surprise

That’s Shocking!!

Getting a phone call from my kid’s school can be a shocking experience, sometimes in a good way and sometimes not so good.  It can also be shocking to hear about a friend going through a financial or health crisis, when you may have thought that everything with them was smoothy groovy. I like good shocking news and I dislike bad shocking news, much like you.  So I loved getting the unexpected news earlier this year about Saving Moses receiving some unexpected funding, but I very much disliked the shocking experience of dropping my daughter off for college this Fall and driving away from her in a puddle of tears.

 

When we receive shocking news, go through alarming experiences, or observe something that’s startling, how do we handle that?  How can we do this with grace and poise while seeing God’s sovereignty in the midst of uncertainty?

 

Stepping into experiences and situations that are unexpected can be massively challenging.  For some of us who enjoy adventure, maybe the unexpected goes through the “fun and new” filter.  For those of us who crave routine and stability, shocking news or experiences can be extremely difficult to navigate!  So no matter if you love adventure and new stuff or if you crave predictable and routine, I firmly believe that we can find help with Jesus, regardless of the preferences of our personality.

 

Consider for a moment, the shock that Jesus’ disciples experienced in John 4 from observing Jesus talking with a Samaritan woman.  Jesus’ behavior was totally unexpected because of the social norms of that day, keeping a strict separation between men and women conversing with each other unless they were married or connected in a familial context.  To add more surprise to the disciples’ observation, it was highly unusual for Jews and Samaritans to have casual conversations because of the hostility that existed between these ethnic groups.  The disciples were shocked by Jesus’ behavior!

 

Additionally, the townspeople were shocked to see the raving lunatic, who lived naked in the graveyard and was untamable, sitting fully sane and clothed talking with Jesus in Mark 5.  The townspeople were so stunned from seeing the crazy man made sane, that they asked Jesus to go away from their town (maybe also because the herd of pigs jumped off a nearby cliff and drown in the Sea of Galilee).

 

In both of these scenarios, Jesus is the common denominator for the disciples’ shock.  And in both of these scenarios, two people are drastically changed because of their encounters with Jesus, regardless of the spectators and bystanders who might have disapproved of Jesus’ choices.

 

As we think about stuff that can be shocking in our lives, let’s do a couple of things that could make such surprises constructive.  Here are some helpful suggestions:

  1. Keep Jesus in the middle of your thoughts and feelings when shocking things happen. It helps me when I remember that nothing surprises Jesus.
  2. In the middle of anything that’s shocking, be sure to talk with Jesus, letting Him know of your surprise, feelings, uncertainty, etc.
  3. Decide to trust that Jesus can make seemingly bad or difficult things into fertilizer and something beneficial and/or beautiful

 

As you finish reading this blog, I pray that you keep your focus on Jesus regardless of whatever may be surprising to you.  And I pray that Jesus’ peace will guard your heart in mind, so that fear, worry, panic and stress don’t hijack your soul.  Remember, nothing catches Jesus by surprise J

 

 

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Posted by sarahbowling in busy, fellowship, Genuine love, listen, living, prayer, seeing Jesus, spiritual, thought life, uncertainty, values, watch, 0 comments

The Unexpected

Life is full of stuff we don’t expect.  For example, yesterday, a massive storm dumped an ocean load of rain in the afternoon, so my softball game was cancelled, unexptectedly.  And I read this morning about Jesus’ disciples eating heads of grain on the Sabbath, something very unexpected within the Jewish culture.

For some of us, the unexpected isn’t too disturbing (if it’s not traumatic) because we enjoy spontaneous.  For others of us, the unexpected is very disturbing because it interrupts our plans, compromises our productivity, distracts our focus and can throw us off balance.

Let’s appreciate that Holy Spirit often works in ways, through events, in conversations and experiences that we neither plan for nor expect.  To this end, let’s allow Holy Spirit to keep our hearts and mindsets flexible so we can follow Holy Spirit with lithe agility 🙂

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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, travel, uncertainty, values, watch, 0 comments

Finding Jesus

In that today is Christmas Eve, or maybe Christmas when you read this, we might be thinking about Jesus’ birth 🙂

And in the story of Jesus coming to live among us, there are some interesting things we can consider for our daily living.

*Unexpected Coincidence: the shepherds in the field were doing a normal night of shepherding when there was a supernatural interruption. Let’s be mindful that a supernatural interruption can sometimes be dismissed as an unexpected coincidence, causing us to miss something God wants us to know or experience

*Inconvenient Journey: the wiseman took the Star as a signal to go on a journey to seek out something unknown but important. Let’s be mindful that what could be inconvenient and unfamiliar has the potential to lead us to know Jesus more deeply and in a richer experience.

*Unconventional Relationship: Joseph decided to keep Mary as his fiancé even though she was pregnant out of wedlock. Let’s be mindful that being merciful, gracious and generous can position us to bring Jesus to people in meaningful and life-giving experiences.

Let’s keep finding Jesus and helping others experience genuine love through finding Jesus!

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Posted by Sarah in Christmas, enemies to intimacy, family, fellowship, Genuine love, grow, Holy Spirit, listen, living, nightcare, prayer, relationships, saving moses, spiritual, thought life, travel, uncertainty, values, watch, 0 comments

Managing Hiccups

Hiccups aren’t pleasant. Some ways people deal w hiccups include: a spoonful of sugar under the tongue, eating a dab of peanut butter, drinking water upside down, startling someone, etc. 

And what about the unexpected hiccups in one’s schedule or mishaps with various plans?  What are some ways we can cope with the unexpected?  Here are some ideas:

  • Take a deep breath & remember that nothing catches God by surprise
  • Recognize the surprises have an emotional toll & this can be part of the challenge to navigate
  • Look for the upside – finding some good can make surprises more palatable
  • Do healthy – drink water, get rest, make good eating decisions, take a walk / exercise
  • Step into it & make the best with what you’ve got, frequently asking for God’s help

Happy Monday!

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

Shock Value

There are many things that can be shocking, such as a precipitous drop in the stock market, unexpected news from a relative and sometimes, God does stuff that’s shocking.  It seems to me that most of us don’t like stuff that’s shocking, such that we stay away from this kind of thing or we insulate ourselves, to minimize the exposure.

And yet, sometimes, things that are shocking can help us to get out of a rut.  For example, I think Jesus was very shocking to the religious establishment in His day.  Indeed, He challenged not only their assumptions and traditions, but also their practices and daily interactions:

  • He ate with sinners.
  • He associated with tax collectors.
  • He kept company with the irresuptable.

All of these actions of Jesus were very shocking to various upstanding citizens.  And yet what is more importance than the shock value, is the reality that Jesus did all of these “crazy things”, from the premise and core motivation of genuine love.  Sometimes, genuine love is the essence of shock value 🙂

Have a happy weekend!

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Posted by Sarah in busy, enemies to intimacy, fellowship, Genuine love, grow, Heavenly Help, Holy Spirit, Jesus Chix, listen, living, missions, nightcare, prayer, relationships, saving moses, seeing Jesus, spiritual, thought life, travel, uncertainty, values, watch, 1 comment

The Unexpected

“It’s not supposed to be like that!!” I’ve been reading in Acts about Peter going to Cornelius, a Gentile, ministering to his household & the outpouring of Holy Spirit on these Gentiles. The Jewish believers initially had a difficult time accepting this new reality with the Gentiles. Nonetheless, despite what the Jews expected, God didn’t stay in their confined expectations.
And I would encourage you & me to remember that God defies impossible. And it’s not uncommon for God to do what we don’t expect, answering prayers in often surprising & fun ways. Let’s also keep in mind that God doesn’t often conform to our limits & boxes. We would be wise to follow God’s leadership rather than trying to define or limit God 🙂

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

Are You a Planner?

I have lots of friends who are good at planning.  They think through a journey, a project or responsibility with focused attention for:

  • needed resources,
  • timelines,
  • possible hazards,
  • preparing for the unexpected, as best as they can

Me, not so much.  And that’s one of my shortfalls.  If I told you of all the times when I’ve forgotten things (makeup, clothes, money, etc), shown up at the wrong time, been unprepared or shocked, maybe you’d smirk with a playful laugh. And hopefully you wouldn’t shame me with the normal, “You should know better, Sarah” because I already do that to myself enough 🙂

No matter if you’re a planner or prefer a more “spontaneous” approach, let’s be certain to allow the Holy Spirit to guide our steps and navigate the various destinations and outcomes.  If you’re a planner, be careful that you don’t try to stay in control of the journey with the Holy Spirit.  If you’re the spontaneous type, be sure to listen to the Holy Spirit for those gentle nudges / reminders about bringing stuff & keeping appointments 🙂

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Posted by Sarah in busy, enemies to intimacy, family, Genuine love, grow, Heavenly Help, Holy Spirit, listen, living, nightcare, prayer, relationships, spiritual, thought life, travel, values, watch, 0 comments

Managing the Unexpected

SURPRISE!!!! Some of us like surprises & some of us, not so much. It’s also true that our response to surprises can depend on what the surprise is.
With Jesus’ birth, there were lots of associated surprises:

  • angels appearing to shepherds at night in the field,
  • Gabriel’s announcements to Zacharias & Mary about the upcoming supernatural births,
  • wisemen showing up to give kingly gifts to a seemingly common baby,
  • Joseph getting the surprise announcement that his fiancé was pregnant.

Let’s consider that surprises can be incredibly good, when we keep our eyes on Jesus, knowing that He loves us & is working in all things, even surprises, to work together for our Good, Romans 8:28-29.

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

Don’t Freak Out

Whenever my kids tell me, “Mom, don’t feel out when I tell you this, . . . ” I brace myself for what comes next. Sometimes it’s something easy, like “I forgot to tell you about a school assignment.” At other times, they spring something on me that’s more robust or unsettling. Whenever we have one of those “freak out” conversations, it always helps me to remember that nothing makes God freak out.

Indeed, God is never shocked nor chased away by us, our struggles or questions. And in full truth, God’s love continues to pursue us, even when we give up on ourselves. Be encouraged! You will never freak God out!

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Posted by sarahbowling in busy, enemies to intimacy, family, Genuine love, grow, Heavenly Help, Holy Spirit, listen, living, prayer, relationships, spiritual, thought life, values, watch, 0 comments

Shocking!!

Some of us do shock better than others. Some of us need an hourly stability infusion & others need a more steady supply of edgy & unpredictable. Seems to me that Jesus fits the bill for each of these mindsets & He gives us stability when we need it & unpredictable when that’s what’s necessary. 
Consider that Jesus was the steady Eddy for His disciples & earned their trust being His continuous faithfulness to them. He was also a shocker from time to time:

  • The walking on the water thing completely freaked out His disciples – Jesus walking on the water was the last thing they expected to see at 3am in the middle of a storm!
  • The multiple resurrection appearances was seriously shocking – a wake up call for sure!
  • Jesus’ disappearance after the Emmaus road chat made those guys recognize the holy heartburn from their traveling conversation w Him

Let’s be clear that whether we’re in a discouraging storm, or we’ve endured a tragic loss or we can’t understand what God is going, Jesus is fully capable to continue doing supernatural & shocking things. Let’s keep our eyes peeled & hearts open to Jesus throughout this day!

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