I’m Calling, can you hear me?

Often there are roller coaster moments for anyone who has made the commitment to serve the Lord with their life. There are times of great fruit, seeing God do amazing things in the lives of those you minister to daily. People can tend to have a false perspective that you are always good, almost forgetting that you too are dealing with life’s issues as well! There are seasons that seem dry, almost as if you are in the desert. Those seasons are difficult for any of us! You find yourself taking each step with eyes focused on the horizon, just waiting for the cooling rain to come and refresh you again.

Coming to Kauai was a huge step of faith in my walk with the Lord. I knew that God had put Kauai on my heart and had confirmed it in several ways. It is important to have assurance of the calling God places on your life. With assurance you will walk even when it is difficult (being a girl in ministry can be difficult, couple that with telling people God was calling me to Hawaii was definitely a major difficulty). One of the largest confirmations was when I found out how great the need was on the North Shore. There were a ton of kids yet no youth groups.

Upon arriving to Kauai I knew I was to reach out to the youth but I really didn’t know what that would look like. When my car came in on the barge, I picked it up and was like, “Ok Lord, what shall I do?” On my way home that day, I saw four kids hitchhiking on the side of the road with their boogie boards. Clearly, they needed a ride to the beach! I felt the Lord prompt my heart to pick them up, so I pulled over and they all got in. I took them to the beach and felt like I was to stay until they were finished and then take them home. It was a bit awkward for me; I was hoping I wasn’t scaring any of them (I really was hoping they didn’t think I was a weirdo)! When they were done I offered them a ride home, they were so stoked!

After dropping them off, I gave them my number and shared that I was there to hang out with youth and that if they needed anything, to just call and I would be available for them. The next morning, these smart boys called me again for another ride to the beach. The phone calls turned into a daily thing and we quickly became friends. They were trekking me all over the Island, showing me all the best spots. Within two weeks of meeting them, God opened the door for me to share Christ with them. They would ask me a hundred questions about the Bible and the Lord. These boys all within a month came to know the Lord and started inviting their friends to hang out. By the end of that summer I was squeezing 13 kids into my little Hyundai hatchback (Hawaii is much more lenient on those issues than the mainland). This birthed the start of the youth group.

Within a couple month of being on Kauai, I started working along side a church who had recently hired a new youth pastor. We were a great team for the Lord and saw God do amazing things. There were some issues that came up about me being a girl leading youth. I really didn’t give them much thought. For me, it was all about being obedient to the calling the Lord had placed on my life. People will always talk and or have their opinions. The only thing that matters is being obedience to the call placed on your life.

Is there a problem with a girl leaders? I won’t say that I too didn’t question it. There was only an issue for me when people tried to put a “title” attached to my name. In my eye, yes I was a girl, just being obedient!There was a need, God saw it and put me there to do something about it. I knew I was exactly where God wanted me! Girls, God can and will use you! It is unfortunate how few guys there are stepping up to the plate to serve. I’m not saying there are not guys,not that God only uses girls when there are no guys…that is not true!! I’m just saying there seems to be less and less guys willing to step up. Why is that?

I really didn’t know what a heated topic this was until we were filming Soul Surfer. Every media interview I did seemed to want to place a title to my name; they wanted to know what I called myself… Really title? I am a servant, I am a Jesus loving, youth leading, Bible teaching, praying without ceasing, seed planter, who is a girl. Yes, I have had churches and people debate weather or not I as a girl should be leading youth. God called me so the issue needs to be taken to Him.

There have definitely been times that this topic has taken a toll on me. There have been times that I have been out right disrespected as a girl. I have been talked down too, ignored, looked at funny, left out and even talked about. I have been weary, discouraged, I have cried tears privately with the Lord. I have questioned giving up and walking away. The one thing that I could not escape from was knowing the calling God placed on my heart. 1 Peter 2:10 say’s, “Therefore, my brothers and sisters, make every effort to confirm your calling and election. For if you do these things, you will never stumble.”

I knew the Lord would fight the battle for me. That might sound easier said than it was living it out. The road was difficult at times and still is. There will always be people and their bias of weather a girl could/should be leading such a ministry. God calls us to go into the harvest…He will use the ones who are willing to go. Everyone else who wants to sit and debate that issue is only wasting precious time!!

The Bible says we are to walk by faith, even when the storm is at hand and the end is afar off. If we say we believe in God, then we must trust Him even when people question us or our ability. We are to trust and walk even when we feel forgotten or even worse, rejected! You see God is not good and faithful only in the smooth seasons. He is faithful all the time.

I have had to trust that the Lord was training up something even in all the talk about me being a girl. I have had to learn to trust the calling the Lord put in my heart years ago, to step out in obedience and serve the youth of Kauai. I had to shut off the lies from the enemy and the world that told me how worthless or a failure. I had to daily look to Christ in order to gain strength to serve Him FAITHFULLY!!!

I have recently been asked more and more about being a girl in ministry. I have felt the Lord challenge me to be a voice on the topic. Not to set clear lines of what girls can or can’t do but to encourage young girls to be obedient when they feel called. Be obedient to the call. Consider the many female leaders in the scripture starting with Miriam (Micah 6:4)—she led during the time of Moses. In the New Testament we find Anna (Luke 2:36) and Philip’s daughters (Acts 21:9) the young prophetesses on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:17) and all the women who prayed and prophesied in Corinth (see 1 Corinthians 11). This is far from being an exhaustive list. God used them because they were willing and obedient.

God is who places the call on our lives. Men and women alike make the choice to respond to that call. We need to make our prayer that God would remove the obstacles in our lives that keep us from absolute obedience to Him. I am a girl, I love Jesus and I love that He chooses to use me to be His hands and feet in this world. If you never step out of the boat, you will never walk on water!

1 Cor. 15:58

Advertisements

Hope in Hopelessness

1Cor.13:13
And now abide faith, hope, love, these three, but the greatest of these is love.

Love, such a powerful word, action and desire. It alone can transcend all wrongs this world could ever know. Universally we all long for love, every human who has breath, needs love to survive. If you have ever traveled to a third world country and spent time in orphanages, you would see the prevalent need children have for love. Since they lack so much of it, they can’t be hugged or held enough!Love,in and of itself, can change even the bleakest of hours. Mentioned three hundred and ten times in the Bible, it is the most powerful message Christ not only displayed at the cross, but commanded us to imitate when He called us to follow Him.

Never did Christ force Himself upon us. Instead, He patiently stands at the door of our hearts knocking, waiting, yearning for us to respond. To allow Him to come in and transform our once hopeless, empty hearts and lives. Hopeless because of a world shattered by sin, hate and hurt. A world deceived by the deceiver himself, stripped of peace and purity. Hundreds of years ago voices rang in unison saying, “We don’t need a Savior, we don’t need Him, we don’t want Him, we make our own choices, we have a better way.” Even today, we mimic those same voices, desiring to silence the voice of Christ. The result is a world gripped with hopelessness.

As believers, we hold fast to the faith of our Lord Jesus. We should see in the midst of hurt and pain that we are never without hope. We can stand firm on the truths of Christ and when given an opportunity to display Him to the world, we should do so. No greater joy or purpose have I found in my own life then when traveling and sharing the hope I have within with others. In doing that, I find the greatest fire, purpose and joy. When sharing tears with the hurting and reminding them their life is not a mistake; and in the midst of a trying time their life is not over.

A couple of weeks ago the US came to the gripping reality that we are not immune to terrorist attacks on our homeland. I watched in horror the tragic events at the Boston Marathon unfolding on my television. My heart immediately broke for the victims and their families. As a believer, all I could think is we have to do something. We have to reach out somehow. I’m on the Board of Friends of Bethany, a non-profit foundation founded by Bethany Hamilton, to reach out to victims of shark attacks, as well as other traumatic amputees. As we became increasingly aware of how many victims lost limbs, we knew we needed to offer Hope in some way. As I shared in my last blog, God made us very aware we were to go there.

As our team, which included Tom Hamilton, Bethany’s dad, Mike Coots, another board member who lost a leg in shark attack, and me, headed to Boston, it was a step of faith for us to go. Since security was very high, no one was being granted access to the victims. We weren’t sure how the doors would open, but we knew we needed to walk forward in complete faith and trust that God would open them.

Upon arrival, we went to every hospital where victims were. We talked to the liaisons of the hospitals sharing about who we were and why we were there. We walked away from those meetings pretty discouraged. Everyone we met at the hospitals were very kind, but they weren’t allowing anyone in; we grew weary, second guessing if we would get in to see anyone. The voices of defeat were on the forefront of our hearts, trying to evoke fear and discouragement. Our hotel faced the same street, on which the bombs exploded, literally steps away for the actual sight. There was such a somber feel all around the area. That coupled with all the media, there was no way to escape the constant reminders of what had happened days earlier. People lacked hope and now, we as believers who came to offer hope, were forgetting to hold fast to that hope. You see we were forgetting that God is the one who opens doors. He is faithful at all times, even in a world who wants to silence Him.

That evening at the hotel I sat in my room praying for the victims and their families. I was praying for God to continue to lead our footsteps as He had lead us all the way to Boston. Then the most amazing thing happened. At 9pm my phone began ringing with calls from doctors and hospital administrators sharing how they were excited we were there and were working on getting us in to see the victims. Then I had family members of victims calling, inviting us to come visit their family members who had lost limbs in the bombing. I was on the phone until midnight with people, yes midnight! God, in those hours put together a schedule to go in and bring His hope to these families. I couldn’t sleep all night. I was blown away yet again by His faithfulness.

The next morning, we found ourselves getting through security and in the ICU waiting room, waiting to see a mother and daughter who were sharing a room together. Both were majorly effected by the bombs. As they were finishing their therapy, the trauma team came in to talk to us. When they heard about who we were and why we came, I saw God begin to use us to minister to the medical team as well. I guess we forget about the heaviness they too are facing seeing all of these people who had lost so much. We were able to give them t-shirts and Soul Surfer DVD’s. They were so full of joy and excitement. They began saying, “Oh you have to see this person, and you have to meet that person.” They started going to other family members on that floor telling them about us. It was unbelievable! People began coming in to see us and talking with us and we were able to give them gifts and Aloha (love) from Hawaii. After hearing our story, they began to realize there is Hope and that they will get through this.

There was a dad who came into the ICU unit and he looked so broken. His daughter had lost her leg and they were fighting to save her other leg. His son-in-law had lost his leg too. In the craziness that transpired after the bombing, they were sent to separate hospitals and hadn’t been together since. As he shared his heart, he began asking us questions and you could see his spirit being renewed. He got silent for a moment and then looked to Tom, his eyes filled with tears and he said, “You know exactly how I am feeling right now.” Tom’s eyes filled with tears as well and he said, “Yes, I do.” At that moment I could remember all the pain I saw in Tom’s eyes while Bethany laid in the hospital. Now God was bring purpose through that pain he had felt years ago. After all he had faced, God had painstakingly prepared him for this very moment. Tom was able to offer the hope he had in Christ to this hurting father. Father to father, tear to tear.

When we entered the room of the mother and daughter, we couldn’t help but hurt for them. The mother had lost both legs in the bombing and the daughter had almost bled to death after shrapnel came close to severing her main artery. The doctors were fighting to save her leg as well. They were familiar with Bethany’s movie and the daughter had really looked up to Bethany’s story. Mike, having lost a limb himself, was able to encourage the mother and shared with her how she can live a full life. This would not keep her down. The mother saw some shell bracelets I was wearing and she lit up. She said, “That’s something I can do. I love shells and have collected them for years. I could make jewelry out of them.” It reminded me of when Bethany had lost her arm and she was wondering what she would do with her life. I remember her telling me one morning in the hospital, “Sarah, maybe I’ll be a pro soccer player, or photographer.” “Maybe,” I replied, “but Bethany, God gave you a gift in your surfing, and just because you lost your arm, doesn’t mean He took that gift away.” You see in the greatest moments of despair, we are never without hope. I took those bracelets off my hand and gave one to that mother and daughter. I told the mother after she makes some of her own jewelry, she could send me something. I wanted her to remember that there was something she could and would do in her future.

We saw that in every footstep we took while in Boston that they were directed by the Lord. The next day, Tom flew home. Mike and I had one more day and we were sure God would open more doors. The night before, I received an email from a young girl who had seen the movie and recognized me. She found my email address and wrote me. She was born without a hand and had looked up to Bethany and me. She asked if there was any way we could meet up. We made plans to meet that next day. Her mom and her met me at Starbucks, and she was so sweet. She had been dealing with a bad infection and the doctors weren’t sure what it was (that’s why she was at the hospital). Her mom shared how she had been very down and discouraged by it. Her mom began crying and said, “I felt like her meeting you was a sign from God that she needed encouragement.” We shared for an hour and I walked away feeling like I was the encouraged one. I thought, “God, if this was what You had for me today, I’m so blessed, but if You have more, please lead us to what You have.

I then received a call from a girl whose sister lost her leg. The sister was extremely depressed and refused to see anyone. Finally she encouraged her to allow us to come to see her. We took a taxi to go see her. Once we cleared security, the guy who was representing the young lady stopped us and said, “No photos,” which we totally understood. We didn’t want to commercialize what they had gone through. When we went in, this sweet lady looked like the weight of the world was on her shoulders. We began sharing with her and after a few moments she saw Mike’s prosthetic and invited us to sit. She began asking him all kinds of questions. You see Mike had lost the same leg in the same place as she had. It was so amazing to see how she opened up. We were able to talk to her for an hour. By the end of the conversation, she was saying she wanted to run the marathon next year. She went from not knowing if she would or could do anything, to seeing and dreaming big. I told her if she runs it, I would run it with her. We invited her to come to Kauai and spend time there to heal. She told us we didn’t have to invite her twice and she would come. As we walked away from that room Mike said, “Sarah, can I hug you.” As we hugged, he said, “I will never be the same, I am forever changed.” Mike was experiencing the hope and purpose he had in being able to share with others through what he had faced.

The great question seems to be, if there is a God then why… ? I don’t have the answer to all the whys! I’ve never had all the why’s answered in my own life. The truth is, when we come through tragedy, heartache and pain, we forever see things differently. For me, I choose to live with a Hope and a purpose. To surrender all to Jesus and see Him use my story as His story to the World. I am humbled and blessed to do so! I have never walked away from the opportunities He has given me, radically changed. He is faithful and sovereign. Just because there is bad in the world, doesn’t mean He is an unloving God. No, quite the opposite. He loves us so much, that he is always available to you and I. There is no certain way to have access to Him, except through Jesus Christ. The beauty of God is, we come to Him just as we are and He is there! His arms are open wide to you and me. I love that!! Just as I am, flaws and all. He makes all things beautiful.

I want to close with this last story. We had shirts made and after going around and passing them out, we had a few left over. On our last day there, they had opened up the street where the bombs had gone off to the public. Mike asked if we should go give the shirts to the police and first responders on the streets. I thought is was a great idea, so we walked down the street giving out shirts and talking with police officers, firemen and swat team members. They were so blessed and honored that we would give them shirts. It was an exchange of thank you’s back and forth. Us thanking them for all they had done and them thanking us for coming to Boston. It was amazing to see so much love and it made me realize this is what the church should be doing. Going out, sharing the love of Christ. Making His voice shout loudly to the World that He is there, He is not dead. He is alive and wants to make us alive in Him.

We had a girl come up to Mike crying, and said, “You’re walking already!” We smiled and had to gently let her down, sharing that Mike did not lose his leg in the bombing. As she learned why we were there, she cried all the more. You see the world can’t grasp that God is so loving and He would prompt the hearts of a few to go the distance and be His hands and feet on the ground. May we all be willing to be out there, and in doing so, we will experience life in its fullness. Thank you to all who prayed and supported us. You made this trip possible. We can’t all go, but we can all have a part. No one part is of more value than the other. Every part is so important to make it all work out.

1Corinthians 15:58
Therefore, my beloved brethren, be stedfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain unto the Lord.
securedownloadsecuredownload-1


Restoring Hope for Boston

I was recently speaking at a conference in Chicago to young girls who had faced some sort of trauma or hardship. No greater joy for me, then to go and encourage young people with the truth of the gospel and the comfort of Christ’s hope. It is a reminder that there is always purpose in pain. A reassuring truth that God uses all things (the good and the bad) for His good and purpose, when we are willing to yield those things to Him.

After sharing with the girls I gave an invitation for anyone who wanted to receive Christ. It was a very emotional moment in the event and I could see that many girls were touched by the days events. As I asked the girls to close there eyes and told them if anyone wanted to receive Christ to raise their hand, a few hands went up. Typically, I would stop it there and lead them in a prayer but I felt strongly that there was a battle going on and that God wasn’t finished moving. I closed my eyes and just started sharing from my heart and told the girls that if they wanted to come forward I would lead them in a prayer.

It is a powerful statement one can physically make to get out of your seat and come publicly to received Christ. Far too often, fear can cripples our feet and we choose to sit comfortably in our chairs. God hears your prayers wherever you call to Him, but if you want to have an effect as a Christian, we must learn to love and live without reservations in our relationship with Him. That starts with a willingness to stand before the world of unknowns and say out loud, I am not ashamed, I am willing to vocally vow to live a changed life in Christ.

As I continued to pray for these girls to come forward, I wasn’t thinking about numbers or the pride one might struggle with, thinking it was by any merit of their own one would respond to the call. Instead, I was pleading before the Lord for victory in their life; I wanted so desperately for them to see that because of Jesus’ miracle that was wrapped in a tragedy, He made a way for them. These girls would no longer need be robbed of the lie that their life didn’t matter. They could be set free by the freeing savior.

When my eyes opened I could no longer speak words, tears streamed my face; I was a witness of the power God has to save. The front of the stage and aisles were crowded with young girls, ready to yield their lives to Christ. Their faces wet with tears that spoke of hurt and pain. Hope had set them free that day, eternal hope, it wiped their tears and reminded them they were bought with a price. Only one could pay the dowry, Jesus!

You would think after an experience like this, I would be smiling for weeks. It wasn’t the case though, I had such a heavy heart and felt weighed down. There wasn’t a specific reason why I felt this way. Life had been pretty normal. A few bumps on the horizon, but nothing major, so why this feeling? I found a scripture that seemed to speak to right where I was at.

“Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me?” Ps.42:5

All I could do is ask myself, why? I was sharing with my friend about how I was feeling (a good thing to do). I said, “I always feel this way right after God does something huge or right before.” I thought because of the amazing things that took place in Chicago, maybe this was just what came with it. I was determined not to let this heaviness get at me. The second part of that scripture says, “Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him for the help of His countenance.”

I began to sense God telling me to hope in Him, keep my eyes on Him, be steadfast in Him, look to Him. Psalm 121:1, “I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from The Lord, who made heaven and earth.” In looking at the cross, it can make light the things of this earth. I clung to His word and just did my best to not focus on the emotions. I began to think that God was preparing me for something, what that was I wasn’t sure.

The Bible says, Col4:2-4 “Devote yourself to prayer, being watchful and thankful. And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should.” I began doing this very thing, praying that if God was preparing a door, that he would prepare my heart as well. It is always worth it if God is in it. In the next week, I was about to be, yet again, blown away by the Lord.

We all know about the heart wrenching events that took place this week at the Boston Marathon. I work with a non profit called Friends of Bethany, created to reach victims of traumatic amputees. We have been praying for door to get scholarships to amputees. On the news I heard that there were ten (possibly more now), who had lost limbs due to the events that transpired. I put out a text to the board and said we had to do something. Never In a million years did any of us expect to see what God must have known all along.

In a matter of a day and a half we went from wanting to do something to clearly seeing God open the doors to bring a team to Boston. We sent out a email to Kauai companies to see if anyone could donate items to bring as gifts. Three suitcases and a large box later, we are still being given an abundance of items to take with us and bless those effected by the bombing. We are in the process of trying to raise $20000 to give to the amputee victims. In a day and a half, we are halfway there. We have had several families who have had a relative effected contact our organization. God has literally gone before us paving the way.

So now we respond, we take the steps of faith needed to go and love like Jesus loved. Be Christ to the hurting and broken world we are living in. I ask you to please cover us in prayer. Mike Coots, who lost his leg to a shark attack, Tom Hamilton, Bethany’s father and myself, will all be heading there this weekend. We ask that you pray God leads us to the people who need it and that we find favor wherever we go. We ask that those hurting can be touched and encouraged. If you would like to donate, you can do so at friendsofbethany.com. All donations will go directly to the victims.

Lastly, I want to encourage you, if you are feeling weighed down, weather you know why or not, look up. God has the ability to help us weather any storm. He is always your strength. Maybe, he is prepping you to be used in a powerful way. I will keep you all posted on what God does while in Boston.

Ps. 121:1-8
I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from The Lord, who made heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot be moved; he who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, He who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.
The Lord is your keeper; The Lord is your shade on your right hand. The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night.
The Lord will keep you from all evil; The Lord will your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forevermore.


The Sovereign Pursuit of the Savior

Proverbs 8:17
I love all who love me. Those who search for me will surely find me.

It’s 2am and the phone rings; not recognizing the number I hit ignore and tried to go back to sleep. A minute later it rings again, I am so tired I think, if it rings a third time, it is really for me.” Hoping with each passing second there isn’t a third call sure enough it rings again. As I pick up the phone, I heard a very worried voice on the line. “Sarah, I don’t know what to do, what should I do?”

I calmly said, “who is this and what is going on?” The student went on to share how they had been partying, one of them had entirely too much to drink and was passed out. The could not get them to wake up. Most, too out of it they didn’t know what to do. The kid who called me had not been to youth group for more than a year. They continued, “I didn’t know who else to call.” I have to say there are no greater words to compliment a youth leader than those! In a sense, it gives a glimpse to what the Lord must feel when we hit bottom and come to Him.

For many of us, we might think this to be a perfect “I told you so,” or a “what were you thinking” moment. Out of fear, we can lack compassion or react in disappointment. As this young person lay in the hospital getting their stomach pumped, the dr. working hard to keep them alive, God brought me to this place of overwhelming mercy and grace. The kids on the table, was actively involved in youth group activities, outings and events. It was a kid I might not have expected to be in this situations (although none of us are above bad choices)!

As I was praying for this student, God pressed Ps. 23 on my heart. Verse 4 say’s, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me.” I couldn’t help but think how amazing these words of comfort are. In the darkness, in the moment of a bad choice the Lord is still with us. He does not leave us. He does not take His eyes off of us, the Bible says, “He upholds us with His righteous right hand. Amazing!

The student was supposed to join our youth group on a trip to a Christian conference coming up. I had left the island for a few days to go speak at an event on the main land. When I returned, I got news that this student had pulled out of the trip. The news weighed so heavy on my heart; I felt like this student had forgotten that God was still with them. That despite what has happened, the Lord still desired a relationship with them. How often do we forget that grace is an unearned, undeserved, freely given gift? We get into that thought process of having to do good to be excepted. We forget that it is already done. We are already “excepted in the Beloved.”

I think of the book of Hosea and the great picture of the restoration God desires to do when we have messed up. So often when we blow it, we feel ashamed and we don’t think that we can come to Christ. Who hasn’t been in that place? In that shame the first thing the enemy says is, “You’re no longer His child, don’t pray, cause He is not listening.” That’s a lie, Satan is always trying to lie and separate you from fellowship with God. God wants you to seek Him, especially when you’re not walking with Him. Seek Him immediately.

In Hosea, God used Gomer (Hosea’s wife), to show us how far His people deviated from the truth. They once walked with God and now they deceived themselves, thinking they could do it on their own apart from God. So often we become self-sufficient instead of Christ dependent.

God told Hosea that he was to take back his harlot wife to himself and restore her. God was using this as a lesson for you and me. No matter what we have done, how bad the sin, or how horrible the consequences are; He did not, does not and will not reject you or me for them. God takes you just as are; He cleanses you, renews you and restores you. God does not remind us of our sins anymore; why should we? If God could forgive everything I have done, then I too need to forgive those who have hurt me.

God’s promise of restoration is in Hosea 2:14-16 “Therefore, behold, I will allure her, I will bring her into the wilderness, And speak comfort to her. I will give her her vineyards from there, And the Valley of Achor as a door of hope; She shall sing there, As in the days of her youth, As in the day when she came up from the land of Egypt. And it shall be, in that day, Says the Lord, That you will call me my Husband; you will no longer call Me master.”

After much prayer, I called this student up and shared with them that even though they messed up they were still welcomed and loved. I said, I didn’t want them to feel guilty or bad over what happened, or feel like they couldn’t come around anymore. I shared that God loves us on our best day and worst day and only the enemy reminds us of what we have done and makes us feel as if we can’t come to God. We can always come to Him. I let this student know that we didn’t wanting to force them to come, but if they wanted to, they were still welcome.

The next day this student called me back and tearfully shared that this was exactly how they had felt. That they still really wanted to come, but thought they couldn’t. They felt so ashamed. After hanging up the phone all I could do was cry. The restoring love of God is so good! It is always available to all who come to Him. His arms are opened wide to each of us. We need to understand that in the Love and Mercy God has given us, there are going to be times of trial. We are going to go through the valleys, but even through the valley, I will fear no evil, for You are with me.

You might be reading this today and you yourself have been going here or there to find fulfillment, but have come up empty. God is calling you to wake up and to run back to His open arms! He loves you and His love will not reject you.


Why God??

Many people have asked, “where was God during the Connecticut shootings?” Luke 2 tells us, when Mary was ready to give birth to Jesus, there was no room in the Inn. Even today people do not have room for Jesus in their hearts and lives, there’s no room for Him in our schools, often in our communities and work places, nor in our country!
When a society becomes so anti God, this is what tends to be the result. We have seen the depravity of man at its finest through this pointless massacre. This, leaves us all feeling uneasy and asking, why?
You cannot deny Christ in a society and then blame the very God you deny, when bad happens! Bad, is a result of sin; we are all born with a sin nature. When you couple that sin nature with a society that wants to live and do how it pleases, wanting nothing to do with what God set in place, you get this!
The Bible says, “all have made bad choices, and because of those bad choices, the result is death”. Jesus came with a free gift for you and I, and in receiving Him (the simplicity of the gospel… just receive Him) we receive eternal life!
Jesus, coming to the earth was His way of making a path for sinful men to come boldly to His Throne, there, we can receive grace and mercy in our time of need.
Gods grace and Mercy is available to all. That will be the only thing that will sustain our nation, while hope might seem lost.
I was so touched to see one father, who lost his 6year old daughter, stand firm on his faith in God. Where was God? He has there, sustaining His son, through the death of his daughter. One day, this father and daughter will be together again in heaven.
Thank you Jesus for making a way for us! Thank you, for the cross and thank you, for loving people so much that you refuse to leave us stagnate. Lord, bring Good out if this evil. May we as a society, see just how truly great our need is for You.
Merry Christmas all


Take the Time

Take the Time

•You can turn around and walk away. Tell yourself there’s nothing here to see. Try so hard to look the other way. As if you hadn’t noticed anything. You do it to the least of these, You do it to Me. You’ve got to take the time. You got to take the time. Shadow is a voice of no concern; running through the bridges that we burn. You can’t even feel your lonely marks. So how can you pretend to lead the blind? You do it to the least of these, You do it to Me. You got to take the time. You got to take the time. I’m the hungry and the weak, Can you even see me? I’m the stranger all alone, won’t you welcome me home? I’m the naked and the shame, Won’t you look my way? You got to take the time. You got to take the time!
Song by:
Mercy Me

The more I think about going on a missions trip, I can’t help but feel convicted by the lack of mission in my own home. As I shared these feelings with a friend they shared, “But Sarah, you are doing it all the time by serving the youth.” This might be true in some way, but the reality in my heart is that this is an easy place to do it. I am passionate about the youth. I have served so long that it has become easy.

Christianity is not meant to be easy. I have been on a journey in the past four months, taking a new Bible and going on a journey with it, through my old one. I have been rereading all that I have highlighted through the 11 years of ministry on Kauai. The moments God spoke to me in His still small voice. The times He has hugged me in a moment of fear, held me in the times of pain or frustration. The times He carried me when I had nothing left to give or no strength to keep walking. The whispers of encouragement in the moments of defeat or failure. The smiles He shared with me in the reminders that He loved me. The silent tears cried, that He placed in a bottle, not missing one of them. The strength we shared as He walked with me through the darkest hours. The healing He brought me by His Grace, that enabled me to love like He did; giving me the ability to love the one who I once thought was unlovable. The reminders that not one step I took was in vain, even when I watched so many walk away. The constant pursuing me, when I wanted to be left alone. The challenges to run harder and long, telling me that giving up was not an option. Him calling me to new steps of faith, even when I could not see how it was possible. The never ending forgiveness when pride got the best of me. The reminder that I could always come boldly to receive His great grace and mercy at His thrown.

All of these moment have had so many emotions but the one thing that none of them were, was easy. As I took this journey I found myself missing all the firsts that ministry had. The unchartered waters that had never been walked. The total dependency on God for every step. The excitement of seeing Him do new things. Seeing the fire flamed; that contagious excitement of the Lord doing new things.

I am not saying that I do not continue to see Him working, He is, He daily blows me away! What I am saying is that I miss the steps of faith in reaching the lost (not just youth) on Kauai. I can think of several people that the Lord has placed in my path that need His truth, His love. Yet in some way shape or form, I have turned and walked away from those opportunities. I don’t want to go serve those in Mexico only, I want to step up and step out in the community and be a loud voice for the Lord. He wants to use us, He waits for us to be willing to step out of easy Christianity, to see Him do above and beyond what we thought He could do, by His power working in and through us.

Last month I was in New Jersey speaking at a girls conference. I love traveling and sharing Christ with others, but I love the stories I walk away with. The last story was from a 16 year old named Christina. Her life has never been easy, she was born with a tumor growing out of her face from her nose. She has spent her life having surgery after surgery, hiding in a sense from the world that often can be so mean. As she has gown in the past year in her relationship with Jesus, she found strength in Him. She no longer wanted to hide from the world, but became passionate about reaching the lost in her community (none to be the city with the highest crime rate in the US). So she took the step of faith to put on the first ever girls outreach in her community. There were over 300 girls in attendance. After sharing with these inner city girls I gave an invitation to receive Christ. I would say about 40% of the girls that were there gave their heart to Christ. I heard story after story of tragedy and pain these girls had faced. I had several of them cry in my arms just needing a hug. I can’t help but smile when I think of their sweet moments of firsts they are about to have with Christ.

I am so thankful for the Christina’s who are willing to step out and not afraid of the unknown. Christianity my friends is not meant to be easy. When we are walking in Christ, we will always be blown away by the fruit those difficult steps often produce!

If you are like me, and find yourself in a routine that has become easy, I challenge you to step out again and ask God to use you in new ways. It will be a challenge, but it will be a reward too! Please pray for the group of 28 that will be in Mexico with me, pray that God will challenge them as He has me.


Lost Limbs, but Not Hope!

       I recently was invited to come in Tunica Mississippi. It’s always a pleasure to travel and meet new people while exhorting them through God’s Word.  I am blessed to see the doors God has opened for me through Soul Surfer and also, through the ministry He has allowed me to be a part of here on Kauai. As I travel, I have made lasting friendships and have been touched by so many people as they share their stories with me.

        Every trip I take, I look forward to seeing what God is going to do and how He is going to use me.  Often I hear stories of tragedy and pain; people looking for a word of hope to keep them going.  Sometimes they need a hug or someone to pray with them.  Often I am brought to tears by the stories of the pain that is out there!  I am always blessed to share the hope we have in Christ and remind people of a promise often forgotten in the storm: Romans 8:37,Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.” God’s Word is the truth that will get us through our darkest hour.

        Mississippi was a bit different from all the other places I have gone; probably because it hit very close to home for me.  While there, I met an incredible young lady by the name of Madysen Acey.  Madysen, who is now almost thirteen, became a double amputee at the age of ten.  In one day she went from being a young girl full of innocence and wonder, to fighting for her life.

        While out with her friend Betsy, they found themselves playing on top of a cotton picker  (a very large tractor).  Madysen lost her footing and to avoid falling she grabbed onto a live electrical wire that was hanging low due to a storm that came through days earlier.  She remembered people telling her to not look down and she couldn’t understand why.  She said all she could see was black stuff on her arms.  She shared how everything after that was pretty much a blur.  Her friend Betsy told me that it was like flames shooting through her hands.

        By the time she got to the hospital and went into surgery, they had to remove one of her arms at the shoulder.  As she was fighting for her life, doctors fought to save her other arm.  Within four days her and her mom received the dreaded news.  In order for Madysen to survive, they would have to amputate her other arm.  After numerous surgeries and skin grafts, Madysen’s attitude, like Bethany’s, seemed to bring so much hope to others.  When talking about all who had helped to save her life, she said, “God put them there to save me because he has a plan for my life here on earth. He’s not finished with me yet. This may be a set back in life but thank God for life!!”

         There is such beauty in knowing and trusting God in the darkest hour of life.  I love how Jeremiah 33:3 puts it, “Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.”  Bethany’s story and faith had played a role in Madysen’s life and it helped her to remember that God was not done with her.  He has a plan in this, as He did with Bethany.  Only He knows what the plan is, but as we seek Him, His peace will be upon us.  That peace is what came upon Madysen, helping her to cope with losing her arms.

           As I sat and talked with Madysen and her mom, Bethann, I was touched by their zeal for life and making it all work!  I saw Madysen laugh, play and wrestle with one of the neighborhood kids; her joy is moving.  Her mom has such a servant’s heart and it was extremely humbling to see.  She has sacrificially given so much for her family and does it all with a smile.  Her love didn’t stop in her home; she helped to put together the community outreach I spoke at.  Her hope is to share God’s truth with the lost.  They are living out their faith and looking to reach out to others while doing so.

        God knows what He is doing; He knew that through Bethany losing her arm to a shark, that a young girl would look to her to draw strength in her own storm.  He loves us so much; if we would only see that.  So often we hold out our arm in a sense to block that love from moving toward us in difficulties, and because we do not understand, we run away.  Jesus said, “Come to me all you who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest.”  When we allow ourselves to rest in Him, His peace will be upon us.  He is never far from those in need.  He is always ready to lift us up and help us see.

          I look forward to sharing Madysen’s story with others and I look forward to seeing what God is going to do with this young thirteen year old to bring glory to His name as he as with Bethany.  Today if you need encouragement and a spiritual hug, look to Jesus.  Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. 2Corinthians 1:3-5

 

Click here for more information on Madysen Acey,
href=”https://sarahrachelhill.files.wordpress.com/2012/07/securedownload.jpeg”>Image