Tuesday, September 3, 2013

We Are Getting A Motorcycle

The coolest thing happened a few weeks ago and I just had to share. In a personal place of wondering if God just forgot all about us, It blesses me so when I see Him show up and show off.
I feel the need to be somewhat discreet about this as those involved seemed to want to be discreet themselves, so for the sake of  confidentiality... I'll just say I was really wanting a motorcycle (and by motorcycle I do mean something quite entirely different).

So I wanted this motorcycle but it was way out of our price range. So I prayed about it and did what I could to get financing for my motorcycle and then left it in God's hands. I heard back from the "financing department", they were able to help out a little with the cost but it was still way out of our budget. When I got the news I felt a little put out. It was like God was dangling a carrot. The carrot got a little closer... close enough to smell but just out of reach all the same.
I was to let the kind lady at the financing department know what our answer would be. I got it into my head that maybe God wasn't done yet, perhaps I should give him one more chance. I Iet God know what the plan was. This was Tuesday, I would give Him until Thursday to provide the rest of what we needed. And then  I did what any mature, woman of faith would do, I started going over our finances. I looked, I tried to move things around. Maybe if we could pay this here instead of there. What if we got rid of that.

I wanted this motorcycle so much!

It would be a good thing for our family. We would all benefit. Thursday came, nobody had shown up at our door with a big fat check, I had not accidently stumbled across a winning lottery ticket...nothing! It occurred to me, I was putting God in a box. It wasn't fair for me to give Him such a short time frame to work in. He could have until Monday to work His miracle, and I told him so.

It was a pleasant weekend, uneventful in that I did not win the Publisher's Clearing House Sweepstakes, but a fine weekend just the same. It kind of made Monday seem like a great big non event, which led me to courteously extend God's deadline a few more days. By this point even I was not slow enough to mistake what was really going on here. I wasn't giving God more time. I was simply holding off because once I told the motorcycle dealership we just couldn't afford the bike, they were going to let somebody else have it. I wasn't ready to let it go.
Then, suddenly it was Wednesday, the day of  God's third deadline. It was this day that I clearly heard God say, "just send the email already and let ME be in control of what happens! If I am going to do something it's going to be on my terms, not yours!" He's usually a lot nicer when He talks to me, I think He may have been a little put out. I gritted my teeth, sent the email and was very, very sad.

A few hours later the phone rang, it was the dealership. The sweet lady on the other end said, "Sarah something happened and I think it was a God thing! Somebody came in to my office today and asked if anybody needed help getting a motorcycle. They wanted to give xx number of dollars to help somebody out. Since I got your email today I thought of you." The amount they wanted to give took care of a large percentage of the cost of the bike. Making it much more manageable for us! And just like that, we were getting our motorcycle!

I have not seen God do this kind of thing for us in awhile! It was his love for us at work, finding a way to bless our life and our family. Even as I had tried to go around Him, tell Him how to work, He was still planning to provide. Instead of punishing me for stubbornness he used it to show His awesomeness!
Again, I cannot stress this enough, because my mom is one of my most faithful readers and I love my mom and do so want her to continue speaking to us. We are not really getting a motorcycle. But God is awesome! And I am getting the desire of my heart! 
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Friday, July 19, 2013

My Poor Me PItY pArtY...That You May Or May Not Care To Read

How's that for a title? At least if you are still reading you know what you are about to get yourself into. If you have been following along on this blog at all you know there have been some medical issues that I have talked about, at times, ad nauseam. But, as I have mentioned before, it's my blog and this has been my life for over a year, so I get to. ;) After a year of obnoxious symptoms, tests, tests, and more tests and nearly as many doctors I have a diagnosis.... 

Drum Role Please

I have something called CREST also known as Systemic Scleroderma. It is an autoimmune, rheumatic and connective tissue disease with too many symptoms to list here. But you can read more about it here if you want. 

About a week ago I got a book called Sick and Tired written by a lady with a number of chronic illnesses. I have really been able to relate to the author. In the book she talks about going through stages of grief when finding out your have a chronic condition. You are experiencing the loss of your life as you knew it. The day of our doctor's appointment, the one where we finally got the official diagnosis, I felt like I was going to go through all the stages of grief in one day. 

Our new doctor, right off the bat, really frustrated me so by the time I left her office I was annoyed and actually kind of angry. Jarrod spent the entire trip home trying to encourage me with the fact that we did not expect to leave the office with a diagnosis and the beginnings of a plan in place. And yet we had both. I chose to focus on my anger and couldn't see the bigger picture for awhile. (Clearly my maturity level has not been affected by all of this in the least.) 

After we had been home for a few hours I decided to update the facebook world. I tried to come up with something concise and upbeat to say and as I was typing out my status update I finally got it. This was something I had all but given up on, we finally had some answers and we were finally going to start treating one of my two most bothersome symptoms, joint pain. When the rheumatologist was doing a joint analysis, she checked the joints in all ten fingers, both wrists, and elbows. She said every one of the joints was swollen and inflamed and finally stopped checking the rest. My first thought was a very mature, "thank you!". Because when you spend a year trying to get answers, to no avail, you sometimes begin go wonder, "is this all in my head?" So as I spread the news of what we had found out at the appointment to family and friends I began to get excited about where things were headed. 

Fear and General Feelings of GRRRR
And then a little while later there was the thought, "oh crap, this is for real." Scleroderma is something that was mentioned about a year ago when I had a positive blood test for it. The rheumatologist we had at that time very quickly blew off the results so there was always the hope in my mind that I did not have it. Nonetheless, we read up on it and it was enough to frighten me at that time. I have since developed more symptoms of the disease, between that and the blood test this rheumatologist is convinced that this IS what we are dealing with. This thing could never get worse than it is right now or it could get really bad. I'd be lying if I said I have been able to remain completely optimistic about it. Either way, in the back of my mind, there was always the hope that we would find out I had something treatable and I could get back to feeling fabulous. Now I know this is forever and, well... GRRRRR! 

Unfortunately this "stage of grief" does not seem to be passing as quickly as the first two. I am bummed, and scared, and frustrated. I feel sorry for my kids, that their mommy is broken and boring and has the energy and pep of an eighty year old woman. I feel sorry for my husband that his wife is broken and tired and not keeping up with the house or anything else like she should be. And that he is having to work a billion hours to pay for never ending medical bills. (although I NEVER hear any complaints from him) I feel sorry for me, I hurt, my fingers keep swelling up and turning colors, I am tired and there is no end in sight.

But I refuse to end this post on such a negative note. A few months ago I jotted down some of the "good" that has come of the last year. To highlight a few: 

  • God has sustained us when it should have all fallen apart.
  • My kids have been absolute troopers - compassionate, helpful, and willing to lay low when I need them to. 
  • With a few exceptions God has put the right doctors in our path - allowing us to find the herniated disc. A fabulous surgeon who fixed the disc, which eliminated several symptoms and helped us narrow our search.
  • As if I needed any more proof - I am so very convinced of and blessed by Jarrod's unconditional love for me. His goodness, kindness, compassion and love shines through every day in nearly every one of his actions. He is so selfless and deserves so much more than life seems to be handing him lately.
  • God protected my neck when it was in dangerous shape - keeping me away from Chiropractors, Physical Therapists, etc. All WONDERFUL at what they do. All recommend by friends trying to help me find relief.  But, as we later found out, due to the position of the disc, these forms of therapy could have had disastrous results. 
In all these ways God has shown himself faithful. I can only assume he will continue to do so. I am struggling quite a bit spiritually but as I keep telling the kids, He MUST have a plan! And I am clinging to that. 

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Tuesday, April 9, 2013

When God Says No More

And a Link Up Below

What is God's plan and purpose for my life? Who is He calling Sarah Brooks to be? 

Kelly Minter, author of Nehemiah, A Heart That Can Break -  the bible study I am doing right now, got me thinking about theses questions? The answer is, well I'm not 100% sure of the answer, but I feel I am tiptoeing slowly,very slowly towards a rough outline of His plan. 

I love that I can say with confidence what the first two items on this outline are. Being Jarrod's wife, not just living with that title but actually being a partner. And second being mommy to my precious, crazy children! 

In my bible study Kelly said,
...Kirk recently encouraged me to draw up a vision statement for my personal life and ministry. He explained that when you clarify who God created you to be and what He wants you to do, you can more easily determine what opportunities fit into that vision and which ones don't.

I have filled my days with lots of different things lately, sewing, friends, blogging, kids, date nights, resting, cleaning... None of them bad, all of them certainly have their place. But are they all leading me towards God's ultimately plan for my life? 

Though I do not know all the details of God's ministry through me, I have a few ideas of what He desires of me right now. And when looking through a biblical lens at being a wife and mommy I can form a few conclusions. 

With this in mind I sat down and made a list of priorities. Some of what I am already doing were right there at the top of this list. Others, didn't even make onto the page. I am realizing if I spread myself too thin I am really not giving near enough to anything. 

On this list of priorities, blogging, did not make the cut. I feel like God is telling me to lay it down. This was a bit of a surprise to me, and honestly a little bitter sweet. I love to write! And I feel like after 3  years of doing this, I am just now starting to build a bit of community among some fellow bloggers. But then I felt relief. It washed over me like hot shower water on aching muscles. What use to be a sweet conversation between me and my heavenly father, typed onto a keyboard and brining new revelation to my life - has now become a struggle, a labor that takes up hours and produces little change within me. 

I am not sure if this will just be for a season or if God will ever lead me back to this on a regular bases. But freeing up hours in my day to focus on my walk with God, my children, my husband and my home is something that has too long been ignored. I have made a commitment to What He's Done Wednesday so it will still be available for link ups each week (until or unless God says otherwise). I will likely only share a quick verse or quote along with a place to link your post. And I will not, at this time focus on featuring a post each week. Although I thoroughly enjoy reading each of the posts that link up! 

So long for who knows how long... I'm off to focus on God's best for me! 
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Thursday, April 4, 2013

Full Dressers Full Heart

Yesterday was new clothes day!!!! Jarrod pulled out A LOT of boxes from storage and I spent several hours sorting through, boxing up, and bagging up old fall/winter clothes to make room for spring/summer apparel! By the time the kids got home from school their drawers were filled with entirely "new" wardrobes. They always get very excited when this happens twice a year. There was a fashion show, yelps, hoots and hollers as they looked through and unfolded, I might add nearly every item in every drawer. 

During the girl's fashion show Hannah would come
strike a pose and ask, "Do I look adorable?"

I too, am overwhelmingly pleased two times a year when I fill dressers full to the brim. My kids grow so fast, I was warned this would happen but seriously, SO FAST! Weather changes, yes even here in Texas - we at least go from warm to scorching. And society dictates that my children not run around naked. I see no way that we would be able to keep up with the ever present need for more and more and more shorts and shirts and pants...(oh my) 

However in 8 years of growing children and changing seasons we have "had" to buy a very few items. Every year, every season without fail our (nearly) every need has been met in the clothing department (Ha, get it? Department! Tehehe) Cousins, friends, strangers pass along hand-me-downs to us. At times our storage unit is busting at the seems with next seasons apparel, just waiting to be worn. Other times I have sorted out a couple of very meager piles, sighed and commented to Jarrod that we may actually have to purchase a few things this year. But always, always God shows up and shows off. I'll get a phone call from my sister or sister-in-law, "Do you need anything for the kids? I am about to get rid of old stuff." Bags of clothing show up on our door step... it's amazing, a blessing and over the years something we have come to expect! 

I get this warm embrace from the giver of all good gifts (James 1:17), every spring and fall. And then a loving peck on the cheek from Him while I watch my kids celebrate, with utter joy, their "new" wardrobe! 

I use to love when the children were younger, everytime I'd put something new on them they would ask excitedly, not where is this from, but "who is this from?". A reminder to a young mommy who was learning to trust her heavenly father for everything. He does provide! 

Thank you Lord for supplying our every need according to your riches in Christ Jesus! (Philippians 4:19)

(Once He even provided us with a gift card a very cool story, read about it here)

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Tuesday, April 2, 2013

What's Better Than Good Enough?

And a Link Up Party Below

I promised last week that I would share the 3rd lesson God taught me in matters of contentment. Rather it was something He retaught me. I HATE that He is constantly having to go back and retrain (how quickly I forget). I LOVE that He is gracious and patient and loves me enough to go back and retrain! (I pray this time it sticks.) (tweet this)

God has such great plans for my life. In fact, the life I am living right now, today, is a part of that plan. (tweet this) But it is often not good enough, not what I had in mind, ultimately not a part of my plan. 

Oswald Chambers said in My Utmost for His Highest, “The great enemy of the life of faith in God is not sin, but the good which is not good enough. The good is always the enemy of the best.” It has, for several years been a favorite quote of my husband's and mine. 

How often do I try to sacrifice God's best on the throne of my own desires, daydreams and plans? (tweet) How utterly arrogant we are when we think we know better, when we assume we can do better. I may not always like the methods God has for bringing about his perfect plan for me. As far as I can tell my daughter's "break" from candy, which has been enforced for her own good, is not her idea of the best. But I am wiser and I have some idea of the Elyse I want her to become. With that in mind, I can only conclude that God has even GREATER wisdom, and EXCEPTIONAL plans for me to be the best Sarah I can be. I must yield my good to His best. (tweet

What that looks like to me is:

(There were a lot of great ones to choose from this week)
Janis from Wednesday's Word Link shared a beautiful poem that she wrote about transformation. I loved it! Also on her blog you can check out an adorable looking children's book that she wrote and illustrated! Talk about talent! Be sure to go visit Janis.

As we head toward Easter I think back at the difference that Easter means to me now compared to earlier -before I understood who Jesus is.

I found a poem I had written a few years ago. (Click here to keep reading)

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Now I want to hear from you. I'd love to hear what God is doing in your life! Share what He is teaching you, a verse, a talent He has given you (crafts, photography, home decor...) Anywhere you can give God glory in the world around you, please link up and share it here. And be sure to check back next week to see if you were featured!! :)Click and comment on somebody else's post I am sure you will be blessed!

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Thursday, March 28, 2013

My Epic Fail

A friend invited my husband and I to a retreat at her church. He and I have never done something like this together before and I was very excited. I mentioned it to Jarrod, he said "let's look into it" - and so I did. Natalie got us preregistered and passed along the dates to me, May 2-5. My birthday is on the 5th of May which was just a bonus to me. What a fantastic way to spend my birthday!

When Jarrod got home from work I very excitedly told him all about it! He shared in my excitement as well. "It is May 2nd through the 5th." I told him. At the sudden look of disappointment that clouded his face I quickly added, "It's okay I would love to be there with you on my birthday." And then I beamed!

"We'll miss Elijah's birthday." He said plainly. And that friends, I am sad to say, is the first moment I realized that our son's birthday, which is the day before mine, would also fall on that weekend.

Perhaps this is a small glimpse into the mind of a diva mom... (palm to forehead).

I'm thinking what you're thinking...
Who could forget this precious thing for 1 second? 

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Tuesday, March 26, 2013

I'm Content, But Only If...

And A Link Up Party (and featured posts) Below

Let me give you a little piece of advice. Do not ask the Lord what you should write about unless you are prepared for Him to tell you... tweet this

I pride myself on being a very content person. And by pride I do mean the type that cometh before destruction (Proverbs 16:18)

Today was a decent day and then a few hiccups as it went on. A frustration here, a disappointment there and I spent the evening in my kitchen thinking it all through (this seems to be where I do all my deepest thinking). And I had an epiphany followed by a revelation (I know, I'm telling you DEEP thinking goes on in that kitchen. It's a shame really good cooking never goes on in there.) 

I am a daydreamer. I am always looking forward to better things to come! And so it was in the midst of that looking forward tonight that I became very aware, "This is how I keep myself 'content'". By thinking "things are going to get better than this." This was my epiphany

Then the Lord asked me, as clear as if he was standing in my kitchen, "What if it doesn't get any better, what if this is the best there is?" If that were the case, if I knew that that was it would I still be Suzy Sunshine? Can I really keep considering this true contentment? This was lesson number 1.

The next thought was this, “If this was my life, no great riches in our future, if there was not a mansion just waiting for us to move in, if my husband always had to work long hard hours so we could squeak by - and I decided that that was ok, God was still good and I was still blessed - then I would have arrived. I would be somebody who was truly satisfied. 

But that would mean, ball in my court, I had all the power, I was doing it on my own. Though that sounds kind of nice sometimes, I have done things that way before and it never ends pretty. 

Oh but my good Lord has gone ahead and made a way for me to rest and be completely fulfilled - in Him, because of him. tweet this 

It all gets better than this - so much better! Whether here on earth or one day in heaven. This was not the plan. I am blessed, I do have it VERY good. But the best? That’s still coming, riches, mansions... it’s all there! We’ll call this lesson number 2.

I do want to be suzy sunshine. No, I want to be Sarah Sunshine... so much so that they rename it after me! I want to declare that He is still good even if life on earth is just a dingy old waiting room. He has prepared something better than my farthest fetched daydream could ever conjure up. (John 14:1-4). 

In that goodness that only God can portray, He kept right on teaching me. Stay tuned next week for lesson number 3.

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    (I picked only a couple of my favorites, they were all GREAT!)

    • Patsy from HeART Works paints a bible verse every day. Yep, that's right... she PAINTS one, EVERY DAY! Her work is amazing. I LOVE the verse she shared this week, and the beautiful way she illustrated it - both through her words and her art. PLEASE go check it out... Footprints of Faith.

    "Everyone who commits sin, is a slave of sin." John 8:34
     We should strive to be FREE... (read it all here)


    I’m slapping a restraining order on the tooth fairy. She’s trying to steal my baby.
    When our daughter lost her first tooth last fall, we cheered. That bitty gap in her bottom row was new and endearing. The second tooth we viewed as a celebration of courage. It popped out during Sunday school, without Mom or Dad on hand to soothe the trauma. Our girl earned a five-dollar bill under her pillow that night, for bravery.
    But the third tooth. Well, that was different. The third one sank my heart. (continue reading)
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    Your Turn. I'd also love to hear what God is doing in your life! Share what He is teaching you, a verse, a talent He has given you (crafts, photography, home decor...) Anywhere you can give God glory in the world around you, please link up and share it here. And be sure to check back next week to see if you were featured!! :)Click and comment on somebody else's post I am sure you will be blessed!

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