This gallery contains 4 photos.
“I thought I would take the time to share some stories and some of the thoughts I had during the trip” Continue reading
This gallery contains 4 photos.
“I thought I would take the time to share some stories and some of the thoughts I had during the trip” Continue reading
A life lived to the fullest…..
This statement can conjure up several ideas of what a life lived to the fullest could look like. For some its having all the latest gadgets and gizmos. For others its hitting all the cool hangouts and parties every weekend. And still for others its reading an entire library worth of books. While these things can give us satisfaction and fulfillment for a time, they do not have a lasting effect. There are always new and improved versions of the latest technology, therefore there is the struggle to get the fastest phone with the most memory capable of being submerged in up to 10 metres of water and still survive. Hitting up all the parties can leave you with memory loss, a wicked migraine and a sense of regret the next day. Reading an entire library worth of books can……. wait, I see no down side to this. That sounds like an amazing life. But while reading is a great hobby, and can stretch your mind, it is far to easy to get caught up in the fictional world and lose sight on reality. (Which I am guilty of)
I have felt challenged lately to take a good look at my life and ask myself, “Am I really living a full life? Apart from me, does anyone else benefit from the life I am living?” Up until the last few months, I had been self centered in my view on Gods plan for my life. I would tell him what I wanted, where I wanted to go and what I wanted to do. If I did ask him to lead me where he wanted, I didn’t allow a lot of room in my plans for His plans, so really, my words were empty. I believe that at the time, I really did want to do what God had in store for me but I didn’t know how to let go of my dreams to fully allow His bigger and better plans to take root in my heart.
This process of letting go of my own dreams to allow Him to move has been a long and painful journey. Don’t misunderstand me, God didn’t want me to give up my dreams because He is a cruel God and doesn’t want good things for my life. My dreams had become more important than living for him. So I needed to let go and trust that He had a far bigger plan than I could imagine. I possibly mentioned in another post how ever since I was very young, I wanted to get married and have children. Apart from becoming a famous actress, that was the life I had imagined for myself. Early last year I had a tantrum and told God I wasn’t happy with how life was going for me. You have to watch out when you say things like that because God is a father and sometimes needs to discipline just like an earthly father would. He had two different people speak into my life. One who knew me and one who did not. I remember telling one of my best friends that all I wanted was to get married and have children, that it wasn’t much I was asking for and shouldn’t God be able to do that. Her reply has completely changed my point of view on the subject. She said “Maybe God wants something more for your life.”
Looking back I had the opinion that if I had a small, easy dream to fulfill, I wouldn’t be as disappointed if I had a bigger dream that didn’t get fulfilled. But my God sees my deepest desires and knew that I would not be completely satisfied with just that. I love that about Him. He knows me far better than I know myself!
Since then, I have been praying for opportunities to step out of my comfort zone and step out in faith. I have had amazing God moments where I have been able to speak with people about my faith, offer words of comfort and wisdom and pray for people. Focusing my attention on others and their needs has redirected my heart to what God wants me to do and where He wants me to go.
Since I started writing this blog post a few months ago, yes this has been one in the making for a while, I have applied and am going on a discipleship training school for one month. This will involve 2 weeks of training and study about being a disciple of Jesus. Then we will spend 2 weeks in Samoa on mission outreach. Had I not let go of my own dreams and dared to believe that God had a bigger plan for me, I may not have seen this trip as an opportunity to grow in faith and challenge myself.
What I have come to see in all this is that maybe a full life is not about what I can get out of it all. But what can I do with what I have? I believe there will more opportunities to be blessed if we take what we have and use it to do something for God. Rather than looking for ways to fulfill our selfish needs. Just like in Stacie Orrico’s song More to Life, “There’s gotta be more to life than chasing down every temporary high”.
If we are blessed to overflowing shouldn’t those blessings spill out of our lives to others? I am going to Samoa tomorrow for the outreach phase of the DTS. We had an amazing two weeks learning to be disciples of Jesus and growing in faith to the point where we can’t help but want to share the love and good news of Jesus. We will be in Samoa for two weeks. I hope that in that time, I learn to take every opportunity the Lord gives me to step out and bless others.
In my opinion, Jesus came so that we may have a life lived to the fullest (John 10:10) and I don’t think that He intended for us to just look out for and indulge ourselves. With this in mind, I believe that a life lived to the fullest looks like taking opportunities to be a blessing, stepping out of your comfort zone to try something new and letting go of the fear that will hold you back from accomplishing all of this. We can do this by putting our trust in and looking only to Jesus Christ who is the perfecter our faith. Hebrews 12:2.
Bit of a long post this time but God put this on my heart quite some time ago and has kept giving me different experiences to add to it. I hope this blessed you or encourage you in some way.
Princess Warrior Maid
Why me? Why not me? In different situations in my life I would find myself asking one of the preceding questions. Why do they pick on me? Why am I not a cooler person? Why am I not invited? Why am I still single? I know that I am not the only person who asked at least one of these questions or one of the like.
Living in a very self-centred and self serving society, it is way too easy to create a habit of asking these types of questions daily. Why didn’t I get that promotion? Why did it have to be my car that broke down? With all of our ipads, iphones and ipods, it’s no wonder we are unknowingly sucked it our own little world where the main attraction is us. It is drilled into us just by the names of our everyday devices.
Now, I will admit that I am guilty of being sucked into my own little world. If I am listening to music or playing on my phone, in order to have a coherent conversation with me, you need to have my full attention before you start talking. I bet none of you are like that though, but you may have a friend like that.*wink*
But technology is not the only way we are self-centred. We can develope an attitude of entitlement. We believe that we deserve something, pray selfishly for it (yes there is such a thing) or try to obtain it in our own strength and then get disappointed when it doesn’t happen or we don’t get it. For many many years, ever since I was a young girl, I wanted to get married and raise a family. That was all that I wanted in life. Well, that and to become an actor. At the rate I’m going currently, becoming an actor is more likely.
Here is where the selfish prayer comes in. I prayed to get married because I wanted someone to hug me and tell me they loved me. Now don’t get me wrong, I grew up in a loving family and was often told how much I was loved, but there is just something about a man telling a woman that he loves her, that seems more magical. Must be all the fairytales and disney movies I watched. I wanted a fairytale romance.
I remember when I turned 18, I told my parents that if a guy were to ask me out, I would be ready to say yes. (just so we are clear, I hadn’t turned anyone down before this, no one had asked me out but this was my way of saying “come on God”) Well a week went by and nothing happened. I didn’t have guys lining outside my door waiting to confess their love for me. A month, and still nothing. Then a year passed and then 2 years. And then finally 5 and a half years! Why Me? Why do have to wait so long?
Without realising it, I had centred my life on finding a husband. As though that was the most important thing in the world. Not trusting God, I had come to resent that fact that I was still single and had started to complain about my current relationship status. I remember praying one night and saying, “I don’t know what you are doing. I don’t know what you have planned but I am not happy right now.” Then I started to list all the reasons why I thought I deserved to get married. As if I had any right to be telling God, the creator of all, how he should be doing his job.
I was wallowing in self pity. But God was not going to leave it that way. Shortly after this, two people spoke into my life and it completely changed my point of view. One was best friend. I was telling her how it wasn’t fair because all I wanted in life was to get married and raise a family. I wasn’t asking for much. It should be really simple. She replied with this simple yet wise statement that I will never forget, “You may want something simple, but maybe God wants something bigger for you” In getting so caught up with what I wanted for my life, I had lost sight of what God has in store for me.
Step one: refocus. I had to refocus my sights on the Lord.
The second person was a lady at church. While praying for me she said that there was something I needed to repent from. That God doesn’t give second best and where I am right now, is where He wants me.
Step two: repent.
I had spoken harshly to God out of selfishness and had been extremely discontented with where I was. The cool thing about God is that he doesn’t hold our mistakes against us. So once I had asked for forgiveness, He started afresh within me.
Now, instead of asking, “Why am I still single?” I ask, “What can I do for you because I am single?” And, “How do you want me to spend my time as a single person?”
I won’t lie, it has been a really tough journey. I still get the shadows of that feeling of loneliness, but because of what God is doing within me, I am so much happier. I have refocused my life to focus less on me and my problems and more on the God who is so much bigger.
This applicable in any situation no matter your walk of life. God cares. He has a plan. While it may look different than what we want or imagine, He will never disappoint.
I hope you will be encouraged through my story and may your journey shifting your focus onto God be a rewarding one.
Princess Warrior Maid
I decided for this post to be about my story. My testimony. In the past I have shared my testimony with different groups and people and each time it has changed slightly. That’s because God is always doing something new in my life. However the thing that has always remained the same is his grace. His undeserved love and favour. I mess up all the time (hard to believe I know) but he always shows mercy amd extends his grace towards me when I repent. So this is my tetimony of what God’s grace has done in my life.
God’s grace has always been present in my life. That’s not to say that my life has been easy because of it. Quite the opposite actually. But the experiences and blessings because of my faith in Him have been worth the struggle. I was raised in a loving Christian home. I knew who Jesus was and what He had done for me. But I learned later that knowing and believing are two different things. In primary school I was a target for bullying. A lot of what was said to me and about me back then stuck with me long through my teen years. I struggled with knowing who I was as a person. Who I was as the Lord’s masterpiece. I gave my heart to the Lord when I was 12 at a GetSmart Conference. (youth conference) I felt that I was ready to make the decision for myself to follow Jesus with my whole heart. This was the beginning of a very bumpy journey as God would start to reshape my life as I allowed Him. (He is gentleman, He won’t go where He is not wanted) Over the next couple of years I felt as though I struggled to fit in. I suffered social anxiety and felt socially awkward. While I had a few friends who truly cared, I was blinded by lies the enemy was whispering to me. “You are not good enough, pretty enough cool enough. You are not enough.” Lies.
At Easter Camp 2012/13 (huge youth camp with 5000 youth from different churches) at one of the afternoon optional sessions, God spoke to me through one of my youth leaders saying that there was a stake in my life holding me back from being free. (One of the speakers had told a story about how elephants in India are trained. When they are babies, they are tied to a stake in the ground and because they are so little, when the tug at in to try and get free, they can’t move it. So when they grow up and are still tied to the stake, though they have the strength to move massive tree trunks, they still believe that they cannot move that stake. They don’t even try) Now whether this stake in my life, whatever it was, had mades its home within me and was consuming me inside. Sounds morbid I know but that’s the only way I can describe it. I prayed about it for the rest of the day asking God to show me what was holding me back from being free to be me. He eventually revealed to me through a long buried memory of an incident at school where a fellow classmate had told me that she didn’t like me because of my “personality”. Little did I know that these words would take root in my heart and for the majority of my teen years, I would be shaping and judging myself based on those words. After praying with my leader and a nothing short of miraculous release, the pesky demon that had been whispering lies to me for years, was finally gone. I saw his claws be ripped from my heart and angel of the Lord dragged him back to Hell where he belongs. Sounds crazy I know but God showed me this as a form of closure. I am no longer a slave to those lies. Has my life been easy since then? No. Of course not because I am still human. I still get insecure but I know to recognise those feelings as lies and I pray as soon as they come.
Now, did I deserve this favour from God? No. He is God. My creator. God of the universe. But He shows us his love by giving His Son, Jesus, to pay the price we would have had to pay for our sins. Death and eternal separation from God. He made me worthy of that Grace, that favour by paying the price I should have paid.
I encourage you to take a moment to reflect or pray if you feel so inclined, on your life and see if you can see God’s fingerprints. Even the littlest things such as catching a glimpse of a gorgeous sunset are ways that God is telling you, “I love you just the way you are”.
I hope you enjoyed this bit of insight into my life and feel encouraged.
~ Princess Warrior Maid
This is a little something I was inspired with while going for a walk this afternoon. I had to walk past and dodge some over grown hedges. I had a sudden thought, “What if hedges ate people alive?” Pretty morbid and creepy I know, but I wanted to see what would happen so I just started writing and this is what came out. Hope you enjoy. 😄
Stay away from the walls. They are ravenous beasts, swallowing everything in their paths. You think you are comfortable, you think you are safe, just sitting there in the background. But that’s what they want you to think. You are far from safe my friend. The walls are hungry. They crave insecurity. They feed off it. How else do they become strong? Don’t blend in. Don’t be a wallflower. As soon as you become that, they have you forever. Your freedom will not be so easy to achieve. Stand out. Be you. Don’t let anyone put you in a corner. Stand up, push back and declare “No! This is who I am”.
I hope you enjoyed this. Its a bit different from what I normally write but I thought I may as well give it go.
Never be afraid to be you!! You are perfect the way you are!! 💜
Princess Warrior Maid
We have been living in Dunedin for just over a month now (yay). It is such a beautiful city with gorgeous, rugged, untouched beaches, amazing old buildings and friendly people wherever you go. I have joined an adults acting class as a way to meet new people and to get back into doing what I love. I have taken to going for runs a couple of times a week. It is no easy feat either because we live in an area up on a hill so the terrain is extremely challenging. Yay for cardio and everyday is leg day!
Despite being happy with the change, trying new things and enjoying a bit of down time, I have had a bit of a rough time seeing where and what God is leading me to. The other night I was praying and I felt that I couldn’t quite put into words what I wanted to say. So I decided to write down what I was feeling and thinking at the time. I thought I would share it with you so that you may know that everyone goes through hard patches and that no one is alone in this walk. So sit back, relax and I pray that this speaks to you.
A downward spiral is dragging me down with it. Where do I go? Where can I turn? Who will listen? After being a listening ear for so long to others, when is it my turn? Who will listen? Who will hear? I do the things I don’t want to do and don’t do the things I want to. It’s backwards. When fear engulfs me, where are the arms to hold me? The strong arms to comfort me and tell me everything will be ok. The morning is coming. The light is on its way. Just when I think the end of the spiral is coming and I see light, it is only a window and I soon fly by as thought it weren’t there at all. I don’t know where I am going. I don’t know what I am doing. And I am scared.
What if my dreams don’t come true? What if I don’t accomplish all I set out to do? What if I am forever alone? What would become of me? Is there a future in that? Would you still love me? Would you still care? If I call out to you, would you listen? Would you hear? Would the cry of my heart move yours? Would you remember me? Would I have a place with you? Could it be that I always have? Could it be that in a moment of weakness I turned my ear away from your voice? Could it be that in my “busy” life, I forgot to ask you to be a part of it? When I ask these things, I know them to be true.
Would you take me back after that? Would you help me not to make the same mistakes again? And when I do, would you take me back again? I have heard that this is true. Please help me to believe and see. Please help me to see the truth of your forgiveness and grace. May you wash away my fears and failures and teach me to accept your forgiveness and believe you have forgiven me. May you continue to ride this life with me. Not a downwards spiral, but a journey that is different than others. It is never over, not until you deem so.
~Princess Warrior Maid
Something God has been speaking to me about lately is his plan for me. I mean, he doesn’t sit me down and say, “Okay Sarah, here is what’s going to happen”. I wish he would do that but no. He constantly reminds me that my ways and and plans are not his ways.
2 and a half years ago I found out that family was moving cities for Dad’s job. Of course after spending 14 years in this city I did not want to move. I didn’t want to leave my job, my friends or my “home”. I was determined to do what I could to stay. I planned to go flatting with friends and start study while working part time. I had it all figured out. See that was my plan. God had a different plan. All my “genius” plans fell through and the only option left was to move with my family.
I moved begrudgingly and missed my home town terribly for a long time. I didn’t want to really give a new life here a go till I got bored out of my mind. I started volunteering at an aviation museum, met new people and started learning new skills. About 8 months later I got a job at an optometrists which one year later I am still there and love it. If I had stayed in my home town, I would not have had the opportunities to grow and learn more about myself as I have had here. I believe through obedience (however reluctant) The Lord has used this move to shape me more into who he has called me to be.
However the story is not over yet. 3 weeks ago, my dad got another job at the other end of the country. We now have to move again. You think I would have learned from the first move that just because I make plans, doesn’t mean God is going cooperate. ( think again) Again, I wanted to stay, go flatting with my new friends, get involved in church and stay in my job. However after a week of stubborn debates with God and me not budging, I decided to give God an ultimatum (don’t do it!!!) If he wants me to move, he was going to have to change my heart because i was determined to stay. 2 days later I was sold on moving. (What a sick sense of humour God has!) My family and I are now 1 week and 2 days away from our biggest move yet. (Notice how I say “yet” and not “ever”)
A few verses that have been playing through my mind have been Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you” declares the Lord, “plans not to harm you but to give you hope and future.”
Proverbs 16:9 A man place a his way but the Lord determines his steps.
I hope that through this story of mine, you will see that though you may have high hopes for yourself or others may have big plans for your future, God’s plan is bigger than that. He sees the bigger picture and He knows what is best for you because He loves you. And please learn from mistake not to give God an ultimatum and don’t be as stubborn!!
~ Princess Warrior Maid