Tired of Failing

Romans 7 15 blog 1

This has been my life in the past three weeks.  Honestly, the last 32 years, but it seems a lot more humiliating and disheartening within the last month.

I seem to be incapable of making wise decisions, from the smallest on up.  If I can mess up a decision and choose the worst course of action, I do.  The only thing I feel capable of doing this month is screwing up.

It’s been an interesting and uncomfortable journey as God reveals to me, in a torrent similar to being drowned in a waterfall, where I need to improve.

Dear friends, let me tell you, it’s ugly.  My confidence, which was probably not right in itself, is low.  I worry for each decision I make because failing seems to be inevitable.

Selfishness, irresponsibility, impatience… did I mention selfishness?

One of the biggest reminders this last week was that anything or anyone can become an idol.  Yep, I knew this.  I know this, yet it seems to easy for me to give credit to something or someone who is wholly undeserving of my thoughts, compared to the Father.  Yikes!  What is wrong with me?  I’ve seen the power, might, compassion, care, faithfulness, forgiveness and never-ending love of God.  He is wholly deserving of thought, praise and focus.  Yet I drag myself to worship at the feet of an idol.  An idol who has done nothing for me besides fail me.  It’s not the idols fault.  When compared to the Father, we all fail and that idol didn’t stand a chance.  It should never have been my focus in the first place.  My eyes should be fixed on the only One who never fails.

I grow accustomed to the world.  Complacent in my thoughts and actions and I end up failing.  How can I not?  I’m not focused on the One who is the reason for every success, every good decision and ‘every good and perfect gift’.  I get arrogant in how well I am doing.  The people I know.  The things I have.  Everything that means nothing.  Then, when God opens my eyes to the fruitlessness of worshiping the world, I crumble.

My struggle now is… where do I go from here?  I’ve hit a place where I feel so completely and utterly incapable of any good.  Any good, that is, besides God moving through me.  All I can see is failure.  God is good and can work through me, this I know.  I just don’t see how.  How does one take a pot that is so full of holes it no longer holds water and use it?  I don’t even know how to allow God to begin to move.  All I see is broken pieces.  Pieces that, even if put back together, I will probably just shatter again in my stupidity.

I keep thanking God, even when all I see is that I am broken.  For He is capable of so much good through me… if I can just get out of His way.  There’s a strange comfort to knowing that I am nothing without the Lord.

I’m sure that when a pot is empty and broken, it can still be put to use somehow.  I’m just waiting to see how He will choose to use me.  Until then, I’ll rest in the knowledge that He is doing a good work in me.  Even if it is painful.  Pruning is painful.  Hopefully something beautiful comes out of this.  I’m trying to be patient in the waiting.

“Let me see redemption win.  Let me know the struggle ends.  That you can mend a heart that’s frail and torn.”

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Five Minute Friday: Joy

Wow, it’s been a while since I’ve posted on here.  Sorry to those of you who visit on occasion to see what’s new.  I have a lot coming up in the days ahead, but for now it’s 5 minute Friday time.  Yes, I know I’m a day behind.  🙂

From Pinterest

GO

I was sitting on the couch this afternoon, watching 3 different versions of a puppet show of ‘Goldilocks and the 3 bears’ by my kids.  Each version was crazier and garnered more laughs than the last.  My son was last and started it out by saying ‘and Goldilocks tried the porridge.  This one is too hot, this one is too pillow-y.’  I think porridge and beds got a little mixed up in his story.

As I sat and watched the productions, watched the joy and excitement, held my husbands hand and shared a smile with him… I was overcome.

over·come

verb: to affect someone very strongly or severely

I was overcome with joy about how very deeply, profoundly and amazingly blessed I am.  I was so struck with this thought that, before I knew it, tears began to fall.

Surrounded by the family I had hoped for since I was a child.  In the living room of my beautiful home.  In a wonderful city that may be super cold some days but is a pretty darn safe place to raise kids.  In this country where, though not perfect, I am able to enjoy many freedoms.

So many thoughts went through my head.  It was like a movie of blessings in my world.

So, I sat.  Mind and emotions wrapped in a cocoon of such profound joy and thankfulness that, even now, I can’t explain how it felt.

Except to say that I felt an incredible sense of joy.  These lyrics are the closest I can come to explaining how I felt.

‘Could we with ink the ocean fill,
And were the skies of parchment made,
Were every stalk on earth a quill,
And every man a scribe by trade,
To write the love of God above,
Would drain the ocean dry.
Nor could the scroll contain the whole,
Though stretched from sky to sky.’

If I could even find words to begin to write in the skies about how loved and blessed I felt in that moment, I know that it would indeed take more than the sky to write this love note to my Saviour.  Truly there aren’t words strong enough.

Instead, I’ll have to let the Holy Spirit translate the inexpressible feelings to the One who has blessed me so much.

Thank you, Father.

STOP

This post is not meant to be, or come across as, bragging.  This was just a reminder that I had today of how the Lord has blessed me.  We may not all be blessed in the same way, but we are blessed.  Sometimes the reminder is strong, like the smell of rain approaching.  Other times it’s subtle, like a shift in the wind.  We just need to remember to look for the blessings and not forget to thank the One who has blessed us.

Ahh, Friday (uhhh… Saturday).  How I enjoy Five-Minute Fridays.  Where a bunch of us just write, without worrying it it’s just right.

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/

31 Days of Sneak Peeks: Day 2

31 days button

Phew!  Made it through day 1 and here we are at day 2!  Thank you for joining me on this journey through 31 days!  If you didn’t check out day 1, find it here.

I’ve decided that some days may not be parts of my book but instead sneak peeks into how the writing process went for me and things I found helpful as I wrote.  For today though, I’ll introduce you to the hero in my book, Chris.

Chris was well aware of the tension in the city.  There had been movement from the enemy.  It had been six years since the enemy had last moved on them.  Chris remembered the fight well.  His father had gone, his uncles too.  His older brother had gone as well.  Only, he hadn’t returned.  The months after the battle had been sober and grey.  His family and countless other families had left the countryside for a new home while they mourned those who had been lost.  He had been twelve at the time and remembered sneaking high up in a tower and watching the fighting.  The thrill and excitement of it swept his senses and he didn’t understand the meaning of it.  When his brother Travis hadn’t returned with the men, reality had come crashing down.

This is a tough path I’ve set myself on because I have to be careful not to share too much so that WHEN (yes, I’m being confident) this is published, you still want to read every word!  🙂  You will, right?

These are just little bits to whet your appetite and to see how you all respond to each section I post.

Thanks again for coming back today!

If you want to get back to where this all started and find day 3 – 31, clickhere!

Find the challenge at The Nestor.

~Sarah

31 days redone small

31 Days of Sneak Peeks

31 days redone

So, for the month of October I am going to try something crazy ambitious… and a little bit scary.  Those of you reading who are into skydiving or base jumping may want to roll your eyes now because you’re not going to think this is scary.  I can guarantee it is for me though.  I’ve decided to join up with The Nester and do a 31 day challenge.  The challenge is to blog, once a day, for 31 days.  I think I may be crazy, but I keep saying to myself how hard can it be

Since I keep saying this to myself, I guess I decided to up the ante and make it also scary.  I’ve decided that for the next 31 days I will post a paragraph (or so) of my recently ‘finished’ novel and on occasion a tip that made writing easier or more fun for me.  It’s not published (but I hope it will be someday), and it may change up a bit.  So why is this so scary?  I’ve been really shocked to learn how vulnerable writing a book can make you feel.  As a writer we pour so much into our books.  We may not be writing an autobiography on ourselves but there is a lot of our own dreams, thoughts, ideals and heart in a book.  If you don’t write with heart, I don’t think you can write a book that will touch anyone.

“Writing fiction is like writing a autobiography, except that the reader assumes that the characters emotions are their own.”

31 days of sneak peeks from my own book… my own heart… is scary.  If you are reading this, then I didn’t chicken out.  I am hoping that you will be kind as you read… or even excited as you see a glimpse into this book I’ve put a lot into.  I’ll link each day to this post so they are easy to find!

Here we go.  Here’s a little introduction to my heroine, Kate.

The passion in the crowd was contagious.  They were talking about war, and they loved it.  Many of those around her were bloodthirsty.  Even when they weren’t off to war, they fought amongst themselves.  They were continuously recruiting for more fighters due to the fights that always broke out.  There were families, hers and a few others, that knew what it meant to keep tradition alive though.  Her grandparents and their grandparents before had been fighting this war.  They would not give into baser instincts to fight amongst themselves but that didn’t mean they were not fought with.  She had learnt from a young age that it was better to be armed and prepared to fight than to go about in blissful ignorance.  Her family status did not mean she was exempt from the bloodthirsty crowd.  Several scars marked her forearms and a scar on her cheek came from younger years when she wasn’t as cautious as she should have been.  A hand was placed on her shoulder and she looked into the eyes of her father, Tyson Bennett.

DAY 2: Meet Chris

DAY 3: Kate and Chris

DAY 4: The Beginning

Day 5: Stories Die Every Day

Day 6: The Bad Guy

Day 7: Villainous Intentions

Day 8: The One on Writers Block

Day 9: Miscellaneous Day

Day 10: Write What You Love

Day 11: What do you want to know?

Day 12: The Sound of a Scene

Day 13: My Playlist

I'm doing 31 days~Sarah

Five Minute Friday: Story

Craig Sunset

‘Craven Sunset’ by Craig Hilts
Prairie Fire Photography

Chapter One…

My story.

My story began with a thought.

A thought about me.

A thought so much bigger than just me.

A thought that formed the earth, the stars.  Everything.

A story that began with a single breath.  Breath that set my story into motion.

And here I sit.  Each breath a gift from the one who gave the very first breath.

My story is full.  Valleys and mountains.  Triumph and devastation.

Each moment crisp, in focus, with the One who walks this story with me.

He writes my journey, my story and writes in encouragement for me to follow…

Even when the story gets dark.

He has a victorious, blindingly glorious finish for my story.  His story.

I just have to keep reading, with hope, until…

The Last Page

Want to get in on the fun of Five Minute Friday?

Let’s write… unscripted, unedited, unchained.  Let’s just write and not worry if it’s just right.

Here’s how:

5-minute Friday1) Write for 5 minutes flat for pure unedited love of the written word. (click on the 5 minute Friday image for the word prompt…it changes every week!)

2. Link back to Lisa-Jo’s blog (and don’t forget to invite others to join in).

3. Make sure to encourage the five minuter who linked up before you.

What’s your story?  Life is fantastic?  Life is hard?  Remember that it’s all part of the story… your story.  Valleys are between hills.  You’ll get to a hill, just hold on.  I’m glad you’re here!

~Sarah

Five Minute Friday: Beautiful

GO

I’m thinking of giving up make-up.

We are bombarded by images.  Every second commercial has a woman who is trying to ‘turn back time’ and ‘make her lashes longer’ and ‘get fuller hair’.  The message says that we should not EVER be content with our bodies.  Our wrinkles are ugly, our hair is flat, our eyes don’t glow.  We are imperfect.  Yep, we are imperfect but we were made in God’s image.

God looksThe other day my daughter vanishes for a while and reappears all dressed up, hair up and lip chap on.  She comes down from her room asking me for water.  When I innocently inquire what she needs it for, she says ‘I need it to look pretty’.  Confused, I ask how it is going to make her look pretty.  She shows me that she’s going to put it on her fingers and try to get her eyelashes to ‘stand up’.  When she can’t get her hair just perfect, she is saddened nearly to tears.  ‘I want to look pretty for my friends’ she says sadly.

I picture the many times she’s stood in the bathroom with me while I do my make-up.  ‘Mom, what’s that for?’  The common question.  Sadly, my common answer is ‘I don’t really know honey.’  Why do I torture myself trying to curl my eyelashes and then bite back a curse when I stick the stupid mascara wand in my eye?  Why do I agonize over the right color palate?  When did we become not good enough?  Why do my sparkling green eyes need help from a few torturous devices?

I’m running out of time so I’ll get back to my first point.  

I’m thinking of giving up make-up.

I sit my daughter down when she is sad about her hair and say ‘Honey, you are a beautiful girl.  Your friends don’t care if your hair is perfect.  They are coming to play with you because you are fun, loving and wonderful to be with.  Remember, what does God look at?’  She sighs and looks at me with eyes that mirror my own green and says ‘The heart, Mommy.  He looks at the heart.’

Thank you baby, I needed the reminder too.  I would gladly give up make-up to show you that you are beautiful without it… and so am I.

STOP

Want to get in on the fun of Five Minute Friday?

Let’s write… unscripted, unedited, unchained.  Let’s just write and not worry if it’s just right.

Here’s how:

5-minute Friday1. Write for 5 minutes flat for pure unedited love of the written word. (click on the 5 minute Friday image for the word prompt…it changes every week!)

2. Link back to Lisa-Jo’s blog (and don’t forget to invite others to join in).

3. Make sure to encourage the five minuter who linked up before you.

Please let me know if you decide to join in!  I love reading Five Minute Friday posts!

Sarah

Noel’s Homecoming Service

Noel's Service

For those of you who weren’t able to view the live feed of Noel’s Homecoming Service on Thursday, you can click on the image above to view it.  Noel’s Uncle Mark edited it together for us.  There was some cost involved to get it live streamed for us so, if you are willing, please leave a tip on the page.

Thank you again to all of you who have been praying for Caleb and Alex at this difficult time, and for all your prayers for Noel as she spend a wonderful fifteen days with her family.  Caleb and Alex would like to thank you all for your prayers, so click here to see the message.

Caleb and Alex

I hope that you will continue to join with me in praying for them as they adjust to life.  Please keep sharing Noel’s story.  God has blessed us all as we watched this beautiful little girl have fifteen more days with her family than the doctors said was possible.  We serve a mighty God and so many can still be touched by Noel’s amazing story.  You can click on the picture of Noel below to see the sideshow from the homecoming service.  I love the video of all the prayer warriors in the hospital room.  I always cry.  I adore her little smile at the end too!

Noel's Slideshow

Thank you again for praying with us.  I am amazed at the outpouring of concern, prayers and love. Not only has little Noel touched my heart, but so have all of you with your thoughtfulness for my friends.

Caleb and Alex fund.

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

 

With gratitude,

Sarah