I Won The Jackpot!!

image

Iย bought my ticket yesterday and was thinking and dreaming with my hubby of all the things we would do with the winnings… First and foremost we would have taken the cash offer and left the country! Not even kidding. Just long enough to where the hype died down and people forgot you won (if that ever really happens??) and then come back and live a quiet quaint little life on some property with like a bazillion dogs! (I love dogs!!) I would love to help people in 3rd and 5th world countries too! Get them access to fresh water and help them with sanitation/sewage. Wowza. $1.5 billion?! The possibilities are endless! With that much money what COULDN’T you do?! But here’s thing. I won alright, but not the winnings you’re probably thinking of! My ‘jackpot’ is in Christ Jesus himself! Jesus is my winning ticket! Of course if I’m honest though, it’s hard to be this uplifted and super positive about not winning the actual money jackpot (especially when one of the winners lives in a city where the median household income is $96k…… Need I say more?!) and don’t get me wrong I would have loved for the winnings to go to someone down on their luck who maybe really needed it. Or shoot what if the lottery just gave everyone in America a piece of the winnings? Does one person really need that much money?! Gah! Stop!! Hold the phone. Let me get back on track. With all this talk about money and slight feelings of disappointment or even the dreaded “why me” or even ” why NOT me” I think the Lord spoke ever so kindly to my heart this morning.

I try to read a chapter in Proverbs everyday. Today is the 14th, so I read Proverbs 14, and oh how I stopped in my tracks when I came across verse 30. It says “A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.” (NIV) Ick. Rot. When I think of that word I think of oooey-gooey, icky, stinky, yuck! Decay even. Gross!!! Ok enough talk about that, you get the idea! But ‘rots the bones’. Ewww. I don’t want my bones to rot. I want absolutely nothing to do with rot! I don’t even like talking about rot! But I believe that’s a nice little warning –caution– from our loving Father in heaven! Reminding us, hey I have you EXACTLY where I want you. I created you, I made you, trust me. I know what’s best for you. Put your joy and hope in me! I mean think about it like this. You buy a car and completely blow off the owners manual and everything in it. Nah, I don’t need to put oil in it. I don’t like oil, I don’t want to pay for oil, NOOOOOPE! No oil for me! So you go on and drive your new car never ever changing your oil. Umm. That wouldn’t be so good after a while. Eventually if the oil is not changed, the entire engine will shut down and have to be replaced! No bueno! So why would we want to ignore our car owners manual and not change the oil? We wouldn’t. Well, the Bible is OUR owners manual for our lives! We need to listen up and pay attention to what God has to say to us. He made us and created us so I’m pretty sure He knows what’s best for us! ๐Ÿ˜‰

So I may have not won the cash money, but like I said in the beginning of this post, I did win! I won big! The biggest prize there ever was and ever will be, Jesus! But wait a minute. Let’s change that word prize to gift! A prize is something you have to do AND then win to receive. A gift is something willingly given! See the significant difference? I don’t have to do a darn thing but confess with my mouth, and believe in my heart and then BAM! I’m saved! (Check out Romans 10:9-10 for the non-paraphrased version) I have my hope, my trust, my life in Jesus’ hands! He came and died for me! Little old sinful, rotting (ick!) bones ME! Not just me either, but US! All of us! That sure brings a huge smile to my face and redirects my heart, shifting my focus back on Jesus! Jesus my joy! The one who will help my rotting bones, give me peace, fill me and make me whole! Who needs a jackpot prize when we have the greatest and most precious gift of all time!!

Blessings ๐Ÿ’› Sarah

29 Life Lessons I Learned Before Turning 30!

But First, Coffee

I haven’t blogged in months because well, life happens! But as my 30th birthday inches closer and closer, I’ve been thinking of my 20’s and I’ve compiled a list of lessons I’ve learned over these last 9 and 7/8 years ๐Ÿ˜‰ — 29 of them because it just seemed fitting! In no particular order, here we go:

1) Facebook + social media is/are the biggest time wasters.
2) People get so incredibly “bold” behind a computer screen. I can’t believe people say the things they do without even thinking twice about it.
3) Put your phone/tablet/whatever down for just a little bit each day. It’ll be ok. Whatever is there I promise you, will still be there when you get back on.
4) Enjoy the company of those right in front of you the most.
5) Don’t do things just because everyone else is. Seriously don’t.
6) It really is ok to say “No”.
7) Waiting is one of the hardest things to do.
8) I would rather someone hurt me with the truth, than comfort me with a lie.
9) True (and I mean really true) friends are truly hard to find.
10) I want friendships that are as close to 50/50 as possible. It hurts when you give your all to a friendship and you don’t get the same in return.
11) Friends really do come and go. That saying rings so true more often than I’d like.
12) Don’t hold grudges. We are all imperfect people living in an imperfect world. Pray and ask God to help you with it because I guarantee you can’t do it on your own!
13) More often than not, people care more about themselves than others.
14) People with the most money are (often times) the most stingy.
15) Credit cards are SO dangerous! If you can’t afford it (or afford to make the payments on it) then maybe you shouldn’t buy it.
16) Money isn’t everything. Don’t fall into the trap/lie/deception – whatever you want to call it – that feeds on making you think that.
17) Stop and enjoy all the things in life that money can’t buy. They are simply beautiful.
18) Don’t get too comfy in your present situation. You never know when things could just flip!
19) Always fulfill your end of a bargain, even if the other party does not.
20) Don’t take advantage of people. If you wouldn’t want them to do it to you, don’t do it to them.
21) You don’t need to have a college degree to be successful. Or happy for that matter.
22) Having children is a privilege not a right, denied to many.
23) Don’t be afraid to age! Being alive is an incredible privilege!
24) You absolutely cannot choose your family.
25) Be extra super duper careful if/when you’re match-making! You very well might regret it one day!
26) Shoot, just don’t match make anyone! (See lesson above)
27) God made you and created you. Trust Him that He really does know what’s best for your life!
28) Stop and realize, Jeremiah 29:11. It’s a verse (along with every other one) breathed from the breath of God that is so powerful and so true. Don’t just take it and leave it. Reflect on, meditate with, memorize it, and most importantly remember it when life just seems crappy. Because life isn’t perfect and crummy things do happen, but the Lord has a plan for you, one to bring you hope and a future. Not to harm you. I absolutely and completely love that.
29) God really is the only one who will never let you down. Ever!

What are some lessons you’ve learned in your lifetime? Feel free to comment below and share with us!

Blessings ๐Ÿ’› Sarah

I Want A Good Ending

GoodnessI love me a happy ending. That warm fuzzy feeling you get or that ‘feel good’ feeling after a great movie or book. Maybe it’s just me though. Living in a strange make believe world where I want it to all work out and for everything to be happy and simply wonderful! I want a good ending!

One of my New Year resolutions was to read more. I’m not a reader. I never have been and if we’re being honest here, I really don’t enjoy it. So when I heard about this challenge of reading 26 books in 2015 (You can check out the challenge here:ย 26 Books) Iย thought I’d give it a shot. Why not! Maybe it’ll make me enjoy reading more. Not likely, but you just never know! ๐Ÿ˜‰

I just recently finished the Divergent Trilogy. If you look at my Aboutย section, you’ll see it was listed as one of my current favorites. I wrote that before I had finished the last book and quite frankly I want to take it back! *Spoiler alert* that was an awful ending! My heart was crushed and I never thought I would have got into a book as much as I did those three. Like I said, I’m no reader and I’m certainly not a writer but in my nice little fuzzy bunny, rainbowy, sunshiny world, that ending stunk. Sorry but it did. I felt awful inside like something died and I was frantically finishing up the last chapters to see if what I just read wasn’t true, maybe there was some twist – where is the happy ending?! My husband on the other hand, had a totally different perspective on the ending. He thought it was heroic that she “sacrificed herself” – when quite frankly, it should have been her brother. Tris and Tobias should have peaced out, leaving the city to start their new lives together! Come on now! – Alas to my dismay that wasn’t the case. The ending was what it was and I thought it was terrible. Terribly sad.

Now if you ask me, the Bible doesn’t have a much better ending. It’s filled with disaster and sadness, weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth. Total and utter darkness. That’s even worse than the Divergent ending! Man oh man, I thought I was writing about goodness today and after all this, I just feel so….not good. Sad. So yah, um, let’s get on to the goodness, and a good ending – that’s where I was originally heading.

The beautiful thing about the ending in the Bible is that it doesn’t have to be that way. Your ending doesn’t have to be filled with weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth. Total and utter darkness. Jesus paid the price, he bore the shame and endured the cross so that WE (every single one of us) could get our happy ending – heaven. ๐Ÿ’œ ย The only way we won’t end up in heaven and end up in hell, is if we reject the work of the cross. If we reject Jesus. Step over his dead, bruised, beaten up, torn apart body and say “I don’t need your sacrifice I’ll get to heaven on my own.” My dear friends no. It doesn’t work that way. There is only one way to heaven and that’s through Jesus and his work on the cross. (John 14:6 Jesus answered, โ€œI am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.)

Now that’s my kind of happy ending! The work is done! It is finished! We don’t have to work our way into heaven (Ephesians 2:8-9) we just have to accept the work Jesus did for us and believe on him (Romans 10:9-10). That’s it.ย That’s really how easy it is. What Jesus did for us and his sacrifice was not easy by any means. He died the most brutal and painful, awful, wretched death there ever was or ever will be, but praises be to God because of what was done and the ease of what we have to do. Believe. Confess. Accept. Accept God’s goodness. Accept the free gift of salvation. Get your happy ending today. I can guarantee you, you won’t regret it.

Blessings ๐Ÿ’› Sarah

Au Revoir Facebook, Hello Kindness!

KindnessI didn’t grow up observing Lent, but I’ve always been intrigued by giving something up for a period of time. So I decided this year I would give it a whirl and give up Facebook. How in the world will I get on with life? ๐Ÿ˜ฑ I don’t know, but I’m sure I’ll survive. ๐Ÿ˜‰ I’ve noticed myself (especially recently) spending SO much time on Facebook, it was actually pretty pathetic. I would always get off and feel worse than I did before I got on. Seeing things people had that I didn’t, hearing about “exciting news” when my life is not so exciting right now, always hearing people say they are “blessed” when I feel like that word is thrown around so often and so often out of context. #blessed. Hashtag no. Just stop. Ugh. It was really getting on my nerves. I had to stop myself from reading comments on various posts too because people can just be SO mean! I always thought the “if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all” motto was still in play, but I don’t think people agree. I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again, people get so bold and so tough behind a computer screen. They feel they are entitled to say whatever they want without thinking twice of who it may hurt and what they are actually saying. Sure we have freedom of speech and I think that’s a wonderful thing, but I don’t think we should be using it to tear others down! Add that to my list and you’re at about reason 24 of why I’m giving up Facebook for Lent.

I need kindness. I long for kindness. Call me crazy and say that I live in some sunshine, bubble gum, gumdrop kind of world but sheesh where has it gone?! Like for real. I know tough times come and hard things happen to us, but some of the meanest people are often the people who have the most.

I was reading an article/blog by Karen Ehman (love her!) and she has a “Reverese Lent Challenge” where rather than giving something up for Lent, you take something on. Such a brilliant idea that I’m doing both! I’m giving up Facebook and taking on kindness! I want to encourage others and build them up. No I don’t want to lie and sugarcoat things, but I want to express my opinions and my thoughts (even my advice) in a loving and kind way. Honest for sure, but kind about it. How in the world do I do that? I don’t know for certain, but I do know I’m going to start practicing thinking BEFORE I speak. So often I read something or hear this and that and I get fired up and want to shoot off at the mouth some snarky remark back or an “I’ll show them” attitude. No. Stop. ๐Ÿ™Š Kindness. Exuberate kindness. I know the saying is kinda cheesy but really, what would Jesus do? Would he really say what I’m about to say? Probably not. He’s the perfect example of kindness. He exuberates kindness! I want to be more like Jesus and so much less like me.

Colossians 3:12-14 says, “Therefore, as Godโ€™s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.” (NIV) BAM, right there, clothe yourselves with kindness. Put on love. Oh help me Father to do that.

What about you? Do you practice Lent? What would you give up for 47 (that’s how long it is this year) days? Comment below, I would love to hear your thoughts! Or feel free to jump in with me and take on this kindness challenge! Let’s make this the kindest 47 days yet!

Blessings ๐Ÿ’› Sarah

(Im)patiently Waiting

PatienceMy husband lost his job on Friday. Not a good way to start the weekend. My first reaction was to freak out and worry about every. single. little thing. Why do I do that? Thank God for my husband though, the patient one. Always trusting God will work everything out for the good. Why wouldn’t he think that? The Bible promises us that! Just check out Romans 8:28. So why is it my tendency to freak out? Where’s my patience? Oh how I long for a heart full of patience.

I really enjoy searching the scriptures on my Bible app. I can type in a word or partial phrase and most times it knows what I’m talking about and finds what I was looking for. So I was thinking about patience and decided to search for verses about it. (The Bible actually has a lot to say about patience, it’s even one of the fruits of the spirit!) The verse that stuck out the most to me though was Romans 12:12. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. (NIV) Patient in affliction. Ouch that stung a little. Affliction is something that causes pain or suffering. Really? I need to be patient in that? Come on, doesn’t God know what I’m going through? Doesn’t he see how hurt I am? How does he expect me to stay patient when things feel like they are falling apart? Oh sure, I can be patient in easy things like waiting for cookies to cool off when they are fresh out of the oven, or waiting for my clothes to dry when it feels like they’ve been in the dryer for hours, even being stopped at a red light when I’d rather be home – see the easy things. Things that don’t matter at all, I’m all in! But patient in affliction?! Not so much. I want it to hurry up and go away!

Maybe you’re like my husband and you are patient, then I’m sorry this post hasn’t really been for you. But if you’re anything like me you’re probably wondering how then do we stay patient in affliction? Especially because you probably want to be. I know I do! I don’t want to be sitting around worrying about every single thing! Well, I think the next part of that verse answers that for us. “Faithful in prayer.” I think if we stay faithful in prayer that will calm our anxious hearts and get our eyes to be focused on Jesus and not our problems and therefore help us to be patient. The Bible is God’s love letter to me. My owner’s manual. God created you and me. He knows best how we work and function better than we ever will! So if the word says to be patient in affliction, then I need to be patient in affliction by being faithful in prayer. ๐Ÿ’› May the Lord fill your heart with patience today!

Blessing ๐Ÿ’› Sarah

Beautiful Lord

PeaceWhen the storm is raging all around me, you are the peace that calms my troubled sea. A favorite line of mine from the song “Beautiful Lord” by Leeland. This song came to my mind this morning when I was thinking about what I wanted to write about today. I’ve hit on the topic of peace and the storms in life in some of my previous posts (check them out if you’d like ๐Ÿ˜Š) so today I’m going to keep it short and sweet with just a Bible verse for you to enjoy, meditate on, and hopefully bring you encouragement. It’s one of my favorite verses and has been on my heart for a while now. ๐Ÿ’› Isaiah 26:3 – You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. (ESV)

Feeling overwhelmed, needing to feel peace? Keep your mind fixed on Jesus! He will keep you in perfect peace, just like the word promises!

You can enjoy the song from Leeland below:

Blessings ๐Ÿ’› Sarah

It Was Love

LoveLove. It’s a funny word and with Valentine’s Day coming up we hear more about love now than ever. We say we love all kinds of things, things that have so many different levels of the word love. I love my husband, but I also love cupcakes. Do I love cupcakes more than my husband, absolutely not! I love puppies but I also love great music. Two totally different things that are on two totally different levels, but I love both. You get the idea, right? So when it comes the love of Christ it’s hard to grasp it. Me in my sinful nature – I love one thing, then I don’t. It changes with my mood or based on how it looks or even what it’ll do for me, it’s so erratic. God’s love however, is so far from erratic and I think that’s why I can’t fully grasp it. It blows my mind! It’s incredible! Never ending. Never changing. It’s not based on what I do or what I don’t do. It’s endless.

One of my favorite bands, Abandon, has a song that’s called “It Was Love” and I’ve been listening to it a lot lately. There’s a line in the chorus that goes, “It wasn’t nails that held You to the cross It was love.” When I first heard it, it was kind of like “oh that’s nice” and I didn’t really think much about it. Listening to it over and over again though, it’s now clicking. It really wasn’t nails that held Jesus to the cross, it was indeed love. Jesus, God in the flesh, creator of the universe, all powerful, omniscient, omnipresent, all…well, everything, could have without a doubt removed himself from the cross. He wouldn’t have needed help, he wouldn’t have had to wait until no one was looking, he could have done whatever, whenever. But he didn’t. He stayed nailed to that cross for love. Because of his undying, never ending love for me, for you, ALL of us! Jesus had me (and you) in mind when he was on the cross. He knew the sins I was going to commit and the transgressions I would do (yours too ๐Ÿ˜Š) and yet he still went to the cross. And with joy! For the joy set before him he endured the cross (Hebrews 12:2 NIV) Wow. That’s all I can say, wow. It leaves me speechless! That’s true, real, love right there!

As Valentine’s Day comes and goes, don’t forget that God’s love will never go anywhere and it will never run out. It doesn’t come and go. He died for us and paid the ultimate price for us. That’s love. Lord help me to remember how much you really do love me.

Blessings ๐Ÿ’› Sarah