Thursday, February 20, 2014

The First step

This blog post is a snippet from my book The Thankful Project. The content of this post is from a chapter that I have dedicated to learning gratitude in adversity. I hope you enjoy this tidbit! 

    You’ve probably heard the old adage, “The first step in recovery is admitting you have a problem.” Why is this? Simply put, if you do not know what you need then you won’t know what to ask for/work for, etc. However, If you are anything like me, you’re not fond of looking at your mess up close and personal like. You know, the stinky fish in the trash that’s smelling up your kitchen, i.e the pile of bills and debt sitting on your desk? Or what about the giant elephant in the room, i.e. the infidelity, depression, etc. ruining your life? Ignoring it’s existence will not make it go away. Let me repeat that. Listen carefully. Ignoring the thing that is ruining your life is not going to make it go away. Neither will griping about it, crying about it, having a pity party or worrying. What, Shara? I can’t worry my problems away? To all of us worry warts out there, that sounds like heresy. It’s true though and you know it, because you’ve been worrying for years and your house smells like stinky fish and every time you want to watch t.v. you find yourself yelling at Gladys to get out of the way! (That’s the elephant’s name...she’s been there so long you had to finally name her.)  I am making light of this, but I know that a lot of the time it is truly hard to think there is any positive emotion that will actually benefit our situations. We are partially right about this because truthfully apart from occasional circumstances in and of ourselves we are not capable of digging ourselves out of our own ruts.  Enter God.  Enter glorious, faithful, remarkably incredible God. He will show up anywhere the praise of His people beckons him, even if that means slap dab in the middle of a dilapidated mess!
     The first thing that Nehemiah did upon arrival in Judah was to take a midnight stroll around the city to inspect the destruction. He needed to know what he was dealing with so that he could make a plan. Plenty us of have had to come home after tornados, hurricanes, or tsunami’s and see the utter heartbreak of our town torn to pieces - add to that the hate of war - and you can imagine the anguish he felt. After surveying the mess, Nehemiah was better aware of the situation, which allowed him to make a solid plan!
      So, if you've found yourself in a sticky situation, it might be time survey the damage! Don't be afraid to face your disaster head on! Do it with the confidence that God has gone before you to lead the way towards rebuilding! Ask him for wisdom and guidance on the your next steps towards restoration! 

I hope you enjoyed this (slightly adapted for blog purposes) snippet of my book, "The Thankful Project"! Keep an eye out for the book in its entirety later this year! 

XO - Shara

Friday, February 14, 2014

Love Bites

I haven't blogged in a while. My husband and I are partnering with another couple and opening a restaurant…soon! So, that has been consuming a lot of my time and anytime that I have been committing to writing, has been for my book. But, I got to thinking about something today and felt inspired to write - so here goes! Forgive the short and sweet approach of this post!

Every genre and generation of music sings about it. From "love hurts", to "love bites", to "I'm gonna keep on loving you", love has been the topic of too many songs to count. Why? Because that is something that everyone can relate to. We have all felt love - even if it was/is reluctant or leery. We loved our parents or siblings when we were children, then friends has we got older and on to spouses or significant others. We love being loved, the feeling it gives us. We enjoy the companionship and intimacy that love grants us.  But if you're anything like me, you don't like to think about the negative aspects of loving someone.

A couple days ago I drove my parents to see my uncle, who is in the hospital recovering from surgery. My sister planned on going with us (she ended up not being able to) and I made the comment to her, "aww…the whole family all together for the day!" Only that wasn't true. One of us - my brother - is missing. Our family will never be whole again until eternity. You better believe the empty 5th seat would have been felt, even after 20 years. That's how it goes when someone you love dies. You feel the crushing pain for the rest of your life. Does it fade a bit? Perhaps…but it never dies. This post isn't about grief or losing a loved one, though. It's about love, period, and the sacrifice that you sign up for when you choose to love someone. You see, when we choose to love someone we are choosing all the hurt that love encompasses. Whether you're lied to, cheated on, or they die and leave you desperately lonely for their presence - we chose it when we chose them.

I started reading The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom a couple days ago, who by the way, along with her family, is the human epitome of love. Their sacrifice will never be forgotten and will carry on with their legacy. In the book, after Corrie is turned away by the man she loves, her father says to her "Do you know what hurts so very much? It's love." Wow. To have already pondered the pain of love, this quote caught my attention. I read it over and over.

"Do you know what hurts so very much? It's love."

That sums up this post in 2 short sentences.

Remember that when you chose to give your love to your children, spouse or best friend. At some point your heart will be broken, but that is alright. Garth Brooks says it best in his The Dance  - " I could've
missed the pain, but I'd had to miss the dance."

Dance on my friends.

XO - Shara

In keeping with the theme of Love and sacrifice, I would like to encourage you to pick up my friend's book, "Intentional Marriage: The Art of Loving Your Husband." It is .99 for today only on Amazon. Pick it up!!