Five Minute Friday ~ Plan

I’ve missed these days. Five Minute Friday. The day we just write without worrying if it is just right. Unedited, unscripted, unpolished. Just write. Welcome to my Five Minute Friday post.

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Plan

We all have them. Some of us have a 1-year plan, others have 5-year plans, some even have retirement plans when they are 30.

That’s all well and fine, but what happens when God has another plan?

I’ve been following this amazing blog called Mundane Faithfulness. If you’re not following it yet, do yourself a favor and get over there. (Though, can you finish reading this first? Once you get there, I won’t see you for a while) 🙂

Let me just say, Kara Tippetts faithfulness is anything but mundane. She is a superstar in my eyes when it comes to faithfulness.

Kara

This beautiful, loving, kind 38 year old is seeing the very possible end of her planning days. Her body is failing. She is dying. God has a plan.

What amazes me, day in and day out, about Kara is her attitude. I have no doubt that God’s plan looks nothing like she hoped it would. In fact, I’m reading her amazing book The Hardest Peace and I am seeing how she, like everyone, had a different plan in mind than diminishing health. Church planting, a young family to raise, friendships to make.

However, in spite of her life taking a very hard turn, she has not only accepted but embraced God’s plan in a way I wonder if I would ever be able to.

You know when your plans go askew – maybe that vacation you were planning for had to be cancelled. How do you handle it? Are you angry, bitter, sullen? Yeah, usually my reaction is similar. Even in the small things.

Yet, Kara has been asked to trust and embrace an eternity plan, and she is shining through it. She is so very real on her blog that I know she has her very sad days, but she trusts in the One who had the plan from the beginning. She knows that, even in the hard, God’s plan is the best plan.

Peace flows like a calm river from each of her blog posts and the pages of her book.

She accepts the plan of her Creator. She knows that whatever He is doing is good. She may not see all the good now, but she trusts that she will one day know it all. That He will wrap His arms around her and reveal His plan and how many people she has touched in this journey for Him. The journey in the hard of life.

I know that one day He will embrace her and say “Well done, good and faithful servant”.

He has a plan. My life has been intertwined with Kara’s, thanks to the internet, for a time. She doesn’t know me, but I feel like I know her. God’s plan for Kara’s life has touched mine. I know God has a plan for my life too. In the good and in the hard, I want to have mundane faithfulness like Kara.

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Kara, you probably won’t see this but I want to place it here in case you do. You have deeply touched my heart with your honesty and bravery in this journey you are on. You have a peace that I desire so deeply and have encouraged me to dig deeper in my quiet times that I too might be able to have peace in the hard. You have touched many lives and don’t, even for a second, believe that God isn’t working through you. Even from that bed, you touch lives all over the world. Bringing hope, encouragement and a yearning for a glimpse of the God that is holding you. Thank you, dear sister-in-Christ, for sharing your journey with me. I pray for you often and look forward to the day when I will meet you in eternity and give you a hug. Thank you for all you’ve given me in your humble blog.

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~Sarah

FMF

 

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No Home for Complacency

I am weary. Weary to the very depths of my being.

Broken and broken hearted.

I am so tired of complacency. Unawareness. Dangerous unawareness.

I think that I am happy. I think things are good. I am complacent. I’ve allowed satan to slowly blind my eyes. To the point where I don’t see the issue. I don’t see the danger.

Then, because He is merciful, God tears away the blinders… and I see.

The mess. The horrible, devastating crippling disaster that I have allowed to happen right in front of me.

It brings me to my knees. How could I have let this happen? How could I have let satan, the ENEMY of my SOUL, get such an anchor in?

Shame, horror, pain and a grief so deep drive me to my knees. I see who I am. I see the rubble. The complete devastation of myself.

I see Him. Through a mirror dimly, but Him. The light of His glory. I see how I have no idea of the size and power of the King I have promised my all to.

The mess can be made clean. The destruction… restoration.

Not by me. Only by Him.

I am done with dangerous unawareness. I am no home for complacency.

The blinders are off and I will fight to keep them off.

Thank you, Lord. The revelation is painful, but I know You are with me in the clean-up. You faithful will remain.

Will You Dare to Love?

By Seyed Mostafa Zamani

DARE TO LOVE
It’s all over the news. The world can’t stop watching. We shouldn’t stop watching. We know that all around the world there are people being persecuted. It may be for their social position, for their unique abilities, for their family status or it may be for their faith.

In Iraq there are many people who fall into that last category. You’ve seen it on the news if you are even remotely plugged in to what’s going on in the world. The President has spoken on it several times lately. In Iraq, Christians are being given an ultimatum. “Convert, pay up… or DIE.” Yep, those are the options. Give up your faith, pay them money, or ‘face the sword’. Wow, sounds like an offer they can’t refuse.

In a country where the national average is $5000, a lot of people don’t have the money to spare in order to pay ‘protection money’. 25% of the people in Iraq live below the poverty line. So they run. Leaving all they have known, towards the unknown with just the clothes on their backs. It’s all over the news. How can we see this and do nothing?

Forced to dig through garbage to help make a living for their families. Photo from UN.

Forced to dig through garbage to help make a living for their families. Photo from UN.

A sweet friend of mine, along with a few of her friends, have set up an organization called ‘DARE TO LOVE’. They aren’t a national organization, but they have their hearts set on the nation of Iraq. They are selling t-shirts and giving 75% of the proceeds to ‘Samaritan’s Purse’. I asked her a few questions and would like to share them with you.

Alex has been on my blog before. If you’ve been following for a while, you’ll remember her as we followed her journey with her sweet daughter Noel. Now, Alex has taken up the cause of many other families.

Thanks, Alex for chatting with me. Tell us, what is it about this cause that drew your attention?

As you know Caleb and I lost Noel 16 months ago. I’m a completely different person from 16 months ago. I may not physically look different but if you were to look at my heart, it would be crushed into a billion different pieces. Not only because I lost my daughter but because God reveals to me everyday that I’m not the only one with a heart in this condition. Reading and learing and seeing what is happening in Iraq would leave me speechless. I asked God to impress on my heart what the Iraqi people were feeling. An overwhelming amount of sadness and heartache and hopelessness came over me. I knew, this is how they feel times 100. I would wake up in the middle of the night and cry and pray. I can only imagine how it would feel to lose a loved one the way they have. To lose a child the way they have. So I guess to answer the question, my heart breaks every day for them.

How did the ‘Dare to Love’ idea begin?

I recently ordered a shirt from two girls to benefit The A21 Campaign, a campaign that saves and helps human trafficking victims. I wanted to do something similar, ok well the exact same, ha ha ha! I know it may seem silly but I really admired what they did and thought doing something like this was out of reach. I read something Christine Caine said, “If you can figure a way to make it happen, you need to DREAM BIGGER.” Well, I figured a way to make this happen, so I just need to dream bigger.

How did you determine the right charity to donate the money to?

I’m not sure if you know this but a Franklin Graham Festival came through El Paso, TX this year in April. I was blessed enough to work for them. Franklin Graham started Samaritan’s Purse. Samaritan’s Purse has been helping people who are suffering in Iraq. Since I worked for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association choosing Samaritan’s Purse was a no brainer. And of course I prayed about it!

Why shirts?

I think a shirt is a great way to promote anything. Not only are you donating to a worthy cause but you become a walking billboard. If someone asks, “What’s Dare to Love?” you can tell them what it is and why you decided to give to this specific charity and cause. I think we would be shocked by how many people are blinded by what’s happening in the world, so the shirt is a great conversation starter.

CHECK OUT THE WEBSITE HERE! Help Iraqi families and get your shirt to start the conversation!

Click here to help families in Iraq!

I’d love to add first names here of people who donated! Will you be the first? Let me know if you donate and I’ll add your name here!!

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~Sarah

The Thorn

2 Cor 12 9

I wondered aloud today if the apostle Paul every grew weary of the ‘thorn’ in his flesh. Or, was he fine with it because it was part of God’s plan and could (and probably did) bring glory to His name.

I got my answer when I looked at 2 Corinthians 12. Paul says:

“Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me.”

Boy, oh boy, Paul. I can identify with the pleading. I spend a lot of my time there on days like today.

Today I am weary as well. I like to think I’ve been doing better. I like to think that I am less anxious, less stressed and able to give more of my ‘control’ (yep, totally delusional, I know) over to the One who has the actual control.

But today, I am failing. Today I feel like the battle is huge. Today the anxiety is a hard fight.

I long for the day that I can say, like Paul:

“Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

I am not content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecution and calamities. I feel like everyone else around me handles these things with much more strength, faith and grace than I do. I feel weak and no where near strong.

Thankfully, I have no trouble believing that He is strong. I just hope that soon I can bring glory to His name during days my thorn is fighting for my focus and attention and not just on days when I feel fine.

Lord, help me to boast in my weakness. I could use Your power resting upon me. And peace, please. Your peace that passes all understanding would be really nice right about now. Thank you that You know what You’re doing… even when I don’t see it.

Especially when I don’t see it.

Amen.

Ignoring the Giver

I just heard this song for the first time the other day.  I don’t know about you, but some songs have the power to stop me in my tracks and sometimes it seems like I’ve even stopped breathing just to listen.  This song did, and continues to, as I listen and think on the words.

I see the work of Your Hands
Galaxies spin in a Heavenly dance, oh God
All that You are is so overwhelming

I hear the sound of Your Voice
All at once it’s a gentle and thundering noise, oh God
All that You are is so overwhelming

I delight myself in You
Captivated by Your beauty
I’m overwhelmed, I’m overwhelmed by You

God, I run into Your arms
Unashamed because of mercy
I’m overwhelmed, I’m overwhelmed by You

Overwhelmed.  When I listen to this song, and quite a few others, I am just that.  I am overwhelmed at how deeply and completely lacking I am.

I am overwhelmed at the majesty of Him.  The deep and complete power and strength of Him.  The compassion, love, mercy and grace He shows me.  The reminder that I am worthy, because He said I am.  I don’t need to see the approval of man.  I don’t need to run in the ‘right circles’.  I don’t need to make the money the power players do.  I don’t need to be the focus of attention, be it in person or on social media.

Yet, I struggle.  I struggle to keep my focus on this magnificent God who has and is doing more for me than anything and anyone could ever do.

If you have followed this blog, or visited on occasion, you’ll know pretty quickly that I am a storm-enthusiast.  He’s given me an enthusiasm for all things storm after letting go of a 25 year fear.  I am so grateful for this.  As the dark clouds close in, I thank Him for the joy I take in them.

I have many storm chasing friends.  I’ve been blessed in making the connections I have.  Yet, I admit to making an idol of some of them.  My own stupidity.  I can look back and see how I’ve placed these very human people on a pestle because of what they do.  Not even for who they are.  Just for their job or hobby.  Sadly, relationships have changed because of my own inability to see them for who they are, beyond what they do.

I know this about myself and have been harmed by this way of thinking but I still see myself jumping at opportunities to be around them.  Not that hanging out with them is bad at all, but I feel like my priorities haven’t been where they should be.

It’s really disappointing.

I think nothing of passing off quiet time with my Father in lieu of blogging, finishing a movie, writing, reading.  Seemingly everything takes priority.  Prayer reserved for times of need. Relationship forgotten.

This is the same God that overwhelms me in the lyrics of a song, the creativity of a sunset, the majesty and power of a storm… and I can’t be bothered to continue developing a relationship with Him.

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One of my favourite places

The same God who gave me a passion for storms and has brought amazing people into my world to show me more about it… and I would rather develop those relationships than the One who put it all into motion.

I think it’s great to have friends.  I’m grateful for each and every one of them.  I think it’s great to want to spend time with my storm chaser friends, to encourage, to support, to learn from.  I need balance though.  I want balance.

I don’t want to ignore heaven and then find that heaven is ignoring me.

I don’t want to ignore the Gift-Giver and spend all my time on the gift.

I want my focus to be on the Creator and not on the created.

I believe that if my focus is there, that all the other relationships will fall into order.

~Sarah

Memories of Noel: The Darkness and the Light

Alex Quote

Sometimes God does things we don’t understand.  Sometimes we go through something so hard that it feels like the next breath will shatter all that we are.  Yet, He’s always with us.  Even in the darkest of moments, He is there.

If you’ve been following my blog at all, you will know of Noel’s story.  Of the miracle of her life.  If you don’t know Noel’s story, please click here and read what I’m talking about.

Noel's Slideshow

I’ve been honoured to share Caleb and Alex’s journey through all this.  I spent months praying for little Noel as her due date approached, I’ve rejoiced with them as she defied all odds and they brought her home, I remember well the tears I cried as they asked for desperate prayer a short time before she went home and then in the days that followed.  My family still prays for this wonderful, godly couple with each new day.

I am so grateful that, of all my blog posts, Noel’s story is the one that is visited the most often.  If I get a day where Noel’s story hasn’t been viewed at least once, that’s a rare day.  This story of God’s mercy, love and strength is still reaching out to people around the world.  To God be the glory as He continues to move through this amazing little girl and her wonderful parents.

As we remember Noel’s arrival into the Father’s arms, I wanted to chat with Caleb and Alex about this journey that they have been on.  They have been, from the beginning, so honest and open with everything.  I wanted to give my readers, those still visiting Noel’s story, a look into the lives of this amazing couple.

If you’ve been through the loss of a child, some of the questions and answers may bring back memories of your own.  Caleb and Alex have been honest about their struggles and triumphs and I know that you will be kind as they answer some very tough questions.  🙂

Thank you Caleb and Alex for being willing to join me and discuss this past year and all that it involved.  I continue to be amazed and inspired with how you walked this journey.  I can’t imagine how difficult this has been and I’m honoured that you will let me share your thoughts and feelings for those who have been following and for those that may walk a similar road in the future.

Thank you both, for being willing to chat with me about your precious daughter and how your lives have changed.  First of all, can you tell me a little about your journey in the past year? Emotionally and spiritually?

Alex: Wow! That is truly a loaded question. Emotionally right after we lost Noel I was a complete and total wreck. I was depressed, suicidal, and hopeless. Depression hit me hard. I have never been depressed before, but now I understand why some people commit suicide. I understand how hopeless and alone and lost depression makes you. I tell Caleb, it’s so hard, what we’re going through is so hard, and we have Jesus, I still have hope, yet thoughts of suicide still run through my mind. There are people out there who don’t know the hope that I have. And that is a scary and real thing to realize. I was so attacked by the enemy; suicide was not a distant thought. I thought it day and night for months. I clung on to the little hope that I did have in the Lord. I honestly believe if I didn’t have Jesus, I would’ve killed myself. I remember thinking that every day. I remember telling the enemy, no I’m not going to kill myself, I won’t do it because that’s what you want and everything will go in vain. Spiritually I was so mad at God. I remember telling Him all the time that I was so mad and disappointed in Him. It was in those moments that I would feel His arms wrap around me and tell me He knew what he was doing. I felt Him say it was ok that I was mad and disappointed, but I couldn’t lose my trust in Him, my faith in Him, my hope in Him. So that’s exactly what I did. I would sob each day, tell Him how hurt I was, and each day He would reassure me that everything I was feeling was normal and that tears were medicine.

Caleb: It has been a hard year. This has been the hardest thing I have ever had to go through. Our marriage was on the rocks for a time and we have had many emotional nights and many tears we have cried. We have had to rely on God to get us through this.

Noelfamily

How has your world changed in the past year?

Alex: I turned 24 right before Caleb and I got married, I got pregnant 3 weeks after, we had Noel 39 weeks later, lost Noel after 15 days with her, and 13 days later I turned 25. Who would’ve thought in one year your world could turn completely upside down. You see things differently, feel things differently, and live life differently. You learn to cherish moments you wouldn’t have cherished before and try to not take anything for granted. The Lord has showed me that beauty really does come from ashes.

Caleb: I view people with special needs in a whole new light. Any time I see a person with special needs I immediately think of Noel because that’s what she would have been. I used to think about parents that had children with special needs and wondered if it was hard having a child like that. Now that I have had a daughter like that I realized it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter the disabilities they have, if they would have to live with you their whole life, if it would be expensive, if it would be a difficult emotional journey etc. You would do whatever you needed to do because you love them so much. I also see having a baby in a whole new light. Many people take having a baby for granted. Like that’s just something you do. It’s a part of life. But for us it isn’t. Chances are we will never be able to have a healthy baby of our own.  One of the things I feel God has been teaching me through all this to be thankful. So often I think about other people and how easy it is for them to have healthy babies and I think why couldn’t we have that? But God has been showing me that I need to be thankful for what I do have. I can walk, I can see, I live in a developed country with clean water and food. He has been showing me that I need to appreciate and be thankful for all that I do have. It can be hard sometimes but really try and see all the blessings he has given me because there are so many!

Your marriage was still very new when you found out you were expecting Noel, how do you both feel Noel’s life affected your marriage?

Alex: It was extremely new! Her life was my biggest blessing. She did things others couldn’t have and shined Jesus brighter than I’ve ever seen anyone shine Jesus. I wouldn’t change having her for one second. Did you know the divorce rate for couples that have lost a child goes up to 90%?!?! I’m not going to lie, losing a child is extremely hard on a marriage. I am blessed to have a husband who will fight for me and stand by my side no matter what. There were times I was ready to get divorced and Caleb would sit there and say no. He fought for us every single day. Everybody handles grief differently. Losing Noel didn’t hit Caleb has hard as it hit me, and that’s ok. I had to come to a place and understand that I carried her and he didn’t. I had a connection and love for her that he didn’t, a mother’s love. That was hard to understand. Would I go through having her again, absolutely! Would I want to handle my grief differently, of course. I believe it was by the grace of God that our marriage is where it is now. I’ve never been or felt more in love than I do today. I married an exceptional man of God.

Caleb: It affected our marriage tremendously! For a while our marriage was really struggling. The number of fights we had and tears we cried I feel like were in the millions. There was a long time that I did not know if we were going to stay together or not. It was EXTREMELY difficult. But we have made it through and I think our marriage is stronger because of it. I feel like if we made it through this we can make it through anything!

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Throughout all the tears and all the struggles, did you get support from unexpected sources?

Alex: Yes! A Thousand trillion billion times yes! I once read a blog and it said that it’s extremely hard for people who are grieving to reach out to others, and I completely agree. When someone would text me to let them know if I needed anything, I thought, I can barely get out of bed in the morning. I learned that I want to be a good support system for others who are going through a similar situation, God really convicted me. I honestly think it’s really hard for people to be sensitive, or somewhat understand, if they haven’t been through what you’ve been through. That‘s also something I’ve learned… to be more sensitive, I want to be more sensitive. Now when I hear of someone going through a situation that was close to ours I go home and cry and have Caleb hold me. I pray for them A LOT.

Caleb: The support we got from the members of our church was unbelievable. When Noel was here someone was at our house everyday bringing us food. Not only that our whole church family was standing with us and praying for us and Noel. What is just as amazing is the prayer and support we were getting from everyone all over the world! There were people praying for us that we have never even met! Alex and I were in awe of the amount of people praying for us. We felt so loved and honored to be prayed for and thought of as much as we were. People were praying for us from all over the world!  Also, when my family set up the donation fund we got donations from dozens of people! Some from my work, family, and friends of ours. We even got donations from people we had never met! I could not believe how giving people were! I even got a card and donation from two former students of mine that I thought weren’t very fond of me. But they both had recently had children and our situation must have hit home for them. Even now just thinking about all of it, I cannot believe how many people supported us

It was such a joy to watch the support pour in.  Even on the blogs I did, there were people reaching out with prayer and support!!  Were there any positive situations that arose that surprised you guys?

Alex: Oh gosh yes! People came to the Lord because of Noel. I mean two souls were saved because of one person. That’s amazing in my opinion. I’m honored to be called her mom. God is good, even in the darkness. To know that that was her purpose in life, well it leaves me speechless.

Caleb: The amount of people that Noel’s life touched is unbelievable. I had no idea how many lives she would touch. Her life went around the world. We heard many stories of how Noel touched their lives and I know there are many more that we will never know. Some people even came to Christ because of it. It is hard not having Noel here and it hurts. It hurts a lot. But knowing how much she has done for the kingdom of God makes it so much easier. She did more for the kingdom of God than I probably ever will.

What is your most favourite memory of your time with Noel? (If it’s even possible to pinpoint one or two)

Alex: I was just praying on the drive home that I would never forget the day we brought Noel home.  I love that day so much! We never thought we were going to bring her home. I remember praying so much that we would bring her home, and we did J I loved the day she was born. I loved having her on my chest and having her all to myself. I absolutely loved being pregnant! I tell Caleb all the time that I miss it so much. I miss being uncomfortable and peeing every 2 minutes, and feeling her kick my ribs, and not being able to sleep at night. I miss it so much! The Lord really showed me that I NEEDED to enjoy this because there are hundreds of women out there who will never experience this. I was so honored that the Lord would allow me to experience feeling Noel and I really embraced it. I had a choice, I could either sit there and complain about the miracle that was happening inside of me, or enjoy every second I had with her. I mean, those nine months were the longest time I had with her.

Caleb: I don’t have one favorite memory of Noel. I love them all! I loved holding her, I loved her smell. I even loved changing her diaper! I thought I would hate changing her diaper! Because seriously!?! Who likes to change a baby’s poopy diaper?!? I didn’t think I would but I did. Because it was Noel’s diaper. It was my beautiful daughter’s diaper.

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Despite all the joy and peace that you have been able to find, what do you still struggle with?

Alex: Depression. I still have more bad days than good and still cry most days than not. But I’m more ok with not being ok all the time. I know I’m not going to feel this way the rest of my life but the Lord has assured me that crying is perfectly ok. I don’t let it consume me like before and I know that no amount of time will heal me, but through the Lord and his unfailing love I will be more than ok one day.

Caleb: It can still be hard to see babies and women who are pregnant. Whenever I do I think of Noel. It can still be quite difficult for me.

Do you struggle with anger at other parents? With the Lord?

Alex: I don’t think I ever really felt angry toward other parents. I feel sad, because I miss Noel. I would get irritated when women would complain about their pregnancy or when parents would complain about their late nights and no sleep. Because still, I would give anything to have late nights and no sleep if that meant Noel was still here.

Caleb: I was never angry at other parents. But I do think they often take having children for granted.  Like it’s just part of life. I wish they could all truly appreciate what a beautiful gift they have. I was never that angry at God. A little at times but not much because he so amazing and I know he loved Noel even more than Alex and I did. And he loves us and hurts when we hurt. So he was hurting even more than we were through all of this.

It’s a very good reminder to me to never take a day with my kids for granted.  We were amazed at how you handled Noel’s health and her homecoming, who do you attribute your strength to?

Alex: The Lord. All the glory goes to God. My flesh failed a LONG time ago. To this day it is because of His strength that I can get out of bed in the morning.

Caleb: My Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. He is Lord of my life and the one I turned to through all of this.  Without him I don’t know where I would be!

If you knew that this was how Noel’s life was going to unfold, would you do it all over again?  (I don’t even need to ask but I love the answers!)

Alex: Yes, yes, yes, yes! She was and is worth every tear, every piece of my broken heart, and worth more than I can even fathom. Psalm 139 is real to me now.

Caleb: ABSOLUTELY! I would do it over again a million times if it meant I got to meet her and hold her.  She is one of the biggest blessings in my life. I am so glad we had her and got to meet her even despite everything that happened and we had to go through.

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What does the future hold for you in starting a family? Will you be considering adoption?

Alex: I’m still healing so I haven’t thought about that yet.

Caleb: We probably will adopt. Before everything happened it was on our hearts to adopt. We wanted to adopt internationally in the less fortunate countries because those are the kids that do not have an opportunity and need help. They often end up dead, as prostitutes, or in another unfortunate life.  But it is hard to say when or how we will do that. We are both still healing and are not ready for more children. And ultimately we want God’s will. Whatever that may be.

Is there any advice you could give to other families that are going through similar situations?

Alex: First, I would cry, because I know exactly what they are going through. Second, I would ask to pray with them. I know I couldn’t do it without the Lord and would want them to have the same hope that I have.

Caleb: Lean on God. It’s not an easy road at all but leaning on him makes it more bearable.

Let’s end this conversation with some wonderful news!  I’ve heard that there is a fantastic bursary that has decided to pay tribute to Noel, can you tell us a bit about it?

Alex: Of course! Tara, she’s one of the directors for Youth for Christ, a school lunch time club that teaches about Christ. She was in awe of how Noel defied all odds and thought her story fit perfectly with students who go away to university. Most kids who attend university out of state/town usually fall away from the Lord. The scholarship is supposed to encourage students to stand firm in the Lord and hang onto His truth. And I know that’s exactly what Noel did.

Caleb: We feel so blessed to have this scholarship named after Noel. When Tara said she wanted to speak with us we had no idea what it was about. She started telling us about this scholarship and neither of us had any idea what that had to do with us. We actually thought she was going to give it to us! We were both thinking, we don’t want the scholarship give it to someone else! Once Tara told us she wanted to name it after Noel we both felt EXTREMELY honoured and just started crying. It is just another instance of the impact she has had.

Noelfamily

Thank you, Caleb and Alex for having this conversation with me.  I appreciate your honesty so much and your willingness to let me share your journey.  You are both amazing and I am honoured to know you and see how God is moving in your lives.

 

Here are the other posts for Noel:
Noel at home

Happy One Week Birthday Noel

Blessings

Two Week Update

Urgent Update

Sorrow and Comfort

Until We Meet Again

Memories of Noel: The Darkness and the Light

 

Sarah

 

Five Minute Friday: Grateful

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Sunset shot by me

GO

Grateful.  What an awesome prompt.

I’m grateful for so many things but it sometimes takes a prompt like this to stop and look at how deeply God has blessed me.

My family.  Wow, my family.  I could go on and on for the next half hour about my family and how grateful I am for them.  My man.  Loves me.  Shows it so often.  He keeps me from worrying my mind into insanity.  Though he would say I’m pretty much already there.  My kids.  They make me laugh, make me cry, teach me, love me.  So grateful for the blessings they are and the mom that they make me want to be.  My parents, brothers, sisters (all you in-laws are included).  I am so grateful for the family that God has put together for me.  May we continue to grow with one another and not be complacent in our relationships.  May I never take you for granted.

My friends.  I am so grateful for all you wonderful, crazy, beautiful, messed up people!  You’ve blessed me in countless ways and I hope that I can return the favor!  From my BFF to all you fantastic people I’ve only met online, you mean a ton to me.  I love that I can share this life with you.  I love that we can talk about whatever comes to mind.  We won’t always agree but we will have one heck of a discussion about it.  If you follow my blog at all, you know I like talking about storms.  How could I not?  Storms are incredible.  Not only are they incredible, but I never imagined that my world would be so blessed with an amazing community of chasers and enthusiasts.  The best a girl could ask for.  You guys make storm season even better!  To you, my writing friends that I probably wouldn’t have met otherwise, thank you.  You write with me, care about me beyond my writing, love me and push me to be better!  You rock!

Well, it didn’t take long to knock this out and I could keep going but I’m going to end here…  where it all began.  God.

It doesn’t take long for me, at any given moment, to see how my life would be a mess without my Father.  Anything good in my life is Him.  He’s given me all these people listed above.  Even the ones that try my friendship, make me wonder if it’s worth it to be the kind of person I am, I’m so blessed to learn and grow with each situation.  Makes friendships richer and makes me a better person, if I allow it to.

He’s given me His all and all that I have.  So.  Very. Grateful.

STOP

Want to get in on Five Minute Friday?  It’s the time of the week where we just write without worrying that it’s just right.  😉  Find the link below and join this awesome community!

5minutefriday

1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.

2. Link back to Lisa’s website (click the 5 minute Friday image above for the website).

3. And then absolutely, no ifs, ands or buts about it, you need to visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments. Seriously. That is, like, the rule.

The heart of this community is amazing!  See more at: http://lisajobaker.com/

~Sarah

Spring Days

Spring Day shot by me