Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Completing the Circle

in this life

I just got home from camp yesterday afternoon. Once again, the North Carolina Conference never ceases to amaze me. I’m a sucker for good music and strong messages. That’s what makes me feel God’s presence. The theme this past week was “The Circle of Life”. The circle we talked about was cut like a pie into six pieces.

The first piece is baptism. When we get baptized, we admit to God that we are sinners and we believe that he is out God, maker of the heavens and he earth. We ask forgiveness for these sins, and are cleansed. That’s the basis of it, but it means so much more. We have eternity promised to us, in heaven. A place where there is no pain, no sorrow, no harmful things, just happiness in the glory of the Lord. You walk the streets of gold with people that have gone before you, people that you didn’t ever think you would see again. God sits, Jesus at his right hand, and you get to see him, all his glory. I don’t know about you, but I would love to see Jesus Christ, the only perfect being to ever live, to feel the holes in his hands, and to walk with him down the streets of gold. To see my aunt Debbie, and tell her how much we miss her. To finally get to meet Rashawn’s mom. It would be amazing to do such things, almost unimaginable. Giving your life to Christ grants you all these things and more. You live a life knowing that even when it feels like no one else is there, God is. He’s everywhere, and he listens when you talk.

The second piece is community. When all of the christian body, the baptized people, come together, you have a community. Not just a community, but a community united by the love of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. We are all connected by that one, overpowering love that is not possible to compare to anything else. The community of Christ can do anything. We feed the hungry, we clothe the homeless, we educate those who have never had the opportunity to go to school, we give money to those in need. But most importantly, we share the love of Christ with everyone we come in contact with, and that is beyond any other good deed, because when we witness, we cause people t believe. When we cause people to believe, those people get baptized. When those people get baptized, they join our community of believers, and they, too have eternal life in heaven.

The third piece of the circle is temptation. The devil tempted Jesus several times in the Bible, telling him to turn stone into bread, jump off the temple, and bow down and worship him. Jesus sis not give in to the devil, because he knew that his Father’s love was greater than anything the devil had to offer. We often get tempted by the devil to do things against God. We must overcome these temptations, even though sometimes it will be extremely difficult. God loves us no matter what, and if we ask forgiveness, we are forgiven, as long as we are sincere in our repentance and watch our actions carefully. God loves everyone, even if they do not choose to love him. We must keep our eyes open for the devils in our lives, and not give in to the temptation, and lead a good christian life.

The fourth piece of the circle is the cloud of witnesses. Hebrews 12:1 reads:
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.”What this means is that to be close to God, we should surround ourselves with people of God, and witness to others, so they, too can join in the christian community. We must cast out anything that pulls us away from God, such as burdens and trials that we face every day in life. We must focus on the positive things in life that God has given us and run the race for him, living our lives for God and being strong in our faith. By doing this, we are healthier and we can witness to others easier without problems.

The fifth piece of the circle is reconciliation. You must be on good terms with God, and on good terms with yourself. By admitting that you have sinned and asking forgiveness for those sins, you reconcile with God. You make things right, and you are forgiven. You try not to do these things and you try to lead the best life possible. When you are right with God, everything else will fall into place. Just keep your head high, your faith strong, and your heart open.

The sixth and final piece is sending forth. After you have been baptized, join the christian community, resist the temptations of the world, become a part of the cloud of witnesses, and reconcile with God, you are sent out into the world to tell it’s people about his love and all he does for them. You are an important piece of life’s puzzle, and you can help lead someone to God, and help them spend eternity in paradise.

As my growth group leader, Rachel Moser says: “You are a beloved chile of God.” Remember this every single day, and help others see that they, too are precious children, loved by the Lord their God, who sent his son to die for their mistakes. God loves everyone, and always will. All you have to do is love him back. <3

Sunday, May 23, 2010

holding on

in this life

I came across a song today that I had heard before, but never really listened to. It's called "Broken" by Lifehouse. The chorus says:

"I'm falling apart, I'm barely breathing, with a broken heart, that's still beating. In the pain, there is healing. In your name, I find meaning, so I'm holding on."

This really spoke to me. Life is hard, we all know that. Whether you're having family problems, issues at work, health problems, self-esteem issues, relationship troubles, or even problems with your walk with God, you're still here, and you should make the best of it. Even when everything seems to be going wrong, and you feel like you're in a dark tunnel and can't quite get to the light at the end, God is there. He always has been, and always will be.

We often stress out over small things. Don't get me wrong, they're big at the time, but in the end, it sometimes seems foolish to have worried so much. By worrying, we miss out on the small, amazing things in life, such as birthdays, love, and family time. We get so wrapped up in ourselves, we can't seem to stop for one second to notice someone else. When is the last time you called a family member just to talk, or just to say, "I love you."? When is the last time you truly laughed? How about the last time you sat outside to listen to the crickets and look at the stars? Most people don't have enough time for that. The chirp of a cricket is my favorite sound in the world. Let me explain.
When I was nine years old, I heard the crickets for the first time. Being hearing impaired, you miss a lot of things. I was in the garage with my mom one night and I kept hearing this loud ringing. I thought it was my ears, but when i asked my mom if she heard ringing, she told me all she heard were crickets. Completely baffled, I asked her what they sounded like, because I had no idea that crickets made noises. My mom stood in the garage with me for a long time, hugging me and listening to the crickets with me as she cried.

I don't know if any of you have something sentimental like that, but that one night is something that is in my memories forever. Today was my Grandma's birthday. We sat outside at her momma's old house under the trailer shelter in the pouring rain and thunder, just talking. I have never seen someone so content in my life. My Grandma offered to say grace, and with the rain being so loud on that tin roof, I didn't quite catch all she said, but I know I heard her say how thankful she was for all God has given her, and how much she loves her family. My Grandma is one of the most important people in my life, and without her, I don't know what I would do. Seeing her smile that big was all I needed to be happy for the rest of the day.
The smallest things can make the biggest difference. A smile can change a lifetime. I have a challenge for you.

Sometime this week, I want you to stop everything you're doing. If possible, call your Mom, Dad, children, or even sibling, and just tell them that you love them. Even if that's all you say, say it. Then, get someone you're close with but haven't talked to enough lately, and go sit outside one night. Look at the stars, talk about life, and listen to the crickets for me.(:

Friday, March 5, 2010

What a Wonderful World

in this life

We, as humans, often take what we see for granted. The vibrant colors, the amazing structures of things, and the beauty of all that is around us. God gave us a magnificent world to live in. We have the mountains, the valleys, the rivers, the seas. We see deserts, arctics, and grasslands with trees. He has given us the sun, the moon, the clouds and the stars.
Everywhere we look we see the wonders that God has brought among us. Animals, from worms to giraffes, and people, people all different. No one is exactly alike, no animal is exactly alike, no location is like another. Traveling the world would be a wondrous thing to do, but how overwhelmed would one be to see the entire world in a single lifetime? Not to mention, that we are not the only planet out here. The point that we often miss is that God created it all. He holds every single bit of it in the palm of his hand.
Besides the fact that he made all that is around us, he made us. He gave us the gift of life, he sent his one and only son to die on the cross for our sins, the only man who had never committed any sin, the only man to ever be perfect. We can only thank him by accepting him into our hearts, leading the best life we can lead, and telling others about him, telling everyone. Tell your kids, your classmates, your co-workers, your peers, your parents, your teachers. God not only sent his son for all of us, but he has promised us eternity in heaven, forever in paradise, and all we have to do are those three things.
Giving your heart to God will be the best choice you will ever make in your life, and sometimes, it may seem the hardest thing to do and keep up. But God works through everyone, in his own way. Sometimes all you need is a real awakening, a kind of thump on the head or tap on the shoulder, to remind you to carry on in his name.

"Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind'; and, 'Love your neighbor as yourself." -Luke 10:27

the picture above was taken by me, from the mountains in West Virginia. Our God is an awesome God.

Monday, January 18, 2010

What is LOVE?

in this life

In the dictionary, love is defined as “an intense feeling of deep affection”. But to me, that really doesn’t even begin to describe it. Love is not just a feeling. Love is knowing. Knowing that you can’t live without someone, that their existence is the one thing that keeps your heart beating, your blood flowing. Love is almost un-explainable, if never felt. It’s when you can look at someone, and know that you don’t need anything else in this world, that you are complete. Love is to be broken and have a miraculous healing, to hurt one day and smile the next, a smile that never fades. A real, true, heartfelt smile, which no one else could cause you to produce. Love is holding a hand, and feeling completely invincible, like you could take on the world. Love is a kiss on the forehead that you still feel the next day, a touch that sends shivers down your spine, a hug that melts your heart. "Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always preserves."

-- 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Beauty in the Breakdown

in this life

This weekend, I lived a dream. A girl that used to babysit me, Allison Davis-Satterfield, also a professional photographer, let me shadow her for two days. We shot a wedding and then did pictures with Santa at a fancy country club. The first stop for the weekend was the beauty salon. My first photographer's tip? "Watch out for the hairdressers, they like their hairspray, and you don't want it on your lens." The next stop was the church for detail shots. The decorations were so pretty. We then went to the festival house, where the reception was to be held. We got a few pictures there, than headed back to the church to get pictures of the little parts that make up a wedding: rings, flowers, dress and shoes, etc. The best thing in the world is watching Allison lay on her belly under the desk in the Pastor's study to get the perfect angle of the dress hanging on the bookshelf. Next came the shoes and garter. She shot those on a table in a sunday school room, and you'd never notice. We went to do the rings and flowers, and I couldn't pass up taking this picture. The bouquet was so pretty, and I just had to snap one of my own. It was sitting on a changing table in the nursery. I showed Allison the picture and she told me the most meaningful thing she could ever say. She said, "That's when you know you're meant to be a photographer, Sara." By this, she meant that you can take something gross and make it beautiful if you have the right eye. You'd never be able to tell that picture was taken on a baby changing table. I've never been one that enjoyed taking pictures of objects, people are my "thing". I have never felt better about my photography than I did when Allison told me how good my work was. I was practically beaming, and my weekend couldn't have gone better. The lesson I learned? There's beauty in everything. Whether it be a baby table or an unhappy heart, there's always some good, somewhere. For example: well, a big example would be life. In life, things go wrong, yes, but do we ever stop and think of how much worse it could be? Yes, there are people that have it harder than you, but that's not what I'm getting at. When something goes wrong, you should step back and think of the good things that are happening at the exact same time. When the beautiful sun sets, it's a bit saddening, but there's always stars that follow.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Jesus Loves You, Pass It On!

in this life

This past weekend, I attended pilgrimage. It was one of the most moving experiences of my life. For those of you who don't have a clue what Pilgrimage is, I'll tell you. Pilgrimage is a compilation of sessions to bring you closer to God. The worship is contemporary, with the same band that plays at my summer camp called Breakaway.
Not everyone can enjoy contemporary worship, but I for one, absolutely love it. I felt the presence of God every day at Pilgrimage, and it is a truly amazing feeling. There was one girl giving her testimony, and it moved me greatly. She was in a wheelchair, unable to walk. Her story was so powerful, and it had such an amazing message, not even the speaker could top it. The one thing she said that stuck out to me the most was: "I may not walk on Earth, but I will someday walk on streets of gold." This made my jaw drop. How could a girl who was stuck in a wheelchair for the rest of her life have such a positive outlook? I now think about her and her testimony every time i get upset about one of my flaws, because my flaws are like spilled milk compared to what she is going through.
Another thing that I realized at Pilgrimage is that God loves us, and he loves us all. No conditions. He does not judge, and he cares more about us than anyone on the planet possibly can. Sometimes, people need a reminder. I am blown away at the wonders of the world each and every day, the way he paints the sky pink and orange every sunset takes my breath away. The way the stars hang perfectly together at night puts me in awe. The way the sun rises in the morning takes my breath away. These small things we take for granted, such as the smile of a small child, the laughter of a cancer patient, the hugs from your loved ones, or just an "I love you" from a friend, are so important, and taking a step back, i notice how I never really pay attention. Life is a gift, God didn't have t put you here. Never wish you were dead, because there's people out there that are dying to live. Instead, we should spread the love of God to out thirsty world, because we're pretty much in a spiritual drought. We need to stop worrying so much about satisfying others, and focus on satisfying God. Because after all, God is the one and only thing that will truly matter in the end.
At Pilgrimage, one youth group made clothespins that said, "Jesus Loves You! Pass It On." and pinned them on people that were not expecting it. They did it quietly, so the person would find it later, or have it pointed out by a friend. I thought this was one of the coolest ways of spreading God's love I'd ever seen, so I brought it home with me. I made eight clothes pins Sunday night, and distributed two to each of my friends that went to Pilgrimage with me. We put them on people's notebooks in their lockers, and today, i discovered that people were indeed passing the clothespins along. Personally, I clipped one of my best friends and a faculty member that I thought could use it. It's interesting to walk by people and overhear them telling their friends that they got a clothes pin in their locker from someone. It makes me smile to know that I could have made someone's day. So, if you're from my school, and you're reading this, yes, i started it. Don't be the one to finish it. Share God's word, Jesus Loves You, PASS IT ON! (:

Sunday, November 1, 2009


in this life

We all know what "The Golden Rule" states: "Treat others the way you want to be treated."
... So can someone please tell me why on earth it's so hard to do so? Being a high school student, I see kids get picked on and stereotyped every single day. So what if this guy likes to wear his jeans tighter than the other guys? So what if this girl doesn't talk to the popular kids and prefers to sit alone? So what if that kid actually cares about what the teacher has to say? I don't think it matters what you do with your hair, whether you wear glasses of contacts, or what brand your jeans are. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but we don't always have to voice it, especially if we don't think it through beforehand. Yes, it's easy to judge someone based on how they look, but until we really get to know someone, we can't really make a true judgement.
We all pick and choose our friends by people we have stuff in common with. That's natural. But who's to say that we can't be friends with completely opposite people? And if it's too difficult to make friends with people that aren't like you, why must you hate them? You can still like someone and not be their best friend.
I, for one, am not a fan of drama, and I know I'm not alone on that. So, why do people feel the need to degrade someone else just because they don't like them? Half the time, their reason for not liking that person is completely pointless. And because they don't like that person, they think that no one else should, just because. No one likes to have their feelings hurt, and if everyone treated people the way they want people to treat them, no one would be mean to each other, and I can almost guarantee that suicide levels would decrease drastically.
So, next time you judge someone, take a step back, and get a chance to know that person before you pin a bad name on them. If they are just what you labeled them to be in the first place, that's no reason to be mean to them. Be nice to everyone, for one good deed makes another, and pretty soon the world will be like a huge game of dominoes. (:

Wednesday, October 7, 2009


in this life

everyone has their own private issues, whether it's a split family, the death of a parent, or something else. everyone has something they're embarrassed about. let me put it this way: when you're walking through the mall, and you see someone, you have this automatic judgement of them in your head, even if you have never seen them before. if you see a guy in baggy pants to his knees, an xxxxxxl tshirt, and his chain around his neck could reach his toes, you think, "thug". that guy could come out of a respectable home, and be valedictorian of his class. if you see a guy dressed in black pants with a black shirt, tons of piercings and tattoos, and long hair with a guitar on his shoulder, you'll automatically think, "gothic" or "punk", when that guy could be in a band that plays for the Lord. when you see a girl dressed head to toe in juicy couture and gucci clothes, you automatically think, "spoiled". when she could be working four jobs as a nineteen year old college student, paying for all she has. my point here is, you can't really know a person unless you get to know them. everyone deserves a chance. cliques form from teens liking the same stuff, and getting along. i bet the little girl with glasses and clothes that are two sizes too small is just as nice as the girl who gets all she wants from her rich parents. everyone needs a friend, and you don't need to pick your friends by what they wear, who they're friends with, what they wear, or how smart they are. you'll be surprised to find how many of those people that are "outcasts" are actually cool, just in a different package. it's kind of like a present. if you have a gift wrapped in sparkly paper, with a big bow on top, and a gift that's just stuck in a shoebox and wrapped in newspaper, odds are, you're going to pick the pretty gift first, because it looks nicer. what if there was a $100 bill in the shoebox, and a pair of socks in the pretty box? a lot of times, this happens because we judge whether or not we want to talk to someone by their outward appearance, and not by whether or not they have potential to be what you're looking for. so, talk to new people. invite them to sit with you at lunch. you never know how bad they need a friend right now.

sara (:

Monday, October 5, 2009

in this life

it's been forever, i know. but last night, i was talking to my friend marshall on skype, ans he told me about a song, by this band called "For Today". the name of the song is "Talmidim" which is hebrew for servant, or disciple. i like a lot of techno, powerpop, acoustic, alternative, and indie music, but i also enjoy some screamo and hardcore metal. this band is hardcore metal, but the song is softer than most of the songs they sing. the video is at the top, i strongly suggest listening to this song.

in this song, one of the band members recites a group of bible verses, and also makes a speech in his own words about how lucky we are to even be associated with God Almighty. the verses state:

"I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. You will live in the land I gave to your forefathers; you will be my people and I will be your God."
Ezekiel 36:26-28

this verse is so accurate to the feeling that i got when i gave my life to Christ. you feel cleansed and renewed, you feel like a new person, for you have a new heart. you have been given the chance to start all over, and leave all your sins in the past. God doesn't just wipe our heart clean once, but he forgives us every single time we ask for it. although we do not deserve it, he loves us, and he always will. no matter what we do, he will always love us, for we are his children, and he made us in his vision. the band member goes on to express his feelings in a speech during the song. it is honestly one of the most moving speeches i have ever heard in my life. he says:

"And through all of this, there is nothing, absolutely nothing, no fear, no insecurity, no doubt, no hesitation that will ever, ever stop us. Because we are the son of the living God. Because we are the children of the almighty. Because we are the residents of the kingdom of heaven and we are soldiers in an army of the immortal. And when we speak light, light happens. And when we speak healing, healing happens. And when we speak truth, truth happens. And when we go take what we found to a dead world, we will see it come to life again. When we take what we found to a hopeless world, we will see hope come back, we will see the hearts of our world start beating again and we will see the colour come back in peoples faces and absolutely nothing will ever stop that and mountains will move before us and oceans will pour before us and the dead will raise before us and the world will know that our God is a God that heals, that our God is a God that lives, that our God is a God that loves unlike anyone has ever felt before because we are fearless, because we are his hand, because we are his feet, forever and ever..."

i have never heard it put like this. everything he says is true. if you were to break it down, you'd get:

"And through all of this, there is nothing, absolutely nothing, no fear, no insecurity, no doubt, no hesitation that will ever, ever stop us. Because we are the son of the living God. Because we are the children of the almighty. Because we are the residents of the kingdom of heaven and we are soldiers in an army of the immortal."
this is saying, that through life and all its hardships, nothing will come between us and God. we are God's children, and we have our place reserved for us in heaven, because God wants us to live with him for all eternity. "we are soldiers in the army of the immortal" simply means that we go out and witness to people on God's side, to save them, and lead them home to their father, so that they may also have a space in heaven, to live forever in a perfect place, with no pain and no sorrow.

"And when we speak light, light happens. And when we speak healing, healing happens. And when we speak truth, truth happens. And when we go take what we found to a dead world, we will see it come to life again. When we take what we found to a hopeless world, we will see hope come back, we will see the hearts of our world start beating again and we will see the colour come back in peoples faces and absolutely nothing will ever stop that"

to me, this is saying, when we go out and tell of him and all his goodness, his goodness will be seen, and people will go to him. and when we tell of his stories, people will begin to understand, and believe these miracles that took place, and they, too will tell of the works of God. and when we take these stories and miracles out into this world of sin, people will then see that God is good, and begin to follow him, begin to live. and when the world lives in the name of God, then we will regain hope, and everything will be at peace, for we know that all we need is God. nothing can stop this, because the love of the Lord is stronger than any love there ever was, and ever will be.

"and mountains will move before us and oceans will pour before us and the dead will raise before us and the world will know that our God is a God that heals, that our God is a God that lives, that our God is a God that loves unlike anyone has ever felt before because we are fearless, because we are his hand, because we are his feet, forever and ever..."

these last words are saying, that once we bring this hopeless world to God, we will witness miracles, and God will heal us and forgive us for all that we have done, and he will show everyone that he is God, and nothing stands in the way of his power and his love. we will be fearless as long as he is with us, and we will become part of him, and live in paradise, FOREVER. <3

-i hope all of this made sense, there was so much that i got out of this song, it was just extremely hard to express it in words.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

love yourself, and others will love you.

in this life

it's been forever since i last wrote. anyways, today was alright, we got a one hour delay at school, and i got some great extra sleep. i've found a new song that is now my favorite song. it's called "two is better than one" by boys like girls, featuring taylor swift. it's beautiful, and if you haven't heard it yet, i would strongly suggest looking it up. (:

anyways, if you've ever had a milk chocolate dove candy, you'd know that they say sweet things inside. i always get the big bag of them and read them for encouragement. today, i got a wrapper that really made my day. the quote on the wrapper said, "remind yourself that it's okay not to be perfect." this quote really changed me, because i constantly worry about being "good enough" for everyone. being a younger sibling is not easy, i know from experience. especially if your older sister was captain of the basketball, tennis, and softball teams, a member of all the clubs, an honor student, attended prom in eighth, ninth, eleventh, and twelfth grade, and even another prom in south carolina her senior year, homecoming queen, and the prettiest girl at the school. once she left, everyone looked to me like i was supposed to be a spitting image of her. sadly, i am no jessica bolton, and for the longest time, this bothered me every single day. getting called "jessica bolton's little sister" and "little bolton" finally wore off, and i'm in my junior year of high school. i have only been to one prom, and that was with a friend at a different school for his prom. i'm not as pretty as my sister, but i'm starting to resemble her more and more. i'm not an honor student, but i try hard in school. i just got on homecoming court for the first time this year, and i can only be voted queen my senior year, so that has yet to come. i've always done my best to measure up to my sister, and satisfy the rest of ridgecroft high school. but today, when i got that wrapper, it was like a slap in the face.

God didn't put me here to be just like my sister. she's all those wonderful things, but she's not perfect. for the longest time i had made her seem perfect in my eyes because i wanted to be just like her. no one is perfect but Jesus Christ, and i need not compare myself to anyone, because God made me to be me, not someone else. i'm slowly becoming more confident with myself, and i will soon be satisfied enough to be comfortable. i need to learn that everyone has someone they wish they could be like, and in the end, we'll never, ever be that person, so we need to accept it for what it is and be happy with who we are. short, tall, thick, thin, black or white. we're all unique and we're all wonderful creatures in God's eyes. my momma always told me, "don't be so down on yourself, 'cause God don't make no junk." that quote will always stick out to me, because i know that God didn't put me here to hate myself, but to make the best of my many blessings and embrace joys in this life i live. when i'm rattling all the things that are wrong with me, my mom points out, "when you say what you're dissatisfied with, you're pretty much spitting in God's face, because you're telling him he didn't do a good enough job on making you." God made us all in his vision, and we're all beautiful in his eyes. the next step is to be beautiful in our own eyes, and then we will be beautiful in the eyes of others.

QUOTE OF THE DAY// "It took me a long time not to judge myself through someone else's eyes." -Sally Field