Sunday, 16 April 2017

Easter Sunday


He is risen!

 Oh, what a happy day in the Christian faith, as we celebrate our Saviour's resurrection!



"Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance. So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, 'They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don't know where they have put him!'
So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb. Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in. Then Simon Peter, who was behind him arrived and went into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, as well as the burial cloth that had been around Jesus' head. The cloth was folded up by itself, separate from the linen. Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed. (They still did not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead.)

Then the disciples went back to their homes, but Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus' body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot.
They asked her, 'Woman, why are you crying?'
'They have taken my Lord away,' she said, 'and I don't know where they have put him.'
At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus.
'Woman,' he said, 'why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?'
Thinking he was the gardener, she said, 'Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.'
Jesus said to her, 'Mary.'
She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, 'Rabboni!' (which means Teacher).
Jesus said, 'Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet returned to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, 'I am returning to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.''
Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: 'I have seen the Lord!' And she told them that he had said these things to her.

...

Now Thomas (called Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, 'We have seen the Lord!'
But he said to them, 'Unless I see the nail marks on his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it.'
A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, 'Peace be with you!'
Then he said to Thomas, 'Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.'
Thomas said to him, 'My Lord and my God!'
Then Jesus told him, 'Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.'
Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.'

John 20: 1-18, 24-31



Friday, 14 April 2017

Good Friday






"As they were going out, they met a man from Cyrene, named Simon, and they forced him to carry the cross. They came to a place called Golgotha (which means The Place of the Skull). There they offered Jesus wine to drink, mixed with gall, but after tasting it, he refused to drink it. When they had crucified him, they divided up his clothes by casting lots. And sitting down, they kept watch over him there. Above his head they placed the written charge against him: THIS IS JESUS, THE KING OF THE JEWS. Two robbers were crucified with him, one on his right and one on his left. Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads and saying, 'You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself! Come down from the cross, if you are the Son of God!'

In the same way the chief priests, and the teachers of the law and the elders mocked him. 'He saved others,' they said, 'but he can't save himself! He's the King of Israel! Let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him. He trusts in God. Let God rescue him now if he wants him, for he said, 'I am the Son of God.'' In the same way the robbers who were crucified with him also heaped insults on him. 

From the sixth hour until the ninth hour darkness came over all the land. About the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, "Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?" -which means, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"

When some of those standing there heard this, they said, 'He's calling Elijah.'
Immediately one of them ran and got a sponge. He filled it with wine vinegar, put it on a stick, and offered it to Jesus to drink. The rest said, 'Now leave him alone. Let's see if Elijah comes to save him.'

And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit.
 At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook and the rocks split. The tombs broke open and the bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. They came out of the tombs, and after Jesus' resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many people.

When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, 'Surely he was the Son of God!'

Many women were there, watching from a distance. They had followed Jesus from Galilee to care for his needs. Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joses, and the mother of Zebedee's sons.

As evening approached, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who had himself become a disciple of Jesus. Going to Pilate, he asked for Jesus' body, and Pilate ordered that it be given to him. Joseph took the body, wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, and placed it in his own new tomb that he had cut out of the rock. He rolled a big stone in front of the entrance to the tomb and went away. Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were sitting there opposite the tomb. "
                                               Matthew 27: 32-61



Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Life Lately



“Bogged down. Stressed. Anxious. Suffocated.
I feel like I’m fighting for each breath.
 Suffocating, taking each day slowly as it drags me down. Just trying to survive, forget about thrive. I survive each day, but do I live it?”

I wrote that on February 2. How dismal, isn’t it? I felt so hopeless, so drained of life. Seeing what I wrote then and seeing how I feel now, I can see how much has changed. Often I feel like I’m never growing, stagnant and drowning. It’s hard to see change when it comes ever so slowly. 

I am still struggling to keep my head up, but I know that I’m coming out of the depression I suffered this winter. Spring is coming and I feel the joy and excitement of the changing seasons. Even though I know the depression will come back soon enough, as it always does, I feel hope for better things. I feel like the fog is starting to dissipate and like I am actually aware of the things going on around me. And the biggest thing is that I feel. Looking back, I was having a hard time feeling anything. It was that strange paradox of feeling nothing and absolutely everything all at the same time. Though I still feel like that at times, I know I’m improving. 

It’s so good to know that I am doing better. Seeing my progress from even just a couple months ago gives me hope. Having felt so low for so long was a lonely and hopeless place to be. I didn’t think I’d ever get past it, and that I had to accept my depression and anxiety as my new normal. Even though I have suffered from anxiety since I was two (no joke) and it really has been my normal, I am so excited to be making progress, no matter how slow. Depression also has been very prevalent in my life, but there too I am making strides in managing it.

So, dear readers, that has been my life lately. A time of changing seasons, much the same as the seasons changing here in Canada. Winter has given way to Spring, and all is beginning to stir. I am so grateful for my family having supported me during this last bout of mental illness, but ultimately I must give all praise to God for having carried me when I could no longer stand. This season of my life I have had to realize that I can’t do everything on my own. I can’t always push through and make it, I can’t rely on my own strength. Because sometimes (more like always) my strength fails and runs out; sometimes I can’t keep pushing on and make it, but God can. He is so much stronger than I. Maybe you are going through  a hard time in your life, and you aren’t sure where to turn. I hope that you will seek the strength of the One who made you, and find comfort in Him.

“I lift my eyes to the hills-
     where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
      the Maker of heaven and earth.”
               Psalm 121: 1-2


Much love,

Sarah


 

Thursday, 23 March 2017

Hi Again



As you may have noticed, I haven't posted in quite awhile. Since around the beginning of November I have been struggling with a bout of depression and anxiety, but that isn't the only reason I haven't been on here much. I feel SO inspired, with so many thoughts whirling about in my head, that I feel incapable of putting them down on paper(or type it, as the case may be). I have been learning SO much about God, about myself, about life, that when I go to sit down and write about it I feel I can't properly express what I feel. I think I am beginning to come out of that, and I feel ready to start (attempting) to write down all that I have been thinking and feeling the last six months. I've been going through a rough time, the worst I've had since the Christmas before(2015), but I think I'm finally coming out the other side. Spring is on its way, and although we did just get a HUGE dump of snow the last couple days, my spirits are starting to soar and I've been getting an itch to write!

I may not post for a while yet, as my Works In Progress folder is quite full, but I want to start being more active on here. I hope you'll stick around for awhile and see what I've been learning. Thanks for listening, and I hope you have a lovely spring(or autumn, depending on where you are)!

Much love,

Sarah

Friday, 30 September 2016

Weighty Matters




I was a skinny kid growing up, not super lanky or anything, but I never had any extra weight on me and my muscles were more long and thin. I was the young teen girl whose backbone stuck out when I bent over. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t starving myself or even particularly active. I ate a lot. I just didn’t gain weight at all. So what happened? Let me explain a little of what has been going on the last year and ten months…

Almost two years ago my family (save one sister and brother) moved 7 hours away from where we had been living for 7 1/2 years. I remember shortly after we moved a lady we had just met at a church commented that at least we hadn't lived there for a very long time. How wrong she was. I am currently 19 years old. So if you think about it, that means that my preteens, early teens, mid-teens, so pretty much my entire teen years were spent there. I had lived in that place during some pretty crucial years. I was ripped away from it all just when I was really starting to make real friends and get super connected in my church. It hurt. And you know, it still does. 

I suffer from depression and anxiety at the best of times. This time in my life was the worst of times and I sunk very, very low. I struggled to get up in the morning, I had no motivation, and I generally was just done with living. I didn’t want to die, but I didn’t want to live. I slugged along through those months not really doing anything. 

We were looking for a church, and were finding it very difficult being unconnected to a church community. We tried church after church, but sadly most of them didn’t care when we came or when we left, and we weren’t learning as much as we should from the Sunday sermon. This time was very difficult for me. To make matters worse, I was missing not only my friends from our old community, but also my two siblings who stayed behind. It was the first time that we were not all living together, and they were so much farther away than I had imagined they would be when they moved out. So, what did this lead to? I suddenly had no social life and was also living in town, whereas we had been living on an acreage before. My activity level went from moderate to pretty much zero. Add the fact I was depressed and didn’t want to do anything, and you have a pretty good recipe for weight gain. And gain weight I did, a whole 30 pounds and a bit in about 7 months. That’s a substantial amount, especially in a short time period, and I have the stretch marks to prove it. Becoming two dress sizes bigger fairly quickly didn’t help with the depression. I felt so disgusting and ugly that I didn’t want to go out and have people see me. My clothes didn’t really fit anymore, but I didn’t want to get new ones since I hoped to lose the weight and be back to my normal weight. Yeah, that didn’t happen. I plateaued shortly after then and in the last year and a bit have stayed approximately that same size. 

It’s hard when I look in the mirror and still remember clearly the girl that I was. I wish that I was still that girl, not this one, with all my extra weight. I know, it’s incredibly shallow. There are so many more important things to worry about, but this is the one I get stuck on. I look in my closet and see the clothes that I can’t bring myself to get rid of, in the hopes that I’ll fit them again. I struggle when I go to get dressed and see the things that don’t fit, but I wish I could wear them. I hate to see people from where we used to live, because I’m embarrassed to have them see me now. I feel awkward meeting people in our new community because I feel ashamed that they don’t realize I haven’t always been this big. And I feel bad because I know that I am so shallow and lame. 

This sounds like I have made an effort to lose weight and have been unsuccessful. Nope. I haven’t changed a lot in my life, and weight loss hasn’t occurred. That’s probably my biggest source of embarrassment: not only have I gained weight and am embarrassed by it, but I also haven’t made a conscious effort to change anything. I’m struggling to not be jealous of my sister because she is smaller than me and takes the steps to eat well and exercise. I’m just fat and living with it, crying over my soup. Bemoaning the fact that I can’t fit into my clothes, but not making an effort to lose the extra weight. And that’s a sin. Yep, I’ll admit it. I’m not honouring my body by not taking care of it, and allowing myself to gain a substantial and unhealthy amount of weight. It’s not helping me love others more, but is making me focus more on myself and what I look like. (I’ll also admit that this is really hard to write, and it’s taken me a few months to write) This is not a place I want to stay. I don’t want to stay this size, or in this place with my feelings and heart. I need to start taking the steps to take better care of my body. God has blessed me with this body and has commanded me to honour it (1 Cor. 6: 20b). I’m still falling flat on my face in this area more than I’d like to admit.  Maybe you are too. My prayer is that we can first make a plan for success and follow through on it. I’m going to start this next week to do my best to get on a path to better health, not only for my physical wellbeing, but also my spiritual wellbeing. Not taking care of my body has not only affected my health, it has also affected my walk with Christ. Instead of spending time with Him, I spend way too much time feeling bad about myself. Now is the time to change that, I don’t want to stay here anymore. I might fail at times, but I can always get back up and try again. Maybe weight isn’t a problem for you. Whatever it is you are struggling with, today is the time to begin that change. Stop procrastinating (I get it, I’ve been there for the last almost two years) and start on that path to success. Don’t let failures and mistakes hold you down. Together we can get better!

So here’s to bright new beginnings, and a slimmer waistline! (Not actually, but actually)

Much love,
Sarah