Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Choose Joy: Finding Hope and Purpose When Life Hurts

My Angel Sara…

As I sit here looking at the blinking cursor on the screen, millions of thoughts are rolling through my head. What do I want to say to you on this joyous day? The problem is, none of the thoughts seem to be coming out in any sort of logic!

Ugh! Is this how writers feel?

You are the writer you know. You were the one who could make the words flow as if God was whispering in your ear with each word you wrote.

So, as I begin typing and putting all these thoughts and emotions into words…I first want to say, THERE ARE NO WORDS to fully express what I am feeling right now. The feelings are too great for actual words. I also know that you are fully aware of how I feel...we were always connected like that. :)

I am going to start with a post that you wrote in August of 2010. You had posts called Blog Peep Questions, where your readers asked you questions and you promised to answer them honestly.

Two questions that were asked in this August post, were…
  1. If a movie were made about your life, what would it be called?
  2. Are you writing a book?
 Your answers…

“I said this line in passing to a friend of mine a few years ago, and it immediately struck me that it would be the perfect title for a book [and, in turn, a movie]: My Life is So Crazy My Dog is on Antidepressants.

Right? Isn’t that perfect? And, sadly, totally true!

Aren’t I kind of already writing a book for you all? I’m just doing it in tiny little daily installments here on the blog. :) Think of it this way... if I wrote a book, I wouldn’t have the time or energy to write here every day.”

That you did, sweet sister! You wrote a book and we have been blessed that your friend and fellow blogger, Mary Carver, took your tiny little daily installments from your blog and did a beautiful job of making them flow... adding her own special thoughts and creativity.

Sara, today, January 5, 2016 is the launch of Choose Joy: Finding Hope and Purpose When Life Hurts. I am sorry we didn’t use the title you predicted back in August of 2010, but I think you will still be pleased. :)

What a journey this has been!  Since September, 2011 we, your family, began walking the path of making your wish come true. The wish that people would continue to learn, trust and believe in God as you did. That your spirit lead discipleship would continue. And, most important, make sure people know that it’s all about Him…not us.

My prayer each day as I walked this path is that I would have an open mind, a humble heart and faithful feel, to walk where He leads. You are right my dear Sara. It is all about Him. He has led this from the very beginning and has opened doors that I never thought were possible.

It has been a joyful journey. A journey full of wonderful people who worked together to publish a book that will continue your spirit led discipleship. 

I have read your words so many times, Sara. Each time I read them I hear the whispers of God even stronger...the connection you had with our heavenly Father. How awesome and humbling. You spent time truly listening, learning and living as He wanted you to. 

Thank you, Sara for being faithful. For not losing faith when life was hard. For continuing to teach us through your words and life how to be faithful and trust in the One who can show us joy.

So my dear Sara...this journey continues and my prayer continues…

God, please give me an open mind, a humble heart and faithful feet to walk where you lead!

All my love…all the way to the heavens and back…


P.S. Give dad a big hug from me!

Friday, January 1, 2016

Our Earthly Existence

Re-Post of Sara's words from January 1, 2011...
I totally set myself up last January.

2009 was a year filled with really hard things for me. My disease [ankylosing spondylitis] had progressed, and I developed steroid-induced Cushings trying to treat it, which created more pain on top of pain than I thought possible. Added to all of that – my mostly homebound existence turned into a completely home bound one. I went from at least sitting on my patio for some fresh air to never being able to open a window or a door again.

I was pretty sure it couldn’t get any worse than 2009. I was so ready to jump into 2010 and revel in what I was sure was going to be a rebuilding year.

Ahhh… the best laid plans.

My disease continued to progress this year. I lost more abilities to do things within my home, my immune system depleted to the point where I now have to give a checklist to people before I can let them in to see me…
and worst of all…

I lost my dad.

I lost the most important man in my life, and I couldn’t even go home to his funeral. 2010 definitely exceeded my expectations. I couldn’t even have imagined one as tumultuous as this.

Now, here I am, knocking at the door of 2011.

Thankfully, it’s not in my nature to be pessimistic.

Instead, I’m thinking of something Dad said about his life and how he was living it. Dad believed that we are all just spiritual beings put here on earth to live out our human existence.

Think about that for a minute.

Imagine if we all went about our lives remembering the core of who we are… a Spirit born in the image of Christ… who is sent here to fulfill a purpose before going back home.

I forget that so easily. I want to make this life all about me. All about my human existence instead of my spiritual being. I want to worry about my health and my finances and my housing and my potential. I want less pain and more easy. I want I want I want.

But what I have is a mission. A purpose. I am here to live the best life I can with what I have been given. I am here to live out this human existence as a spiritual being… a servant to God and His people… before I head back home to Him.

Dad died in the most random way. He is one of the less than 1% of people who got stung by an insect and died of anaphylactic shock. He was strong and healthy and full of life, but it was his time to go Home. We don’t know the day. We don’t know the hour. But we do know we have a purpose. And it’s the same one for all of us.

We are here to live out our human existence… as a Spirit born of Christ… before going back home.
So I’m not going to worry about starting over in a new year. I’m not worried about what 2011 might bring. I’m not setting myself up this January.

I am simply keeping in mind that this life isn’t about me and my goals and my wants and my worries. I am here to fulfill His purpose for me, and my job is to keep my eyes open so I don’t miss it.

How about you? Are you ready to embrace the life God has entrusted to you? Are you ready to live His purpose?
You can read more of Sara's inspirational words in her book, Choose Joy: Finding Hope and Purpose When Life Hurts. Pre-order yours today at Amazon, Barnes and Noble or Family Christian.