Here we go again…

This post has been swirling around in my mind for weeks. My emotions are all over the map these days because it is time to move again. Sigh…..

It’s been a short 5 years since we moved to Central Texas to plant a church. I’ve written a lot about being the wife of a church planter and what a challenge it can be. I’ve also written about how God amazes me when I’m least expecting it! So today, that is what this post is about. In the turmoil of my exposed emotions I can clearly see His hand in this and on me. Is it still hard? Oh. My. Yes!

The calling for a new church plant in Waco, TX came about 8 months ago. A new opportunity to reach more people for Jesus! How exciting! Here’s what I said to my husband…”Well, it’s only an hour away. We won’t have to move. You can do your job there and I can keep my church and friends here!” (true story) Friends, I even announced that publicly at church one day. “We are not moving!”

I can just hear God chuckling up there, can’t you? That lasted about a week and I had to eat my words!

So here is the part where God steps in to CONTINUE (because this is an ongoing process) to mold me and assure me that HE’S GOT THIS! I don’t know about you, but I always tend to think the whole world revolves around me.

Me: “Who’s going to do all the things I do at church when I am gone?”

God: “No Worries, Sara! I’ve got this!”

Me: “Are you sure?

God: “Yes, Trust ME!”

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding.”

Proverbs 3:5 (ESV)

I am happy to say that I am continuing to trust Him even more! As I surrender to Him, I see HIS work more clearly every day. It is definitely an on going process that I have to work on minute by minute. I am amazed to see HIM working all things out (in spite of me!)

Now this is where the emotions kick in and life gets HARD. My personal favorite thing about serving at church is CARING ABOUT PEOPLE! My heart breaks for all of our “people” who are going through so much! Leaving all these precious people is about to rip my heart out….

One sweet lady said to me “Sara, didn’t you go through this when you left your previous church to come here?” Yes, I did…and then she said “Well, you survived!” Yes, I did…and now I look back and say “Why Am I Amazed?” Watching God build His church here in Central Texas, sending me people to care about and show His love to. An added bonus this week…HE revealed to me this week how my life has touched so many…and there are many more people out there to care for at our new church! “Why Am I Amazed?”

One instance in particular has had me in knots. There is a young family in our church with a huge burden to bear. All I can do is pray for them, and I do…alot! Over and over again, I ask what I can do for them, how can I help? God is saying to me “Trust ME! They belong to ME…I will take care of them.

On a recent Sunday morning, I witnessed God in action. “Why Am I AMAZED? I watched from a distance as a woman approached them, offered prayer and other support and mostly understanding as she had been through something similar. We both then spoke with them of how we can help others later on go through things we have experienced. Friends! God sent her and her willingness to help! My prayers were answered through her and others, I found out later. God had this all along and I love how he reveals this to me (when I am open to seeing) This is how I see God working in spite of me. HE’S Got This!

So are you thinking that it’s all about you, all things dependent on you? That it is hard to follow God’s leading when you are trying to lead? If we’re honest with ourselves, we all do this…each and every day!

This week is Thanksgiving, 2021. I am thankful and grateful that God has shown me today and throughout my life that HE’S Got This! Remember this verse…and comment if you like.

Trust in the Lord with all you heart and do not lean on your own understanding.”

Proverbs 3:5 (ESV)

How do you see God working in your life? What are you thankful for this Thanksgiving season?

Happy Thanksgiving!

Sara

Vacation

Finally….we were able to take much needed vacation. Life has been so busy lately, with no time for extended rest and relaxation. I believe we all tend to put aside the time for real rest…soul rest, maybe not even realizing how important it really is for our spiritual and physical well being.

So…a week at the beach was just the ticket! When we finally had a chance to unplug, we really did. No phones or other electronics. No checking email or text and absolutely NO social media! Maybe not a recommendation for everyone, but for us it works!

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28 (ESV)

This is not a post to tell you how to “vacation” or unplug. There are a lot of books on the subject and I do highly recommend it, but that is not what this is really about.

“Why am I amazed” again and again? Unplugging, rest and good sleep open up space for God to surface to the top. I am speaking for myself here…in the midst of a hectic schedule, I often lose sight of what God is saying to me. I KNOW he is there in the background of the busy hectic life and I KNOW that he loves me and I have eternal life with him. That knowledge, like a soft, warm blanket is a comfort in itself…but what is He saying to me on a daily basis? Do I take time to listen to what He is saying TODAY? I am a little embarrassed to admit the truth…that I do not.

Back to vacation….resting and unplugging from the chaos (includes not watching or reading the news) had some profound effects on both my husband and I. After a few days our creativity returned and new ideas began to surface. Ideas that had been on a back burner for awhile, just waiting for the God space to open up.

Friends, I could go on and on about what God was revealing to us in that space where we could hear him clearly, but I will save that for another post (it is really good….just not ready to share yet!). What I want you to hear today is this….try unplugging from the chaos of your life for a few moments every day. Clear your mind of all the daily “stuff” and listen to HIS voice. HE is there and wants you to follow His voice.

“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them and they follow me.”

John 10:27 (ESV)

Take some time today to listen to His voice….you never know what HE might reveal!

Blessings!

Sara

P.S. God continues to speak to me and amaze me every day! I find his voice and beauty in nature and hope to convey that in my art. How does God speak to you?

Repeat…And Why Am I A Slow Learner?…..

So today I started a new post…and then I reread the last one I wrote called “A Mumpy Dumpy Day” https://whyamiamazed.com/2021/06/22/a-mumpy-dumpy-day/

and instead of rewriting I will just repost. Same thoughts today as it continues to rain…(definitely over it!)

I hope this encourages you to turn to scripture on those days that you feel “down in the dumps”. God is present in those words. He is there to encourage you and to lift you up on those dark days.

” I lift up my eyes to the hills, From where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.

Psalm 121:1

Praying for sunshine!

Sara

A Mumpy Dumpy Day

You’ve heard me say over and over that I look to God daily to amaze me with His grace and glory. I do look for Him daily….but today I do not feel the amazement. Have you ever just been down in the dumps? Nothing seems to be going right…or wrong…just nothing. Maybe you are waiting for a call or text, waiting for something to happen, even if it is only the lawn guys showing up…just waiting.

Today is one of those days for me…I have no idea why…just a “mumpy dumpy day” (quote from my daughter many years ago).

So what do You do when this happens? My first thought is to turn to scripture, the second is doing something I love.

Let’s start with scripture. I’m just going to be honest here and say that I do not have a profound devotion to turn to, my prayer life is pretty much non existent right now and hmmmmm…I may have just discovered the reason for my “dumpiness”! Why am I not surprised?

Seriously…I know this in my head, but sometimes my heart is slow to catch up. I’m not really sure why this happens…human nature I guess?

Now, feeling a little sheepish, maybe a little embarrassed that I did not see the root of my problem earlier, I am ready to tackle scripture. I “found’ this verse, but really I think it found me…

“Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation”. Psalm 42:5

My hope is in God! He is my salvation and I praise Him for that! He forgives me for ALL my sins, even failure to consistently remain in the word and failure to consistently go to Him in prayer…and for that I AM AMAZED!

I would love to hear from you! What do you do when you are “down in the dumps”?

The second thing…doing something I love! I love making scripture cards to share with friends! So, today I made one with this verse. I hope you enjoy it!

Surgery…and why God still amazes me!

So, a few weeks ago I had to have a minor surgery…gallbladder removal to be exact. Y’all are probably thinking..no big deal….right? Well for me, it was a big deal. I have not had many surgeries and was a little proud of that, not to mention that I really have a huge fear of being cut on! This procedure became necessary though, so with much angst I scheduled it.

As I was preparing for a weekly meeting with a friend (we are studying Psalms) I opened my Bible and literally this verse jumped off the page and straight into my heart!

I don’t know if that has happened to you before, but it does not happen to me often. But that day it did! I was just looking for a Psalm to discuss, thumbing through the book. I came to Psalm 46. This is a very well used Psalm and it happens to be a source for our mission statement at Fortress. I think I was drawn to it because it is so familiar. AND THEN…I read verse 5…

“God is in the midst of her; She shall not be moved; God will help her when morning dawns.” Psalm 46:5

It seems like such a simple thing doesn’t it, to trust in God, knowing that He has you in the palm of his hand?We KNOW this stuff…right? When fear sets in though…it seems that knowing and feeling are world’s apart!

This is where I became amazed. This passage of scripture, this particular verse, SPOKE to ME. I was meant to read that verse, that day at that very time. Psalm 46:5 assured me that God is IN the midst of me, HE resides there always and that with HIS help I could handle this fear that I was facing. As I was studying, I ran across other scriptures that assured me over and over that God is in ME! What a comfort this knowledge is!

“No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.”

1 John 4:12 (ESV)

“as long as my breath is in me, and the spirit of God is in my nostril,” Job 27:3 (ESV)

Blessings on your day!

P.S. Another way God continues to amaze me is through art. I find incredible joy and peace when I am creating beautiful works of art with alcohol ink. I hope you enjoy my art.

He Is Risen!

I am still basking in the glow of Easter. A much anticipated celebration after the reverence and contemplation of 40 days of Lent. I have to admit that sometimes I am anxious for it all to be over and by that I mean all of the extra church practices of the season (you know…special music, food, egg hunts, early services, etc…) All those things are nice and add to the celebration but the true meaning and promises of Easter are with us EVERY DAY!

Not just on that one day when the Pastor announces “CHRIST IS RISEN!and we respond “HE IS RISEN INDEED, ALLELUIA!”

Not just on that one day when we get up before the crack of dawn, build a fire in the fire pit, huddle under a blanket and wait for the anticipated sunrise. Hopefully one year we will actually see a sunrise! (mostly it’s just an overcast gray sky on a early spring morning.)

Not just once a year when we tend to buy new outfits to wear on that special Sunday. Not just once a year when children hunt for candy in plastic eggs. Not just an excuse to get together with friends and family for a special meal.

Friends! Here is the Easter promise that is for each and everyone of us. EVERY. SINGLE. DAY! Jesus died on that cross in our place! He died for you and I to save us from eternal death and insure that we will have eternal life with HIM in heaven. THAT is Good News worth basking in!

“because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from he dead, you will be saved”

Romans 10:9 (ESV)

Spring

Here in Texas we have had quite an eventful winter…snow (unusual) more snow (really unusual) and then an epic ice storm (beyond unusual). Add all that to a pandemic that has lasted a year so far and I wonder just WHAT. IS. NEXT? HAVEN’T WE HAD ENOUGH?

As I was rereading my previous post “Snow Day”, I was a taken back a bit…it was a big deal when it snowed the first time and I remember how excited I was to see new life when I looked into my greenhouse when it was all over. There were beautiful pink flowers! But when I looked into the greenhouse after “Iceageddon” (that’s the name we use to refer to the epic ice storm), all I saw was brown, DEAD leaves!

This was a little disheartening and maybe a little defeating if I’m honest with myself. A lot of plants are DEAD like this one…but hold on….I think there is a message here!

Our life in Christ may be like these plants…hmmmm…..We wait for spring, we wait for new life and hope to renew our tired spirts after a long winter. Sometimes we wait and we wait…maybe with a little bit of hope like flowers in a greenhouse. And then another set back comes…like a storm that damages plants. It could be a life storm for you or just waiting for a long winter to end. I don’t know about you but sometimes I want to cry out to God and say WHAT.IS.NEXT? HAVEN’T I HAD ENOUGH?

Friends…I am here to assure you that He is there in the midst of the storms that never seem to end. He is there even in the long, cold winter. One of my favorite verses gives me great comfort in this;

"For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him. He only is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I will not be shaken"  Psalm 62:5-6

In the storms and long winters in our lives when we wait…we can be assured that God is here with us, just as new growth in this season of spring brings hope! In Him is new life!

Happy Easter!

Longest . Week . Ever

Maybe you have heard…Texas experienced an EPIC ice storm and very cold temperatures this week. It seems most of the country was very cold as well. But here in Texas, thousands of folks had no heat or water for days. Some experienced frozen and broken pipes and I won’t even mention the frozen plants and trees! The streets and highways were pretty much impassable except for the brave folks that had to go to work. This is such unusual weather for this part of the country that cities and towns are not prepared with salt trucks and other cold weather equipment. We personally were fortunate at our house and only experienced about 22 hours with no heat. We “camped” out by the fireplace outside in a makeshift outdoor room. I have to admit it was fun for a minute… It was warmer there than in the house!

Now to the end of the long week…the sun is finally out today and the ice is melting. Soon this will all be a distant memory. I could go on and on about how “horrible” the week was, how long it seemed and in general just write an “Oh Poor Me” post. But you know…it wasn’t that bad and I am positive that others were worse off than me.

What it did teach me is this: We should be more prepared (water, canned and dried food etc…) firewood, propane gas, blankets, candles. We also realized just how dependent we are on our devices and internet! Something I am personally going to be working on…reading “real paper” books and other hobbies not involving electronics! Stay tuned for that post!

Here is the real lesson I was reminded of this week in one of my devotions: Habakkuk 3:17-18

Though the fig tree should not blossom,

nor fruit be on the vines,

the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food,

the flock be cut off from the fold, and there be no herd in the stalls,

yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will take joy in the God of my salvation.

In this time of isolation, similar to the pandemic quarantine last spring, I was reminded once again that God’s love is sovereign and never ending! We may be cut off from the flock and have little or no food, but friends…We rejoice and take joy in the God of our Salvation! That makes this long week of worldly discomfort seem like just a fleeting moment!

A few pictures of our outdoor experience!

“Camp Coffee”
“Coffee by the Fire”

Snow Day

“And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful.”  Ezekiel 36: 26-29

Last week Central Texas had a huge weather event. Something that hasn’t happened in a few years…it SNOWED! Not just a dusting, but enough to build an army of snowmen! This “snowmageden” event caused so much excitement among most, especially children! It was such a joy to hear the laughter and delight of families making snowmen, snow angels and snowballs! And…it WAS pretty! Large soft snowflakes falling HERE in Central Texas! It was a sight to behold!

But I have to be honest…I really don’t like snow. It was cold and I have become a thin-skinned Texan! I was personally glad when it was over! I know that I have a really bad attitude about snow and cold, but I did a happy dance when we sold our snow shovel and snow blower and moved back to Texas! 

I have a small green portable green house on my patio. I was checking on my poor cold plants after the snow event and was greeted by this sight… 

When I opened up my little green house and immediately saw 2 beautiful pink flowers, I felt the warmth coming back. The warmth of His love and the promise of new life!

Then it dawned on me…God is Here, through the cold and misery, through the joy and celebration. HE IS HERE THROUGH IT ALL!