Sunday, December 16, 2012

Nicholas Summersell

For some reason this morning his name came to mind. I'm not sure why, but it did.

I haven't seen this kid in 17 years. He was a boy in third grade who had a major crush on me. We never hung out outside of school, but for some reason he was infatuated with me for the half of third grade when I was still attending public school and a good part of second grade (which I found out during third grade). He gave me this heart necklace that year. Cute but quite inappropriate if you think about it. Later on (not sure of the timeline), with all the love a third grader can muster, he asked me to marry him right before we went sledding down the hill at gym. Even at 7 there were multiple things I understood that right now surprise me. I remember thinking about how I needed to answer carefully because I didn't want him to feel rejected. Sure I liked to kid, but not apparently the same way he liked me. I understood what rejection was at 7. Craziness. I also remember thinking that there was no way I could marry him because he didn't love Jesus. No I didn't have a personal relationship with God at that point in time, but I did believe in God and  I was a product of someone whose parents went to church. My understanding was that it was bad to marry someone who didn't love God if you believed in Him...under no circumstances. So I took the easy way out at told Nick that he needed to ask me when we got older knowing full well I wasn't going to see him again after Christmas. However, deep down I wanted to say yes.

Unsure how to handle the situation further I did what any kid would, I went to an adult for help. Unfortunately the only one available was my male gym teacher who thought it would be funny to tell the whole class about what went down. *Sigh. That was kind of embarrassing.

Anyway, all of this remembering at how I processed things surprised me. I was only 7 for cryin out loud and yet I knew about, and remember clearly understanding, rejection as well as standards for marriage. Come one now, I knew I didn't want to marry anyone who didn't love God at 7. This seems so weird to me. What kind of 7 yr old thinks about this stuff? Me apparently

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Decisions = Division

A couple weeks ago I listened to a message about youth leadership. At one point the speaker said something that was intriguing. It was one of those things that you go 'hmmm' at, and then ponder it for a while. He said, "when you decide, you always divide...when you make decisions you will always divide can't please everyone". When I first heard that I thought 'yeah that's good', but it wasn't until this past week that I truly understood what that meant and how much it applies to life in general and not just in leadership.

First a little back story. At my workplace, several employees have been in the process of trying to start a union for over a month. The last three weeks have been filled with mandatory meetings about why we should vote no and the supposed atrocities of collective bargaining. The emotional stress level of everyone has been pretty high. My co-worker has been one of the ring leaders in getting this thing going. I was in agreement with her about it for almost the entire time. The vote for whether we should have a union or not was yesterday. For the last three weeks at work, there has been such division amongst the employees. Relationships were being tested and people were picking sides. I hadn't really made a decision about which way I was going to vote until ten minutes before I did it, however I had been mainly on the side in favor of a union.

Two days before the election I got an incredible sinking feeling that going through with a union may not be the best choice for our center right now. The first thing I thought was 'how am I gonna tell ___ that I have changed my mind?". She was probably gonna be mad and/or disappointed. How would that effect our relationship? She has told me before how she is slow to trusting people who screw her over. I had given my word that I would vote yes. Not making a decision tortured me for days. I knew I didn't have to tell her, but I felt like that was being dishonest and an ungodly thing to do. And lying was out of the question, although contemplated.

I finally got up the courage before going and voting to talk it over with her. It was petrifying and the hardest thing to do. I hate disappointing people, and this was someone I work with 5 days a week for at least 6 hours every day. Would our working relationship be ruined? What kind of division would it bring? And that's when I got it. I understood how the principle being talked about in the message applies to everyday life.

Every decision we make creates a division because not everyone is going to agree with you. Decisions that I delayed making in my past started coming to mind and the divisions that they caused once decided. And the longer I waited to make those decisions, the greater the division was. Sometimes it was a division within myself. Letting go of a past thought process or stereotype or judgement. Let that sink in. Division can happen within you where you let go of something old. Wow...that is powerful. An added revelation, praise Jesus.

I could go into the healing that takes place when division occurs, but we'll save that for another time. Division isn't always bad, in fact a lot of times it's good. When I decided to tell my co-worker what I was honestly thinking it brought division because of a difference of opinion, but we are still able to have a relationship even though we disagreed on something. And there was a division inside me between the fear of stepping out and standing up and doing what's right.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

It's the Worst at Night

Over the past several weeks (or maybe it's been a couple months, I don't remember when it started) life has been quite a roller coaster ride of ups and downs emotionally. I'm not exactly sure why one particular thing has been such a focal point issue lately. There are a couple days in a row where I'll be perfectly fine. The overwhelming emotions subside and I am content with where I am and confident in what I can do. Then other days its a back and forth fight where I can be alright and then without warning a great sadness will come over me. I fight as much as I can in the down times, but sometimes I get so tired and I give in to the emotions for a little while. I tend to give in towards the end of the day when I'm physically tired and emotionally strained from fighting off the sadness.

I have gone through loneliness this intense only one other time. It wasn't a happy time. I was plagued with depression and felt alone in everything; spiritually and physically. The depression had got so bad that I began thinking up ways to end it all. Thankfully I was too afraid to do anything. There have been other points in life since that season six years ago where the loneliness has come, but only for a glimpse.

This time around, the loneliness is different. It is definitely intense and overwhelming at times, however it's only been in a physical sense. I haven't felt separated from God, which is a great blessing. (In fact I can sense His presence almost all the time.) Sometimes I can be hanging out with friends having a good time and then out of nowhere I can feel so physically alone in a crowd. Maybe it's being brought on from the marriages/engagements/relationships of people that I know around me. (Not that there has been a significant amount, but still.) Maybe it's because the hope of a husband coming around soon is almost non-existent. I absolutely believe that God can do something and change situations within a second; He is all powerful after all. I don't know the exact reason for this loneliness, I just know it's here and has been for a little while.

The worst is at night, when I'm trying to go sleep and the obviousness of the empty half of the bed is right there. It makes me anxious and worried that maybe God is gonna make me wait for years. I may have many years ahead of me, but when you've been waiting for Mr. Right since you were 15 or younger a couple more years is a little daunting. All the doubts come forth in the dark when you try so hard to shut your brain off and not think about how utterly single you are and the possibility of being that way for a while more.

Being single has it's advantages. I have more freedom right now than I will when I am married. I can do whatever I want and go wherever I want and manage my own money without consulting with someone else.The free time I have is pretty great. My room is my space that I don't have to share with anyone. And yet my heart aches to have someone to share life with. Being married doesn't fix the problems of my life or bring incessant happiness, I know this. I just want the loneliness to stop.

Sorry for being kind of depressing.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

The Paralytic

As I was out picking thimble berries this morning behind my Grandma's house, I was trying to think of some profound way that picking berries relates to God. There's a lot of different symbolism that could be used. However, there was no heavenly inspiration or thoughts. Eventually I stopped trying to come up with something and forcing the Holy Spirit to work His magic and give some revelation. So I just kept working my way through the berries...and then a thought came to me - 'look at how far you've come, there's no way you would have been out here comfortably picking berries last year'.

I started thinking about that and remembering where I used to be in life. A couple weeks back telling others your testimony was talked about in church, how we should be able to condense who we were before and after Jesus in a couple sentences. For example - Before I knew Jesus I...After Jesus I... . We practiced at the end of the sermon condensing our stories. Mine was "Before I knew Jesus I was paralyzed by fear, unable to move anywhere. After Jesus I found my strength in Him and moved forward despite the fear".

When I was a kid, going into the woods alone terrified me. I was scared to the point that any little noise from anything would induce the flight instinct in me and fear would grip my body. I never went anywhere outside the confines of our yard alone. The woods (or nature in general) and I did NOT get along. The possibility of a wild animal coming after me and eating me alive was always present. Even the thought of stumbling upon a snake in the woods petrified me. Funny enough (though not really) I lived in the middle of nowhere surrounded by woods for nine years of my life. And once nightfall hit, the woods went from being scary to being horrifying. Being left to take care of my siblings at night when my parents went to go pick my sister up from dance was torture. I would lock myself in my room and listen intently to every sound wondering if it was a serial killer or wild animal trying to get into the house.

Fear literally paralyzed me from being able to do anything. I couldn't call anyone on the phone for fear of getting the wrong number or running out of things to say. For a long time I wouldn't even talk with someone on the phone even if they called me. I wasn't ok with leaving my mom's side in the grocery store to get an item from the next isle over because I was afraid she'd forget me and leave me there. There were so many things I couldn't do because of fear. (But the important one here is the whole issue with being in the woods alone.)

Thinking about how I had chosen the word 'paralyzed' got me thinking about the story of the paralytic in Luke 5. The summary of this story is there was a man who was paralyzed. His friends climbed on the roof and lowered him down, and Jesus healed him. Verse twenty is quite interesting - "When He saw their faith, He said to him, "Man, your sins are forgiven you" - then later on Jesus heals him. Jesus didn't heal this man because he believed it could happen. Jesus healed him because his friends had great faith in what He could do. They brought him to Jesus and they had faith when the man had none. His friends saw he needed help and gladly came to his assistance. 

I was like that man. I wanted to be free from the paralyzing fear, but I didn't believe it could happen. At one point I remember thinking with dread that I was going to be fearful in everything for my entire life and that was scary. But I didn't know what to do. I didn't have any faith that it could get better. For many years I tried to not be so afraid by myself, and things got a tiny bit less fearful but it was still there. It wasn't until I really got involved with a church and had people who came after me to help me, even when I pushed them away, that things started to get better. And yet I still didn't believe that fear wouldn't rule over me anymore. 

Then I went to college and got my butt kicked by God, a well deserved and much needed butt whooping. People who cared about me stood in the gap and prayed for me and had faith when I had none and could only see that fear was still there, even when it was getting better. I started becoming aware of when fear would come around and how to fight it off. 

From the time I was 18, God has been strengthening me with His strength and bringing His confidence into my life. Every year it increases...Praise the Lord! He kept bringing it in even though I couldn't see the progress and was very negative about things changing. I wholeheartedly believe that it was because of the faith others had for me that the changed really took place. And although my healing wasn't instantaneous as the paralytic, it has come. Fear is not completely gone, but it is very minimally there and even when it comes I am able to act regardless of it. Fear only has as much hold as I allow it to have.

So going back to the picking berries. This whole thought process occurred as I was standing out in the woods, by myself, tangled up in thorns bushes open to any attack if a wild animal or estranged human came around, and I was ok. I was listening to music for a little while because I love being in the presence of God and not to drown out the sounds of nature around me as I did last year when picking berries. I wasn't rushing to avoid the possibility of spooking an animal and only sticking to the path in case I got stuck in the bushes and couldn't get out. After a while I turned the music off and just walked around enjoying where I was and what I was doing. I climbed through everything and there was no fear of being overtaken by an animal even though I know there have been bear sightings. It was peaceful.  

An intense desire to share with the world about my testimony of no longer being paralyzed came over me. So here I am sharing with any who will read. There is freedom from fear. I did something today I wouldn't have ever dreamed I would be able to do. Jesus holds the keys to freedom, and it might take years to be completely free as it has taken me. Or you could be freed right now. Don't give up. God won't look over you because you are lacking in faith. He didn't overlook the paralytic or see him as unworthy. There are people around you who will have faith for you even when you don't. 

I keep hearing God say to me, "Look at how far you have come".

I am no longer a paralytic!!!! 

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Perseverance in Healing

I recently was involved in a major car accident...the first ever. (Although I have been in several fender benders, but nothing causing injury.) I was asleep in the backseat, laying down with the passenger seat belt behind the driver securing me in. Not the smartest choice in where to buckle myself in, but at least I was buckled in. The seat belt was wrapped around my ribcage, so when the driver inadvertently fell asleep and crashed head first into a ditch I was folded in half at my ribcage upon impact. The Lord was definitely protecting us though. Thankfully I don't remember anything, what I know is based off of what my bruises tell me and the story of others who saw what happened. The driver only received a scrapped knee that didn't need stitches and a brush burn from the seat belt with some bruising. I got a lot of bruising around my ribcage and chest area and some on my legs. There were no broken bones for punctured organs. Praise Jesus! The pain was pretty intense on my part. I couldn't sit up because it felt like my chest was exploding and my muscles wouldn't hold me. Everything was tingling, not in a good way, and it took sheer will power and a lot of slow moving to do anything in the ER. At one point I wondered if what I was feeling was equivalent to childbirth, just in a different area. If so, then I got that down for later. Haha! I also realized my pain tolerance was pretty good, and that I am capable of handling a lot of pain without medication. And since the paramedics wanted tests to go more quickly they didn't give me any pain killers til right before I was leaving, which was good cause I didn't want to be there any longer than they wanted me there. So in the heat of the moment I can handle the pain and work through it...

That's not really the case with the healing process. It has been difficult to wake up every morning and hurt. It has been frustrating that I can't lay down to sleep, I have to sit up. I haven't been able to go to work or drive. Being dependent on people is hard for me, and it's something I've had to do. I just want to be comfortable. The healing has been faster than what the doctors said it would be due to a lot of prayers from family and friends going before the Lord about it. But it's still taking time, as all healing does. I was hoping that I could go back to work on Mon; I had it all planned out. I was gonna push through the discomfort, not make a huge deal about how I was feeling, act like I can do more than I actually can, and be alright to work. My plan didn't really go as I wanted. The doctors want to make sure I am really ok and that I won't injure myself again by going back to work.

All of this got me thinking. This is similar to what happens when I am spiritually wounded. I can take the pain. I play it like things don't hurt as much as they do and I push through it to do what I need to do. Relying on my own will power to get through something is my go-to strategy. But when it comes time for the healing part I have very little patience, and I become frustrated with the process and time it takes. I want it to be quick and easy so that I can move on and continue life. But it's never easy and even though it may move faster some times than others, it's never fast enough. I have to rely fully on God in healing because I can't heal myself; the wound limits what I can do so I have to rely on someone else to do things for me. It is hard to rely on God. It's hard to wait for the healing to be complete so that the wound doesn't get reopened by my rushing. I know I'm not the only person that reacts this way to healing. Healing isn't easy for anyone. And if you say it is, then I'm calling you out on lying. If it's easy, then it's not true healing. It takes perseverance to go through the healing process.

In the New King James version, perseverance is used 8 times. The verse that is most associated with this word is Rom 5:3-5
              "And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that
               tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character;
               and character, hope".
This is one of those verses that sometimes makes me want to throw the Bible and say "screw that". But that's beside the point. Seven out of the eight verses use one Greek word for perseverance, and the other verse a separate one. The first, which is used in the Romans verses just stated, comes from the word hupomone (hoop-om-on-ay') and means to have cheerful (or hopeful) endurance, constancy: enduring, patience, patient continuance (waiting). The second is proskarteresis (pros-kar-ter'-ay-sis) and means persistancy: perseverance.'s interesting how God uses physical situations to teach me about spiritual things.

Friday, May 25, 2012


As a kids I never suffered from allergies. It was quite nice and I considered myself blessed for that. It seems that reign of allergy freedom has left me. :(. Last year I had an incredibly swollen throat, and that was it. So I went to the doc and they did a strep test cause I was convinced that's what it was. (I used to get strep all the time as a kid.) Who thinks of allergies if you've never had 'em? Well the test came back negative. This year around the same time as last year (this past week to be precise) I have had the most difficulty with swallowing again because of a swollen throat. Now you would think I would jump right to the conclusion that this would be the same issue that I had last year and therefore allergies. Nope, I didn't. It wasn't until today that it dawned on me that this is indeed the same experience I had last year. All I have to do now is find some allergy meds that will actually work. Oh man, I better start getting used to thinking like someone who has allergies. Why do these things have to develop as we get older? Let's just hope I don't concoct any allergies to any of my fav foods. Then we'll be in trouble.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012


Praise be the Lord, He has given me a new job. It will pay everything I need except rent, which I don't have to pay with grandma. Four more days, that's it. They can't come fast enough.

As much as I know this is going to be a  hundred times better than the job I currently have, I am still nervous I made the wrong choice. There is still that doubt at times of "what if I dislike this job as well?". I don't think I can handle not loving the work I do yet again. There was only one thing I aspired to as a kid concerning a job - loving the work I do regardless of the finances. I know this new job will be way better than the last. I get to play with babies all day! So why is this fear still there about making the right choice? I don't want to doubt the path God has for me and whether I'm actually following it or not. Hmmm...more on this later maybe.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Am I Sarah?

My frustration with my current job has come to a head. The anxiety and stress has been increasing and I can't take it anymore. Usually I can convince myself to keep going with a job because I have loan payments to make. Even that is not convincing enough to want to stay right now. I often feel like the anxiety is too much to handle. Everything feels like its closing in and I can't get out. I get physically beat on at least twice a week by the children I work with. During rare behavior weeks it may only be once. The bruises and scratch marks from one week are barely healed before more are distributed on my arms and hands. I throw numerous blessings at the people that can do this job and still enjoy going to work every day...I can't do it. I have known that special education is not my forte and that I don't enjoy working in that field. Yet the last two jobs I've had and hated have been in special education. The story of Sarah (Abraham's all know the one. She acted on her own strength in will because she didn't believe God would provide a child in her old age.) has come up several times over the last couple weeks via friends posting in their blogs, a book I'm reading for lifegroup, or people talking about it. It got me thinking...have I acted like Sarah? Am I her?

I got the first job I hated at an adult group home because I was very aggressive in obtaining it due to the fear at not having a job once my student loans started up. I knew it would pay enough for me to at least be able to pay them with a little extra. I grew to hate the job very quickly. It was the first time I have ever hated a job. Working overnights was burning me out physically and emotionally. At one point I couldn't take it anymore, so I started looking for another job that would match the salary I was making or increase it.

The second job in special education I have gotten is with my current job. I knew it would be a hard job, but I wanted out so badly from the first one that I didn't care. I thought maybe it wasn't as bad as people said, and maybe I would be ok in it even though I do not do well in special education. It's only taken three months for absolutely hate going to work. My anxiety about being overpowered and seriously hurt by the 15-17 year olds I work with keeps increasing. My stress level at having to work with people who voiced disliking me is up there as well.

Here I am again at a point where I want and feel like I need to escape. Why did I go after these jobs anyway? I KNOW that I don't do well as a special education teacher. But because of fear that I won't able to pay loans, I've ignored that fact. Crap, I am a Sarah. I acted out of fear that God wouldn't provide. That He wouldn't bring a job when I most needed one. And here I am yet again needing to make a decision about what to do.

Teaching jobs in Elementary schools are very scarce in Western NY, but there are teachings jobs in Preschools and Day Cares. At one point in life I worked in a day care for almost four years. I absolutely loved it. It was what I wanted to do with the rest of my life, but not everyone agreed that was the smartest way to go due to the lack of money associated with the job (which is a fair thing to point out). So I changed the plan a little. I left home and went to an out of state school to pursue elementary education. After all I would get better money in that field, and when would there ever be a shortage of teaching jobs? Teachers are always needed. I racked up quite a sum of debt and now I can't find a teaching job in a school. I don't know what to do. How do you stop being Sarah and start trusting?

God has promised provision; it says so in Phil 4:19 - But my God shall supply (a.k.a. provide) all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus. Thank goodness He is bigger than me and can undo anything I do. I just can't see how He's gonna fix my mess, and that's scary.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Leaving Your Desires...and Picking Up Mine

I am learning that part of being an adult is making decisions based off of your own beliefs and not others. And that in order to make boundaries you have to inform the other party of your intentions. Both are very hard things to do when it involves people you are close to. There are people in each of our lives that we want to please whether in regards to the decisions we make, the places we go, the career we choose, person we marry, or (fill in the blank). We all have dreams and desires from the time we are young. Some people hide them, some strive to have them fulfilled and do anything to see them come true, some wish they would come true without doing anything, while others change them. Our dreams and desires naturally change and take shape as we grow older in good ways, and sometimes maybe in bad ways too. People come into our lives that show us the reality of some of our far off superhero-like dreams, like growing wings and flying, and sometimes the realistic dreams are crushed. For those of us who like to people please, it's easier to hide what we really want and believe to protect and keep those closest to us from the possibility of being hurt; it's easier to suffer than to express a want or need. However, that only hurts one It's hard and scary to take a stand and say "THIS IS WHAT I BELIEVE" to someone who means a lot to you, who has expressed disappointment in you for that, and who has thought it to be untrue. I have seen in movies when a young adult decides they are no longer going to follow someone else's dream, and instead follow their own. There are usually some hurt feelings, but the other person always comes to see the young adults perspective in the next scene. I have also seen this scenario in real life with the outcome being very different. There are years of  no support from those closest to you, but you are doing what you believe you should, what you believe God wants you to do and a support system comes around you from your church family. We all want the perfect ending when we decide we are going to make our own decisions as adults, but it doesn't always happen that way. The Bible says we are to leave (and later cleave) in Gen 2:24 - "Therefore shall a man [or woman] leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife [or husband]: and they shall be one flesh". (brackets inserted by me)  Leaving is hard, and it doesn't mean forgoing sound advise simply to do something you want to do regardless of whether it matches with God's law and plan or not. The Hebrew word used in this verse is `azab and it means to loosen or relinquish. We are to loosen our ties with one so that we may eventually make them stronger with another person. Until that person comes around we are to strengthen our ties with "the Lover" -  Jesus. Sometimes that means we have to move in a direction that those closest to us disagree with. But if it's truly what God wants you to do, then there will be blessings in that. Sometimes you may not see the blessing for a while, but they will come. Or God will direct somewhere else. It's time to leave and follow what I believe God wants me to do and not be afraid to say and do so.


Wednesday, February 8, 2012


Definitely enjoyed reading this. Good stuff. :)

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Reversing the Cycle

I grew up with the idea ingrained into me that God doesn't care about my feelings. They have a very strong opinion that whatever you want, God is going to withhold it from you. Wherever you want to go or do, He will call you in a completely different direction. And that if you are blessed with that one thing that you desire, it will be taken away from you by Him. For a long time I have believed this. I have seen how God has blessed others around me instantly, and how I have had to wait, and I've been jealous. I have allowed the lie that I must not be worthy enough to creep in. I have become excellent at striving and "working" towards being worthy enough in order to receive what my heart so desires. However, there's only so far you can go with that thought pattern. My parents are great examples of that. You become stuck, unable to move because of a lie. You can't see the things around you that have been blessed with. I don't want to be stuck anymore. I know in my head that God truly does care about my wants and feelings. He takes my desires and requests into consideration. But this is so difficult for me to believe in my heart. The other difficult part to believe is that I don't have to do anything for God to bless me. Why is that so hard to understand? He blesses His children because He loves them, not because one did more than another or earned it. Striving comes easy. Just sitting and receiving a gift from my heavenly father simply because He wants to bless me...not so much. It's time the thought pattern stopped. It's time to start believing that God has tremendously great things in store and that they are coming soon. It's time to believe that God cares about my feelings and desires, and He won't take away what He's given. This is so not going to be easy, but it well worth it in the end.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Hidden No More

High in the hills lies a cave.
Hidden in the landscape,
Common in appearance,
Yet holding something of importance.
Clandestine are kept deep within.
Darkness surrounds them,
Attempting to hide what needs the light.
Three guards stand at the entrance stand in sight,
Keeping the secrets in, and others out.
Shimtsah, Ga`avah, and Deilia
Keep watch day and night.
Though few in quantity,
They are strong and relentless.
Refusing to back down,
Threats are thrown around.
Their weapons sharply tipped,
Piercing through they tear and rip
Those who try to free the mystery.
For too long they have ruled. 
For too long they have fooled
Passerby into leaving with naught.
Only wounds have been caught.
No more.
Gather your armor and your sword,
Your army behind and your shield before.
This can't be hidden any more.
Shimtsah begone,
You have no place here.
Ga`avah your words mean nothing anymore.
Deilia your hold is no longer strong.
There will be suffering to pay,
But freedom will arrive along the way.
Triumph will come,
Light will shine in the deepest core.
The clandestine will be hidden no more.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

'Never' is a Strong Word

Never Gonna Give You Up by Rick Astley

I don't usually participate in the Facebook challenges for status' and such, but this one turned out with an interesting answer. The task was to find the top song for the day/week you were born. Out of curiosity I looked it up. Turns out this song is a very cheesy love song filled with impossible promises to keep and an incredibly naive viewpoint. Funny how that would be the top song the week of my birth. You just have to laugh at the ridiculousness of this song.