His gracious presence

   *Not long ago a young woman at a retreat told a long tale of how she had come to know the Lord, had rebelled against Him and gone far afield, had been brought back, rebelled again, and then in mercy and grace the Lord had forgiven her, given her a Christian husband and happiness.  He was a highway patrolman, and one day, attending a traffic accident, he was struck by a passing car and critically injured.  Gwenn herself was in bed at the time, with a threatened miscarriage.  Three days later he died.  That same afternoon her father died, and in six more days she lost her baby.  She told her story quietly, without tears, although nearly everyone else was weeping.  She finished by saying that she found, by her husband’s deathbed, what she had sought for so long—the gracious presence of Christ Himself.
   In a letter to me she wrote:

    About a week after the retreat my phone rang.  It was the wife of the man who hit my husband.  She said she had to call because her sister-in-law had just called her, having come home from a Bible study where a woman shared some of what I said that morning at the retreat.  She literally pleaded with me, if ever the inclination were there, to somehow communicate to her husband the things I had said, because he is so guilt ridden and unable to forgive himself.  When I hung up the phone, I was shaking and ran in and fell beside my bed and cried my heart out, knowing, I guess, that such a thing can only be accomplished by God within me--for it's like being stretched far beyond who I am.  To hold onto my pain, despising its source, is far easier because it's far more natural.  But as a friend said, my forgiving him and expressing that forgiveness directly via a letter or visit could very possibly hold the key, the only key, that can release him from his prison. . . . And it just very well could be the one area I have not dealt with that could result in the completion of healing within me.  My friend pointed out that, as a child of God, I really have no choice.  The nagging question, "Why, God, is it required of me to forgive so much?" needs not be answered. . . . Praise God for His amazing grace that takes us where we never thought we could go!

 * excerpt taken from "Discipline: The Glad Surrender" by Elisabeth Elliot, pages 150-151


Discipline: The Glad Surrender

Over the past month I've been reading "Discipline: The Glad Surrender" by Elisabeth Elliot.  As is probably obvious from how much I rave, I love Elisabeth Elliot--her bluntness, her example, etc.  I have a hard time with some of her books, though, because they kind of seem to blend together in my mind.  However, this book is just what its title suggests--it's all about discipline.  Discipline of the life, the mind, the body, the time, etc.  I have found it to be very helpful and informative.  Another thing I like about Elliot is that I find a lot of practical applications in her books, and there's a lot of practical application to be found in this book.

I wanted to share an excerpt that I enjoyed from this book.  It's about worry:

Frustration is not the will of God.  Of that we can be quite certain.  There is time to do anything and everything that God wants us to do. Obedience fits smoothly into His given framework.  One thing that most certainly will not fit into it is worry.  Here are six reasons why:

   1. Worry is totally fruitless.  Have you ever succeeded in adding an inch where you wanted it, or subtracting one where you didn’t want it, merely by being anxious?  If you can’t accomplish that by worrying, what can you accomplish?
   2. Worry is worse than fruitless: it is disobedience.  Note these commands:

   Fret not.
   Fear not.
   Let not your hearts be troubled.
   Be not dismayed.
   Be of good cheer.

   3. Worry is taking the not-given—for example, tomorrow.   Tomorrow is not ours to worry about.  We are allowed to plan for tomorrow, but we are not allowed to worry about it.  Today’s troubles are enough of a burden.  Jesus knew exactly what He was talking about when He said that.
   4. Worry is refusing the given.  Today’s care, not tomorrow’s, is the responsibility given to us, apportioned in the wisdom of God. Often we neglect the thing assigned for the moment because we are preoccupied with something that is not our business just now.  How easy it is to give only half our attention to someone who needs us—friend, husband, or little child—because the other half is focused on a future worry.
   5. Worry is the antithesis of trust.  You simply cannot do both.  They are mutually exclusive.
   6. Worry is a wicked squandering of time (as well as energy).

-- Elisabeth Elliot

 All that to say, I would recommend that you find this book and read it!  I hope you enjoyed this review. :)


nearer to Thee

I posted this song last week, and today I finally got around to actually looking up a lyrical version of the song.  I found this one, and I just love it, so I wanted to share it here.

Nearer my God, to Thee, nearer to Thee!
E'en though it be a cross that raiseth me.

There let the way appear, steps unto heav'n.
all that Thou sendest me, in mercy given.

Still all my song shall be
Nearer, my God, to Thee!
Nearer, my God, to Thee
Nearer to Thee.

Though like the wanderer, the sun gone down,
Darkness be over me, my rest a stone.

Angels to beckon me
Nearer, my God, to Thee!
Nearer, my God, to Thee,
Nearer to Thee.

Or if, on joyful wing cleaving the sky,
Sun, moon, and stars forgot, upward I fly!
-- Sarah F. Adams



I wanted to make a kind of random post today about fun stuff that's happened.  For starters, my aunt and uncle came to visit today.  They came to church, and then over for lunch.  It was so great to see them!

This is my aunt's wedding ring.  I took this picture at my cousin's wedding last September.  I just really like it.

I also got a rose today!  At our Walmart, if you donate your change to breast cancer awareness you get a free rose.  Isn't it lovely?

Check out this website.  It's a 24/7 stream of piano and rain together.  I think it's so relaxing.

Funny moment with Chloe today: My mom got a new phone, and on it is an app that you can talk to.  You ask questions, she answers, etc.  Her name is Siri.  So today Chloe was talking to her (she loves to just have conversations with the phone) and after a while she said, in her sincerest tone, "Siri, you're one of my bestest friends.  Not just because you're nice, but because your heart is working and beating fast."  Then she started singing a song completely in gibberish to try and see if the phone could keep up."

Have a great rest of your Sunday!


Everyday's Thanksgiving, Part #34

I'm thankful for:

0661. my own cell phone!  I love my phone, even if I don't often have opportunity to use it.  I hardly ever have to charge it, either; it's been at two bars for about three days now.

0662. how even Chloe encourages me to witness to people

0663. and how she talks about Daddy's sermons.  It's amazing how much she remembers.

0664. this music video.  I love the creativity of this band, Walk Off the Earth.

0665. it's been so nice and warm here lately

0666. my second exam in my math class was a take-home!  Hurray!

0667. meeting awesome Christian people at the most random places

0668. walking to the mailbox with Chloe

0669. that my best friend hasn't spoken to me for a few days because she's getting to spend some time with her sister. :)

0670. "Discipline: The Glad Surrender" by Elisabeth Elliot.

0671. my beta fish, Titus

0672. how my Compassion child, Djamsel, writes to me and calls me "mama Sarah". :D

0673. prayer meetings at my church

0674. getting caught up on math homework (I was SO behind!)

0675. homeschool conventions

0676. Tylenol

0677. unique ways to reach out to people

0678. green clothes for St. Patrick's day

0679. I like coffee now! (although it's kind of pointless since caffeine doesn't do anything for me, but it still tastes good)

0680. the World War II era


going to the park

I wanted to do another post on some other stuff that I got to do over the course of my spring break last week.  For starters, it was so nice to just have a break from school.  It was so relaxing, and I was able to get ahead in some of my homework.

I posted about when we went to Santa Fe, and that night my dad took me, Rachel, and Ellie to see John Carter at the movies.  I loved the movie; I thought it was awesome.  I can't wait to see it again!  We also went to Coldstone Creamery beforehand.  I'd never been there before, and it was delicious!

On Wednesday Ellie, Chloe, and I went to the park, and on Thursday I went to see Act of Valor while Rachel and Ellie went shopping.  This was a great movie too; I actually cried, but I think it was because I wasn't with anyone I knew and wasn't really holding my emotions in check. :) After that we went shopping, and on Friday Rachel, Ellie, and I went out to breakfast at a local restaurant.  Saturday we stayed home, and then on Sunday after church Rachel, Ellie, Chloe, and I went to see The Lorax because some people were having a meeting at our house.  I liked this movie too; it was really cute and funny.

I took some pictures on my cell phone (I got my own cell phone this week!!!) of when we went to the park, so I wanted to put them on here.  We just went to the playground of the school where I attended third grade; it's the last school I went to before being homeschooled.  It was weird how much I remembered about the playground!  Anyway, I hope you enjoy the pictures. :)

There's my cell phone!!! :)

My Tarzans. :)


Everyday's Thanksgiving, Part #33

I'm thankful for:

0641. a fantastically relaxing spring break.  It's been awesome.

0642. spring is here!

0643. mending clothes

0645. and specifically, this incredible song covered by them

0646.a biography of Oswald Chambers

0647. meeting great customers at work

0648. being able to go outside more often in the fresh air now that it's warmer

0649. St. Patrick's Day!

0650. filling up notebooks with notes from sermons

0651. having been given the opportunity to play guitar

0652. being able to write to my Compassion child

0653. going to see movies with my family

0654. Coldstone Creamery

0655. cool new restaurants to try out

0656. playgrounds

0657. getting ahead in my schoolwork over spring break

0658. a new cell phone!

0659. Chloe starting soccer in a few weeks

0660. cleats

* photos from weheartit.com


spring break!

This week Rachel and I are on spring break.  It's been great!  I've never really had a spring break (an official one), so it's pretty awesome.  Yesterday we all went to Santa Fe Plaza.  It's kind of like this huge outdoor market with a bunch of neat restaurants and stores nearby and outdoor musicians.  We had a great time wandering around and exploring.

* credit for all the photos goes to Rachel.  Remember, if you want to see them bigger, just click on them!

We ate lunch at The Shed.

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