But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility... Eph. 2:13-14

Sunday, February 26

Redeemed Dust

He is risen!

Lent has been difficult for me this year, and it's only been four days! In the past, I just fasted on my own, because I really like that brothers and sisters all over the world have set apart this time to reflect and draw closer to God. I like that we're all fasting at the same time, it's sort of heaven-like. I didn't do it last year because it would've been works: mostly tradition and very little God.

This year, however, has been different. I've been doing more research, and trying to figure out what is biblical, what is purely tradition, what is worthwhile, and what is distracting. God has led me to give up a lot more than usual, and has been using my struggling to blatantly show me how much I need Him (which is the point!).

One thing I've been particularly struggling with has been whether or not to tell people I'm observing Lent. I realize, of course, that posting this means that I'm telling anyone who wishes to read it, but this isn't exactly what I mean. For example, if I'm continually offered something that I'm fasting from to the point of annoyance, do I tell the person in question that I'm fasting? Is that being like the Pharisees? I'm still not sure. Plus, Lent is a touchy issue for some people, and I really don't want to be offensive. I don't know how to handle this, but I'm sure that in the next 36 days God will make it clear!

In other news, as I've been picking apart the tradition, I came across this not-fasting-on-Sunday thing. I knew about it before, but ignored it, because I generally don't pay much attention to Catholic holy days. I thought it was an excuse to break fast like eating fish on Friday, but I never looked into the matter to see if I was right.

This morning, however, when I went to read my little lenten Bible reading plan, it had a note that said that Sunday is usually skipped because it's like a mini Easter. I'm sure this isn't news to any of ye, but I was a little surprised when I looked into it. I hadn't thought about the fact that every Sunday should be Easter Sunday for the believer. Really, every day should be lived as a celebration of Christ's Resurrection, but especially Sunday. I knew that, but I hadn't thought about it in relation to Lent.

I really struggled with knowing how to approach this. I don't want to be quick to toss aside self-denial when I get the opportunity, but if there's a good reason to break fast on Sunday, then just like the other traditions, I'll go for it. Today I did, and I feel completely at peace. I also wasn't put in many positions to break the fast anyway, so it won't be as difficult to go back tomorrow.

This morning we shared the Lord's Supper, and it really was almost like Easter, or at least Good Friday. I'm beginning to understand why certain branches of the Church have observed Lent for so long. Sure, it can easily be turned into an issue of attempting to gain righteousness through works and self-denial. But it can also be something beautiful that points to the cross and Christ and the incomprehensible mercy and glory of God! Yes, it's difficult, but really in the end it's only zooming in on the daily difficulty of the Christian life (John Piper had a fantastic post on this subject yesterday. You can read it HERE).

Hopefully this has been beneficial to you in some way. It's strange knowing that there are people reading this blog now. I feel like every post is inadequate. But if it glorifies God somehow, it'll do.

Love and Peace,

P.S. I'll probably be bugging you with another Texas-related post soon. I get to go back soon! Huzzah!

Saturday, February 18

Let us die! Let us die!

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.   Romans 12:1
I've been thinking about being a living sacrifice, and what that means. For most of my life I've thought of it in the sense of giving something up: sacrificing conveniences for God. But it occurred to me the other day that Paul wasn't talking about American sacrifices, he was referencing animal sacrifices in the temple. He was talking about death!

I went on YouTube to watch an animal sacrifice, but I was too disturbed by the pictures to actually watch any videos. Sacrifices are slit throats and bloodbaths. They're dying when you've done nothing wrong. But we aren't called to die a bloody death, we're called to be a living sacrifice. What does that mean? What does it look like?

I could be wrong, but it sounds like a living sacrifice is one that never dies. It's slitting your spiritual throat and draining your spiritual lifeblood every day. It's following the example of the Lamb, who emptied Himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross. Who had compassion on the crowds, even when they wouldn't give Him a chance to rest.

The great thing is, the perfection that makes us good enough to be sacrificed (only perfect animals were acceptable sacrifices, remember) is Christ's sacrifice. The lifeblood that we're supposed to be pouring out is His! There is no way I could do something so insane as continually die (which is the Christian life). But it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me, so it is not Sarah's life that is being poured out, but Christ's life through Sarah.

So it comes down to this: I am called to die continually, to sacrifice everything at all times. But in order to do that, my life cannot be my own. It's all about Christ, it's all for Christ, it's all through Christ.

I hope this all makes sense. And I hope it encourages you as much as it has encouraged and challenged me. We serve a God who is worthy of such sacrifice, and so much more!

Love and Peace,

Friday, February 17

Support Missions: Buy my Pants!

Hello everyone!
I don't mean to annoy you with spam, but I'm trying something I've never done before, and I'm sharing the information any way I know how - and this blog is one of those ways!

To help raise the money I need to go back to Texas, I'm going to try making and selling things on Etsy. I just posted my first item, and I'd be much obliged if you'd check it out!

You can get all of the information HERE, but to whet your appetite, I'll share some pictures and background information.

I was inspired to make these pants by the clothes at a little hippie store named Sunshine Daydream. They have some very much like these, but they're WAY out of my price range, and most of them are Grateful Dead themed.

I had a pair of corduroy pants with eyelets running down the sides that were in excellent condition, but... well... boring. I never wore them, but I hated to get rid of them because they were in such great shape. After my trip to Sunshine Daydream, I was inspired!

With the combined powers of scrap fabric, embroidery thread, T-shirt scraps left over from my T-shirt Skirt, and some old jewelry, I set about assembling the coolest pants I've ever owned.

As much as I like them, however, I need money more. And I have plenty of clothes. And I never wear them. So now I'm giving you the chance to own them! For about half the price of the pants at Sunshine Daydream, you can own an incredibly cool pair of pants!

The hardest thing for me to give up about these pants are the dangling heart charms on the side. A lot of thought went into those charms. Because I knew they'd never make it if they were washed, I had to come up with a way to detach and reattach them easily, without being too bulky. I really like the end result.

These pants have been washed several times, and the stitching holds. I had some trouble with the letters fraying away, but after some experimenting, that's under control (and it looks really cool!).

So if you like them, or know someone who would like them, or think you know someone who knows someone who would like them, please head over to my Etsy store! Feel free (no, feel encouraged- no, feel obligated) to share the link through email, on Facebook, Pinterest, Google+, or wherever you network socially!

I'm currently in the process of dreaming up another clothing item to sell. This one is going to be even harder, because I've been planning to make it for myself for a while now. If I want it so badly, you know it must be good!

Love and Peace,

Saturday, February 11

And the raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting...

I read today in 2 Chronicles 13 about king Abijah, one of the good kings of Judah. God gave him victory in battle  and made him mighty because he relied on the LORD. But then he had 14 wives, which was explicitly forbidden in the Law.

I haven't really researched the matter, but I can't think of a king that actually obeyed that law. Saul, the very first king, had more than one wife, and so did David. And of course Solomon set the record. Having so many wives doesn't seem to be addressed or rebuked. It's just mentioned casually, "And he took fourteen wives..." To me, that seems strange, and to my western mind the thought of having to share my husband-king or not-is a little infuriating. But then I started thinking.

What if every mouthful of food past contentment was a spouse? That probably makes no sense whatsoever to you, but bear with me. What if someone someday wrote about me, "God blessed Sarah, and allowed her to do many things for his glory. And she weighed 200 pounds*, and was an excellent cook."

Now, I realize that there is no verse in scripture that says, "Sarah should not eat more than she needs, and should not be unhealthy." It may not be as blatant as it was for the kings of Israel/Judah, but there are countless verses telling me that my body is not my own, but God's. There are verses that speak in rather offensive language about gluttons. I know without a doubt that God wants me to care for my body, and not to overindulge or find all my pleasure in the food He's provided. And yet I'm overweight.

Before I continue, let me make sure you understand what I am NOT saying. I'm NOT saying that overweight people are all in sin. I'm NOT saying that you need to rebuke your brother who took an extra piece of pie at the fellowship. Really, I'm not even talking about eating. For me, overindulgence is hard to overcome, and I don't fight it hard enough (and sometimes not at all). I'm not talking about food.

I'm talking about acceptable sins. Unless you're one of those cruel health freaks who thinks they're better than anyone who weighs ten pounds more than they should, you're not going to judge me for being chubby. More importantly, I'm not going to judge me for being chubby, at least, not for the right reasons. Culturally, it's acceptable.

Does that mean God approves? Not at all! But because it is not something culturally despicable, and it doesn't destroy my relationship with God and everyone else, it doesn't seem like a big deal.

But it is! Because God is everything to me! Why would I condone anything He does not approve of? Yes, there's mercy and grace and love, but that's no excuse for me to turn a blind eye to the non-major defects in my life.

And so, timidly, I'm going to try to pay attention to the acceptable sins in my life. I know I'm not going to like it at all, but the first step to overcoming is admitting I have a problem. After all, my "thirteen" extra pounds may be as scandalous to future generations as Abijah's thirteen extra wives are to me.

To war!

Love and Peace,

P.S. I feel that I've done a very poor job expressing myself here. I should've used a different acceptable sin, I guess. That's just the first one that always comes to mind. Hopefully you get the picture and it encourages you somehow anyway!

*Disclaimer: I've never weighed 200lb, and I pray I never will. I'm too vain to put my actual weight, so I went higher for emphasis.

Saturday, February 4

It's a Major Award! ;)

Blow Award
1. You post the rules
2. You must post 11 random things about yourself
3. Those who I awarded can answer the questions I posted
4. I am supposed to create 11 new questions (for the people I tagged) to answer
5. And finally, I am supposed to let the people I have awarded know that I’ve awarded them

So... I probably won't award anyone else, but since I really, really like Ellie I'll be a good girl and try the rest.

Random facts about me
1. I "play" an ocarina.
2. I own a giant piggy bank that I've been slowly filling since I was 19.
3. As of yesterday, I have a job!!!
4. I own 5 Starbucks cups.
5. I've almost donated a gallon of blood.
6. I would've donated more than that, but I struggle to keep my iron high enough.
7. If I could act and sing, I'd want to play Eliza Doolittle onstage.
8. I'm not sure if I like the Beatles because the music is good, or because of my childhood.
9. I have a little penguin collection that is very cute.
10. I own two sets of dishes, and will be inheriting at least one more.
11. Bath & Body Works discontinued my favorite scent.

And now for the questions I'm supposed to answer:
1. If you could have a superpower, what would you choose?
2. How many times can you say “purple” very fast?
I had to slow down around #15
3. What is your favorite joke?
I really don't know! But I'm sure it involves puns.
4. What is the most impractical thing you could wish for?
An ant.
5. What is the first thing you do on the computer?
Check Facebook
6. If you were on a deserted island what would you want to read?
The Bible
7. If you were on a Pegasus where would you go?
8. What is your favorite artist/band?
Um... maybe Andrew Peterson?
9. Do I really need to come up with 11 questions?
You should've, since those are the rules, but since I'm not following all of the rules I guess it's okay if you didn't. :)

Thank you, Ellie, for the award! I hope you're satisfied with my answers/random facts!


Thursday, February 2

Dandelion Martyrs

One Spring day
fights its way
into January

Eager, unable to wait,
plants begin to leap to life,
Singing their hymns prematurely

They know,
They have to know
that their song will be short lived.

They know,
They have to know
that they will die tomorrow.

And yet they sing
their song to the full extent
of their ability

Are they unwise,
Or is their song
too great to hold in?

Are they unwise,
Or is their death
worth the chance to sing?

Are they unwise,
Or is Truth too great
to hold in a Winter grave?

Are they unwise,
Or should I risk
all to sing in harmony?

Please excuse the weirdness. This is the reason I shouldn't take long bike rides by myself. There's too much time to think!

Note: I realize it's February now. It just didn't feel right in my mouth.