Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Being a Burden Bearer

"A burden shared is a burden halved.
A joy shared is joy doubled."
-Author unknown

If you have a friend going through something difficult and feel lost as to how to care for her, take heart, you are probably doing more than you think.

Below are the five biggest blessings I've received from my burden bearers. These are the lessons I've learned about being a good friend from their example:

1.  Silence.
As a rule: Nothing is okay. What I mean by this is that it is okay to say nothing, because nothing right now in her world is really okay. Silence is wonderful; silence is the path that allows the burden to be transferred. It’s in the silent moments where her heart becomes lighter as yours becomes heavier. Bless your heart, dear friend of the hurting, for placing yourself in that moment. Don't be afraid of the silence. The one hurting knows there is not much to say, but having someone sit in silence {even on the other end of the phone} is truly enough.

2. Saying no.
Say no to hearing all the details – you’re a partial burden bearer – if one person could handle the whole truth, your friend wouldn’t be confiding in you in the first place.

3. Safety
Keep her confidence. Be someone that your friend can share anything with because she knows you won't tell anyone without her permission (with the exception of safety being compromised). But know that if she feels safe, then she won't be guarded; understand that her words may be illogical at times, she may need to vent to gain clarity for herself. Allow her to continue to speak without fear of judgement. Don't allow her to listen to lies; let her ask questions aloud without answering them yourself. And don't jump on the first thing she says that you don't agree with. Being a burden bearer requires trust and a certain amount of bandwidth for your friend to speak her thoughts; she may not agree with everything that comes out of her own mouth at this time, but speaking it aloud will allow her to realize that.

4. Truth.
Speak truth every time you meet. Truth about her worth to God, truth about God's character and truth about the situation. Don't allow her to listen to the lies of the enemy. Speaking truth repeatedly helps the hurting hear God more clearly and silence the lies.

5. Point to God
Finish each meeting well. Pray for her, when you're together, and afterwards. Always point the hurting to depend on God, to look for where He is at work (because He is), and to press in to Him. Point them to scripture. Model trusting the Lord in this time with that particular situation.

Remember that you are a vessel as a burden bearer. And ultimately, you are a partner in God's work. You do this for His glory; He will give you the grace and wisdom you need.

Praise be to the Lord,
to God our Saviour,
who daily bears our burdens.
-Psalm 68:19 

This post is linked to TimeWarp Wife's Titus 2sday Link up too!
This post is linked to WLW's Wednesday Link Up Party. Link up too!


A paper cut does not need stitches, but it still hurts. We have seven layers of skin. The deeper the wound, the longer it will take to heal, and the more care and attention it requires. Perhaps we also have emotional layers that act similar. But we can’t stitch emotional wounds.

If our wounds are left unattended, the healing process will be prolonged or even paralyzed; our hurts can cripple us. The deeper the pain, the higher the potential for prolonged damage. Emotional wounds are incapable of being numbed by an anesthetic, though some try by various means. If our wounds are tended, the pain can increase for a time, before mending. Though it is never quite the same, is it? Deep wounds rarely return to their full, whole beginning; they scar.

Perhaps we fear the scar or the reaction of people when they see our scar.
Perhaps we fear the increased pain that comes with rehabilitation.
Perhaps we fear facing ourselves, knowing the wholeness of our beginning and so knowing what we have lost and may not regain {this side of heaven}.

Fear keeps us from healing.

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

In my unbelief

"He is our deliverer.
He may not deliver you from a situation,
but He'll deliver you in the situation."
- Grant Fishbook


Sometimes I can become so filled with anger and injustice at a situation. In those times, help me remember that you are just and are our deliverer.
Help me believe more strongly that you see all and do hear our prayers. We are not hidden from you. And not only do you see and hear but you care and WILL ACT. Help my unbelief. Remind me to look to the past - for you have revealed your faithfulness.

Fair does not mean equal. You are a just God and I will trust in your judgments for your ways are higher than my ways.


.:.Note to Self.:.

Patience is important.
Always remember that others are on a journey of growth.
Never underestimate what God can and is doing in someone's life.
Be prepared to speak truth...repeatedly.
And be patient.
What makes you feel like a broken record is healing and feeding a soul.

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Well Intentioned

"We judge ourselves
based on our motives
while others judge us
based on our actions."
-Dan Gabor

Sometimes there is a great disconnect from our motives to our actions.
We can be so well intentioned, and still come across hurtful or offensive.
If you've ever been on an overseas mission trip,
you'll know what I mean by that.

Or have you ever been in charge of an
event/lesson plan/etc that completely flopped?
Then you also know what I mean.

Or how about in your home or your marriage?
(Did you just get a knot in your tummy too?)

I know that I can be the most well intentioned person at times,
wanting to fix habits, speak encouragement, clean/tidy that one room, get the to-do list finally done, or go out of my way to do something nice for my spouse...
....but then excuses come and I make other priorities.

Every way of a man is right in his own eyes,
but the Lord weighs the heart.
-Proverbs 21:2

Where your treasure is,
there your heart will be also.
-Matthew 6:21

Yes, the Lord weighs the heart and sees our intentions and motives.
In doing so, He also sees our priorities and where we place our treasure.

Sometimes, having the right motivations can be good enough.
Sometimes, we need to have the follow through as well.

And there is grace for when we don't meet our standards.
There is also grace for when we don't meet God's standards - which is a much more important goal. But let's remember that the disconnect from our words/intentions to our actions/follow through does have an impact on others.

Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.:.

This post is linked up to TimeWarp Wife's Titus 2sday Link up!

Friday, 19 August 2011 mentoring.:.

Speaking the truth to others in love is hard.
It is so important that our words are love-led and not love-less.

Remember that all people are on a journey.
Look for and seize teachable moments.
Recognize that God is working in you and others in the difficult moments.

Our role is often just to help others see where God is working in them,
so as to encourage them and see them grow.

Keep perspective.
Our battles are spiritual. Christ has victory.

Keep focused on God, wait on Him.
Point others to Him in good and bad times.

Encourage those in difficult times to listen to the Lord who is speaking to them and to soften their hearts as part of their response.

Always speak truth.
Remind them of truth so they will hear God more easily and have lies silenced.


Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.:.

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Two Sources

Remember where your strength comes from and you'll remember it will never run empty.

The word "strength" in the above sentence could be substituted with:
forgiveness, grace, love, wisdom, purity, peace, joy, patience or confidence.

I suppose it works on the other extreme too with words like:
anger, lust, bitterness, resentment, folly, fear or dissention.

These characterisitics come from two very different origins,
but both sources are abounding and open to thristy travellers.

Where are you getting filled?

Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.:.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

.:.Spices and Dust.:.

The true character of a woman
doesn't come from whether she is capable or willing to do things,
but rather if she can do those things with joy for the glory of God. dusting off a spice rack. Wouldn't you know that's the dustiest place in my kitchen?
No recognition will come when their tops are wiped down and still I will say,
"Thank you, Lord, for all you provide,
for spices in the food you so graciously supply
and for a family to serve in this home you have given.
You have put a song of joy in my heart!"

Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.:.

This post is linked to WLW's Wednesday Link Up Party. Link up too!

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Bragging on our Creator

I took this picture on my phone during the lightning storm that struck our area a few nights ago.
"How amazing are your works, O Lord" (Ps. 92:5).
How easy this was for you, Lord.

Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.:.

This post is linked up to TimeWarp Wife's Titus 2sday Link up!

Monday, 15 August 2011

.:.Three Strategies to Conflict Management.:.

When a situation arises, I find there are three strategies to conflict management one can choose.

One approach would be to magnify the issue. We can become so focused on the problem, replaying it over and over in our heads, analyzing every angle. This has the very real potential to overwhelm us and makes working through the issue daunting or even paralyzing. It focuses our attention on all the possible affects any action could have, rather than the issue itself. Magnifying the issue can take a toll on our performance in other areas and situations too.

Another option one may choose would be to minimize the problem. This tactic ignores the effects the problem has had on us and others. This buries the issue, which results in buried feelings that surface later in possibly even more intense and harmful ways.

In the moment, I find myself gravitating to one of these strategies, but I’ve discovered, like many before me, that there is a third option. When both of these extremes are held in tension, we are able to focus on the issue with perspective.

We are then able to acknowledge both the affects and effects of the situation. This allows the issue to be dealt with in a healthy way and most likely timely manner as well.

This third option is what I would like to strive for….healthy conflict management. I don’t think I know anyone who likes having conflict with peers, colleagues, friends or family. I know I certainly do not. But when I magnify or minimize the issue, I find that the conflict isn’t resolved well. I’ve learned, or rather, am learning, to address the issue head on, no matter how uncomfortable or messy it is.

In this way, I form healthy habits of reaction behavior in conflict management. These patterns are helpful to me and others, both now and as I journey forward in my life with my career, family and friends.

Let's be seeking habits that are healthy, helpful and honoring.

Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.:.

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

double entendre

The background:
Our church is doing a sports camp this week in the mornings, with the theme Go the Distance... and day one is all about how change can improve our game. Our bible story of the day is from Acts 9, where God meets Saul on the road to Damascus and his life is drastically changed.

The scenario:
My co-leader is leading our first huddle session and asks,
"So what are some things change is good for?"
One of our delightful seven year old boys responds,
"Buying things! Sometimes you need lots of change!"

Oh, the precious mind of a child.

Oh, how true his words are...even in answer to our question.
Yes, dear boy, sometimes you do need a lot of change.
Praise God He provides what we need and works that change in us.

Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.:.

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

.:.Five Produce Tips.:.

My favorite section of the grocery store is definately the produce section because I love all the colors. Just for fun, here are five quick produce tips I have found helpful:

1. If you peel a banana from the bottom, you won't have to pick the little "stringy things" off of it.

2. Take your bananas apart when you get home from the store. If you leave them connected at the stem, they ripen faster.

3. Peppers with 3 bumps on the bottom are sweeter and better for eating raw while peppers with 4 bumps on the bottom are firmer and better for cooking.

4. Add garlic immediately to a recipe if you want a light taste of garlic and at the end of the recipe if you want a stronger taste of garlic.

5. Take the time at the beginning of your week to cut and prepare fresh produce into snack sizes. This tip saves you time later in your week and is more appealing to the snackers in your home... as my friend says, "95% of the deterrant to choosing the healthy eating option is the thought of having to prepare it". If it's already prepared, more fresh produce is consumed, and those daily fruit and vegetable serving recommendations are closer to being met!

Bonus tip (not produce related): Cut your dryer sheets in half to get double your money's worth. Half a sheet is more than enough to do the trick!

Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.:.

This post is linked to TimeWarp Wife's Titus 2sday Link-up.

Monday, 8 August 2011

He walked it first

The most beautiful people we have known are those that
have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss,
and have found their way out of the depths.
These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding
of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern.
Beautiful people do not just happen. –Elizabeth Kubler Ross

Those open wounds and sensitive scars?
The Lord journeyed it before you.

It’s the astounding truth of the cross. Jesus went there first; he journeyed these difficult times and roads before you. That’s why He knows what you’re going through; he went there first because of his love for you to save you from it. He’s beside you now, walking with you through it, knowing He can bring you out of it, because He’s been there before.

Yes, even those darkest places where you feel the most alone.
Yes, even those confusing, inexplicable moments of deepest pain.
Yes, even those unjust times you crave vindication for.
Yes to the moments where you have been abused, abandoned, accused, betrayed, broken, cheated on, cheated from, hurt, lied to, violated and wronged.

He walked it first.
He walks with you now.

Press into Him.
Child, draw near, for your tears He sees and fears He hears.

Difficult times come our way.
Oh Lord, in these seasons, we truly feel like clay.
Help us to know your hands {are guiding}
and to trust the process of walking dry lands {instead of hiding}.

Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.:.

Friday, 5 August 2011


I love this quote by GK Chesterton:

"Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free,
therefore they want things repeated and unchanged.
They always say, "Do it again"; and the grown-up person does it again until he is nearly dead.
But perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony.
It is possible that God says every morning, "Do it again" to the sun; and every evening, "Do it again" to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike;
it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them.
It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy;
for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we.”

I also really like this quote:

"Courage doesn't always roar.
Sometimes courage is the little voice
at the end of the day that says
I'll try again tomorrow."
~ Mary Ann Radmacher

Do it again.
Try again tomorrow.
When breathing is no longer routine; when sitting or standing up is an overwhelming task; whatever you face, you can know that when God says, “Do it again” to getting up in the mornings and facing another day, another hour, He is your strength, weak as you may feel. And rest assured when He asks you, he asks with purpose, though you may question why.
“The Lord is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him.” Psalm 28:7
Finding joy in all circumstances is hard. My heart is heavy. My prayer is Psalm 29:11 which says, “May the Lord give strength to his people! May the Lord bless his people with peace!”
Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.:.

Thursday, 4 August 2011

An apple a day

About eight years ago for an in-class high school writing assignment, our teacher placed a bowl of apples at the front of the classroom and told us to write a poem describing them. After thirty minutes, he asked for a few volunteers to read their compositions aloud. Each one spoke to the vibrant color and amazing aesthetics, even using words like “tempting” and “perfect”. For a bowl of my least favorite green apples, I must admit they did look good. That is, until he turned the bowl around to reveal that the apples had bites taken from them, were browning and had been hacked with a knife in areas.
Things are not always as they appear.
In fact, rarely is a first impression or a quick judgment accurate.
At the time, I wanted to apply this little life lesson to others, believing that it was everyone else with the mask. I wanted to conclude that things aren’t always how they appear in other’s lives. However, the lesson I took away that day was one of deep conviction, hitting a chord deeper than any green apple should strike within me.
I’m the apple, and it’s hard to admit. From the classroom to the office, in my friendships and even in my blogging, I like to present myself as colorful, vibrant and whole. But the truth is I have been wounded. I have dirty patches. I have missing pieces.
I thank God for His patience with me. He is the one that is at work in me to heal, clean and make me whole.
I can be so eager to portray myself as a whole apple so that others are impressed that it causes me to ignore the work God is doing, and his priorities in my life.
"Mark 4 // We are more impressed with the fruit. Not God - He's watching over the roots. We like the product; He emphasizes the process." -James Liira

I am not a lone apple in a bowl. I am intricately connected to the tree that gives life and allows me to keep growing and learning. God is working in my life and speaking to me, even when I may not be so sure. He works and speaks in yours too. Broken and marred as I am, there is more going on than I see, and that is a wonderful thing.
Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.:.

.:.Daily Battles.:.

That voice inside you
that highlights others' successes
to remind you of your own failures?

It's time to ignore it.
A daily battle for a perfectionist.

You are equipped
with the Helmet of Salvation (Eph 6:17)
to take every thought captive (2 Cor. 10:5).

Be patient and gentle with yourself.
Another daily battle for a perfectionist.

Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.:.

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

And who knows?

Do you have core verses that seem to pop up repeatedly the course of your lifetime? Do you have any verses that the Lord speaks to you time and time again? Do you have life passages that guide, comfort or challenge you that you continually reflect on through all seasons?

Here is one of mine: Esther 4:14
“…And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?”

In summary, “Esther becomes a Queen in the harem of King Ahasuerus and is used by God to deliver the Jews from a plot to annihilate them. Esther is a story of courage, faithfulness and victory that points to Christ” (Paul Leavenworth). I love reading the story of Esther for just these reasons.

I find that I often question why I am in certain locations, situations, relationships, etc. But the Lord uses Esther’s story to remind me that He is in control and has orchestrated these things. He is leading me on a journey that even I am unable to dream for myself.

When the Lord opens doors to opportunities, I eagerly accept the new challenge. But once it becomes hard or difficult, I may tend to ask God why He placed me there. And He answers, “…and who knows but that you have come to your position for such a time as this?” He gently reminds me over and over through His scripture that I have influence and resources, and I should seize the present opportunities to speak truth and be a light because it could be the very reason I am there.

And then I hear God chuckle. He smiles at me and says, “Sarah, ‘As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts (Is. 55:9)’. There is more going on than you see.”

I'm learning to see and live the implications of that.

So whether you’re a student, fast food employee, CEO, Mom or a combination of these roles, the Lord is pursuing you. You have influence, and you have opportunity in the time you have been given, even now in your current role(s).

Your relationship with God is precious, as is the time He has given you. What is He speaking to you? What are your core life passages? These passages that repeat themselves in your life are probably related to your gifts and calling. I’d encourage you to take some time to explore this a bit more.

Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.:.

Monday, 1 August 2011

.:.Prince Charming.:.

Disney got it wrong. Don’t misunderstand me, I’m a huge fan of Disney. I’m in my early twenties and still watch the movies from my childhood every once in a while. Alright, I confess, it’s more often than that. In doing so however, I’ve realized that they’ve done the romance world an injustice.
Prince Charming. He is an almost silent character and therein is the oxymoron.
Prince: A status of nobility, honor and respect.
To charm: The power or quality of giving delight or arousing admiration. (Who/what is charm attracting anyways?!)
Looks can be charming, from cottage settings to handsome men; we can’t deny that Disney overflows with men of healthy builds. But charm is also something that falls under rhetoric; an art adopted by many salesmen and salesladies.
“Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain…” Proverbs 21:35
Deceitful: Deliberately misleading others, typically on a habitual basis.
I don’t know about you, but charming, by looks or speech, is not a character trait that defines my ideal man. Nor is charming how I want to be described. Charm is deceitful. Charm is misleading. We are both of us, men and women, co-heirs with Christ, as we are adopted by the King. This gives us the inherited titles of Princes and Princesses. How we live matters. Let’s replace charm with character of integrity.
Integrity: The quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness. Truly, integrity is how a princess and prince should be defined. Perhaps Disney didn't follow this path because “Prince Integrity” just didn’t have a charming ring to it...
Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.:.