struggles

Solutions, Provisions & Answers

Sometimes life can be very challenging. We can go through seasons when we don’t have enough money, time, energy, etc. We can also get birraged with problems & pummeled with questions. It seems to me that everyone goes through difficult times when it feels like we’re drowning & when we desperately need a life jacket, not just a life hack.

If you, or someone you know, is in this kind of a season, I pray that this blog would be helpful. In this kind of season, it’s been soothing to realize & embrace that God has more:

  • Answers than I have questions,
  • Solutions than I have problems,
  • Provisions than I have needs.

Let’s keep our eyes on & trust in God today, even hour by hour. God is helping us & these experiences can train us to know God better & trust God more!

CONNECT WITH ME ON:
Posted by Sarah in busy, fellowship, Genuine love, grow, Heavenly Help, Holy Spirit, listen, living, prayer, relationships, spiritual, thought life, travel, uncertainty, values, watch, 0 comments

The Human Jesus

I totally dig Jesus, full stop!!  I love that He’s the friend to sinners, heals blindness, confronts religious insanity, loves fallen people, multiplies provisions and heaps more!  But what stops me in my tracks is when I see His humanity.

This morning, I read about Jesus in Gethsemane when He tells Peter, James and John that His soul is deeply grieved to the point of death (Matt 26:38).  And Gethsemane was on the heels of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead, where Jesus wept.  This reminds me of Jesus being tired from His journey in John 4, where He takes a pause by a water well in Samaria and strikes up a transforming conversation with the very broken Samaritan woman.  And there’s also the time when He was sleeping in the boat when His disciples were freaked out by a massive storm on the Sea of Galilee.

In these common human experiences such as grief, sleep, being tired and weeping, it helps me know that Jesus has walked in human skin.  Jesus is Incarnate God:  fully God as though He were not man & fully man as though He were not God.  I can appreciate that it’s difficult to wrap our finite minds around how that works, but let’s be grateful that Genuine Love walks with us in our daily living and is compassionate with our human existence.

CONNECT WITH ME ON:
Posted by Sarah in fellowship, Genuine love, grow, Heavenly Help, Holy Spirit, listen, living, prayer, relationships, seeing Jesus, spiritual, thought life, uncertainty, values, watch, 0 comments

Help for Making Decisions

We are all faced with making decisions everyday.  In general, we can navigate the smaller decisions like clothing options, food choices, time usage, where we focus our attention, etc.  But sometimes we can struggle with making bigger decisions.  For example, making a decision about college, taking a job, marriage, buying a house and others can be really stressful.

I recently did a sermon about making decisions & this link might be helpful if you’d like to see the whole thing (the message starts around 1:03), including the wonderful joke at the beginning ,)

And here are some helpful hints from Jacob that could be useful to you when making decisions:

  • recognize that God stays with you, whatever you decide because God is omni-present
  • instead of waiting for a lightning bolt of revelation it can be more helpful to move in a direction and invite God to adjust the direction and tweak the pacing
  • appreciate that God can show up in a dark season and bring some necessary and life-infusing encouragement

Feel free to share this with your friends & subscribe to this blog 🙂

CONNECT WITH ME ON:
Posted by Sarah in busy, fellowship, Genuine love, grow, Heavenly Help, Holy Spirit, listen, living, prayer, spiritual, thought life, travel, uncertainty, values, watch, 0 comments

Walking Alongside Difficult

Yesterday, a few of my friends told me some heartbreaking news. One friend is facing a monstrous health crisis & another friend has a family crisis that’s is beyond sad. I deeply love these friends & learning of these crises touches me to my core. 

So what to do?  Should I give them key Bible verses that could “fix” their situation? Should I tell them to be strong in their faith?  Should I rebuke any negative words? What should I do?

When I look in the Bible for some help & direction, it’s noteworthy that Job’s friends sat with him for an entire week before they said anything. And maybe that was their best input because their words don’t seem very comforting to me. 

Here are some ideas that might be helpful:

  • Be present – pay attention to not only the words being spoken, but also the body language & emotions that are being felt
  • Be steady – I’ve found that people who go through traumatic experiences can often crave someone being consistent & steady
  • Be gentle – instead of assuming you know what the person needs or wants, it’s better to ask. 
  • Be prayerful – it’s very helpful to sincerely pray even on your own for the person & not just with or around them. 
CONNECT WITH ME ON:
Posted by Sarah in busy, enemies to intimacy, family, fellowship, Genuine love, grow, listen, living, prayer, relationships, spiritual, thought life, travel, uncertainty, values, 0 comments

Feeling Pain

If we don’t feel pain, we run the risk of being unfeeling, insensitive, cold & apathetic. But for the people who live with chronic pain, feeling pain isn’t good. It’s also difficult to see people who are in pain. So what do we do with pain? Anesthetizing pain with entertainment, booze, exercise & other stuff turns out to be a very destructive way to cope w pain. So rather than anesthetize pain or run from it, let’s consider that we can ask Jesus to take away the pain & help us know Him better through the pain & suffering. Consider what Paul says in Phil 3:10-11, “that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death;
11 in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.”

skme of the greatest potential for intimacy can happen through the shared experiences of pain & suffering. Even though we don’t like the idea, it’s true nonetheless. Think Gethsemane. Pray when there’s pain & watch what God does.

CONNECT WITH ME ON:
Posted by Sarah in enemies to intimacy, Genuine love, grow, Heavenly Help, Holy Spirit, living, prayer, relationships, saving moses, spiritual, thought life, values, watch, 0 comments

Not My Strength

Stuff I’m good at, I prefer to do.  Stuff I’m bad at, not so much.  But life requires us to do stuff that’s both difficult & easy.  When you find stuff that you’re good at, generally you like to keep doing it & it can be very fulfilling.  In contrast, doing stuff you’re not good at can be draining & frustrating.

I say this having just filled out some rather meticulous paperwork that I hope I did right.  Suffice it to say that paperwork isn’t so much in my wheelhouse.  So the less I do, the better it is for everyone 🙂

But here’s the real deal:  my weaknesses provide platform for the Holy Spirit to help & be strong through me.  The tricky part for me is to acknowledge that I need Help – not just professional help, but even better, Divine Help!  Be sure to grab a copy of my latest book to see how you can walk with Divine Help!

In Step with the Spirit

CONNECT WITH ME ON:
Posted by Sarah in busy, enemies to intimacy, family, Genuine love, grow, Heavenly Help, Holy Spirit, listen, living, prayer, relationships, saving moses, spiritual, thought life, travel, values, watch, 1 comment

Technical Difficulties

Here in Cambodia, sometimes I get to experience technical difficulties. For example, sometimes the wifi here isn’t reliable, or maybe the traffic is more congested than I expected, or the plank over the sewage collapsed & things got messy. Throughout life, we all experience technical difficulties from time to time & this can be very frustrating.
Thankfully, the Holy Spirit can manage our technical difficulties with supernatural agility. The Holy Spirit helps us with communication & with getting us to the places we need to be in His timing. Also, I’m abundantly grateful that the Holy Spirit can clean up & redeem the messes that happen in our lives. Let’s allow the Holy Spirit to be our abiding expert for technical difficulties 🙂

CONNECT WITH ME ON:
Posted by sarahbowling in busy, Cambodia, enemies to intimacy, family, Genuine love, grow, Heavenly Help, Holy Spirit, listen, living, nightcare, prayer, relationships, saving moses, spiritual, thought life, travel, values, 1 comment

Do You Suffer?

Nothing seems to repel us like suffering. Indeed, if we had our way, we’d entirely skip the whole crucifixion thing & leap straight to resurrection.

Maybe that’s why Peter, James & John slept in Gethsemane when Jesus told them to watch & pray, while He travailed in prayer with sweat like drops of blood. I would likely chose to sleep as well rather than watch my Invincible Hero suffer & appear frail & unraveled.
But here’s the best kept secret: there’s tremendous intimacy potential in sharing with suffering. While we follow & admire strength, nothing connects us with someone more than seeing & even sharing in weakness & pain. Some of my best friends have been through the most abysmal experiences with me – we’ve shared in suffering & the bond between us from those experiences has been immensely strengthened.
In Holy Week, today is Maunday Thursday. This is the day when Jesus shared the last supper with His disciples, washed their feet & travailed in Gethsemane. Jesus understands suffering & wants to connect deeply with us, not only in resurrection life, but also in struggles & suffering – the fellowship of suffering: Philippians 3:10-11

CONNECT WITH ME ON:
Posted by sarahbowling in busy, enemies to intimacy, family, Genuine love, grow, Heavenly Help, Holy Spirit, listen, living, Pentecost, prayer, relationships, saving moses, thought life, values, watch, 0 comments

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!

CONNECT WITH ME ON:
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

A Murky Middle

Middle: Jacob, Isaac’s son, was in quite a difficult situation for 20years. In these years, he worked for a deceptive employer who also became his father inlaw when Jacob married Leah & then Rachel. The remaining 6years that Jacob stayed w Laban, he took care of Laban’s flocks & over the course of the 20year employment relation, Laban changed his wages 20times. 
Beginning: These 20 years were on the heels of a family conflict about Jacob running away from home, having stolen his brother’s blessing & birthright. 

Ending: Once Jacob left Laban, he had to confront his brother who was threatening to kill him 20years earlier when Jacob ran away from home.  

I totally understand that Jacob had made poor decisions & lived with the consequences.  Nevertheless, there were 20years when Jacob lived in a messy & likely stressful situation. 

So what should we do in murky, messy & stressful situations? Here are some helpful ideas (feel free to share this with some friends that could find it helpful):

  • Keep your integrity no matter what happens around you – Jacob certainly had more than his share of shifty, but with Laban, he kept things pretty truthful to the best we know
  • The middle is exactly that: not the beginning & it will end – seasons can be constructive even though challenging
  • Keep you eyes on Jesus – Jacob acknowledged that if God hadn’t been with him during his Laban years, things could’ve been much worse!
  • Work hard – sometimes it tempting to get complacent or discouraged in difficult times, which can be draining & tiresome. Keep working & trust God to being something magnificent out of the murky 🙂

Don’t forget to order Heavenly Help – super great resource to help us in the middle ,)

CONNECT WITH ME ON:
Posted by Sarah in busy, enemies to intimacy, family, Genuine love, grow, Heavenly Help, listen, living, prayer, relationships, values, watch, 0 comments