All posts filed under “faith

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my underground resistance

remember when i wrote about how crazy things have been recently? they remain to be so–and have actually gotten a bit more mental due to my darling girl swapping nappies for knickers this week–however a sweet friend re-introduced me to a powerful poem yesterday that… Read More

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since when is failure a disqualifier?

i mean seriously people. we need to get our heads straight about this. or at least i do.

i have been letting this subject stew for a few days now–ever since rich laughed at me for agreeing to chat to a few of our dating/engaged friends together about trust and connectedness. don’t get me wrong, i get why he laughed. anyone who has ever talked to rich and i in the course of our 8 years together would have a little giggle at the fact that we got asked to give wisdom on that subject. namely because it has been the single most area of contention and pain in our marriage.

but that is exactly the point! is someone, who does not have an addictive bone in their body, the best person to get advice from when struggling from addiction? is a chronic workaholic going to find wisdom from someone who doesn’t care and never has really been that bothered at all about their career? maybe. in fact, the total opposite perspective is often the eye-opening moment where we realise that, indeed, life could be different than our experience.

but moving on from that moment, seeing real change in our lives, that is when wisdom is needed. and wisdom is not just another perspective. wisdom is a been there, done that kind of a thing.

you see, the laughing i got from rich was a, ‘what in the world do we have to say about that subject, we have failed miserably at it!’ in fact, after he finished cracking up, he said something not far off.

and he isn’t wrong…but he is. it hasn’t been the shining and sparkly area of our relationship. but man have we learned a lot. and if our 8 rocky years in this area can help some new loves just starting out to have only 4 rocky years. awesome. in fact, really awesome!

everyone knows that failing stinks. it doesn’t feel good. at all. i hate it just as much as the next guy, but what sounds like more fun: 1) make mistakes, beat self up constantly, live in shame about failures, or 2) make mistakes, beat self up a little bit (who are we kidding we are human), recognise that failures bring wisdom and when asked, offer that wisdom to others.

i like the idea that my screw ups can count for something. that there is hope and redemption in every situation. that i can be a part of my world moving from glory to glory.

sarah

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the thing about design and god

i have spent most of this morning looking at lighting and bar design for ground floor coffee. i am loving every minute of it and have found some very chic and incredibly cool things that you may all view on my ground floor coffee pinterest board if you, like me, love a good mood board.

however, some doubting thoughts starting swirling around in my head in the midst of my excitement. why am i doing this and putting all this time and effort into designing something that, genuinely, will be very cool and modern and london worthy, in bedford–and not even in the town centre–but in a community building at the edge of town? i got a little scared. will it be a waste of my time and my good ideas? will people find it? will they want to come out and see it? will they be put off that the community building also houses a church? i got nervous. then, i remembered why i want to do this well. why i want to give my funky, art house ideas to this coffee shop, in this community building.

most churches and community building have cafes now. you know the ones. plastic chairs and tables, cheap cups of mediocre coffee, cheesy names like HeBrews (no offence Bethel!) and Sacred Grounds. i mean come on, you can feel the cringe coming on. its bad. please understand that i have no judgement just a different point of view. and thats the thing. my god, the one i love and have chosen to follow, i have found, is not cringe worthy or twee. he is highly creative: trees and anteaters and those creepy deep sea fish with glowing balls attached to them, seriously people, who thinks this stuff up?! he also has impeccably high standards for design: read the spec for the ark of the covenant and the temple in the old testament. guys, his specifics and attention to detail would put any artist or architect to shame.

the architects and designers of cathedrals used to know this about god. they built their beautiful churches 1) to glorify god with their beauty and effort and craftsmanship and 2) because they believed that people, in seeing the beauty of the church itself, would see something of god. much like the queen of sheba, when she walked into solomon’s temple, saw the way his table was laid and how his servants were dressed and performed their duties (hello customer service!) and knew it was the lord. she then blessed the name of the lord because the excellence of design and service and beauty displayed at his temple convinced her of the beauty and reality of the god he served.

hello! why have we lost this? why have we thought that plastic chairs and tables and instant coffee will do? why are bad websites, un-thought-through logos and twee slogans the norm? why have we cut design, detail, art and creativity out of our evangelism plans?

these things matter! they matter to god. they matter to the creative people who do not know him. they are one–albeit of many–avenues of introducing the world to their loving father. let’s not forget this. let’s not assume it is unimportant.

this is why i am doing what i am doing.

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the thing about worship…

…today it’s my ‘stick it’ to the enemy.

as a worshipper and worship leader, i am hardwired to see my life through worship-tinted glasses. worship is adoration to my amazing saviour, clinging to my safe and comforting father, thankfulness for my god’s great love. and sometimes it is my weapon, my battle cry and my rebellious screaming and hitting of the air. a rebellion against an enemy who wants to destroy me.

back story: i have a bulging disc in my l5/s1 vertebrae that has cause intense and chronic nerve pain for over a year now. i was due to have surgery last week. it has been postponed twice due to emergency surgeries taking priority and the bureaucracy of the nhs. my mom has flown over from the states to help post-op. except i am still pre-op. this momma has been stressed, discouraged, despairing and highly anxious.

i called in some troops yesterday for support. my two sweet friends sat either side of me on my couch. one holding my hand, the other with her hand on my head and we worshipped. we worshipped together and i cried and connected. i connected with my dad. my father who loves me and knows me and loves my kids and has plans for me and is always working things to my good. he is amazing. i freaking love him and i am his. and he has my back and he is taking care of it. the lightness i felt at the end of that time was amazing. the peace was intoxicating.

i had forgotten. had been listening to the enemies doubts and my own fears of not being taken care of. i was being taken down. but not anymore.

worship is my weapon!

what do i do when i have prayed the same prayer for a week now? (god, please either heal me or get me into surgery!) what do you say to him when you know he heard and you know he is taking care of it but you dont know anything else? you worship. you tell him why you love him. you sit with him. you choose his joy over despair. you stick your middle finger up at the enemy and say, ‘i am going to worship through this’. so there.

try your best, im his and that aint changin. i am going to praise him through my confusion and choose trust over fear and i am going to be happy and joyful because i am his. and he is the best dad, in the whole world.

huzzah!

sarah

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a pretty sticky situation

so, i was asked to write a mini devotional this week for my parent’s church in oklahoma. i got assigned a passage and, to be honest, got a bit nervous when i read it. it was 2 samuel 17. go on, read it. if you haven’t read the rest of the book of samuel before, you will get why i was nervous. out of context, there is pretty much nothing inspirational you can pick out of it, other than the hebrews had some pretty knarly names.

i was feeling a little out of my depth, but a skim of the rest of the book and a little bit of history later, verse 14 stuck out to me:

absalom and all the men of israel said, ‘the advice of hushai the arkite is better than that of ahithophel.’ for the Lord had determined to frustrate the good advice of ahithophel in order to bring disaster on absalom.

i know, i know, it’s not one of those verses you want to write on a post-it and put on your bathroom mirror or anything, but i really started to get some good revelation from it!

so, for all of you who don’t go to gcc b-ville. here it is. my join the journey devotional.

a bit of background. david, man after god’s own heart, has rocked his job as king. he united the kingdom, grew in favor, but also got a little too comfortable, stayed back from war, got bored, had an affair, got the girl pregnant and killed the girl’s husband in hopes of covering it all up. it didn’t work. everyone found out. and–as sin usually does–it affected his kingdom and family and, long story short, he ends up fleeing for his life from his son, absalom, who has seized his throne. david is not in the best situation and is reaping some huge consequences for his mishap with bathsheba.

and yet, god is still on david’s side. honoring the covenant he made with him and fighting for him.

that is what i love about this verse. it shows what an incredibly loving, safe and good father god is. when our own sin causes painful circumstances in our lives, he doesn’t kick us while we are down or leave us alone to fail in order to teach us a lesson. he doesn’t have to. jesus already took our punishment on the cross and the natural consequences for our sin teach enough of a lesson (don’t they just?!).

instead, god supports us and fight with us. allowing our mistakes to teach us wisdom, he offers us peace, works all for the good, creates beauty from ashes and causes our enemies to flee. all in a situation we created.

this revelation of god as a good father has changed everything for me. when i screw up, whether intentional or accidental–instead of feeling shame or fear–i can safely bring my mess to him and ask for help cleaning it up knowing i will be met with love, compassion and a very, present help.

if that’s not good news, i don’t know what is.

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the thing about jeans…

…a good pair is hard to find!

two kids and three returns later, i think i have found some that work. are you kidding me?! and just for fun and purely to save you all some valuable time. i will tell you what i have learned.

1. low-rise are only for pre-baby or no-butt post-baby bodies. your hips change in pregnancy creating an inverted triangle effect below the hips meaning that your low-rise jeans really are just a law of physics away from falling down. and if you’ve got back, and girl, you know i do. you will be showing it off all day cause they will not stay on!

2. if jeans fit you in the dressing room, they will not fit you at home. twice i took back jeans because i did not know this jean buying fact. they stretch. even good jeans (ok this is a guess, i haven’t ever tested this out on jeans above $50). and they stretch just enough to make them look slightly too big and make you feel un-flattered and flabby. i know it’s risky, ‘what if this, and only this time, they don’t stretch and i just bought jeans a size too small.’ just risk it. you won’t regret it. today i bought some jeans i really didn’t think i could pull off cause they were juuuuust a little too tight in the dressing room, and by the time i had the kids in bed 5 hours later they were perfectly form fitting and flattering. awesome.

3. you don’t have to be skinny to pull off skinny jeans. i don’t have some long explanation for this. just encouragement from personal experience. i love skinny jeans, think they are so cute. didn’t wear them for 2 years cause i thought i couldn’t pull them off. tried some on, i was wrong! they are super cute in a size 2 (UK6) and a size 10 (UK14) if you accessorise well!

ok, go. be awesome in your jeans. and come back in a few days for something more meaningful and inspiring. ha!