Happy SAD!

1521319_10101742593735110_1734426431_nI’m pressed for time this evening, but did have some links I want to share in light of the coming weekend. For some of you, the weekend is looming. Others of you are anticipating the weekend. ALL of you are loved this weekend.

It is no secret that I love Valentine’s Day. The pink, the red, the cards,and the sweet spirit of showing one another affection and honor are some of my favorite things. Most of all, it’s always an opportune time to reflect on God’s love for us and ways that should move us to love others.

So—here’s some link love for your weekend! ❤

Valentine’s Day Hopes ~ This post helped the focus of my heart shift upward. It can get tilted so easily.
“Hopes deferred aren’t a dead end, but a gracious redirect. They are a pointer to the “living hope:” our Savior, Jesus Christ (1 Pet. 1:3)….If Valentine’s Day magnifies our misplaced hopes, we must put our hope in God (1 Pet. 3:5). We do this by focusing on all that God promises to be for us in Jesus Christ.” 

Remembering the Unquantifiable Love of God ~ Just in case you forgot how much God loves you and WHY He loves you.
“God’s love for us goes farther than even time itself, into the deep recesses of eternity past. It stretched all the way from forever, forward to the cross, and will continue into eternity future.”

23 Things That Love Is ~ Because knowing we’re loved unquantifiably by the King of the Universe moves us to demonstrate that love to others.

The Real Truth About Boring Men ~ This is one I’ve tucked away and read over and pray over often, especially since the world throws so much cheap garbage in front of our faces and calls it romance.
“How a man proposes isn’t what makes him romantic. It’s how a man purposes to lay down his life that makes him romantic.”

And a Shane & Shane song keeps coming to mind, mostly because of the lyrics. Take a listen?

I am loved
Regardless of the things I’ve said and done
No mistake can change your mind
I’m your design, God
Your love is mine right now

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

“We love because He first loved us.” {1 John 4:19}

Sending you BIG hugs and wishing you a happy one! ❤

You. Are. Loved.


On Why My Profile Picture Didn’t Change

Many of my friends this week have turned into little red boxes with pink equal signs, showing their support for marriage equality.

Other friends have changed to a red box with a pink cross, showing they love people of all sexual orientations and that God loves them, too.

Still, other friends have turned into parallel vertical lines that are blue and pink.

As for me, I haven’t changed my profile picture (which apparently counts as taking a stand these days?!). There have been a lot of thoughts to sift through during this week and many things to consider. For the most part, I’ve been pretty much silent on the issue on my social media platforms because I feel like my stance would be too easily misconstrued and perceived as “hateful” (which is especially easy to do when a “friendship” is dumbed down through social media and has little-to-no face-to-face interaction…but that’s another topic for another day). 

I think we can all agree that true friends want the best for their friends. Any time I see a friend who makes a poor decision that goes contrary to what God has designed for our good, it breaks my heart.

You may not think my stance or my message shows love at all. But before you write me off and define me as a radical right-wing crazy homophobe, please know that in all reality, I’d be doing the furthest thing from showing you love if I didn’t share with you what God’s best is for you.

“Our society strives to avoid any possibility of offending anyone–except God.”
{Billy Graham}

So at the risk of offending you, because I love you, I share the following.

God created us in His image, but when sin entered the world at the fall of Adam and Eve, all of us became bent and broken. It’s completely natural for our flesh to bend towards sin–that’s our nature. So really, when it comes to people practicing homosexuality, it doesn’t shock me. My expectations for those without Christ are pretty low–I expect them to sin. I was born a sinner, too. 

Wait Sarah. Are you saying that homosexuality is a sin?” Yes I am. I can’t escape what God has laid out in His Word, which remains my standard.

“Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.”
{1 Corinthians 6:9-11}

We rebel against the very One who made us. And doesn’t the One who made us know what is best for us? Homosexuality is one of the plethora of sins that goes against God’s good intent and desires for us. 

But God loves us too much to leave us as rebels lost in our sin and He paid a very high price to restore our relationship with Him. Why did He have to pay such a high price? Because God is holy and just. He despises sin of all types and absolutely no sin can be in His presence. Not only that, every sin must be punished. My sin had to be paid for. So God sent His only Son, Jesus, to live the perfect life I could not live–one without sin–to die in my place.  Instead of me paying for my sin myself by spending an eternity in Hell separated from God, Jesus absorbed all the wrath God had reserved for my sin when He died on the cross.

Since I’ve realized there’s nothing I can do on my own to repair my relationship with God, I have put my faith and trust in Christ’s finished work. Now when God looks at me, He no longer sees my sin, but He sees Christ’s perfect, spotless righteousness covering me and He accepts me, welcoming me as His child.

“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
{Galatians 2:20}

God gave His Best so that I might be restored into an intimate relationship with Him. And He continues to work in me to conform me into His image–the one that was warped by sin and made me a rebel to His will. I’m not perfect by any means, but the Holy Spirit persistently chips away at the marred, broken pieces of my heart, makes me new, and enables me to live a life that is pleasing to God.

If He loved you enough to die for you, I believe that also shows that He knows what’s best for you. There’s a whole Book filled with guidelines for what is best for us. So what does He define as best for us in marriage? One man. One woman. For as long as they live. 

“Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”
{Matthew 19:4-6}

Life is always best when you follow what your Creator intended for you. 

I guess if I had to change my profile picture to something else in order to take a stand, I’d just want it to be solid red because it would remind me that the blood of Christ covers all my sin solely because of His grace alone. Jesus paid it all, all to Him I owe. 

That verse I shared earlier? There’s hope because of the blood of Christ.

“Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.
And such were some of you.
But you were washed,
you were sanctified,
you were justified
in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ
and by the Spirit of our God.

{1 Corinthians 6:9-11}

I’m not here to debate. I’m not here to build walls of hostility. I’m simply expressing what has been on my heart as so many of you have been expressing what is on your heart.

Friends, I love you and I want the best for you. So I plead with you: Go for His best. 

Mercy, Peace, & Love {Jude 2}

Mercy, peace and love be yours in abundance.
{Jude 2}

My sweet 93 year-old grandmother went home to be with Jesus this past Tuesday. It has been an interesting wave of emotions, but if there are three words that can sum up what I have experienced in the past week, they would be “mercy, peace, and love.” God showed such mercy in taking her quickly. He has blanketed us with an indescribable peace. And He has shown us His love in countless ways, mainly through His people. (I can’t thank you all enough for the kind words, hugs, cards, food, phone calls, hauling garbage, moving furniture, cleaning, flowers, blankets, windchimes, kisses, and so much more. It’s absolutely overwhelming.)

Many of you know that my family moved in to care for her six years ago (you can read a little more about that in this post) so we are all feeling a huge void, yet there is also an incredible sense of freedom because we have been confined for so long.

There are way too many thoughts for me to sift through right now, so I will close by simply sharing with you a prayer of thanksgiving I wrote out on Tuesday night.

Where do I even start?! You have been exceedingly merciful. I’ve never had the grace to face this day because I’ve never had to face it before. But since I’ve had to face it, You’ve given such grace and lavished my family and I with such mercy. 

Thank You for taking Granny so peacefully and quickly while I wasn’t home. You are so merciful and so good to answer all our prayers. 

I thank You for blessing me with a grandmother who loved You and served You faithfully for so many years. Even after she was bedbound, You gave her purpose. She was a blessing to so many who came to her home–even at the last when they were coming to take care of her instead of the other way around. 

Her love for You was most evident in the way she showed hospitality and cared for others. Everyone always knew they could come to Aunt Shug’s for a bite to eat or to stay the night or to drop off their kid for an afternoon. I thank You so much for passing that love down to me. I pray that I may continue to carry on her legacy of hospitality and kindness–caring for others and ultimately pointing them to You–even if in the smallest of ways. 

Thank You for her quick wit and unprecedented sense of humor. And her giggle–oh, her giggle. And her smile that could just light up not just a room, but the whole house. 

Thank You for letting her remember who she was in You and because of You up to the very end. Though she may have forgotten everyone and everything else, she never forgot You. She could always sing of Your faithfulness and quote Your comforting Word. 

Thank You for giving me the privilege of taking care of her. Though it wasn’t always easy or my favorite thing to do, I learned SO much through it all that I wouldn’t trade for anything in all the world. 

Most of all, thank You for the hope that we have because of what You secured on Calvary. The peace that comes from knowing You are sovereign and knowing where she is–it truly is indescribable. 

May I never forget Your faithfulness to me and may I always look back fondly on the times and countless memories You gave me with my sweet grandmother. 

Giving thanks to You for You are good, for Your steadfast love and abundant mercy endure forever. 

Thank You for holding my heart in Your hands. 

{Psalm 46:1 ~ Isaiah 40:28-31}

Because I knooooow He holds the future…and life is worth the living just because He lives.