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Sarah Martin Christian Blog and Commentary

Sarah Martin

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Sarah Francis Martin has a passion to encourage and relate to women in their twenties. She is the author of Stress Point: Thriving Through Your Twenties In A Decade Of Drama (Thomas Nelson 2012). Sarah's relevant and conversational style will lead young adult readers to live out the Kingship of Christ in everyday life in order to find godly success, purpose, and well-being. Obsessed with pink lip gloss and all things artsy-crafty, Sarah lives with her husband and son in North Carolina. Her ministry, LIVE IT OUT!, is a space for 20/30-somethings to connect with one another and grow closer to Jesus. Check out more at www.liveitoutblog.com.

My smart phone tweeted a wake up tune. The house was quiet but my mind loudly swirled with all that the upcoming day would serve me. An ache droned in the pit of my stomach. Nerves and anxiety took their place. The warm soft covers soothed just a bit. But, at 6am in the morning I have duties, I have responsibilities that propel me out of the covers and toward the things that moms do to get everyone out the door in one piece. I combed his wet little head and listened to silly jokes that 5 year olds find hysterical. I then trekked back to my room to comb my own hair and throw on my tennis shoes. My routine told me that I have a work out today. So I continued on. Pretty pillows  

The un-made bed called my name. That sense of tidy-ness that doesn't necessarily define my nature but gives me a sense of accomplishment in the morning again propelled me. I pulled the sheets tight and straighten the crisp white quilt. Leaning down to add the pretty decorative pillows my mom sewed for me years ago I almost stopped in mid task. Remembering all the pressures of the upcoming day I stood there tempted.

Why make the bed? Why tidy up if you are just going to jump back in there later this morning? A day in the bed is just what you need.

The idea of throwing the covers over my head and hiding out with a quiet house and a busy mind seemed like the perfect way to escape. I like to escape. I like to allow my self-made bed cave to envelope and lure me back to a sleep in a place where deadlines exist not. A dream land where pressure and well...life...is just quiet and peaceful. But I know how this plays out. After hours of hiding and denying the part of me that knows that I'm hiding and denying shouts, "STOP! Get yourself together. Just do it. Just tackle it. Quite hiding and LIVE!"

That part of me is the Holy Spirit drawing me out of my denial and avoidance and into His abundance waiting for those who resist the temptation of self-focus. Yes, that is self focus I'm dealing with. For when I'm turned inward to such a degree where I think I can't handle the pressure, I can't measure up, I have nothing of value to add, I'm pushing out the absolute reality that it is not about what I can't do. It is not about what I can't handle or what I can't bring to the table.

No...it is about what God does in me and through me. 

My act of crawling back in the bed keeps me from stepping into my purpose for the day: seeking out Jesus, living in worship, serving out of love. So, I begrudgingly add the pretty pillows to the bed and move on knowing this simple task of making the bed serves to cut off the temptation of hiding and denying.

Though I begrudge the idea that I must get over myself, my past experience of LIVING and seeking and worshipping Him outweighs.

I add the pretty pillows and get on with the day.

***I would love to know what keeps you in a place of self focus? Do you have your own "cave" you hide in?

***Do you see value in intentionally stopping yourself for hiding and denying so you can LIVE?

Leave a comment...let's chat!

{photo credit: sweetjessie via photopin cc}

The Stone Collective Final logo jpeg

 

The Stone Collective is a community making much of Jesus as we create art, photography, prose, poems or music that commemorate the wonderful things God does in our life. Based on the passage in 1 Samuel 7:12-14, each month we will collect Ebenezer Stones as a regular practice in the art of worship via our creativity. 

 

 

To learn more about The Stone Collective, read Introducing The Stone Collective from last month

We invite YOU to join in as well as we cultivate a community of those who love to create {anything!} and make much of Jesus via art, poems, prose, photography...whatever! Be sure to check out the info below to find out how you can take part in The Stone Collective.

 

Sarah's March Stone: 

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I sat down with my paints and brushes to quiet my heart after the Lord reminded me of the refinement I'm going through these days. Many "no's" and closed doors and times where I must do The Hard Stuff. I'm seeing on the other end of the hard stuff the blessings of growth and connectedness I'm feeling to Jesus. All I could do was say Thank You. In the eyes of many people around us, saying thank you for a period of hard stuff or refinement seems absurd; it seems counter cultural.

As I began to work the paint on the page and contemplated how I wanted to express my feeling towards this season of refinement. It would have been easy to get out my stamps and make perfect little letters to express a Thank You and the sentiment of "in the process..." but it seemed symbolic to handwrite (even though imperfectly) the text as a means of giving the Lord my messy, my awkward, my shaky. It is a humbling thing to put out on the world wide web a piece of art so imperfect and vulnerable. But, my Ebenezer Stone is a remembrance of the purity that comes from allowing God to put us through the hard stuff in messy, awkward, shaky trust. Step by step I seek Him with every "no" and closed door. Step by step I thank Him for what He is doing IN me...

"...So that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ." (1 Peter 1:7 ESV)

The inner work God does in us has so much eternal value.

Thank you for allowing me to share the product of 15 minutes of a quiet heart while I used my creativity for worship. Oh... and the feather is really just something that I felt like it would be fun and relaxing to sketch. Not sure there's any real significance there...just fun...

It is YOUR TURN to join in...

Want to join in on The Stone Collective? Create your own Stone and link up to LIVE IT OUT! Blog. #TheStoneCollective

***You don't have to be a blogger to participate!!

 

Today I have the privilege of sharing with you an interview of my friend and fellow InScribed author, Jenifer Jernigan. Her new book is Dive Deeper: Finding Faith Beyond Shallow Religion. It is so neat to see this book in print as I have come alongside Jenifer in the journey of writing it. Through out the pages, you will see and be encouraged by Jenifer's LOVE for God's Word. Here's a bit about Dive Deeper...

book cover resized

Dive Deeper comes from Jenifer Jernigan’s heart. As a preacher’s daughter, she grew up with some pretty heavy expectations to live up to. Jenifer found herself becoming numb to the things of God because the Bible stories were all too familiar. She longed to break through the serene surface of her safe place and d.i.v.e. deeper into scripture. I asked Jenifer a few questions that will get us thinking and motivated to study the Bible for ourselves. Though Dive Deeper digs into the book of Ephesians, Jenifer's d.i.v.e  method is an powerful tool to study other books of the Bible as well! ~I'm excited for readers to learn your D.I.V.E. method for studying the Bible. How does this method translate into a better knowledge of Scripture and therefore a closer relationship to Jesus?

Jenifer: When I made the choice to dive deeper into God’s Word, I needed Jesus—not religion, or tradition, or denominational mandates—I just needed Jesus and His Word. I’m not going to lie to you. Diving deeper into the Scriptures has been one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. I’m no academic scholar and if you were to ask a number of my childhood teachers they’d tell you I’d never amount to much in life because I was “challenged and had learning disabilities.” So, I needed something simple…that’s where d.i.v.e. comes in. d.i.v.e. stands for:
d. (define)
i. (investigate)
v. (visualize)
e. (embrace) The d.i.v.e. method equips the reader to get below the surface into the depths of the passage, connecting to the heart of God through the pages of His Word. Because when we dive deeper into God’s Word, He dives deeper into us.

~What kind of encouragement do you have for those of us who find it challenging to make time for in-depth study of the Bible?

 Jenifer: Really diving into the depths of the Bible is hard and challenging and time consuming. But it’s also rewarding and beautiful and time well spent. My encouragement to anyone struggling with in-depth study of the Bible would be simply this: please do NOT give up! In-depth study of the Bible is not beyond you. You can do this!! 

Here are a few quick tips: **How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. If you choose to use the d.i.v.e. method, start with one portion of d.i.v.e., gradually adding more each time you go back to the passage you’re studying. **Never d.i.v.e. alone. Ask a friend to join you in diving into the depths of God’s Word with you. Accountability and encouragement are much needed when you’re doing something tough. **Pray and trust that God will teach you and guide you and reveal things to you about His character that you’ve never known before.

~Dive Deeper takes us through the book of Ephesians, what is it that you hope we will take out and LIVE OUT! by reading this book of the Bible?

Jenifer: As the reader dives deeper into the book of Ephesians they’ll come to know deep within their heart that IN Christ is their place of healing, abundant living, and worth. Studying through the words the apostle Paul penned, they’ll see who they truly are before Jesus, a reality we must all face in order to understand the magnitude of God’s love and grace for us. They’ll come to learn that a life of religion will fan the flame to “do” in the Church solely based on a selfish, what-can-I-get-out-of-this mentality, when ultimately what God has called them to is a specific work, created just for them, within His Body in order continue furthering the Gospel message to those who need to move beyond the shallowness of religion into deeper faith in God and abundant relationship with Him.

~Just for fun...what's playing on your iPod/iPhone/Mp3 player right this moment?

Jenifer:  My kids are on Spring Break this week. So, this morning, the Disney Station is blaring on Pandora.

I know you will be excited to read Dive Deeper and interact with the Bible in meaningful ways. Here's where you can get a copy of it... DIVE DEEPER on Amazon

More about Jenifer Jernigan: Jenifer Jernigan 

Jenifer Jernigan is a wife and mom of 3 whose past would spill over into her present if it weren’t for the healing power of God’s Word. As founder of Diving Deeper Ministries, her passion is to equip women to d.i.v.e. deeper into God’s Word, teaching them to study Scriptures for themselves. She is co-owner and regular writer for Internet Café Devotions and is part of a team of writers creating curriculum for Journey Church in North Carolina.  

Last week God pressed pause yet again on my life as we enjoyed another "blizzard." Yes, in the south we are not prepared nor equipped so we tuck away for an entire week to weather all of 7 inches of snow. Don't laugh. It was glorious.

 

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In metaphorical terms, it was also a week of calm before the storm. I'm now out of my comfy cozy place of snuggling with a warm blanket and hot chocolate and deep into the HARD STUFF of editing my book. I call it hard stuff because honestly, I really didn't want to come out of the comfy cozy and dig deep. Yep...there were tears and a bit of a tantrum on my part. But God is good. God is faithful. And God and I had a hard chat about this hard stuff.

It's all about the bigger picture. The bigger picture and the Kingdom perspective.

Do you have hard stuff you just don't want to dig into?

Your hard stuff might be reconciling a relationship because you see the bigger picture and that is LOVE.

Your hard stuff might be saying sorry and you do it because the bigger picture of freedom and forgiveness is better than bitterness.

Your hard stuff might be doing THAT THING you just don't want to do. That thing might be something heavy God laid on your heart. Something or some task which He equipped only YOU to do. Use your gifts. Use your talents. Use your time and do the HARD STUFF.

I will end with something I posted on Facebook as a reminder to myself and encouragement to others who need to do the hard stuff.

Doing the hard stuff well...is hard... But we must look at the bigger picture––the Kingdom perspective. For, the blood, sweat and tears put in along the way are markers and reminders of what God is doing IN us while we grip HIS hand ever so tight and JUST DO THE HARD STUFF.

I'm off to go and edit this book now. Hang in there...do the HARD STUFF. There are blessings to behold when we step out in obedience to Him.

 

releasing Fall 2014...here's a sneak peek

Any thoughts? Leave a comment and let's chat...

Read more from Sarah at LIVE IT OUT! Blog

 

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Example: "Gen 1:1" "John 3" "Moses" "trust"
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