Whenever I talk to people about how I’m doing, they ask if I’m homesick. My response is, yes, I miss the people at home so much. I think about everyone all the time and can’t wait to see everyone again. But even though I miss them, there’s this peace that I have about being here in Orlando that is totally separate from my sadness of not seeing the people I miss at home. It’s like, I can have a longing for people, but simultaneously have this joy. I’ve had a lot of thoughts swarming through my head, and I’m not sure how many conclusions I’ve come to, but I want to share them anyway.
I think it could be easy for Christians to look at my life and think, “It’s so simple for Sarah. God is blessing her in so many ways, everything is falling into place perfectly, she’s filled with joy, and there’re no hard times. God, I trust You. I’m trying to be faithful. Why am I struggling so much with discerning Your will and seeing the good and everything turning out for the best like us Christians always preach?”
To this question, I don’t have any conclusions. I don’t believe that our God is one of golden stars or stickers. I mean, I don’t think His thoughts are: “She did something good; one golden star for her. 9 more to go, and she will have another blessing!” And I’m not about to say that being married or having a family holds you back from living in God’s will.
But for myself, this is what I do know, and I’m trying to piece it together. I’m not married and don’t have a family (don’t be offended Mom, Dad, and Josh; just stick with me). I don’t have to worry about other people in the decisions I make (I don’t mean that in a selfish way, but in an “ability to serve God” kind-of-way). I know the passions God has placed on my heart, and when a door of opportunity has opened, I haven’t had to think about how it will affect my husband’s job or where my kids will go to school. I mean, I applied for this job, was offered the position, and moved across the country to Orlando and started working within three weeks. It’s definitely a desire of mine to get married some day, but I know it will happen in, yes, “God’s perfect timing” and so until that day comes, I’m determined to keep seeking Him daily.
But the other thing that I believe has made the biggest difference has been moving past just, seeking God. Over the past four years at Northwestern, God continued to teach me over and over about His faithfulness. It has been the theme of my college years and especially this year. Back in January, it was my desire to be in Physical Therapy school this fall; I spent three years preparing for it. But I got to a point in February, where I knelt on my bedroom floor in my Northwestern apartment one Saturday morning and prayed, “Lord, I desire Your heart, not mine. Whatever happens is okay with me. I can let go of my desires because I know that Your plans for me are far better than I could ever plan for myself. So take my life, all of it.”
Then I went to Haiti this summer. It was incredible! But towards the end of the summer, I began to realize that I would soon be re-entering the United States where I wouldn’t be going back to school. I had no idea what would happen. So one night on my bed I was praying. The words that were screaming in my heart came out expressed to the lyrics of Chris Tomlin’s song, “Take My Life.” (Chorus: “Here am I, all of me. Take my life, it's all for Thee.” Look up the verses too- so good!) That song became my theme song. The day after I got back from Haiti, I went on a run and remember praying, “God, this is the first day of I have absolutely no idea what’s next. ‘Here am I, all of me. Take my life, it’s all for Thee.’” One month later, I moved to Orlando.
I know that throughout this year, as I’ve prayed that prayer to God, I have fully, completely, given Him my life- my whole life, holding nothing back. I didn’t want to keep any part of it for myself. And so now, here I am. He up and took me across the country by myself to an unknown territory where I knew one person. At first, I told people I was scared. But then, I realized I wasn’t scared. I knew everything would be okay because I knew the One who was taking me. Was it hard to say goodbye? Most definitely! I cried every day from the time I got offered the job to the time I moved down here. But they weren’t tears of fear. They were tears of sadness knowing that I was having to say goodbye, at least for a little while, to the people that God had put in my life over the past 22 years to so richly bless me.
And so, now I’m here. And yes, I still miss all of you more than you could understand. But those feelings of sadness are so separate from the peace I have about being here. Everyday, God makes it so evident that this is where He has put me and where I need to be. Because of that, I have experienced this “peace that transcends all understanding” that Paul talks about in Philippians 4:7.
And so this is the thought I’ve been pondering (it’s not biblical, just Sarahicle): In order for us to experience the peace that transcends all understanding, we need to give God our whole life, all of us, because it’s all for Him, holding absolutely nothing back. Because I think if there would have been one speck of something I was too afraid to give Him, one thing I would have held back and not laid down before Him, I’m pretty sure that one thing, no matter how minute, would have blocked me from experiencing that complete peace.
And so this is my continued prayer for myself and for you: “Do NOT be anxious about anything, but in EVERYTHING, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, PRESENT your requests TO GOD. And the PEACE of God, which TRANSCENDS ALL UNDERSTANDING, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus,” Philippians 4:6-7.