Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The Lord has been good to me

The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy. Psalm 126:3

I couldn't do it.

It was about 3 weeks before I left for Scotland and I was at the end of my rope. Stressed by life's constant flow of cares and responsibilities, and so afraid about the unknown. Afraid of my dream, of going to the land God had put on my heart. Did I have enough money to go? Should I even go? There were many people I could think of who could use the funds I was going to spend on my trip. Would my family be ok without me? Would my friend and I get kidnapped, lost or murdered by pirates? Oh, and did I mention that I had never flown and was very nervous about going 40,000 feet up in the air in a metal tube?

Oh boy.

On top of all that, I had gotten some terrible news from a dear friend that day. Her grief and pain caused my heart to ache for her and doubt myself, because I had not seen her suffering.

It was not a good day. And I was ready to give up.

I was returning home late and was listening to Joni Eareckson Tada's short devotional on the radio when she began to sing this song:

The Lords been good to me and I will praise the Lord
For giving me the things I need
The birds and the trees and the apple seed

The Lord has been good to me

I was struck by this simplistic yet true song. The Lord has been good to me and no matter what, I need to praise Him. So I did and rested in His goodness that night.

Fast forward three weeks and a few days. My friend and I are in Scotland. We did not get lost and have not seen any pirates either. We are seated at a long table surrounded by very kind people with the greatest accents. A wonderful family had decided to take us in while we were in the Highlands of Scotland; I will tell that whole story in another post. This was our first night there and they were very welcoming, but I was still worried. What if they didn't like us? What if I was a burden to them? What was I supposed to say? How was I supposed to act? It was time to eat dinner and as we all held hands they explained that they always sang a song of thanks before their evening meal. My friend and I smiled, and I honestly thought I would not know the song and would just listen. And then they began:

The Lords been good to me couldn't be...

And I will praise the Lord

They were singing my song! God, in His great kindness and goodness, was showing me His love for me; that He had me in His hands, that I was His and I could trust Him. So I joined in, with one of the biggest smiles on my face that has ever been there.

For giving me the things I need
The birds and the trees and the apple seed
The Lord has been good to me

He has been and will always be good to me. Praise His holy name forever and ever!

Be blessed!

Friday, November 8, 2013

A longing fufilled

My soul clamors for something, the way things should be and are not. Every time it is urged on, lured to the sweetest satisfaction, it is disappointed, crushed with things that cannot fill the gap, betrayed by things not able to fulfill. But there is One, my Savior, Who touches the empty, barren places in my soul, my deepest being. He makes my heart leap, invites my soul to adventure, and with Him, I am not disappointed or ever let go.
                    Sarah Cookingham, 
                  June 6, 2007.  2:39pm

Six years, 4 months and 6 days since the date of when I wrote that post, I was in Scotland, the land of my dreams. The miraculous journey that God led me on to come to this beautiful land is one I hope to share with you. The story is far from complete, actually it feels as though it is just starting. But the truth is this; God is good. He puts desires in our hearts and brings about His purposes in our lives. Nothing can stop Him; He will always be God and always is good. I pray my stories bring you hope, and most of all, that they bring you closer to the Lover of your soul, Jesus.

The Lord is faithful to all His promises and loving toward all He has made.
Psalm 145:13

~Be blessed~

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

The blessings of a broken oven

100 degrees.

That's all my oven would heat up to today; no matter what temperature I chose, this time-saving cooking device decided that it was only going to give 100%, uh, degrees. Well, that just wasn't going to cook the brownies I was making for a friend's birthday present (Yes, brownies are a great birthday present).
But at this rate my friend would not receive his sweet treats, so I made a plan. I went to another friend's house to use their oven, but no one was home. By now it was getting close to dinner time, and my perfectly thought out cooking and delivery time was falling apart. I was frustrated and certainly not at peace. My Mom suggested friends of ours who live around the block from us (I had not thought to ask them), and within a few minutes of calling them they called me back, asking what temperature should they set the oven to.
I went over, feeling flustered because I was even more behind on my schedule and embarrassed that I had to bother them.
I shouldn't have been.
They welcomed me with such joy and I had a wonderful visit with my friend. As my brownies baked my heart was lifted of worries and burdens that I had carried today, and I even got to share with her a dream that God is making come true. The sweet smells from the oven could not match the sweetness of our fellowship; the oven's 350 degrees could not have been warmer than my friend's love for me.

I would have missed it all if my oven had been working, if my perfect plan for the day had not been disturbed.

My friend got his brownies at the perfect time, the truly perfect time, because it was God's timing, not mine.

Thank You God.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Dear Jesus,

Some of the recent conversations I have had with Jesus; maybe you have had similar ones too.

Dear Jesus,
Thank you for today! I am alive and well, my family is loving, I am healthy and strong. You have given me a wonderful job, many great friends, a good car, a good name, and so much more. Your Spirit is inside me, teaching me and guiding me through life. Your love has captured my heart and saved my soul. Who is more blessed than I? 

 It is My good will to give you blessing upon blessing. Delight Yourself in Me. I delight in you!

Dear Jesus,
I am so lost. I have no idea what to do. I am small and so very weak. My frailty frightens me; O God, I desperately need you!

I am strong, just come to Me, and do not be afraid.

Dear Jesus,
It hurts. So bad. I cannot even breathe. It makes me doubt Your goodness; do You really love me? And then such guilt invades me when I think back on all You have done for me...why do I fear? Why do I doubt?

I know Your pain, I feel it too. Trust Me, for I am good.

Dear Jesus,
Forgive me.

I did. It is finished. You are clean and beautiful in My eyes, always.

Dear Jesus,
Jesus, oh Jesus, my spirit is too full to speak any more empty words, so I cry out Your name, Jesus.

Let Me take you in My arms, Speak to me from the cry of your heart, for I hear your every heartbeat.

Dear Jesus,
You did it again! You answered the crying of my spirit with goodness and joy! Thank You Jesus! You have put a song in my heart and Your praise is on my lips! You are great and good!

Dear Sarah,
I love you.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Sage Sarah

This morning I was greeted with a wonderful surprise; my sage seedlings have finally emerged from their potting soil beds and decided to say "Good morning" to the world!
This might seem like a silly little thing, but I haven't planted anything in awhile and after two weeks of not seeing any signs of life, I was worried. Plus I had forgotten to water them a few days too many, or so I thought. So this morning I was delighted, until I looked at my other project, my container full of potting soil and rosemary seeds.
My first response was akin to Charlie Brown's in "A Charlie Brown's Christmas"
"Agh, I killed it!"
But just to make sure, I looked at the back of the packet. Sage takes 10-15 days to germinate, whereas Rosemary takes 15-25.
I hadn't waited long enough. Dissatisfied with my actions I went the way of blame, the way of not trusting, the way of believing that there was no hope for my seeds or me. What I should of done, what I need to do in every aspect of my life is wait, trust, believe. Wait on the Lord, trust in His goodness, believe in Jesus's love and His total forgiveness of my sins. If I would only wait a little longer, tell doubt and anxiety to get, and stand true in God's word.

Do you know, sage is a symbol for wisdom and rosemary is a symbol for remembrance?

Remember God's goodness, all times and always, for that is wisdom.

Be blessed,

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

No other name

Happy Birthday Dad! I am blessed to celebrate you being born today and so grateful to God for giving me the gift of knowing you!

Every time I think of you I am reminded of not only how wonderful you are to me, but of the great redeeming work that God has done in your life, and subsequently, mine. It brings tears of joy to my eyes and thanksgiving to my heart, to remember all that God has saved you from, and because you accepted Him I too am saved.
You see Dad, whether you meant to or not, your whole life has been a beacon of light to me, pointing me to the loving embrace of our Heavenly Father. Your testimony, your obedience to Father God, even your darkest places from your past, they have all shone with the redemptive love of Jesus, and called earnestly and joyfully to me,
"Come! Come to Jesus! Know Him daughter, His great love and mercy for you, and be free, be saved!"

Thank you Dad for showing me with everything in your life, even your life, that there is no other name by which we can be saved. Oh how good He is, that we should be called children of the Most High. And how kind God is, that on this Earth, I should call you, Dad.

I love you Dad.

Love your Princess Pops,

"And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under Heaven given among men by which we must be saved." 
Acts 4:12

Friday, April 12, 2013

Recently I had a thought. Really, it was God bringing His wisdom into my life, like a light bulb illuminating a dark room. And here's my small revelation.

Last week I had to go somewhere I had never been, so I went onto Google Maps and found directions. I got there fine, the directions perfectly leading me where I needed to go. I didn't even use the map.
A few days later I heard someone trying to give directions, and I thought to myself, "This is so complicated, why don't they just go online and find the directions themselves? That way, it is clear and there is no error."

And then the light bulb went off. I trusted Google Maps to get me where I needed to go, even though I had never driven to this place before. I knew it existed, but I did not know the way. Yet, I trusted this online guidance system without a shadow of a doubt. I don't even know where Google Maps gets their information, and I do know that it can give bad directions sometimes! Even so, I placed all my faith in this thing, to get me where I had to be, safely and in the right time.

Oh how I wish I trusted Father God like that! What would my life look like if I placed all my faith in Jesus? Not just for my eternal salvation; that I have already gladly done. But what if I hoped in Him for all things? The little anxieties of everyday life, the constant worries and the seemingly crushing fears that barrage my heart, mind and soul. What if I trusted Him with my life, here on this Earth? To guide me, to keep me, and to bring me where I am meant to be, when I am meant to be there. What peace, to trust and put all my hope in my wonderful Savior!

May you trust in Him today with every fiber of your being, both physical and spiritual, and see His goodness leading you in every good way.

I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits, and in His Word I put my hope.
Psalm 130:5

Friday, February 15, 2013

Both hands

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. Ephesians 2:8-9

Have any of you ever tried to roller blade with a four year old? A four year old who can't skate, at all? Last Sunday night, I had the great privilege to be helping one of my favorite four year olds skate around the the local roller rink. She had previously been clinging to the wall of the rink, while her Mom patiently shadowed her every movement. I had skates on, and her Mom did not, so I offered to hold my little friend's hands, so she could actually be out on the floor. I was surprised and delighted when she accepted; with me standing behind her, and her small hands clutching a finger from both my hands, we were off. She enjoyed it so much, and was very concentrated on moving her feet back and forth in as close a skating motion as she could. How kids even move in those clunky, plastic skates is beyond me! With the security of me holding her, she was free to practice her skating, even to try and keep up with all the much faster skaters! She trusted that she was perfectly safe from falling, safe from any fear that had kept her glued to the wall. I didn't have this conversation with her, but it was obvious by her relaxed form and big smile every time we passed by her Mom, who was watching happily by the entrance to the rink. It was great fun!
After a few turns around, my back was starting to let me know I was leaning over to skate with a cute munchkin. To save my back, and because she was doing so well, I thought that she might want to try skating side by side, with me holding just one of her hands. The answer to my suggestion was an emphatic shake of the head and the statement,
"Both hands!"
So that is how we stayed, for the rest of the time, and it was worth the back ache, totally.
But it got me thinking afterwards: how like that sweet four year old I am. I am perfectly fine, happy and excited even, to go through life's adventures, as long as I can cling to my heavenly Father's strong hands. To know I am secure and safe from ever falling, from ever failing. But as soon as I don't feel Him, don't sense His touch, as soon as something big and scary comes my way, I find myself shaking my head, calling out, "Both hands, both hands!" 

The thing is, God is always holding me, never tiring from a back ache. When I fall into fear I need to press into Him more, cling to His strong arms, and believe that no matter what, He is holding onto me, and never letting go. I cannot do it on my own; I would still be clinging to the wall or falling flat on my face in my pride. But His grace is enough for me.

Oh, and my little friend's name,