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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

 

I will look up

I will look up

Our students led worship at our church today. One of the songs they picked is this one. As I listen to it and read the lyrics, I realize it speaks directly to me in my present circumstances. I offer this prayer to Him:

All the worries of this world
I will lay them at Your feet
Surrender every anxious thought
For perfect peace, Your perfect peace

Lord, there are so many worries in the world… financial worries, health worries, relational worries, and more. The worries range from large scale worries that affect countries and governments to personal worries that affect each one of us. Anxiety runs rampant in a world devoid of Your peace. Help me to lay all of these worries at your feet, completely surrendering them to Your will. You know just what we need, Lord. Fill is with Your peace… the peace that passes understanding..

All the loved ones I hold dear
All my hopes and dreams and all my fears
I will choose to trust Your name
In everything, with everything

Lord, I think about those in my circle. I know some of their needs but not all. You know them all. You also know our hopes and dreams… and have given us dreams to pursue. I CHOOSE to trust that every good and perfect gift comes from You. I CHOOSE to trust You with every single thing in my life… my loved ones, my dreams, my finances, my relationships, my health and all of those things for all those in my circle. Everything is Yours.

I will look up for there is none above You
I will bow down to tell You that I need You
Jesus Lord of all, Jesus Lord of all

There is literally no one above God… I will stare in His direction, humbly bowing to acknowledge that I am completely unable to do these things on my own… I need His love and forgiveness… I need His grace, I need His wisdom… I need His power. I make Him Lord of my life…. seeking Him first above all else in my life.

I will take You at Your word
For Jesus, You have taken hold of me

All my life is in Your hands
You are my strength, You are my strength

Gods Word is full of promise, full of wisdom that He’s given us to learn to trust Him. Jesus has taken ahold of my life. I’ve been bought with a price, and give all I am an all I have to Him. My life is in His hands and I am completely weak apart from Him. May I not rely on my own strength and knowledge to do anything but acknowledge I am nothing apart from Him.

I will look up for there is none above You
I will bow down to tell You that I need You
Jesus Lord of all

I will look back and see that You are faithful
I look ahead believing You are able
Jesus Lord of all, Jesus Lord of allThe Lord, the Lord of all

I can look back over my life, Lord, and see where You have provided, even when I wasn’t being obedient to You. For some reason, You’ve called me to this place right now, and put certain people and circumstances in my life to bless and be blessed by. Because I know You’ve provided for me in the past, I know You are able to bring me through present circumstances… You alone are able.

Prince of Peace, Perfect Healer
All my life, all my cares on You
King of Kings, Mighty Savior
All my life, all my cares on You
Prince of Peace, Perfect Healer
All my life, all my cares on You
King of Kings, Mighty Savior
All my life, all my cares on You
all my cares are on You

Lord, You are the perfect Healer. You alone understand medically what’s happening in the bodies of those close to me who are struggling. You alone can heal. I ask You to put my cares on You. Bring healing to those who need it, to relationships that are broken, to lives that need rebuilt.

I will look up for there is none above You
I will bow down to tell You that I need You
Jesus Lord of all

I will look back and see that You are faithful
I’ll look ahead believing You are able
Jesus Lord of all, You’re Jesus Lord of all
Our God is Jesus Lord of all, You’re Jesus Lord of all

Lord, hear me as I pray. All I am is Yours. I wait expecting You to show up in a powerful way so that others may see Your glory. In You I rest…

Amen

Out of my control

Mark Batterson has become one of my very favorite author’s.  Since reading his book, “In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day”, I was hooked on his motivation and his message – to pursue our God-given dreams, especially if they terrify us.  One of his mantra’s is to allow God the opportunity to show up in our lives in spectacular ways…  and having a close enough relationship to Him that we have faith that He will.

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Over the past four months, situations have unfolded in my life to put me in a situation which I can not control at all. I am completely out of my element to offer any medical advice to those caring for Rob right now…. and even more out of my element to personally understand and help him address his addiction, if he’s given the chance through physical healing in his present circumstances. I am completely out of my element facing financial decisions with regard to our studio, should his present circumstances continue.

I asked my husband last night if he thought those following Moses, as he led the Israelites out of Egypt, ever doubted his leadership… and whether Moses himself ever doubted God’s calling, especially as they approached the Red Sea with soldiers fast on their heels. I wondered if, when Moses realized that God was literally parting the sea to make a way for them to cross, he may have thought to himself, “holy crap! Who would have ever guessed that God would answer our prayers like this!”

In my humanness, I am admittedly terrified. I am so very grateful for the relationship that I have with Jesus, though, that tells me that He will make a way for His will to be done.

I’m writing honestly, from my gut. I will tell you that I have moments of terror amidst moments of faith. I can’t see how God will provide… and yet I’m confident He will. After all, what He’s done in my life and the lives of those around me in the past fourteen months has been amazing. He has already provided so much more than I could have ever imagined…..

I will look up for there is none above you.

I look ahead believing You are able.

Jesus, I love you and am trusting You with all my heart! ❤️

Blessings,

SB

Signs

36 Then Gideon said to God, “If You will deliver Israel [a]through me, as You have spoken, 37 behold, I will put a fleece of wool on the threshing floor. If there is dew on the fleece only, and it is dry on all the ground, then I will know that You will deliver Israel [b]through me, as You have spoken.” 38 And it was so. When he arose early the next morning and squeezed the fleece, he drained the dew from the fleece, a bowl full of water. 39 Then Gideon said to God, “Do not let Your anger burn against me that I may speak once more; please let me make a test once more with the fleece, let it now be dry only on the fleece, and let there be dew on all the ground.”40 God did so that night; for it was dry only on the fleece, and dew was on all the ground.

Over the past decade or so, as I’ve worked to get my life really right with God, Ive asked Him to show me signs that I’m on the “right” path… signs that I’m doing what He wants me to.

The first time I recall asking was when I realized that perhaps teaching music was part of God’s plan for my studio/coffee shop idea, which I felt was an idea planted by God. Oddly enough, as i periodically sketched out ideas about a “coffee shop”, I was focused on coffee and music venue, but had not really considered lessons. I began teaching lessons as a side gig in 2012 when my husband was hurt and off work for an extended period of time. It was a way for us to make enough extra money to pay for our own kids’ music lessons. I had been teaching a couple students just on Monday nights when I had the aha moment that perhaps this was part of the plan all along. I prayed and asked God that, if it was indeed part of His plan, that He would provide students.

Within a relatively short period of time, my students brought referrals to me and my home studio exploded into 27 students. At first, I was only teaching on Mondays… then I said I’d open up Tuesdays… and now I’m literally teaching 5 days a week in addition to my full time job .

I always viewed asking God for a sign as a sign of weak faith until my pastor friend showed me this passage.

Over the past four months, as I look back at this baby business trying to get off the ground, facing Rob’s health issues and a host of relationships challenges, I find myself asking for signs once again. I can almost not count the number of different types of signs I believe I’ve received this week alone… from lesson referrals, to chance meetings with artists, and a somewhat random connection to a couple of old friends of Robs, with whom I will have lunch today.

I am confident of this… that He is in control and using me for a purpose that I cannot fully comprehend… to reach people for Him. I pray that He will find me faithful to His purpose.

I know how I would like all of this to turn out… and I’ve made my request known to Him. My desire is that God would heal Robs body and mind and use him to tell his story to reach people who need to know the transforming power of Jesus. But I know that He has a more Divine purpose, and I am at complete peace that, even if He doesn’t answer my prayer the way I want Him to, that He will use our present circumstances to bring glory to His name.

I am waiting expectantly to see Him shine!

Be blessed today, my friends

SB

God knows what we need…

My Bible study yesterday….

James 1-2

1:1 James, a servant [1] of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ,

Greeting

To the twelve tribes in the Dispersion:

Greetings.

Testing of Your Faith

2 Count it all joy, my brothers, [2] when you meet trials of various kinds, 3 for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. 4 And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. 6 But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. 7 For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; 8 he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.

9 Let the lowly brother boast in his exaltation, 10 and the rich in his humiliation, because like a flower of the grass [3] he will pass away. 11 For the sun rises with its scorching heat and withers the grass; its flower falls, and its beauty perishes. So also will the rich man fade away in the midst of his pursuits.

12 Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. 13 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. 14 But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. 15 Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.

16 Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers. 17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. [4] 18 Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.

God is awesome… to give me this passage as I face trials… I am trusting him, not only with regard to my friend Rob’s health, but with the studio that He very clearly organized. God is good. All the time.

Be blessed

SB

Release and surrender

Two days ago, I was processing my emotional state in present circumstances . I knew in my head that I had to surrender my feelings to God but I was having a hard time. I prayed and asked God to help me to surrender my full trust to Him

Over the course of the morning, I felt a release of my emotions, and a calm peace came over me. I recognized the feeling from a time, many years ago, when I was able to finally realease my present circumstances over to God and truly say (and believe!) “not MY will, Lord, but YOURS”.

My will is that God would either heal Rob instantly or take him home. They seem like the only choices…. but I am reminded that Gods ways are not our ways.

Sometimes I think God’s simply waiting for US to be ready for His answer. He’s waiting for us to align our hearts with His. That’s when He can really use us and that’s when he can really bless us

I’m reminded of the first time I experienced this. In my early twenties, working my first “real” job out of college, I decided I hated it. Long story, but I didn’t like the boss or the work or the people I worked with. As a female with a degree in electrical engineering, I assumed it would be easy to find a job. After three or four months, I still hadn’t and was getting frustrated. I remember vividly going to lunch by myself on a Monday, wrestling with God over why He wouldn’t answer my prayer, when I suddenly thought He might have a reason for me to stay… perhaps someone in the company needed to meet Him and I’d be the conduit. In a moment of humbleness, I surrendered my will to His and accepted, with the peace that comes from full surrender, whatever He has planned. Exactly four days later, I was on a sales call with a small company, meeting with the director of operations, who mentioned they were looking to hire engineers. I gave him my resume, he interviewed me right there, and offered me a job on the spot. I went to work the next day to give my two weeks notice and my boss said, “nope. You’re done today”. I started my new job exactly one week after I had fully surrendered my will to His.

As I sat there thinking about the past 14 months, knowing with all my heart that the studio and my business partner were all very clearly orchestrated by God, I give full release to Him for what happens in the future. My prayer is that He will use our present circumstances to reach people who desperately need Him.

In that experience, I realized that what God wanted, more than anything, was for me to rely on Him. When I was able to humble myself, and accept His will, He blessed me.

Yesterday, I got an email from an engineering manager in the company where I work. This man, who I believe is a Christian, worked along side Rob for years and reached out to see if I knew how he was doing. Steve and I had talked in the fall and I learned his wife is battling cancer, too. Steve told me that he and Nick (who also happens to be Robs college roommate and works in the same company) were concerned for Rob.

I filled them in very high level details and said Rob could certainly use their prayers and support. I told them I’d share more but didn’t want it in writing. We’re having lunch together tomorrow. I believe Nick also knows Jesus, but I don’t know how deep either of their faith is. I am praying for each of them, for their families, for their struggles and for their faith. I am trusting that God is using this circumstances to draw us all closer to Him

I’m thankful for Robs friends, knowing that if he survives, he’s going to need a support network bigger than me.

I’m thankful for a God with whom I can grow and learn, who loves me unconditionally.

In Him I pray that His will be done, with Rob, with the studio, with my life, and the lives of others who are watching this unfold.

Be blessed today, my friends,

I will look up

I will look back and see that You are faithful
I look ahead believing You are able
Jesus Lord of all, Jesus Lord of all

SB

Stare in His direction

A few weeks ago I met with an artist, a dear friend of mine, who is a phenomenal artist with whom I’m planning an art show for spring. I was filling him in on some of how the studio came to be, as well as current issues.

Later that evening he sent me a text that simply read, “God is good. Stare in His direction”

I think sometimes we get worked up over present circumstances (I know I do) and try to figure out what we need to do when all God wants is for us to trust that He’s got it.

I had a bit of emotional and spiritual release yesterday, relinquishing control of my thoughts and concerns about Rob, the studio, and others to God the Father. I am trusting that He’s got this… and He’s got me..

New International Version
being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

The release is freeing. And healing. And just what I need to move my thoughts forward.

Henry Davis Thoreau said, “God confidently in the direction of your dreams”, which is an awesome quote. I would paraphrase slight to say, “Go confidently in the direction He has called you”.

In my present circumstances, there is still much uncertainty. However, I AM certain that He’s called me to open this studio in this place… and I am going to stare in His direction, going confidently in the direction He’s called me, trusting that He will equip me to do what He’s called and provide resources to accomplish all He wants.

Be blessed today, my friends

SB.

Even if

As I drove from my office to my studio yesterday, the first song I heard was one called “the story isn’t over”. It’s ironic, since Rob and I often talked about the story of our friendship isn’t over…. even when I thought it was for more than 10 years.

When we first talked last year about partnering to buy the building that is now the studio I dreamed of, I told him that I felt like Gods purpose in that place was bigger than me, bigger than him, bigger than both of us together. I felt like God chose that particular place for some reason. We talked about the healing and forgiveness that took place in our friendship, the restoration that God brought to broken things in both of our lives… and how He wants to do that for all of us. Rob talked about the path of destruction he’s left behind him due to bad decisions, and consequences of those decisions that brought pain.

We looked forward to the story that God is writing through our lives, both individually and through the studio. He allowed me to dream endless possibilities and “we could do…”s. We talked about the fact that he challenged me and I challenged him, and we both respected each other enough to let the other share their opinions openly, without fear of condemnation or judgement. We’d encourage one another to dream and challenge one another to try new things, new perspectives. We made perfect business partners, in my opinion. Many people spend a lifetime never having a friend like that. I’ve never truly felt unconditional love for someone before, but God has given me a glimpse of His unconditional love for us. Maybe because I am far enough removed from the decisions of Robs past, I am able to acknowledge them without judgment, and gently encourage him to blaze a new path in Gods goodness. I feel incredibly blessed to have had the opportunity to learn a small piece of what Gods love is all about, and am now beginning to apply what I’ve learned to other relationships in my life.

When I left the studio, I called the hospital where Rob is to see if he’d been moved to the rehabilitation center they talked about moving to… they hadn’t moved him yet, so I stopped to see him, since the hospital is about 5 minutes from the studio. He was sleeping when I got there, and I prayed that God would give him a few lucid moments with me. He opened his eyes and said my name, reached out to hug me, and I prayed with him.

My request, as it has been for the past 14 months, since he told me he has cancer, is that God would give Rob 15 more years of good health, as he did to King Hezzekiah in Isaiah 38. fifteen years for Rob to tell his story of Gods transformation in his life…

I tucked his covers around him as he curled into an almost fetal position, kissed the top of his head and prayed one last time. As I left, I stopped by the nurses station to thank them for caring for him. His nurse told me that they were still running some tests to try to understand what happened. They believe something neurological, so the Neurologist wants to review. They haven’t given up on understanding what happened. They’ve tested to see if his cancer spread but haven’t found any. They didn’t want to move him until they finished with some more testing.

Dear Lord, my prayer is that You will guide the doctors to uncover the root cause of Robs issue. I pray You will bring healing to his body and mind, restore him and give him a voice to share Your miracles. If that is not Your will, Lord, I pray that You would take him Home. I know he knows Jesus as his Savior and will be with You in Heaven. I am trusting You with the studio… after all, it is Yours. If it is Your that this studio thrives where it stands, I trust You will provide the means. If it is not to be, I pray You will guide me and direct me in next steps. In all of this situation, I pray that You alone would be glorified.

In Your Name I pray

Amen