Life Lately: Take Me Deeper

IMG_1292

“I have hopes. I have desires. If I’m honest, sometimes I hope God’s desires line up with my desires for my life, not the other way around.”

~She Reads Truth study on Daniel

 This Sunday at church our pastor shared the hard truth that you can’t have a resurrection without a death. This season of my life has been a cycle of something happening that wasn’t in my plan, I fight the new plan, I retreat into my bubble filled with doubt and fear, God reveals my hard heart, I try to excuse it, and finally I accept this new plan and embrace the goodness of it…REPEAT 1000X

I’m stubborn.

Aren’t we all to some extent? Don’t we all wish that the nice little plans we have designed with a pretty bow on top would actually be the outcome of our lives?

Life lately has been filled with twists and turns that I never saw coming. I often feel like I’m barely holding on to this life of mine as the changes are giving me whiplash. But isn’t it when life is at it’s hardest we find that we are closer to our Heavenly Father? It’s in the question marks of life we sense our need for Jesus and His relentless love.

A popular worship song these days is Oceans by Hilsong. I’ve even blogged about it here. It was a few weeks ago at church we were singing it and I realized that I had been praying that my life would take me here to this place, so that I would trust Him.

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders.

Let me walk upon the waters where ever you would call me.

Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander.

And my faith will be made stronger in the presence of my Savior.

 I cried out to my Abba Father to lead me to a place where my trust is without borders and to take me deeper than my feet could ever wander. He answered my prayer! He IS bringing me into a deeper relationship with Him. He is revealing to me the places of my heart that still need to be renewed and redeemed. His love is so deep and wide for me that He won’t let me sit in my sin of control & comfort. He wants something greater for me and for YOU!

I am still in the midst of learning this lesson and I fail daily in believing that God’s plan is good, but my prayer is that each day I will lay down my worries and fears of what the next season holds at the foot of the Cross.

I had a sweet phone conversation with a friend last week about what I’m learning and walking through, she graciously reminded me that not only is God in the details of working everything out for His glory, but He also wrote this story of mine before the creation of time. He is not only IN my story, but He IS the story.

Sisters, if you are walking through a season where life doesn’t make sense or things aren’t working out the way you planned, know you aren’t alone. I am right there with you, along with plenty of other women. Also, know that God is in this WITH you. He is for you and He is working everything out so that He receives the most glory and we can point to Jesus and say “Wow, that was hard, but God was so good to me in that. I had no idea that He was going to do THAT with my life!”

I’m not sure how God is working out my season for His good yet, but I do know that He is and I can rest in His plans and cling to His promises as I get a front row seat on all the great things He is doing in my life and in yours. 

I’m linking up with Blair at Wild & Precious for her Life Lately link-up.

 

Football + Family Traditions

My husband has been graciously nudging me back to this old blog the past few weeks. He keeps reminding of how much I enjoy writing and that I need to just start writing again. And he’s right, even though my creative juices feel like a thing of the past right now, I know that the desire to write and share my heart with you, my friends, is still here…somewhere…so I just need to write. He even gave me a blog topic to write on this week, just so I didn’t have to try to brainstorm one (he’s super sweet). So here it goes…

Jason moved to Tucson three years ago this coming September! I can’t believe that it’s been three years already. It feels just like last Fall I flew down here to help him move all his stuff into the apartment, but in reality, a lot of life has happened between then and now. A Lot.

That first weekend I came down to visit Jason, he had found cheap tickets to watch the U of A football team play their home opener against The Citadel. Jason knew that I LOVED football and spending a night watching two college teams play with the pigskin would make me feel SO much better about leaving him in this hot desert land for four months without me. So we enjoyed our first ever college football game together and it was wonderful. HOT, but wonderful to experience something that I had loved since I was in my mother’s womb with the love of my life.

First UofA game

Fast forward a year and I had moved down to Tucson after the wedding and it was the start of football season again. I was aching for something familiar, so Jason once again purchased tickets to the U of A’s home opener. We learned that year that you can park & ride much much cheaper, so we got to the parking lot early and grabbed Chic-fi-la for dinner and rode onto campus. And If I remember right, the Wildcats crushed Northern Arizona and it was so stinkin’ hot! (one of the downsides of living in the desert is that football season doesn’t feel like football season till almost November)

Football game with friends!

Football game with friends!

Fast forward again to 2012,  a client of mine gives Jason and I tickets for one of the best seats in the house because he and his wife can’t make it to the home opener. We parked at Reid park, grabbed Chic-fi-la and rode the bus to the stadium. That night is one that we will remember for ages because it was about 110 degrees, with thousands of people surrounding us, and we had forgotten to bring cash for water…so we were hot, dehydrated, and maybe a little grumpy! To top it all off, the Wildcats decide to let NAU get in the game and the game goes into DOUBLE overtime! We got home close to 1am (did I mention that we are diehards, even if we are hot, dehydrated, and grumpy?!).

wildcat football

 

And It was at that game, that we realized that we had created a family tradition for the Wood family! A tradition that we both love and enjoy. Traditions have always been an important part of my growing up, so when I realized that we had created something to pass on to our family, my heart was full.

Tonight we are headed to our 4th home opener! We are looking forward to parking at Reid park, grabbing dinner at Chic-fi-la and taking the bus to the stadium (and hopefully a great win for the Cats!)

With being married 2.5 years ago, this is the longest standing tradition we have as a family! I’m looking forward to the days where we can take our sweet girls to the home opener and share with them our family tradition and love for football!

What long-standing family tradition do you have? Or what tradition are you hoping to cultivate for your family?

Life Lately: Monday Edition

Today I’m linking up with Blaire at Wild & Precious 

Last week was a blur of movement but it also felt like it moved at a snail pace. Do you ever have weeks like that?

All week long I was waiting for an email with photo updates of our girls because I knew that they were supposed to be on their way. I was seeing other adopting mamas announce that they received their pictures and every day I was disappointed to not hear that notification on my email. It’s been three months since we’ve seen their faces and I wonder how big they have grown and whether baby M has hair! I know that many adopting parents don’t get any photo updates and I am thankful that we have had three different sets, but it’s hard when you know that it’s supposed to be coming but never does. I  let the disappointment control my outlook on life last week, which caused a lot of hurt to fester. I was grumpy and weepy all week, not the way that I want to live my life. Today, I’m committing to be thankful for the gifts I have with me now and to not hit the refresh button on my iPhone email as often.

Last week I also started helping an old friend jump start their workout routine before she travels to Europe for vacation. It has been fun creating workouts and encouraging her to reach her goals. It also felt good to know that I can still kick butt! Many of my old clients used to look at me and think that I looked too nice, but as one of my clients from Iowa once said…”Behind that pretty smile is a devilish desire to make you feel pain”. At least I do it with a smile right? 🙂

We are well on our way to completing the renovation in our third bedroom! Painting the room white and laying flooring has done wonders in making the space feel roomier and calming. I can’t wait to start decorating it to be our guest/office room. As of right now it’s just a toy room for all the children we have in our house on a weekly basis (and it’s the dogs’ room too). We are still deciding on the color scheme…any ideas?

bedroom renovation

The Fall catalog for Thirty-One came in the mail and I’m excited to share their Fall line with people. The prints are fun and the new styles of bags are beautiful and practical. If you want to host a party (catalog or “real life”) contact me through my website: http://www.mythirtyone.com/sarahwood

A few months ago Jason and I began sponsoring a child through Amazima ministries in Uganda. If you’ve ever read Kisses from Katie, this is her ministry. Our sponsorship will provide a year of schooling, three meals a day, clothes, medical care, Christian mentorship and much more for a child in Jinja. In Wednesday’s mail I received quite the gift from Amazima! We were given a picture of one of the boys in the school plus a handwritten note and picture that he wrote for us. Even though we didn’t receive pictures of our girls last week, having that picture on our fridge makes me smile every time. Knowing that we are helping bring redemption back into a poverty-stricken community makes me want to sponsor every single child. If you’re interested in sponsoring a child through Amazima, click on this link. It’s only $25/month!

photo-11

This week will be filled with more dinner dates, 31 parties, and what I’m most looking forward to….Missional Community! Jason and I are missional community leaders and host about 20 adults in our home every week. We love opening our home and our lives to live life in community with people from our church. We are praying that this season will be filled with hearts being changed, gospel stories, and many more memories made around the dinner table.

What has your life looked like lately?

why I cried after my brother’s team made it to state

Last night my brother and the Albia Blue Demons won their substate game which means that they are going to the Iowa State Baseball Tournament!! Woot Woot!!

My brother's the catcher and I love the intensity in his face!

My brother’s the catcher and I love the intensity in his face!

Now to clear some things up because I get this question all the time from people down here…

  1. Wait, Sarah, your brother is playing high school baseball in the SUMMER?” Yes, Iowa plays high school ball in the summer and no I do not know why (for my peeps in Iowa, just know that playing a high school sport in the summer is very uncommon).
  2. “Didn’t Gabe graduate earlier this Spring? I didn’t know graduates could play.” Yes, my brother graduated in May and is still playing high school baseball. According to Iowa rules, you can play baseball/softball the summer after your senior year because the season started during the school year. So, yes he did play five years of high school baseball and my sister played 5 years of softball.
  3. “Are you ALL athletic?” Yes, but not all of us are athletic in baseball/softball…or should I just say I am terrible at softball. I have an appreciation for the game, but I can’t hit a softball to save my life!

Ok, now that that’s cleared up, let me continue…

I listened to the last inning and a half on my phone while at my friends’ house last night. As the announcers were exclaiming that the Albia Blue Demons were headed to state, my heart was filled with joy but also a lot of  sadness as tears ran down my face.

I was so happy for him, but I was sad that I couldn’t be there to give my sweet brother a big hug and to celebrate a victory with my family. There are days like yesterday where I find it hard to live so far away from home..

I sent my brother a text after they won congratulating him and telling him how proud I am of him. He sent back a text that said “Thanks. Wish you were here! Love ya” Melt my heart. Those are sweet words from an 18 year old man-boy!

The tears fell because I felt like I was missing out on another milestone event for my family. And I was. There have been a lot of things that I have “missed” in the 2.5 years of living 1500 miles.

But then I remember all of the amazing things that have happened while living in this dry, hot desert and I’m grateful. I still mourn the loss of the familiar, but the adventure Jason and I have been on makes it worth it all.

The next few weeks I will be spending my Wednesdays talking about the adventures that God has taken me on and the lessons I have learned since we took this huge step to move from the cornfields of Iowa to the desert land of Arizona. And I would love to hear from you as well! How has God taken what looked like it would be hard and made it beautiful?

I want to be able to share my life here on this blog and I hope that as you read how God has changed me, you will be encouraged to know that God is at work in your story too. That’s why I’ll be linking up with She Does Justice on Wednesdays…will you join me?

Live Your Story

do you want to follow our story?

I receive many questions about how our adoption process is going and often times I tell them that they can follow us on my blog. Here on my little space, I share my heart of what God is doing as we wait to bring home our sweet  babies G & M. I also share details of our adoption that I am allowed to share (our agency has a policy that I cannot share the country’s name and a few other details regarding our adoption process and I do  my best to abide by that).

This little blog also points you to where you can partner with us in bringing home our baby girls. I keep an updated list of adoption fundraisers we are a part of in the “How You Can Help” or you can give a tax-deductible gift online by clicking on “Donate Now”.

If you are interested in following our story as we journey to bring home our girls and the days that follow, you can subscribe to my blog!

“How do you do that”, you ask? Great question!

red-arrow-up-right

Up on the right hand side there is a button that says “Follow My Blog”. If you click on “sign me up” and enter your email address, you will get my posts sent directly to your inbox every morning (or afternoon) I post something. I try to post 3 times a week, so as not to overload your box.

My hope is that you not only have a chance to follow our adoption story, but that God would use my words to be an encouragement to you as you go about living the life God has called you to live. I have been praying that this little space would develop into a community for women to grow in their faith (where ever you may be at this point) and be challenged to live life with a mission and a purpose that is greater than ourselves.

I’m so excited for the days ahead! There will be lots of face uplifts in the near future (all thanks to my husband).

Thanks in advance for following my story!

when you feel like you have 700 million things to do

I woke up this morning feeling groggy and anxious again. The never-ending list has seemed to haunt my dreams as of late. The fundraising letters, thank you cards, fundraising plans, dishes, laundry, care packages, blog entries and the list could go on were whirring around my heart this morning and into the afternoon.

But all I wanted was for it all to be quiet.

The days of feeling like I have all the time in the world to get things done and I’m actually checking things off the list seem to be a distant memory.

Just yesterday my husband was updating a friend of his on our adoption and he mentioned how we are in a season of waiting and don’t really have much to do right now. I laughed to myself and shook my head as I looked at my long to-do list, with most of it regarding our adoption. It was then a little voice quietly spoke to my heart, “Sarah, you’re becoming bitter and discontent again.”

I was and to be honest, I’m still fighting off bitterness and discontentment. The toddler in me wants to throw a tantrum because I just want one thing in our adoption to be over! I would love to use the double “F” word (fully-funded) or to say that we have passed court. I fight the fear that my emotions and anxieties will take the better of me through this process and I don’t want to be defined by being an anxious busybody.

I long to be quiet. Not just the noise level, but I long for a quiet that washes over this tired soul and lifts it up to a peace that passes understanding.

The Lord your God is in your midst,

a mighty one who will save;

he will rejoice over you with gladness;

he will quiet you by his love;

he will exult over you with loud singing. (Zeph. 3:17) 

This morning as I was washing the dishes and putting away the laundry, I stepped outside and gazed at the summer sky. I took a deep breath, and prayed that God would quiet my heart. And for a moment, He did. I pray for more of those moments.

photo-1

Yes, there will always lists to complete and I will have to work hard at times to help bring home our girls, but in order for me to stay sane and to enjoy this season that God has placed me in I need to take captive my thoughts and cling to the truth that Jesus brings quiet to my life even when there are 700 million things on my to-do list.

How do you quiet your heart and mind when life seems out of control?

How the Ocean Calms my Soul

So it’s been quite awhile since I’ve posted. Part of the reason is because I’ve been on vacation and wanted to try to disconnect from the internet world as much as possible. The other reason is because I’ve been low on words to say lately. Everywhere I look I feel that other people are saying what I want to say more eloquently. I’ve been enjoying using my time to read and connect with  friends and family, but I’m getting the itch to write again!

Our vacation was wonderful. The days we spent in Monterey and in Sonoma County were some of the most relaxing times I have had all year. There’s something about watching the waves crash against the rocks as the tide rolls in that calms my spirit like nothing else. In the mornings we would go for walks around the rocky beach and every day I was reminded that God is FAITHFUL and POWERFUL. As I sat by the powerful, yet calm ocean I would sing Oceans by Hilsong United and tears would run down my face.

IMG_1314

Tomorrow I’ll share more pictures and some of the fun things we did, but I wanted to share today how my heart found peace again on our trip. Now the hard part will be to continue to hold on to Jesus when the storms of life are still a reality.

“Oceans (Where Feet May Fail)”

You call me out upon the waters
The great unknown where feet may fail
And there I find You in the mystery
In oceans deep
My faith will stand

And I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine

Your grace abounds in deepest waters
Your sovereign hand
Will be my guide
Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me
You’ve never failed and You won’t start now

So I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior
[x6]

I will call upon Your Name
Keep my eyes above the waves
My soul will rest in Your embrace
I am Yours and You are mine

 

Today I linked up with Desire to Inspire (A Royal Daughter‘s weekly link-up)