Of Obedient Faith: India

India.

A year ago I would have told you that God would never call me to move to this huge and populated country to do missions.
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But it is my joy to announce, with deep humbleness, that I will be leaving for India soon. 

I am still in shock.

Maybe it’s more about being in shock at what God has done and is doing in my life and my heart because of this huge and populated country.

I grew up in church, I knew better than to tell God to “never” send me to Asia.

But I prayed that He would send me somewhere else like South America…or Europe!

But apparently when you give Jesus your life, you do not get a say in what He does with it 🙂
I have known for a very long time that the Lord had called me to missions and ministry, but little did I know about the faith and the steps of obedience that it would require.

I have prayed prayers of surrender and reckless abandon throughout the years, but still always wanted “ministry” to be on  MY terms, MY time frame, and within MY comfort zone.

So when I received an email invitation to do ministry in India earlier this summer I said no.
I didn’t even respond to the email for a few weeks.
I was enjoying a beautiful Wisconsin summer full of family, friends, weddings, graduations, baseball games, cookouts- why would I want to give up my happy, normal life and go and live in India?

BUT God’s ways are not our ways, nor are His thoughts our thoughts.

The next Sunday, we had a missionary speak at church about making ourselves available to God and then trusting Him as our Provider and obeying Him, even when its uncomfortable, and when it doesn’t make sense. Because that is what FAITH does. It trusts God when all else fails and when we don’t see and can’t touch.

I heard His soft whispers to my heart: “I want you to go to India.”

Still I wanted sound spiritual about it so I said I would be praying, all the while hoping I could wait it out long enough that something else would come along, and I prayed that God would “confirm” this “calling” to India. I wanted the wet fleece, the writing on the wall, the angelic appearance… I wanted to walk by sight, by experience, but not by faith.

Then my young adult group decided to go through Francis Chan’s book Multiply.

We began studying the Great Commission.

“All authority in Heaven and on Earth has been given to Me. Therefore, GO into all world and make disciples, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit”

Jesus’ last words.
A command.
A commission.
GO
He doesn’t say where, how, what, or when.

Conviction.

I am WITHOUT excuse.

Signs are for the unbeliever, but as a believer I am called to walk this narrow road by faith, not by sight.

Then my mom asked a simple question,
“How do I know I am NOT called?”
(When did moms get so wise? 🙂 )

So after a wrestling match with God, I began to walk in faithful obedience and began to prepare for this new adventure to India.
And I am without any doubt, any reservation, that He has prepared the way, for it is only by His authority that we called to the ends of the earth.

How do you know you are not called too?

-Sare

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Of Singleness

Singleness.

One of those awkward subjects that as a girl I find it difficult to put words to, and before I go any further I need to state a few things.

                                                           I am a hopeless romantic.

Especially during this time of the year, but really anytime of the year.

I love Jane Austen.

I am unashamedly feminine…..(and I wholeheartedly believe in men being as masculine as the
good Lord created them to be)

I wear dresses 98% of the time.

I have a Pinterest wedding board that would be make anyone think that I was getting married soon…

I love a good love story whether in the form of a book or a film.

I deeply desire to be a wife someday.

——This post really isn’t about singleness…at least in the way most people would think, but if you want to read more about my views on singleness, visit my post on The Coffee Shop at www.thecoffeeshop235.blogspot.com—-

The Lord began to work something deeply within my heart about a year ago that has changed how I view my singleness and even a future marriage.

It all began with Elisabeth Elliot.

The love life of a Christian is a crucial battleground. There, if nowhere else, it will be determined as to who is Lord: the world, the self and the devil, or the Lord Christ.

– Elizabeth Elliot –
from Passion and Purity

See Elisabeth Elliot had this beautiful love story with a man named Jim Elliot. She had fallen in love with him even when he thought he was supposed to be single for the Lord, but she loved him anyway and after years of waiting, the Lord finally brought them together and they were wed.

But they were also missionaries to some of the most dangerous tribes in South America and after only twenty four months of being married, Jim was killed by the very people he was trying to give the Gospel too. Elisabeth was left a widow and single-mother of a toddler.

Two years of marriage.

That struck a deep chord within my soul.

Being a believer in Jesus, and a hopeless romantic…

 I want to be married and I want to marry a godly man, but I know what the Lord is calling me too and therefore I also know the kind of man the Lord would have to place in my life.

 That means that among the Christian men…it’s cutting out a good 97% of them.
Why you ask?

Well because I know that the Lord has asked everything of me.

 Total dependence upon Him alone.

 Do I love Him…even unto death?

Am I willing to die for the sake of my Jesus?

The man I marry will also have to love Him even unto death.

 Not many men, let alone Christian men,  are ready or prepared for such a fate.
Yet it is a growing reality every Christian must face with a sobriety of soul.

And so the idea the Lord set before me was this.

-Am I willing to be a martyr?
-Am I willing to be a martyr’s wife?
Which is the worse fate?

 The Lord changed my singleness.
It is now the proving ground to prepare for someday marriage to a possible martyr.
The giving up of a “happily ever after”

I may only receive twenty-four months with my husband.
As a Christian I want to stand and say yes to that with a fullness and bravery of heart.
As a girl…that terrifies me.

To finally be married and then to have that marriage stripped so suddenly away from you.
To love a man who is more in love with Jesus…

That is a soul-aching, difficult thing to ponder.

But in light of Jesus, of how worthy HE IS of my life.

 How much more worthy is HE of a someday marriage?

Marriage can no longer be an idol or the end all of my life, for I may only have twenty-four months with my husband.
Jesus alone is the end all.
Everything is worthy of Him; my singleness and my life, and someday, my marriage and my husband’s life.

It means that everyday my singleness is worthy of Jesus.

My singleness is ordained by the Lord.
My singleness is a gift from the Lord.
My singleness is an offering to the Lord.
My singleness is worthy of His Lordship.

All of this because one day I could be single again and I must prepare to not cling so tightly to the idea of marriage that my life would crumble if that precious gift of marriage was ever asked of me by the Lord.

Will you ponder these questions dear reader? Will you allow the Lord to ask them of you?

Sobering thoughts during the week of Valentine’s I know, but if you are single, dating, engaged, or married, these thoughts and questions must be asked for He is worthy that we ask them.

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Of February Love

I love February.
I am so excited it is here finally.
It is my favorite month…mostly because it is my birthday month!
But I have other reasons that this month out of all twelve is my favorite month.
-Valentine’s Day is my favorite holiday.
-February is unabashedly a feminine month. (c’mon the boys get November!)
-The Rend Collective Experiment LIVE!
-I believe in wearing a dress a day in February.
-Love stories.
-The Celebration of Friendship.
-The color pink is unashamedly everywhere.
– I love presents and this happens to be the one month besides December that presents are given in abundance. 
-It is has snowed almost every day thus far.

This February has arrived in a different fashion than many. Maybe not externally, but internally; in the depths of my soul has this month arrived with unexpected emotions and thoughts.Maybe it is because I have a few weeks left of being 23 and the thought of being 24 makes me feel old when I do not feel it. Or that my daily life is filled with 2 two year olds and Disney movies and potty training and Play-doh and Legos.Or maybe it is because this year I have tasted and seen the Lord’s love for me in ways that are somewhat crazy and so very tangible unlike years before, and since February is a month focused upon this virtue, I feel it more keenly.

Stay tuned for many more posts this month, as I have a heart bursting with pieces I want to comment on...singleness, marriage, Love, friendship, family, missions, adoption, love stories, Jesus. 


But today I leave you with a quote by one of my heroines, the Miss Corrie Ten Boom from her sermon “Effectual Fervent Prayer”

There is nothing too great
for His power
and
nothing too small
for His Love.

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Of Being Spent

I found a book in my family’s library last year that has become a precious book to my soul. It has been read by dear friends who are now in Asia serving the Lord and inspired each of us to live for Jesus no matter where He placed us.
The book is a little unknown book full of stories about unknown missionaries from all over the world. Between each chapter is a poem by a wonderful lady who was spent for her Lord all the days of her life.
May this lovely poem penetrate your heart and spur you higher up and further in for Jesus. 
~Sarah

Oh to be spent for Jesus!
Living a life outpoured
Doing His service holy,
Broken before the Lord;
Waiting His precious bidding
Listening for His voice
Yielded, and still, and steady
Filling the place of HIS choice

Oh to be spent for Jesus!
Never a power reserved
Treasures
so dear, so costly
GIVEN
unto my Lord

Channels that carry His rivers
Empty must be and clean
Wires that send His message
Have no disconnection between.

Lives that give 
Sweetest perfume
Pressure and breaking
KNOW
Would thou give forth His fragrance?
Through garden shadow go
The box alabaster unbroken
NO 
Sweetness can ever give

The lives that are
SPENT
for Jesus
FOREVER
In richness live!

~Alice Reynolds Flower~

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Tales of the Ordinary

I have a small window of time to write today and I want to share with you about my not-so-ordinary ordinary days.

See we consider certain things ordinary in life that are actually the most important, most sacred, and most incredible things that will change the course of history. I am learning this small but irreplaceable lesson over and over as the Lord has given me a season at home, but for you, dear reader, to fully understand let me give you a bit of a back story.

I was called to the mission field when I was ten and visiting Mexico with my mum. I traveled on mission’s trips all over South America during high school, and then five years ago this week I moved to Cuckfield, West Sussex, England, to attend Missionary School.

 
(Would you not move across the world to live in a house like this?!)
Fast forward four years, eight moves, three countries, three continents,  three states, three majors, three universities, and five roommates and you have me living in Colorado last spring at another missionary training school. It was there that the Lord asked me a difficult thing.
See, my family had spent the last two years in the adoption process, and my twin siblings from Ethiopia would be coming home the beginning of May. I had been planning on completing the advanced portion of the missions school and then hopefully moving to another country and working with orphans.

But the Lord had His own plans laid, and asked me to move home to live with my parents to be the care and keeper of my new twin siblings during their adjustment to America and to my family.

So in May my entire family – all 8 of us-departed for Ethiopia and returned as a family of 10 with two new precious baby siblings to call brother and sister. And I moved into my parent’s basement and began the daily tasks of being a sister and a daughter once more.

  I do love my family. We are kinda crazy and little unorganized, but there is joy and goodness when God is Lord over a family and we know His faithfulness in the depths of our hearts.

 Still… in the midst of diapers, laundry, and dishes, I have been attempting to move away and live in another country to care for orphans and preach the Gospel. And once again He has had other plans all along. See, my prayer was something like, “Lord, send me to another country to live and work in an orphanage.”

 His reply was a simple question. “Have I not given you two former orphans to keep and care for?” 

I knew in my head the mantras and ideology of true missions; that every place is a mission field for the Gospel, but in my heart I did not want to accept that it was God’s good, pleasing and perfect will that at 23, I would be living in my parent’s basement, tackling the never ending pile of laundry, wiping noses and bottoms, and cleaning dishes until my hands are wrinkled. Sure put those things in another country outside of my family and I would be delighted and over-joyed to do anything that was required of me. But take those everyday ordinary things– the washing, mending, playing, cleaning, cooking, and caring and do them for my own family is well…not quite the romanticized missionary life I had always dreamed of.

I love my family, they are great, godly and wonderful, but caring for a family is also a humbling, thankless, and never-ending job.

They know me, my weaknesses, my strengths, how do that one thing that sets me off, and vice versa. It’s harder to love and be poured out for our families than it is to love unknown people in other countries. A terrible thing I know. But consider this-

family is the proving ground for all missions and all ministry

for if we cannot serve our families with humility and joy and delight, how can we someday serve those who we do not know or love deeply? 
I find it interesting that Jesus was born into a working class family. That he would have had to work and care for his siblings and parents just as any other boy in Israel would have.

Major Ian Thomas asks a question in his sermon “A Grain of Wheat” that has pierced my heart and convicted me of my pride in the area of missions and ministry.

 “Was one hour of Jesus’ life more important than another?”

  If Jesus was fully dependent upon the Father and only did that which His Father was doing all the days of His human life-why is my work, this care and keeping of little siblings, any less important to the Kingdom of God than if I was in India working with orphans?

Yes, my ordinary days consist of changing diapers, playing legos, dancing to The Fresh Beat Band, having Tangled and Toy Story songs stuck in my head, being handed poop, being puked on and no longer having quite peaceful mornings to sip my coffee.

But there is nothing quite like teaching my two year old sister that Jesus always overcomes the dark and because of that she never has to be afraid, or being squished to death by hugs and kisses from my little brother.
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 Maybe one day they will be fit and ready to go and lay down their lives for others because of my willingness to serve a God who is anything but ordinary. God is faithful and good in the seemingly ordinary every day lives of those who put their confidence and hope in Him alone. 

~sarah 🙂

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Ready or Not?

This video speaks to the soul of the Church of Jesus Christ. Humble your heart dear reader and may the truth of our Lord penetrate your heart through this video.

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Of Brothers and Sisters

A Sister’s Letter.

This is my heart for my brothers, and may you, dear reader, cherish these words as if they were from your own elder sister.

I am an elder sister to four brothers. The Lord has truly blessed me by giving me brothers who are amazing, hilarious, fun, strong, kind, tender, protective, intelligent, passionate, honest, and true. They are always there for my two sisters and I when we need to laugh,(or they teach us how to laugh at ourselves) to cry, to vent, to chat, or to simply be with when activities and words are not needed, nor wanted. They are our entertainers, our protectors, our best dates, our rescuers, our playmates, our partners-in-crime, and our best friends.

As we are entering a new season of our lives and the realm of romantic relationships has opened up, I want to share my heart with you concerning girls and the pursuit of a girl’s heart. Not only do you have to live with whomever you marry, but so do I and the rest of the family, and you KNOW how difficult it is to get the good favor of our family…(actually now that I think about it, is that even possible?!)

Many girls have a list of qualities that they want in a husband, but this is a list of the qualities you should have for your future wife, and a few things you should know along the way.

1. Trust God’s timing. He is the Author of Time, so why do we think our timing is better than His?

2. A godly man always waits. You lose nothing by waiting. A girl’s heart needs time and so does your heart. They say distance makes the heart grow fonder- so does time!

3. Allow the Lord to spend your season of singleness. Adam first stood before the Lord alone and so must you before He will bring a tailor-made bride into your life. (p.s. Eve also stood before the Lord alone before He gave her to Adam-singleness is of the Lord!)

4. Trust your family. They know you better than you know yourself. If they say a girl is not right for you, she is really not right for you.

5. Marry a girl who has a steady and deep walk with the Lord. A girl, who has set her hope upon the blood of Jesus, has displayed obedience to the Word of God, and is filled and directed by the Holy Spirit.

6. Marry a girl who does not cling to the idea of marriage. Our lives are not guaranteed day to day, and neither is marriage. If a girl sets her sights on marriage as the answer to her loneliness, she will come to ruin when the marriage ends whether by death or destruction. But a girl who finds her security and value solely in the Lord will not look to you to be her cure or her everything, and will be content being alone. Look for a girl who is joyful within her season of singleness for she will be a rare and precious gem in your life.

7. Find a girl that you love, but do not mistake love for feelings and common interests. Many say that they married their best friend, but as life teaches us, a best friend can change with the passing seasons of life. So find a girl whom you adore. For adoration is a fixed, deep, abiding affection for one that is outside of you. Many lovers have the butterflies, the obsession, the chemistry of what they call love, and some were the very best of friends for the equality of friendship brought them together, but dear brothers, both may marry without affection. Affectionate love-being the warm, tender, and abiding love for one-does not change with seasons, or circumstances, or time, or distance. It is an unselfish love for it loves disinterestedly. It is a relationship that does not need “work” for whenever you have this adoration or affection for someone, it does not matter how long it has been, or what has occurred in life, for when you greet that person that you adore, you pick up right where you left off and it is as if nothing has changed. It is a quiet love, this adoration, but it is a love that will last and will still laugh at your Goofy voice after 27 years of marriage.

8. Marry a girl who adores you. Do not marry a girl who is simply in love with you for her own sake, or for popularity, or incredible good looks, or for the security of a relationship. A girl who marries for her own sake is not a girl who will respect you or honor you, because she will always be more concerned with her own rights and will…in short, do not marry a selfish or prideful girl.

9. Always protect and cherish purity. Do so in your own life, a girl’s life, and in the relationship that the Lord gives you. But do not mistake innocence for purity. Purity is what the Lord gives when one has been transformed by the power of the Cross. Innocence is just the absence of knowledge or experience and while it is a good attribute, it speaks nothing and gives nothing. Purity speaks of Jesus, of truth, and power and gives light, and grace, and strength to those that choose to be pure in a world that is saturated with lust, perversion, and immorality. May your lives overflow with a purity that is found in the old bloody cross!

10. Marry a girl who has a heart ready for adventure and travels well. You can always tell the worth of a person by HOW they travel. (Are they patient, kind, and gracious when they are sleep deprived, starving, dirty, and just found that their plane was delayed or canceled and are being rerouted through Egypt…”)
Our family is unique in that we have traveled much for our ages. At least find someone who has been outside of Wisconsin, preferably outside of America. A well-traveled girl will appreciate the little things about you because you have been changed because of your travels. Vacations to Mexico do not count. In fact, I would be okay having sisters-in-law from other countries. And travel all that you can with your wife.

11. Marry a girl who deeply desires to be a wife and a mother. A girl who wants those two wonderful things is actually a girl who is satisfied in being a woman. She has accepted her God-given femininity and will not strive to be as a man or compete for a man’s role. A woman being a woman is beautiful, so do not marry a girl who feels the need to be show up the guys, or dress like a man. Watch how she treats her dad, her brothers, and her grandparents. How she treats the closest men in her life is how she will treat you someday. Is she honorable? Does she selflessly give of her time, and energy, and resources? Is she polite, mannered, and dignified in how she treats strangers, or is in public? You all know that a girl who burps or passes gas, or has potty humor will not be welcomed into this family under no circumstance. Is she a conversationalist? Does she dress well? A girl who is fashionable will always want to look her best no matter how her body changes through the years.

12. Be a man. A real man. The man that God created you to be means you need to be like Jesus. Stand up for the vulnerable, protect the weak and innocent, cherish life, walk humbly, act justly, trust and obey the Lord. Each one of you is going to be an incredible husband, (a part of me wants to clone certain aspects of each of you and make the perfect husband) and a wonderful father. Each of you is amazing with kids, and kind to those like Doris, and you always treat Molly, Sifu, and I with dignity and honor. Look to Jesus and live by His Spirit that you may be the man who is most like Jesus in our generation.

Sethy, Sam, Weeb, and Naolie,
Tilly, Sifu, and I will be forever grateful for your humor, strength, and vigilance in being our brothers.
With deep, abiding, and affectionate love,
Your Sisters.

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