I can't remember how I found her, another Sara who spells her name right and is the same age as me. It was probably following some link on the (in)courage site. But something she said caught my attention and I hopped over to her blog and began reading. Pretty soon, I found myself coming back every day, eager to learn from a Sara who can see joy even in the midst of pain. When I am stuck in my melancholy and can't seem to find any light, simply going over to her blog and reading what God has been growing in her heart serves to help me take a deep breath and keep putting one foot in front of the other.
The irony of that doesn't escape me. My teacher can't walk anymore. She can't take a deep breath. And yet, that is exactly what her words helped me do each and every time I visited and soaked up her thoughts. And she's flying Home sometime very soon. This past year I noticed changes, like how she moved her bedroom out to her living room. But she explained it all with such joy, such gratitude, such hope, that I ignored the fact that it might mean my teacher was getting sicker. But she was. And all of her words are now written. Until I get to meet her in person on the other side of eternity, her words chronicled on a beautiful blog are my textbook left to guide me.
One of the ways she is still teaching me is illustrated in one of her blog posts from this past January. Since losing our home group leader and admitting that the death of someone other than a grandparent has entered my life, I've been wrestling with a lot of fears. The biggest fear being losing my husband. The idea of living life without him is too much for me, and the fear escalates until the thoughts spiral through my head full of what-ifs. I forget what it feels like to trust that God really plans to keep His promise to never leave me or forsake me. I wonder if I ever have really trusted Him before, if I can trust Him with this most precious part of my life. Then I read what Sara writes.....
"That's when I had to stop and remember something very important.
God gives us what we need when we need it.
Not before. Not after. But during.
Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
There are so many "what if" scenarios that could realistically happen to me. But I can't plan ahead and expect there to be solutions to problems I'm not currently facing. Because God gives us what we need when we need it.
In our time of need.
There has never once been a time in my life when I was faced with a problem that an answer didn't present itself in some form or another. And if God hasn't abandoned me in 37 years, I don't know why I think He would abandon me in the 37 yet to come.
So I'm quitting my chess game before I even learn how to play. I'm going to trust Him. And praise him. And go along for the ride.
I will not let fear have the power.
How about you? Do you trust Him more than your fears?"
Sara has taught me so much. God has used her to begin growing some pretty amazing things inside of me. She speaks and I can listen. I want to hear her heart, knowing that she knows what she's talking about, that she lives it for real each day and doesn't just speak it because it sounds good or wise. I want to be able to come to the end of my life and be able to say like Sara that I trust God with it all too, even my most precious part, even my biggest fears. I'm not there yet. But she's given me a good start and a clear example to follow. And as I make my list of 1,000 Gifts, Sara who can see joy even in the midst of pain is one of my gifts for whom I thank God and find a smile growing alongside the gratitude. I'm going to miss my teacher, but I sure am grateful she has left a beautiful legacy for so many of us.