Here's to holding on and finishing strong. As the holidays approach, I hope and pray that we all are able to slow down a little and enjoy the company of the people we love the most. I certainly plan on doing that!
Sunday, November 14, 2010
I've spent the last half hour reading old posts... remembering, reflecting and counting my blessings. I must say God has been good this year. Through highs and lows, he's been so faithful. I've found myself more often than not this semester in a state of exhaustion. "Warn out, beaten and bedraggled" as one of my favorite writers, Brennan Manning, would put it. But I look back on the things that God has done, the things that he's taught me and the fullness of heart that comes with those "harvest seasons" and it gets me through this kind of desert season I've been in lately. Nothing is going terribly wrong, but I'm so tired. I feel like this entire semester I've just been longing for the time to just rest in the presence of the Lord. Luckily the semester is getting close enough to the end where there's a light at the end of the tunnel. I can't wait to spend time with my family next week for Thanksgiving. I can't wait to come back and finally get this semester of school behind me. I can't wait until the smoke clears from the craziness of this last few months and I can look back and say, "God, your hand was in that. Thanks."
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Sunday, November 7, 2010
As I sit down to debrief on my last few days, I'm not really sure where to begin. It was wonderful, encouraging, refreshing, emotional — it was just a really sweet time for so many reasons. I think I'll just list them.
1. I got to spend some quality time with my dad. Just the two of us! It was great. We caught up on life, we ate pancakes, we watched football, we laughed... I wish I could stop time and hang out with him a little longer. I love my dad. He said one thing this weekend that I really needed to hear. In the last few months I feel like God's revealed a lot of things to me about my life, about how I know I'm supposed to be doing ministry of some sort, and about my hopes and dreams to combine my passion for journalism — for storytelling — and the calling I feel to ministry. I expected him to give me the typical parental, "OK dreaming is great but let's be realistic..." and instead he said this: "Sara, if you can dream it, then it doesn't matter what it looks like to the rest of us. Stay close to the Lord and follow your heart." What a freeing, comforting, encouraging thing to hear from my dad. To know that I have his blessing to follow my heart is such a sweet feeling.
2. My "sister" got married this weekend, which is why my dad and I were in Nashville together in the first place (dad did the wedding). Adrienne was a Young Life leader at my high school, but she was also a part of my family for 2 years and is such a huge part of my story. When I was going through a pretty dark time of being an angry, rebellious teenager, Adrienne was a light in my life. For about a year she was one of the only people I really talked to about anything. She loved me when I didn't feel like anyone could, comforted me and picked me up when I felt like my whole world was crashing down, and ultimately is one of the biggest reasons I know Jesus and am who I am today. For that reason she will forever hold a very special place in my heart. It was really fun to celebrate her this weekend.
3. Because Adrienne got married this weekend, I got to spend time with a lot of really special people. The whole Nashville Young Life family is so close to my heart, and it was great to be with them this weekend. Another one of my old YL leaders, Annie, holds that same special place in my heart as Adrienne. God used the two of them to pull me out of a dark place when I was about 17. Annie has 4 kids, two of which I feel like I helped raise while I was in high school... I pretty much lived at her house. At one point I caught myself holding her baby boy as I watched her oldest two run around the dance floor together, with Adrienne standing there in her wedding dress and Annie sitting at the table with a few other YL folks, I thought to myself, "this is why Nashville still feels like home... this is my family." And when it hit me that Annie's kids are growing up and Adrienne is getting married and settling down in Nashville, it made me feel like that's where I want to go when I'm done with school. I don't want to miss out on their lives any more. Those are some really special people in my life.
4. I was pretty bummed out to be coming back to Jonesboro today, just because I knew that the stress of school and the paper waited for me here, but when I got home there was a late birthday package waiting for me from my friend Ellie. There was a copy of her new EP which I was very excited about, a really sweet note, and my favorite: a journal. It's dated in a way that I can use it for years, just writing short little "God things" that happen in my life and in my ministry. The enclosed note ended with, "PS - enjoy writing HIS story!" And inside the cover she wrote in big, bold letters: Share The Love. When my friend Andrew and I first started brainstorming this future ministry of ours, I was having breakfast with Ellie and was telling her about it. That morning at Mitchell's in East Nashville, she named it "Share the Love," and something that was just a thought was given an identity. It hasn't been the same since! She's been such an encouragement with everything... it was really sweet to get that from her today. I'm so excited about the journey God has me and some friends of mine on in this vision he's given us, and I can't wait to see it all unfold over the next few years.
God is good...