Well, It's Twins!

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Introducing Cumulonimbus and Altostratus.  Nimba, the white one, and Alta, the dark one, for short.  They are twin two-week old Nigerian dwarf X Pygmy goats.  To say they have over taken our lives around here would be exactly accurate.  We are drunk on baby goats up in here.  They have to be bottle fed, take naps, and are living in our laundry room unless they are outside in the play pen. 

There just is nothing like these little things. So why do we have these cutie pie little twins?  I’ll tell you!  Sydney got all A honor roll and I was trying to come up with a good celebration gift for her.  Also Jesse’s birthday is on June 18th and I needed a gift for him.  Now let me be honest.  I have been accused by my best friend that possibly gifting Jesse with a pygmy goat would fall under the “I wanted a pygmy goat and so I got you one for your birthday,” category.  Nothing could be farther from the truth.  I am just the best gift giver ever.  Jesse loves his goat.  (For all of you Jesse lovers out there, I did get him something else and I am taking him on a trip so shut up he is fine.)  These little cuties were born on Saturday, June 2nd.  I could have brought them home that week but I knew if Sydney saw them before she left for summer camp she would not go to summer camp.  She got home yesterday and we surprised her.  She was surprised to say the least and she has not left them alone since she got home except when we made her go to bed last night.

I am having flash backs to when I had my human babies.  My freezer is full of (goat)milk, there are bottle warmers on the counter and bottles in the dish drainer.  They eat on a schedule just like human babies and when they get hungry they go hunting for nipples.  They also make the cutest sounds.  It is too hot for them to be outside all the time so they take breaks in the dog crate I have in the laundry room.  However, they will be wondering around the house in no time at all because we got doggie diapers for them last night.  We have become “those” goat people.  (*update: in the midst of writing this blog the doggie diapers got put on the goats.  Because of certian anatomical differances that I will not take the time to explain, the diapers do not work for goats.  Sydney is lamenting this fact and is currently searching for information on goat diapers.  The babies are in the laundry room until then.)

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But also in all this cuteness I am reminded of our Good, Good Father.  In His word he compares us with sheep.  Now I’ll be honest, I don’t see much difference between sheep and goats.  There is a diffrence because at Tractor Supply there is milk replacer for lambs and a totally different bag of mild replacer for kids.  I don’t think the difference is big enough not to make the leap that sheep and goats act the same way.  So just for illustration sake lets say they are the same.  God compares us to sheep and says that he will leave the 99 in the heard to find the one that is lost.  He runs us down to bring us back to the safety of His herd.  He also calls Himself the Gentle Shepard that tends to the flock.  He says He is the Watchmen that stays at the gate protecting the herd. All these things come to life for me as I care for these little girls.  They are weak and helpless just like me.  Without me caring for them and feeding them they would die.  It’s the same predicament I am in without Jesus.

John 10: 7So Jesus said to them again, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep.

8“All who came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them.

9“I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.

10“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.

 11“I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.

12“He who is a hired hand, and not a shepherd, who is not the owner of the sheep, sees the wolf coming, and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them.

13“He flees because he is a hired hand and is not concerned about the sheep.

14“I am the good shepherd, and I know My own and My own know Me,

15even as the Father knows Me and I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep.

16“I have other sheep, which are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will hear My voice; and they will become one flock withone shepherd.

17“For this reason the Father loves Me, because I lay down My life so that I may take it again.

18“No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down on My own initiative. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This commandment I received from My Father.”

New American Standard Bible: 1995 Update. La Habra, CA: The Lockman Foundation, 1995. Print.

Really I sit in a position right now where I am just so grateful to God that we have property where we can keep goats.  Mostly because it causes this above portion of scripture to come alive for me.  Part of me loves to call myself a shepherd because it helps me identify with a small part of who Jesus is.  But as I watch and interact with these little cuties I see how uphill Jesus’ battle is to keep me focused on Him.  They are such “know it all’s” and “I want to jump up on that dangerous thing,” kind of animals.  And guess what? I do the same stupid kind of goat things.  Jesus is powerful enough to save me from myself.  I am only powerful enough to manage the carnage, and hope they don’t jump out of their play pen.  Thank you Jesus for always keeping me in the fold and leading me to greener pastures.  I love you Lord.


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Prepare to be inundated with pictures of these cuties.  This is what summer 2018 will revolve around!  I am sure there will be many “lessons from the baby goats!”

I survived May...almost.

LAST DAY OF MAY!!!!  I feel like the “Eye of the Tiger” should be playing all day today!  Brock is already at school and Sydney is headed out the door in like 20 minutes FOR THEIR LAST DAY OF SCHOOL!  Last week I could not think of what to write about and still came up with 1000 words–no one who does life with me is surprised by that.  My friend Jeff calls these my “manuscripts” not blog posts–whatever, I have all the feelings and lots of words, and I just SURVIVED MAY, so buckle up buttercup I have some words to use!

First my daughter tried out for the A Cappella group at school called “Walk the Line.”  Am I living out Pitch Perfect dreams through her? YES YES YES!!! Was I more nervous for her than I was at any of my own auditions ever?  YES!!  But listen, my baby went in there, stood up in front of the judges, a bunch of high schoolers, a bunch of middle schoolers and SLAYED IT!!!!  I could not have been more proud of that girl.  I know what it cost that little body to move her feet, one in front of the other, to stand in front of the judges.  I know she took hold of the microphone even though  her hand was shaking.  I know she forced her body to sing, even though she wanted to simultaneously throw up and pass out.  I wanted to stand up and yell at the judges: “Do you have any idea how much she practiced this?” I wanted to grab them and say:  “Do you know what that just cost her?”  But I didn’t.  I just cried.  I cried because I was so proud of her.  I was so thankful to the Lord that she has this amazing voice and that He has been prompting her to step out of her comfort zone.  And I cried because I knew if she made the group I would be the best freaking A Ca Mom this town has ever seen.

WELL GUESS WHAT?????  She made it!!!!  There are two groups.  Walk the Line is the Varsity group and Sting is the JV group.  Sydney made the JV group. Now the choir teacher told us specifically not to call them that, but she is not my boss and will probably never read this.   (and if you do please don’t kick Sydney off for the sins of her mother) Sting will not be competing and will be doing a lot of community stuff.  I could not think of anything better for my girl.  To learn and get comfortable in a non-competitive atmosphere will be great for her.  It will also give me time to get my A Ca mom game going strong.

And in the midst of all the fun, and watching my girl walk through all the emotions and fear, I thanked God.  I did!  Because its moments like this that she and God develop a relationship that is all their own.  Every stinking time He shows up when she needs Him, she trusts Him a little more.  Every time she faces her fear and tells her flesh NO, she learns what He is made of.  It was the most precious thing in May for sure.  Capped off by this, as we are getting into the car Sydney says,  “Well that was totally a God thing because I could not have gotten through that if he hadn’t been with me.  I just wanted to throw up, but suddenly, when I started singing I was fine and I knew I would still go to heaven even if I messed up, so what do I care about making it if I am going to heaven.  Jesus loves me anyway.”  AND SHE LOOKED OVER AT HER MOM TO SEE HER RESPONSE AND REALIZED HER MOM HAD DIED BECAUSE HER DAUGHTER FIGURED OUT AT 13 WHAT IT TOOK HER 40 YEARS TO LEARN.

THE END

BUT NOT REALLY…..

I also wanted to record that I survived two award ceremonies with minimal feelings of “Not Doing Enough.”  I don’t know, maybe I became a little more mature in the last year.  I just sat there remembering how I am committed to becoming the mom that does life in a God honoring way.  In order for me to be the mom that is not screaming profanity at my children we have to have a “slower than most of Rockwall pace.” That translates into saying no to myself a lot.  I got so run down last week from the month of saying no to myself.  Telling myself NO to food I wanted to eat, NO things I wanted to buy, NO to things I wanted to do, NO to friends I wanted to help, and NO Netflix that needed bingeing.  Telling myself NO wears me out!  However, if I don’t say NO enough I turn into screaming profanity mom and disrespectful wife.  Also, I am an extrovert living with a bunch of introverts that need down time to re-coup.  That means saying NO to always running around doing stuff so they can rest.  Becoming a mom that my kids don’t have to survive is more important to me than anything else.  I know that now.  Everyday I get a tiny bit closer to not turning to rage to cope with stress.  I hate how many times in the last month I have unloaded on them and had to go back and say, “I am so sorry I yelled at you, I was mad about something else and I took it out on you.”  Pride stops me from apologizing because it tells me, “You are right, how dare they, look at all you do for them!” But I did it because Jesus wants me to, and He is more important to me than my pride.  As I walk with Jesus day after day and learn to be in control of my feelings, I will be able to stop myself before I unload, but not yet.  The month of May brought out the worst in me and it humbled me and made me realized I have made progress, but there is still a long way to go.  I just keep telling the kids that I will pay for their therapy.

I have also realized this month that the fight of my life will be to stay focused on the Lord.  I surprised myself this month at how quickly the Bible gets buried under paperwork on my desk.  I believe myself to be someone who is in love with God’s Word and I am often shocked when people say they think God’s word is boring or they don’t understand it.  I’m all, “Are you kidding! It’s alive, its life changing, it’s how you know who God is!!!”  I self righteously think, “Man, I could not go a day without reading God’s Word.”  This month I hate to admit that there were several days that my Bible got left on my desk without being opened.  It shocked me.  My self-righteousness came to roost, so to speak.  I was humbled and realized that this is no joke.  I shut down communication between me and the Lord for several days because I was “too busy.”  I use quotes around “too busy” becasue I find it funny that I used that as my excuse.  If I am too busy to read His word it’s because I have not said NO to enough stuff!!!!  But God, in His loving-kindness is always running down the lost sheep.  His word says He would leave the 99 to find the 1 who had strayed and gotten lost.  At church this weekend I heard this quote, “Base your choices on what God’s Word says, that way  you are thinking like God and not thinking like man.”  I was like, “Oh heck yeah!! That is so good!”  God gently whispered, “How do you think like me if you think you don’t need to be in My Word everyday.”  Oh, right, sorry Lord.  In order to be the mom that doesn’t scream profanity at her kids, to be a respectful wife, to teach bible studies to other women, and to over come depression and anxiety I have to be transformed by God’s Word.  The way that I do that is to read God’s Word, that’s it!  As easy as that!  Except it’s not easy, it’s the fight of my life.

I have had to sit myself down and say, “Self, you are super ready to get on Insta and FB, but you are reluctant to pick up your Bible.  That just shows me that Flesh Self has taken over Spirit Self and we can’t function like that.”  I have had to repent and ask God to help me focused on Him.  I can actually ask God for that!!! Isn’t that cool?  He know’s that I have to battle my flesh in order to sit down and read His word so He tells me to ask for help from Him!  My flesh doesn’t want to be exposed to God’s word because Flesh Self doesn’t like to have change and God’s word will transform me to be more like Jesus.  Flesh Self say’s “No thanks, I just want more of everything!”  Saying no to self, although it wears me out is where the battle is won.  Reading God’s Word teaches me to think like Him and not to let my feeling run the show.

So by, by May.  You were the highest of highs and the lowest of lows.  By, by school year and hello summer! I have so many things I want to write about and I am hoping that summer means lots of time to write!!!

I can't think of anything to write about.

I literally have no idea what to write about.  However, all the experts say that when you are learning to write you have to just sit down and make yourself do it anyway.  They say that developing your writing style is about consistency.  I am nothing if not consistent.  It is my “time” to write and I am just typing whatever comes to my mind.  Maybe this will feel like a roller coaster and you will get a glimpse of what goes on in my head.  Thrilling and scary as heck.

It’s not that Jesus isn’t teaching me and showing up in all different ways.  He totally is!  I am writing a bible study right now on the book of Galatians and He is showing me so much it’s almost like I don’t even know where to start if I wanted to write about it here.  I’m gearing up and in the planning stages of teaching a bible study this summer which is just about the most fun thing in the world.  The kids get out of school in a week and a half.  May is almost over! I am also really tired and overwhelmed and don’t know what to write about.  Plus I spent most of my weekend watching the royal wedding, and am having to play catch up now.  So I am in this joyful, tired, overwhelmed, allergy ridden, anxious state of mind.  And in this frame of mind I find it hard to think of something to write about.

Right now I am listening to the nonrhythmic pounding of a new roof going on my house.  I feel like this could be some form torture.  I mean if they all hammered in sync with their music I feel like this could be the beginnings of a musical.  “Sarah Faces the Day,” by Rogers and Hammerstein.  BUT they do not hammer in sync.  They hammer at random times, from every direction.  Let’s say this has been a challenge to my anxious mind.  My daughters dog, Abby the Labby, is likewise tortured by the banging.  She is hanging out in the goat pen with the chickens and the goats.  The Corgi’s are out there too.  I’m not going to lie, I have gotten considerable joy out of these creatures trying to navigate being together.

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The goats don’t want them in their pen because who rules the world? GOATS  The goats want to do what they want to do and they don’t want anyone on their turf or in their food.  Now the Corgi’s are herding dogs.  So a herders going to herd.  This fly’s with goats for exactly 0 seconds before they turn around to head but the Corgi’s.  Then everyone runs back to their corners to come up with a new strategy.  When the Corgi’s get bored with the goats they go and see what the chickens are doing.  I think the Corgi’s feel super bad ass because the chickens run from them every single time.  This also never gets old, but the Corgi’s have to take a nap about every 30 minutes.  I think it is because their legs are only like 3 inches long.  Abby spends her time worrying about what is happening at he house.  She eats her feelings by snacking all day on the goat droppings.  Think of it as chocolate for dogs.


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The ducks.  They come running up from the pond anytime they see a human outside of our house because they believe all humans carry kale around in their pockets.  So about every hour or so I have to chase them back to the pond for their own safety.  Also, they are super fat ducks that might make a good dinner for someone, if you know what I mean, and I don’t want someone to slip them into their truck.  Our General Contractor knows the only thing I really care about is the ducks and I told him to tell everyone who comes on this property to watch out for them.  He said he has nightmares about having to tell me someone ran over a duck.  Rightly so, don’t mess with my ducks.

My sweet daughter got me this T-shirt for mother’s day.


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I am about to have to go shower to take Sydney to the Orthodontist.  I never let them miss school for doctor’s appointments but its the second to last week of school and I am tired of fighting the appointment schedulers.  I also appreciate the schools sending out emails asking for the parents help to maintain discipline in the schools as we approach summer.  Listen, my heart is with the teachers for sure.  I really think school should end after the STAAR test is over, but no one listens to me.  It’s all I can do to get these kids up and into the school building to be counted present.  I am normally such an inspirational speaker in the morning.  This comes with the territory if you are morning person like me.  I’m all “you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take” and “the best preparation for tomorrow is what you do today!”  But right now the inspiration has left me.  I’m actually sleeping in until 6 am right now.(my friends are gasping right now because I usually get up at 4:45)  I don’t even know myself anymore.  I’m like “I don’t care if you want to go, you have to go or I get arrested, goodbye”  We go get Sonic drinks everyday after school just so they will have to slurp their straw and not complain about their day.  So basically we are winning around here.

Well I have done about all I can do here.  I’m sorry if you read this because you are probably in a bad mood now because of all my inspirational talk.  I had nothing to write about and yet still wrote 1000 words.  I guess the experts are right, you just have to do it. Here’s hoping we all make it to the finish line.  I’m holding on to the fact that my best most inspirational self will resurface in August, at back to school time.  I will leave you with a picture of a Gizmo the swimming corgi and my fat ducks, Downton and Cora.

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May—a.k.a. The Mom Olympics

Do you know why they put Mother’s Day in May?  So that the moms would not pack up and run away halfway through the month of May.  Seriously, I do not get it.  This month trips me up every year.  No matter how much I plan and prepare by the time this month rolls around the wheels have long since fallen off around here.  This month is full of obstacles waiting to trip me up.  I fully know they are coming and yet it still requires bandwidth to overcome them.  I am writing them down this year so that maybe next year they will be lessened.

#1 The End of Year Award Ceremonies.  First, let me say that my kids are amazing.  They are the coolest, smartest and funniest people I know.  I don’t know how we got such amazing kids because we have done nothing but made life hard for these little people and they rise from the ashes like Phoenix’s.  I have no worries about the fact that these kids of mine will change the world….until you put me in an awards ceremony.  Then I get all nervous and worried that I have not pushed them hard enough or I have somehow failed them because they did not get the “Texas All State Best Student in the History of the World Award.”  I panic when I see someone’s kid has made some amazing team, or made it to State, or got elected president.  From the vantage point of my front porch where I am writing this I now that this is stupid.  I know that we don’t have to get every award and I know that my kids love the Lord.  But then I find myself in an Award Ceremony and realize I am actually contemplating stealing some poor kids trophy and I have to stop and remember, “Oh Crap! May got me again!”

#2  The Morning Routine.  I am my best mom self in August.  I pack lunches for the kids that would make any vegan, keto, or organicky person take note.  I include encouraging notes.  I pray for my kids as I am putting their lunches together.  We study the bible together over breakfast.  We pray as a family and everyone sets out on the day ready to conquer the world, until May.  May makes the school lunches of “Chicken corn dogs” look really good.  I find myself saying to the kids, “You love chicken corn dogs, we use to have them all the time!” This is a really hard thing to say as you are throwing up in your mouth at the thought of chicken corndogs.  Bible Study time sounds more like, “Did you read your bible? Where is your bible?”  Prayer time sounds more like, “Get the freak out of my house and go to school!”  Then to have a morning like that and then end up in a stupid award ceremony–GOOD LORD, MAY GOT YOU AGAIN!

#3 Field Day, the day of satan.  Seriously, I think satan invented this.  He was deceiving Eve in the garden and after the curses were handed out, and they were all walking way he whispered to Eve again and said, “You think childbirth will be bad, wait until you have to live through a field day.”  Seriously, schools of Texas, PTA’s of Texas, and teachers of Texas if you are doing field day on my behalf, STOP right now!  I want teachers to get to the summer as soon as possible.  They are all sending out SOS right now because the kids have checked out!  Lets clip field day from the calendar and start summer a day early.   To be sure field day for kindergarten is fun.  But hang 5 years on that and the landscape is vastly different.  You are gazing out at group of kids who are unsure if they really need deodorant yet (that is a YES), who are all arms and legs and clumsy, who are LOUD and full of sugar, and who have checked out because May makes us forget that we are not actually animals but in fact human beings capable of higher thought.  It is two clicks away from a mob.  Do the kids love it, FOR SURE!  Is it my nightmare, FOR SURE!  Every year my kids talk me into coming to field day.  “Mom, I want you there, field day just isn’t field day without you.”  And I go.  And at some point I am reduced to covering my ears because of the cacophony, closing my eyes because someone is going to fall and get really hurt and plugging my nose because of the stench.  I crawl to my car when I am finally released and I realize, “DANG IT, MAY GOT ME AGAIN!”

But in this all God is still teaching me and doing things to make me remember what is really important to Him.  He knows this month is a battle field for me and He loves me so much that he doesn’t just leave me to fend for myself in the darkness of May.  Our theme for VBS this year is “Flipped.”  Ashley says our focus is to teach the kids (and me) that God’s kingdom is flipped from the way the world thinks.  The last if first and the first is last in God’s kingdom.  I am doing crafts for VBS.  One of the craft preparations I have to do is trace, “The last if first and the first is last” and “Jesus is our King” 200 times.  Do not think for one second Jesus did not know what He is doing there.  You know what will happen?  I will be sitting in an award ceremony and all these feelings will come up about my kids not being first and getting the award and He will remind me, “The last is first and the first is last.”  It will be fresh on my mind because of all the tracing. (note: I have a bunch of craft volunteers to help me so I will not actually be tracing all 200 myself but for the purpose of illustration I just put 200. Get off my back its May.)

To future Sarah: the only way to survive May is to look for those things that trip you up and line them up with scripture.  It takes a lot of bandwidth for sure.  But it is the Good Fight.  You have to fight for your focus to be on the Lord or else it is on everyone else’s Instagram, FB and awards.  That does not bring life to your family, but focusing on the Lord does.  The pile of so-called failures that you are left with at the end of the month mean nothing to the Lord.  The fact that you sold chicken corn dogs to your kids is not an eternal problem.  The fact that y’all did not have a scholarly sit down bible study does not mean that y’all don’t love the Lord.  The fact that you don’t love field day does not mean I don’t love your family.  You will survive May or you will die trying.  It for sure feels like the mom olympics, but future Sarah, keep going because it is worth it.

If you are a fellow mom olympian I pray for you to remember you are doing enough.  Your kids are great (they might need deodorant though).  Your family is focused on getting to summer not chicken corn dogs.  And hold on to this, your kids won’t remember half of what you think they will.  June is 15 days away……

Lessons From Kindergarten Sunday School

God speaks to me in the most random ways.  I think He does that so I don’t get use to Him teaching me in any one way.  He is like, “Sarah, watch out I’m gonna teach you something here at this lacrosse game.  Hey girl, there is a lesson waiting for you in the grocery store.”  This is why I have to be on the look out, because He will use every opportunity and every circumstance to teach me who He is.  This weekend I was teaching the Kindergarten class, and boom, there He was.

The lesson for the day was “The Terrible Lie,” from the Jesus Storybook Bible.  I got everyone to sit down on the carpet for story time.  I was thinking, “Man I am going to read this with such gusto these kids are all gonna be saved and want to get baptized.”  But, that was not the case because pretty quickly into the story God was knocking at my hearts door and I forgot to read with salvation producing gusto.

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This part of the story is a retelling of the fall of man.  How satan deceived Eve, and Adam was led by his wife into sin.  From that time every human born is born a sinner in need of salvation.  Don’t believe me? Have you ever met a toddler hell-bent on getting his way? Exhibit A: a sinner from birth.  I love the bible because from the fall of man, the entire story is the story of how God redeemed His beloved creation.

This story is you know, shall we say, dumbed down for kids to understand.  Or as it turns out, put into words that an almost 40-year-old can understand.  Take a look at this:


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I was so struck by these words.  I have always understood that Satan was attacking God’s character with his questions, but until I read this I never really understood the heart of the issue.  He is getting her to question God’s love for her.  I had to go back and look at the big pants, adult, grown up, scholarly text to compare it.

Genesis 3: 1-7

The serpent was the shrewdest of all the wild animals the Lord God had made. One day he asked the woman, “Did God really say you must not eat the fruit from any of the trees in the garden?”

2 “Of course we may eat fruit from the trees in the garden,” the woman replied. 3 “It’s only the fruit from the tree in the middle of the garden that we are not allowed to eat. God said, ‘You must not eat it or even touch it; if you do, you will die.’ ”

“You won’t die!” the serpent replied to the woman. 5 “God knows that your eyes will be opened as soon as you eat it, and you will be like God, knowing both good and evil.”

6 The woman was convinced. She saw that the tree was beautiful and its fruit looked delicious, and she wanted the wisdom it would give her.So she took some of the fruit and ate it. Then she gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it, too. 7 At that moment their eyes were opened, and they suddenly felt shame at their nakedness. So they sewed fig leaves together to cover themselves.

Tyndale House Publishers. Holy Bible: New Living Translation. Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 2013. Print.

As I follow the conversation here I see that satan is trying to get her to see that God is holding something good from her.  Satan is throwing ulterior motives out there.  The true motive was to protect Adam and Eve and test their faith.  Satan is saying, “How can you love and trust someone who is just trying to stop you from being as good as they are?  He doesn’t really love you, he just wants you to be lesser than him.”  And Eve bought it.  And so did Adam.

In the storybook bible it say’s that the snake’s words hissed into her ear and sunk down into her heart, like poison. When I read that I had like a moment where my life flashed before my eyes.  All the moments that I believed these words and they sunk down into my heart like poison.  My mouth dropped open, and I got choked up.  I looked up to see 10 little faces, and my own kids, Brock and Sydney, looking at me.  I wanted to scream, “Don’t believe satan little children!  He is such a liar.  He will kill you and take your life.  He will destroy everything you hold dear!”  I restrained myself and made a mental note to leave children’s books to other more kindhearted people.  So we soldiered on.  To this:


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Good God in heaven.  I can’t wait to talk to Dana, my counselor today and tell her I have figured out what my problem is and I don’t need anymore therapy! (To which everyone who knows me says, don’t cancel your future appointments yet.) Whenever the going gets tough, instead of trusting God’s word, I believe a lie that was born in the garden: God doesn’t love me.  It’s so simple and yet so profound.  The ENTIRE bible is about how God loves me and yet I trade 66 books of the bible for one lie that happens in the first book.  The crazy thing is I didn’t even know the depth at which I struggled with this until reading this book to some cutie pie kindergarteners.  This is at the heart of every conflict, every freak out, every committing to something to impress God and people, every attempt to feel worthy, every attempt to make God love me more.  I believe this lie and so I act like God doesn’t love and that I have to earn His love.

I have to come back to His word.  His word, the bible is true when my beliefs or feelings are not.  My mind is being renewed by the word of God.  In this process of renewing I have to line my beliefs and thoughts up with scripture.  If my thoughts are different then the word, I AM WRONG, not God.  That is the heart of submission friends, my favorite thing. (If I say that enough it will come true.)  Check out the following scripture:

Romans 8:38 

38 And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love.

Romans 5:5 

5 And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.

Romans 5:8 

8 But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.

John 3:16 

16 “For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life

Tyndale House Publishers. Holy Bible: New Living Translation. Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 2013. Print.

Understanding that He loves me is so important because it is what motivates me to follow Him and do what He asks me to.  If I don’t know He loves me than I am nothing more that a performing hippo in heals trying to impress God to earn His love.  Guess what, that gets old real fast.  Responding and doing things because He loves me is empowered by the Holy Spirit, that does not get old, ever, Yes and Amen!

One more thought.  IF God wanted performing hippo’s in heals, He would not have had to send His Son to the Cross to die for the sins of the world.  If we could somehow earn His favor and Love then satan was right in the garden, God doesn’t love us, we do have to earn it.  But He DID send Jesus to the cross.  He DOES love us.  He WANTS you to believe in His word and live like you are loved by the creator of all the heavens and the earth.  I want that for myself.  I want to live believing the 66 books of the bible that talk about how much God loves me, and NOT believing one stupid lie from dumb snake.

Girl's Trip 2018, Yes and Amen!

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I’m not sure if I can even do this justice but I just got back from the most amazing trip.  Me and my besties went to Austin for the Happy Hour Live event with Jamie Ivey.  She has a podcast I love to listen to called The Happy Hour and she wrote a book we all love called If You Only Knew.  Anyway it was the perfect opportunity to load up and head out.  Leaving Rockwall turned out to be harrowing as we had torrential rain and the possibility of hail.  Do you think that is going to stop us?  NO!  Plus I was driving Jesse’s truck so why do I care if it gets hit with hail.  Pictured below are my friends Kelly (passenger seat), Cheryl (behind me), and Ashley (behind the passenger seat). 

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Now here is the thing.  You know I have to be honest about the trip right?  Well the first thing that happened was Ashley ripped this door off the track.  Like literally.  Pulled it right off.  Which started a phenomenon know as, “Don’t let Ashely open doors.”  She somehow broke like 4 separate doors in all this weekend.  I’m not sure what is wrong with her.  Is it like a hulk thing?  Is it a frustration thing?  I don’t know.  We took care of opening all doors.

Next was dinner on a beautiful patio with my beautiful friends.   I just love them.  I also love my new top knot situation that we all agreed is good for me.  It is also good because I can live with my bangs if I don’t have to deal with them everyday.   I should pause and mention that I was the cruise director on this trip.  I planned every minute of the trip because by spiritual gifting is bossiness.  As it turns out this is a good thing because these jokers are ALL babies of their families.  Everyone knows younger siblings can’t plan anything.  I’m not sure if they liked all my plans because I never asked I just said, “Get dressed!” or “We are leaving at such and such time.”  Cruise directors don’t ask you what you want to do, they tell you what to do so you have a good time.  The end.

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For sure we must discuss the bat.  We were enjoying our lovely fancy-ish dinner in the heart of the hill country when out of no where, I mean NO WHERE, this bat does a fly by and perches on the wall right by our table.  Now Ashley and I pride ourselves on our animal understanding.  We know that if there are sayings associated with animals you pay attention to them, because that saying came from some experience someone had with that animal.  You know what saying is associated with bats?  I’m quoting Ashley here: “Ever heard of the saying, Bat Out of Hell?”  That’s right folks, bats for sure come from Hell.  So guess what.  Ashley and I are not going to fall victim to that flying rodent.  We swiftly put our menu’s over our heads to protect our hair and brains.  The other two are acting all PETA like.  “Oh, stop, he is so cute.  Why are y’all so scared of a bat?”  Now, I would give one of my children to have a picture of this situation, but sadly I don’t have one because I was defending my life from Dracula.  I am certain the wait staff at restaurant does.  If you see a picture of 2 women with menu’s on their heads on someones social media let me know.  All that to say, I yelled enough that Satan’s spawn flew away, back to hell.

The next day we got to enjoy the spa area of the hotel.  It was just what we needed.  It was still raining so we got to sit in the covered area and watch it rain for a long time.  It was quiet and peaceful and we all thanked God because He knew exactly what our hearts needed that morning.  We praised Him because He always knows what we need.

That night was the Happy Hour Live Event.  First off, my friend Kelly designed these shirts we are wearing.  Y’all, she is so talented.  She nailed us to a T.  We all try to live with a Yes and Amen kind of posture toward God.  I think it is beautiful.  It has to be said also that before the 4 of us left she sent them to another friend of ours, Stacy, who makes T-shrits and she printed them up for us.

When we first got into the event there was a photo booth.  I had to include the pictures of our time in the photo booth because never in the history of all photo booths have there been 4 women less clued into the timer on the photo booth.  I kept yelling, “Make sure you can see your shirt!”  Not until the end did we succeed.  In the trying, we look like we are trying to touch things that should not be grabbed at a Christian event…….Kelly, what are you doing to Cheryl???!!!!  After making quite an entrance we got to meet Jamie Ivey.

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Oh meeting Jamie Ivey.  Here is the thing.  I just love her.  Listening to her podcast helped me learn what it was like to be aChristian woman who loves Jesus, walk the Christian life after I got home from Bible School.  When I got home from Bible School all I wanted to talk about was the Millennial Kingdom, the Hypostatic Union, and the Dispensations of God.  Now, for sure these are my still things I totally geek out over, but she helped me learn that you can have a relationship with Christ and still be free to laugh, buy hair products and talk about Jesus all the time.   So did I share all this with her?  No!  I have had some bad experiences with meeting people I admire. We don’t have to go into them, but I was determined not to come home with a restraining order to my name.  So as soon as I felt the tears well up, I stopped myself and said the only thing that came to mind…”Ashley is rebellious because I keep telling her to show her shirt and she won’t!”  WHAT IN THE WORLD!  I was like Baby in Dirty Dancing, “I carried a watermelon.”  Oh my gosh.  I’m so embarrassed.  Then because I really wanted to communicate to her that I love her I am rubbing her back in all these photo’s.   So yeah, I totally nailed meeting her.

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After the event we went back to the hotel and found a nice spot on the patio to talk and eat some snacks.  I also made them make a goal that they wanted to work toward this year.  I told them we would all commit to pray for each others goals and on our next girls trip we would see what had happened.  Now, I can’t tell you the goals because what happens on the girls trip stays on the girls trip, but I can tell you that my friends are totally bad asses.  We all want to see the Lord move and do crazy big things in our lives.  It was a time where we got to share all the emotions and all the feels.  All the things we were really struggling with.  For me one of them is desperately wanting to be on the Happy Hour Podcast so I can tell Jamie Ivey I am not a weirdo but super cool and love Jesus.  But I digress because we decided I needed to move on.   My heart was over- flowing because I am so thankful they are in my life.  Here is why…

Ashley:  I see you Ashley, running after the Lord.  I see you holding your life up to scripture and rooting out the things that don’t line up.  I see your heart for women who need support.  I see your heart for Selah Creek.  I love your determination and your drive to get’er done.  I also love that you always, always have my back.  If you could see yourself through my eyes you would see a women who is passionate about the Lord, her husband, her family and teen moms who need support.  Girl, I love you and somewhere between 90’s rap and Proverbs 31 is you.  My life is better because you are in it, and I am thankful for you.

Cheryl:  I see you Cheryl, staring down fear and following God’s call.  Good Lord, I love how kind and loving you are.  When I need someone to feel something with me and tell me they are sorry for whatever it is, I call you.  Nothing about what you are doing right now is safe or guaranteed, and yet you go on anyway.  I wish you could see yourself through my eyes because you would see what an encouragement you are to me.  Your drive to seek the Lord and bless others is amazing.  You are the most non-judgemental person I have ever encountered.  The way you love people right where they are at is amazing to me.  I am so thankful for you, thank you for loving me well.

Kelly:  I see you Kelly, your weary body running after freedom.  Not to be dramatic but I think of the dear panting for the refreshing stream of the Lord when I think of the journey you are on.  You will not be quenched with lesser things, you are running after the ONE who will give you rest.  If you could see yourself through my eyes you would see a woman rooting out the slave-masters that don’t give life and a woman passionate about loving others well.  And because I am on a similar journey I thank God in heaven we get to do it together.  Your servant’s heart is amazing to me.  Your nature to let others go first, to serve others is inspiring to me. (I know I make fun of you for it, but its only because I am jealous of your willingness to take 2nd place.)  All this in one person AND I get to teach women’s bible studies with you!! What a gift from God you are to me.  I love you, girl.

And an alpaca.  This is what was funny with this though.  Ashley and Kelly ran back to the room for something when we were at the spa.   They came back and said, “There is an emu in the lobby!” I said really?  And Emu?  Why?  They said, “Don’t know, this guy was leading it around and you could get a picture with it.”  Then they said, “You, know its got a lot of hair and stuff.”  I was like, “Do you mean a Llama?”  They said, “Oh, yeah, it was a Llama.”  When I saw it myself I knew it was an alpaca but who likes a know-it-all, right?  Good call girls.  One is a bird and one is a four-legged creature with hair.  But whatever.  Later, Kelly and Cheryl got a pic with the Emu/Alpaca.

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And just like that it was time to pack up and go.  We had so much fun, we always do.  It is so kind of the Lord to give us friends.  Godly friends, to encourage you and point you back to the Lord when you lose your way.  To encourage you to choose love and not anger.  To enourage you to be yourself and not try to impress others.  To encourage you to run after the Lord.  I get so much from these ladies.  They all pour into me.  Do you ever feel like you could never repay someone for their kindness, yep, me too.  Thats how I feel about them.

Here is what I hope for you, who ever is reading this.  I hope you have friends like this.  I hope you have people around you that know Jesus and His truth.  I hope they tell you that truth when you need it.  I hope you invest in them too.  Godly friendships are so important.

Here’s how they start.  Go to your local church.  Get involved in something.  Every church needs volunteers.  (Check out the child care, every church needs grade school teachers because kids are just like puppies, after they turn 1-year-old, no body wants to deal with them because they lose their cuteness.)  Invest in people.  If you meet someone you hit it off with ask them to coffee.  Take your time, get to know people slowly.  It takes time to open up and share yourself.  It takes courage to share the good, bad and ugly about yourself.  There is freedom in relationships when you are really real with a godly friend.  Beware of the fast friend, friendship takes time and commitment.  Beware of people who don’t point you to Jesus.

If you already have Godly friends be sure your friends can speak truth to you.  With a personality like mine, people can not want to say hard things to me because of my affinity to throat punch and walk away.  I have to be wise and submit (my favorite word) to things they need to say to me.  They have to feel comfortable and like they can say stuff to me.  Why? Because we all need someone to tell us if they think we are off base on something.  God created us this way.  I am expert at seeing other people’s sin, but when I look at myself I think I’m doing pretty darn well.  So does it piss me off when these girls call me out on something? Yes!  But I am learning that this is one of the ways God protects me from myself.  Iron sharpens Iron remember?  It can’t be one-sided either.  They have to want to have truth spoken to them and you have to want to have truth spoken to you.  It goes both ways or one of you is not really in it to grow in the Lord.  Without these people in my life I would not be where I am with Lord because He has used them to grow me.  Thankful heart and very thankful girl to have these ladies in my life.  Here’s to many more Girls Trips…….

I don't want to be a leech, but leeching is all I know.

Last weekend, like the one before the one that just happened, we went up to Missouri to see our friends graduate from the Ethnos 360 Missionary Training Center.  We spent two years with these wonderful people, back in 2014-2016, at Ethnos 360 Bible institute and then we came back here to Rockwall and they went on to be super badass missionaries in training.  (I’m totally fine with it, and am not feeling like I should go off and be Lara Croft, Evangelical Missionary) (And if you don’t buy that I am ok with it, don’t worry I have a counseling appointment on Tuesday, and Dana will straighten me out.)  Anyway, it was so fun to see everyone.  Jesus is always working in my heart because the commencement speaker said something that has “stuck” with me ever since.


During the commencement he said something like, “Don’t be a leech needing approval from everyone around you, you can’t be a blessing to people if you need approval from them.  Don’t be a leech, be a blessing.”  Oh my gosh.  That kicked my brain into overdrive.  I was like, “Oh, my gosh, YES!  I want to bless people I don’t want them to have to approve of me in order to feel good.”  And then he went on to talk about the difficulties these amazing families would be facing going to plant a church in another culture, and how there is so much urgency because people are dying without being at peace with God.  You start talking like that to me and before you know it I’m loading my evangelical guns, packing my all terrain vehicle and forwarding my mail to the jungle.  But then a thought popped up…..


I thought of all the people who would congratulate me for being such a kick ass missionary.  Then I saw that leech.  I realized I would not be going out into the field to save lost souls, I would go because of the approval I would get.  And when you realize that you are willing to live in a jungle because you want the approval of people it would bring, you realize leeching is all you know.  Bouncing from one person to the next getting their stamp of approval is all I know.  It is my litmus test for how my life is going.  Everyone approves of Sarah, Sarah is doing good.  Someone is upset with Sarah, Sarah changes heaven and earth to make that person approve of her.


For sure, being a military brat I needed this skill to make friends.  It’s hard to make friends if you bound into a room and say, “I’m Sarah, like me or die.”  But somewhere along the way, it became the only thing.  And now Jesus says, “Hey girl, that is bondage, lets sift that out of here so you can be a blessing to people.”  He is beginning to free up my head space to look for the truth here.  Here is some truth I know from God’s word.

Galatians 1: 10 Obviously, I’m not trying to win the approval of people, but of God. If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ’s servant.

Tyndale House Publishers. Holy Bible: New Living Translation. Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 2013. Print.

Holy truth bomb batman!  Do you see that there?  IF pleasing people is the goal than being Christ’s servant will not be an option!  What???  If I continue down this path of needing to approved by people than I can’t be a servant of Christ.  If there is one thing I know without a shadow of a doubt its that I want to be on Christ’s team.  Why? Because He continually sets me free of things that hold me hostage, like needing approval.  Why can’t I try to please people and Christ?  Take a look:

John 15:18 “If the world hates you, remember that it hated me first.

19 The world would love you as one of its own if you belonged to it, but you are no longer part of the world. I chose you to come out of the world, so it hates you.

Tyndale House Publishers. Holy Bible: New Living Translation. Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 2013. Print.

Whoa! Mic drop Jesus!  You see, when I start to love Jesus I start to look less and less like my old self.  You know the one, smoking 1 pack a day, cussing, drinking, cheating people, lying to people, hating her husband, not being a good mother, and generally rebeling against everything…oh wait that wasn’t you too?  Whatever, before Jesus we are all jacked up.  Anyway, the point is when you throw your lot in with Jesus you have to you start to become like Him! And there by, we are no longer part of the unbelieving world. So I would surmise from this, if I love Christ, but I am also welcomed by everyone in my life, believers and non-believers, whose approval am I really seeking?  For me, It’s opening myself up to this truth and saying, “Ok, Jesus, you warned me, I love you more than anything else, so I want to give up seeking man’s approval.”  And so when I am in a situation that the world is totally ok with, but Jesus is not, I seek Jesus’ approval and not the approval of the people around me.  Which makes people mad because they don’t want to deal with a Jesus Freak.

(*Disclaimer–There is a generation running around living by the motto, “I’m gonna be me no matter who it offends and who it makes mad because I have to be true to myself.  This is NOT the kind of “kicking people approval to the curb” kind of attitude we should approach this topic with.  Jesus loves everyone and we should too.  Going around trying to piss people off is not Jesus’ jam, he was trying to save them, they rejected him.)

What if I could really just live my life only seeking God’s approval.  What if I could stop leeching and be blessing to people I love.  What if wearing God’s approval draws people in more than me trying to be pleasing in my own limited human way.  What if I could tap into a the power of God and really live a life of freedom?  What if I could teach my own daughter to live for God’s approval and not the approval of dumb teenagers?  Well, my friends, that is exactly the journey I am on.  This journey is made possible by the Holy Spirit who points out things in me that are not Christ-like, and points me instead to Christ.  This journey is made possible by Jesus Christ who is the savior of the world and the payment for the sin of world even though the world hated Him. This journey is made possible by God the Father who loves me more than anything and has the power to really change me and set me free.  I’m running toward that freedom.  I love you Lord.

You can't hold pom-poms if there is a cattle prod in your hand.

I don’t want to brag but my bible study group and I basically solved all marriage problems this week.  I have been thinking about our discussion ever since then and decided that it was my duty to share our discovery with everyone.

If you ever needed confirmation that God has a sense of humor, here is your proof: I am leading a bible study on submission.  (When you stop laughing at how funny that is, please continue reading.)  But God, in his infinite wisdom, has me leading a group of women through a book called “Touching Godliness” by K.P Yohannan.  It is not just on submission in marriage, it is on submission to God Himself.  Once we have yielded to God, submission to His delegated authorities flows from there.  I have fully documented the fact that God had to change my heart where submission was concerned because in my book that word was about the worst cuss word I could think of.  And God, to really be sure I understand it, has me leading other women though this book.

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So in some amazing organic way, the discussion from last week landed on how hard submission is in marriage, shocking I know!  How when husbands let you down, or drop the ball, we immediately want to control the situation.  We talked about how God is asking us to submit to our husbands not because they are more qualified to lead than we are, but because God ordained that they lead.  I’m guessing it has something to do with growing us to be more Christ-like because I find women will naturally lead and men will naturally not lead, and God is in the business of having us fight against our natural bent. (See Genesis 3) Anyway a comment was made about how the more we nag, boss and order our guys around the more they will shrink back and let us take control.  Conversely, the more we cheer them on the more they will want to step up and lead.  Then out of no where, by friend says they best line I have ever heard that sums up the struggle we all face:

You can’t hold pom-poms if there is a cattle prod in your hands.

I could go on for 7000 words to prove to you all the ways this is true.  And you know I could.  But let me say it this way.  I see this truth everyday in my life.  If I criticize Jesse for something, and tell him how he could do it better, I see my guy shrink back.  If I cheer for him,  see him step up.  Here is the truth.  I spent a lot of time thinking Jesse was not as good as I was.  I spent a lot of time fixing him.  I spent a lot of time showing him he was an idiot.  I spent a lot of time thinking I knew the Lord more than Jesse did.  I spent a lot of time thinking I would be better off with out Jesse. And you know what I ended up with?  A kid.  A husband that had lost the will to lead his family.   But God, He intervened in our life.  He saved me and started to teach me what it looks like to submit to the Lord.  Submission to the Lord included submission to His delegated authorities and that includes Jesse.  It is a process for sure.  We do not get it right, evidenced by the fact that just last night Jesse stood at one end of the room and yelled, “You are being disrespectful!”, to which I replied, “Well you are being unloving!” It’s a process.  But when I stop worrying about if Jesse is qualified to lead our family and start to see him as someone put there by God to lead me I start to root for him.  When I cheer for him I start to see him want to lead.  When I step out of the way I start to see him step in to the leadership role.  As much as I have to step down from leadership, Jesse has to step up.  This makes us both have to rely on the Lord.  Without Him, and his ordained roles, it’s just a free for all of who is more qualified and who is more right.  Who really wins in those fights?

I really try to stay away from out right challenges here on the old blog.  Mostly because I can turn into a bible thumping, fire and brimstone preacher from Footloose complete with finger pointed at everyone else faster than you can say, “Now you gotta cut loose…”  What can I say?  Being bossy is my spiritual gifting.  But I will challenge all of us, me included to put the cattle prod down, and pick up the pom-poms.  Your husband is a grown ass man and does not need you to tell him how to do stuff.  Did I just say that? I’m totally gonna block Jesse from this post so he doesn’t know I actually know this stuff.  You know what our husbands need?  Someone telling them that we believe in them, that we know they can do anything.  Do you find it hard to say that?  Do you see the list of ways they have let you down, and pile of things that you believe will never get done and find it hard to believe in him?  Let me make it easier for you. Do you believe in God? Do you believe he is the all-powerful creator of the universe?  Good! Me too!  Guess what is not too much work for God, your husband!  Give it to God to work on.  You do you boo! (a quote from my friend Ashley) You work on submitting to God, and cheering for your husband.  Here is your money back guarantee, If you cheer for him, he will rise to the occasion, if you criticize him he will become another child you have to raise.  Ask me how I know.  Much love to you sisters, this is where God can become really real in your life, if you will let him.

How youth sports expose my sin—even I was surprised!

I have several friends who won’t even go to sporting events with me because I am a little intense.  I am not sure what comes out in me but it is a total focus and desire to see my players do well.  I have never been a “win at all cost” person. I am a “I want everyone to feel like they did well and feel proud of themselves,” person.  However there for sure is there for sure is a winner and a loser in my book.  When my kids started to play sports of course I jumped in and coached every thing they played.  There is a huge shortage of people who feel enough confidence in themselves to stand in front of a group of 4 year olds and lead them to victory–I AM YOUR GIRL!!  Jesse was always a little worried about my intensity.  I believe he may have googled “defense attorney” from the side lines a time or two.  Not because I was in danger of getting arrested for child abuse but because I was in danger of murdering an adult.  If you and I are at the same sporting event and you are critically critiquing your child from the sidelines and possibly hurting their self esteem…watch your back as you leave said sporting event because I will probably be trying to run you over.  (side note from my soap box: Your kid needs to hear that you think they are the best one on the field, that they are great, and that you are proud of them.  The end.  Don’t coach from the sideline–go be a coach if that is your bent–or you might get run over by me.  Just trying to keep you safe.) Listen, I am fully aware that a command from Jesus is “Do not run people over with your car,” and I fully want to follow Jesus but I would not test my resolve in this area just yet.  Now, do I occasionally have to remind Brock to stop dancing and focus on the game, yes, but I alway compliment his groove thing afterward.

I am fully aware of my tendencies.  So when I go to sporting events I pray to the Lord that He will keep my mouth shut for me and that I will reflect Christ to those around me.  And not the table flipping Jesus, but the sermon on the mount Jesus.  My kids are older now so I don’t coach anymore because once you get past 6 years old you actually need a coach that has some training.  So, I have my fan chair and my spirit wear and I kill it from the cheering section.  Sometimes my kids tell me I cheer too loud, sometimes my friends stop sitting with me, but I am there as the morale booster and I approach that job with Lara Croft, tomb raider skills!

Oh my heart, look at his cuteness.  This was in 2011.  

So that is why I was so shocked at myself this weekend when I sat contemplating how much jail time I would get if I throat punched someone.  For sure this is not about the other person at all.  This is not a tell all about how bad they are, because in reality this dude is not bad at all, probably.  This is about how shocked I was at how quickly I gave up the Lord and wanted to take justice into my own hands.  My husband is an assistant coach on Brock’s team.  He is one of many coaches.  This guy, whom I wanted to throat punch was being very critical of the coaching of a game.  I would like to say that I walked up to this dude calmly and gently to discuss the matter, but I did not.  Something snapped in me when he was critical of my husband.  I went full on warrior mode, and “Oh, no you didn’t, HOLD MY WEAVE!”  And I don’t even have a weave.  The irony in all this I am so super critical of Jesse all the time that you would think someone being critical of him would not faze me in the slightest.  For some reason I want the job alone, and no one else gets to do it.  Now, I did not actually say anything to this guy at all.  This war was fought in my mind and then played out passive aggressively.

And so, the fall out.  I feel like this is one of those movies that we watched in middle school about how to handle situations we would face.  You remember those.  It went like this:

Narrator:  Now lets see how Sally will handle the situation when someone offers her drugs….

Bad drug person: “Hey kid, you want some drugs?”

Sally: I just say NO to drugs.

Narrator:  Good job Sally!  She will go on to do great things with her life, and be president.  Now lets see how Sarah will handle this situation.

Bad drug person:  “Hey kid, you want some drugs?”

Sarah:  “Hell yeah, and give me all your money too.  Oh, and I am taking all your drug inventory and your car.  Thank you bad drug person.”

Narrator:  Well, this is an example of what happens when you don’t say no to drugs.  Sarah will go on to live a life of crime.  She will be in and out of jail and she will never be president.  She will always be used as a bad example.

So the correct response for me in this situation would be to butt out and mind my own business and let my husband and the other coaches handle the situation.  And I probably could have prayed for the guy and in that God would have changed my heart toward him and maybe even made it possible for me to share my faith with him someday.  But NOOOOOOO……

No, I sat there fuming, plotting revenge.  I thought up ways to chew this guy out and condemn him in front of everyone.  I judged him to be someone in total rejection of the Lord and I would take him out for the Lord.  I quit the team 4 times in my mind.  I cursed the day we ever joined and I cursed the day that Jesse agreed to help the team.  I crucified this dude for daring to critique my husband who so selflessly gives his time to the team while his wife complains every time he has to leave for practice or a game.  I was not in control of my mind at all, it was a free for all.

But wait there’s more!  Not content with fighting this battle by myself I texted my BFF’s to let them know of the possibility of me going to jail, and could they come get me.  I rallied their support of my plight.  In effect, including them in my sin.  And when that did not quench my lust for revenge, I moved in on the other team moms.  I went and sat in the stands and told them what I had heard.  They were of course out raged and rallied around me too.  Now, my sin was not just my own, but I had a posse to join me.  I had defamed this guy, because of what he had done to my husband, to all the people around me.  Now to be sure, these bystanders did not know what I was doing, mostly because I did not know what I was doing at the time.  I just felt really mad and angry and sought relief in others agreeing with me.  I did not know the extent of my sin until this morning when the Lord made this the reading for April 16th in my One Year bible.  Check in out:

Luke 18: 9 Then Jesus told this story to some who had great confidence in their own righteousness and scorned everyone else: 10 “Two men went to the Temple to pray. One was a Pharisee, and the other was a despised tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed this prayer: ‘I thank you, God, that I am not like other people—cheaters, sinners, adulterers. I’m certainly not like that tax collector! 12 I fast twice a week, and I give you a tenth of my income.’

13 “But the tax collector stood at a distance and dared not even lift his eyes to heaven as he prayed. Instead, he beat his chest in sorrow, saying, ‘O God, be merciful to me, for I am a sinner.’ 14 I tell you, this sinner, not the Pharisee, returned home justified before God. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

Tyndale House Publishers. Holy Bible: New Living Translation. Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 2013. Print.

In essence when I read this today my heart broke for the fact that I identified as the Pharisee.  I thanked God this weekend that I was not “as bad” as that guy, when in actuality my sin was worse.  My sin of putting myself above this guy caused me to rally support of my superiority.  I lead others into sin with me.  I got a committee together that made me feel right and better than him and the whole time God was saying, “You might think you are justified in your actions but you stand before me unjustified in this particular sin.”  And in the end, in His kindness, God humbled me.

It is so good to be humbled, pruned and corrected even thought it hurts.  The restoration that will come and the opportunity for me to stand before those people and say I was wrong will reflect God to them.  To humble myself and put them before me will break down my pride a little more.  The shock I feel at my sin will point me to stop being a pharisee and be the tax collector, begging God for mercy.  At least those last four sentences will be what I am preaching to myself today, because in all honestly my mind knows its true but my flesh wants nothing to do with any of that.  And that is all I can do right now is believe God, believe I sinned and trust Him to change my heart in it all.  Even as I write this the guilt and the shame dissipate and I become more free.  The anger and the need for revenge is placed in the hands of the one who can actually do something about it and not make it worse.  Jesus, Thank You for always restoring me.  Thank you that you are not surprised by my sin, but that you know its coming.  Jesus thank you for loving me right where I am and that my failures don’t change the way you love me.

Anybody else relieve that I did not become a dance mom?  I think Sydney could see the writing on the wall and she wanted no part of having a crazy dance mom.

God's Sovereignty--a housewife's perspective.

Do you see what I did there?!?  I willingly called myself a housewife!!!  #GROWTH #IMGONNABESOHOLY #SUPERHUMBLE  Anyway,  if you remember a few weeks back I set out to write this post and then got waylaid by the whole, "Wait, being a housewife is not good enough," thing.  Isn't it funny how God works?  And by funny I mean not funny because He makes me look myself square in the eye and He asks me, "If you write about this I need you to really understand that your reluctance to step into being a housewife shows me that you actually do not understand my sovereignty.  So why don't we have a rap session about that and then you can tell people what you learned.  PS.  It will hurt me more than it hurts you, but its going to hurt, remember the cross? PSS.  Remember how pruning is good?  PSSS.  I love you."   Got it Lord, thanks.  Then in the unfolding I learned how the God of the universe is sovereign over everything from housewives to weather to galaxies to everything in betwixt.

First, I want to define God's sovereignty.  I find that when you are talking about words in the bible people get really weird and think that normal grammatical rules don't apply.  Really?  Our God is the God of order.  He for sure is going to apply proper grammar rules to his ALL POWERFUL WORD!!!!  Anyway, I used my super fancy Logos software and did a search for the word sovereign or sovereignty in the bible.  The word, or version of it is used 294 times in the bible.  When a word is used that much in the bible it is easy to define because you just see how it is used and what the context is and wham bam, you know what the definition is.  So collectively the definition is as follows:

sovereignty. The possession of ultimate authority and power. In political theory the state is often regarded as sovereign, while in theology, sovereignty is a characteristic of the all-powerful, all-knowing Creator, who governs the universe for his own purposes.

Evans, C. Stephen. Pocket dictionary of apologetics & philosophy of religion 2002 : 110. Print.

My understanding of His sovereignty comes from the fact that I believe God is the ultimate authority and power over the universe.  I believe that everything is under His control.  I don't believe in chance, or karma.  If I have a flat tire, God is in control of that.  He decided I needed a flat tire.  If I hit every green light and arrive 5 minutes early to something, God is in control of that.  He decided I need to be early.  To believe this requires me to believe in a BIG GOD!  And He is a BIG GOD.  He tells us that all through the bible.

I realize this topic strikes up debates between differing groups of christians.  I take no part in that.  You can ask me all day long if I am a TULIP Calvinist, Arminian, a Three Pointer, or an Augustinian.  I will answer, "I love Jesus, and I am whatever He is so lets ask Him when we get there."  I am pretty sure that is how Jesus will decide what softball team we are on in Heaven.  "Oh you are tulip, and also a 3rd baseman? Great, head over to field 3, your team is playing the 3 Pointers today."  For now, He is clear in His word.  He is the sovereign authority over everything and His parting command was to love Him first, and love our neighbor as I love myself.  His parting commission was to go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, and teach them to obey the Lords commands.  I don't know about you, but I am going to focus on that.

When I first became a Christian I did not understand God's sovereignty at all.  I wanted to be on the path He made for me, I just didn't know anything about God yet so I had no direction.  When I don't know what to do I am really good at making stuff up.  I formulated in my mind an idea about Gods' sovereignty that looked like this.....

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I thought it was something you had to divine from the Lord.  I thought you had  one chance to get on the path and if you screwed up and made a wrong turn you were off the path.  I started to become hyper vigilant for a sign from the Lord.  I went so far as to ask other people, whom I thought were very holy, to pray about me joining a ministry to see if they "saw" me in the ministry or not.  Does anyone else get their theology from pop culture?  Sometimes I think my syncretism of pop culture and following the Lord is such a deficit then I remember, "Oh wait, I can always be used as a bad example."

The problem with trying to follow a path laid down by someone you don't really know is that you have no idea what they are going to do or how they roll.  So the more vigilant I got about looking for signs and trying to stay on the path of God's sovereignty the more I was convinced that I was off the path and not capable of seeing the signs.  It left me feeling like I had missed out and that I was lost.  I knew God was good, and I saw Him leading friends of mine to amazing things, but I was never sure enough to take a step because I could not see the yellow brick road.

So then, in His kindness, He saw me drowning in this and rescued me.  I was sitting in class one day and our Professor, Scot Keen, drew a long line across the dry erase board.  He said, "This is not how God's Sovereignty works, you are not on tight rope, trying to keep your balance so you don't fall off."  I fully tuned in at this point because I was sure He was about to tell us where the yellow brick road started!  He said, "God's sovereignty is like an ocean that you can never get out of.  You are in a boat and you can steer where you want to go, but you are always in the water no matter what."  Does your brain hurt like mine does right now?  These are deep thoughts and our human brains have a hard time understanding this amazing idea.

God's sovereignty is not a path or tight rope that I have to worry about staying on.  I am never ever out of sovereignty because He is in absolute control over everything.  I have the freedom to make choices.  I can go left, I can go right and I am always in God's sovereignty because there is nothing out of His control.  He made it all (from galaxies to ants) and he controls it all (from seasons to traffic).  I can make a choice that doesn't reflect my belief in God and I am still in the sovereignty of God.  I can make a choice that does reflect my belief in God and I am still in the sovereignty of God.  Good things happen to me because of His sovereignty and bad things happen to me because of his sovereignty.  I am never ever out of His sovereign control.  This is important and I want to come back to it later.

The problem with me thinking it was a path is that anytime I thought I was off the path I felt like God was not happy with me, and that I was lost.  Anytime something bad happened to me I thought it was God telling me I was not on the path.  Suddenly, I couldn't move forward or backward or left or right for fear of being off the path.  This is not how it works, praise the Lord.  I was confusing sanctification (a $5 word for learning to walk with the Lord) with God's sovereignty.  Nothing, no wrong decision, or wrong step can take you out of God's sovereignty.  Also, who wants to believe in a God that can accidentally lose us?  "Where did Sarah go? She was right here on her way to the homeless shelter and then she went the wrong way and I lost her!  She must have seen a sale at Nordstrom's.  Well, she was a cool chick, that's too bad! She reminded me so much of Lara Croft Tomb Raider.  I wish I hadn't lost her."  That is not a very powerful God.

That is not the God I believe in.  The God I believe in is in control of all life.  There is no one who is so far gone that He can't see them and work in their life.  This is so important because our bad decisions and bad things that happen make us believe that God has deserted us or is no longer with us.  The truth is that all the bad stuff is meant to drive you into His ever open arms.  It's meant to show you that you are not in control but that God is in control.  Understanding that you can never get out of God's sovereignty, no matter what you have done, no matter how unloveable you think you are, no matter how many drugs you have taken, no matter how many people you have hurt makes you finally take His offering of salvation.  And in his sovereignty He will never force you to love Him.  He wants you to love Him, He will use all your circumstances to show you how much you need him.  Through His son he made the way for us to not just be in the ocean of His sovereignty but be in His family and know Him personally.

Now as I walk through my day it is no longer a matter of divining His path for me,  it is living out my belief that He is in total control over everything that happens.  I believe that if I get a flat tire, God allowed it to happen and that He is still Good.  I believe that if plans change, God allowed it to happen and that He is still Good.  And so on, and so on.  Now, acting like I believe these things falls into that category of sanctification--and that is a story for another blog post.

 

Tillamoo, the faux unicorn

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If you have ever pushed a dog around in a doggie stroller you will not want to read this post.  This post is not for people who carry dogs in their purses.  If you understand that humans have dominion over animals and that sometimes things have to happen to keep the animals as healthy as possible, keep reading.  Don't get me wrong I love animals.  If reincarnation was a thing I would love to come back as an animal of mine.

Look at that sweet face.  This is Tillamoo.  We call her Tilla.  She is our most reasonable goat by far.  She is steady and no-nonsense.  She will straight head butt the other girls if they get squirrelly.  But she has an issue.

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Now listen I am not here for body shaming anyone.  But if she was going for the unicorn look she missed the mark!  This is called a scur.  It happens when a goat is disbudded as baby and it doesn't quit get all the horn.  So this funky little horn grows all jacked up and was about the grow right into her eye.  So it had to come off.  I called the lady we bought them from and asked for help.  She said we had three options.  I could wait until she knocked if off on the fence, I could take her to the vet to have them sedate her and cut if off or I could use our hoof shears and cut it off myself.  I picked the last one.  I could tell you why the last one felt like the best decision, but that is an entire post of its own.  I'm sure the fact that I made that decision makes you thankful that I am in therapy.

So I put her in the milking stantion.  She already was wary because let us all remember that a few weeks ago was our first goat show and I had to body clip them.  Goats have to be body clipped to be shown, did you know that? Yeah, me neither.  Guess who has school everyday(Sydney), and guess who is home(Me).  So I got to do the body clipping.  We now know that you should use a 7.5mm blade.  We know that now because we clipped them with a 10mm blade and they looked like hairless goats.  Seriously picture a hairless cat, then imagine a goat looking like that.  So I don't blame this sweet girl for wondering what was about to happen.

I surveyed this weird horn. I picked up the shears and made a little cut.  It bled like I had just slit her neck.  Plus she was highly offended by it.  They say these scurs have very little feeling and blood supply.  That is a LIE.  To make peace we both took a moment.  I gave her more food, she ate it.  I re-grouped and thought that maybe, to make it as quick as possible, I should use my tree trimmers.  I went and got them and as I was walking back to her something in me said that if she died from what I was about to do I did not want the explanation to Sydney to include, "I used the tree trimmers."  So I went back to the hoof shears.

I'm gonna describe the next 5 minutes as this:

(talking to myself and Tilla)

"Ok, girl, 1..2..3...oh gosh I can't do it."

"Ok, 1....2...ugggh I feel sick, I'm so sorry Tilla."

"Ok, 1...2...maybe I should just take you to the vet.  How much could it cost really?"

"OK, seriously, this is going to hurt for a second but it is for your own good, I promise, I'm so sorry."

Then, I got my nerve.  1....2....3.....BBBAAAAAAAAHHHHH!  She let out one long BAH that broke my heart into a million pieces.  And of course it was bleeding.  It looked like a bad horror film.  I had a clean towel and I just held it there, applying pressure because I have 1st Aide training and I know you have to apply pressure.  I was also becoming more sick to my stomach.  She was becoming less and less impressed with me.

It did finally stop bleeding.  I put medicine on it and got ready to put her back in her stall.  I was not prepared for how she was going to RUN AWAY when I let her out of the milking stanchion.  These goats are like dogs, they never run from us because they know we are food dispensers.  Well as soon as she took off, the horn hole started bleeding again.  You know how that is, heart rate goes up,  wound starts bleeding again.  To get her back I had to let her sisters out and then round them all up.  Since she wanted to be with her sisters and her sisters were not mad at me, I was able to get them all back in the stall.

It took me 4 days to become friends with her again.  I had to spend a lot of time coaxing and wooing.  I had to pet her and sit with her.  I had to be a safe person that didn't hurt her over and over again for her to trust me again. In those quiet times of trying to make this goat love me again, Jesus spoke to my heart.  He said, "How many times have you and I been here Sarah."

Scripture says that Jesus is the vine and God the father is the gardener.  Check it out:

John 15: 1 “I am the true grapevine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more. 3 You have already been pruned and purified by the message I have given you. 4 Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me.

Tyndale House Publishers. Holy Bible: New Living Translation. Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 2013. Print.

What I see here is the parallel of God pruning me and me having to "prune" Tilla's horn.  That horn was eventually going to affect her eye and vision and would be bad for her.  Even though it was good for her, it hurt! There are things that God as my Father has to prune from my life so that I can better follow Him.  When a pruning comes it hurts.  Tilla and I both run when the pain comes, even though the pain was for our own good.

If you think for one second walking with the Lord is going to be all butterflies and rainbows you are dead wrong.  There is pain.  When God prunes something it hurts. The cool thing is that when he prunes some thing and you get over the pain and see that he has ultimately made it possible for the to produce more fruit and be more free you are thankful for the pruning.  There are pruning that I have thought would kill me dead, and I ran from God.  Every time He woos me back to Him.

In the same way that I had to be close to Tilla while she was bleeding and applying pressure to the wound to stop the bleeding, God is so close to me in the pain.  When I am metaphorically bleeding He is so near to me, holding me keeping the pressure on the wound.  As the bleeding slows down He turns to wooing me back to himself.  He gives me space to question and be hurt and scared.  Ultimately He loves me back to life (as my friend Celine Dion says).  He holds my hand while I take my first steps to trust His goodness again.

I trimmed Tilla's horn because I love her and I wanted her to be able to see for her whole life. And this is how I know that God can prune and love me at the same time.  Pruning comes because He loves me.  He is not uninvolved in my life, He is in me.  He sees when something in my life will ultimately cause me problems.  He intervenes and cuts it out before it cause me to be fruitless.  As I saw that goat run from me I saw how ridiculous I am for running from God.  With Tilla I was like, "How can you run from me?  I built you a barn, I buy you food, I bought you a really nice trailer to take you to shows, and I gave you half of the property to roam on!  How do you not get that I am just taking care of you?"  And as I thought those things I heard God say, "I KNOW, RIGHT?!?!!!"

My prayer is that I grow to trust God more and more.  That the pain of pruning drives me to the Lord and not away from Him.  That I grow to never question His goodness, but trust His goodness.  He is in this to grow me to be a beautiful fruit producer, not a goat with a faux unicorn horn.

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How do I get my ducks in a row?

I am not my best self right now.  I have tried to write an up beat, happy and fun story about how much I love my ducks.  Every time I sat down to write it, anger and complaining came out of my typing fingers.  I was like, "Girl, what is the deal, you have nothing to complain about!  Your cleaning ladies started this week!"  After some contemplation I realized it was because I was hungry.  We started a diet this week.  We totally cut out refined sugar and I realized that lack of refined sugar makes it hard for me to be a nice human.  I also should warn you that if you see me in public and you come up to me to offer your advice on dieting I will probably throat punch you.  That would not be a good thing to do on this weekend that we get to celebrate the fact that our sins have been paid for and our Savior has RISEN!  So lets agree not to go there.  Jesse and I decided to try Nutri System (you know, Marie Osmond advertises it.)  They send you all this miniature food and snacks and tell you it is a "meal."  Jesse will probably lose 40 lbs and I will gain 12, but whatever, I'm super excited about it.  Let me get over the diet and tell you about my ducks.

My ducks.  We had no plans of raising ducks.  When we went to buy our chicks, there was one duck in the duck brooder.  His friends had been sold.  They tried to put him in with the chicks but they did not get along.  I looked at the sweet little duckling all alone peeping and I swear I could hear him singing:

"But I won't let them break me down to dust
I know that there's a place for me
For I am glorious

When the sharpest words wanna cut me down
I'm gonna send a flood, gonna drown them out
I am brave, I am bruised
I am who I'm meant to be, this is me
Look out 'cause here I come
And I'm marching on to the beat I drum
I'm not scared to be seen
I make no apologies, this is me!"

Because The Greatest Showman in my new favorite movie of all time, I had to take him. We named him Downton after my favorite TV show and the pun...(Downton, He is a duck covered in down, get it?)   He couldn't help that he was a duck surrounded by chicks.  My plan was to just raise him with the chicks, I figured they would eventually get along.

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Look at him.  Oh my heart.  And so for a few weeks everybody was happy and I don't think Downton knew he was any different from the chicks.  But as he grew the differences became bigger.  Like for instance how he loved the waterer.  The chicks got so offended by the fact that Downton would go in for a sip and end up splashing around in the water.  You have heard the saying, "mad as a wet hen."  Well it is true, wet hens are not happy hens.  He was also a lot bigger!  I started to realize that duck and chickens are actually quite different and we needed to so something different for him.  So that is when this happened....

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This is Downton and "company" because at the time we did not know what he or she was.  Do you see Company there hiding behind Downton.  They were fast friends.  Sydney and I took dog crates, a water trough and some wood and made a duck habitat in my garage.  We had to make a ramp into the water trough so they could waddle in and out.  This is what the garage looked like...

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Am I a crazy person? Yes.  I love these little chicks we are raising.  The chickens and the ducks!  Once the ducks moved out the chickens became happy again.  Before I knew it they were ready to move to their awesome coop in the goat barn.  To say the ducks loved their habitat would be an understatement.  I don't think there were happier ducklings ever!  They love to swim.  Sooner than I was ready for however, they were getting too big for the garage.  Our house has a cute little pond area in the back yard.  We turned it off during the winter but it occurred to me that this would be a perfect place for the ducks to grow up a little more.  So we put our thinking caps on and engineered a new area for them using the dog crates, some metal gate panels we had and dog igloo.  Check it out...

Also, Chip Gaines the corgi has decided that he ducks are his.  He loves them and keeps the other dogs away from them.  He sleeps by them, it is really cute.  Will he eventually eat them? I am not sure....

I will say ducks are not clean animals.  Their poop literally comes shooting out of their tail ends.  They have no decorum at all.  They "go" everywhere.  In the water, in the food, on the rocks.  I thought maybe they could stay right up here by the house forever, but that's a no.  They are going to have to move down to the pond at some point.

In the last week we have realized that we have a boy and a girl.  We are calling them Downton and Cora.  I realize Grantham and Cora would be more true to the show but Downton is Downton now and we can't change it.  I live in constant terror of them growing up and leaving, getting eaten by the giant alligator snapping turtle that lurks in the bottom of our pond or one of dogs getting them when Chip is not looking.  Putting that fear aside it is my joy in the morning to go out and see them swimming.  They quack at me when they see me.  They are the only ones on this property who will eat kale besides me.  They also love grapes.  They love eating in general, which is how this happened...

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They have grown so much in just a month!  It is so fun to watch them, and interact with them.  Now we are getting ready for them to move down to pond.  I realize they may leave.  I realize I am not a mommy duck able to "get her ducks in a row."  I think I have pretty thoroughly documented how I don't have any ducks in a row in my life.  I have so enjoyed them for the last month.  I had no idea how fun they would be.  I really hope they stay.

Now going forward Jesse and I have decided we will probably get ducks every year.  Don't for one second think he is not a party to this chaos.  Have we hired Tropical John from our church to build us a new and improved duck pond complete with a sloped entrance? YES!  Have we researched how to get rid of alligator snapping turtles? YES!  Are we insane? YES!  I really hope in a few weeks I can report that our sweet Downton and Cora are safe and living the good life in our pond (and that I have lost weight and have not murdered anyone due to hunger).  If not, I will need more therapy.





Q: What do you call a housewife who doesn't clean her own house? A: Sarah Griffith, Tomb Raider

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Well it has come to this.  After weeks of mulling over this pace of life stuff, begging God to write my schedule out for me so I know what He wants me to be doing, processing with my counselor, and talking Jesse's ear off, I have had to make some decisions that have made me scared to death to write about it and put it out in the world.  But the point of all this is to record what Jesus is doing in my life.  And so I have to admit that I have hired a cleaning lady and Jesus still loves me anyway.  The biggest thing He is teaching me right now is I am more scared about people thinking I am worthless, than I am willing to be obedient to Him and what He is asking me to do.  That is why this is coming out on a Saturday instead of a Tuesday.  I have been trying to avoid writing about this all week, trying other topics, but this topic is the only one that has words right now.

You see, I found when my therapist said "I want you to write out your schedule, your real schedule, in real-time," I started to see that what I was expecting of myself was not a realistic pace of life.  I have always thought of myself as Lara Croft Tomb Raider.  Not that new imposter Lara Croft, but the OG Lara Croft (Angelina Jolie).  Guns strapped to her legs, cheeky, smart, takes no crap, will straight up shoot you in the head, and can DO ALL THINGS.  Lara Croft does not worry about writing her schedule out because all her schedule would say everyday is:

Monday:  Kick Ass

Tuesday: Kick Ass

Wednesday:  Kick Ass

Thursday:  Kick Ass

Friday: Kick Ass

Saturday: Kick Ass

Sunday:  Go to Church and then Kick Ass

In my world, the real world, this kind of pace of life does not lead to good things.  This blasted anxiety cripples me when the pace of life reaches an unrealistic pace.  I become mean, I yell, I get paranoid, and I hurt the people I love when I am running at "kick ass" pace.  That's how I know it is an unrealistic pace, because I can't do the things that Jesus asks me to do.  More than anything I don't want to be that ungentle, mean, impatient person anymore.  So, things have to change.  I had to prioritize what can get done by someone who is not Lara Croft in a normal week.  When I say I had to prioritize I mean I had to take every one of those priorities to the Lord in prayer.  I had to submit to what came up in that meditation with Him.  I had to talk to Jesse, admit how much I am struggling and ask him (gulp) how he thought I needed to prioritize things.  I had to ask all this and then I had to listen.  Which is good because people always say I am a really good listener, when I shut up long enough to hear them talk.

Here is what I came up with.  I'm hiring a cleaning lady.  I am scared to death to write that down and put it out in the world because I am terrified of people thinking I am worthless.  I am so scared you will think that I am lazy and just a well to do white woman with nothing to worry about except what to wear.  But Jesus is asking me to be patient and gentle and I can't be patient and gentle with the pace of life I use to live.  Things have to change.  I have things that Jesus has put things on my heart to write, to study, and bible studies to teach.  I want to devote my time to that and not to my ridiculous cleaning schedule.  I will constantly deal with the guilt of not doing it myself.  I will have to remind myself that I am not worthless for hiring a cleaning lady.  I don't know why God has blessed us with the resources to hire a cleaning lady, I just want to be thankful for it.  It would be so much easier to justify it if I worked outside of the house full-time.  If I had a full time job I would not hesitate to hire a cleaning lady.  I don't and so I am a housewife who is hiring a cleaning lady, and I have to deal with it.

Guess who had a cleaning lady, Lara Croft.  Actually it was a guy, but you get the point.  People of the world, hear me now.  I am trying to stop living my life based on what you think of me.  I am going to try to live my life based on what God thinks of me.  I am almost 100% sure that God does not care if I hire a cleaning lady as long as I am not going into debt over it.  He is especially ok with it since my husband says he wants me to.  If I hire a cleaning lady and I tell you and you think that I am somehow less worthy because of it I don't have to carry that around with me.  This is one of the crutches my anxiety leans on, "Do this because of what people think."  I can't live like that, its crushing me.  I have to become me, follower of Christ.  More worried about pleasing Him than the world.

I set out to write this post to tell you the following story, but of course it took 1000 words of back story to get here.

I called a cleaning company to get an estimate.  The lady on the phone told me she would like go over what they do during a cleaning before she scheduled the in home estimate.  Here is how the conversation went.  Her name is Linda.

Linda:  Mrs. Griffith the maids who work for us have all been trained and our cleaning comes with a guarantee, so if you are unhappy for any reason you call me and we will make it right.  We want you to be a long time customer.

Me:  Linda, that is so great.

Linda:  The ladies will come in and dust from ceiling to floor including the base boards.

Me: Really?

Linda: Yes ma'am.  They will be sure there are no cobwebs and they will vacuum out the window sills.

Me: Ok, (thinking to myself, shoot, I need to vacuum out the window sills before they come because I never do that.)

Linda:  They will vacuum your furniture, and all the floors.  Do you have dogs?

Me: (Shoot? Do I lie?  I don't think I can hide them when the come over.....) Um, yes we have 3? Is that ok?

Linda: Oh yes!  We love dogs, and I just wanted to tell you that we will make sure and get all the dog hair from under your furniture too.

Me: Under the furniture?

Linda: Yes, except for things the ladies can't move themselves.  Is that ok?

Me: Um, yes.  (Cuss word, now I have to vacuum under the furniture before they come)

Linda: The ladies will mop the tile and they will use Bona on the hardwoods.  Is that ok?

Me:  That is great.

Linda:  They will wipe down and polish all your appliances.

Me:  (lump forming in my throat)

Linda:  They will disinfect all bathrooms, and wash with soap and water all your counter tops.  (Hears sniffling on the other end of the line)  Are you there, Mrs. Griffith?

Me: (small) Yes

Linda:  Ok, great.  Well I wanted to let you know that they will also change your sheets for you if you leave the clean ones out on in your rooms.  They will also dust and clean all the ceiling fans and light..........(hears sobbing)  Ma'am are you ok?

Me: I-I-I'm fine.  (sob-sob) I-I'm so sorry Linda. (sob-sob) I have just been so stressed out about this. (sob-sob) Just to know that it will get done and I don't have to do it, (sob-sob) is just so great.

Linda: Um, ok.  So do you want to set up the in home estimate?

Me: Yes, absolutely, when can you come. (sniff, sniff)

Linda:  We could have our estimator come tomorrow (pauses, talking to someone with the phone receiver covered) Actually Mrs. Griffith, my manager says he could come right now if you really need someone so urgently.

Me: (Laughing) Oh, no Linda, tomorrow is fine, I'm ok, I promise.  I swear I am not a crazy person.  I promise I am not weird, I'm just so relieved.

Linda:  Ok, I will schedule you for tomorrow.  I'm glad you called, sounds like you need some help.

Me:  Yes, Linda I need help.  (Girl, you have no idea how much help I need!)

 

 

I am the most patient person I know.

Seriously, I am so patient.  I love sitting in the Chick-Fil-A drive-thru that is 100 cars long.  I love patiently sitting in my car waiting for my people to get all their stuff together and get in the car.  I love saying we are leaving at a certain time only to be delayed for some magical reason.  I love stopping to smell the roses.  I refuse to feel rushed or get flustered in an attempt to get something done quickly.  I have no ill will towards someone who delays me because they are doing something so charmingly ineptly.  Patiently sitting in traffic is one of my favorite pass times.  Lines, waiting rooms and ill-made plans are also favorites.  I am the most patient with my husband.  I love the pace at which he moves, and the pace at which he makes decisions.  Patience is my strong suit for sure.  It is my default and my go to.

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Oh wait, did I say patience, I meant hurrying.  I am cracking myself up!  Just in case you are reading this and don't actually know me, I could barely type all that above without laughing hysterically.  "Patient," would not be a word used to describe me.

This weekend at church Pastor Doug taught on Ephesians 4: 1-6.  Check it out:

Therefore I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God. 2 Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. 3 Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace. 4 For there is one body and one Spirit, just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future. 5 There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all, in all, and living through all.

Tyndale House Publishers. Holy Bible: New Living Translation. Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 2013. Print.

My friend Ashley was sitting behind me and as soon as Pastor Doug read this passage I turned to her and said "We should go, let's go get breakfast!"  I knew it would be one of those days in church when it feels like Pastor is talking directly to me and I wanted to escape with my friend who shares my affinity to avoid talking about words like "gentle, humble and patience." Of course it is Jesus talking directly to me, not actually Pastor Doug.  This is how God's word works.  It goes right to the heart and says "Oh, its Demo Day baby!"

You see in the passage above where it says "Always be humble and gentle."  I read this and feel the impossibility of this command.  I didn't use to.  In my baby christian days I read stuff like this and was like, "Oh ok, I can do that."  I would be the most humble and gentle person you have ever seen for like 30 seconds, and then something would irritate me and all bets were off.  I have realized by now when these little gems where being handed out by the Lord, I was in the bathroom or something.  I did not get those particular gifts, I bring other things to the table like cuss words and yelling.

Now I read these words and realize my need for the Lord.  He is the one that exposes these parts of me that are not like Christ, and asks me to let His power loose to change me.  He says to me, "Sarah, you are not humble and gentle, but I AM.  If you will deny yourself and seek Me, I can live through you and you will start to reflect humbleness and gentleness to others."  It takes me putting my own desires, my flesh, aside and choosing to live by the spirit.  The next part of the passage is "be patient with each other."  Being patient comes after learning to be humble and gentle.

Patient, patient, patient.  Maybe if I type it enough I will understand it.  Here is what I do know.  I am not patient.  Unless you are using it in refer to someone being in a hospital.  Then I am very much a "patient."  But something tells me that is not what God is talking about here.  Do you know how I know I am not patient?  Because my favorite word is "HURRY UP!"  Here are some of my favorite ways to use this word grouping.

HURRY UP, GET IN THE CAR!

HURRY UP, AND TELL ME WHAT WE ARE DOING!

HURRY UP!  WE ARE LATE!

HURRY UP AND MAKE THIS DECISION!

HURRY UP, COME ON, WE HAVE TO GO!

HURRY UP AND GET US A TABLE!

HURRY UP AND GET YOUR HOMEWORK DONE!

HURRY!

HURRY!

So let me tell you something really funny.  Guess what word my husband hates most in the world?  You guessed it, "hurry."  This word is a cuss word in his book.  Nothing makes him shut down faster than someone hurrying him.  So as you can imagine this is a hot mess of me hurrying him and him freaking out on me to stop hurrying him.  It goes really well.  The more I walk with Jesus the more I see my hurried approach to life.  The more I become brave enough to look at myself in light of who Jesus is, the more empowered I become to say, "Sarah, where are you going in such a hurry?"

If I hurry my husband, guess who else I hurry?  Well, yes my kids, but I'm not talking about them.  (I'm not ready to talk about the fact that both of my kids had stutters because they felt so rushed to get a thought out.  Literally, the speech therapist said to me, "you have to slow down and look them in the face when they are trying to tell you something. Ouch.)  I am talking about the fact that I hurry God.  I am impatient with God.  I say things like, "God, hurry up and change Jesse so we can get things done faster."  "God, hurry up and change me so I look like you."  Guess who is not in a hurry because time does not bother Him?  That's right God.

Pastor Doug defined patience as, "Gracious and loving waiting."  Ashley and I should probably not sit by each other in church because we both laughed so loud at this.  Then Jesse looked over at me all smug and self-righteous and smiled at me.  Jerk.  Just kidding, I love him.

Gracious and loving waiting.  Gracious and loving waiting.  Gracious and loving waiting.  Does anyone else read that definition and start to look for a paper bag to breath in? This is just one more way God is going to teach me to stop trying to be patient and to start trusting Him to change me into someone who reflects His patience.  Yes it will hurt, yes it will be a challenge, yes I will try to do it in my own strength and fail.  The thrill of hope is that what if I could become patient.  What if I could be free of the frustration of a hurried life.  What if I could stop hurrying the people I love.  What if I could get off this hamster wheel that is "hurry?"  What if I could look myself in the face and say, "Why are you in such a hurry anyway? Where are you trying to get to so fast?" Well my friends, that sounds like a glorious way of living to me.  I love you Jesus, thank you for being humble and gentle, and thank you for promising to transform me into someone who relfects you.

Mommy issues.

There is a lot of things happening around here!  Jesse and I went out-of-town together last Wednesday through Saturday.  This was the same week that our new chicks, and ducks came to the farm.  Ten inches of rain, muddy dog prints on the wood floor, possible flooding of my bedroom and worrying about where all this water was going to go was more than I could handle the last week.  Also this is a particularly hard time for me because of the whole "my therapist is trying to kill me thing" with the having to sit down and really look at what I have committed myself to and my "pace of life." Incidentally,  the phrase "pace of life" in now considered a cuss word in my book, and anyone who knows me knows how careful I am to never use cuss words--said no one about me ever.  Check out this new shirt my friend Stacy made for me:

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I love this shirt.  It feels true of my feelings right now.  Sitting, thinking, and waiting for a problem or situation to sort its self out the way God wants it sorted out is way harder than just springing in to action and fixing something yourself.  All that to say, Jesus has not revealed to me what my "pace of life" looks like yet.  Not knowing this makes me a little, shall we say, on edge.  In the midst of all this, Jesse and I went out-of-town.  I didn't feel like going anywhere, but we went.

 

My mom came in to help with the kids.  Y'all there are no words.  When I say she stepped up and made it happen, I mean it.  I was literally stumbling out-of-town.  Normally I would have flow charts, important numbers, directions, everything on lock.  Well I left her with 11 chicks, 2 ducks, 3 dogs (2 of which are puppies), 3 goats, a teenager and a pre-teen.  I basically said, "Here is what I think is happening, just keep everything alive, love you, bye!"  I'm not sure if I told the world yet but my mom is super human.  She is beast when it comes to getting stuff done.  For years we have called her the energizer bunny.  She never complains, she never says no, she just does it.  I have learned all my grit from her.  That is the only reason I could go out of town, because I knew she would just make it happen.

Having a mom like that is awesome.  It is also a really tough act to follow.  Her and I have talked for years about how I feel like I don't live up to her.  I don't work full-time, and keep house, and make dinner and do all the kid things like she did.  That is probably where a lot of my "housewife" issues come from.  Again, I get into trouble when I look to someone else to see if I am enough or doing enough.  Not from her making me feel bad, but just knowing what this woman has done in her lifetime.  When I say she just made stuff happen, I mean it.  She just did it.  If there was something I wanted to do, she made sure I did it.  I don't know how.  It is her magic.

She reads my blog, of course, because I am her kid and she has too.  She knows I have been struggling with my schedule and my "pace of life"--there is that cuss word again. We talked about it when she was here.  It is hard to talk to her about "pace of life" because her "pace of life" is something I cannot adopt for my life.  I just mean that when I tell her things like, "I have to not do so much," I think she must think, "You pansy, do you know what I have had to deal with in my life, do you know how much I had to do in one day just so our family would stay afloat?" You know what they say when you assume something--you make an ass out of u and me.  In reality when we talked about my "pace of life" she told me that she didn't think I was being realistic about my cleaning schedule.  In my mind I heard what she said but I thought "Well you kept a clean house and worked full-time so why can I not keep a clean house.  You must think I can't do it because I am not good enough."  I didn't say that of course but, I thought it.  So then this morning I found this on my desk:

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I looked at this and had to sit down.  This super mom, this woman I can't live up to, REVISED MY CLEANING SCHEDULE.  She took stuff off, and moved stuff around.  And it hit me like a ton of bricks.  I am not cleaning my house like this because God wants me to.  I am killing myself cleaning because I am trying to impress my mom.  I know this is true because when I saw that she thinks I am doing "enough" it was like a weight was lifted off my shoulders.  Hear me on this.  I PUT THAT WEIGHT THERE, NOT MY MOM.  I decided that I was going to live up to a fake standard I had set in my mind.  No one, mainly NOT God, told me to do this to myself.  Jesus used this to set me free of another thing I was trying to live up to.  Jesus, thank you.  I love you so much.  Thank you for always telling me the truth about things because where there is YOUR TRUTH there is freedom.  My fake truth brings bondage.

This is my weakness.  To be enough, to do enough to live up to a standard becomes my god.  This example is living up to my perception of my mom.  There are so many others and there will be so many more.  God is faithful to set me free of these.  He is the only reason I even know I am killing myself to live up to fake standards.  He shows me.  I have to respond.  Living my life trying to "be enough" is where this stupid schedule and "pace of life" came from.  Well, no more.  My prayer for myself is as follows:

Jesus, I can't look to anyone else but you when I am looking for an example to live by.  Lord you are the one who says I am enough.  You say that I am everything I need to be because I believe in you.  Jesus continue to reveal to me the places where I have set up standards to make myself feel like I am enough.  Lord teach me that my "enough-ness" comes from you alone.  Help me remember that there is nothing I can do to impress you.  You only ask that I humble myself and follow you.  Lord help me to stop trying to impress humans.  Help me point them to You and not to me.  To your Name be all the glory, not to me.  Help me remember what Pastor Doug said this weekend, "You get 100% of the Glory Jesus, I have to practice throwing my trophies at your feet."

Mom, I can't express to you how much I love you.  Mainly because you don't like that emotional stuff.  I love more than you can ever know.  I learn everyday how lucky I am that God gave me a mom like you.  God knew I would have to learn grit and faithfulness and how to finish strong.  Thank you for bailing me out over and over, not from real jail but from trouble I got myself into.  Mom, I want to stop competing with you and start being thankful for you.  I want to stop trying to live up to you and fill your shoes and just be thankful for how God made you, and be thankful for how God made me.  I am so thankful God gave me you.  I love you.

Happy Birthday Baby Boy.


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Dear Brock,

Since this is how I have been celebrating the things that are going on in our life, this seems a fitting way to celebrate you and the fact that I am so thrilled you were born.  Brock, there is absolutely no way to tell you how much I love you.  The only litmus test you have is the fact that when I think you are going to get hurt I absolutely lose my mind and scream and yell at you to be careful.  This is because the thought of not having you as part of my day makes me hurt in a way that I never actually want to know.  The saving grace is that I know how much you love Jesus, and if you are not with me here on earth you will be with Jesus in heaven.  This realization has allowed me to let you walk out the door and go to school, camps, and vacations.  This realization has made it almost possible for me to watch you play lacrosse and not completely lose my mind, or murder any kids that push you on the field--almost.


The ache I feel as I watch you grow up and need me less and less, is in equal proportion to the joy I feel as I see you growing up into the coolest dude this world will ever know.  I know you will look at that and say, "mom, that is not a proper algebraic equation," or some other form of nerd speak that I don't get.  Buddy, there is nothing mathematic about how much I love you.  It is fierce and wild and makes me do crazy things like grab you by the front of your shirt, lift you off the ground, and scream at you because you almost ran out in front of a car.  It is also tender like the moments we sit on the couch and read together under a comfy quilt, silent and close.  You are not getting a perfect mama with me buddy, but you are getting a mama that loves you so much it hurts.

Little dude, God made you to love to be respected.  More than loved you want to be respected.  It's just part of what makes guys, guys.   Buddy, one of the things I am learning as you grow up is how to not just love you like a mom loves her son, but to also respect you as the man you are growing up to be.  I want you to get use to hearing a woman respect you so that when a woman doesn't respect you it seems odd to you.  (And God help that women if I am around because I have not been saved that long and I would not test the Jesus in me, if I were you girlfriend.)  So here is a list for you of all the things I respect about you buddy.

  1.  I respect the fact that you are not a follower of things just to impress people.  You know what you like, and you just do your thing.

  2. I respect the fact that you are so brilliant but you are not a jerk about it to people who don't think on the same plane as you--mainly me.

  3. I respect that fact that you are always ready to learn something new.

  4. I respect the fact that you are kind.  You are not just nice to people you are KIND.  You display LOVING-KINDNESS, not just tolerance.

  5. I respect the fact that you are the one who started the family bible study in our house.  You are the one that came home from GRAPPLE and said, "We need to read two Proverbs everyday."  And you harassed us enough that it has now become a family bible study every morning.  Your passion for God's Word did that, buddy.  You changed our family dynamic.

  6. I respect the fact that you are an early riser.  Now this might be one that people call into question because I am also an early riser and I value rising early and think it is the best way to ward off laziness.  But none the less, I respect you for it.

  7. I respect the fact that you are the most contented person I know.  I respect this because I happen to carry around a lot of disconnectedness.  So to see someone get up everyday and go with the flow, and be happy no matter what is something that makes me have respect for you.

  8. I respect that fact that you do what Daddy and I ask you to do without any kind of flack.  You are such an obedient little dude and I respect that fact that you can humble yourself and do what we ask you to do.

  9. I respect how you love technology.  I respect that you just know how to do things on the computer.  I love how you know that you can make technology  in this world better.  I love how you come up with inventions that I know will change the world one day.

  10. I respect how you have allowed Daddy and I to guide you through how to use technology in a safe way.  I respect that you have heeded our warnings about pornography and predators, but you are not afraid, you are just prepared and vigilant.  Your future wife will love you for that.

  11. I respect that you are growing into a man right before my eyes but sometimes you still need your mama to love on you.

  12. I respect the fact that you don't want me cheering louder than anyone else at Lacrosse but that you still look over to be sure I am there.

Dude, there is just so much about you that is amazing.  I love you so much, you are my favorite 11-year-old in the whole wide world.  And if I could give you a "pinch to grow and inch," my pinch would be: Continue to pursue the Lord, Brock.  Life often times will make no sense without Jesus.  He is always with you and will guide you.  I have tried to make a special deal with Him to save you from all the pain in this world, but no luck buddy.  He will use pain to teach you about who He is and who you are.  As you pursue Him buddy, you will find a love even more fierce, wild, tender and strong than mine.  His love can sustain you for your entire life time, and then eternity.  Happy 11 th Birthday little dude, you are the coolest kid I know.

Love you always,

mom

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My therapist is trying to kill me.

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I have realized that my therapist, Dana, who I have known and loved for years is trying to kill me.  She gave me the task of writing out my actual schedule this week as part of my processing through my anxiety.  So I did what any good patient does and went and bought the cutest calendar, and sat down to write it out.  The trick was I had to actually write out everything I have to do and include a realistic time frame to complete a task.  This murder is a slow one.  I sat down to do my schedule and did two days before I started feeling the chest pains.  I thought, "This is bad for my health," and pushed it away.  You see I have three calendars.  In order to keep my sanity I don't introduce those three calendars to each other.

My first calendar is used for propaganda.  It is to keep moral up around here.  This calendar is shared between all family members.  It is a compilation of everyone's school deadlines, after school activities, sports, serving at church and appointments.  It is beautifully color coordinated, and even has alerts set up. This calendar lulls my family into a false sense of organization.  They can all look at the calendar and say, "Oh, we know exactly what is going on today, I love my life!"  But in reality this calendar only contains about 50% of the actual  payload for a week.  To keep my people from running away I need this calendar to sell to them that I am on top of things, they know what is coming and we are all in this together.

My second calendar is my cleaning and housework schedule.  As you remember I am just realizing I am a housewife.  With that realization I decided to attack the house work like it was my JOB (because, well it is).  This is the running to-do list to keep this house from looking like 4 people, 3 goats, 1 dog, and 2 puppies live here.  I know you will say, "But, Sarah, all those things do live there."  I will say to you that a clean house is what separates us from the wild animals.  I will also say that if this house is not clean I WILL GO INSANE AND I WILL TAKE YOU WITH ME!!!!

Then the third calendar.  This one is in my head.  This one contains the things I want to do.  Lunch with friends in downtown Rockwall, followed by shopping at some of the cute shops.  Doing Bible Studies, meeting people to discuss deep theological topics.  Manicure/pedicure/eyelash tinting.  Working out. Date nights with Jesse (Which is the reason for the previous grooming activities).  Collecting antiques to make my house feel like a home that Joanna Gaines would be proud of.  Planting a garden so I can feed my family off our own land.  Raising chickens.  Writing a blog, a book and anything else that needs writing.  This calendar lives somewhere between dreams and reality.  It is me with no time constraints, no constraints at all.  It is everything that feeds my spirit.  It's dreams and aspirations but also things that I need to do because it makes life enjoyable.  Because let's be honest, unless I decide to learn how to spin dog hair into yarn and get a thrill out of making dog hair knit sweaters, vacuuming dog hair will remain something I have to survive everyday.

The problem with introducing these three calendars is that these three calendars can't live in the same time space continuum.  And I think this is what Dana knew when she asked me to write this down.  I think she knows that my anxiety stems partly from living in this delusion that when "Things slow down, I will do__________."  What I have realized in the last few months is that life will never "slow down."  Life keeps spinning and things keep needing to be done, and these darn dogs keep making more fur coats.  I realized what Dana was after when I looked at my three calendars converged into one,  I can't do this calendar, and I don't want to live out this calendar.  This pace is what got me into trouble in the first place.

So no, she is not trying to kill me.  Of course I am kidding.  She is trying to get me to be realistic about what can be done by one person in one day.  This past fall my break neck speed, saying yes to everything and my harassing myself to do more left me ill and a captive to anxiety.  I could not do anything anymore.  It was a time out.  Was it God ordained, Yes.  Was He being mean? No.  He was being loving and kind and telling me, "Daughter, no one told you to work this hard at life except your own pride."  This break down led me to call my old friend Dana and say, "I need help, I'm going crazy."  And she said the most amazing thing to me, that I will never forget.  She said, "Sarah, there is nothing wrong with you, this is what you have done to try to cope with life and God is asking you to find a new, godly way to cope."  Isn't that the most beautiful thing you have ever heard?  Maybe she is not a slow murderess.

So introducing the three calendars is about learning to approach life in a new way.  It is about looking at the time I have available and making my schedule reflect what is important to me.  It is about letting go of delusions about doing things when life slows down.  It is about my relationship with God more than anything else.  I want my schedule to reflect my love for Him.  I would love to say that I have already figured out what my new calendar looks like but I haven't.  I'm still having chest pains looking at this beast.  I'm screaming for a cleaning lady, a cook, a gardener and good chauffeur, but my budget will not allow me to hire a "staff" to help me live out this calendar.  However, I am gently reminded that I don't have to figure the new calendar out today.  This is good news because looking at this thing makes me want to lay on the couch with a bowl of potato chips, chocolate of any kind, a cheeseburger and fries and Netflix.  I have to lay it on the altar before the Lord and ask Him to show me what is important to Him.  This is what being a living sacrifice means.  It means setting my expectations and desires aside. It's saying, "God, I hate seeing dog hair on the floor, I hate that I don't get to sit and write all day, but Lord, I will set those aside and do what you want me to do."  Then, as Dana keeps telling me, "You sit with it, you leave room to think it over and don't try to fix anything."  Wait, maybe she is trying to kill me.

I am Sarah Griffith and I am a housewife.

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Oh man, I was typing out this A.M.A.Z.I.N.G blog post about hermeneutics and how to interpret the bible correctly.  I titled it "Hermeneutics Brought to you by a Housewife."  The problem was I couldn't bring myself to type out "housewife." I can't put "housewife," no one will take that seriously.  I have to communicate that I have studied this and got an A.  I have to communicate that I have a handle on this or else people will just laugh. So I searched for other words....amateur bible student, professional bible student, Texas Tech grad, and nothing seemed right because, guess what, I am a housewife. As I sat there staring at the screen I thought, "Well, Jesus, I guess we better press-on into this, because this seems likely to be a problem."  So here's what happened this week:

I realized that I am a housewife.  I realized when people ask me, "What do you do?"  I either say, "I am just a housewife." Or I make up a slightly more sexy title if it is someone I am trying to impress.  For example: "Oh, my husband and I just got back from bible school and we are open to whatever God has for us."  The problem with that answer is that Jesus has already told us what He has for us, I just am not totally in love with what He has for me.  I am totally in love with what he has for Jesse.  I am totally in love with what he has for my friends from bible school.  I am totally in love with what he has for all my friends that I do life with.  So I had to ask myself, why?  Why is this hard for me to admit, live, thrive at and be proud of.

First, before I go any further I have to acknowledge that my kids and my hubs read this.  And I want to say, there is no one I would rather be than your mom and your wife.  This is not about me not loving being a mom.  This is not about me not loving and caring for our family.  This is not about me not loving picking up your belongings for the 4 trillionth time this week--well, maybe it is.  The fact is, I have already settled this question.  I know beyond a shadow of doubt that I am where God wants me and I love our life.  Watching Jesse grow into the leader of this family and watching my kids grow to love Jesus is my joy in life.  Running this house is my jam.  Setting food down in front of you that you actually like is so fun for me.  Fifth grade math I could live without, but time spent with y'all doing homework is the best time.  What I am asking is why is it hard for me to tell people this is my job title?  Why do I feel like that is not enough in the world?  Why do I feel like I should be a housewife along with something else?

So I did press into this with Jesus this week.  I asked why I feel like a housewife is not enough.  I committed to praying about it, I meditated on it, I poked at it, and I looked down into the grossness of it.  And do you know why I did this with Jesus?  Because any thoughts that make me feel less-than, or not worthy, or that God is not pleased with me are lies that have taken hold.  Lies that take hold keep me from living in the freedom Jesus has provided for me.  And that is crap, and I am not living in bondage anymore.  So when I come across something like this it is a full-stop, and sit with Jesus and get the truth in and lies out.

I have to start with truth because obviously I can't alway trust that my feeling are right or truth.  So what does the Word say about my job title in life?  What does it say about doing the job The Lord has given you to do on earth?  Here are some notable verses that came to my mind:

1 Corinthians 12: 12 The human body has many parts, but the many parts make up one whole body. So it is with the body of Christ. 13 Some of us are Jews, some are Gentiles, some are slaves, and some are free. But we have all been baptized into one body by one Spirit, and we all share the same Spirit.

14 Yes, the body has many different parts, not just one part. 15 If the foot says, “I am not a part of the body because I am not a hand,” that does not make it any less a part of the body. 16 And if the ear says, “I am not part of the body because I am not an eye,” would that make it any less a part of the body? 17 If the whole body were an eye, how would you hear? Or if your whole body were an ear, how would you smell anything?

18 But our bodies have many parts, and God has put each part just where he wants it. 19 How strange a body would be if it had only one part! 20 Yes, there are many parts, but only one body. 21 The eye can never say to the hand, “I don’t need you.” The head can’t say to the feet, “I don’t need you.”

Tyndale House Publishers. Holy Bible: New Living Translation. Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 2013. Print.

So my take-away from this scripture is that there are many parts to a working body.  Not everybody can do the same thing.  There are some super sexy jobs and then there are some more behind the scenes jobs.  So if I am a foot and I look at a hand and think, "That hand is super useful and loved by everyone, and I am just a foot," I am actually telling God He did not put me in the right spot. This scripture clearly says in verse 18 that God has put each part just where He wants it.  Now, I know God is perfect so telling Him he made a mistake would be called a sin.  The end. No way around it.

Hebrews 12:1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.

Tyndale House Publishers. Holy Bible: New Living Translation. Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 2013. Print.

This scripture is preceded by an essay on the Pillars of Faith that the Jews could model themselves after because of their faith.  The Jews that this letter was written to were about to deny Christ and go back to worshiping with the pharisees.  So the point of this letter was to encourage them to stay strong in their race despite their circumstances.  What stands out to me is "run the race God has set before us."  God gives us a race to run, so to speak, in this life on earth.  We should run and stay focused, not letting sin trip us up.  You know, the sin like telling God He made me the wrong body part in the body....or something like that.

Ephesians 2: 8 God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. 9 Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. 10 For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.

Tyndale House Publishers. Holy Bible: New Living Translation. Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 2013. Print.

What stands out to me here is that salvation is a gift from God.  I don't get credit toward salvation based on what I do.  So if I don't do another thing for the rest of my life except watch Netflix, God still gives me salvation because of my belief in Jesus. (Calm down, I know we stand before Him and give an account for how we spent our time here, and no, I don't want to say to my Savior--Dude! I am all caught up on Grey's Anatomy!)  Our salvation is God's masterpiece, we are a new creation when we believe in Jesus.  And get this, the whole point is so we can do the good things God planned for us long ago.  God has a plan for my life that he laid out long ago.  And when I disagree with my lot in life I am telling that perfect God that He made a mistake, again, which He didn't because He is perfect, which comes back around to that sin of telling God he is wrong, again.

And that is where it jumped off the page at me.  This is a submission issue, not a job title issue.  This is me looking up at the potter and saying, "You did not make me for the right thing, and you did not make me the right way."  DANG IT!!!  It just keeps coming down to submission for me, and my lack of it.  I can submit to the race laid out before me or I can jump the white line on the track, tell God He is wrong, and try to run someone else's race.  That is why I have a hard time telling people I am a housewife.  Somewhere along the way I believed the lie that the race set before me is not good enough, and that God must have gotten it wrong.

So how do I know God wants me to be a housewife right now?  How do I know that this is my race for right now? (I say right now because eventually these little people in my house might leave and go have families of their own, then my race might be different.)  Here are some practical tell-tale signs.  One: I am married and my husband wants me to stay home and take care of our house and family.  Two: I have two kids that need a cook, maid, spiritual coach, taxi driver and tutor (thank you Google, you make me look like a genius).  Three:  Nothing else I try to title myself with brings peace to my life, it brings strife.  Four: This is hard to qualify with words because I don't like to say "follow your feelings," but in my gut, I know this is the race He has laid out for me.  This is what He knows will grow Me into a person who looks more like Him.  This is the whole point of the race, to get to know Him more.  And I want to stress--This is not your race, this is mine.  Yours is different than mine.  Both of our races are perfect, because God made them.  Don't fall into the ditch of thinking you have to run my race.

Ok, so then I had to ask myself:

Do you believe that God is perfect? YES!

Do you believe that He has currently set a race before you called "housewife?"  YES!

Do you want to do what God has asked you to do? YES!

Do you want to become more like Christ? YES!

Do you know that the only person who you have to worry about pleasing is Jesus? YES--Wait, do I really know that?  No I don't, because if I really knew that I would have no problem telling anyone who asks, I am a housewife.  And there it is, the ugly truth.  I worry more about other people thinking I am awesome, than I do about pleasing Jesus.  What pleases Jesus is my submission to His plan for my life.

So why?  Why do I have a hard time with this?  I think it is because at some point in my life I decided that being a housewife was not enough for someone to do with their life.  I wanted to be a housewife, a horse trainer, an olympian, and a business owner. I decided that if I was "just a housewife" I wouldn't be taken seriously.  I thought, only busy people are taken seriously.  I wouldn't be seen by the everyone as a world-changer.  People would look at me as if I was just a housewife and think I am a joke. I wanted to be something.  I wanted people to look at me and say "Wow, she has it all.  Perfect husband, perfect kids, awesome horses, gold medal, and she is making money hand over fist!

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So I took this wrong-thinking into my Christian life with me.  I looked around and saw pillars of faith, KILLING IT for Jesus.  I was like, well I better figure out how to kill it for Jesus too!  Jesus can't just want me to be a housewife, I mean this is not 1950!  He wants me to be a bible student, a missionary, a bible-study leader, a worship leader, be on staff at a church, raise my children into pillars of faith, and have a marriage that reflects Christ's relationship with the church. Hey listen, I read all about the Proverbs 31 woman.  I turned that proverb into a checklist and I set out to nail it.  People would look at me and think, "GOOD GOD IN HEAVEN! That girl loves the Lord! People just look at her and get saved!"

Then I took that wrong-thinking even further.  I decided that if you were not doing "all the things" and "leading all the things" for Jesus you were not a good Christian.  I decided that just being faithful in my role as a housewife was not enough for God.  I needed to do more for Him.  I need to pursue more for Him.  I decided if I was not suffering for Jesus, I was not truly living the Christian life.  I wanted Jesus to be pleased with me.  I knew that He could only be pleased with someone who was going full-bore, full-tilt, 100 mph for Him.

But then I remembered this little jewel:

Romans 12: 1  And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all He has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship Him. 2 Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.

Tyndale House Publishers. Holy Bible: New Living Translation. Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 2013. Print.

The wrongness of my thinking jumps off the page at me.  "Give your bodies to God"--don't tell Him what to do with your body.  "Let them [your bodies] be a living and holy sacrifice--the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship Him"--giving yourself to Him is worshipful, not telling him what you will do for him.  Don't follow the world, let God change you into a new person by changing the way you think.  "Then you will learn to know God's will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect."  Denying His will for you is not good and pleasing and perfect, its wrong.  And it all comes back to submission to God, my friends.  That is what giving your body as living sacrifice means.  It means give yourself to Him, don't tell Him what you want to do for Him.  Oh Jesus, thank you for freeing me from this thinking.

I will confess, in the last two years God has really shown me my lack of submission to Him.  I confess that I will probably always be a person that wants more to do, and wants to strive and strain and have a long to-do list.  I have fought with Jesus over what my lot in life is.  I have declared and decided and pushed my way into things that were never mine in the first place.  How do I know I was pursuing things that  weren't mine?  Because it produced disunity in the body of Christ, instead of unity.  Let me give you some examples.

I pursued being a straight-A bible scholar--almost to the detriment of my marriage.

I pursued being on staff at my church--almost to the detriment of my relationship with my Pastor, his wife, and other staff members, like my own husband.

I pursued being a kick-ass worship leader--almost to the detriment of my friendship with our worship leader and his wife.

I pursued being a bible-study teacher--almost to the detriment of my sanity and the welfare of my family.

Am I proud of my behavior?  No, of course not.  Am I embarrassed that I behaved this way? YES!  Do I wish all the people in my life that I have hurt could just forget what I did?  Oh my gosh, that would be the best!  Am I thankful for God's grace and His ability to bring reconciliation to relationships--YES!  Do I wish He had made me submissive?--YES!  Just kidding! He did not make a mistake, remember? Did I expect Him to teach me about another area of un-submission to Him through typing out the word housewife? No--but I am glad He did because I already have more freedom.

So what now?  What happens when my wrong-thinking is exposed and I have to change?  Well, simply, I let God change me.  He is not wrong, I am.  I know that this is not a job or title issue it is a heart issue.  I know myself well enough to know if I was any of those things from above, I would still look at someone else and say, "Well they are cooler than me, their job is more important than mine."  It's not about the race, it's about my lack of submission.

The problem with my wrong-thinking is that it leads me to rely on myself to serve God and to decide for myself how I will serve God.  In the end that points people who look at me to see me, and not Jesus.  That is not living out that scripture from above which tells us to let God transform you.  The problem with my wrong-thinking is that when I decide there is something I should be doing for God, I will do whatever it takes to get it done, instead of waiting on God's timing.  The problem with my wrong thinking is it makes me want to call myself something other than housewife because I think other parts of the body are cooler than me.  My pride desperately wants you to think I am cool, that you should listen to me and know I am not a joke.  Well, pride and submission can't exist together.  And I am sorry but I love God more than any of you reading this.  God wants me to say, "I am a housewife because this is the race God has laid out in front of me."

So, I am Sarah Griffith, a -gulp- housewife.  That 1950's wife and Rosie The Riveter are both part of my make-up.  I dare you to ask me if I lay around all day and watch soap operas--you will walk away with a fat lip.  I may have been accountable to some wrong thinking, but I would not test my response to this yet.  I am learning how to be honoring of this job because I am love of the God who gave it to me.  Do I still struggle with wanting people to take me seriously? Yes! Do I still want to start every conversation with, "You should think I am cool because of ________________?"  Yes!  But God, is teaching me something.  The God that lives in me is more powerful, smarter and cooler than anything I could do in my own power.  People are attracted to the God in me, not the pride in me.  This God that made the universe also has a race for me, Sarah Griffith, to run and He just wants me to submit to Him, thats it.

What I learned about Jesus from the 1971 Mustang.

I am on a church camp high this week.  Jesus has been moving so clearly in my life that insufferable Jesus Freak Sarah is bubbling right under the surface this week.  I mean He showed up this week in personal ways, just for me, to show me He is fully present.  This Savior blows me away.  I can say things to Him like, "Are you here? Do you really see me?" and He answers me every time.  I am struck by how dumb this question is.  The clay pot made by the potter, looking up at the potter saying, "Are you here? Do you see me?"  The potter could say, "Dude, do you feel my hands around you molding you and shaping you?  Who do you think is doing that?  You dumb pot."  But Jesus, the potter says, "Yes, pot, I am here, I have my hands around you and I am molding you, searching you for areas that need my attention,  I will never let you go because I made you and I am delighted with what I made, I also love to bless you!"  GGGAAHHHH! His word tells us this is true.  The Creator of the universe is the same person who is grooming me to look more like Jesus.  It makes me want to write down what He has done in me this week.

The week started with Jesse and I kicking off our first week of leading Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University.  This class is so special to us because it is the same one that we went through 6 years ago when we were in financial crisis.  As any good Christian wife does, I pray "God help me to respect Jesse the way you want me to.  Make him impressive to me, so I can be impressed by him the way You impress me, Lord."  And HE DID.  Where I have had to micro-manage this class before to make sure everything would go off without a hitch, now stands a man who said, "Lady, I got this under control, get off my job."  As always my first response to this was super holy and Godly, and I said something like, "yeah right, we'll see about that." But God worked on my thought process and asked me to pray for Jesse instead of critique him.  That is hard for me because critiquing Jesse is my spiritual gift.  But I tried, and I was encouraged by Jesus every step of the way.  In the end, I watched my husband start that class with a confidence I have never seen in him before.  He knew what he was going to say, was comfortable in front of the class, and funny (which I put a very high value on.)  I stood there humbled and amazed at what God has done in this man.  And I thanked God for him.  Did you hear me? I THANKED GOD IN THE MIDDLE OF THAT CLASS FOR THE MAN HE IS GROWING JESSE INTO.  I am so struck by this because when we first did this class I was not thankful for this husband of mine.  The fact that we have lived through our financial crisis and are able to lead other people though it is truly a miracle.  The fact that my heart can be thankful we went through all that is proof that God is real for sure.  Here is a brief history of Sarah and Jesse and money--a Greek tragedy.

So here's the deal.  There is no reason why Jesse and I should have ever had money trouble.  We were blessed with a fully functioning portfolio that, placed in the proper hands, would have sustained a family for a lifetime.  We have parents who taught us how to be responsible. We took the MC Hammer route instead. (MC Hammer is a rapper that became rich really fast, spent it all and then had to declare bankruptcy.)  The reason we had money trouble is because we were two selfish people with no other desire when it came to money except to spend it.  And spend it we did.  We kept up with the Joneses, who we didn't even know, but we were keeping up with them.  We were buying things, experiences, horses, cars, and crap to try to find what only God could give us.  I have mentioned before about that gaping hole in my chest. Well one attempt to fill that hole, meant only to be filled by God, was to fill it by spending money.  We were totally ill-equipped to manage the legacy that had been placed into our greedy hands.  I will give you a very unbiased picture of what happened--It was all Jesse's fault.  Just kidding! If you have taken a Dave Ramsey class with us, you know I am the actual spender, Jesse is the saver, but lets just hold onto the fact that we were both to blame.  As it turns out, money problems could touch us.......(watch the video)

See what I did there? I crack myself up.  And yes, I can do that whole rap and dance, just ask me.

As God does, he used our circumstances to finally draw us to him.  Wanting more things, and making more and more purchases leaves you with one problem, no money left.  "No money left" hit us hard.  With no plan and jobs that didn't pay us enough to sustain our spending, loans, and lifestyle, we hit rock bottom.  Our rock bottom did what it should do.  It made us change, and though we did not know it at the time, it was drawing us closer to the Lord.  For the first time ever we had to look at each other and decide how to solve the problem we had gotten ourselves into.  Our first step was to get help.  We had to take a family bail-out just so we didn't lose our house.  We had to hire a financial planner to teach us what in the world to do to get out of the red.  Our only option was a major change and major fire sale. We had to sell everything that we could.  Cars, horse, house, barn, truck, trailer, crap, toys, clothes, shoes, and tools.  Essentially the lifestyle we had become accustomed to was over.  It was change, or live off our family for the rest of our lives.  So where there was a fancy house over in the fancy part of town, now there was a rental house on the affordable side of town.  Where there were fancy new cars, there were used cars.  Where there was excess, there was now a budget.  And this girl had to learn to make dinner so we could eat something other than mac-n-cheese, because the budget did not allow for eating out.

God used all of that to woo us to Him.  If we had not moved to the "affordable" side of town, I would not have met Autumn, who invited me to church, where eventually I got saved.  If I did not sell my barn, I would not have made the one hour commute to the barn in Aubrey allowing me to hear Dave Ramsey on the radio for the first time. Dave Ramsey told me that God had something to say about how I spend money.  If Jesse and I didn't have to finally work together we would have continued to live separate lives using money as our companions.  If we had not had all the money stripped away we would have never realized that the money wasn't the problem, we were.  Those are just a few examples of how God used our circumstances to get us to know Him.  The biggest one being that money was our god instead of Jesus.  We trusted money to save us, not God.  We trusted money to fill the gaping hole, not God.  We trusted money to make us happy and feel loved, not God.  This sweet Savior was not ok with us continuing to ignore Him.  He furiously ran us down, until we had to make a choice.  Love Jesus, or love money.  By some miracle of God we trusted Him and started to release our grip on money.  It took us 5 years to undo what we had done to ourselves.  It took being humiliated, and talked about as "the people who lost all their money" by supposed friends.  It took being crushed by our choices, to get us to finally do this money thing God's way.

Because I am trying to get to a point, I will skip ahead to us attending Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University for the first time.  For the first time we had a plan for money and how to spend it.  For the first time we were not using money to make us happy.  I say for the first time because it would take us starting the Dave Ramsey program THREE times before it actually stuck.  Sin nature would rear up every time.  A mix of budget summits, pie charts, intense negotiations, "I'm right!, No I'm right!", finger-pointing, and intentionally blowing the budget ended up leading us to several false starts.  The flesh dies hard, sometimes it takes us down.  We had to see that rock bottom coming at us again to finally buckle down, be grown ups and submit to what God says about how to spend money.  We were getting to know the Lord and learning to start to trust Him in this area.  He encouraged us with little victories.  Those victories taught us to keep saying no to our flesh and to keep saying yes to God.

So on this side of financial freedom it is important to us to lead these classes so other people are free too.  Money is not a good master, Jesus is a good master.  Debt is a slave driver that will have no mercy on you.  We are so blown away that people actually sign up for these classes because we know how hard it is to take that step.  We are also fully aware of our short-comings and realize only Jesus would use us to tell people about money.  He uses the most jacked up people because they know how badly they messed up with money.  This week when we started another class, we had the sweetest reminder of His faithfulness.

This car.  This car is just a car.  But this car represents a time when we did not know God.  This car is one of the things that got sold off in the great fire sale.  This car was Jesse's dream car.  He drove it in parades (that is why it has City Bank on the side), he worked on it, he dreamed of things he would do to it and with it.  We originally bought it at The Cattle Barron's Ball in Lubbock.  Jesse let me bid on it, so naturally I spent too much on it because that was my super power then.  During the great-sell off we knew we owed Jesse's mom money for some horse stalls she gave us for my barn.  We called her and asked if she would take the mustang instead, and she said yes.  Little did we know that the real reason she did that was to hang on to it so someday Jesse could have it back. Those are the kind of things awesome moms do. Little did we know God had a plan for it too. At the time we were just thrilled we had settled another debt, we didn't care why she wanted it.

This week, the same week we started another Dave Ramsey class, we got this car back.  You can't tell me that is not the Lord.  You can't tell me that God is not all over that to encourage us.  You can't tell me that God does not love to bless His children in the sweetest most personal ways.  Once this car was a tool we used to settle a debt, now it is a reminder of God's faithfulness.  God promises to meet our every need.  We didn't know that because we trusted money to meet our every need.  As we got to know the Lord we learned to put money in its place, a resource God will use in our lives to bring Him Glory.  Nothing more, nothing less.  We had to start living by God's principles for money.  As we said no to our desire to trust money to meet our needs and asked God to meet our needs we crawled toward financial freedom.  We are at place right now where we are free of debt and have a place to put a project car like this.  That is a MIRACLE.  Hear me when I say I am not patting us on the back.  I am giving Jesus a high-five for rescuing us!  We had to let go of this car to get it back in a way that brings God glory. Even the way it got here is a blessing.

When we were in Lubbock for Johnny's funeral I caught Jesse and Brock out in my Mother in law's garage looking over the mustang.  They talked almost all the way to Sweetwater about what they would do to the mustang if they had it back.  It was an "if" conversation for sure.  Then Jesse talked for some time about how Johnny left the legacy of how to build things with Jesse, and Jesse wanted to leave that same legacy with Brock.  He wanted to teach our kids the importance of pursing you passion and letting God use it for His glory.  That planted a seed in my heart.  You see, I am the best wife in the world.  Seriously I should win an award.  I decided that I would try to buy this car back from my Mother in law for my guys for Valentines day.  I was able to make this decision because we are finally in a position where Jesse could have a project car again. I called my mother in law a week later and asked if I could buy it back.  That's when God started to show off.  I say he started to show off because my mother in law's response was, "Sarah, that has alway's been Jesse's car and you don't have to buy it back from me."  What?!? Then as we started to discuss how to get it here, she decided to just bring it down here to us.  WHAT?!? So I don't even have to go to Lubbock to get it?  My mother in law is amazing, yes, but God used her to bless us beyond measure.  So Monday afternoon this beauty showed up.  As the best wife in the world I was so excited to see how Jesse reacted.  He couldn't even talk, He just said, "How did you do that, and how much did it cost?"  He is a saver to his core.  Maybe it's because I am a girl, maybe it's because of my flare for drama, but it is not just a car anymore.

Where there used to be a car, bought to try to fill a hole, there is a car where a father and son will get to work to make it run, driveable and cool.  A father will pass on to his son the skills he is passionate about.  Most importantly a father will teach his son that this car represents a time when he did not trust the Lord, and then a time when he did trust the Lord and the Lord blessed him.  He will tell his son that making a car work can be a skill God will use to bless someone, and making a car cool can tip over into worshiping the car.  These are all lessons Jesse has learned, and lived out.  As a fellow believer in Christ I love to see Jesus bless Jesse and encourage him in this personal way.  As someone who has struggled with materialism it is cool to see God say, "It's not the stuff, it's the heart posture, stay focused on Me, and have fun with this car."  For me I look at this car and see God's faithfulness to us.  He promised us that if we would trust Him he would meet all our needs.  That is the understatement of the century.  If we trust Him we enter into the sweetest relationship in the universe.  The Good, Good Father, meets our needs but also blesses us in such personal ways.  The Creator of the universe cared that we were worshiping money and not Him and pursued us to teach us that Jesus is better.

Jesus is better.  I read a book this week that is centered around that theme.  It is "If You Only Knew," by Jamie Ivey.  Even that book was a personal blessing for me because she talks about how to live in a vulnerable way.  Moments that have led me to think this blog is a joke were washed away because God used her story to encourage me to keep writing about what God is doing in my life.  Telling people what God has done, taught and lead us through brings God glory.  Even writing about how we have done things wrong, but Jesus is right, brings God glory.  And the tears come, because Jesus is better.  I cry because He shows me His loving-kindness when I look back.  When I see where we were and where we have come from.  When I look up and see that I am married to a Godly man who loves the Lord enough to stand up to me and say, "Lady, I got this, back off!" When I look up and see that money doesn't have any control over me anymore.  When I look up and see that I get to use what God has given us to bless other people.  Jesus is better, just like Jamie says in her book.  Jesus is so much better.  We didn't get ourselves out of financial trouble, Jesus saved us.  We don't live generously becasue we are so great, we live generously becasue Jesus changed our hearts.  I don't write this blog because I need more attention, I write it so that Jesus gets more attention in my life.  Jesus is better.




The gaping hole in my chest.

I am absolutely cracking up right now as I revise this again for the 3rd time.  I wrote this last week, re-read it and decided it would offend too many people.  I revised it, neutered it and was left with a partial story that only reflected half of what God has taught me about this subject.  I didn't have time to send it to my editor (Jesse) so I just saved it and was going to send it today.  Then we went to church on Sunday.  Now, I'm mature enough to know that the whole church service was not just for me, but let me just tell you that the whole church service was just for me!  We went over Ephesians 2:19-22.  Pastor Doug made the point that our foundation is built on the truth of God, not on our feelings.  Can I just say how much I love that Pastor Doug is bold enough to always tell us the truth?  No matter how uncomfortable it makes him, he knows the truth is what will really change us. Now what does that all that have to do with me?  Well, writing down that feelings are not what I base my life on is what I took out of the original post.  And I, in that church service on Sunday gulped, because I always do that when God shows me that HE IS REALLY WATCHING ME AND GUIDING ME, and then I remembered that I am not writing these things down to make friends with anyone, I am writing them down to keep track of what God is doing in my life.  So here is the real story.

Yes, I have a gaping hole in my chest.  I don’t like to talk about it, in fact I like to just keep it covered up, and I try to ignore it.  It is there though, and I have tried to manage it for years as it just kept getting deeper and deeper.  As with anything I write about you know there will be a back story!

As a kid my anxiety lead me to try to control as much of my life as I could.  What I could plan, I would, and where I couldn’t plan, I would fight for power or control of the situation.  This mainly fell to my little brother. I’m so sorry bro, I know I was awful to you.  Please accept my spoiling of your kids as payment for my transgressions.  Also I took you to the arcade for your birthday, what else do you want from me? Plus I toughened you up so you could serve in the military and I never got a thank you note from you.  It also fell on my mom.  Listen, there have been conversations with her where I just say, “mom, I’m so sorry for the years I was 16-21.”  I was a psycho to her.  She truly is a saint for not murdering me.  I don’t think the authorities would have prosecuted her, especially after they talked to my brother.   I would imagine she has had some satisfaction as she watches me try to navigate the teen years with Sydney.  My parents did something amazing though when I was 13.  They got me into horses.  I was able to really focus my energy on horses and it was a really great outlet for me.  But the anxiety had to go somewhere.  It could not be ignored, it could only be stuffed down the gaping hole in my chest.

In High School I turned to drinking and partying and chasing boys.  I took on the, “Well, at least the drinking and partying numbs the anxiousness, and the boys make me feel good about myself” mentality.  Thank the Lord in heaven that High School is only 4 years long because no one would survive that place if it was any longer.  My high school years were the first time I felt and understood what I call my “gaping hole in my chest.”  No, I do not have an actual gaping hole in my chest.  I mean that I started to feel this emptiness, a sort of missing part of who I was.  This gaping hole was the unrest or lack of peace that kept me searching for something to fill it with, to give me peace.  It was the place I stuffed all the anxiety, disappointment and pain that one gather’s during that awful time called high school.

Then college.  Oh, Texas Tech how I love you to my core.  You were freedom and my stomping ground.  You, beloved Tech, where I learned about roommates who drive you nuts, financial aid lines, admission lines, food lines, and meat judging.  My time at Tech I think has been slightly romanticized in my mind, but none the less it was an amazing time for me.  And the exams, God help us all, the exams.  My kryptonite.  Give me a project to do, a paper I can buy off the internet, but not 4 exams for a final grade.  The anxiety that this caused me lead to some of the most horrific panic attacks.  I would stuff all this down that gaping hole and then eventually there was a kind of volcanic explosion.  It’s like my stomach said, “Oh no, you are not stuffing all that down here!” And it rejected it with some force.  There are only so many volcanic reactions to stress your body can handle.  My roommates knew something was wrong, or that I was crazy and told me to go to the med center at Tech. Up to that point I had always suffered with panic attacks, albeit not volcanic ones,  but never knew what they were.  The medical center at Tech helped me understand and treat them.  They said, “plenty of sleep,” (right, the bars don’t open until 10), "eat right and drink lots of water," (sure thing, Zima is 90% water), and “make sure you set aside plenty of time to study so you won’t have to cram,” (right, let’s not get crazy now). This is when I learned how to “manage” my anxiety.

Managing anxiety came in the form of lovely new pill called Zoloft.  It was a blessing, I think, because it allowed me to finish school  and get my degree in Agricultural Economics.  Now, I only graduated with a 2.4 gpa, but I did graduate.  That is what matters.  Remember that gaping hole in my chest?  Well the Zoloft made me feel that hole less and less.  It also allowed me to think, “You know what self, I bet when you get this degree, that hole will close up finally.”  Guess what, it didn’t.  The hole just became bigger when graduation did not satisfy that hole.  However, the good news was this cowboy had caught my eye, we were getting married and just knew that marriage is what that hole needed.

Oh sweet Jesse.  Do you think he knew at that point that he was marrying someone who had Olympic level anxiety and a gaping hole in her chest?  Do you think he knew that she expected him to solve the anxiety problem and fill that hole?  No, he did not.  Because in that moment he was thinking, “You complete me” and I was thinking, “You complete me” (damn you Jerry McGuire, for putting that thought in our heads), and in the end neither of us completed anything and we wound up with two broken halves.  I can remember when I woke up from that “honeymoon” stage and realized that the hole was still there.  The disappointment I felt when I realized marriage had not filled the hole, but made the hole even bigger and deeper.  So I looked for something else to ease, cover up and deal with that hole.

This is where we take a big left turn. I jumped fully-clothed into the deep end of the homeopathic, chakra-aligning, aura-sensing, crystal-carrying, herb, guided-meditation, Reiki-practicing, house-smudging pool.  Remember I am someone who, when I do something, I jump in feet first, full-tilt, 100 mph.  I studied, I researched, I went to classes and I practiced everything I learned that might help fill this hole.  I decided I was out of alignment with the universe and I had to get myself cleansed of all the bad energy that got me off-balance in the first place.  Poor Jesse, pray for him.  I drug him into it too.  I would mix up tinctures for him, encourage him to realign his chakras and made him carry different crystals in his pockets.  I also feng shui-ed our house and barn.  Then I smudged them with a special sage I bought in New Mexico.  I would have loved to know what the horses thought about all that.  I imagine it was something like, “Look at the crazy broad lighting that hay on fire.  Does she think that will make us do what she says?  Has she been smoking that hay?”  I got more and more involved in these practices and just thought the better I got at them the more relief I would feel.  I spent several years studying these practices.  I was getting in tune with my feelings.  If it didn't feel good, I didn't do it.  If it felt good, I would do it.  I started to let my feelings and my heart guide me.  The problem is that the deeper I got into this way of living, the worse I felt.  After a few very scary experiences trying to “connect” with the universe, and a few shyster's that took a lot of money from me, I was left disappointed.  Guess what, that hole just got bigger and bigger.

After that disappointment, I just threw myself head-long into my horse career.  I felt like this was my purpose and I needed to get this done and be the best.  I went to California, bought an imported horse from Germany, and I started to go to shows all the time to build a name for myself.  Libero is a dream horse.  I literally won all the awards you can win in Texas on him except for one.  He is a great horse, and I’m happy to say living a very nice retired life with his girlfriend at my friend's house here in Rockwall.  When it was all said and done, I still had that hole.  So my heart said, "buy another horse, even better than Libero!"  So I did, and soon after had to put him down because of a birth defect.  In the end, I was left disappointed again, and very sad.  That hole was even bigger.

In the midst of the horse situation I decided I needed to have kids.  Nothing fixes a situation like having kids.  I mean, they make a family a family right?  WRONG!  But my heart said. "go for it!" I found out that kids are terrorists who work for some sort of underground group until they are a least 4 years old.  It’s not until then that you can get a rational thought to come out of them.  God makes them cute so you don’t realize you are actually a hostage in a hostile situation with no one to come rescue you.  All of you who say, “Oh, you will miss it, it goes by so fast,” let me respond by saying it doesn’t go fast enough!  And every time you said that to me I thought to myself, “I don’t know how I will miss this at all, I just want to survive it.” Of course some part of that is true, and what I miss now is the little babies who looked up at you cooed and loved you because they could do nothing for themselves.  Little do you know at the time that those sweet infants drink a certain amount of milk and turn into toddlers who work for terrorists. It’s like gremlins, but way worse.  They don’t just come out and kill you, they kill you slowly over time—4 years to be exact.  When you finally think that you are literally going to die, they look up at you and say something rational for the first time and your hope in life is restored.  But then they do the most heinous thing possible, they start to grow up.  They start to have their own thoughts and things they want to do.  They don’t need you anymore like they once did.  And you feel your heart start to break into pieces because you realized there is nothing for it, they will leave you some day.  Or worse, they might never leave because you did not do your job of raising them.  After Jesse's edit of this post he feels that I come off a little "anti-kid" in this paragraph.  Please know that I am not anti-kid, but I am anti-kid if you are having a kid to fix the gaping hole in your chest.  Now that I know the Lord I wish I could have a million kids because I would find so much joy in parenting a toddler now as a believer.  Trying to raise kids with that gaping hole was really hard, and I do miss it, and I do wish I could do it again.  All I am trying to communicate here is that kids did not fix the hole.

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Somewhere in the middle of all this, I went into survival mode because there was no other ideas to fill the hole.  In the midst of pre-school, PTA, Region 9 Dressage championships, counseling, money problems and marriage problems I just shut it all down.  I sought anything that would numb that gaping hole.  I turned to legal drugs and smoking.  I say legal drugs only because my Doctor prescribed them, in the end I was doing the same thing anyone who is seeking recreational drugs is doing—numbing out.  I smoked like they were going to stop making cigarettes.  It didn’t help that most horse people smoked too.  The anxiety was still there but I just stopped myself from feeling anything. I stopped myself from feeling good, bad or other.  I was just there, going thought the motions of the American dream.

Here is the hard truth that I learned.  No matter what I thought would fill it, no matter what I did would fix it, no matter what new things I tied, no matter what “next goal” I achieved, no matter what my feelings told me, that gaping hole just got bigger and bigger.  The size of it alone was so scary I didn’t even want to look down into it because I was afraid of what was there.  Every time I put my trust in someone or something and was disappointed, that disappointment led to the bottom of that hole getting deeper and deeper.  The good news is that the hole served a purpose.  It drove me to the end of myself.  It drove me to throw my hands up and say I can’t fix, fill or hide this hole anymore.  I had to stop trusting my feelings and find the one thing that wouldn't disappoint me.  I believe we all have this hole in us.  I believe that we, as God’s creation, were given this hole for the very reason that it will eventually bring us to the end of us trying to fix it.  It brings us to the end of trying to understand this life without God at the center of it.  We either surrender to the truth that God is the one who can fix us or we give up entirely.  You see, what God taught me is that the gaping hole I was feeling in my chest was made by me trying to build my life on my feelings.

All these feelings I have, that I follow because I believe I know what will make life better, are actually lies.  I would put all my hopes in them and give it the ol’ college try and eventually I was left disappointed, again.  Do you feel yourself say, “If I can just get to this point, everything will be better.”  Or do you look at someone else and say, “If I could be ___________ like her, I would be happy.”  Do you buy in over and over to the “next big thing?"  Let me say, I have been there too.  I wish I could have the money back from the times I got fully on board with something that I hoped would have filled that gaping hole.  If I can put this bug in your ear and tell you, I have been to the bottom of that thought process, it will disappoint.  I will admit that all this disappointment has made me a little cynical about things that make promises. The only answer is Jesus.  I have tried to cover that gaping hole in my chest with everything I could think of, everything I felt was right,  and every time I took that covering off, there was that gaping hole, even deeper than the last time I looked at it.  The thing with Jesus is he doesn’t cover that hole, he fills it.

My feelings, husband, my kids, my money, my stuff, my horses, my friends, my social status, my home and my ability to align my chakras all left that hole a little bigger when I trusted them to make it all better.  And then this savior, this Jesus came in and started to pour himself into that gaping hole.  I started to feel full, whole.  For the fist time ever I started feeling a stability that I had never felt before.  I had somewhere to put that anxiety, someone to give it to who could actually do something with it.  I had someone to talk to when I was losing it.  He didn’t tell me “Here is how you fix it, try this.” He said, “You can’t fix it, believe in me.”  He told me, "Just because you feel this way does not mean it is true, I am truth, trust me.  Is it an easy life with Jesus? No, it is not.  It takes me sitting down and studying my bible even though I don't want to.  Filling that gaping hole takes me denying myself, saying no to feelings that don't line up with what Jesus says, and saying no to my desire to satisfy my own needs, and following Jesus.  And of course, I can't just decide to do these things.  It can only happen when I have a relationship with Jesus and He empowers me to do these things.  Without that relationship I would never willingly read my bible!  The reward, though, oh my gosh the reward!  The stability, the fullness, the wholeness I get to walk in now makes all that pain worth it.  Do you feel a gaping hole?  I pray you will let Jesus fill it.