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“A fool vents all of his feelings, but a wise man holds them back.”  Proverbs 29:11

Forward or direct would be a kind way of explaining who I am.  I have had a handful of people tell me over the years that they take offense to my way of addressing issues.  This is clearly an area of struggle for me because I know what my heart feels but what comes out of my mouth creates tension in others; completely not my intent but intent doesn’t always matter.

I have come to discover that people want things sugar-coated, even if I don’t.  Just as some people take offense when things are said too directly, I take offense when people dance around a subject with me.  For me, when I sugar coat things I feel as though I am not being honest and I love honesty.  So if I have a problem with someone and I sugar coat the telling of said problem it feels as though I am lying.  The same could be said when someone sugar coats things they need to address with me; I feel as though they are lying not telling the whole truth.

For many years I have felt that this was the way God made me and if someone doesn’t like it then oh well for them but I understand that is the wrong attitude to have.  Yes it is the way God made me, with the purpose of having places in my life to grow from.  If I was made perfect I would never need His guidance in my life.  Some people struggle with problems of being giving or loving, I happen to struggle, at this moment, with gentleness.  This isn’t the first Fruit of the Spirit He has addressed in my life and I am sure it won’t be the last.

I have to start looking at the situations as though I am trying to protect God’s other children from harm.  He wants me to hold back my feelings so they do not get hurt as I have.  That is totally understandable.  Since I view my sugar-coating as lying but Proverbs 29:11 states otherwise, I guess that means I am reading more into it that He is.

Here is to another fruit I must learn to swallow and enjoy.

Not Yet But Getting There! (notyetproverbs31)

 

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”  John 14:27

Today was our second Sunday of church plant service.  It started off rough when the trailer jack broke.  With no way to lift the nine thousand pound trailer onto our truck things looked bleak.  But God is good, all the time.

I went about my business getting my kids ready, packing our breakfast and lunch, and loading the truck with our personal equipment.  Within about fifteen minutes, the pastor and my husband solved the problem and off we went.  We only started setting up for church fifteen minutes late!

Service was wonderful.  I met several new teenagers that are looking forward to joining our group.  We managed to load everything back into the trailer with only about half of our crew and still made it out on time.

Years ago I prayed for the peace of God to fill my heart when my husband and I were going through a tough pregnancy.  I am happy to report that His peace has never left me.  At no time during today’s craziness did I feel anything but peace.

He gave it to me and I do not believe He is someone Who goes back on what He says.  I have peace.  He is the “Peace I’ve Come to Know” as Chris Tomlin sings in I Will Rise.

Not Yet But Getting There! (notyetproverbs31)

Humility

“Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble.” I Peter 3:8

Last night I had a great time with my home fellowship group.  It is no secret that I love talking about the topic of God.  I truly enjoy listening to all of their input and ideas.  I have never felt more relaxed than being around fellow Christians but is it supposed to be that way?

In our discussion, we talked about being in our “Christian” bubbles.  Once a person gets saved they get comfortable; not always but most of the time that is where they stay.  I am really guilty of that.  I used to have a lot of non-Christian friends but those same friends were the ones who gave me the excuse to do non-Christian things.  I used to smoke, drink, curse, belittle people, carry around hatred and bitterness, and some things that I really do not care to mention but lets just say I broke every commandment.

When I recommitted my life to Christ I took it seriously.  Sure I have made mistakes along the way but have also made, nearly, a one-hundred eighty degree change.  Unfortunately, that meant disconnecting myself from all of my non-Christian friends.  I placed myself in the bubble.  But does God really want that?  I don’t believe so.

The verse does not say be sympathetic, love or be compassionate and humble to only Christians.  I completely understand that it is easier but since when did He tell us life and doing His work would be easy?

The Great Commission tells us to learn about Christ and then go tell others but all to often we skip over the second part.  We get really used to going to church on Sundays, having Bible study groups with our friends and praying for each other but forget or ignore the fact that Christ came to heal the sick (save the lost).  As “little Christs” we are to do the same so how did He do it?  He humbled Himself, putting others first.

You don’t need to agree with how a person is acting in order to show them compassion, love, and sympathy, just humble yourselves.

I am grateful for the work He is doing in me to create a more humble version of myself.

Not Yet But Getting There! (notyetproverbs31)

A Difficult Task

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6

Today I accomplished something I wasn’t sure would have ever been possible.  I have spent about a year writing a book.  My “Work in Progress” has been just that, a work in progress.  I have had days when I thought of giving it up and days when I couldn’t stop writing.

My idea of what I wanted it to look like was not God’s idea so there were many times when I felt the old writers block.  I knew what the story needed to say but I couldn’t get the words onto paper.  It wasn’t until I surrendered my writing to God’s desire and words that things would flow again.

The story is about returning to God but I wanted it to be greater than what God wanted it to be.  I had amazing ideals for the number of chapters and the number of words but what I didn’t take into consideration was His ideals.

God is able to make His point with fewer words than we can and that is just what He did.

I am pleasantly surprised at what has been birthed out of my surrendering and obedience to God.  I cannot wait to share it with others.  If you would like updates on how it is going, you can visit my website at www.sarahjaneho.com or my Facebook page.

In the meantime, remember His plans are greater than ours and He has our path planned just follow His lead.

Not Yet But Getting There! (notyetproverbs31)

“Such things were written in the Scriptures long ago to teach us. And the Scriptures give us hope and encouragement as we wait patiently for God’s promises to be fulfilled.  May God, who gives this patience and encouragement, help you live in complete harmony with each other, as is fitting for followers of Christ Jesus.”  Romans 15:4-5

A few weeks ago I posted a question on my Facebook page regarding Old Testament Laws and whether or not they apply to us today.  Many Christians believe that the big 10 (the Ten Commandments) still apply but the other 593 are no longer relevant.  Why choose only those ten?  I can understand how the commandments pertaining to sacrificing no longer apply because Jesus Christ became the ultimate sacrifice but how does that negate all the other ones except for the Ten Commandments?  I kept seeing responses from people about how the old “Laws” are no longer relevant and my response was, “well then why do you still follow the Ten Commandments, they are part of the old?”  Not one person could come up with a definitive answer, they just kept dancing around the subject.

It was becoming so frustrating for me because every person had what they believed to be the absolute reason why but they still could not explain to me why they obey the Ten Commandments still if they do not obey the others.  I had to just let it go and realize that I only need to worry about what God was speaking to my heart and have patience for others because I am instructed to live in complete harmony with others.

Patience can be problematic for me because of the person God created me to be.

I recently took a personality test and spiritual gifts test for our church plant, which I have taken before but somethings stood out that I found quiet interesting.  For instance, I am a dominant personality, which I knew, but the description was wonderful.  A dominant person thrives during multitasking and high stress situations, they do not have the patience for others meaning when they see a job that just needs to be done they just do it.

That is totally me.  I just do it.  Not because I feel as though another person cannot accomplish it but because if I am free to do it for them then they can get something else done that I am not able to help with.  I have never been big on just sitting around and waiting.  If a group I am in is trying to get something accomplished I am usually the first to say “get a move on it.”  I know, not the nicest way of saying it but seriously, get the lead out and move forward.  I tend to clash a bit with those who want to sit around an analyze everything.

Recently, like the Facebook post, I have been placed in situations where God is reminding me of patience.  No I haven’t prayed for patience recently so I know that is not why He is reviewing it with me.  I believe He is just taking time to work on my people skills so that I can revert back to harmony in situations that get under my skin.  He is teaching me so that I may be fully prepared for the promises He has given to me.

I may have times in my life when I need to let it go (hard for me to say that phrase without thinking of the Frozen movie) which can be difficult.  But I need to just remember, I am being refined for His promises which work best when I am in complete harmony with others.

Not Yet But Getting There! (notyetproverbs31)

“Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed.  If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble.” Ecclesiastes 4:9-10.

Since I was a little girl my Daddy would take me out on a date for our birthdays.  His was four days away from mine so we made it an annual thing to celebrate together.  There were years that we celebrated by eating at Taco Bell and others were we sat and talked; it was our special time.  Fast forward about thirty plus of those special annual days to the very last time I got to spend my birthday with him.

On my Daddy’s 74th birthday he had four strokes.  Since he was such a feisty person my Mom, three sisters and I all believed he would recover well.  Just short of two years later, I got a call from my Mom asking me to come for a visit because the doctors do not think he will make it much longer.

My sisters and I scheduled visits a week a part from the last.  This way he would see one of each of us per week for a month, with me being the last in order to overlap our birthdays.

I called him before hand to tell him how much I loved him, what an amazing Daddy he was to me and that I had planned on being there for our birthday celebration.  With tears in my eyes, I told him that if he felt he needed to go that I would be okay.  Not to hang on for my sake.  That he will always be in my heart and I would understand.

He made it.

I celebrated one last birthday at his side with about 10 helium balloons tied to his hospice bed.  I was also able to see him give his life to the Lord and will feel forever blessed to be a part of his salvation story.  He died a week after I left.

The next year without him was so difficult for me, even weeks prior to our birthdays.

My girlfriend Rebecca knew the pain I was feeling and took me out to be my Daddy substitute.  We had a great time so a year later she suggested we invite more of my friends.

Last night was another such occasion.  I was able to spend another birthday with some girlfriends as they encircled me with love, knowing the sorrow I still feel without him.

Thank you: Debbie, Athena, Sara, Casey, Jennifer, Felicia, Jenn, Adrienna and Tori for they fun evening.

Thank you to my lovebug, an amazing husband,  for corralling the kiddos while I enjoyed an evening with girlfriends and a full day to myself.

Thank you to my sisters and friends for all the birthday wishes.

I am lifted up every year by God’s love and these people reminding me that I will see my Daddy again someday.  Who lifts you up?

Not Yet But Getting There! (notyetproverbs31)

What was she to do?

In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, ‘Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.’  Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.'” Luke 1:26-33

Can you imagine being told your child will be the Son of God?  We know Mary had faith in God but could her brain truly wrap around all that meant?  We struggle with understanding how God could allow things to happen to us like loosing our jobs.

There is a song, put out by many people but the first time I heard it sang was from Michael English, called “Mary Did You Know?”  He wasn’t asking, in the song, if she knew she was going to be the mother of the Son of God, she knew that, the Angel told her so and since she believed in God she knew it to be true.  What he asked in the song were things like, “did you know that He would be your Savor, did you know that He would walk on water, make storms calm with His hand, the dead will rise by His mouth?”

Seriously, can you imagine?

As a mother for five beautiful babies, whose time with them is just flying by, I cannot even comprehend my children growing up and getting married because they are my babies, let alone think of the possibility that they could “save nations” as He did and continues to do.

For Mary, even though He was her baby, He was her Lord; she needed Him and what she could give Him in life was nothing compared to what He could give her.  How can anyone wrap their head around that.

God came to Earth in human form, as the Son of God, to be born – which in itself is not even remotely a good experience for a baby – and then slept among livestock in a trough with straw for a bed.

He humbled Himself, from the very start, to love us beyond anyone’s possible understanding.

And it wasn’t just Mary who needed to just trust unconditionally in the position she was given.  It is every Daddy’s dream to have a son who they can teach “manly” things to.  Joseph must have been beside himself, at times, wondering what he could possibly teach GOD.  I know my husband gets a little disappointed if he was not able to teach our son something because he figured it out  on his own.

So what was Mary to do?  Be a mother, who loves her child, supports them and protects them even if He could do it all by Himself.  She was placed in that position and so was Joseph, for a reason.  He knew they were the perfect pair.

You are given your children for a reason, you and your spouse are the perfect pair for your babies.  Sure you may have times in prayer where you ask God, “why me” thinking you are not equipped enough to deal with the temper tantrums, mental health issues they face, disciplining a child who runs away or does drugs but God knows better.  You were hand-picked to love, support and protect, even if they can do it all by themselves.

Thank you Mary and Joseph for showing me how to be a parent, even in conditions where you may have felt inadequate.  If you can do it, I can do it.

Not Yet But Getting There! (notyetproverbs31)

 

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