Still Motion

It seems of late that I’m always going somewhere – AZ, CA, NC, PA etc & it feels like I’m in perpetual motion. This is good because I get to share about the daily & supernatural presence of the Holy Spirit. On the other side, I find myself desiring that peace from being still & knowing that God is. With all of the traveling & stresses of work, home, schedules, family etc, we would be wise to learn about carrying peace on the inside.  In Job 20:20 it says, “Because he knew no quiet within him, he does not retain anything he desires.”
Here are some ideas about carrying some quiet in our heads wherever we go:

  • remember to give your anxieties to God
    turn to God as a habit & not just in overwhelm mode
  • let those unexpected cancelled events give you some pause space – don’t fill your schedule to the gills
  • life has seasons, ebb & flow & we would be wise to go with the flow
  • it helps me, on occasion, to sit in my car for a few minutes, with no phone or music & just be still

Carry some quiet in your heart wherever you go!

Rest for a Weary Soul

I was talking with a friend today & we were discussing the various responsibilities that we have, along with navigating these while avoiding any catastrophes. We had a very nice bonding moment in the conversation, sharing with vulnerability some of our individual struggles. It was a very refreshing chat & it reminded me of something I read from Jesus’ words this morning:
“Come to Me, all you who are weary & heavy laden & I will give you rest . . . For I am gentle & humble in heart & you will find rest for your soul”. Matt 11:28-29

We all have stresses, pressures & responsibilities. We want to do well in these things, so sometimes we can get overwhelmed. Let’s remember to continually come to Jesus to give our soul the rest it needs. 

Here are a few more helpful verses:

  • Surely I’ve composed my soul within me, like a weaned child against his mother, my soul is like a weaned child within me – Ps 133:2
  • Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me – John 14:1

Let your soul rest in the loving & totally able presence of the Holy Spirit

Birds, Flowers & the Future

Do you ever worry about stuff? Some people say they never worry & I’m happy for them. Other people, like me, we can sometimes get worried about various things. Seems like some common stuff that gets worried about includes finances, job / education things, relationships & health issues. Of course there are more things, but my point in bringing up the worry stuff is related to Jesus’ teaching about worry in the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus says that the birds have food provided for them & the flowers are beautifully appointed in their various displays. Furthermore, each day has enough challenges to keep us attentive to the present rather than borrowing worry for the future.  

Jesus tells us to look around & see how well our Heavenly Father manages the world in which we live. We can certainly trust our loving Heavenly Father to take very good care of us, as His children. Nestle into the Holy Spirit when you get tempted to worry 🙂

Gethsemane Before Easter

  
Take a moment to think of a dark time you have experienced. Maybe you went through a challenging time in your health or with a loved one. Maybe you went through a painful divorce or financial situation that seemed hopeless. All of us have had our share of dark times & we don’t like them. 
I totally appreciate that Jesus had dark experiences as well – the devil tempting Jesus during His 40day fast comes to mind. In this Holy Week leading up to Easter Sunday, today is Maundy Thursday, the day of Jesus’ Last Supper & the evening when He went to Gethsemane. 

If you’re presently in a dark time, or you know someone who is struggling in a difficult situation, take heart! Here are some thoughts that’s could help:

  • Jesus went through dark seasons & is acquainted with our struggles – Jesus keeps company with us in the darkness
  • To every season there is a limit – this has come to pass & not stay
  • Intimacy often grows deeper in situations of duress & struggle, so maybe this is why Jesus wanted Peter, James & John to keep company with Him in Gethsemane – don’t be repelled by someone’s dark season (Matt 26:36-38)
  • Remember that Jesus is the Light of the world & brings illumination wherever He is invited!

Easter is coming – that means there’s resurrection around the corner! And Heavenly Help gives us strength & wisdom to keep going!

Waiting in the Flood

Noah waited in the ark 150 days during the flood cataclysm. When I read that recently, it caught my attention & I began to imagine what that was like for him, surrounded with his family & the animal hordes traveling with him in the ark. I would suspect there was heaps of panic initially, probably fear, anxiety, uncertainty & likely some worry to boot. Being “trapped” in the ark while the earth was deluged from above & below, water thundering on the ark with animals & humans pitching back & forth – this doesn’t sound very appealing. But the other option, drowning in the deluge, wasn’t such a whippy alternative. So the people in the ark could chose, initially between living or dying. Clearly, they chose to stay alive. From that decision, then they needed to manage their fear, uncertainty & anxiety, pausing 150 days in the ark. 
Sometimes we find ourselves in “pause” mode & maybe see / hear disasters happening all around us. In these situations, I find my salvation alone in keeping my focus on Jesus & my mind set on the Holy Spirit – Rom 8:5. Listening to & watching the circumstances around us can be debilitating. Make the long term decision to keep your thoughts & focus on Jesus, no matter what 🙂

Heating Up or Chilling Out??

  
   Since we talked yesterday about Jesus putting out fires in our lives, it seems fitting today that we would talk about staying chilled & frosty. Various times of the year seem to have lots of stress & pressure – December frequently far exceeding my red zone capacity. So seeing Jesus chillin’ in a freezer by a gallon of ice cream helps me to remember to offload some steam & it reminds me to make choices about stress & worry. 

Some helpful things to remember that Jesus said:

“Come to Me all you who are heavy laden & I will give you rest”

“My peace I leave you, not as the world gives”

“In this world you will have tribulations but I have overcome the world”

Heating Up or Chilling Out??

  
   Since we talked yesterday about Jesus putting out fires in our lives, it seems fitting today that we would talk about staying chilled & frosty. Various times of the year seem to have lots of stress & pressure – December frequently far exceeding my red zone capacity. So seeing Jesus chillin’ in a freezer by a gallon of ice cream helps me to remember to offload some steam & it reminds me to make choices about stress & worry. 

Some helpful things to remember that Jesus said:

“Come to Me all you who are heavy laden & I will give you rest”

“My peace I leave you, not as the world gives”

“In this world you will have tribulations but I have overcome the world”

Wheels on the Bus

In preschool, my kids sang a song about the wheels on the bus going round & round; the horn on the bus goes beep, beep, beep; the wipers on the bus go swish, swish, swish . . . . I thought it was a stupid song because it was mundane & didn’t really have anything catchy about it.  But my kids are teenagers now & I’m still singing “the wheels on the bus”, so there must be something sticky to the song or I’d not be humming the tune mindlessly on any given day. 

And the truth be known, I find myself humming this tune when I get stressed out about a situation or get panicky about what the future might look like. This song reminds me that Jesus is incarnate & left us with the Holy Spirit who keeps the wheels on my bus spinning round & round so I can continue to move forward with God’s plan for my life. 

A schmaltzy tune & very mundane reminding me of God’s very daily & integrated presence into my earthy existence 🙂

More trust, less worry

  

Easier said than done, to be sure!! But nonetheless, the decision to trust God more & worry less is both healthy & essential. All of us have uncertainties, impossibilities & varying degrees of stresses. What we do with this stuff is the important decision. It’s easy to let stress get under the skin & seep into the bloodstream, elevating our blood pressure & distorting our perceptions. When this happens, our decision making ability gets shady & we can make poor choices. 
But let’s do that “taking captive” thing that Paul talks about in 2Cor 10:5. Let’s not allow worry to have a free run & unlimited access in our minds. When we start to worry & have troublesome thoughts, let’s pray first & ask the Holy Spirit to help us take those thoughts captive & not let them under our skin nor into our bloodstream! Dear friends, let’s worry less & trust God more 🙂

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Cures for Cranky

Today has had a few hiccups & some cranky content (tired kids, aggressive drivers,

car aggrivations,
schedule mishaps, etc). I could chose to be cranky or I can chose to be cure oriented. When you have days that could be cranky, here are some cure ideas:

  • take a few deep breaths & get some big picture perspective
  • chose to think about things that are good, upright, noble, pure, lovely – Phil 4:7
  • rapid forgiveness is always helpful rather than the stew & marinate option
  • ask God to help – inviting divine intervention is always good for the soul & everyone around us 🙂
  • look for ways to encourage, bless & benefit others – when I get self-absorbed I’m less happy 🙂

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What Bugs You?

There are things that get under my skin & there are things that BUG me. I get agitated when people tailgate me, I don’t like it when my family leaves a dirty knife on the counter & I don’t like that my car’s alarm goes off randomly. These things are annoying. But in the grand scheme of things, it BUGS me that we withhold our love because someone doesn’t believe like we do. It BUGS me that we use religious jargon to manipulate & even shame people. It BUGS me that I can sometimes be the same hypocrite that I judge someone else to be. 
It doesn’t bother me that my nails haven’t been manicured in countless years. It doesn’t stress me out that I wear wool socks to keep warm in the Winter & I’m not jittery that my clothes don’t always match well 🙂

Let’s keep the Main Thing the main thing 🙂

Be Gentle

  

Celebrate!!!! No puking & no migraines – YAHOOO!! I’m starting to get back into working out & in typical Sarah fashion, I want to go from 0-Mach 3 in a split nanosecond. This strategy has backfired on me in the past & resulted in some less than desirable outcomes. So on this go around, I’m being more patient & gentle with myself & voila, no migraines or puking!
I’m taking this lesson to heart for other areas of my life as well – less harsh, rigid & impatient with my family, work, friends, decisions, responsibilities, etc. 

Maybe when we are gentle with ourselves, we let God’s love massage it’s way into our hearts with healthy transformation, at God’s pace 🙂

Hot Topic: Stress – the Good & Bad

If you live in America, the deadline for filing our taxes is next week.  Maybe that’s kind of stressful for you.  If you’re a pastor or highly committed church volunteer, you probably just survived a stressful season called Easter.  Some of the upcoming events and holidays might have some stress potential for you – Mother’s Day & Graduation / Commencement.  Despite our best efforts, I don’t think that any of us can immunize ourselves from stress.  But how we deal with stress is a different issue & there’s some potential for good outcomes with stress.  Here are a few suggestions:

  • relax & take a deep breath:  I’m learning from my physical therapy from shoulder surgery that getting tense & uptight doesn’t help my muscles.  When I relax & trust the therapist (aka Helper), we make better progress
  • let stress put some fuel and motivation in your efforts:  Sometimes I need deadlines and pressure to help me be more productive – smile 🙂
  • the lifestyle question:  stress as a lifestyle is entirely unhealthy and can cause us to make poor decisions in our health, relationships, priorities and time management;  consider that you might be addicted to stress and maybe it’s time to actively choose peace over stress  #selah

Hot Topic: God’s got it!

Sometimes life is stressful:  bills, decisions, planning, obstacles, expectations, future, work, relationships, etc.  I find that in my life, there’s kind of an ebb & flow to this stuff – seasons that have more stress & pressure in contrast with less stressful seasons.  No matter if you’re totally stressed out & you feel like you want to jump ship or if you’re in a really chilled time, enjoying a less pressure season, God’s got it:

  • the wisdom to help you make decisions.
  • the resources to supply various needs in your life.
  • the peace to calm your anxious mind.
  • the solutions to various problems that you may be dealing with.
  • the relationship help that you need for various hot spots.
  • the healing for your broken heart &/or physcial body

God’s got it!!  Your needs can never outstrip God’s provisions.  Your problems can never exceed God’s answers.  Your brokenness can never overwhelm God’s healing.  God’s got it!  So let’s continue to align our lives with Jesus’ words in Matt 6:33, “Seek first the kingdom of God and all these things will be added to you!”

God’s got it!!

And don’t forget to check out what Saving Moses is doing in December – it’s A-Mazing!! 🙂

conflict resolution

A few of my kids went to school this morning after a heated conversation.  Both had tears in their eyes & it rips me up as their mom to see this tension and strife.  Which makes me wonder how God “feels” when we are yucky with each other.  The truth is that any relationship worth it’s weight will have to work through conflict.  So here are a few pointers to help with this challenge:

  • benefit of the doubt:  assume the best rather than blame the worst
  • double standard:  be mindful that you don’t just the other person by actions but ourselves by intentions
  • breathing space:  sometimes a “cool down” can bring some clarity and options that aren’t available when we are in the heat of a conflict
  • be generous:  seek to understand before being understood
  • forgive well:  practice makes perfect
  • conclusion:  sometimes the best outcome is to agree to disagree without being disagreeable 🙂
  • pray

Happy Monday to you!

 

Enjoy An Awesome Weekend!

“Chill out!” It seemed to me during my prayer time this morn that this was what God was saying to me. Probably both of us (you & me) have plenary of activities, demands, responsibilities & stuff going on & I can easily get pretty tense with everything. Sometimes my prayer times can be jam packed with lots of requests, venting & pressures. Today, I feel like God is challenging me to chill out & enjoy God’s company & put the stresses, pressures, demands, responsibilities, etc on pause & take a deep breath.
Let’s remember that God is in control, has a plan & loves us more than anyone else. May today’s blog be your weekend “chill pill” ,)
Feel free to forward this to anyone you know who’s stressed 🙂

a fearless tribute to my husband

Have you ever been intimidated, afriad, overwhelmed, in over your head and just simply disheartened?  Sometimes I go through seasons, situations and struggles that could feel really overpowering – dying babies with Saving Moses, evil people masquerading as helpful, discouraging words from close friends and more.  I was recently in some of this kind of quagmire and my husband & I were talking about a few things related to these struggles when I remembered something cool from the New Zealand national Rugby team:  the Haka

I showed my husband a video of the Haka & it stirred up a few things in my heart:

  • nothing is impossible with God (Luke 1:37)
  • greater is He who is in me than he who is in the world (1 John 4:4)
  • Jesus has overcome the world (John 16:33)
  • Jesus holds everything together (Col 1:17)
  • this lite & momentary affliction is working in me a far greater weight of glory (2Cor 4:17)

A Piece of Peace

A shooting spree in the LAX airport? I was in Brazil a few days ago when I read about the guy who went on a shooting spree in the LAX airport. Knowing that I’d be traveling home soon, I can’t say that the shooting spree thing gave me great tranquility. Hmmmmm
But as I’m traveling today, with lots of responsibilities in front of me when I land, I’m opting for a piece of peace rather than slice of stress, remembering that Jesus is my Prince of Peace & He’s got the whole world (including all of my world) in His hands. We can trust Jesus to direct & protect our steps, so let’s chose the piece of peace ,)

Stress can be good

Ok, before you get stressed out with me about the title of this blog, here’s something good that I’m observing that can come from stress. Probably like you, I have varying degrees of stress in my life – from the quickie stress that comes from being late bc of traffic to the massive stress that can come from job & family pressures (or various other things). What I’m noticing is that the greater the intensity of the stress the more I find myself pressing into God & ultimately, it is never a bad thing to press into God nor to depend on God, no matter how uncomfortable it may feel.
So what we do with stress can often be more important than the actual stress 🙂

Pulling teeth :(

My son is getting some teeth removed this morning to make space for his adult teeth to come in better. My personal opinion on this is “no bueno”. Taking out teeth is a really good example of the opposite of how I feel when I’m with God during my morning prayer time. As passionately as I LOVE being with God in our quiet & still morning hours, I just as much LOATHE this tooth pulling stuff. Nevertheless, I get the opportunity to experience God in a variety of ways, if I’ll stop clenching my fists, take some deep breaths & be still. God is present in every moment, at peaceful, stressful, uncertain & neutral times. God is constant when life is not 🙂