14, “For the despairing man there should bekindness from his friend; So that he does not forsake the fear of the Almighty.”

10:12, “You have granted me life and lovingkindness; And Your care has preserved my spirit.”

13:15, “Though He slay me, I will hope in Him.”

19:25, ““As for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, And at the last He will take His stand on the earth.”

23:10, “But He knows the way I take;  WhenHe has tried me, I shall come forth as gold.”

29:3, “When His lamp shone over my head, Andby His light I walked through darkness;”

42:2, “I know that You can do all things, And that no purpose of Yours can be thwarted.”

20:20, “Because he knew no quiet within him, He does not retain anything he desires.”

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Posted by Sarah in busy, enemies to intimacy, fellowship, Genuine love, grow, Heavenly Help, Holy Spirit, listen, living, prayer, relationships, spiritual, thought life, uncertainty, values, watch, wednesday nights, 0 comments

Doing Difficult Projects

I need to do some heavy duty Spring cleaning, like cleaning out the kitchen drawers & window washing.   There are some other big projects I need to work on like finishing my Saving Moses book, having some difficult conversations, wrestling with some internal challenges and lots more.  Because these projects are hard for me, I tend to put them off, try to ignore them, justify not doing them because I’m busy, hope they’ll evaporate or do other stuff to avoid these difficult projects.

But alas, these difficult projects don’t disappear.  So now what?

Here are some things that are helping me to work on various difficulties:

  • prayerfully look the project square in the eye, so it can be less intimidating
  • consider a step to move forward with making some progress with this project
  • be gentle but firm with yourself to keep going forward
  • celebrate progress and not just perfection or completion
  • nestle into God’s unchanging and ever faithful love for you – this helps you to live from a more healthy mindset 🙂
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Posted by Sarah in busy, enemies to intimacy, fasting, fellowship, Genuine love, grow, Heavenly Help, Holy Spirit, listen, living, prayer, relationships, spiritual, thought life, travel, uncertainty, values, 0 comments

Doing Difficult

As I parent my own teenagers, I am increasingly recognizing the boatloads of magnificent stuff my parents invested in me when I was growing up & I’m massively grateful!  Much of my appreciation for the Bible, beauty & creativity, as well as Holy Spirit can largely be attributed to my parents & their influence on me.  Additionally, my parents taught me heaps about doing what’s difficult, rather than shying away.

Do you have difficult things in your life?  Difficult things can include:  internal mindsets, challenging work situations, relationships, school classes, bad habits, etc.  Here are some verses that you could pray to help you do what’s difficult:

  • Phil 4:13, I can do all things through Christ who strengths me
  • 1John 4:4, Greater is He Who is in you than he that is in the world
  • 2Cor 2:14, God leads us into triumph
  • Rom 5:5, God’s love is poured into your heart through the Holy Spirit
  • James 1:5, Ask God for wisdom & He’ll give it to you liberally

Feel free to send this to anyone you know who could be struggling to do difficult things!

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Posted by Sarah in busy, cooking, family, fasting, Genuine love, grow, Heavenly Help, Holy Spirit, Jesus Chix, listen, living, missions, prayer, relationships, saving moses, spiritual, thought life, travel, values, watch, wednesday nights, 1 comment

Bad News


Nobody likes bad news, including me. I don’t want to hear things that disrupt my bliss & when I’m super honest, I don’t want to face stuff that’s uncomfortable or disturbing. It’s ok to watch an occasional YouTube video that’s not good or to see a FB post that’s distressing, but I get to choose when, how & in what quantities I see / hear stuff that I don’t like. Just because I choose to ignore something bad doesn’t mean it’s not there – indeed I think bad stuff gets all the worse when we pretend it’s not there. 
Sometimes, however, we need a wake up call – the proverbial 2X4 to the head. Yesterday I had one of these experiences here in Cambodia w Saving Moses. I saw something that wasn’t merely deflating but it was borderline demoralizing. As I woke up this morning, I still had a pit in my stomach from what I experienced yesterday & maybe that’s good. I think it’s good, from time to time, to have a wake up call about our lives. Otherwise, it can be too easy to live in distractions or denials about what’s happening not only around us but also what’s happening inside us. Sometimes it takes some bad news to shake us up, stir us to action & compel us to compassion. Let bad news be a catalyst!

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Posted by Sarah in busy, Cambodia, enemies to intimacy, family, Genuine love, grow, Heavenly Help, Holy Spirit, listen, living, missions, prayer, relationships, saving moses, spiritual, travel, values, watch, 0 comments

Succeeding in Adversity

All of us face adversity of different sizes, shapes, seasons & intensities. From what I’ve learned, it’s not always possible to avoid adversity, so shat to do? Here are some thoughts to help you have some success in the midst of this stuff

  • Focal point: focusing on the adversity seems to make it bigger, focusing on Jesus helps to keep the adversity in the right perspective
  • Practice: think back over the past struggles you’ve come through & remember that the current adversity is practice ,)
  • Get Help: more than professional help, all of us need divine Help & this is exactly who the Holy Spirit is, so be sure to ask for Help!
  • Time: decide to outlast the adversity, one day at a time
  • Prayer: agree with some friends to prayer for their struggles & that they can pray for you as well – this one helps me boatloads!

Be sure to pass this along to some friends who are going through some tough stuff 🙂

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Posted by Sarah in busy, Genuine love, grow, Heavenly Help, Holy Spirit, listen, living, prayer, relationships, spiritual, values, watch, 2 comments

sitting with a friend

Job 2:13, “Then they sat down on the ground with him for seven days and seven nights with no one speaking a word to him, for they saw that his pain was very great.”

These friends that sat with Job in silence for 7 days were the same friends who were not very gentle in their words to him for many chapters throughout this book.  Nonetheless, it gives me great pause to think that these guys travelled for several days to be with Job at the lowest point in his life.  When they saw how despondent he was, they sat with him for 7days without saying anything.

Their behavior really challenges me to consider if I’m this kind of a friend who could sit quietly with a friend in their greatest time of suffering.  This is the idea of keeping company with someone even when they aren’t very pleasant or enjoyable.  It begs the question, “Am I a ‘fair-weather’ friend, or am I reliable in the skinny / thin times?”  Consider Matt 26:38 & Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane.

It seems to me that we aren’t very comfortable sitting with someone when they’re suffering or struggling, but sometimes, keeping company with a friend in a hardship is a tangible expression of genuine love.

I like what Mother Teresa said, ““Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.””

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Posted by sarahbowling in busy, enemies to intimacy, Genuine love, grow, Heavenly Help, listen, living, relationships, saving moses, values, watch, 0 comments

Hot topic: overcoming adversity

Have you ever had a season where it seems like more is going wrong than what’s going right?  Job had this experience. In a short amount of time: he lost all of his kids, all his wealth evaporated, his health took a plunge & his wife went rogue & didn’t encourage him. Job totally went through an awful season & you can read his book in the Old Testament to hear his thoughts & emotions in the thick of all these difficulties. Going through hardships & difficulties isn’t something new in our human experience but here are some ideas that might be helpful:

*in difficulties, be honest with God (Job was super upset, disappointed & frustrated with God & didn’t hold back nor withdraw from talking with God)
*consider the people who you allow to speak into your life: do they affirm God’s work, do they hear your heart, do they strengthen your faith?  Job’s friends were kind of sketchy on these points
*keep your focus on God because a continual eye on the hardships can be very unsettling
*there are brighter days ahead – Jer 29:11 🙂
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Posted by sarahbowling in busy, enemies to intimacy, Genuine love, grow, Holy Spirit, hot topic, Jesus Chix, listen, living, prayer, relationships, saving moses, values, watch, 1 comment

Looking for Jesus in the weeds

In Colorado where I live, recreational marijuana was legalized, so our state is now a hot spot for weed tourism (not sure that I think that the weed industry is something really good for our state, in the long run, but that’s a different blog). So if you’re thinking that because I live in Colorado & I’m saying that Jesus is a weed advocate, let’s be very, very clear that this is NOT what I’m saying.
Rather, I’m saying that when we look for Jesus in the weeds, metaphorically, of our daily living, we can most definitely find Jesus – even among the thistles, thorns & prickles. Sometimes we unknowingly cultivate weeds because of some yucky seeds we sow (impatience, unkindness, selfishness, etc). But sometimes, life comes up weeds
This prayer has really helped me to find Jesus in weedy days:
“Jesus, please fix this situation – make it all better & please help me to grow through this so I bear healthy & constructive fruit. Please help me not so sow weed seeds in this challenging place”

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Posted by sarahbowling in busy, Christmas, enemies to intimacy, Genuine love, grow, Holy Spirit, Jesus Chix, listen, living, prayer, seeing Jesus, values, watch, 1 comment

hot topic: Christians in Iraq

I’ve been reading recently about how many Christians have been under very severe persecution in Iraq from the ISIS (or IS) expansion & attacks.  According to the news, Christians in certain areas of Iraq are being given the choice to leave their homes, convert to Islam or die.  I find this to be very troubling for Iraq given it’s long & strong history of Christian & Jewish presence in this area.  From a broader perspective, Christianity has always faced varying degrees of persecution throughout the world at various times.  For example, currently North Korea, is a very dangerous place for a Christian to try & survive without denying their faith.  For that matter, it seems like sometimes Christians are the best at eating their own – being judgmental, exclusive, elitist and capricious, but that’s for a different blog ,)

Here are a few things to consider:

  • pray for our brothers and sisters – Paul talks about bearing each others burdens in Gal 6:2;  As the body of Christ, let’s be very prayerful for our fellow members who are in such difficult situations
  • persecution grows the church – hardship forces us to clarify our priorities & the right choices help our roots to go deep;  deep roots create great strength & healthy fruit
  • Gal 5:15 talks about being careful not to bite & devour each other – there’s enough external persecution that we don’t need to tear each other down;  let’s build up more than we cut down 🙂
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Posted by sarahbowling in Genuine love, hot topic, Jesus Chix, listen, living, prayer, relationships, seeing Jesus, values, watch, 0 comments

Magnify

I’ve been thinking about Mary, Jesus’ mom, and how she had a pretty tough road to walk, being pregnant out of wedlock in a culture that strongly frowned on “that type of thing”. If you think about Mary’s situation, she went through a pretty tricky season.
In different but also similar ways to Mary, we all have lots of challenges & difficulties. So if I look at the what Mary said in her season of unwed pregnancy, it helps me to know how to manage my own struggles. Simply put, Mary said, “My soul magnifies The Lord”. We can magnify the problem or we can magnify The Lord, let’s chose wisely 🙂

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Posted by sarahbowling in Genuine love, Holy Spirit, Jesus Chix, listen, living, relationships, seeing Jesus, spiritual, values, watch, 0 comments