book recommendations, When "Everything" Goes Wrong, I Choose Joy in the One True God

When “Everything” is Going Wrong I Choose Joy in the One True God

When “Everything” is Going Wrong I Choose Joy in the One True God

Then you will find your joy in the LORD…

Isaiah 58:14a

Just a side note, this post became a bit longer than intended, and may end up becoming a series of posts in the future.

When Joy Is Hard to Find

2019 has been an intense year. There has been joy, but there has been a lot of “hard” too.

Though, if I’m honest my family has been in a rough season since 2017 when my husband left Active Duty. It appears we’re not quite ready to reap the harvest yet.

If this past weekend is any indicator, we’ve got quite a bit more sowing left in this season.

To those who know us personally, it isn’t a surprise to know we’ve been struggling. The move from Active Duty to civilian life has not been an easy experience. There have been more bumps in the road than either my husband or I ever expected.

Life without the security of the Marine Corps is a constant act of faith.

Never have we been what you would call financially “well-off”, but we’ve always been able to provide for ourselves and our children without too much struggle.

Until we no longer could.

Becoming Humble

When we moved from Washington State to Virginia, we left nearly everyone we knew.

My children left their friends and Sunday school teachers they loved. I left my sister, my cousin, and my childhood best friend.

We also drove away broke, because of a paperwork error that took months to straighten out before the Marine Corps would release my husband’s final paycheck.

Driving across the country nearly penniless, heading to a state where we still hadn’t found a place to live, could have been terrifying.

Instead, there was joy.

Okay, there was some fear too, but whenever the fear would claw at me I’d remember that everything comes from God. That He would provide in His way and His time.

So, I gladly accepted the joy He provided.

I shared adventures with my favorite people as we explored amazing sites, both created by God and made by man; the joy of giggles and drinking too much caffeine; staying in questionable hotels that would be safer if they were condemned; and cramming three kids, a cat, a dog, and two adults as well as everything we thought we might need, into a minivan.

With excitement like that, who had time for fear?

Joy in God is Accepting Help

After arriving in Virginia things became more complicated.

We needed to find a place to call home.

What should have taken only a couple of days turned into a two-month ordeal.

During this time, God once again provided for us, by opening the hearts and home of our dear friends.

Looking back, I believe God led us to explore Classical Conversations in Washington simply so we could connect with Rachal and her family, because once she moved to Virginia He led us away from CC and in another direction with our homeschool.

When Rachal and her husband offered us a place to stay while we looked for a house, neither our family or theirs expected it would be more than a weekend affair. So when place after place fell through and we were led to purchase a home instead of renting, my heart was filled with such gratitude and love when they welcomed us with open arms.

Let’s just say, there are times I think they deserved a medal (and possibly a parade) for that alone.

Having never needed to rely on others, accepting that my husband and I couldn’t do this on our own was difficult.

Especially since he was in a completely different state going through federal training.

Joy in God Comes When He Provides Family

When "Everything" is Going Wrong I Choose Joy in the One True God--wellofaith.com

Rachal and I weren’t close when we lived in Washington. We were friendly, and she was always willing to swing by and get my kids when I was dealing with rough moments during the pregnancy with my youngest daughter; we just didn’t spend time together outside of CC or our small-group Bible study.

God Knew What We Needed

Suddenly my kids and I were part of her family. We did pretty much everything together for those two months. My eldest daughter celebrated her 10th birthday sitting at their dining room table. She finally had older brothers, and she was thrilled to be there with them.

When I discovered I was pregnant with my youngest, Rachal and her husband were the first to know. In fact, they knew before I did, since they were convinced I was pregnant before I ever considered it. Later she was there holding my hand during the early morning hours as I gave birth to my youngest son.

Through every hoop we had to jump through while purchasing our house, to being hit with a stomach bug while pregnant, God filled me with joy.

There was joy in little things: having a second set of hands to snuggle my youngest daughter; someone to love on my “spirited” and struggling son, a church that had everything we were looking for. Things that would often be taken for granted just kept leading me right back to God, and the joy that comes from knowing He is taking care of each and every one of us.

God always provides, and my joy is always because of Him.

I Chose Joy in God Anew This Week

On Sunday as I prepared the kids and myself for church, I received a phone call from my husband. He’d been in an accident on I-95 and his car was totaled.

As the kids and I drove to pick him up, I sang praises to God. My husband’s car was totaled, and I thought I knew the hardship that would cause, but he had walked away from it without physical injury.

My children didn’t have to visit their father in the hospital, and I didn’t have to explain to them why their daddy wasn’t coming home.

Worries, Stress, and Choosing to Be Positive

When "Everything" Is Going Wrong I Choose Joy in the One True God--wellofaith.com

Each day since the accident more and more obstacles have been placed before us. Some of them God immediately removed.

When He answers a prayer, the only thing I can do is praise Him and focus on the joy flooding through me.

Monday was especially rough, because my husband was trying to process what had happened, and I was as well.

The first wave of adrenaline and relief had past.

I woke up to a panic attack that only God could calm as I prayed, and prayed, and prayed some more, until finally the panic subsided and I was able to sleep again.

My husband was frustrated and bitter, and all I felt was an overwhelming sadness and heaviness of heart.

It didn’t take long before I was irritated with myself and decided to give it all to God.

I wrote out my prayers, my concerns, my frustrations, and my overwhelming belief in God. I wrote out my praises to Him.

Then I spent time in the study of Isaiah.

Isaiah 41 reminds us to stop lamenting and to return to rejoicing. That God provides for all our needs even during our struggles.

His testimony is that He will never forsake us.

We are to trust God as our shepherd and allow him to do it in the His way.

God Trumps Fear and Worry. Every Time.

While I immersed myself in God’s word, the fear and worry began to fade. Nothing had changed about our situation, but I gave that stress to God and accepted the peace and joy that replaced it.

Today things are still “bad” and there are no answers in sight. We don’t know where the next days and weeks will take us.

What I do know, is that I have joy.

Not because of any physical or material thing, but because I know joy in God.

The joy only experienced when you know God is in control, and that this isn’t our forever home.

Joy isn’t just a feeling.

It’s a knowledge that you’re never alone, and Our God is bigger than any problem we will ever face on Earth.

Until next time,

wellofaith

For more on the topic of joy check out this post.

When "Everything" is Going Wrong I Choose Joy in the One True God--wellofaith.com
How the Military Strengthened My Faith--wellofaith.com

How the Military Life Strengthened My Faith in God

How the Military Strengthened My Faith in God

The Military Life

My entire life has been connected in one way or another to the military.

I grew up the daughter of a Master Chief in the United States Navy. I joined (albeit shortly) the Army National Guard, and in 2005 I married a Marine.

All these years later, I realize just how much that military life strengthened my faith in Our Heavenly Father.

Each situation, transition, and experience added another brick to the foundation of my belief in God’s almighty power, His endless love, and boundless wisdom.

God is Always There

When my husband and I first married, we were immediately stationed on the island of Oahu, Hawaii.

This sounds like a dream destination, but for us it wasn’t.

We struggled, and there were times it didn’t seem possible for us to make it through together.

Looking back it’s easy to see, God had a plan for us; we just weren’t listening to Him or leaning on Him.

We experienced many different things during our eighteen months there.

Most of it separately.

My husband spent a good portion of the time we were stationed there deployed to Afghanistan–or preparing to deploy.

Because of this, we relied heavily on ourselves, and then expected each other to fill the empty spaces in our lives.

It was rough.

I’d never been away from my family or my friends, and living on an island–basically alone–showed me a weakness in myself I’d never known.

Even though I wasn’t intimate with God during this season of my life, He was there.

Taking the hard moments and using them to help build a strong foundation for my future faith.

The LORD Does it Again

When we left Hawaii we were stationed in Virginia.

We struggled to build our relationship, because neither of us understood the other. We didn’t communicate, and we hurt each other deeply time and time again.

Military Life Isn’t Easy.

How the Military Strengthened My Faith in God-- wellofaith.com

Not even for people with strong marriages.

Being young made it harder.

The Marine Corps was a tough employer, and my husband worked long hours and was rarely home.

When he was home he would unwind by playing computer games.

A solitary activity that didn’t include me.

Between the stresses of his job, and our lack of connection I was emotionally exhausted.

After two years, I was ready to call it quits.

Then a Miracle Happened.

I’d been told after the loss of my son I’d likely never carry a child again.

God, however, works miracles all the time; in His time it happened.

With our marriage on rocky ground, we made it through the pregnancy and birth of our eldest.

It wasn’t easy, and we still didn’t turn to God or acknowledge Him in our lives.

We continued to go it on our own, and made each day harder than it needed to be.

Again, the LORD wasn’t deterred.

He used our experiences in this new place to add more bricks to the foundation of my faith.

Deployments, PTSD, and Selfishness

My Husband Deployed to Afghanistan Twice.

The second time he deployed, our eldest was a toddler, and that changed everything. His absence was no longer only affecting me, but was affecting a little girl who didn’t understand why her daddy wasn’t home to tuck her in.

This wasn’t the first time he’d been gone from our lives since her birth, but it was the first time the military had taken him to a war zone.

Those seven months were both a struggle and a blessing.

I just didn’t realize the ‘blessing’ part until years later.

While he was gone I experienced a number of things that would have been so much easier with God actively in my life.

Learning Experience: God is Faithful

My daughter ended up rushed to a children’s hospital when her temperature elevated and the local hospital didn’t feel capable of caring for her. We rode in the ambulance for over an hour, to a hospital in the middle of the desert.

I’d left my car at the local hospital with no idea of how she and I would get home.

Without knowing it at the time, God was there.

Her fever broke and we made it back home.

A problem that seemed insurmountable was solved.

Back to Back Deployments Are Traumatic

When a service member returns from a deployment it takes time for reintegration.

Not only for the member, but for the family he left as well.

We’d spent seven months apart, and during that time both our daughter and I had grown and changed.

He’d changed too.

You can’t deploy somewhere, see death, destruction, and misery, and not be irrevocably changed.

It was really hard to connect.

He and I had never really been great at communicating in the first place, add in the stresses of his returning to a safe place, and the communication was practically non-existent.

God used these struggles too.

I couldn’t see it at the time, and if you’d asked me during those days I would have scoffed at the idea of any god, let alone the God.

Then He Deployed to Okinawa

How the Military Strengthened My Faith in God--Wellofaith.com

Within weeks of his return, my husband was back scheduled to deploy again.

Granted, this time it wasn’t to a war-torn country where anyone could be planning to kill you; it still meant he would leave his family for another seven months.

Prior to any deployment, service men train for what might happen while they’re on mission.

This training takes months, and at times feels like a deployment itself.

We never saw him, and when we did he was angry.

I was angry.

Something was going on with him, I knew it and so did our daughter. He didn’t agree.

The week before he deployed to Okinawa, the dam broke. I was tired of seeing my baby girl hurt by her father’s indifference.

It was the first (and only time) my husband has ever sworn at me.

He was in pain, I could see it, but I couldn’t fix it.

I couldn’t help him, and he wasn’t willing to help himself.

My Decision: To Love

The night before he left, I made a choice.

It was time to stop being selfish. To stop placing blame, and just do what I should have done all along.

The same thing Jesus would have done.

I wrapped my arms around him, and loved him.

Regardless of my anger, my confusion, and my own hurt, I felt peace wash over me.

This was the right thing to do.

He wouldn’t leave our home with an angry, bitter wife. He would leave with a wife full of love for her husband.

It’s obvious now what that peace was.

That change wasn’t because I’m a naturally forgiving person.

God had wrapped His arms around me, and said, “trust me”.

Another Miracle

Seven months later when my husband returned, he was a different person, and so was I.

This time however, I saw something better in him.

There was a light in him again. The pain wasn’t gone, but it was receding.

God had worked on him too, it seemed.

In the solitude of long runs around Okinawa, God had started to heal my husband.

Military Life: Relocating Time and Again

From the East to the West and Back Again

Our active duty military career continued until 2017.

During those years we moved from Washington State to Hawaii.

From Hawaii to Virginia

Then onto California.

Back to Washington State, just to do it once more– across the Continental United States to Virginia.

We grew our family from that first miracle to four miracles.

How This Helped My Faith

Soon after we had our second child, our eldest son, we were given orders to return to Washington State (where our relationship originally began).

Just like that, a light came on.

Like a program working in the background of your mobile device, God had been working on me.

I’d discovered what had been missing from my life.

For so long I’d been trying to fill the empty space, and nothing had worked.

With the knowledge I was heading back to the home I’d run away from, I surrendered.

God broke through my stubborn pride, and with open arms accepted me: scars, bad choices, confusion, and all.

Through it All, He Remains

Since that summer day in 2013, many things have changed in my life.

I’d be lying if I said my marriage suddenly became perfect, and all our problems magically disappeared once I accepted God back into my life.

That we never struggled.

I’d be lying if I said our lives have been perfect and there hasn’t been a day of worry.

It doesn’t work that way.

There has been pain and loss (My father passed away in January 2015), and there were times of deep fear within this Momma( when the doctor discovered on Mother’s Day 2018 that my youngest daughter has multiple VSDs in her heart)

Being a Christian is hard. Really hard for so many reasons.

Jesus never said it would be easy.

But, I can tell you without a shred of doubt it’s worth it.

He’s worth it.

We’re worth it.

Through all the ups and downs, God continues to strengthen my faith. Not in myself, but in Him.

My family grows, matures, and loves each day, because of His love and righteousness.

And through everything–including the change from active duty military life to reserves–God continues to love me.

When the Marine Corps payment doesn’t come in when its supposed to, and the bank account is too low to cover everything, I trust God.

I know, without fail, God will provide.

Keep praying, I know I will.

Until next time,

wellofaith

P.S. For a book to help you reconnect I suggest: The Five Love Languages Military Edition: The Secret to Love That Lasts

How the Military Life Strengthened My Faith in God
Full-Fat Tea

Becoming a Woman of the Word: A Journey Through the Bible

This post contains affiliate links. Click here for the full disclosure.

For Christmas 2015, I received a Bible study book titled, Women of the Word by Jen Wilkin.

At first I wasn’t sure what to expect from the pages of this relatively thin book.

I’ve spent a lot of time reading study guides for various themes or books within the Bible, and I figured this would be similar.

I was correct on only one part.

It is a book on studying the Bible.

What it ISN’T is a manufactured Bible study.

Within the first seven chapters of the book, the author shows you how to approach the study of any book in the Bible (and preferably every book in the Bible) for optimal literacy.

This includes studying with the five “Ps”:

  • purpose
  • perspective
  • patience
  • process
  • prayer

Bible literacy isn’t a phrase I was familiar with.

What is Bible Literacy?

According to the Northwest Centre for Biblical and Theological Literacy,

Biblical Literacy describes the ability and motivation of people to read the Bible with sufficient understanding so that they can explain its basic meaning, having sufficient knowledge and skill to use resources that enable them to discern the basic meaning of a biblical text. It includes the ability to apply this discerned meaning, i.e. biblical wisdom, to contemporary life.”

Since I’d focused on the word Joy for the year, I realized I need a better scriptural understanding of it.

I didn’t want to understand how a single verse on “joy” applied to me, but how that verse applied to the bigger picture of God’s love and plan for everyone.

Only then would I be able to see how it applied to me in the present and future.

Why You Should Become a Woman of the Word

In a day and age when more and more people are not only turning away from God, but are antagonistic towards anyone who dares to trust in Him, it is important for us to have a clear, educated understanding of God’s Word.

Becoming a Woman of the Word: A Journey Through the bible @wellofaith.com

The Bible is the inerrant Word of God.

It doesn’t change.

It isn’t corrupt.

People will tell you you’re wrong.

They’ll offer you opinion stated as fact.

Some will twist the scriptures to fit their personal agenda.

We must know what the Bible says and what it means–both historically and applicably.

Our own relationship with Christ might not be affected by their misunderstandings, but our children’s relationships might be.

The Bible is Not a Fairy Tale

The Bible was provided for us so that we would know what was expected of us, and what we could in turn expect from our God.

Within the sixty-six books of the Bible we learn how to raise our children, love our spouses, and how to love our neighbors while not loving or applauding their sins.

We see the great love, righteousness and compassion of God who created EVERYTHING, and loves us without fail.

People read these stories and consider them fairy tales.

Stories made up to explain away situations they otherwise had no answers for.

As Christians we know this isn’t the case.

The Old Testament gives us a detailed account of all the things we shouldn’t do–and how God loved the Israelites so much that he forgave them time and time again; finally disciplining out of love when they refused to listen.

In the New Testament we see the miracles.

The unbelievable, awe-inspiring, miracles of Jesus.

Jesus Performed Miracles: The End

There are people who will latch on to these miracles and claim they didn’t happen.

That they couldn’t happen.

The only problem with their argument: It’s wrong.

Jesus performed miracles.

This is a fact.

A fact supported by historical research; not just research done by people predisposed to seeing miracles, but also by secular historians and scholars.

If we don’t study the Bible, we won’t be able to respond to those who haven’t discovered their faith in Jesus.

As a mother I need to be able to guide my children; to help them find the answers they seek, and to know how to articulate the truth when confronted by their secular peers.

We also need to study the Bible, because it’s the voice of God speaking directly to each and every one of us.

Daily Study

When you have a relationship with someone, you spend time with them. You talk to them, ask questions about them, and seek answers to who they are.

The same thing needs to happen when you want a personal relationship with Christ.

You can’t expect a relationship–or an understanding of the scriptures–to happen if you’re not spending time together.

Women of the Word makes it possible to do more than just scan a verse and take it out of context, because it sounds like a verse to make you feel better about yourself.

The more time you spend with God (in prayer, in study, in contemplation) the closer you’ll get, and the more you’ll understand.

You don’t always need to spend hours diving deeply into the Word, but you need to meet up with God, in peace and quiet, each day.

There are dozens of ways to “fit” God into your day; between scrolling social media and running your kids to their activities.

However, we shouldn’t have to squeeze God in.

He should be our top priority.

After all, we’re His top priority.

I know it won’t be easy, but learning a new habit–especially one that will help you grow each and every day, isn’t always going to be easy, but it will always be worth it.

First thing in the morning, before you get overwhelmed by your ‘to do’ list, grab your Bible, colored pens and pencils, and a notebook.

Then take a breath, and say hello to the only one who has loved you without ceasing since before you were born.

He’s been waiting for you.

“Let the wise hear and increase in learning, and the one who understands obtain guidance.” -Proverbs 1:5

Until next time,

wellofaith

Check out I Plant My Roots in Jesus

Becoming a Woman of the Word--wellofaith.com

Why You Need to Get Out of Your Own Way

 

Why You Need to Get Out of Your Own Way--Well O' Faith

I never claim to know everything there is to know about walking with the LORD, or about the ins and outs of Christianity.

I’m definitely not a professional speaker on theology or the Gospel. I’m still learning many of the stories and people who are the bread and butter of the WORD, and I spend a lot of time worrying how I’ll ever minister to others when I know so little myself.

In an average week I’ll message my dear sister-n-Christ; who has studied the WORD in so many ways, who has an understanding I can only pray to acquire some day, and whose husband is as knowledgeable as she is– just to clear up my own confusion on a concept, verse, or strongly held and shared (whether in church or social media) belief or opinion.

God Has a Plan

Each of us has a gift, divinely appointed to us before we were born. Knowing this is one thing, but trusting in the LORD to peel away the layers and show us is quite another.

I can’t speak for anyone else, but I know I spend too much of my time worrying about how I’m going to do what the LORD calls me to do.¬†I’m called to write and to share, but I waste precious energy each day worrying about finding the words.

I spend too much of my time worrying about how I’m going to do what the LORD calls me to do. I’m called to write and to share, but I waste precious energy each day worrying about finding the words.

Days will pass without me so much as touching a keyboard, or writing anything more profound than a text message about needing to run errands. During these days, I tie myself up in knots over the mere action of NOT writing.

I need to write, to let the LORD do His work through me, but I fight it, because I can’t get out of my own way.

Get Out of the Way

Friends, I’m sure I’m not alone; in a world filled with so many people, I can’t be the only one who has this issue.

We’re all sinners who can’t move past our need for control. We alienate ourselves, because we’re afraid of rejection, afraid of not being “good enough” or “smart enough”. We forget He created us in His image; He created us for a special purpose and will provide us with all the tools we need to be successful.

We forget He created us in His image; He created us for a special purpose and will provide us with all the tools we need to be successful.

His Word Tells Us

 

It’s time for us to get out of the way and let the LORD take the reins.

With Him beside us, we can move mountains.

Why then are we forever getting in the way and tripping over ourselves?

Blessings,

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The Power of a Praying Spouse--WellOFaith

The Power of a Praying Spouse

The Power of a Praying Spouse-- Well O'Faith

This post contains affiliate links. Click here for the full disclosure.

Being the spouse of a hardworking Marine, doesn’t leave a lot of time for date nights or quality time with each other.

In the ten years we’d been married, we’d been together for two anniversaries. The other eight years he was either deployed to Afghanistan, Japan, or away on training exercises that kept us from being together to celebrate.

In February 2016 it was our tenth anniversary, and the first one–in a long time–my husband was home for.

It was also less than a week after the death of my father.

Much to my husband’s disappointment our anniversary slipped past without much more than a sigh.

In the last decade (and a little more) my husband and I have been through a lot.

When we said “I Do”, neither of us really knew what to expect.

He was barely 21-years-old and had never been married before.

I was carrying so much baggage TSA would have been concerned–not to mention the fees I had to pay on all that luggage weight!

Our marriage hasn’t been easy, and there were plenty of times early on when we could have turned our backs and moved on without each other, but we didn’t.

The Power of a Praying Spouse--WellOFaith

We also knew that in order to keep moving forward we needed to start actively being part of each other’s lives. We needed to commit to doing something together that would bring us closer.

Not just to each other, but to the LORD as well.

In January we had joined our small-group (mentioned here). When we were invited to join, we both jumped at the chance. It felt right, and we knew it was just what we needed to help strengthen our marriage.

The first study of the year for our group was an answer to our prayers.As a group we prayerfully decided to use the books The Power of a Praying Wife and The Power of a Praying Husband by Stormie Omartian.

These books aren’t normally used as Bible studies, but in our case it worked out well.

The Power of a Praying Spouse--Well O Faith

My husband and I discussed the readings each week and the prayers provided within the chapters guided us to new depths of prayer for each other. Within the first week I’d already noticed a difference in the way we interacted.

Not only did the readings bring new insight into how and why to pray for him, they opened up a new understanding of myself.

I highly recommend grabbing a book for you and your spouse. They’re a quick read and well worth it.

If you’ve already read one of these books, what did you think? How did it help you?

Blessings,

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Living with Seasonal Affective Disorder

SAD: Why Living in the PNW is Hard.

SAD: Why Living in the PNW is Hard
SAD: Why Living in the PNW is Hard

 This post contains affiliate links. Please click here for our full disclosure

Living in the Pacific Northwest is Hard

Almost four years ago my little family and I returned to the Pacific Northwest. This relocation has been a struggle for several reasons, but one of the biggest struggles we’ve had to deal with is my ongoing battle with Seasonal Affective Disorder–SAD. Although the struggle¬†didn’t start out as hard as I expected it to be, it has recently gotten worse.

I spent four years living in the desert, a place where it was sunny almost every day. On those rare occasions when it wasn’t, every part of me knew it. Those days were miserable for me, and made me grateful for each and every sunny day.

I also realized how blessed I was to no longer be living in the PNW.

The LORD had other plans for my little family though, and one day we packed up and headed back to the trees and mountains I’d grown up around. The PNW is beautiful. There is no denying that, but to be beautiful it spends quite a bit of time gray and dreary. For someone who needs the sunshine to be mellow and happy, the trade-off comes at a high price.

Summer Makes Me Come Alive

Today is beautiful. The sun is shining, the birds are singing, and there is just the right amount of breeze rustling the trees. Spring is here, and summer is approaching. I’ll be honest and say summer makes me come alive.

The past few months have been hard for me. Our family thrives on schedules and routines because, when it comes to me living in a state that spends close to six months a year with little sunshine, routines help me to not completely become a hermit. It also keeps the SAD from getting so out of control that I end up becoming a shadow of myself.

Sadly, this year those schedules and routines haven’t helped as much as they have in the past.

Making the Connection

I can’t really lock down when this ongoing battle became noticeable; ¬†when the depression started interfering with my life. All I know is one day I realized I’d started putting off going places. I’d started finding reasons to not leave the house–to excuse myself and my family from social events because they felt like obligations–and that feeling stressed me out.

During the winter months I struggled with this a lot. Since the loss of my father and the suffocating feeling I had from the bleakness of the weather, I found myself leaving my home less and less. I’ve stepped away from several things I enjoyed doing, because I couldn’t convince myself the recovery time it would take me afterward was worth it.

The only things I’ve managed to maintain throughout this time are things directly involved with my children. No matter how hard it is for me, I don’t want to let them down. They enjoy their time at AWANA and Classical Conversations community day. ¬†It wasn’t (and isn’t) their fault that I have a hard time functioning without glorious sunshine.

I’m Worried Too

My husband worries about me, and my friends worry about me. They’re afraid I’m not just going to become a hermit, but a full-fledged shut in.

If I’m honest, I’m worried about that as well.

You see, I love my church, but when this suffocating sensation turns to panic at the thought of leaving my home Sunday morning and facing people, I know there is reason to be concerned.

Today, I’m feeling great, and that knowledge can lull me into a false sense of security. It can cause me to forget the way I feel when it isn’t sunny and beautiful.

Sunlight therapy isn’t enough (though, I highly recommend adding it if you suffer from SAD!), and neither is the medication I gave in and started taking four years ago.

I need God to help me through this, the same way I need Him in every aspect of my life.

Blessings, 

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I Am Loved By God, But I Still Have Anxiety, and That’s Okay

Hello Anxiety, My Old Friend

Anxiety can make you feel like you’re all alone in a room full of people, while simultaneously drowning you in wave after wave of everyone else’s needs and wants.

Anxiety

Even having the comfort of a compasionate and loving God, can often get lost in the mire of panic, exhaustion, and worry.

I’m not sure when I first experienced anxiety, but I’m pretty sure I was in elementary school. Possibly as early as first grade. It likely reared up the same time as the pecking order at recess.

I do know, it hasn’t gotten better with time or maturity.

Instead, it ebbs and flows, but never really goes away.

The older I get, the more I notice it in my everyday life.

It is no longer confined to the moments of show-and-tell, reading aloud, class projects, or being called on to answer a question.

Now it is present anytime I have to be around people other than my immediate family. It happens when I know I have to run errands, change my routine, or participate in a social engagement for my children.

Being Anxious Isn’t Confined To “Real Life”

It even happens in online discussion groups in college.

The day I found out my school was moving from chat boxes to video conferencing for our class meetings, I had an epic anxiety attack. I don’t do videos, or anything that requires me to record my voice. At least not voluntarily, or without a whole lot of stress and, you guessed it, anxiety.

Though I pray about it continually, the panic and anxiety rarely disappears completely.

Since the birth of my youngest, what once started out as a moderate inconvience has become something almost debilitating in its occurance.

Sundays have become a struggle, because I’m torn between the need to fellowship and worship the LORD, and the desire to hide away because of the panic squeezing my heart.

Add this anxiety to the SAD that plagues me, and there are many days when the only place I want to be is curled up in bed, under a warm blanket.

This might seem like a good way to spend a day, and it is when it is a choice.

When it isn’t a choice the joy that would normally come with it is missing.

I have faith the LORD will help me through this season of life. He will give me the strength when I am weakest. I just need to remember to give it to Him.

After all, I am only human, yet, He loves me.

Blessings,

Sare

You’re Never Alone

In case you’re feeling terribly alone today, please realize you’re not. The LORD is with you. He has been with you since before you took your first breath. He never leaves you or forgets you. Those are human failures, and Our LORD doesn’t fail.

Be peaceful today, dear friends, and let His wonderful light shine through you.

Blessings, Sare

New Year 2016: 366 Days of Blessings

This is the first time in months I’ve had any desire to write. I fell off the blogging wagon, and when I fall off something I don’t just slip off. Instead I’m as graceful as a ballerina with two left feet and a club leg. I swan dive off that wagon, get my toe caught on the edge and end up belly flopping down a rocky embankment, landing with a gooey splash in the slimy remnants of a paper mill’s runoff.

It takes talent.

The last several months have all kind of run together. There haven’t been individual¬†24-hour¬†days, but what seemed to be¬†336-hour days. This made blogging a vague and distant memory for me.

I can’t say the past few months were bad, things just weren’t as bright or obvious to me as they had been. It could have been my SAD acting up, or it could have been the rapidly changing events in my personal and family life.

2015 was definitely a challenge. There were days when I felt tested beyond what I could handle, but during those days I turned to the LORD, and remembered to breathe again.

Rinse and Repeat.

A year ago I shared what word I would prayerfully focus my life on during the 365 days of 2015. That word, Fellowship, showed me things about myself I didn’t know, and brought me happiness as well as some discomfort. God used that word to change me from the inside out. Not all of those changes came easily or without frustration, but they came when I needed them and have made me a better(if not slightly more exhausted) person.

2016 is a brand new year. This time with 366 days (Hello, Leap Year!) to look for and experience the blessings the LORD has planned for each one of us.

This year, the LORD has put the word, JOY, on my heart. With the sadness of my father’s passing last year, there were times when looking for the joy in things seemed foreign. 2016 is the year where through prayer, worship, and study I will search out and learn from all the Joy available in my life. I will embrace the feeling, share the light, and remember even during the darkest hours of the longest night, the Joy of our Savior is there for me to grab hold of.

Take a few moments today and prayerfully ask the LORD to guide you to a word that will change your focus this year. May the LORD bless you and yours this year.

 

Sare

“May the God of hope¬†fill you with all Joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

Romans 15:13

 

Eviction: Comfort Zone!

An ideal day in my world very rarely includes anyone other than my husband and children. I’ve never been comfortable being in front of a group of people, or really putting myself out there, because ‘out there’ is a very judgmental place. Why then, do I hear the faint pounding on the door of my comfort zone as the local sheriff places the notice to vacate?

I can’t help but wonder how long I have before the bars I so carefully installed are removed from my windows.

For months now I’ve struggled to hear God’s words. The knowledge he was speaking to me didn’t change the silence in my heart. Then, last month while I was working on my Sex Trafficking article for class, I heard a faint whisper. I felt a spark, a slow burn. The LORD is speaking to my heart. I can’t tell just yet what he is guiding me to do, but I have an idea where I’m supposed to begin.

I’m being educated in journalism, a calling I’ve felt for the majority of my adult life, but I’ve struggled to know what I am meant to do with it. I’ve become disillusioned by the SECULAR media, both print and cable, and know I don’t want to work in a field with a moral compass that often doesn’t point to true North.

What does that leave me with? It leaves me with God. It leaves me with the words He gives to me, and the opportunities He provides for me. I want my words to guide people to Him, to His light, and His glory.

Even if that means I am evicted from my Comfort Zone.

I ask you all, dear readers, to add a quick prayer for this journey–that I may have the opportunity to share His love with others through the written word–or whatever other medium He chooses for me.

May the LORD be with you each day,

Sare

Blessings, Sare