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Life is a journey

Birth is a beginning and death a destination

And life is a journey

From childhood to maturity

And youth to age,

From innocence to awareness

And ignorance to knowing,

From foolishness to discretion

And then, perhaps to wisdom,

From weakness to strength

Or strength to weakness,

And often back again.

From health to sickness

And back, we pray, to health again

From offense to forgiveness

From loneliness to love

From joy to gratitude

From pain to compassion

And grief to understanding

From fear to faith

From defeat to defeat to defeat

Until, looking backward or ahead

We see that victory lies not at some high place along the way

But in having made the journey, stage by stage, a sacred pilgrimage

Birth is a beginning

Death a destination

But life is a journey

From birth to death to life everlasting

Author unknown, from the prayer book of the Shiva of my friend.

Baruch, my friends, Baruch

(Blessing, my friends, blessings)

SB

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Who are you and what breaks your heart?

The answer to the question is an important one and is different for every person. Within the answer to this question lies the desires of your heart, and where you can begin to find your purpose.

Who are you and what breaks your heart?

Who are you and what breaks your heart? I first heard this question a few years ago as a challenge from our youth pastor. Along with the other adult sponsors of our youth, I searched deep within myself to answer the question.  The answer to the question is an important one and is different for every person.  Within the answer to this question lies the desires of your heart, and where you can begin to find your purpose.   It took me several days to fully craft my response.  Over the next several years, I returned to the question as well as my answer, sometimes tweaking the verbiage, but never the message.

I am a musician, an engineer, a mentor; my desire is to leave things better than I found them; I am a sister, daughter, wife, mother, aunt, friend.

Suicide breaks my heart; cancer breaks my heart; human trafficking breaks my heart; seeing people make bad life decisions breaks my heart.

I am thankful for the One True and Living God who saved me from myself and, through His Son Jesus Christ, has saved me from my sins.

I am confidently persistent, boldly creative and passionately determined that I may inspire others to live a life that ultimately matters.

I am a believer in Jesus Christ and a firm believer that God has a plan for every one of our lives.   In my young life, I struggled to find that purpose.  Once I found it, I developed a passion to help others find their purpose in life as well.

This blog is a collection of life experiences, probably some past and some present, designed to connect with you on your life journey, to help you ultimately live a life that matters.  My sincerest prayer is that through my words, you are drawn into a deeper relationship with the One who can fulfill your purpose in life.

Blessings,

SB

 

Your Mother’s a Fish…

Our missions trip to NYC a few weeks ago was awesome and colorful. We knew it would be… I have a lot of experiences to write about and have been delayed because life has truly been crazy lately.

There was one particular day during our trip that I was especially silly… you know… the kind of silly where you start laughing and can’t stop… and it’s complete inappropriate to laugh. I started laughing on the subway… during rush hour… when you and 100 of your closest friends are literally smashed face to face with one another. I inadvertently tramped on the foot of the person standing beside me. I felt really bad about it and turned to tell her I was sorry. She made a face at me that literally made me giggle…. and, perhaps being sleep deprived, I may have been a little delirious when I started to giggle… but once I started, I couldn’t stop. I laughed all the way to our stop, and embarrassed my daughter to the point where she scolded me. 😂

When we exited the train and came up the stairs, there was a verbal altercation going on nearby, as another train arrived. A woman was verbally assaulting a man as he calmly walked away from him. She was very upset, yelling wildly at him. I heard her say, “your mother’s a fish!” And I thought I myself how surprising it was she didn’t use stronger language for as angry as she was. Turns out she actually did… but my ears were protected to hear something different. Lol. Our entire group found it hilarious that I heard “fish” when she said something completely different, and this became our mantra for the week! They all got a kick out of telling my daughter that HER mother is a fish!

We’ve since added a few variants like “son of a fish” and “stop fishin”

So the next time you’re frustrated with someone… feel free to spread a little humor and tell them that their mother is a fish.

Be blessed, my friends!

SB

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Craig

…to see the power of God unfold in someone else’s life is truly amazing. The longer I love Jesus, the more I see it..

Recently, my dear friend had an encounter with a young lost soul.. and he responded as Jesus would have… by listening to his story and then pointing him toward Christ.

I don’t know what demons lie in Craig’s life to cause him to be on the place where he is, but I know that God sent someone to him who understands those demons and could care for him as he needed right then and plant a seed to find God when he’s ready.

I am thrilled to see God work in my friends’ life, using him to reach other people. In and of itself, this act of obedience draws my friend closer to God..

God uses imperfect people to reach imperfect people.

God is up to something. He is constantly shaping us and forming us to be more like what He needs us to be in order to fulfill His purpose in our lives.

God is up to something. I’m honored to be a part of it.

Blessings,

SB

Danny… the encourager… with just his guitar and God

Yesterday, our youth pastor and his wife and another youth leader and I brought sixteen of our youth to Orlando, Florida, for the Christian & Missionary Alliance LIFE conference. The conference happens every three years and boasts some of the best Christian speakers. It’s literally a conference for teenagers, and they will sit in a variety of seminars for the next four days

For some, it will be life changing.

This is my third time attending, and every single time I have been blown away to see the power of God at work.

For the 2016 conference, I hadn’t planned on attending because I didn’t want to use my vacation time, but our youth pastor needed some other adult leaders to attend, so I agreed. We drove to that conference, and I rode in the car with my dear friend, Cindy, our youth pastors wife. I was so encouraged by our conversation during the whole trip, and I realized that God had allowed circumstances to be what they were SO THAT I WOULD BE WHERE GOD NEEDED ME TO BE. He does that for us, you know!!?

Well yesterday was no exception. We had a connection on our Southwest flight in Atlanta but didn’t need to exit the plane, which gave us an opportunity to move seats and be closer to each other and the front of the plane. When we did, I took a seat near the front of our group so I could get off first and be in the terminal when thebithees got off, and our pastor sat at the back of our group to bring up the rear. Two of our girls were in the row with me and one girl sat by herself in the row across from me. She seemed to want to be by herself. A few minutes later, our pastors wife joined her so that she wasn’t alone, but she still sat fairly aloof and looked out the window. (I learned later that her husband had encouraged her to move her seat). As the began boarding, someone put a guitar into the overhead compartment above me and took a seat. I didn’t pay much attention after that, but at some point, I saw a man ask Jessie if she minded he took the isle seat next to her (and across from me). He sat. I smiled to myself as I heard her introduce herself to him and, in the process of exchanging pleasantries, explain that we were taking this group of kids to a Christian conference. His eyes lit up and he began to tell her about all of the “God moments” he’d experienced. Turns out he loves Jesus and looks for opportunities to encourage people with Gods love.

He shared with her that he writes poetry and shared one of his poems with her.

As it turned out, he had been sitting in the row in front but a woman with limited mobility came into the plane and he gave his seat up for her to move into Jessie’s row.

I smiled because in my introverted self, I would never have struck up a conversation with him had he sat next to me. But somehow God knew that Jesse needed that mans encouragement at just that moment. Not only that, but He orchestrated every seat change for both Jessie and Danny to make it happen.

By the end of the flight, I could tell that Jessie had been touched by Danny’s spirit, and his poetry. I have no idea how he makes a living but he told Jessie that he felt Gods calling on him was to be an encourager to other people.

As we gathered our belongings to deplane, and he reached for the guitar above me, I said “oh, that’s your guitar!?” He said, “yes. It’s my guitar. My wife didn’t like that guitar when we were first married but I told her that we had spent a lot of time together… just me, and God and that guitar”

Thank you, Danny, for your blessing to Jessie (and consequently me vicariously). May God continue to use you to be an encourager!

If I can get a copy of his poem from Jessie, I’ll share it with you so you can be blessed too!

Blessings,

SB

Blessings…

When we are faithful to God, He is faithful to us.

One of my favorite authors, Mark Batterson, often says, “Work like it depends on you, pray like it depends on God”.   I’ve been praying for some things in my life for a very long time, knowing that God is faithful, but in all honesty, wondering if/how they would ever truly happen.

As I sit here on July 8, my Year of WAIT The Word – naming my year, I can hardly believe all that has happened – and in a relatively short period of time.  I am truly astounded at God’s blessings.   I know that I don’t deserve them for I have failed so many times at so many things.   I was reminded the other night, as I listened to a sermon on the radio, that God doesn’t call perfect people to do things for Him.   HE CALLS IMPERFECT PEOPLE to reach imperfect people.   I am probably one of the most imperfect people out there, and yet I have felt a passion for reaching other people like me to let them know that God can do miraculous things in their lives if they only let Him.

 God is up to something big… and I’m glad to be a part of it.

This week, I will travel to Orlando, Florida with 16 of our youth to take part in a conference in the Christian &Missionary Alliance Church. The conference, which is held every three years, features many of today’s Christian speakers and will have worship and breakout sessions to cover a variety of topics facing our youth today with Biblical perspective.

Three years ago I attended the same conference. I hadn’t really planned on it because I didn’t want to use all of my vacation time at work but our youth pastor needed another chaperone and asked if I could go. I reluctantly agreed turns out God knew that I needed to be there.

There are people who will attend the conference this week that God knows need to be there. I am praying their eyes will be opened to see the power of God work in a powerful way, using imperfect people to reach imperfect people.

Be blessed today, my friends!

SB

NYC missions 2019

One full day of serving in NYC under our belt! Our ministry team left on Sunday morning, after being commissioned during our first service at church. We loaded up three vans and 22 people (and all our luggage) and headed for the city. Four stops later (yes four stops… that’s what happens with 22 people!) we arrived at Living Waters Church in Brooklyn, our home for the week.

We settled in and gave the kids a lesson in riding the subway (mostly in how to work their metro card) and headed off to the Shake Shack near the Occulus. Good thing it was open late! We got back to our dorm around 1 am!

On Monday morning, our group split in two. Half of us went to work at the World Vision warehouse. Works Vision sends supplies around the world to people in need. They are non profit and get their materials from large companies who donate their excess inventory.. companies like Tommy Hilfinger, Costco, Cardinal Health, and others. On the day we were there, we had about five pallets of mixed product from Costco. We broke down the pallets and sorted through the product, put it into other pallets, putting “like” with “like”.

We worked for about four hours on the pallets – unstacking and restacking and wrapping and crushing cardboard. At the end of our time, we had completely transformed the warehouse and got it ready to load the tracker trailer trucks to take the goods to people who needed it.

The cool thing about trips like this… isn’t necessarily just doing what we do… although that’s cool. its being able to spend time with the kids and other adults, learning different perspectives on life. We showed up a little early to the warehouse today and they weren’t quite ready for us, so they sent us to the park across the street to wait until they were ready. During that time, I sat on the bench with one of our young adult leaders and had the coolest conversation about life, and life choices, and the grace of Jesus… the moment when his faith became his own and not his parents.. and these are the moments that remind me of the power of God.

Those who are near me now know that my life is taking a fairly incredible change right now – and I’m in the process of seeing God bring some pretty amazing dreams to fruition – in such a crazy and powerful way that there is absolutely no mistake that He is in it. I promised God two years ago (almost to this exact date) that I was willing to share my story, although I didn’t really think I had one. The one thing that I can tell you all is this… if you’re willing to do what God’s calling you to do, and willing to tell others about His power, He will show up in a powerful way.

I am confident now more than ever that God, in His infinite wisdom, is preparing all of the people in my life to be part of His story, in some form or fashion. I invite you all to join me in this crazy journey….

Blessings to you all,

SB

When someone believes in you…

In my twenties, after graduating from college with a degree in electrical engineering, and working in several companies/positions, I took a position with a company that manufactured networking equipment. About a year in, my manager took another position within the company, leaving his position open. I didn’t think much about it until, at lunch one day, my friend asked if I’d considered applying for it. I went to talk to our director about it; his response was, “what took you so long?” I had never considered myself a leader before, but he shared with me that he believed in me and saw leadership qualities in me. I didn’t actually end up getting that position but the fact that he showed he believed in me motivated me to continue to work my hardest for him.

Over the next twenty years, I have taken on roles of leadership with organizations, and have been blessed to have those who have showed me that they believe in me. Several years ago, our company made some organizational changes and I took on a role in a group where the leader did not show me that he believed in me. To be fair, he didn’t ask for the organizational change, and he didn’t ask for me to be in his group; however, it was clear to me that he accepted me only because he had to and not because he really believed in me. Despite this, I’ve created and cultivated some wonderful relationships and made what I believe to be significant changes in process within that organization. I’ve never fully felt as is I belong, however, and have watched for opportunities to move to a role where I feel I belong. I’ve looked at job openings and even interviewed for a few but just didn’t fine the right role.

A couple of months ago, in an odd set of circumstances, I found myself in a position of being able to choose between two positions – the first in the group I’ve been working for the past 7 years; the second in a different group within our company.   As I went through the interview process and met with my hiring manager, he reviewed my resume and we conversed about my experience – I say “conversed” because it wasn’t like an interview – it was like a conversation.  Immediately, we clicked, and could relate to one another’s professional experience.   I met with others in the group, who unanimously agreed that I was the “perfect” candidate for the position, despite the fact that I couldn’t move into the role for 3 months due to a prior commitment I had made.

Worth the wait…

To know that my new group was so confident that I was perfect for the role –to hear their woots and hollars when they found out I had accepted the position – to see their excitement truly gave me a new lease on life.   To know that someone believes in you is an amazing feeling – and makes you feel invincible.

Truly, before knowing how they felt, I know I would have done my best in any position – because that’s simply who I am.   But to know that they truly believe that I’m the best for that position is undescribable.

… which brings me to my point today… tell someone that you believe in them. It’s possible they’ve been waiting to hear those words for a long time… and it’s possible that it might truly make a difference in their lives.

Be a blessing to someone today. We all need more blessings

SB

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