Monday, October 31

day 31 :: this is not the end

i can't believe that it's day 31. all day long i've been thinking about how i need to have something profound to say to conclude this month-long challenge to cast out fear. but the truth is, today is not an ending; it's a day full of beginnings.

i named a few of my fears earlier in the month. in the last couple weeks i've made some progress:

i'm not finished decorating my dining room wall, but i have taken a few steps. i'm in the middle of redoing some of the frames, and the way they're turning out is giving me confidence that it was worth the risk of not knowing what i was doing. i'm excited to keep working on this project and to reveal it over the next few weeks.

this month has pushed me to focus a lot on writing as opposed to taking pictures. i posted a few unedited shots in my ten on ten series for this month. this fear has to do with being ok with being real and being vulnerable. pictures are a good place to start, but this also carries into what i write and share on this blog and in how i live my life. i need to not be afraid to be me, not an edited version of myself. so here's an unedited, blurry picture of me and my stud celebrating his bday at a hockey game, greasy bangs and all. (:

i'm still wrestling with anxiety and depression. the thing is it's going to take more than a month of writing about fear for me to win this battle. i'm waiting for a good day, a day i'm not struggling as much with it, and praying that on that day i can muster the courage to figure out a way to see someone to talk through these things.

i have a dentist appointment scheduled for this wednesday. to be honest, i called today to make the appointment. i didn't want to not have done it by the time i got to my last post of this 31 day challenge. accountability really does help cast out fear. (:

in this month i've taken first steps. and i'm believing these are preparing me to take next steps and bigger steps. that's why i can't just wrap this month up into a little package and put it away to gather dust. it's not the end.

fear was cast out once and for all on a cross for us, through His perfect love. and it's His perfect love that casts out our fear. but it's a choice we must make daily to live in His perfect love, abandoning our fears.

and with that, i'll say goodbye to this challenge. it has stretched me, but i have learned more about myself and more about my God. and i can only hope that maybe some part of it helped you. i'm not done writing on what i've learned and am learning. but i must admit i am feeling a bit relieved not to feel the pressure to post every day. (: thank you for joining me on this journey, friends.

Friday, October 28

sometimes sarah

hi, i'm sarah! and that's john, also known as the love of my life. he goes by stud on the blog. (: i moved about a year and a half ago from new jersey to western new york to be with him. and it was totally. worth. it. [except for the whole crazy amounts of snow thing. that i refuse to get over.] i plan events by day and try to fit in friends, crafting, decorating, and blogging in the rest. i'm a grammar nerd who loves playing volleyball for no grammatical reason. i love road trips and traveling and get excited to pack for any such adventure. give me an afternoon in a coffee shop with a good book and a journal and you've made my day. i have a love affair with music and chai lattes.

i started writing back in the days of myspace and decided a couple years ago to start an actual blog to write down moments in my life so that i would have a record of them. i've moved 5 times in the last 10 years and also thought it would be a fun way to share my life with friends and family.

i've been blessed to see this whole blogging thing grow to be much more than that, as i've found friends and inspiration through the blogging community along the way.

a little more about the blog...

sometimes sarah [writes]
i write about life, sharing my decorating and diy endeavors, visits with my family, adventures with my stud, things that are on my heart, encouragements i've received from God, and anything else that makes up my journey in these days that i have been given by Him.

sometimes sarah [crafts]
i moved into a new apartment six months ago. i'm in the process of making it a home. i'm trying to do it creatively and affordably. [spell check is telling me i'm making that word up. i'm going with it.] i have found so many ideas and inspiration in the blog world for this and love sharing what i've done.

sometimes sarah [shoots]
i'm by no means a photographer, but i love to take pictures. i love it so much i'll risk my life to take pictures of a gorgeous sky while driving. um, as long as there are no other cars on the road, ok? (:

sometime sarah [eats, drinks, and is merry]

ok, so it's usually more than sometimes. i'm a foodie and a lover of all things coffee, espresso, hot chocolate, you know... caffeinated and tasty (: i love to share when we've eaten a good meal or when i've attempted to bake or cook something.

sometimes sarah [reads]
thank you for taking the time to read my blog. it is so humbling that you would take a few minutes out of your day for me. i'd love to get to know you better too! feel free to leave a comment to let me know who you are or where you blog so i can stop by (:

Thursday, October 27

day 27 :: notions


ann voskamp writes some of the most beautiful words i've ever read. if you haven't read her book one thousand gifts yet, you are missing out [in my humble opinion]. i'm in the middle of reading it and it is changing the way i view my life so much.

foodie fun [inspiration workshop]

i couldn't resist posting on this week's inspiration workshop because today we're sharing recipes! i'm sharing a simple, easy recipe for one of my favorite holiday comfort foods: corn casserole.

no joke - my family and i fight over every last bite of this during holiday meals!

1 [15 1/4-ounce] can whole kernel corn, drained
1 [14 3/4-ounce] can cream-style corn
1 [8-ounce] package corn muffin mix
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup [1 stick] butter, melted
1 to 1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar

yep. these are all the pics i got. i was focused on getting everything together! (:

to prepare:
preheat oven to 350 degrees f.
in a large bowl, stir together the 2 cans of corn, corn muffin mix, sour cream, and melted butter. pour into a greased 9 by 13-inch casserole dish.

bake for 45 minutes, or until golden brown.
remove from oven and top with cheddar.
return to oven for 5 to 10 minutes, or until cheese is melted.
let stand for at least 5 minutes and then serve warm.

that's it! so easy! if you love cornbread and cheese this is a perfect side dish for your meals this holiday season!

 recipe from the foodnetwork

what's your favorite holiday recipe?

i'm looking forward to finding more over at gussy's!
 Gussy Sews Inspiration Workshop!

Wednesday, October 26

day 26 :: confidence


i think sometimes as christians we're told that confidence is a bad thing. we equate confidence with pride and are swift to caution that "pride cometh before a fall." [proverbs 16]

in some ways, that is true. 

and yet i have been challenged this week to believe that we are called to be confident. what it comes down to is who it is in. too much confidence in ourselves does lead to pride.

but blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. [jeremiah 17:7]

we are promised that "the Lord will be [our] confidence and will keep [our feet] from being snared." [proverbs 3:26]

confidence in God is a beautiful relationship. it is a good and right thing.

fear grows in a heart that lacks confidence. it feeds on timidity.

but He has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power, love and self discipline. [2 timothy 1:7]

today i encourage you to not be afraid to be confident, but to place it in the One who is worthy.

Tuesday, October 25

day 25 :: [not] decorating out of fear

when i read this post by the nester, i cringed. it was me. i was [not] decorating out of fear. and as i wrote in this post, i was ready to do something about it. my dining room wall isn't finished yet, but i have taken smaller steps to decorating my apartment in ways that are beautiful to me, without worrying so much about if it's "perfect."

the first thing i did was hang the owl that i'd found on this trip. i had an idea of where to put it, but i kept stopping myself from hanging it. finally one evening i came home, determined to hang it and not worry about if i didn't like it. and now? this guy greets me every morning when i get out of bed and head to the bathroom! one silly, simple thing on my wall but a step toward decorating out of confidence in my own likes and tastes.

i also decorated my walls for fall/halloween. using a coupon i had for michael's i purchased these for just $3.

and i am in the process of working on my dining room wall. i've sanded down some of the frames i'm going to hang and the next step is to tackle some other ones with this:

i have a vision in my head of what it all will look like, and there's a good chance it won't turn out that way! (: but that doesn't mean i'm not going to try. my mistake might actually turn out to be better than my original thought. and it's holding on to hopes like that that help us cast out fear and take action.

Monday, October 24

day 24 :: my love

today is this guy's birthday.

i'm so thankful God gave him to me for this lifetime.

one of the biggest things we've done together to cast out fear is to say yes to our relationship and move me to new york. our very long story short, we had known each other for several years and finally started to date long distance. we knew that if we were really going to commit to a relationship100%, we would have to live near each other. and so i drew the short straw it seemed best that i would be the one to move. (:

it hasn't been perfect. [oh how we thought we knew each other!]

but it's been so worth it.

you are strong where i am weak. i know God knew what He was doing putting us together because you give amazing massages and i love to receive them. (: you make me laugh every day. you are the silliest person i know and i love you for it. i'm so proud of your pursuit of school and of becoming a teacher. you challenge me to be a better version of myself. you give so much love to your family, friends and to people you don't even know. i love you for all these reasons and so many more.

happy birthday, love.

Friday, October 21

day 21 :: be prepared


troops don't go into battle without training. they don't march into war without first having learned how to fight. if we are to battle our fears, we must also prepare ourselves. paul urges us in ephesians to be fitted and ready with the armor of God:

take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. [ephesians 6:16-17]

when fear strikes, our faith and salvation will protect us, but we can do more than that. we can fight back. a sword is used to fight, to attack. it's meant to engage the enemy, to harm him. the sword is used to win a battle.

our sword is the very word of God...

the Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. [deuteronomy 31:8]

the Lord is my light and my salvation— whom shall i fear? 
the Lord is the stronghold of my life— of whom shall i be afraid? [psalm 27:1]

when i am afraid, i will trust in you. in God, whose word i praise, in God i trust; i will not be afraid. [psalm 56:3-4]

'do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you,' declares the Lord. [jeremiah 1:8]

so don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. [matthew 10:31]

spend time in His word. be trained, be ready. His words are not merely suggestions; they are guarantees. He will never leave, He will always rescue. we can face fear with complete confidence in the promises of His word.

linking with jami

Thursday, October 20

day 20 :: give thanks for today

red + blue = purple
blue + yellow = green
peanut butter + jelly = a tasty sandwich
anxiety + fear = worry

 therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. [matthew 6:34]

my least favorite part of the week is sunday evening. for a number of reasons, i start to feel anxious as each sunday unfolds. the weekend is coming to a close. i have to return to work in the morning. i don't look forward to having to get up early again. john leaves, after spending much of the weekend with him, and i'm left alone.

i worry.

about tomorrow.

and of course, monday comes and things are just fine. there was nothing to worry about. yet i have a hard not worrying each time sunday arrives.

but Jesus commands us not to worry.

who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life? [luke 12:25]

worrying, fretting, fearing about time that has yet to come is time lost. 

sometimes i feel like it's just in our "nature." but He has given us victory over our nature through His sacrifice. He gives us strength in our weakness.

our time will be filled with something. i must find something else to replace worry.

i finally started reading ann voskamp's one thousand gifts, and i am receiving so much through her words on eucharisteo, giving thanks, and how our acts of gratitude relate to the very way we perceive time.

thanksgiving makes time.
really? give thanks and get time? give thanks ... slow time down with all your attention - and your basket of not-enough time-multiplies into more than enough time.
the real problem of life is never a lack of time.
the real problem of life-in my life-is lack of thanksgiving.
thanksgiving creates abundance; and the miracle of multiplying happens when i give thanks-take the just one loaf, say it is enough, and give thanks-and He miraculously makes it more than enough. i have beheld suds in sun, and i have known miracles like that.
i redeem time from neglect and apathy and inattentiveness [and fear] when i swell with thanks and weigh the moment down and it's giving thanks to God for this moment that multiplies the moments, time made enough.
i am thank-full. i am time-full.
[pgs. 72-73]

the only way to live without fear of the future is to be fully present and thankful and open-eyed to see all the good that He has created in each moment to bless us.

i've started my own list of one thousand gifts with the hope of becoming more thanks-filled, more time-filled. 

a few things i'm thankful for today:

bare feet on cold hardwood floors
a beautiful morning sky

being able to make someone laugh
being wrapped in a soft blanket as i type this post
enjoying warm food with my man and some friends while watching some hockey

what are you thankful for today?

friday favorite things | finding joy

Wednesday, October 19

day 19 :: it's ok

i've been working at a computer since 8am this morning and i am wiped! so i decided i'm going to cast out my fear of missing a day of these 31 and say to myself, it's ok! it's ok to not have anything to say and take the rest of the night to rest my tired eyes, my strained neck and my fried head. (: have a wonderful evening, friends!

Tuesday, October 18

day 18 :: peace

peace i leave with you;
my peace i give you.
i do not give you as the world gives.
do not let your hearts be troubled
and do
[john 14:27]

i read jesus' words last night. he spoke these before he was crucified. knowing all that he was about to do for the disciples, for me, for you, he gave us peace and told us we should not be afraid. when fear overcomes my soul, i will remember his words. 

Monday, October 17

day 17 :: first steps

in this month of dipping my toes and hopefully diving in to casting out my fears, i'm learning that taking first steps, baby steps, helps to make the mountains look smaller and the fears more conquerable. i thought it would be good for me to remind myself of a few firsts i've had in the last week or so.

- i learned that when a recipe calls for 6 garlic cloves, you don't need to buy 6 garlic bulbs at the grocery store. because now it looks like all those vampire shows and movies you watch are starting to affect you a little too much. however i also cleaned the cloves from their skins through a nifty little trick i found on the internet. you open the bulb and pull out the cloves and put them in a metal or plastic bowl. cover the bowl with another similar bowl and shake! you know i'm not much of a cook when something as silly as shaking bowls made me feel very accomplished in the cooking world (: food can sometimes intimidate me. putting together recipes is not a gift of mine and cooking is something i've told myself i can't do or that i will never do well. i'm out to prove that little voice of fear wrong.

- i prepared and roasted my first butternut squash tonight. again, a little step, but i'm working on taking control of my health in this way.

- i took my car to get new front tires this afternoon. since moving here, i've grown to rely on john for all car-related issues. as a result, i have formed a bit of anxiety about having to do anything of that nature on my own. i'm sure that sounds silly, but the combination of a new location, a new job i didn't have time to take off from, and the process involved with finding a new place to have work done at, in addition to other things i was trying to figure out on my own led to me succumbing to the belief that i couldn't handle these things on my own. taking care of the tires myself today gave me a boost of confidence.

nothing too crazy on the list tonight, but a good reminder for me as i've reached the halfway point of this journey that battles must be won before the war.

have you taken any first steps this week?

day 16 :: knowing His voice

a couple christmases ago i tried to get my niece one of those recordable storybooks. i was getting ready to move to new york and didn't want her to forget who i was. unfortunately they were new and popular and everywhere i went that carried them was sold out.

thankfully, because of things like skype and occasional visits, my niece has not forgotten me. (:

and now, thanks to the lovely people behind dayspring, i finally have a recordable storybook to give to her this christmas.

i love you head to toe is a story about a few of the things that make us wonderfully made. and as i read through the book and started thinking about my opportunity to record these words for my niece i thought about how meaningful voice is.

hearing someone's voice, and even more importantly, knowing and recognizing someone's voice is an amazing blessing. the sound of a familiar voice can bring relief, comfort, and strength. i can be having a crazy day, but talking to john in the middle of it, hearing his voice, calms me down. hearing my niece's voice on the other side of the phone brings me joy.

have you ever thought about what it would have been like for adam and eve, hearing God's voice speaking to them, the same voice that called all of creation into being?

and even though we might not necessarily be able to hear the Father's voice audibly like adam and eve, there are other ways we can know Him, like His word and through the Holy Spirit. it's important to spend time getting to know His voice, so that we may be familiar with it.

His voice casts away our fears, carries us through trouble, and lights the next step in our path. knowing His voice also keeps us from following harmful voices.

:: the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. when he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. but they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice. [john 10: 3-5]

and His voice will tell us that He loves us, head to toe.

[the book was given to me in exchange for this review; all opinions are my own.]

Saturday, October 15

day 15 :: pregnancy and infant loss remembrance day

today is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. 

today we light candles and remember little ones who are now in heaven, the ones God chose to not walk this earth enduring pain and sin and hardship, but to be with Him in a place of no sorrow and no tears. 

today i remember my niece, tori mae, and the joy she brought us in her 9 days here on earth. 

today i'm praying for those who have lost little ones that they would not know fear, but peace, comfort and hope. that they would not fear unhealthy pregnancies, losing more babies, or life without their lost one.

i can't wait to see you again tori mae.

Friday, October 14

day 14 :: when we kneel

one of my good friends from college has a niece who is in need of prayer. chaia joy is only a few months old and has been diagnosed with a rare condition having to do with her heart, with only 180 cases documented worldwide. in other words, it's nothing short of a miracle that she is here.

i can only imagine what her parents are going through, the fear they must feel.

and yet they are casting it aside, living out their faith in a God who is capable of more than we can ask or imagine. they are holding fast to His truth and His promises. they believe in His healing.

chaia means life. that, in itself, is another miracle. God led her parents to give her the name of life! how amazing is that?!

they are praying this verse over her during this unbelievably challenging time:

:: I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh [ezekiel 36:26]

will you join in me in praying for this precious girl?

her parents are blogging throughout this journey at you can read more about chaia's life, encourage her parents through scripture and song, and be encouraged watching their testimony of God's love and goodness at what might seem to some as a dark and hopeless time. they are holding on to faith and hope. and i am believing God for a miracle. they have said it best...

[chaia wins when we kneel]

Thursday, October 13

day 13 :: tonight

tonight i am tired. i have a few thoughts in my head i want to write about, but my eyelids are winning this evening.

i was feeling a little anxious about not having the energy to share what's been going on in my heart and head this week. i didn't want to miss a day. i didn't want to fail.

but i'm learning that i'm not a blog every day blogger and focusing in on one topic for a month has actually helped me give some thought to this blog.

for the last few months my blogging has mostly been based around other bloggers' link parties and trying to gain new readers from it. the link ups are wonderful things and they have blessed my life. your comments and sweet words bring me so much joy.

but i was so focused on producing content that i thought other people would want to read to like my blog and on just allowing the nature of the link up to dictate what i spent my time blogging about that i lost me, who i am.

it kind of takes the fun away from blogging.

i was afraid of going unnoticed, that not having hundreds of followers would mean it wasn't worth it, that i wasn't worth it to have a blog. i forgot all the times that people have told me something i've written has helped them. i'd cultivated an attitude of discontent in my heart. i repent and give thanks. it's humbling to think that people i don't even know would take a few moments out of their day to encourage me.

it's not just a want, but i believe it's a need to be who i am. in every facet of life. and just plain and simple not worry about the number of comments a post will receive or if anyone is even reading this.

i don't want to waste my life worrying about things that don't matter.

and [if i'm really going to be honest] i want to see other bloggers as people, not just as numbers and stats. i've never been the type of person to have a ton of friends. i am built that i am best with a few close friends. so it's kind of silly to think my blog wouldn't function that way too.

in the end, it's not going to matter how many people read my blog. i'm going to be accountable only for what i do with it. am i sharing His work in my life? am i encouraging others in the race? am i spurring others on toward love and good deeds?

am i glorifying and bringing honor to Him with my blog?

i want to be able to answer yes.


Tuesday, October 11

day 11 :: forgotten

i live in the shadow of being forgotten or unnoticed. i am introverted and for the first 17 or so years of my life, i was painfully shy. the thought of speaking up in class made me anxious, so i rarely did. i let my test scores and essays speak for me. i was a good student, but that didn't really help me make friends. it was easy for me to fade back into a corner, while others carried on conversation.

once i got to college, i gained confidence and began to become comfortable with who i am. it was easier to speak up and speak out. it was a place i felt accepted and known.

i've moved a few times since college, and each time, for whatever reason, my introverted, shy childhood self finds it a challenge to get to know people and be known by them. i lose some of my confidence. there are days where it's just hard.

i had put a french bread pizza in the oven for dinner tonight. while it was cooking i was journaling about feeling overwhelmed by thoughts of loneliness, rejection, jealousy, and being forgotten.

the oven beeped as the pizza finished cooking and i got up and pulled it out from the oven. i have a tendency to forget to actually turn the oven off. i think my brain pushes that thought aside as i turn the timer off. tonight though, as i was walking back into the living room to give the pizza time to cool down, i caught sight of the 350 degrees on the oven and remembered i needed to actually turn it off too. i hit the off button and my eyes fell on the time.


this probably wouldn't seem like a big deal to anyone else, but to me, it spoke into my emptiness. my birthday is june 15. i felt God saying to me, i have not forgotten you. i notice you. i know you.

i am amazed again by my God's faithfulness. He provided for my needs through numbers on a stove top. reminding me of His promises...

:: I will never leave you nor forsake you [joshua 1:5]

Monday, October 10

ten on ten [october edition]

one photo, every hour, for ten hours.

[1] my favorite mid-morning snack  [2] heading outside for lunch on a beautiful day  [3] it was a gorgeous day-sunshine, warm temperatures and fall colors all around  [4] new shirt from target + fav necklace = an outfit that makes me feel pretty!  [5] encouraging card from a friend  [6] photography exhibit at work. i'd like to visit all of these places!  [7] hanging above my desk  [8] end of the day. look closely, there's a sort of rainbow. i didn't notice it until i uploaded the picture!  [9] dinner: lemony tuna pasta, a new recipe from the latest real simple magazine.  [10] met up with some friends at the local smokehouse

ten on ten button small

Sunday, October 9

day 9 :: you never let go

we sang this song this morning in church, and i was again reminded of His ever-present, saving grace in our lives. i think if i had to pick a theme song for this month, this would be it.

even though i walk through the valley of the shadow of death
Your perfect love is casting out fear
and even when i'm caught in the middle of the storms of this life
i won't turn back
i know you are near

day 8 :: ...action!

casting out fear requires action. i decided i need to hold myself accountable in some way to this this month if i really am going to spend this time casting out fear. it's kind of hard to write about something when you haven't exactly done it. here are things i know have a hold over me that i want to conquer in the next 22 days or so:

- decorate my dining room wall :: i'm sure that sounds pretty silly, but it's big and bare and i have been putting off hanging anything on it for 7 months because i fear it won't look "right." i see amazing home design on the internet and i'm afraid my place won't turn out as great. i don't want to be consumed by thoughts of what others think of me anymore. after all, it is my wall and my apartment and if i love it, that's really all that matters! and if i don't love it, i start over (:

- post unedited pictures on the blog :: i've always struggled with how i see myself, my self image. there's definitely more to write about in another post [or four], but i can't say i always like what i see in the mirror and the same goes in the camera lens. like my decorating, i make decisions in my life based on what i think others will think of me. i fear rejection and being unnoticed. i hardly, if ever, post pictures on my blog that haven't been edited to make them "better." i want to post unedited pictures because i want to learn how to be ok with myself and who i am.

- i have lived with anxiety and depression for as long as i can remember :: i want to do something about this. this is a big fear battle for me. i'm not sure exactly what to say about what i'm going to do, but i believe that i don't have to live this way and i want to try to figure it out.

- i fear money, and more specifically the lack of it. :: as a result i haven't been to a doctor or dentist in [eek] years. i want to trust God to provide for all my needs and not let a fear of money have control over me. i want to at least schedule a visit to a doctor before the end of october.

yikes. i look at this list and get a bit nervous about following through on these things. i guess that means they're definitely a few of my fears, right? (: i'm trusting that God will honor my trust in Him, that He will not leave me, and that He will be my salvation. there are a series of hurtles laid out in front of me. now i need to jump and have faith that He will carry me over them!

Friday, October 7

day 7 :: how sweet it is


how sweet the name of Jesus sounds
in a believer's ear!
it soothes his sorrows, heals his wounds,
and drives away his fear.
-john newton, olney hymns

Thursday, October 6

day 6 :: lights, camera...

i find it a little funny that the day after i post about measuring up, i have a day scheduled from sun up to way past sun down. at some point during those 24 hours, my fear set in... what if i don't have time to post? what if i get to the end of this day and have nothing to write about? i'm seriously going to miss a day ALREADY?!

i was at dinner with a friend last night when it struck me that a big part of overcoming fear comes in doing. i was investing time in a relationship in the midst of battling the fear that i am unlovable. some of the work to cast out fear happens in our hearts and minds, yes, but some of the process happens in taking action. living it out. working through fear by doing that thing we're so afraid of. writing and thinking and studying in my apartment every day isn't bad, and i'm sure i have and will discover things through it, but there is a world of fear out there to conquer. and there are some things that require action.

"faith without deeds is dead" [james 2:14]. i know that can be interpreted in different ways, but tonight, for me, it means that if i am going to trust my God and not be afraid, i must use my doings to live it out.

Tuesday, October 4

day 4 :: on not going it alone

i drove to work this morning on a flat[tening] tire.


i felt like something might have been wrong but a) i had left my apartment a little late and didn't want to stop, b) i'm stubborn, and c) i didn't want anything to be wrong because of what that might mean for my day and my wallet.

so i drove, getting all the more worried about making it to work. i did make it ok. and i got out of my car and walked around and saw that my back right tire rim was nearly touching the ground.

i said a quick thank you Jesus for allowing me to make it in my stubbornness and walked inside where i started worrying about what i should do. you really should learn how to change a tire, sarah, i mumbled to myself. john had played hockey late last night so i knew he'd still be sleeping and i didn't want to wake him, but i didn't want to wait too long to ask him to come help me out either. i decided i would wait about half an hour and send him a text and hope he'd be able to help me figure this all out.

another issue with my car. how much longer do i keep putting money into this thing? how much longer before i've paid more than it's worth? how am i going to afford this? what am i going to do when it finally kicks the bucket and i have to get a new car? i have no leeway in my budget for a car payment.

i still don't know the answers to these questions. but... when john responded to my text. when he arrived and changed out my tire. when he came inside to my office and became my hero for the day... i do know that my outlook changed.

so much of my worry melted as i became thankful for having him in my life. he helps me in times of stress and anxiety. he talks calmly to me, bringing a peace to the situation. and it certainly doesn't hurt that i love his hugs. (:

we were never meant to get through this life alone.
the Lord God said, "it is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him." [gen 2:18]
carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. [gal 6:2]

all the unpredictability, burdens and general craziness of life are easier to navigate when you have someone to do it with. be it a boyfriend, a husband, a friend, a sister, a parent... fears lose some of their hold on us when we share them with someone else. we gain strength and support. we find confidence. we are blessed with relationships in our lives not just for the good, fun times, but for the difficult, scary times, too.
as iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another. [proverbs 27:17]

who is in your life helping you cast out your fears?

Monday, October 3

day 3 :: measuring up


the funny thing about some of my fears is that they are the very things i wish for.

i wish to live a life of love, gratitude and joy. a life that makes a difference in the lives of those i encounter. i want deep, meaningful relationships. i want to be a person who pours out genuine encouragement. i want to be someone friends come to in times of sadness and strife, a person that comforts and listens. i want to be a person who speaks the truth in love. i wish to be a person who sees meaning in everything she does, even in the mundane, the minutiae, the messy. i want to be faithful with everything. i want to give generously. i want to be patient, kind and good.

basically, i want to be a superincredibleamazingwoman. a proverbial superwoman. [see what i did there?]

but, i know who i really am. the thoughts i am capable of thinking, the hatred i can harbor. i know the ofttimes ugly condition of my heart, the emotions i let direct my word and deed.

i know i will never measure up.

and i find this to be a fear because i am afraid of how desperately i want to, yet just can't...

at least not on my own.
His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. through these things he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature... [2 peter 1:3-4]
everything. i. need. everything! He has given it to me, to you, to us. so that we may participate in the divine nature. in love, gratitude and joy. in faithfulness, generosity, patience, kindness and goodness.

His grace, sufficient for me. His power, made perfect in my weakness. He promises these things to me. i don't have to worry about how i am not measuring up. i don't have to fear failure. He's already won this battle. every day, He has already given everything i will need.

and linking up with jami and ashley

Sunday, October 2

day 2 :: where the fear began

two years ago today i was helping a friend host rush of fools at our church for a concert. the day had given no indication that anything unexpected would happen. i'd gone to work then headed to the church to help with set up. the show started and everyone was having a fun time. near the end of the set, i received a text from my parents asking for prayer; my niece was being taken to the hospital because she was having some trouble breathing. tori mae had been born just nine days prior. her mother, my sister, lived at home with my parents, so tori did too. i'd given her a kiss every morning for nine days and a kiss goodnight every evening for nine days. my other sister was with me at the church. we found each other, felt a bit shaken, but waited for any further news.

a phone call a bit later that evening revealed that things were really not going well, and tori was being life-flighted to a larger hospital in the area. i felt panic sweep over me as i heard a waver in my dad's voice. my sister and i told a few friends what was going on, and they prayed with us. we then set off for the hospital to meet my family. we got there, found my parents and their best friends who had driven them, along with tori's dad and his parents and together we frantically began to search for where tori and my sister had been taken upon their arrival.

we got to the picu to find a team working on little tori. after what felt like both a second and a thousand years' time, the doctor turned around to tell us that he was so sorry but there was nothing more they would be able to do. and just like that, our world changed forever.

we sat with the baby in the picu for hours, crying, weeping, in shock and disbelief. i have never felt such overwhelming emotion in my life before or since then. i then understood the word trauma. i felt so angry, angry at God that He would allow this to happen to our family. i felt an unbearable sadness by the loss we now faced. and i felt fear; i had no idea how we were going to make it through, what in the world would life be like, let alone the next day. we had lost a baby.

that night i experienced my first panic attack. i had a deep pain in my chest and my breathing became irregular. i was afraid i was going to die. i got so scared i actually slept in bed with my parents, while my mom rubbed my back to calm me down. i experienced another one the second night. and the third.

it was during this first week of grieving and mourning that fear wrapped its way around my life, imprisoning me. i became scared of dying, of pain, of losing someone else i loved. the pain that i went through was so horrific i became so afraid of having to go through it ever again. once is enough, Lord, i'd pray.

and in the last two years, i've lived in that fear. fear of the next bad thing. the next loss. the next death. my own death.

two months after tori, we lost my grandma to cancer. on december 31 john and i went to my grandma's wake, then got in the car and drove to new york. i was moving; i'd accepted a job offer and was starting that monday.

john and i had been praying for over six months that i would get a job so that i could move to where he lived and we could start our life together. i had counted it grace that i hadn't received one prior to tori, mercy that i was with my family when it all happened. but the timing of the move seemed all but. i missed my grandma's funeral. i was moving to western new york in the middle of winter. john was taking night classes. i was navigating life anew, in days and nights of seemingly endless snow. i was learning a new job, new coworkers, trying to make new friends, all while learning new roads. the move had been an answer to prayer, but looked nothing like i had expected. the whole uprooting took another toll on me. it demanded much of me, and i was weary. i turned inward, shut parts of myself off to others, embraced the coldness of winter in the depths of my own heart.

at the bottom of it all, i was afraid. everything was unfamiliar and uncomfortable. i was being stretched in every way and it hurt. i feared failure. i feared loneliness. and i was still battling the fear of death.

but i hope for this not to be a story about fear any longer. i do think part of casting out fear involves understanding where it has come from. i want to name aloud my fears and then lay them down before the feet of my Jesus, giving Him back my life, asking Him to free me from this prison.

this morning, i opened my bible to isaiah 12 where i found this verse:

surely God is my salvation;
i will trust and not be afraid.
the Lord, the Lord, is my strength and my song;
he has become my salvation.

God spoke right to my heart in these lines. i need to trust Him. and i must believe that He will save me. oh, how i want to know the power of His salvation, not only in the truth that i am going to heaven someday, but in my life this very day. i desire that he will become my salvation in the here and now.

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